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Many things I know, some I don't...ATI video cards

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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February 23, 2006 2:30:55 PM

I've used NVIDIA for a while now. Sadley, the result is that I haven't kept up with ATI technologies or performance. ATI is looking attractive at the moment, so now I feel lost and stupid for not following closely. I don't want an ati nvidia debate so leave before you start, I want advice, not arguments.

Having said that...I have yet to see a chart or thread that describes the features of the newest ATI cards. I'm not looking to even buy one necessarily--I want to be able to recommend one card over the other to other folks and I cannot do this if I don't know. For example, is the X1300 good for anything, or is it kinda like the Geforce 7300? Does the X1600 compare to the GeForce 6600? Which version? What should I NEVER consider (e.g. the 6800LE is uneconomical never get it...any ATI cards like that?). X1600PRO vs. X1600XT--difference? Compare X700, X800, and X850. If they are so close why are the prices so distant from each other? Is the X550 any better than the X300? Is there ever a situation where you would recommend an X550? X700? X300 vs. X300SE--is the non-SE version faster or was that a false rumor? Platinum vs. non-platinum--speed difference or features only? In general is Pro faster than xt/xtx?

Any of these questions that you can answer, even if only one of them, I would greatly appreciate any info.

More about : things ati video cards

February 23, 2006 4:40:45 PM

I'm just going to throw a few stones in the bush here.

Currently, the X1K series from ATi to my knowledge, especially the top cards 1800/1900, have technologically more to offer than Nvidia at this stage.

Now, I'm not a genius with all the different HDr rendering paths, but from what I could gather from previews and reviews, the 1800/1900 has several flavours of HDr. It supports SM3.0 with the ability to apply AA to HDr (HDr not being part of the SM3.0 spec).

Further more, we have adaptive AA, which helps to render something like a fence much beter and clearer - basically you can apply AA beter on complex angles with alot of repeatability.

You also gain high quality AF - dunno if this actually improves filtering much, but in some cases you get quite a performance hit.

I would've said HD TV support, but that is a no go at this stage. You do, however, get the functionality of transcoding movie content straight from the VPU (GPU) at up to 5x faster than a CPU can manage. You can also transcode special content like HD converting (Hxxx - dunno the number and too lazy to check), PSP video converting etc.

As for lower models I have little knowledge - but my rough estimate of Super High, High, Main Stream, and Budget will be sumthin like

SH : X1900XT (XTX does not count due to small difference and ability to OC XT easily and beyond XTX levels)
H : X1900 256mb (when it comes out) or X1800XT (if bargain can be found)
M : X1800XL (money not a big issue) or X850/800XT (due to being 2 generations behind)
B : X800XL or GTO. (great value for money)

I'm basing this on buying something that will keep up with most high end games - so no offence to people running cards under these or having above card at a level to high or low in my bracket.[/b] These cards perform very well to my knowlegde, and offer great value at each bracket.
February 23, 2006 4:46:20 PM

Thanks. I guess people aren't posting because there are too many questions--if anyone has anything to add you don't have to know everything just tell me about the X1600 versions or just explain the X300 vs. X300SE. Thanks again.
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February 23, 2006 5:23:45 PM

ok, i don't know the lower end of the ATI range, but i know the mid and high (well not all of it) and as far as i know x700<x700 pro<x700 xt and i think they carry that throughout their whole range, the platinum edition, i think has more features and is generally overclocked beyond standard specs.

i am in the same position as you but with nVidia, although i am catching up... i think

sorry though, i don't know about the x300 and the x300se, but i personally wouldn't recommend them to anyone thinking about playing games...

Ara
February 24, 2006 2:08:36 PM

Here goes:

For example, is the X1300 good for anything, or is it kinda like the Geforce 7300?

The X1300 is better than the 7300 GS because it has a true 128-bit memory interface (unless it's the crappy hypermemory version), and the 7300 has a 64-bit memory interface

Does the X1600 compare to the GeForce 6600? Which version?

This is reallly tough because the X1600 is a strange egg. It has very few pipelines (4 vs the 6600 GT's 8 ), but it works at very high frequencies and sports 12 shader units which means it's relatively technologically advanced.
In traditional titles a 6600 GT may very well beat an X1600 quite soundly, especially in openGL... but in very new titles like FEAR the X1600 will do disproportionately well.
Most of the time I avoid recommending the X1600 because it is so inconsistant, but it can be a great card if you know what you're getting.


