Ratings: Ease of Use, Performance: 22/25, Look & Feel: 23/25, Features & Software 22/25, How much I enjoy 25/25
I recently bought a new system and with it have joined the world of PCI-Express. PCI-Express is the latest and best graphics interface for your graphics cards and is all the rage. What is even hotter now is the Nvidia 8800, a very top of the line graphics card, as well as using two graphics cards in your system in either SLI or Crossover depending on your motherboard and the cards. For me though, I am more of a down to earth person as well as being on a budget and want to review and check out what there is on the market for us common gamers with average systems.
Enter the affordable 7600 GS 512MB PCI-E from Zogis. Zogis is a relative new comer to the graphics card market,based in California and founded in January 2006. Zogis is partnered with Nvidia so they have the latest technology to back up their graphics cards. The 7600 GS chip set from Nvidia is a top contender for your money and puts out some very good graphics.
Here is the company line from the Zogis website about the features and specifications:
Nvidia Geforce 7600GS GPU
512 MB 128 bit DDR2 Memory
Superscalar 12 pipe GPU ArchitectureInnovation PCI Express with Dual DVI TV- out ports
CineFX 4.0 Engine Supports DirectX 9.0C, OpenGL 2.0 Shader Model 3.0
Supports SLI technology & PureVideo Technology & Full nView Multi-Display Technology
Suuports True High dynamic-range (HDR) Lighting
Next Generation Superscalar GPU Architecture
Full Microsoft DirectX 9.0 Shader Model 3.0 Support
Nvidia CineFX 4.0 Engine
Nvidia SLI Technology
Nvidia Intellisample 4.0 Technology
True High Dynamic-Range (HDR) Rendering Support
NVIDIA PureVideo Technology
Adaptable Programmable Video Processor
High-Definition H.264, MPEG-2 and WMV Hardware Acceleration
Advanced Spatial Temporal De-Interlacing
Video Color Correction
Integrated HDTV Encoder
NVIDIA UltraShadow II Technology
128-Bit Studio-Precision Computation
Full-Speed 32-Bit Color Precision
NVIDIA ForceWare Unified Driver Architecture (UDA)
OpenGL 2.0 Optimizations and Support
NVIDIA nView Multi-Display Technology
The Zogis 7600 GS 512MB graphics card is a relatively new card as far as the market is concerned. Most of the 7600 GS graphics cards on the market now are 256MB so this puts the card at a relative advantage over most of the cards with the same chip set. The 7600 GS uses the latest DDR2 memory so it can keep up with the latest games and CPU’s. The core of the card is the Nvidia 7600 GS which is a tried and true graphics chip set that has been on the market long enough to prove it is a stable and good performer.
Adding the extra memory to this card makes the card perform up to the standard of higher chip sets as my own testing has confirmed along with some other benchmark testing that I have found on the Internet. The 7600 GS is a solid performance graphics card that uses passive cooling or a heat sink to keep it running at stable temperatures. This card can be overclocked but I just don’t do that. I want to see what the performance is out of the box and what the performance of the things that you will buy and use straight from the various companies will be from the start.
I tried the Zogis 7600 GS out on some new games and compared the results with some other benchmark tests I found on the Internet. I understand that this is not a true comparison test or an accurate benchmark of a graphics card as I do not have the same system as the other tests I am comparing to. But it does show just how this card stacks up against others of the same chip set and family so you do get an idea if the Zogis card will perform as it should and just how well it looks on my system.
So to start I will talk about installation, it was simple. Easy to install as the card is a simple PCI-E slot and has no extra connectors or anything other than push it into the slot. My motherboard complicates the removal a bit but with the proper tools it is easy enough to get around to the tab on my EliteGroup KA3 MVP motherboard to pop the tab up when I reseated the card. The motherboard I have has a tab for the two PCI-E slots that the card covers up a bit but with some curved forceps it is easy enough to get at. I put the card in and then pulled it out to see just how easy it is to re install. Plus I was installing other things into my system and moving things around a bit.
The card has three connectors on the back; a DVI, analog and an HDTV output jack. I hooked up my CRT display to the analog output and tried out the DVI to analog adapter which worked fine but I do not as yet have an LCD monitor to try out on my new system, someday I will get one though. The box contained the graphics card, an instruction manual, driver CD, DVI to analog adapter and an HDTV/S-video adapter.
Starting up the system showed a new card and I did use the supplied driver CD for installing the Nvidia drivers. It was the most current and only took a few minutes to install. The card and my new system was up and running. I ran through some checking of things and found that the drivers are the same for the computer I have been using and the Nvidia interface is identical.
