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The battle of the features...

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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April 5, 2006 7:11:56 PM

I'd like some opinions of you guys out there ... without the company biased ... about which series of cards, GeForce or Raedon, has better features for games. I know that they have similar features. Both have HDR, both have special AA features. Which one is better for games? I'm not interested too much in clock speeds considering every time a new card series comes out, they go up. I want to know which company has a better feature with gamers because of the features, and which card I should get in my rig. I'd be doing either Crossfire or SLI.

More about : battle features

April 5, 2006 8:03:07 PM

featureset is basically identical, there is no clear winner. Radeons and Geforces trade blows and are better in different price categories. On top of that, certain cards will work better in certain games.

Generally, the X1900 XTX is considered the best card out there. The 7900 GTX is also a great card though, and will beat it in certain instances.

The only feature that I can think of that one card has over the other is that the Radeon X1x00 cards can do OpenEXR HDR and Antialiassing at the same time, while the Geforce 7x00 cards can't. But that's hardly a reason in itself to choose one over the other.

What games do you play? And how much do you have to spend?
Why are you sure you want to go Crossfire or SLI?
April 5, 2006 8:31:15 PM

The nvidia card haw always had alot of head room for OC. The 7900gt is a good xample for great oc capabilities. Whereas the ati cards as well can overclock and have much better image quality. So my bet would be any of the x1800-x1900 series :D 
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April 5, 2006 8:41:30 PM

x1k have AA+hdr (mentioned above) the reason Nv cant do it is in their hardware, and it looks like they are not deviating from the durrent arch. trend much in the newer ones to come. Ati however is moving their arch to more shader heavy apps. x1900 is virtually the same as the xemos in the xbox 360, just w/o the generalized shaders. The arch however looks to be closer to what dx10 is going towards IMO.

Nv does have better oc though, as the x1k cards are running hotter. (may be only part of the reason...) ati has more transistors, for whatever that is worth, which prb contributes to that heat factor. Nv is on smaller manfgr process for the 7900's. I just think that they are on the "old school" track going for texel fill rate etc... while ati is trekking a diff path with shader power. Old style game engines (UT2004, FarCry, Doom3... texture heavy) do better on Nv right now, new style (FEAR, B&W2, Oblivion... shader heavy) do better on ati.

b/c ati does shaders better (newer games SEEM to be going there) and they do AA + HDR, IMO you should go w/ x1k ati... but your choice. If you game more on older games then go w/ Nv.
April 5, 2006 9:00:01 PM

Got a good point there, The Nv cards run on less power, hence giving off less heat, which is a good thing. So it really comes to what games you will be playing and how much will you be willing to spend.
Personaly the x1900xtx wins my heart, cuz I have one, Gonna buy a second one for xfire soon :twisted:
April 5, 2006 9:11:32 PM

another thing to consider here is that sli runs much better than xfire. I say this knowing that as fast as ati got avivo running w/ buttah display quality they will soon have better drivers to get the most from xfire. I just think that for right now if you really want dual cards, sli may be the better bet.

You still do not get AA + HDR even w/ sli, and quality is still not as good but sli performs/scales better in games. couple more revisions of catalyst drivers may see ati catch up...

Bluntside: That was more for the originator of this, you obviously made your choice w/ the ati card you have and the above was not to say you were wrong in that choice... just giving him all the info i know. ;) 
April 5, 2006 9:26:50 PM

Good responses everybody... Keep em coming

The games I play right now Cleeve are COD2, FEAR, Doom 3, Half Life 2, WoW and BF2. I feel that Crossfire and SLI will work best for how I game. I tend to turn the graphics settings all the way up and the resolution at 1280 or better. I don't really have a expenditure limit at this time, although that may change based on what else I put in my system.

So, based on what everyone else has said it seems to me that ATI has the stronger future with the gaming industry? Is there any news out there about any architectural changes being made from either company?
April 5, 2006 9:42:29 PM

yup, 9700pro kicked much a$$, mine in my 2ndary system (now my wife's...) still takes names in almost all...

Love that card. Hoping this 1900 has the same longevity. :D 

JDoobs: ati just made their huge arch change w/ the 1900 so I doubt there will be much for news on their end for a little while... gotta keep tweaking on this new one before (if) they go elsewhere.

Nv is pretty quiet right now. May mean that they have nothing new, or may mean that it is VERY new... who knows.
April 5, 2006 9:44:49 PM

That's a wide gaming mix, no obvious winners as far as cards go.

Architectural changes will come with the next graphics cards, the R600 and G80, which will be DirectX 10 parts.

I recommend a Xfire X1900 XTX setup if money is no object, if high res AA gaming is your thing, the ability to use HDR & AA in the games that support it is very sweet.
April 5, 2006 9:45:40 PM

Ati just released their a new workstation card, rumors has it that it costs about $2000 8O For a card??
I support Ati 120%
Iperfer their cards better than nvidia du to the cool features, but thats just me :wink:
April 5, 2006 9:52:07 PM

You might be right, prozac.
With the right mods and software, you can make any card do whatever you want, graphic wise obviousley :wink:
April 5, 2006 9:52:09 PM

I like to switch back and forth between companies, but I have been fighting on the fanATIc side of these forums longer than most.

