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Blankman

Help needed to pick a video card

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Hi this is my first time post it a secret though

any way I recently purcahsed a Lanparty for my first build. And was wondering what graphic card I should choose. I'm a serious gamer but not as far as computers are concerned at least not yet. I'm looking at getting a 9600XT simply because its the most easily available. As a side note I plan on getting X800 maybe when it goes AGP.

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Either one will serve you well. If you can wait for the X800 AGP solution, I would spend as little money as possible on the first card.

 

Get something that will run your games at lower settings and save your money. As long as the card has 128MB RAM and supports DX9 you'll be OK. You can save almost 50% versus the cost of the 9600XT.

 

Once you're done with the first card you can either hold on to it or sell it without taking a big hit to the wallet.

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it all depends on what your willing to spend, and also maybe your preference as to ati or nvidia as to what you should get. don't know why you would worry about waiting on an agp version of the card, there's plenty of other selection to be had.

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I think the guys gave you some great advice. :)

 

But there is Not a bit of hesitation in my mind.

 

I'd go with an ATI X800 and flash the bios to an XT-PE.

should have no problem at 500/540 and probably get a lot higher with proper cooling.

It'll match your rig perfectly and you'll be smiling from ear to ear.

 

$359 after shopping cart special at www.ecost.com

(tip O the hat to VJ for that)

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nvidia's 6800 series is the way to go for doom3. The x800 seems to run better in hl2 and the 6800's work better in doom3. I would base my purchase on which type of game i'm more into. Are you a hard core doom3 player?? :) Either is a good choice, but you can get a better deal with a 6800 than paying an arm and a leg for a x800.

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I have a 6800GT and my FPS very hardly ever drops under 80 and I averyage 90-100 on 16 man servers. This is on Counter Strike.

 

I play with 1280*1024, 4*AA and full ASF on all highest settings.

 

This is also at 400/1100 overclock and not 430 on my sig. CS uses to feel jump with my old 2800 AthlonXP but the new A64s = wow.

 

So buying a 6800GT may save you some cash if your planning on getting a XT or XT-PE, but apparently even the x800xl which are the same performance range to the 6800 are good.

 

but if you got the cash then spend it on the X800XTPE, that will be quite future proof.

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Originally posted by JonyG

ATI are known for there higher benchmark scores but NVidia are the one's to go for when playing games. :)

lol this is a misinformed statement if there ever was one

 

you should maybe do some research to back up your 'opinion'

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I used to own a GF4ti 4200 and it was practically mauled by the ATI equivalent (9700 pro i think) in every way.

 

Been looking over benchmarking results over the last couple of years been noticing recently with the high end nv40 cores that nvidia have a bit more fps in games were as ATI top the benchmarking league's.

 

Doom 3 and Half Life 2 are exceptions because each product was engineered towards the cards technologies.

 

It aint gonna be the case every time, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to using pc hardware as you already know.

 

JonyG

 

Oh what number is the winner in the OCZ booster comp ?

 

'cough 14 cough'

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when i first came here, i was completely retarded about ati all together. i had a very very bad experience with the company (and still don't discount it to this day, because i very much so see it as neglagence on their part), so i was quite a bit bitter towards them. but now i see them as what they are and not just hating them for purpose. i would definitely chose an ati card if it offered more than what nvidia did, but i doubt it would as my linux addiction must be fed, and ati doesn't have any food for it (yet). hopefully that will change, i'm always one for competition, and i really don't want nvidia or ati to win, but rather myself as a consumer to win.

 

the important difference between video cards is whatever the importance is that you put into them. if you are looking for a card which offers support, nvidia is the only way to go. if you are looking for a media center card which will supply all your needs for a media pc, then ati's all in wonder series is the only way to go. if you put high importance into things such as sm3.0, then you should go with nvidia. if not, then you should look at your options and not make that a reason to chose one or the other.