I hooked up a television to the S-Video out on the back of the graphics card and set the functions to clone the desktop in the desktop manager of nView and it puts the image right to the television clear as it will ever be on my somewhat poorer quality TV.
The real test is in the games though, so I fired up a few and saw what all the fuss over PCI-Express and the newer computers were all about. The graphics quality is great and the games look so much better. Testing on a couple of new games, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas and Microsoft Flight Sim X, I found the games performed very well and looked excellent. But Vegas I received with the computer so I have not played it on any other system and Flight Sim X I have only had a week so I have not played very much.
I wanted a good comparison of quality in graphics and how things look compared to something I am used to. So I loaded up Battlefield 2142 that I have been playing since it released on October 17, 2006 and I was really impressed. The older computer I have been playing on is an AMD Athlon 2600+ with an Nvidia 6600 256MB graphics card and 1 GB of RAM. The game has some great effects and graphics but the Zogis 7600 GS took the games feel and visuals to a whole new level. Not to mention the great performance boost my new system added to the mix. I really like the shield effects the game uses and the one thing I noticed right away was the anti armor gun that shoots what looks like a rail gun type projectile. The graphics using the new card and system make it look so much better and more realistic.
Now to some testing and results of my benchmarking. I found a couple of web sites that tested other 7600 video cards and compared the results I received when I tested the Zogis 7600 GS. My test bed for the tests are as follows: AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+ CPU on an ECS KA3 MVP motherboard, 2x512MB memory, one is an Adata 512MB DDR2-800 and the other is a Transcend 512MB DDR2-800. The PSU is an Apevia Iceberg, thank you Apevia for a great power supply that was a dream to install in my new system. The Hard Disc Drive is a Western Digital 250 GB 7200 RPM SATA II drive with an 8MB cache. The system I have has a very good CPU but not much else that is above ordinary so the graphics card is working on a pretty good test bed but nothing that has been overclocked or out of the reach of an average consumer or gamer like myself.
I used three tests to check out the Zogis 7600 GS; FEAR performance test, QUAKE 4 time demo and Rainbow Six Vegas. Using my system and the Zogis graphics card I received very comparable results that I found on other sites. I also have been playing some on Microsoft’s Flight Sim X and have the frame rates listed below as well.
FEAR performance test maximum quality with soft shadows
1024x768x32 screen resolution Trilinear filtering
No anisotropic filtering
84 frames per second average
I compared this to a 7800 GT card that was getting 87 fps on a similar system but my system does have a better cpu.
QUAKE 4 time demo maximum quality
800 x 600 screen resolution 73 fps
1024 x 768 screen resolution 69 fps
1280 x 1024 screen resolution 53 fps
With dual core on:
800 x 600 screen resolution 97 fps
1024 x 768 screen resolution 76 fps
1280 x 1024 screen resolution 53 fps
Rainbow Six Vegas maximum quality
1024×768 screen resolution 17 fps
Microsoft Flight Sim X
Ultra High Quality 6.5 frames per second
Medium High Quality 12.3 frames per second
On other systems and using 7600 GS cards I saw tests that ran about the same frame rates as I was getting. Sometimes mine were better and a few times they were not. In the testing for Quake 4 on another site the frame rates were better for the same card but they had overclocked theirs and I had not. On one FEAR test the card I had compared to a 7800 GT 256MB but this may be due more to my system overall, the main point is that it does compare or outperform others of the same chip set. I found no tests that I ran to be so off from others I found on the Internet that would worry me. The Zogis 7600 GS is a mid to low range card but does perform well and looks very good in games.
The Flight Sim X results were normal for the game with its very high resource drain on all computers. It may seem like a lot of low frame rates for a sim game but Flight Sim games are a rarity in the gaming world when it comes to how much of your system is used and just exactly what resources it draws from. The game loads the entire world for graphics and lets you fly anywhere in it. That is something many other games do not have to endure as far as how much of the game world it needs to hold in memory. The Zogis 7600 GS held its own in this graphics intensive game and performed well with some very good looking visuals and scenery.
Overall I found that with my system and the better CPU the Zogis 7600 GS performed as expected and equaled other 7600 GS cards of other manufacturers and in some cases performed even better. One site had some graphics cards that were overclocked and the Zogis 7600 GS was not far behind these overworked cards in terms of having frame rates that were only a few frames lower. The Zogis 7600 GS performed as I would have hoped and I am very pleased with it in every respect even though it is a value card at around $150.
The Zogis 7600 GS 512MB graphics card is a very good graphics card for the budget minded gamer. I would highly recommend this for a good graphics card at an affordable price to anyone needing a PCI-Express card for their system.