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Buyer's Guide 2006, Part 1: 7 Graphics Cards in the THG Lab

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May 8, 2006 1:30:59 PM

THG is proud to present the newest installment of our graphics card buyer's guide. Split into three parts covering several boards each, the buyer's guide covers two AGP cards and 23 single-card solutions. On the ATI side, we look at the Radeon X1300, X1600, X1800, and X1900 families, while the NVIDIA camp features the GeForce 6800 GS, 7600, 7800, 7900 GT, and 7900 GTX boards.
May 8, 2006 2:24:59 PM

Very nice article. Would be nice to see some 7900 and 7600 varities in there to see how they compare to the high and low low end ATI's. Nice none the less.
May 8, 2006 2:39:51 PM

The way it's written up on the frontpage is somewhat confusing. Makes you think you're going to be seeing a heap of new ATI cards pitted against against the newest NVidia cards. At least say "In part two we will look at the latest and greatest NVidia cards as well"

Just some constructive criticism. Otherwise it's a great article :) 
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May 8, 2006 2:48:17 PM

A bit biased towards ATi (no 7900s, etc...) but very interesting and thorough.

Perhaps having a summery accompanying article would be quite handy, a 60 page article is quite hefty.
May 8, 2006 4:03:12 PM

No Oblivion?? 8O
May 8, 2006 5:38:43 PM

Quote:
No Oblivion?? 8O


Word.
May 9, 2006 12:24:22 AM

Page 2 of the article lists the graphics cards to be reviewed in parts 2 and 3. Not a single nVidia card is listed. All Radeons. What's up with that?
May 9, 2006 1:01:07 AM

Right on Gordo; this article should be titled "ATI Buyer's Buide 2006." I'm not the biggest nVidia fan but whatever happened to unbiased reporting? This is very disappointing from thg. I don't care who is outperforming who, reading this thing was ridiculous.
May 9, 2006 1:10:12 AM

*sigh* I do wish some more recent cards would be reviewed. The 6800 GS review is out just in time for it being discontinued. At least from what the distributers I had been working with told me. PNY lists their model as discontinued, EVGA last told me they were discontinued, though they only say "Backordered" on the website.

I've been waiting for a review on some of these cards and more for a few months.
May 9, 2006 10:57:33 AM

It'd be nice if they had used ati based with ati chipset and nvidia with nvidia chipset, both with amd cpu, and a wider range of products, from both sides, some cards, as the x1600 run faster on RD580 boards, there isn't enough options to consider this a buyer's guide, help yes, but not a guide, thg already did better than this
May 9, 2006 11:53:33 AM

Quote:
It'd be nice if they had used ati based with ati chipset and nvidia with nvidia chipset, both with amd cpu, and a wider range of products, from both sides, some cards, as the x1600 run faster on RD580 boards, there isn't enough options to consider this a buyer's guide, help yes, but not a guide, thg already did better than this


Might as well toss Conroe into that fray.
May 9, 2006 1:06:43 PM

Quote:
Right on Gordo; this article should be titled "ATI Buyer's Buide 2006." I'm not the biggest nVidia fan but whatever happened to unbiased reporting? This is very disappointing from thg. I don't care who is outperforming who, reading this thing was ridiculous.


I suppose that went out of fashion at the same time reading the fact that this is only part one of the review also went out of fashion.

If people actually read the story and also read the posts in this thread they would have realised that the NVidia reviews will follow.....

:roll:
May 9, 2006 6:06:37 PM

First off, let me say that I'm impressed at how thorough the review was, at least with the cards presented. It went beyond simple performance figures, and actually presented us with what we'd see were we to actually buy such a card, and what would come in the box. Performance figures are pretty easy to tell without major articles, so it's good to see one that goes beyond that to the questions that aren't so easily answered.

However, I must voice my dismay that, even in spite of the 60-page size, it was broken down into multiple parts. To be more specific, I might've thought that a more creative method of splitting them apart might have been in order than the one that was used; we won't be seeing those reviews for 7600 and 7900 cards until part III.