What should I NEVER consider (e.g. the 6800LE is uneconomical never get it...any ATI cards like that?).

Bad for the buck ATI cards?
Probably the X1900 XTX (because the X1900 is $100 cheaper and almost identical)
The X1600 for reasons mentioned above
Older cards like the X600, X550, X300, 9600, 9550 because they're obsolete.


X1600PRO vs. X1600XT--difference?

Yes, the clockspeeds on the XT are much higher. Is it worth the extra cash thoguh? Probably not.

Compare X700, X800, and X850.

X700: 8 pipe, 128-bit memory
X800 (XT): 16-pipe, 256-bit memory
X850 (XT): 16-pipe, 256-bit memory, but clocked higher

The X700 can be a good card if under $100, but the 6600 is usually a tad better.
X800 XT and X850 XT cards are much better performers than the X700 dus to twice the pipes and memory bandwidth.


If they are so close why are the prices so distant from each other?

That's just marketing and availability.

Is the X550 any better than the X300?

No, not really. Slight clock increase I believe. Nothing you'd notice in a new game.

Is there ever a situation where you would recommend an X550? X700?

X550... no, the X300 is just as good and cheaper if you needed the most basic photoshop card money could buy.

X700, yes at under $100 it can be decent.


X300 vs. X300SE--is the non-SE version faster or was that a false rumor?

I believe there are 128-bit memory X300s and 64-bit memory X300s, which would be SEs. If that is the case, the non-SE would be better. But neither are great for games.

Platinum vs. non-platinum--speed difference or features only?

Yep, only difference is clockspeeds.

In general is Pro faster than xt/xtx?

ATIs from slowest to fastest (generally):

SE / LE
(no suffix)
GT
GTO
PRO
XL
XT
XTX
February 24, 2006 3:24:54 PM

Blimy, that about sums it all up :D 

Couldn't have said it better!
February 24, 2006 3:33:26 PM

Totally awesome reply, man. Gives me all the info I need. Thanks bunches!
February 24, 2006 4:08:32 PM

"Does the X1600 compare to the GeForce 6600? Which version?

This is reallly tough because the X1600 is a strange egg. It has very few pipelines (4 vs the 6600 GT's 8 ), but it works at very high frequencies and sports 12 shader units which means it's relatively technologically advanced.
In traditional titles a 6600 GT may very well beat an X1600 quite soundly, especially in openGL... but in very new titles like FEAR the X1600 will do disproportionately well.
Most of the time I avoid recommending the X1600 because it is so inconsistant, but it can be a great card if you know what you're getting."


actually the x1600 has 12 pixel pipelines. not 4 pixel pipelines. i think you are confusing the x1300 with the x1600. you can check ati's website or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radeon_X1000. to answer the previous question. the radeon x1600 is a lot faster and more advance than nvidia's 6600GT. a better comparison would be the x700 Pro/XT and 6600GT.

x300 4 pixel pipelines
x550 4 pixel pipelines
x600 4 pixel pipelines
x700 4-8 pixel pipelines
x800 8-16 pixel pipelines
x1300 4 pixel pipelines
x1600 12 pixel pipelines
x1800 12-32 pixel pipelines

each version has different number of pixel pipelines.
February 24, 2006 5:34:50 PM

Quote:

actually the x1600 has 12 pixel pipelines. not 4 pixel pipelines. i think you are confusing the x1300 with the x1600.


Actually, no. But that's a common mistake.

The X1600 has 4 pixel pipelines and 12 shader units. Shader units are not attached to the pixel pipelines, like in the X1900.

Many sites will incorrectly show the X1600 to have 12 pipes, but it has 4.
This is because, starting with the X1600, Ati cards no longer have their shader untits attached to a single pipeline.

Before the X1600, all cards have had one shader unit attached to each pixel pipeline...

Like I said, it is a common mistake, like how people at first said the X1900 has 48 pipelines when in actuality it has 16 pipes and 48 shaders.

P.S. All X700's have 8 pipelines to my knowledge.

All X1800s released have 16 pipes and 16 shaders.
The upcoming X1800 GTO will have 12 pipes, not sure how many shaders yet as it's unreleased.

The X1900 has 16 pipes and 48 shaders.
!