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eVGA e-GeForce (512 MB) (512-P2-N570-AX) Graphics Card

eVGA e-GeForce (512 MB) (512-P2-N570-AX) Graphics Card

Author's Rating: Rating: 1/5 stars
1 Review from Epinions.com

By:   nad_masters
Jun 26, 2006
eVGA e-GeForce (512 MB) (512-P2-N570-AX) Graphics Card

Artifacts - Blame nVidia, not the Vendors!

Author's Rating: Rating: 1/5 stars

Pros: eVGA lifetime warrantee, excellent customer service

Cons: Artifacting badly.

The Bottom Line: 
It would have been worth it if the 7900 series weren't flawed. But buying eVGA was a bright-side.

Author's Review
After purchasing the eVGA GeForce 7800 GT CO, I decided to take advantage of eVGA' Step-Up progrogam. If you read my review on the 7800GT, you would know that I was pleased with it, and have found that eVGA is a much different manufacturer than most video card makers. And it shows later on, you see. Read on.

Stepping-Up to the eVGA GeForce 7900 GTX EGS was a logical choice, as it was the next in the series, as well as the fact that you have 90 days to do so from the initial purchase date. The video GPU industry changes so fast, that a new GPU would probably be out by the time that 90 days is nearly over. The 7900 GTX EGS retails for $499, much cheaper than the 7800GTX it replaces, and slgithly faster as well. Having paid $320 for my 7800GT, I only had to pay the $180 difference. Not bad considering I am moving to the flagship product. For at least another 6 months anyways.

And again, eVGA is the only company I know of that has this "Step-Up" program, which makes them unique. However, as you read on, you will also find out other reasons why they have such a following.

In the Box
eVGA Geforce 7900GTX EGS PCIe card
Manual
Driver CD with demos, apps, etc.
S-Video/Composite/Component Output dongle
2x standard Molex power connector to PCIe power connector converter
2x DVI to VGA converters

Installation
Installing a PCIe card is much the same as a PCI or AGP card. If you have installed any of the newer power-hungry video cards, you are no stranger to the extra power connector they require to stay alive and active. However, unlike the older cards, this card requires the new PCIe power connector that is available only on SLI-approved power supplies. The converter that is included is not recommended for an SLI setup, but just fine for a single card solution. This is because it will require 2 standard Molex connectors to power the sucker! Preferably each from a different 12v line. This eats up the precious and limited available Molex connectors for hard and optical drives.

Even for a single card setup, I highly recommend a PSU that at least has one PCIe power connector (these don't have to be SLI-certified).

This card takes up 2 slots, so make sure the slot adjacent to this is free. The large heatsink and fan combo allows for air to be blown out of the 2nd slot. However, the way it is designed, only half of the hot air gets blown out. The other half gets blown back inside the case. Not good. Aftermarket HSF would probably help in this area.

Issues
Unlike the relatively trouble-free 7800GT, the 7900GTX was giving me lots of issues. But this is now news, as other owners of the 7900 series are reporting the same issues.

For some, they get issues right out of the box. Some lasts a day or two, while others last a month or two until they get any issues. The issues comes in a form of artifacting in DirectX games. Most of them exhibit themselves in SM3.0 games. To test for it, you can install 3DMark06 and run the "Deep Freeze" test in a loop.

After the artifacts, you may have the problem your desktop flashing in and out. This also completely locks up your computer eventually. The only recourse is a hard reset.

I have both of these problems out of the box.

nVidia officially states that the issues are due to manufacturers overclocking the cores and memory for their OCed line of cards. That is not true, however, since I own the 7900GTX EGS, which is a stock reference card (clock for clock). The clocks nVidia specified for the 7900GTX is 650MHz core and 1600 MHz effective memory. eVGA, consequently, also sells a Superclocked version which is factory overclocked to 690MHz core and 1760 MHz effective memroy - which is the most aggressively factory overclock in the market.

Okay, other issues that are minor compared to the one above
Due to the large factory HSF, the southbridge HSF was half-covered, which is a significant amount of area to block. Thus, the southbridge temperatures were back to a high of 50*C idle. At least the huge HSF of the eVGA is very quiet.

