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Video Card Price/Performance Analysis

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October 3, 2006 1:31:59 PM

This will be a work-in-progress and be my humble addendum to the current Short List - Best Video Cards for the Money

Currently I am using Anandtech benchmarks to analyze the price/performance of the mid to upper echelon video cards. I will add a low end chart sometime soon. Unfortunately, Anandtech didn't include results at 20x15 for the 7950GT/SLI and some other cards, so this analysis has left results at 20x15 for the other cards out.

Methodology Update: I averaged the data from all of the games that Anandtech had on the articles for the X1950XTX and the 7950GT. As mentioned, some of the benchmarks did not include 20x15 resolution. With this being the case, I only use the resolutions that were available for all of the cards used for this analysis.

**** OLD UPDATE: X1950Pro takes the price/perf crown by going where no video card has gone before (at least in this analysis). The ASUS version is selling for $171.12 at Newegg. Price/Perf: 3.10. Impressive. Most, impressive. ****

UPDATE: The ASUS X1950Pro for $171.12 card is no longer listed on Newegg, therefore, I've put the $199.99 back in for the X1950Pro. Also, there's some good bargains that recently came about for some Nvidia cards.

WORTHY NOTE: Zipzoomfly has the 7900GTX for $299.99 after MIR making it very attractive for upper high-end cards. It even tied the X1900XT 256MB for price/perf. Oh, how the mighty X1900XT 256MB has fallen. Could it be that history repeats itself?

SIDENOTE: And the X1900XT 256MB is in a further slump. Kind of like the Stock Crash of 2000. Cheapest I could find it for was $289.99. The 7900GTX takes over for price/perf.

NOTE: X1950Pro Xfire data is currently somewhat flawed as the driver didn't properly work with Quake 4. So it's price/perf, in the future, might change quite a bit.

As of 10/26 Morning Edition:



As of 10/25 Evening Edition:



EDIT: Added 7900GT SLI from Anandtech's 7900GT Review.

*This review did not have all of the tests that were performed on the other cards that have been used in developing this price/perf chart. The best thing I could do was gather data from the above benchmarks for the 7900GT SLI and the X1900XTX and do a percentage difference on the two. Once again, data at 20x15 was excluded. This yielded an average of 12.7% better performance of the 7900GT SLI over the X1900XTX. I know this isn't perfect but it's something for comparison.

Also, prices are reflected from Newegg, Zipzoomfly,Chiefvalue and Pricegrabber after any Mail-In-Rebates though not in real time.

Update: FiringSquad produced benchmarks for the eVGA 7900GTO. I used only the data from FS to come up with a new list. No SLI or Xfire results.

The interesting thing to note is that the data from both FS and Anandtech have the cards that were analyzed in the same respective order, though the 7950GT and 7900GTX did tie in the FS for last but close enough. The X1900XT is still the winner.



Hmmm, prices always drop significantly before the next greatest thing. I don't thinks it's surprising to hear about G80 due out in a month.

Any comments, corrections, or improvements are appreciated.
October 3, 2006 2:44:46 PM

Quote:
This will be a work-in-progress and be my humble addendum to the current Short List - Best Video Cards for the Money

Currently I am using Anandtech benchmarks to analyze the price/performance of the mid to upper echelon video cards. I will add a low end chart sometime soon. Unfortunately, Anandtech didn't include results at 20x15 for the 7950GT/SLI and some other cards, so this analysis has left results at 20x15 for the other cards out.



Also, prices are currently reflected from Newegg and Zipzoomfly after any Mail-In-Rebates. When I get more information on the 7900GTO, I will add it ASAP.

Any comments, corrections, or improvements are appreciated.


oooooo it get's it's own thread! I did like that table in the other thread, thought it deserved it's own.
October 3, 2006 4:07:16 PM

I like it. Nicely done.
Related resources
October 3, 2006 4:29:57 PM

This is really helpful. I also was going to say that the 7900GTO was now $250.

I heard that the X1900XT run pretty hot. How about the 7900GTO (since they are now essentially the same price)?
October 3, 2006 4:34:37 PM

Done, Done and Done. 8)
October 3, 2006 4:43:17 PM

I was in the midst of making an Excel sheet that did something similar to what you posted, basically because I saw the release specs of the GTO and knew it was going to kick some ass for 250 bucks. I really want to pick up that eVga and use the step-up program to get a G80 when prices drop.

Man it's a good looking card too! GTX's always looked badass with those 4 heatpipes staring out of the window of a case, I saw a guy with SLI GTX's and he UV painted the edges and the capacitors and added a very well hidden LED inside the heatsink and it looked very nice.
October 3, 2006 4:48:39 PM

What game are you using for the FPS column? Are you averaging multiple games?

