Nvidia or ATI Radeon? Catching up on the card race.

Before I go on, let me say that I am waaaay behind in technology right now and im trying to catch up as quickly as I can. :)

Little history; my first add-on video card that I bought was in 1998 and was a Canopus 12mb PCI card. Anyone remember those? :D

Anyway, I am in the process of educating myself on the technology, whats available as well as getting ready to purchase parts for a new system (once the CPU prices cuts are in next month.) However, I firmly believe some of the best information on products, experiences, recommendations comes from fellow gamers like the people in this forum.

With that, I was wondering if anyone could break it down for me: Nvidia or ATI.

-is there a preferred card?
-does either of these two hold a advantage over the other?

Some tidbits for my next rig:

-AMD Chip, most likely because I can build a darn good system for relatively cheap (I know about Conroe...).

As far as video cards I have looked at, the really, the only thing i've really checked out is a:

-nVidia Geforce 7900GT

I've seen the 7900GTX and 7950 card (with 512mb) and that will be out of my price range.

What is a comparable ATI card to the 7900GT?

Games i'm going to play:

Dawn of War
F.E.A.R.
Half Life 2 (CS as well)
Lord of the Rings II
Supreme Commander
Company of Heroes

Basically, lots of RTS and first person shooters.

I run my monitor at 1280x1024, so I don't need anything to go higher than that.

EDIT: I should say, I did search the forum, but didn't find any definite answers to what I was looking for. That is why I started another one of these threads.

Appreciate the lesson. :)
15 answers Last reply
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  1. Ati's answer to the 7900 GT is the X1800 XT 512mb.

    Both are great cards, the X1800 is probably a bit better at stock speeds and has slight advantages like the ability to use OpenEXR HDR + Anti-Aliassing at the same time.

    The 7900 GT is the better overclocker for sure, if you're into modding, and trades blows with the X1800 XT in certain games.

    Neither card will dissapoint at all, and both are in the $300 zone. You really can't go wrong with one of these beauties.
  2. Quote:
    Ati's answer to the 7900 GT is the X1800 XT.

    Both are great cards, the X1800 is probably a bit better at stock speeds and has slight advantages like the ability to use OpenEXR HDR + Anti-Aliassing at the same time.
    The 7900 GT is the better overclocker for sure, if you're into modding.

    Neither card will dissapoint at all, and both are in the $300 zone.


    Appreciate the feedback.

    Not quite familiar with OpenEXR HDR as well as AA.
    Haven't really decided about OC'ing at this time.

    I should have mentioned that the Power supply for my next rig is either going to be enermax or seasonic. No way do I want to skimp on power here.
  3. Funny thing though Cleeve. The X1800XT was the response to the 7800GTX.

    So truely for price and preformance we compare X1800XT vs 7800GTX and 7900GT.

    And obviously the X1900XTX vs 7900GTX. My question is where was NV idea too fill the gaps against the X1900XT? Its quite a bit cheaper than the XTX....

    So in terms of actual realese date, the 7900GT was meant to compete with the X1900XT....
  4. Interesting items.

    I really don't have an allegiance to ATI or nVidia; just whatever is going to allow me to max out my settings and give awesome graphics (i know CPU and memory play a part as well.)

    does an extra 512mb make that much of a difference? I was just looking at a couple of ATI cards, just seeing whats available.

    512mb card

    x1900GT

    256mb x1800xt

    Just looking at these, they all seem pretty good. One card has 512mb RAM. I assume all are pretty good?

    Just trying to figure out what is the best card for price and performance.

    Does ATI hold any significant advantages over nvidia cards? ANd vice versa?
  5. Yeah, but at the end of the day marketing doesn't decide what competes with what.. current price & performance does.

    The 7800 GTX is no longer an issue right now, and the X1900 GT is too slow to be a serious contender.

    So in reality, it's X1800 XT 512 vs 7900 GT. Everything else is academic, IMHO.

    But you're right, there's a product gap between $300 and the $400 X1900 XT. I guess it's sort of filled with factory overclocked 7900 GT's on the Nvidia side, not alot of compelling options on the Ati side until you hit the $400 X1900 XT, but that card's certainly a sweet spot though.
  6. I have the Sapphire 256MB X1800XT. To me the 512MB version comes in at too much of a premium for the extra RAM. We don't have any reviews of 512MB X1800XT vs. 256MB X1800XT, but I am of the belief it's the rare game like Call of Duty 2 or game setting like Ultra details in Doom3, where the 512MB version would be able to outperform the 256MB version. Priced the same the 512MB is the obvious choice. But 256MB X1800Xt for now is the bang for buck leader in the $200-$300 range. But some 7900GT's are found for just $20 odd more, and in the right situation they make for a very good alternative. Forget the X1900GT. It's more money and slower than the X1800XT 256MB.

