7900GS RIP

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7900GS RIP

Postposted on Sun Jan 15, 2012 2:03 pm

Hello all,

After a great length of service, my venerable 7900GS with a Zalman VF1000 has died.

The rest of the computer is about the same vintage, and I was planning on upgrading everything when Ivy Bridge came out. However, that leaves me with a conundrum.

What GPU do I buy now? I'd love to go for a 7970, but i'm not sure I can make my total budget support a ~$600 card (If it was in stock).

Alternatively I can let me desktop sit idle for the next few months. This would be quite a pain, as it would basically halt all my image processing power. I'd also be pretty depressed to sit my first gen 13" macbook on my desk with dual 23" IPS.

So do I just buy or beg something that can output video? Or do I get a 6970/6950 and call it good, since they will be good for a long time anyway. Or try and sell it in a year and upgrade.

I was hoping to be able to play games again (it has been a long time since I had enough pixel power).
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Re: 7900GS RIP

Postposted on Sun Jan 15, 2012 2:39 pm

I'd buy a video card for a little under $100 and use it with what you've got until you're ready to upgrade. It'd still be quite a bit faster than your old 7900GS, and probably the fastest part of your system.

edit: something in the Radeon 6xxx or Geforce 4xx range for that price. Newegg's got at least one Geforce FX 5200 card for $75 now! :o :roll:
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Re: 7900GS RIP

Postposted on Sun Jan 15, 2012 3:31 pm

You might consider getting a HD 6950/6970, or GTX 560 Ti/GTX 570 now, and then make sure that your new build is crossfire/SLI capable and purchase a second card when you feel the need and/or have the money.

Those setups should run most games very well, and even a single card will work fairly decently. I have 6970s in crossfire and am pretty happy; there is the occasional compatibility issue (especially with brand new games before the drivers catch up). After a 7900GS you might find a single card is plenty for your needs.

Sorry to hear your hardware died, but it sounds like it lived a long and productive life :)

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Re: 7900GS RIP

Postposted on Sun Jan 15, 2012 4:15 pm

Just wait it out. If you can't wait, $500 (if you say $600 is too much) right now can still get you a beast but you will probably regret it in a year. Remember though that SSDs is where it's at nowadays so make sure you make room for one in your future build.
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Re: 7900GS RIP

Postposted on Sun Jan 15, 2012 4:18 pm

7970 isn't much of an upgrade over the 7900GS ..


HAHAA, I kid !! :lol: Naming schemes are just dumbed up at some point from both AMD and Nvidia.

I have a 7900/VF1000/volt modded card that still seems to be doing OK. A 6850 for $130 seems to be the hot deal lately, so that will definitely be worth looking at (if available).
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Re: 7900GS RIP

Postposted on Sun Jan 15, 2012 5:13 pm

Or you could just buy new, now. Ivy bridge is cool and all, but as far as I know the biggest improvements will be in the integrated GPU. The CPU is more or less the same, with less power consumption. Overclock potential will probably be even better though.
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Re: 7900GS RIP

Postposted on Mon Jan 16, 2012 1:04 am

Radeon HD6950 is $240 -30MIR for the 1GB version or $260 -20MIR for the 2GB version. Radeon HD6870 is $160 -20MIR. GeForce GTX560Ti is $213. Choose a card from that list and get your old PC back in the game.
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Re: 7900GS RIP

Postposted on Mon Jan 16, 2012 6:22 am

@7900GS

Since i presume the warranty expired like half a decade ago, might as well try a little experiment with a oven. Many claim that they fixed their dead cards by doing this, but obviously you need to follow a guide:

http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1421792

Edit: read the comments also. Someone warned "I would be careful about this though. Heating up, melting down or burning electronics can release toxins into the air that could cause brain damage and/or death." So if you do try it keep the kitchen window open and/or ventilate the aparment/house thoroughly after the cooking session.
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Re: 7900GS RIP

Postposted on Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:34 am

Something else you could do is buy a used-but-working video card, like a Radeon 4850 or its Nvidia equivalent. If your other stuff was like mine (C2D E6300) it'd likely still be the fastest part of the system, and you won't be out much money for your major upgrade later.
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Re: 7900GS RIP

Postposted on Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:15 am

Since you have been making due with a 7900 GS for this long, that suggests that you don't need the latest and greatest or the fastest either. I think you would do fine with a Radeon 6970 or a Geforce 570 - you could purchase right now and then do IB when it gets here.

