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I am getting annoyed with nVidia & ATI's naming schemes

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July 20, 2006 5:31:47 AM

I work at a retail establishment and I sell computer accessories. My main gripe is graphics cards and the hard to follow naming schemes that Nvidia & ATI use. Here are some examples.

Nvidia Cards
----------------
nVidia GeForce 6800 Ultra
nVidia GeForce 6800 XT
nVidia GeForce 7300 GS
nVidia GeForce 7300 GT
nVidia GeForce 7300 LE
nVidia GeForce 7600 GS
nVidia GeForce 7600 GT
nVidia GeForce 7800 GS
nVidia GeForce 7800 GT
nVidia GeForce 7800 GTX
nVidia GeForce 7900 GT
nVidia GeForce 7900 GTX
nVidia GeForce 7900 GX2

ATI Cards
-------------
ATI Radeon X1300
ATI Radeon X1300 Pro
ATI Radeon X1600 Pro
ATI Radeon X1800 GTO
ATI Radeon X1800 XL
ATI Radeon X1800 XT
ATI Radeon X1800 GT
ATI Radeon X1800 XTX
ATI Radeon X1900 GT
ATI Radeon X1900 XT
ATI Radeon X1900 XTX

The main thing I have noticed is that it is really hard for the consumer to find the best card for the budget he has set for himself and mabye about 10 - 15% of them actually do research online. So that leaves about 85 - 90% of customers who are trying to find the best bang for the buck by looking at the retail boxes and asking store associates for help to find the best value. I have noticed that they did stuff like... "Oh! I own a GeForce 6800 and I am seeing a 7300. This means that the 7300 must perform better SINCE IT IS A HIGHER NUMBER! Oh and it's lots cheaper than the 6800, I'll buy that now!"... Please help me. I really want to help them find the best value for their money so can you guys please explain (translate) these naming schemes to me?

Also, I know that memory does not reflect the 3D rendering horsepower of the graphics card. Since this is the case, what does? Which stat(s) of the graphics card should a consumer look for?
a b U Graphics card
a b Î Nvidia
July 20, 2006 6:38:02 AM

Quote:

The main thing I have noticed is that it is really hard for the consumer to find the best card for the budget he has set for himself and mabye about 10 - 15% of them actually do research online. So that leaves about 85 - 90% of customers who are trying to find the best bang for the buck by looking at the retail boxes and asking store associates for help to find the best value...Please help me. I really want to help them find the best value for their money so can you guys please explain (translate) these naming schemes to me?


Considering this is your job, it's surprising you yourself don't do more research online.

Simple way to think of the cards is this.

First number is generation, second (or just the rest of the) number is the model and it's general position within that series, and finally the suffix letter combination is the (PS , variant of the model).

First number being higher usually means newer features (but that doesn't mean they are better than the older ones based on that alone)

Second number being higher usually means it's faster than those of lower number in this generation and mostly faster than lower numbers in previous generations as well. Usually equal numbers but new generation are faster too.

Suffixes are the hard part, but there's general rules for all manufacturers 'SE' means S-h*tty Edition or Sux Everywhere. But they've pretty muched stop naming cards that.

So you're left with ATi's and nV's own.

ATi's general rule of thumb: no suffix<GT<GTO<PRO<XL<XT<XTX
nV's general rule of thumb: LE<XT<no suffix<GS<GT<GTX<Ultra<GX2 (but nV has pretty much dropped Ultra [even though it was on the chips of the GGF7800GTX-512]).

