To find out more about the GeForce 7300 GS, we met with NVIDIA's European PR Manager, Adam Foat. Adam has worked for NVIDIA for four years, having previously worked at ELSA and 3DFX before that.
bit-tech: How would you describe the typical person you expect to buy a GeForce 7300 GS for their PC? Adam Foat: The 7300 GS is not aimed at the enthusiast gamer. People who want to play Doom3, Half Life 2 and F.E.A.R. at high resolutions will buy a performance or enthusiast GeForce. The people who will buy this board are the mainstream users, people who want to play games, but also people who are into great video performance and features at a great price.
BT: OK, if we're not talking the hardcore First-Person gamer, what games would play well on the 7300GS? AF:Chronicles of Narnia or Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth are probably the 2 biggest titles at the moment for the mainstream gamer. According to the Game Daily chart published on December 31, 2005, some of the Top 10 best selling PC titles are: Roller Coaster Tycoon 3, Sims 2, Civilization 4 and World of Warcraft. The Movies and Zoo Tycoon 2 are also popular titles from the Christmas Season. The new GeForce 7300 GPUs will deliver excellent performance on these games.
BT: What sort of gaming performance / resolution can we expect? AF: This is an open ended question. It depends what game or application you are talking about. But this card will quite happily run at 1024 x 768 or 1280 x 1024 on some games.
LOTR: Battle for Middle Earth (left) and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (right)
BT: What would you say is the single best feature of this card? AF: Personally, I would say it is the video capabilities. This board is capable of running H.264 video at 1080p. Very sweet for a Media Center PC. This card will be able to decode H.264, MPEG2 HD and VC1 at 1080p resolutions [that's 1920x1080 - Ed]. This is thanks to the dedicated video engine built within the chip and our PureVideo technology. That is a pretty amazing feature for a card that costs well under £100.
BT: How much will it cost me to add one of these to my HTPC? AF: £69 inc VAT or there abouts. Have a word with our partners for their specific pricing.
Action Sci-Fi Thriller Serenity captured at 1080p. Click for full size (2MB)
BT: Is it true this card was going to be called the 7200 rather than the 7300? Does this card offer anything more than 6200 for GeForce 7 to justify the name change? AF: Who said there wouldn’t be a 7200? I didn’t!
Editor's note: we have seen NVIDIA branding that uses the 7200 name. We can't imagine NVIDIA slotting another SKU below this one, so we suspect the move from 7200 to 7300 was to separate it from the GeForce 6200.
BT: How does the 7300 differ internally from the 6200TC? AF: The 7300 has the same TurboCache technology as the 6200, but this time we have a 128 MB physical frame buffer on board, and can have support of up to 512 MB TurboCache frame buffer. It has 4 pixel pipes, 3 vertex shaders and brings all the G7x features into a mainstream solution.
BT: What is the US / UK street date for these cards? AF: Early February.
BT: This is, ostensibly, a paper launch. Having launched GeForce 7800 GTX with immediate availability, NVIDIA raised expectations for graphics card launches. AF: Yes, we have. And we will always do what we can to make this happen. However, Chinese New Year is a big selling season in China, similar to the Holiday rush in other regions. GeForce 7300 falls in to a segment that is very popular with Chinese consumers, so we want to create some excitement in the region with a new product offering in time for the holiday. The card is available today in Asia.
BT: How do you explain the fact that most partners do not even list the 7300 GS on their website 48 hours after launch, and there is no retail or online availability in Western markets this week? AF: As I said before, we managed to get these cards first into Asia, the US and Europe will follow soon after.
Thanks to Adam for talking to us.
XFX is one of the first partners to release details of their GeForce 7300 GS board. It have opted for the half-height PCB yet has still managed to shoe-horn both VGA and DVI onto the back plate. The card is clocked at the default speed of 550 / 800MHz and features 256MB of on-board memory. You will see it described as "supporting 512MB" which requires at least 1GB of system memory to provide the 256MB of TurboCache memory.
XFX tells us that the first European stock is due next week, priced at 69 euros. UK pricing was unavailable at the time of writing.
We're looking forward to getting our hands on these boards once they arrive over here. The 7300 looks like it could be a great choice for both the budget gamer, and the home theatre enthusiast. Our esteemed Editor currently has his MCE box powered by a passive XFX 6200 TC, and he's chomping at the bit to get hold of a 7300. We'll let you know how he gets on!