 

all in all, at the end of the day, i feel the battle between nvidia and ati comes down to personal preference, what you are around (as according to what other people around you use), and what benchmarks indicate. if you were to get say an fx5200 instead of a 9800 pro, you are an idiot (as in... if they were to cost the same, for some strange reason). on the same token, if you were to have the option to get an ati x700 at the same price as a 6800 ultra and you chose the x700, probably not the wisest decision.

 

here's a list of what each has to offer:

 

nVidia:

10x better linux support. unanamously voted many times, even by ati enthusiasts to have far superior drivers and support in general for linux.

 

solaris support (ati supports solaris as well, as far as which company has better solaris support, i have no clue. i will say, however, nvidia has adequite solaris support because they use the same base code as they do in linux, essentially making them the same drivers)

 

sm3.0 support - if you are unaware, sm3.0 (shader model 3.0, also known as pixel shader 3.0 or ps3 or ps3.0) is a technology which utilizes the ability to take a single texture and copy it many times across a map. therefore, in games such as farcry, sm3.0 can take a single texture of grass and copy it into 30 duplicates of it, then place those duplicates around the map accordingly. sm2.0 would have to re-load each individual grass texture as if they were all unique of each other. sm3.0 offers absolutely no difference, be it better or worse, in image quality as sm2.0 (what version of sm ati supports). this increases the FPS, but not always a killer FPS enhancer. at the end of the day, your video card still has so much more going on that the fps increase seen by sm3.0 is often unrecognizable. it's been argued that it does help when it's needed most, however, as in figures such as minimum FPS count and so on.

 

SLi - SLi is the ability to run 2 cards in cooperation with each other, thus theoretically increasing your FPS by 2x. in practice, this does indeed increase your FPS according to how it should generally. ATI has crossfire, however, which is the same technology basis. some argue that ATI's technology is better because it's scalable to 32 video cards, but it's rediculous to think that you could ever get/want 32 video cards on the same motherboard and same northbridge/southbridge chip for the pci-express setup. this is basically fanboyism in its truest form, and crossfire has not been released yet. on a lighter note, technology has been developed which allows nvidia's SLi technology to be span across 4 seperate video cards. this is reaching what i would think as the theoretical limitation to how many cards you could have or would want to have in your computer. maybe you feel differently about that though. the major difference between these two technologies is that ati's crossfire requires a special motherboard, nvidia's does not. this really isn't a big problem, especially since DFI seems to have made an excellent motherboard for this.

 

PCI-Express bridge - often rejected by hardcore fans, and not glorified to the extent of its true wonder is nvidia's flawless pci-express bridge. showcased most vividly in the 6600gt series, it is the technology which makes it cheap for nvidia to make pci-express cards have an agp version. i would say this will come up more later on, and i really can't estimate the impact on it. i'm unaware of a technology by ati which would do this, but that doesn't mean it does not exist. what this means in the immediate future is that you can buy cheap cards, such as the 6600gt, and the 6200 which will in turn be able to perform probably much better than the older generations of cards at a comparable price. the 6200 is simply the best chip (correct me if i'm wrong) at the price range it's currently offered at, of course without taking into consideration what kind of deals you may be able to scrounge up for used hardware.

 

better opengl support - it's no mistake, nor something ati even attempts to hide, that ati's drivers do not have the opengl support that nvidia has. as a rule of thumb (though not necessarily always true), an opengl app on an nvidia card will run faster than the same opengl app on its ati counterpart. ati has announced in an official press release that they are working on making a total recode of the opengl subsystem for their ati drivers. this also has a lot to do with nvidia's success with linux, they use the same code for windows as linux with their opengl part of the code, so it makes it very easy for them and the support is basically as good as windows. ati's code is totally different from each other between windows and linux, and they have stated they are working on unifying them with this opengl recode they are performing. further, with the recode, i would expect to see better fps for opengl games in ati hardware. good examples of opengl games are: quake3, RTCW, Enemy Territory, doom3, medal of honor, call of duty, there are more... be aware, however, that you should seriously research benchmarks and direct comparison of the two. don't assume that the difference is a larger amount or smaller amount than i may have insinuated.