While these aren't hard and fast rules and there are some exceptions (R9500<R9600<R9600Pro<R9600XT<R9500Pro), that's about as clear as I think you'll find it (or I can make it) if you want to apply it generally, otherwise you're going to have to get each class compared.
July 20, 2006 6:45:03 AM

well many ppl dont get computer stuff so they must be guided this will always be

the naming schemes are pretty simple IMO and i dont know how they could make it any easier or simpler to understand than it is now. except 4 maybe the letters at the end
IMO the numbers are easy but the suffixes are f***en annoyin.
i mean XT is very good for ati cards but crap for nvidea(6800XT)WHY?
ati and nvidea should just come up with a,b,c or e,m,b(enthusiest, mainstream, budget) instead of usin the whole alphabet

I think graphics card have a better numbering schemes than lets say intels cpu numbering. eg 520, 520j, 521, 524 ect with 524 being by far the worst.
Related resources
July 20, 2006 7:04:31 AM

I have to agree with Kwipper. Although I now know the differences, it took me a while to find them out. The fact that ATi and NVidia have some common suffixes makes it worse (notably the GT). At the very least the two companies should have some common ground.
Whats with the GT,GS,LE and GT,XT,XTX,PRO etc.
Why not use use something simple like 7901 7902 7903 or maybe 7900-A,7900-B,7900-C

The same can be said about Intel and AMD.

Almost every new generation you have to learn a new set of model numbers.
July 20, 2006 7:33:29 AM

Its not hard. Go ride a bike
July 20, 2006 8:03:37 AM

I did more research on nvidia stuff so I'll talk about that:

GeForce 7 series suffixes:
GTX = flagship, gaming enthusiast card
GX2 = 2 cards stacked together, worse than a GTX, better than a GT
GT = toned down GTX, mid-range
GS = toned down GT, budget
LE = light edition, toned down GS, super budget

I think the earlier people have already established the numbering. First being generation, the rest being (usually) its designated "power" in that generation.

for example, if I were an avid gamer with a large budget, I'd buy the GTX. Most people who game casually will buy the GT. People who don't really game buy the rest. I really doubt GX2 is gonna sell right now. They might need to improve that more...

Note: when I say GT worse than a GTX, I mean a 7800GT is worse than a 7800GTX. Not something like 7900GT is worse than a 7800GTX. Which its not btw, 7900GT is actually better.
July 20, 2006 9:09:21 AM

i think they're having a silent competition, how many Xs can they write on a piece of hardware?

currently ATI's got the "X1900XTX" for a chip, a quick google found the "XFX GeForce 7950 GX2 XXX" for a card.

add in Gs, Os, Ts and the occasional M and S, and you can spell both of their entire back-catalogues.
July 20, 2006 9:10:43 AM

i agree, i've seen the descriptions of what they mean, ie, gtx is always top of the range of that generation, but why cant they make the letters stand for something.

They have one model that sound ok, ie. geforce 5900ultra.

how about 7900 Bu (B= buget)
7900 En256 (enthusiast with 256mem)
7900 En512 (enthusiast with 512mem)

but then again i could'nt think of anything that would make sense for a GT...

maybe they should leave it as it is, at least i know that a GTX is best and a GT second best, i wouldn't want anything other then iether of those 2 anyway
July 20, 2006 9:56:01 AM

well I agree that many companies model number and product names stinks.

I also Agree that there should be some sort of agreement with numbers and letter suffix ( ati and invidia ).

i would use this model number structure

<ATi or Nvidia>
<A for agp or x for pci-e>
<company series eg. geforce 7 series >
<Number to indicate the purpose of the card eg. 9 would be for enthusiast, 8 enthusiast & buget etc.>
<2 or 5 depending on memory size 2 = 256mb>
<and last two digit would pipeline or any thing useful>
<then add x2 or sli for pci-e SLi >
July 20, 2006 12:22:09 PM

Stop complaining FFS. What names do you want. ATI Card? nVidia Card? Is that what you want? Then every one will be saying: "I'll get the ATI card" and others will tell him: "No, go get the other ATI card, since it's better." How the hell will you know which card is which?

Please, before posting stupid crap, think about it. :roll:
July 20, 2006 1:11:23 PM

Quote:
I did more research on nvidia stuff so I'll talk about that:

GeForce 7 series suffixes:
...
GX2 = 2 cards stacked together, worse than a GTX, better than a GT
...