Oh, and let's also not forget that THG left off what's arguably the most intensive game to benchmark cards with to date: Oblivion. The game has also sold better than almost all games used for benchmarking as well, so it's far more relevant in testing; Quake IV and F.E.A.R. are largely old news; they are around a year old each, and their engines are clearly not being licensed out left and right. I'm also dissapointed to see a lack of an Unreal-based game; even though it's been 4+ years since the last major new-engine game from Epic, the thing is still in good use, and is recieving more and more changes. Fortunately, we'll see this change upon the arrival of Unreal Tournament 2007 later this year.

I personally think that if the article were to be broken down into three parts, perhaps it might've been best to simply break apart the card ranges between three tiers of price and performance; one article would review ATi's and nVidia's low-end cards, anotehr the mid-range, and so on. It would've also been much more convenient to read to those that would actually have a need to USE such an article, as they could immediately tell what range their wallet would allow, and instantly eliminate two-thirds of the candidates, and hence eliminate 120 pages of reading, all right off.
May 9, 2006 6:17:34 PM

Quote:
I personally think that if the article were to be broken down into three parts, perhaps it might've been best to simply break apart the card ranges between three tiers of price and performance; one article would review ATi's and nVidia's low-end cards, anotehr the mid-range, and so on. It would've also been much more convenient to read to those that would actually have a need to USE such an article, as they could immediately tell what range their wallet would allow, and instantly eliminate two-thirds of the candidates, and hence eliminate 120 pages of reading, all right off.


Absaflogginlutely
May 10, 2006 2:50:01 AM

Quote:
If people actually read the story and also read the posts in this thread they would have realised that the NVidia reviews will follow.....

I see they fixed page 2 to now list several nVidia cards. Yesterday only ATI cards were listed for the second and third articles in the series. However it looks like a rather lopsided review. I count 6 nVidia cards and 19 ATI cards reviewed. Four X1900XTX's versus one 7900GTX. Not much of a buyer's guide when the products reviewed are not representative of what's available.
May 10, 2006 3:09:01 AM

Quote:

Four X1900XTX's versus one 7900GTX. Not much of a buyer's guide when the products reviewed are not representative of what's available.



It's simple, you could get this 7900gtx out of the guide, then you see what you can get
May 10, 2006 3:54:54 AM

Quote:
If people actually read the story and also read the posts in this thread they would have realised that the NVidia reviews will follow.....

I see they fixed page 2 to now list several nVidia cards. Yesterday only ATI cards were listed for the second and third articles in the series. However it looks like a rather lopsided review. I count 6 nVidia cards and 19 ATI cards reviewed. Four X1900XTX's versus one 7900GTX. Not much of a buyer's guide when the products reviewed are not representative of what's available.

Fixed????? The review is not complete yet....... quit your whining and wait for parts 1,2 and 3 to be up.....
May 10, 2006 2:30:06 PM

Quote:
Fixed????? The review is not complete yet....... quit your whining and wait for parts 1,2 and 3 to be up.....
I agree - quit your naggin' - If THG puts the word out to send in cards for review, it's not their fault if ATI card makers send in the most cards! If you don't like the list, maybe you should demand your money back! :x
***********

I would like to make one suggestion concerning the report, and that is with the power consumption ratings. They are for the entire system (motherboard, CPU, RAM, etc.) including the graphics cards. I would like to see the power consumption of the cards broken out.
May 10, 2006 5:07:37 PM

I gotta ask.....

Why in the world is this in the memory section?
May 11, 2006 5:09:33 AM

Did they switch the FEAR chart for AA AF enabled and disabled? Cuz all the cards ran faster with AA AF enabled than no AA AF.....
May 12, 2006 4:28:02 PM

Toms needs to do a video card chart like they do their cpu charts. Just do one major review and get it over with. I don't like these most recent reviews. Same cards from differnet companies. Who cares. If I want to know what bundle you get with each card I can just look it up before I buy it. The first chart is just like the last chart they did a few weeks ago. Also they never seem to include older video cards when doing these reviews it is like they never existed. How many people out there still own the 6800 series or the X800 series of cards now all I ever see is the top of the line or the SLI or even the quad SLI cards. Give me a break!
May 12, 2006 5:33:13 PM

While I agree a video card chart similar to the CPU charts is a great idea, I am not sure it is right to criticize without seeing the final format when they clearly state,
Quote:
...you will be able to compare all 27 cards with one another when the third article goes live

You also criticize that the first chart is just like the one they did a few weeks ago but then go on to complain that they don't include old cards. Why include old reviews of old cards when we can just look at the old charts? And the fact that charts past are similar to new only allows for easier comparison of those older cards with the new. So I don't have a problem with that as long as I can find the old charts easily.