I wish ATi would ditch that crappy fukcing Control Centre.

......anyways, I like nVidia better right now, so buy an NV product, or I'll call you stupid in all of your future post's.















....I keed....I keed :lol: 
April 5, 2006 10:13:37 PM

True that on the Ati usless control centre :D 
a b U Graphics card
April 6, 2006 6:28:07 AM

Quote:
I like to switch back and forth between companies, but I have been fighting on the fanATIc side of these forums longer than most.


Your brief R9600XT/FX5700U/R9800 time was very interesting.


Quote:
I wish ATi would ditch that crappy fukcing Control Centre.


Definitely. Either that or make it less of a hog. Unfortunately for Vista .NET drivers will be required, so hopefully this is just terrible TERRIBLE beta testing.
a b U Graphics card
April 6, 2006 6:40:20 AM

Quote:
another thing to consider here is that sli runs much better than xfire. I say this knowing that as fast as ati got avivo running w/ buttah display quality they will soon have better drivers to get the most from xfire. I just think that for right now if you really want dual cards, sli may be the better bet.

You still do not get AA + HDR even w/ sli, and quality is still not as good but sli performs/scales better in games. couple more revisions of catalyst drivers may see ati catch up...


I disagree, look at alot of the Xfire vs SLi reviews at 8XAA, and almsot always the ATi cards win it, and when they lose (in few cases like Q4) it's by a much smaller margin.

I'd say both are rather mature already, and Xfire doesn't do too badly.
a b U Graphics card
April 6, 2006 10:23:09 AM

"my oldest one was the 9700pro. pound for pound one of the best gfx cards ever IMO.
"

My older rig, an Xp2000+/KT400 is so equipped with a 9700Pro AIW...

A good card, although sadly a little dated for todays FEAR, Quake4, etc...
a b U Graphics card
April 6, 2006 10:29:02 AM

For the money spent, it's hard to argue with the framerates delivered by a pair of 7900GTs in SLI in any game out today!

(Sometimes even defeats a Crossfire xt/xtx rig, and for 'only' $600-ish spent on video cards, but, that beats spending $850-$900!)
a b U Graphics card
April 6, 2006 10:35:04 AM

"and Xfire doesn't do too badly."

Indeed!

I only wish Xfire scaled as nicely (% of gain with 2nd card) as SLI, although personally, I feel the $300-$400 single card solution is quite adequate for 1280x1024 and below for me...(my Dell 2001FP is 1600x1200 capable, of course, so SLI/Xfire benchmarks catch my eye frequently, and with the newer 27" 1920x1200 monitors arriving, I'll be watching even more closely!)

It will be interesting to see if ATI can successfully implement the software offload of physics processing into one gpu entirely...

A big SLI vs. Crossfire. vs. dedicated Physics card battle coming later this year, I'd bet!
April 6, 2006 1:50:30 PM

I am wondering that myself... I have no issues w/ ccc.

I think most just don't like that .net is required, although I had it installed long before ccc to use on other apps.

I also do not see any performance difference from the old control panel, the only noticable thing is a slight lag when opening it up, but I have cpu/mem monitoring on my desktop constantly (rainmeter) and notice no cpu/mem usage diffs. I checked it b/c I was aprehensive initially about .net causing more load from the vanilla drivers. result is sometimes depending on what apps are running already, there is a .1-.5% cpu usage gain w/ ccc... but most of the time no diff. Mem usage is not increased enough to notice from my end. (of course, w/ enough memory/cpu does that really matter? ccc is not open except to change settings)

To me that translates into no diff, and while ati's linux drivers still have the suck knob turned way up, win drivers are rock solid and screaming like a scalded hog.
April 6, 2006 1:55:16 PM

the only reason I was saying that is to present as much info for him as I could and not appear biased. On most benchies Nv wins, except on certain settings like you said. ati certainly has the pic qual (if you've seen any HQV benches they dominate, MaximumPC mag really rags on Nv for that) and they have higher qual AA over Nv. Nv just scales better (IMO) w/ teh second card at most settings for raw performance. If one did not care about the "best" picture quality (mostly subjective anyway) then that raw performance would sway you.

I myself prefer the quality. :D 
April 6, 2006 2:28:38 PM

On most benchmarks....

- CATALYST AI Advanced is not used

- Benefits of Temporal FSAA are not mentioned

- Geometry Instancing was never enabled (It is disabled by default for DirectX compliance).

ATI wins on features easily, but I still reckon the XFX GeForce 7900 GTX (with 1.8 GHz Video RAM) is the best card out there for raw performance.

nVidia does have the Shader Model 3.0 advantage in more of its GPUs though, which mean applications can be made using 'Sh' (a C style language for programs that want to offload to the shader).