Mmmm, that's not right. Actually the GeForce 7950 GX2 is the fastest card available. Even it's 2 cards working as one, and with lower clocks than the 7900GTX, it's better. Why? Because it's 2 cards working as one. :wink:
July 20, 2006 1:21:34 PM

And it's not so hard to learn.
TheGreatGrapeApe said it all. What a good explanation.
I'll give you a quick example:

NVidia 7900 GTX

7 <-- Generation 7. More features than the previous generation.
9 <-- The higher the number, the more power it has.
00 <-- These two numbers doesn't matter in this case.
GTX <-- Higher model. Higher than a GT, or a GS, etc etc.

The general rule is that the medium range cards from the current generation have the same power (or more) than the high-end old-generation cards. Example: 7600GT = 6800Ultra --- 6600GT = 5900Ultra.
(It's not exactly like that, I'm just giving you an example)

Of course, the low-end current-gen cards are worse than the high-end old-gen cards. The 7300 series is worse than the 6800 series, and so on.

I hope it's clear now! :wink:
July 20, 2006 1:27:23 PM

Quote:
Stop complaining FFS. What names do you want. ATI Card? nVidia Card? Is that what you want? Then every one will be saying: "I'll get the ATI card" and others will tell him: "No, go get the other ATI card, since it's better." How the hell will you know which card is which?

Please, before posting stupid crap, think about it. :roll:


Hey! The guy asked nicely! Why can't you respond in kind?
He's just asking for some help!
Wouldn't you like to have some answers in his place?
Geez, relax! 8)
July 20, 2006 1:31:00 PM

Quote:
I did more research on nvidia stuff so I'll talk about that:

GeForce 7 series suffixes:
...
GX2 = 2 cards stacked together, worse than a GTX, better than a GT
...



Mmmm, that's not right. Actually the GeForce 7950 GX2 is the fastest card available. Even it's 2 cards working as one, and with lower clocks than the 7900GTX, it's better. Why? Because it's 2 cards working as one. :wink:

exactly what i was gonna say...i think he means 2 GTX's in SLi are better than 1 GX2...but then again 2 GTX's will cost more than 1 GX2.
July 20, 2006 1:31:43 PM

I geuss I've seen them so much that I don't even really think about the names anymore. Once you see it enough, you don't even have to think about what the numbers or letters mean. If you're annoyed now, it'll go away after awhile.
a b U Graphics card
a b Î Nvidia
July 20, 2006 1:33:43 PM

Quote:
GX2 = 2 cards stacked together, worse than a GTX, better than a GT


Actually most reviews show the opposite with the GX2 beating the GF7900GTX and X1900XTX in just about every major benchmark.

Quote:
Note: when I say GT worse than a GTX, I mean a 7800GT is worse than a 7800GTX. Not something like 7900GT is worse than a 7800GTX. Which its not btw, 7900GT is actually better.


But then how will people ever know by name alone? :tongue:
The most important thing to remember is the rules change every time something is released.

A,B,C is fine, but someone is going to ginf a chink in that system too an complain. I can already see one issue like we saw with the GS and GTO cards, what happens when they release something that's better than C but worse than B from the same line? the GF6800/X800-CB ?

No matter what people will complain, and the main thing is research, it's free on the internet. and people who don't do it before buying, deserve whatever they pay for. :roll:
a b U Graphics card
July 20, 2006 1:43:18 PM

Quote:

Considering this is your job, it's surprising you yourself don't do more research online.

wow that is almost word for word what my thoughts were when reading his post.

Quote:
Simple way to think of the cards is this...................

I won't quote it all, but Very well done Ape; I'll ditto this response; end of discussion.
July 20, 2006 1:45:09 PM

I think he got confused about the clocks... "Lower clocks = lower performance". :wink:
a b U Graphics card
July 20, 2006 1:47:45 PM

Worse than all the names IMO are the cards that just don't fit in anywhere. Like the crippled 64-bit or 128-bit versions of a card, or the ones with below normal clock speeds. That list of lame misfits is growing huge. 9700 pro & 9800 128-bit, Asus 6800 128-bit, Sapphire 9600 pro and XT, etc.
July 20, 2006 2:54:18 PM

You have to remember that names are part of a "generation" of cards.