If you need something better than a 6970 or 570 then get a super cheap card and wait it out.
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Re: 7900GS RIP

Postposted on Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:48 pm

The 7900GS is garbage compared to current cards, despite being very good at release.

A friend of mine had a similar fault - an X1800XT died and left him with nothing. I loaned him a cheap GTS450 from my HTPC and it was quite clear that his 2GHz Core2 was still a limiting factor in the games he played (WoW, SC2, Batman Arkham City).

There's ALWAYS something bigger and better around the corner, so if you're not willing to replace everything now, spend $99 and you'll likely see a huge improvement over the 7900GS.
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Re: 7900GS RIP

Postposted on Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:53 pm

I looked back in my records, paid $200 for the card! I got it just after the 8800GTX was first released (the gtx was an $800 remember that?).

HD4850 looks to be around $50 on Ebay, like http://www.ebay.com/itm/280807730983?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649#ht_2459wt_1396

I was hoping to retire the parts to a home server, but if i'm buying something now it needs to be able to output to my two monitors so a straight server type card wouldn't be ideal. I had not thought of buying a used card, at that price, it seems like the most logical thing to do!

It is a 2.4GHz C2D so I would be majorly bottle-necked until that is upgraded with almost any new card. I'm planning on going a little higher end with my next build since I don't have to re-buy the case and power supply. I can't really overclock with the MB I have to try and make up the difference.

I do like the idea of buying a 6970 now and then crossfire. It appeals to my hope for a bit more power in my next computer and I'm hoping to pick up a third monitor for eyefinity!

So I guess i'm waffling between the $50 and the $350 options!
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Re: 7900GS RIP

Postposted on Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:06 pm

Today's $50 4850 option will play games just fine on an E6600
Today's $350 option will be competetive with $200 cards by the time you replace your E6600 that's holding it back.
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Re: 7900GS RIP

Postposted on Wed Jan 18, 2012 8:06 pm

Today's $50 4850 option will play games just fine on an E6600
Today's $350 option will be competetive with $200 cards by the time you replace your E6600 that's holding it back.


Thanks for the perspective!

4850 is on the way.
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Re: 7900GS RIP

Postposted on Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:19 pm

just thought i'd put in a picture of the old card to reminisce about! I was too excited to put the new card in and didn't take a comparison picture. It is kind of impressive how much bigger the 4850 is.

This will have to tide me over until the entire thing can be rebuilt.

Image
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Re: 7900GS RIP

Postposted on Sat Jan 28, 2012 7:14 pm

Heh, yeah, the heatsink on my old 7900GS was impressive, much more so than the one on the current 4850.
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Re: 7900GS RIP

Postposted on Sat Jan 28, 2012 7:43 pm

Any bulging caps on that 7900GS? If so it might be fixable. (The two I can see in the pic look OK, but I'm assuming there's a bunch more around the other side...)
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Re: 7900GS RIP

Postposted on Sat Jan 28, 2012 8:41 pm

All 11 of the caps on the board look ok to me. I wonder if I got new ram heat sinks if I could swap the cooler to the 4850. I'm going to miss being able to control my fan as I liked!
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Re: 7900GS RIP

Postposted on Sun Jan 29, 2012 8:05 am

I use this to set up a custom fan speed curve (works on all brands of cards, not just msi):
http://event.msi.com/vga/afterburner/download.htm

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Re: 7900GS RIP

Postposted on Sat Feb 25, 2012 5:54 am

It looks like the caps on his 7900 are solids, going to be hard to diagnose them as damaged unfortunately :(, not without some specialty tools. Unless you want to take a good chance at trying to revive it and have some spare solid state caps of the same or equivalent value!