The list is good though. Thanks.
a b U Graphics card
October 3, 2006 4:49:21 PM

Quote:
This is really helpful. I also was going to say that the 7900GTO was now $250.

I heard that the X1900XT run pretty hot. How about the 7900GTO (since they are now essentially the same price)?


Just installed at GTO, 43 idle, 60ish running BF2 1280x1024 everything on high + 4xAA, 70-80FPS with Rivatuner running on second monitor (1500-2000pt hit on 3Dmark05). Compared to my old 6600GT at 64 idle 100C peak in BF2 its cool, if not cold.
October 3, 2006 5:05:40 PM

See added analysis explanation in my Original Thread.
a b U Graphics card
October 3, 2006 6:15:43 PM

Quote:
NEWS FLASH: eVGA 7900 GTO new Price/Performance Leader.

This will be a work-in-progress and be my humble addendum to the current Short List - Best Video Cards for the Money

Currently I am using Anandtech benchmarks to analyze the price/performance of the mid to upper echelon video cards. I will add a low end chart sometime soon. Unfortunately, Anandtech didn't include results at 20x15 for the 7950GT/SLI and some other cards, so this analysis has left results at 20x15 for the other cards out.

Methodology Update: I averaged the data from all of the games that Anandtech had on the articles for the X1950XTX and the 7950GT. As mentioned, some of the benchmarks did not include 20x15 resolution. With this being the case, I only use the resolutions that were available for all of the cards used for this analysis.



Also, prices are currently reflected from Newegg and Zipzoomfly after any Mail-In-Rebates. When I get more information on the 7900GTO, I will add it ASAP.

Update 1: Based on this MSRP from eVGA 7900 GTO, I've added this to the analysis. Still not as good as the X1900XT 256MB. The 7900 GTO will have to sell for $269 to match it.

Update 2: From Tyran, Newegg has the 7900GTO for $256.12. Assuming the memory can be OC'd to the 7900GTX with no problem and therefore they are the same card, there's a new Price/Perf champ in town.

Hmmm, prices always drop significantly before the next greatest thing. I don't thinks it's surprising to hear about G80 due out in a month.

Any comments, corrections, or improvements are appreciated.


You have the 7900GTO as offering the same performance as a 7900GTX. This is not true. It's slower. Thus your price performance is relying on an overclock. If you factor in overclocking then this places your entire research into limbo.. in other words.. no one knows how high a card can overclock.

The 7900GTO is sometimes faster, sometimes slower then a 7950GT CLICK ME!. So in your chart it would average around 69FPS, thus giving it a ratio of ~3.71 thus not as good as that of an x1900XT 256MB.
a b U Graphics card
October 3, 2006 6:29:34 PM

Quote:
NEWS FLASH: eVGA 7900 GTO new Price/Performance Leader.

This will be a work-in-progress and be my humble addendum to the current Short List - Best Video Cards for the Money

Currently I am using Anandtech benchmarks to analyze the price/performance of the mid to upper echelon video cards. I will add a low end chart sometime soon. Unfortunately, Anandtech didn't include results at 20x15 for the 7950GT/SLI and some other cards, so this analysis has left results at 20x15 for the other cards out.

Methodology Update: I averaged the data from all of the games that Anandtech had on the articles for the X1950XTX and the 7950GT. As mentioned, some of the benchmarks did not include 20x15 resolution. With this being the case, I only use the resolutions that were available for all of the cards used for this analysis.



Also, prices are currently reflected from Newegg and Zipzoomfly after any Mail-In-Rebates. When I get more information on the 7900GTO, I will add it ASAP.

Update 1: Based on this MSRP from eVGA 7900 GTO, I've added this to the analysis. Still not as good as the X1900XT 256MB. The 7900 GTO will have to sell for $269 to match it.

Update 2: From Tyran, Newegg has the 7900GTO for $256.12. Assuming the memory can be OC'd to the 7900GTX with no problem and therefore they are the same card, there's a new Price/Perf champ in town.

Hmmm, prices always drop significantly before the next greatest thing. I don't thinks it's surprising to hear about G80 due out in a month.

Any comments, corrections, or improvements are appreciated.


You have the 7900GTO as offering the same performance as a 7900GTX. This is not true. It's slower. Thus your price performance is relying on an overclock. If you factor in overclocking then this places your entire research into limbo.. in other words.. no one knows how high a card can overclock.

The 7900GTO is sometimes faster, sometimes slower then a 7950GT CLICK ME!. So in your chart it would average around 69FPS, thus giving it a ratio of ~3.71 thus not as good as that of an x1900XT 256MB.