Any 7*** card is part of the 7th generation nvidia. So a 7300 is low on the totem pole for the 7th generation. It's not that confusing.

ATI though is weird. My friend bought a Dell laptop with an ATI x1400 card in it thinking it was high because "x1400" is higher than a "x800" even though the x1400 runs like ass and all the games he plays run really bad. Research showed the x1400 a POS for gaming.

The name crap does need to change though. They should make it simple.

Word.
July 20, 2006 2:59:43 PM

There's a problem with ATI's name scheme (eventually NVidia will get to that).
After ATI's 9000 series, how could they name the next series? 10000?
It seems they thought (as well as I did) that it was too many numbers, so, they switched to the "X" ("10" in roman numbers).
Therefore, the X000 series are 10th generation, and X1000 series are 11th generation.
The same rule applies here. First, the generation number, then, the hierarchy number. X1400 is worse than X800.
a b U Graphics card
a b Î Nvidia
July 20, 2006 3:11:28 PM

Quote:
And it's not so hard to learn.
TheGreatGrapeApe said it all. What a good explanation.


Hey, thanks. :D 

I still think we should just call them their 'official' 3Dmark number, then you KNOW what you're getting.... until the next edition of 3Dmark was launched :twisted:

Imagine though, I'm buying an ATi 12720 , oh yeah well I've got an nVidia 14675 , yeah but mine '05, yours is '03!

No matter what IMO, it'll confuse some, but for most people it'll be a question of research.

Heck this reminds me of us comparing hot sauces at work, where I had no idea how hot my Blair's "Jersey Death" was because it didn't have the 'scoville' heat rating on it, just the '750 times hotter than a jalapeno chile' wording, but once I found out how much their MegaDeath sauce was which is rated as '500 times hotter' and also had a 550,000 scovilles, then I knew it was 825,000 scovilles for the JerseyDeath.

Just like anything, if you care enough to complain, then care enough to find out, a little research saves you alot more effort of returning and replacing a product, or even just the dissapointment of finding out your GF7300/X1300 isn't faster than your X800/GF6800.
a b U Graphics card
July 20, 2006 3:15:52 PM

With ATI X1 is a newer generation than X, which is newer than 9, 8, 7 etc. Think of it as 9800, 10800(X800) and 11800(X1800), so the last 3 numbers still apply to as how powerful the card is within it's generation. I wonder, Will we see a X2xxx with the DX10 cards or does ATI have a new plan for model numbers come DX10?
July 20, 2006 3:17:27 PM

It's mainly memorization. You just have to learn the cards, and then the names follow.
July 20, 2006 3:47:29 PM

Why bother trying to decipher the names at all? Ultimately, it won't help your customers make a decision across brands anyway.

Why not turn the box over, show them the specs, and explain what they mean. Run quickly down the pipes, core and memory clock speeds, memory interface, and amount of memory. These are the metrics your customers will need to look at to really compare cards and decide what kind of value they're getting.
a b U Graphics card
a b Î Nvidia
July 20, 2006 3:55:37 PM

Quote:
Worse than all the names IMO are the cards that just don't fit in anywhere. Like the crippled 64-bit or 128-bit versions of a card, or the ones with below normal clock speeds.


Too true, that's a huge barrier. Especially with the dropping of the SE suffix and the move to all the low end being lumped together, you can't tell if it's an X1300/GF7300LE with 64bit memory or 128bit, whether the 512MB quoted is physical memory of if they are including the HyperMemory TurboCache amount, etc. I think it would be fair that those things are purposefully left ambiguous to take advantage of people who are obviously not enthusiasts. But then again would they really care 64bit versus 128bit in M$ Word and just day-to-day surfing?