Sorry to hear about your good ol' buddy Rog, its always hard to let a good friend go :cry:
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Re: 7900GS RIP

Postposted on Sat Feb 25, 2012 6:12 am

Welch wrote:It looks like the caps on his 7900 are solids, going to be hard to diagnose them as damaged unfortunately :(, not without some specialty tools. Unless you want to take a good chance at trying to revive it and have some spare solid state caps of the same or equivalent value!

Sorry to hear about your good ol' buddy Rog, its always hard to let a good friend go :cry:

Thread necro much? :lol:

Anyway... I've actually seen solid caps on a video card fail by bulging/splitting open. Not sure what's up with that (I didn't realize they had that failure mode), but evidently it can happen. But yeah, in general lack of visible damage on a cap is no guarantee of proper operation.

On a related note, if you need to replace solid caps and can't find exact replacements you can probably get away with replacing them with normal (wet) electrolytics. Just make sure you choose ones with lowest possible ESR, and make sure you physically have room (they'll probably be a little taller).
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Re: 7900GS RIP

Postposted on Sat Feb 25, 2012 6:18 am

Wow.. did I really just do that :P.... well its not been 1 month so it can't be that bad! Someone Necro'ed my Research Paper topic from back 3+ semester ago :lol: .. I guess the graphics forums are just dead enough to need some Necroing.

A note about that, make sure to do your research on the electrolytic caps first, not only do they need to be low ESR, but generally the circuitry that is using solid caps requires much higher resistance electrolytic caps, its not a 1:1. For instance an 820uF solid cap might require a 1500uF electrolytic.

I'd imagine the ones you may have seen blown were the solid caps that have the slits in the top to allow for that sort of failure. I've noticed with more older caps that appear to be solid caps that they have those slits... Perhaps its possible that they were electrolytic caps in solid style aluminum cylinders?
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Re: 7900GS RIP

Postposted on Sat Feb 25, 2012 6:50 am

Welch wrote:A note about that, make sure to do your research on the electrolytic caps first, not only do they need to be low ESR, but generally the circuitry that is using solid caps requires much higher resistance electrolytic caps, its not a 1:1. For instance an 820uF solid cap might require a 1500uF electrolytic.

Replace "resistance" with "capacitance" and I will (sort of) agree with this. Wet electrolytics typically will have higher ESR; you can partially make up for this with higher capacitance and/or ripple current spec.

Welch wrote:I'd imagine the ones you may have seen blown were the solid caps that have the slits in the top to allow for that sort of failure. I've noticed with more older caps that appear to be solid caps that they have those slits... Perhaps its possible that they were electrolytic caps in solid style aluminum cylinders?

Yes, that is also a possibility. It is really nothing more than a convention that the "wet" ones get colored plastic sleeves and the "solid" ones are bare aluminum. The ones with the sleeves on them are still aluminum cans underneath. I could even imagine a less-than-scrupulous video card or mobo manufacturer requesting wet electrolytics with bare cans from a capacitor vendor, just to give the impression that they are using (superior) solid caps on their products.
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Re: 7900GS RIP

Postposted on Sat Feb 25, 2012 9:45 am

I stand corrected :P You knew what i meant lol :). That does seem to be a possibility, only the cans are made designed entirely different. They are usually stubbier, and not made entirely the same. The X or K slits in them are almost perforated instead of indented.

Ohhh.. and Replace Bare with Beer, now we are talking :D
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Re: 7900GS RIP

Postposted on Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:15 am

Welch wrote:Ohhh.. and Replace Bare with Beer, now we are talking :D

Replace anything with beer and you've probably got my attention! :lol:
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Re: 7900GS RIP

Postposted on Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:48 pm

two semesters of physics isn't enough for me to follow all the electronics sadly. I almost which the card was full of blown caps so I could have a go at fixing them! I'm less interested in replacing caps until something works.

I was almost accustomed to the random flashing screens that heralded the failure. The 4850 is powering the two 23" quite well. I'm debating trying to swap in the vf1000.


Beer would be nice, but i'm ashamed to admit that Arbor Mist Blackberry was on sale....
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