    OpenGL titles like Quake 4 tend to be won by the 7900GT and shader instensive titles like Oblivion won by the X1800XT. One thing to consider with the 7900GT's has been an above average stability/artifact rate for the factory overclocked models.

    http://www.legionhardware.com/document.php?id=550
    Anyway, above is just one review of the X1900GT that happens to test it verses a 7900GT and a 256MB X1800XT. Most reviews are of the 512MB X1800XT. In this review anyhow, the X1800XT is the easy winner dominating in the eye candy tests (fsaa/af). Other reviews will show the 7900GT (and especially the overclocked versions) winning their fair share of the tests.
  7. Quote:
    So in reality, it's X1800 XT 512 vs 7900 GT. Everything else is academic, IMHO.

    Cleeve, What's wrong with 256MB X1800XT? They have been down in the $220 range, and to me represent the best value above $200.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814102698
  8. Nothing's wrong with it at all... it's a helladeal.

    But if the man has enough to spend on a 7900 GT, he has enough to get an X1800 XT 512mb. So I'd consider those two, I don't know if I'd lower the ante for the 256mb version is all.

    Doesn't make it a bad choice by any means, it's just that he's already entered 512mb price territory.
  9. Quote:
    Nothing's wrong with it at all... it's a helladeal.

    But if the man has enough to spend on a 7900 GT, he has enough to get an X1800 XT 512mb. So I'd consider those two, I don't know if I'd lower the ante for the 256mb version is all.

    Doesn't make it a bad choice by any means, it's just that he's already entered 512mb price territory.


    Lots of good information. I really appreciate it.

    Is the 7900GT a better card than the X1800 256mb version? I hope this doesn't come across as repetitive. I am just trying to figure out which card would best suite me.

    Few other tidbits:

    As before, the max resolution I will run is 1280x1024 with a 19" monitor.

    What about SLI? That is something that has caught my attention. I understand the concept, but where do you exactly see the results and performance?

    For example, does SLI help at all video settings: 800x600, 1024x768, or is mainly for higher resolution settings?

    I'd like to get a very solid card that can really increase the gaming eye candy pleasure.

    As far as a CPU, depending on price and availability (im curious how available conroe will be), but if I can get a good price on a AMD 4200+ cpu and mobo, that might be the way I go. Just providing this so there is more information on matching a video card for a system.

    Thanks for the help.

    cheers
  10. Quote:

    http://www.legionhardware.com/document.php?id=550
    Anyway, above is just one review of the X1900GT that happens to test it verses a 7900GT and a 256MB X1800XT. Most reviews are of the 512MB X1800XT. In this review anyhow, the X1800XT is the easy winner dominating in the eye candy tests (fsaa/af). Other reviews will show the 7900GT (and especially the overclocked versions) winning their fair share of the tests.


    STupid question, but on those graphs, what does FSAA and Ansio mean? Not sure what they entails.
  11. It's not a stupid question. These settings are often refered to as eye candy because they they enhance the image quality of the game. When you buy high end video cards, you do so hoping to be able to use such settings. Both can greatly increase how realistic a game looks.

    FSAA = Full Screen Anti Aliasing, which basically smooths out the jagged lines.
    AF= Anisotropic Filtering, and it basically enhances the IQ of textures in the distance.

    I'll post some screenie links if I happen upon them, but a quick google search of the full terms and you should be able to get some good comparisons if you desire to learn more.
  12. Full-Screen AntiAliasing and Anisotropic Filtering are graphics options to increase visual quality. FSAA gets rid of jagged edges along the geometric shapes, and AF helps smooth textures as distance increases from the user's point of view. Its got something to do with mipmaps and texture filtering so that the different mipmaps aren't that obvious. I'm not the most knowledgeable person on these matters, but I get the gist. They are often used in benchmarks because both place a very heavy load on the graphics card and can demonstrate how well a card may scale to a heavier load. Plus, many people play with these settings enabled, and its important to know if a card will run games well with all of these settings enabled.

    edit: Here is a somewhat outdated but enlightening article.

    -mcg
  13. http://www.tweaktown.com/guides/601/the_simple_antialiasing_and_anisotropic_guide/index.html

    That's a good link containing screen shots. Just 7 pages, well worth the read.
  14. There's a graphics card primer I've written for tom's, should be up in the next month or so... and it includes some animated GIFs that show the difference between AA, AF, HDR, DirectX versions, etc.

    Just stay tuned to Tom's. :wink:
  15. Quote:
    There's a graphics card primer I've written for tom's, should be up in the next month or so... and it includes some animated GIFs that show the difference between AA, AF, HDR, DirectX versions, etc.

    Just stay tuned to Tom's. :wink:

    Sweet, I never knew you were doing that, but I can't wait to see it.
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