Quote:
That list of lame misfits is growing huge. 9700 pro & 9800 128-bit, Asus 6800 128-bit, Sapphire 9600 pro and XT, etc.


Well I'm not sure about the R9700Pro (didn't know they had a 64bit version of that), but yeat the others there's a ton of, including Sapphire strange 'Pro vantage/advantage' series wich is anything but and advantage usually being a crippled 'pro' not a full one, don't see how that an 'advantage'. :roll:
July 20, 2006 3:58:34 PM

Quote:
Actually most reviews show the opposite with the GX2 beating the GF7900GTX and X1900XTX in just about every major benchmark.


Can you give me a link to some 7900 GX2/GTX benchmarks? I wanna see as well. I was reading the stats of the 7900GX2 card and it seemed worse than the 7900GTX: It has same number of pixel pipelines (24) as the GTX, less memory bandwidth, less fillrate, and lower clock speeds. Unless of course the stats are wrong. Or if you are talking about the 7950GX2, then read my Note on the first post.

Quote:
But then how will people ever know by name alone? :tongue:
The most important thing to remember is the rules change every time something is released.

No matter what people will complain, and the main thing is research, it's free on the internet. and people who don't do it before buying, deserve whatever they pay for. :roll:


I agree.
July 20, 2006 4:04:18 PM

Ummm, link? Here! :D 

EDIT: And it's really hard (almost impossible) to find a 7900GX2 review, because no 7900GX2 has been sold to anyone except OEMs.
July 20, 2006 4:09:04 PM

Quote:
Ummm, link? Here! :D 


I wouldn't be surprised if a 7950GX2 beat a 7900GTX. The stats are obviously better. But when I looked at the stats of a 7900GX2, they looked worse than the GTX. Can I see some benchmarks for the 7900GX2.
July 20, 2006 4:10:15 PM

i dont see why they cant drop all those zeros at hte end of the names. x1900xtx um would x19xtx be any different? be a lot easier if you ask me.... Same with Nvidia 7900gtx... cant it just be 79gtx (i know there's 1 problem the 7950 but htey can just rename it.)
July 20, 2006 4:15:45 PM

reason the stats looked worse is that I did not see a double of the memory and pipes from the 7900GX2 like the 7950GX2. This could be an error in how the stats were written, since the 7900GX2 is obviously 2 cards. However, if I accept the stats as the truth, I might have to say the 7900GX2 is worse.

for example the 7950GX2 had pipes listed as 2 x 24
I saw the the 7900GX2 listed as 24

maybe they forgot the 2 x ?
a b U Graphics card
a b Î Nvidia
July 20, 2006 4:17:24 PM

Quote:
There's a problem with ATI's name scheme (eventually NVidia will get to that).
...
Therefore, the X000 series are 10th generation, and X1000 series are 11th generation.
The same rule applies here. First, the generation number, then, the hierarchy number. X1400 is worse than X800.


Yeah and I forgot to explicitly point that out (probably because we all think of it naturally), the X### and X#### system does create issues, whereas of course most of us think of it a X### and X1### (calling it X1K).
a b U Graphics card
July 20, 2006 4:20:33 PM

Quote:
I think he got confused about the clocks... "Lower clocks = lower performance". :wink:


This is not always true, as the clock speeds between nVidia and ATI are different for comparable cards.

Also, a 6600 has a higher clock speed then a 6800 but the 6800 is better.
July 20, 2006 4:28:08 PM

Precisely, look who I was replying to.
I'm not stating that lower clocks equal lower performance. Not at all. I know that pretty well.
July 20, 2006 4:31:11 PM

Yes, you're right.
It seems someone forgot to add the "2x", since both 7900GX2 and 7950GX2 are 2 cards working together.
July 20, 2006 6:09:49 PM

I don't get the whole confusion too. its common sense the higher the number in the name the better the card is.
a b U Graphics card
July 20, 2006 6:35:31 PM

Well, Alastor is a brand that has made the 9700 pro in 128-bit instead of 256-bit. We first talked about it back in january. http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/Short-List-Gami...

