ATI and Nvidia's Same-Day Mega-Launch Mayhem

The GeForce 7900 Series

Based on the G70 architecture, Nvidia has pushed the performance envelope even further while decreasing the overall size of the silicon. The GeForce 7900 GTX, 7900GT and the 7600GT are all manufactured using a 90-nm process. This shrinkage increases the number of chips per wafer and should decrease the cost to produce each chip.

The size reduction also allows the chip to use less power, which means less heat. The better thermal design also allows the GeForce 7900GT and 7600GT to use smaller and quieter cooling solutions. This will soon translate into an easier transition to the mobile market in which the thermal design parameters are more stringent compared to discrete graphics processor architectures.

To compliment this die shrink, Nvidia reengineered some of the circuitry, which allows the G71 and G73 designs to use fewer transistors to do more. The G70 debuted as the GeForce 7800 GTX with 24-pixel pipelines and eight vertex units operating at a core clock speed of 430 MHz inside a 302 million transistor count package. G71 has the same number of core units as the G70 (eight vertex shaders, 24 pixel shaders and 16 ROPs).