You complain that they compare same cards from different companies - then what you really want is a review with 2 entries; an ATI and the nVidia offering for the same performance/price category. That's not realistic as the card makers tweak the engines, RAM, and cooling in different ways to optimize the cards in specific ways.

I like not having to research each offering to find out what goodies come with what card. Take the two Radeon X1900 XTX for example. One comes with CD, applications, tools and cables, the other does not. Having one site to visit to see that is convenient.

But I will side with you on one part, starting with the "Overclocking And Heat" section of those two Radeons; the text for both cards is word-for-word, down to the decimal point, identical - as in exact cut and paste copy. That makes me wonder if both cards were actually tested, or piecing the report together was done improperly.

What would be nice, since we know there are a lot more cards out there than 27, is exactly what THG requested when they asked the makers to provide cards. AFAIK, all they specified is "retail boxed versions".
May 12, 2006 6:18:14 PM

Points taken, but what I was talking about with the older cards is that it is hard to compare when they use different games and tools to benchmark the cards each time. I can look up my card but they don't use Doom III anymore to benchmark. In regards to what "goodies" some of the companies offer with their cards I can look that up on NewEgg and see the 2-3 year old game they include with it along with what cables they provide. And as far as tweaks, if the card is over clocked most of the charts shows one card maybe getting 2-5 more FPS in a game over another.............to me that is not such a big deal esp if the card already gets 80 FPS in a game.
May 12, 2006 6:21:08 PM

Quote:
If people actually read the story and also read the posts in this thread they would have realised that the NVidia reviews will follow.....

I see they fixed page 2 to now list several nVidia cards. Yesterday only ATI cards were listed for the second and third articles in the series. However it looks like a rather lopsided review. I count 6 nVidia cards and 19 ATI cards reviewed. Four X1900XTX's versus one 7900GTX. Not much of a buyer's guide when the products reviewed are not representative of what's available.

Well according to part 2, page 2, the outlook for part 3 will be 6 more ATI cards and zero NVidia based cards. How’s that for lopsided, 18 to 2. With absolutely no 7900 reviews, you couldn't call this a comparative review. Unless there a part 4 with all NVidia offerings, they really should change it to ATI buyers guide and later state they put a couple of NVidia cards in for reference.

Part 2, page 2 as of May 12.
Quote:
Outlook For Part 3

* Asus EAX X1600 XT Silent
* Gecube Radeon X1800 GTO
* MSI RX1900 XTX-VT2D512E
* Powercolor Radeon X1300 Hypermemory 2
* Sapphire Radeon X1600 XT
* Sapphire Radeon X1800 XL
May 12, 2006 7:22:32 PM

Quote:
...as far as tweaks, if the card is over clocked most of the charts shows one card maybe getting 2-5 more FPS in a game over another.............to me that is not such a big deal esp if the card already gets 80 FPS in a game.
I agree - and since I am not into overclocking, that difference becomes even less important. And I also agree that Newegg is a valuable and easy to use resource for information.

But to suggest THG go back and test old cards with new game releases is just not realistic. It would be a never ending battle. There are just too many cards already out there, with new cards and new game revisions coming out all the time.

Additionally, cards from 2 - 3 years back will be AGP. Any new motherboards the makers put out from now on are not likely to support AGP so the testing platforms will be too different for a fair comparison anyway.

So when comparing old with new, we are pretty much forced to only compare horsepower of the GPUs and RAM type, quantity and speed - and finally price.

@Tad - yes it is lopsided but again, I am not certain that is THG's fault. If they put the word out for makers to send in their products, and this is what they get, then this is what is tested.