But Computergeeks now has a 9700 that I recently recommended to someone without noticing it says 64-bit. I assume that's a typo and it's 128-bit, but even so that would just make it a 9500 pro right? If I recall, a 9500 pro is a 128-bit 8-pipe card clocked identical to the 9700 vanilla; only diff being the mem interface. http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=ATI-9700P-128TV...

Anyway, google Alastor 9700 pro and you'll see the 128-bit complaints. But I have only seen these cards for sale on foreign sites or computergeeks.com; seems the pro links are dead now.


Likewise, I wouldn't trust buying one of these either as I have suspicions it's a 128-bit.
http://www.pcprogress.com/product.asp?m1=pw&pid=ATIR970...
a b U Graphics card
a b Î Nvidia
July 20, 2006 6:37:29 PM

Quote:

Can you give me a link to some 7900 GX2/GTX benchmarks? I wanna see as well.


Sure, here ya' go (of course pretty much all the testing when it was launched is SLi vs SLi since the 7900GX2 was marketed as Quad SLi to begin with);
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/display/geforce7...

Of course there's system limitations like anything else, and immature drivers, but pretty universal performance. However how about you post the benchmarks showing the GTX beating the GX2 in the majority of benchies since that is your claim.

Quote:
I was reading the stats of the 7900GX2 card and it seemed worse than the 7900GTX:


Also not the case observed by other sites. I don't know what you've read so I can't comment on what it seems like to you, but from the benchies out there your guide doesn't fit IMO.

Quote:
It has same number of pixel pipelines (24) as the GTX, less memory bandwidth, less fillrate, and lower clock speeds. Unless of course the stats are wrong.


Yeah, those stats would be wrong and right. The memory is right since bandwidth isn't added in this cased it's simply mirrored, however with a GX2 you add the pixel shaders/pipes, only the memory remains constant since they both copy the same information to memory and don't increase available space. I see this has be somewhat cleared up in a later post, but just addressing this post but not going to beat a dead horse.

Quote:
Or if you are talking about the 7950GX2, then read my Note on the first post.


Nope not talking about the GF7950GX2, just refering to that specific guideline in your list so GF7900GTX vs GF7900GX2. Of course if they release a GF7950GTX and it outperforms the GX2 then things may change.

Just ensuring the layout for clarity, because obviously my list would differ from yours in that area.
a b U Graphics card
a b Î Nvidia
July 20, 2006 6:42:27 PM

Yes, yes, now I remember (the Alastor triggered it), didn't that st00pid thing come out AFTER the crippled R9800Pro also?

Man I hate when people do that because it truely messes things up royally (not to mentioned the typos and misundertstandings NewEgg and retailers add to the mix).

It's be nice if the retailers ordering 10,000+ of them new more than the person coming in to ask about just 1. :wink:
a b U Graphics card
July 20, 2006 7:06:42 PM

Yes it did come out after the 9800(pro) 128-bit. As did the Asus 512MB 6800 128-bit which also adds lame clock speeds. That is one of the funniest Noob capitalizing cards ever made. "Ooh 512MB GF6800 AGP for only $180. I gotta trade my 128MB 6600GT for that one". :roll:

Shoot, just today a guy here at toms said he saw a huge improvement going from a 9800 pro to a GF6600 vanilla. I was thinking... ? that's a downgrade, then the 128-bit thought hit me and sure enough he had the crippled 128-bit or slightly overclocked 9500pro version of the real 9800 pro.

LOL, never occurred to me that computergeeks may not even realized that they bought crippled versions. :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  I assumed they knew but wanted to capitalize on those who didn't know.
July 21, 2006 5:36:58 AM

There is a problem with that. Mabye about 1/3 of the cards actually have specs on them showing memory bandwith, pipelines, pixel fillrate, etc.
!