 

 

 

things that are often seen as one way or the other, but in reality it's neither:

 

being able to softmod and/or, enhancing or increasing performance - ati and nvidia hardware are equally able in this area. 6800gt's can overclock to and beyond the same speeds as the ultras, ultras can overclock to and beyond the speed of the ultra extreme edition, 6800nu's (non-ultra) can be unlocked using softmods to become a 6800gt, etc etc. further, a x800xl vivo can be softmodded to a x800xt, clocks can increase to and beyond cards better than that, etc.

 

the ability to run multiple cards - explained in better detail earlier, quite simply, in the immediate future, you will see that both companies should be basically equally able to run multiple gpu's in unisome.

 

heat - it's a common misconception that the latest nvidia releases are warmer than ati's counter parts. this simply isn't true. the temperature sensors in the nvidia cards are reading from the inner core temperature, as opposed to the old-fashioned style (in which nvidia used to use) of the surface of the core. both cards put off about the same amount of heat, give or take some i'm sure but not enough to raise case temperatures or anything like that.

 

tech demos - nvidia and ati both have awesome tech demos. nvidia probably plays on boys' desire to have women that they can not get, but other than that they are about the same.

 

legacy support - ati and nvidia both sufficiantly support ancient video cards. not like this matters when buying a non-ancient video card, but just so you know.

 

 

ATI:

 

power consumption - ati's latest line of gpu's have taken less power to run than the nvidia counter-parts. nvidia's latest cards use more transisters than the ati counter-part, which makes them consume a bit more electricity. is this margin of error really worth fretting over? that's up to you, but if you want my opinion, i'd say no.

 

3dc - just like nvidia's contraversial sm3.0 support, ati supports 3dc and nvidia does not. this is a "lossless" texture compression algorithm which allows compressed textures in the video cards memory to be recalled with little processing required on the card's part and used in a scene. this helps to free up video texture memory and give the developers more space to play with. if you've got a 512mb video card, you probably shouldn't care about this, but then again, if you've got a 512mb video card it really shouldn't matter if it's nvidia or ati, it's probably in excess to what games will utilize. 3dc is used in halflife2, and is a successful technology, however, it does not get the same rumble of debates sm3.0 does. not sure why that is, but still a good technology. as far as i know, nvidia has no intentions of adding support for this later, as it's a vendor-specific extension, and not an official directx extension. lossless is in quotes earlier because it's not actually a lossless compression algorithm. it does, however, far exceed the compression artifact level of nvidia's counter part.

 

generally slightly better speeds - even though it's marginal, and if you were to have 2 computers set up with nvidia and ati cards running side by side with any game you'd ever want to play, i gaurantee you the person would not be able to tell by their playing experience alone the difference in the cards. ati generally benchmarks a bit higher and all in all seems to get just fractionally more than nvidia cards unless it's an opengl app. like i said, this is extremely marginal, but it varies from game to game. what is important about including this is probably finding the specific games that you are interested and seeing what the margin of difference is. if for example you like halflife2, then buying an ati card will probably be benficial to you. if you don't want to play halflife2, but want to play doom3 for example, then you would get better results out of an nvidia card. as a total blanket statement, however, i can probably say that ati generally benchmarks a bit better than nvidia.

 

 

now, a lot more can be said about ati than was listed, but the advantages of ati is explained earlier in the article, so i don't want to waste my energy in going over it twice. basically all in all, the decision between ati and nvidia is going to have to do go with what you personally should do. not what kamel or angry_games says you should do *shrugs*.

 

one bit of warning, this is why i was burnt with ati's video card. ati's all in wonder series is 110% NOT supported in linux. their drivers for windows was totally crap, but in linux, there is no possible way to use the tv tuner, or the remote wonder. generally, i would say it's probably just best to buy a tv tuner card seperate from your video card for better support.

 

anyway, i hope that helped a little bit. the dead horse of "nvidia vrs ati" has nearly been beat now as much as the "intel vrs amd" dead horse. hopefully one day neither will have to endure a beating, but until then...

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