The card runs hot. Much hotter than the 7800GT. It idles around 60*C and under load, it hits 80*C!

What eVGA is doing about it
Now this is the other part of eVGA that makes them so different from other vendors. While others are shutting down their forums, and even denying that the artifacting issues exists, eVGA's customer service remains responsive. They have a very active forum, and do not delete threads regarding this issue. For those who are having outstanding issues (not being able to contact someone by email or phone, or not receving their RMAs in a timely manner) and have posted something about it (face it - you'd post something of that nature, too, if you couldn't get in contact with anyone), eVGA has been known to call or email that poster directly to resolve their issues personally.

They have also taken the liberty to offer free cross-shipping of RMAs AND paying for shipping through this whole ordeal (only for 7900 series owners). If that wasn't enough, they are doing NEXT DAY DELIVERY service as well! eVGA is doing one hell of a job of keeping a good reputation.

I must mention that we have owners in their 7th RMA and still happy with eVGA (though some have already sold their RMAed card via eBay and went ATI a while ago - no fault of eVGA - blame nVidia!).

Test System:
DFI nF4 LanpartyUT SLI-DR Expert
AMD Athlon x2 3800 (OCed to 2.5 GHz)
2 GB G.SKILL HZ DDR500 CL3 (2x 1GB)
eVGA GeForce 7900GTX EGS 512 MB PCIe
2x Western Digital 34GB Raptor in RAID0
Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 300GB ATA
Microsoft Windows XP SP2

Benchmarks (or a lack of) and Conclusion
I will be posting my benchmarks once I recieve a working card. No sense in posting performance rating of a card that doesn't even work 100%. I have owned this card for 6 months, waiting for a good time to do an ePinions on it, but unfortunately, the issues did not allow for me to do any meaningful benchmarks.

I decided to write it up anyways since many may not know to avoid the 7900 series until nVidia fixes the issues. Hopefully they will soon, as their flagship product is already being overcast by the 7950.

While those who bought eVGA were lucky, those who bought XFX or BFG are steaming in the ears. Not only did nVidia screwed them over, no one else is taking responsibility. With eVGA, they may not be at fault, but they still try to keep everyone happy.

So while it is hard to fault eVGA, if you are in the market for a high-end video card, my advice is to stay away from the 7900 series. If you are still hard-set on one, make sure you buy eVGA. Otherwise, others are happy with their ATI 1900XTX. They are a little faster in Direct X game, but slower in OpenGL compared to the 7900GTX. The other advice is to wait until Direct X 10 cards show up. With Microsoft Vista coming, and up comming games most likely to use this new API, it might be worth saving your dough for it (or at least spend less on something doable until then - avoid the high-end DX9 cards).

UPDATE: EVGA announced that they have a new revision for some of their 7900 series card! From their own forum:

7900 GT Series
New part number - Existing part number
256-P2-N580-AR - 256-P2-N560-AX/BX/DX
256-P2-N582-AR - 256-P2-N562-AX/BX/DX
256-P2-N583-AR - 256-P2-N563-AX/BX/DX
256-P2-N584-AR - 256-P2-N564-AX/BX/DX/FX

7900 GTX Series
New part number - Existing part number
512-P2-N571-AR - 512-P2-N570-AX

EVGA has been working out the new SKU’s to resolve the issues that some users are experiencing with artifacting during 3DMark06 and random games; we have been manufacturing new cards based on a new AVL list.

Here are the details on the new 7900 cards:

* New AVL Memory (Approved Vendor List)
* RoHS compliant
* Test results are extremely positive

I have the 512-P2-N570-AX, which is now fixed with a new card with a new part number, 512-P2-N571-AR. I am not exactly sure what "RoHS" stands for, and what memory is in the "Approved Vendor List". EVGA was pretty vauge, but hopefully it is all okay now.

I am currently waiting for my RMA replacement, so I do not know if everything works as advertise.

Update (05-02-2009)- Sorry for the late update, but yes, the card did work as advertise!  No more issues!  And it was a very fast and enjoyable card!  However, it's been since sitting at a friend's house trying to get sold! I've since upgraded it to a BFG 8800GTS 512 MB card, and now just recently went back to EVGA with their GTX260 Core 216!
 


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