The GeForce 7300 GT fits in between the GeForce 7300 GS and GeForce 7600 GS towards the bottom of NVIDIA's GeForce 7 series. Whilst everyone likes to look at the outrageously high-end kit and fantasise about that X1950 CrossFire setup with a 30" Dell, for the vast majority of us that won't be a realistic purchase plan! If your graphics card budget is less than £100, then this could be a good card for you.
This GeForce 7300 GT card from Galaxy has eight pixel pipelines, four vertex shaders and eight pixel output engines. The card has 256MB of GDDR3 memory rather than the standard GDDR2, and combined with the GT-rated clockspeeds puts it firmly at the top of the low-end graphics card bracket, where it starts to push into GeForce 7600 GS territory. It's based on G73 - the same chip as the GeForce 7600 GS - rather than the G72, which powers the 7300 GS. Although there are four of the twelve pixel pipelines and one of the five vertex shaders disabled, the GeForce 7300 GT is a video card with aspirations.
Galaxy is one of NVIDIA's smaller board partners, but it has been around for quite a while. Continuing the top bracket theme, the company has outfitted this 7300 GT with a nigh-on silent Zalman graphics cooler.
The box has a see-through design which shows off the cooler to full effect. The bundle is absolutely minimal, with just an S-Video cable and a HDTV out to Component converter. This is in-line with its budget price point although, to be fair, Galaxy has included virtually everything required to use all of the connections on the back of the card - the one thing missing is a DVI-to-VGA adaptor.
The Galaxy comes clocked at 500/1400MHz - that's a heck of a lot higher than the reference clocks of 350/700MHz, and means this should have really decent performance. Just like the other low-end GeForce cards, there is no need for any additional power because the power requirements don't exceed the 75W that a PCI-Express x16 slot is capable of delivering.
You can see that the Zalman heatsink dominates the front of the board. It's the standard Zalman VF700 and it's very quiet and very effective. Whilst completely passive coolers can result in cards (and systems) getting very hot indeed, this heatsink treads a nice middle ground where the fan is whisper quiet, but prevents the card getting too hot. There are also memory coolers on each of the chips, which should help when it comes to overclocking.
One downside is that because Galaxy has opted for Zalman's awesome VF700 cooler, it has resulted in a video card that takes up two slots. These days, this is a given at the high end, but it could be a problem with lower end cards. If you're looking for a low-end single slot solution, you're going to have to look elsewhere.
Warranty: Galaxy includes a two year warranty with its GeForce 7300 GT, so if you've got any issues with it, just send it right on back. With all things considered, two years seems like a decent enough warranty for this class of card.