But I do note that the numbers don't add up. The first part included the following 8:

EVGA GeForce 7800 GS AGP
Sapphire Radeon X1600 Pro AGP
Gainward Golden Sample BLISS 6800 GS PCX
Gecube Radeon X1900 XTX
HIS Radeon X1600 XT ITurbo IceQ
HIS Radeon X1800 XT ITurbo
Powercolor Radeon X1900 XTX
Sapphire Radeon X1300

Part 2 includeds the folloing 6:

HIS Radeon X1800 XL
HIS Radeon X1900 XTX
Powercolor Radeon X1600 XT
Sapphire Radeon X1300 Pro
Sapphire Radeon X1800 XT OC
Sapphire Radeon X1900 XTX

And Part 3 is supposed to include the following 6:

Asus EAX X1600 XT Silent
Gecube Radeon X1800 GTO
MSI RX1900 XTX-VT2D512E
Powercolor Radeon X1300 Hypermemory 2
Sapphire Radeon X1600 XT
Sapphire Radeon X1800 XL

In my book, 8 + 6 + 6 = 20 and not 27. And yet on the chart of "A Detailed Look At The Candidates", it lists 19!
May 12, 2006 9:54:32 PM

When I am trying to decide whose version of a card to buy, one of the most important things to me is "how loud is it?" It is pretty easy to use generic (reference design) reviews to decide if I want to buy a 7900 GTX or a X1900 XFX or whatever, but once you decide on that, noise level is one of the biggest differences between different manufacturers (particularly when they are not using the reference cooler). It really would have been nice to have sound level numbers to go with the heat and power consumption figures. Or if not that, at least a more consistent subjective evaluation of sound level for each of the cards. Other than that and some odd chart duplication, a very good start to an interesting set of articles. Thanks, THG.
May 13, 2006 12:49:12 AM

This article is either incredibly BIASED or terribly incomplete...
I couldn't find a single Nvidia PCI-E card among the lot..comparing the top of the LINE PCI-E ATI to an nvidia 7800 GS ?? Come on!
Nvidia should have been left out entirely and this just have been made an ATI comparison with with this article having such poor nvidia representation. Where are the 7800 and 7900 GTX and OC 's ?

Comparing top of the line +$400 ATI's to a mediorce $200 Nvidia's ?

I am not doubting the accuracy of the any numbers here..the aritcle is well written but as I said either BIASED or INCOMPLETE.
Not even a mention of NVIDIA GTX absence...
This article has a LOT of potential and the author is obviously well versed in the graphics dept. but after reading this articele parts 1 and 2 I can't help but be upset with the misguided representation NVIDIA is given here...
For god sake the Nvidia card is less than have the spec of the high end ATI... this comparison is apples to oranges at best.. I hope there is a part 3 and it includes a more rounded out and fair representation
May 13, 2006 8:21:32 PM

It seems to me that articles are getting worse and worse by the week. Tom used to write his own reviews some years back, i enjoyed reading his articles from the day his website went up.

Now days, many articles are just manufactured at high paste with out any thought or care, and an article like this one only smears Toms name and ruins his reputation.

It seems to me, that hobby Tom used to love so much has turned in to money making production, with idiotic and useless articles spitting out faster then you can read them.

Absolutely terrible, it make me sick to my stomach to read any further articles from this website, because I can see it even now, that with articles like this one, all reputation will be ruined and flushed down the toilet in a very short time.
May 14, 2006 2:34:09 AM

Quote:
It seems to me that articles are getting worse and worse by the week. Tom used to write his own reviews some years back, i enjoyed reading his articles from the day his website went up.

Now days, many articles are just manufactured at high paste with out any thought or care, and an article like this one only smears Toms name and ruins his reputation.

It seems to me, that hobby Tom used to love so much has turned in to money making production, with idiotic and useless articles spitting out faster then you can read them.

Absolutely terrible, it make me sick to my stomach to read any further articles from this website, because I can see it even now, that with articles like this one, all reputation will be ruined and flushed down the toilet in a very short time. Because I only see lies.