However tests using such 'Sh' created software put ATI ahead. (eg: Complex sound mixing software that CPUs alone can't handle are doing similar things to this now, Physics processing engines may start using it tomorrow, MPEG2/4 video encoding, etc aswell).

ATI CCC under x64 sucks though, far to many driver related problems, not enough for 'normal' people to notice though. Their CCC x64 implementation lacks VPU Recovery, and I suspect that is why some people are having problems with it, while others (using CCC x86/Win32) are not.

It works, for the most part, but it is the poorest excuse for a driver user interface I've ever seen, even the drivers still need some work.

You don't use .NET for drivers, or anything related to drivers, Microsoft need to make that a rule for development.

The Z precision on nVidia cards is far nicer than ATIs though, anyone doing stuff with 2.7 km view distances would aggree with me there. :D  , Even in Return to Castle Wolfenstein the Z precision on ATI cards was poor.... poor but acceptable for the performance gain + FSAA though. (You'd need zoom to notice it in RTCW, but in other engines, ones that perhaps originally used floating point W-Buffers, or not, Either way you really see it at ~ 2.7 km)
April 6, 2006 4:38:27 PM

my bad on the use of "drivers" in ref to .net: did not mean that at all, thanks for the correction.

right on about the AI and other features not used/mentioned in tests.

good info on the z-precision... did not know that. (of course, haven't really played rtcw or any Q3 engine games for a long time ;)  )
April 6, 2006 5:09:44 PM

But still Ati cards always have, and always will dominate with their image quality and other sleek features :wink:
April 6, 2006 5:39:41 PM

I am an ati lover since the 9700 pro, but the first revs of the drivers after "avivo" hit the streets their video/movie play quality was less than desirable. (3:2 pulldown and cadence tests just sucked) but now they dominate all, and avivo has proven itself w/ the newer drivers. (last 2 revs anyway)

to say that "they always have" is ok, but at certain points in time (tiny points mind you) they have not been at the top. I agree that they are much better overall than Nv on pic qual, and it will take a long-term quality degradation to get me to jump ship in the future... and b/c the quality is one thing ati has had over Nv for so long I do not forsee them forgetting to make sure any new cards keep that trend.
a b U Graphics card
April 6, 2006 7:21:49 PM

Quote:
(if you've seen any HQV benches they dominate, MaximumPC mag really rags on Nv for that)


you know what this year is the first since BOOT that I've let my MaxPC subscription lapse. One of the reasons was their HQV drubing of the X1800 series about 3-5 weeks after Firignsquad did their investigation with the new AVIVO drivers that brought the ATIs into the triplke digits. MaxPC just can't compete with the net anymore and seriously their wbesite and forums are a joke. I love that mag, but it's not even MAX anymore recommending 'cost effective choices' too much, and truely having less KICKASS stuff deserving of the title. Dissapointed, just an aside, thought I'd rant for a second.

Quote:
and they have higher qual AA over Nv. Nv just scales better (IMO) w/ teh second card at most settings for raw performance. If one did not care about the "best" picture quality (mostly subjective anyway) then that raw performance would sway you.

I myself prefer the quality. :D 


I agree, and the funny thing is yes SLi scales better for the first card at LOW settings, but who really cares if the SLi goes from 60FPS to 120FPS if the Xfire is doing 100FPS at low settings, if you crank it up to what SLi and Xfire are used for more often than not those demanding settings that are supposed to be the reason people spend $1000 on the two cards, end up favouring the efficiency of 8XAA ontop of the higher resolution and added performance. That's the way I see it. Both are great but even the 'scaling' issue doesn't matter if it mean they are both playable. To me max playable scaling is more important, and that's a combination of both Xfire and ATi' memory management/Hyer-Z efficiencies.

It all depends on what you're expecting out of the setups, for competitive FPS players, likely 20x15 with no AA @ 100fps matters alot, for other it might not.

Just making sure people don't underestimate it, that's all, since this is a 'battle' of the features.

So like this plain SLi > plain Xfire

But Xfire AA > SLi AA

How's that?
April 6, 2006 7:42:43 PM

Obviousley Sli will perform better than X-fire, because its connected internally by a bridge conncetor whereas the X-fire uses 2 video cables in one, it just shares the frames per vidcard, SLI WINS
April 6, 2006 7:53:49 PM

Actually Bluntside, Xfire will perform better than SLI in many tests, as shown in the benchmarks above.
April 6, 2006 8:12:16 PM

Ape: agreed, if you want the quality and candy @ playable perf, go ati/xfire

if you want the speed @ lower (read: dumpy) settings go Nv/sli


dongle haters:
While I think the dongle that xfire uses is hoopty lookin, and I like that the Nv solution has their "dongle" hidden inside I think that is very much a non-issue as I care about what it looks like more on screen insead of on the back of my case...
April 6, 2006 8:44:01 PM

Or your can say that ATI is working on the drivers to allow crossfire to be used without the dongle... at least that's what I heard.
a b U Graphics card
April 6, 2006 10:10:24 PM

Quote:
there are so many cables behind a comp what one more


Just wait for Quad Xfire! 8O
!