You probably need to move on to a different forum. You're either being honest and think you see lies or you're trolling. Either way, this group probably has nothing to offer you at this point in time. Since it's a moderated forum, the issue very well might not be yours to decide. Regarding this thread, I'm seeing quite a bit of knee-jerk reactions. Personally, I'm willing to wait till the series is over before I begin to judge. There are other explanations than those I'm seeing tossed out.
May 14, 2006 5:21:46 AM

Quote:
You probably need to move on to a different forum. You're either being honest and think you see lies or you're trolling. Either way, this group probably has nothing to offer you at this point in time. Since it's a moderated forum, the issue very well might not be yours to decide. Regarding this thread, I'm seeing quite a bit of knee-jerk reactions. Personally, I'm willing to wait till the series is over before I begin to judge. There are other explanations than those I'm seeing tossed out.




Trolling is a word used by 12 year olds. Just because some people don’t have time to post every 5 minutes, it doesn’t make them a troll. And you must be a spammer, you’ve been here 2 month and you already made over 500 posts.

With out me and other readers like my self, this site wouldn’t exist in the first place. And we readers are given choice as to what we want to say. As far as I recall, we are asked to discuss and provide out own honest input as to what we think about articles that are written.

Yes, I said lies. Why? Simple, because we were promised something and it was not delivered, we were made in to fools; we are taken for a ride. This isn’t the first article that has gone down in flames.

We, readers, have come accustom to receiving quality articles on this site for the last decade, articles that no one ever done and still doesn’t come close to. But now days, it just not the same as it used to be a year ago. There is no more quality, now its just quantity.

There for, your personal attack at me is null and irrelevant in this discussion.
May 14, 2006 5:01:44 PM

It is incomplete. I am willing to bet there is at least another 1, maybe 2, parts coming. I realize this was a rather lop sided article with only 1 Nvidia card. If I had my say (which doesn't necessarily mean anything) I would have done the article by parts according to price point. For example pitting the $500+ cards against each other, then the $400-500 ones, so on and so forth rather than some sort of broken company mix.

I'm waiting to see where it goes.
May 15, 2006 2:14:27 AM

Quote:
Trolling is a word used by 12 year olds. Just because some people don’t have time to post every 5 minutes, it doesn’t make them a troll. And you must be a spammer, you’ve been here 2 month and you already made over 500 posts.


You're showing increasing ignorance. Keep it up, you're on a roll.

Quote:
Yes, I said lies. Why? Simple, because we were promised something and it was not delivered, we were made in to fools;


Good to see you are speaking for yourself.

Quote:
We, readers, have come accustom to receiving quality articles on this site for the last decade, articles that no one ever done and still doesn’t come close to. But now days, it just not the same as it used to be a year ago. There is no more quality, now its just quantity.


If that truly is YOUR opinion, then rethink my advice. There's obviously nothing for you here. Go find a place you respect.

Quote:
There for, your personal attack at me is null and irrelevant in this discussion.


My previous comments were not an attack. I was stating my opinion and your whining doesn't make it null or irrelevant. You would be easily atracked but why bother since you've done a fine job of making yourself appear an idiot?
May 15, 2006 9:58:51 AM

LOL... wooo... tough guy, flex that e-muscle for me one more time.

:roll:

Now hush and go do your home work.
May 16, 2006 2:09:16 AM

Quote:
LOL... wooo... tough guy, flex that e-muscle for me one more time.


Great come-back, flaccido. Get back to me when you find some functional brain cells between your ears.

I won't hold my breath.
May 16, 2006 4:34:04 AM

Quote:
I won't hold my breath.



*sarcasm* God forbid you die. That would be a shame. *end of sarcasm* :roll:
May 16, 2006 4:37:06 AM

Quote:
I won't hold my breath.



*sarcasm* God forbid you die. That would be a shame. *end of sarcasm* :roll:

Keep trying, dimwit. You might manage to bore me to death. I doubt it, but you wouldn't be able to tell anyway.

Over and outta this one!
May 16, 2006 6:37:45 PM

You right for once, there is nothing for me here except for; a “Clueless” moron as your self, who has nothing to say but spam and doesn’t have the hint of intellect to post a shred of useful information.
!