I've just gotten a GTO from MSI, it is exactly the same as their GTX, even the bios is the same when you look at it with RIVA, the memory chips are also the same, so we aren't talking about an extreme overclock, just taking it where it came from.
October 3, 2006 7:02:31 PM

Yes, I understand my analysis on the 7900GTO is based on OC'ing the memory, but in defense from my readings and as stated by another poster, the 7900GTO is for all practical purposes a 7900GTX. A little mod with NVTweak or Rivatuner shouldn't be a big deal for this particular card.

Now, if it was OC'ing another card and then adding it to this list, then yeah, I would agree. One person would get a different clock speed compared to another.

If I get some information that the 7900GTO does not always go from 1320 to 1600 in memory then I will readjust as necessary.
October 3, 2006 7:05:13 PM

Nice info. Thanks for a nice chart, I like charts.
October 3, 2006 7:06:42 PM

Quote:
I've just gotten a GTO from MSI, it is exactly the same as their GTX,


But now we're talking specific brands, not just the 7900 GTO...
October 3, 2006 7:14:10 PM

This is a worthwhile effort, don't get me wrong... but to combine the data from only one website, and at a mix of resolutions, can be extremely misleading. For example:

Let's say Videocard 'A' gets 120 fps at 1024x768 and 30 fps at 1600x1200

Videocard 'B' bets 80 fps at 1024x768 and 60 fps at 1600x1200

Which is the better card?

By the numbers, videocard 'A' is better, with a total of 150 frames vs. Card 'B''s 140 frames

In reality, you'd want videocard 'B' - because it delivers twice the framerate where it counts, at high visual settings...

The same problem exists when you aggregate different games... games that get high framerates will have a disproportiaonately high impact on the final numbers, where games with lower FPS... the ones where performance differences really count... will have a small effect on the numbers.

Essentially, for this to work you'd have to test only at specific resolutions - ideally, higher ones - and give each game a percentage score with the cards - the fastest card always being 100%, and the slowest card being a percentage of that.
Then, add up the total percentage so see which card performs better to get a total number, and then factor in price.
October 3, 2006 7:15:34 PM

Good find. The GTO is now $245 from newegg, so it gives the nVidia fanboys an alternative to the XT 256. Definately will consider it if I ever decide to upgrade before DX10
October 3, 2006 7:37:55 PM

Cleeve, thanks for the input.

I just wanted to start this, make it a work-in-progress, and to show some general results. I could separate the data into different resolutions in the near future for people that are looking for a card specific to certain games or such.

I only had time to collect the data from Anandtech at the moment. I will try and incorporate at least 6 different sites in the future. The statistics will smooth out the results.

I was thinking of naturally adding Tom's Hardware results, Xbitlabs, legionhardware and any other sites that anyone has in mind.
a b U Graphics card
October 3, 2006 8:47:09 PM

There appears to be only two sources of GTO at present, MSI and EVGA, noth of which are rebadged GTX's from everything I have seen, (no I'm not going to buy an EVGA to prove it :wink: ). Overclockers in the UK are using debadged MSI.

If other sources come up then it should be re-asessed as to whether anyone is using 'non gtx' parts in their GTO's?
October 3, 2006 8:57:29 PM

That's cool, it's a worthwhile persuit and like I said, I didn't mean to sound overly critical. Just thought I'd offer a few thoughts on the matter.

Keep it up! :) 
October 3, 2006 9:04:26 PM

Quote:
NEWS FLASH: eVGA 7900 GTO new Price/Performance Leader.

This will be a work-in-progress and be my humble addendum to the current Short List - Best Video Cards for the Money

Currently I am using Anandtech benchmarks to analyze the price/performance of the mid to upper echelon video cards. I will add a low end chart sometime soon. Unfortunately, Anandtech didn't include results at 20x15 for the 7950GT/SLI and some other cards, so this analysis has left results at 20x15 for the other cards out.


Did i make everyone join on the GTO bandwagon? Link:

http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/talk-7900GTO-ft...
Methodology Update: I averaged the data from all of the games that Anandtech had on the articles for the X1950XTX and the 7950GT. As mentioned, some of the benchmarks did not include 20x15 resolution. With this being the case, I only use the resolutions that were available for all of the cards used for this analysis.



Also, prices are currently reflected from Newegg and Zipzoomfly after any Mail-In-Rebates. When I get more information on the 7900GTO, I will add it ASAP.

Update 1: Based on this MSRP from eVGA 7900 GTO, I've added this to the analysis. Still not as good as the X1900XT 256MB. The 7900 GTO will have to sell for $269 to match it.

Update 2: From Tyran, Newegg has the 7900GTO for $256.12. Assuming the memory can be OC'd to the 7900GTX with no problem and therefore they are the same card, there's a new Price/Perf champ in town.

Hmmm, prices always drop significantly before the next greatest thing. I don't thinks it's surprising to hear about G80 due out in a month.

Any comments, corrections, or improvements are appreciated.
a b U Graphics card
October 3, 2006 9:04:42 PM

I have been thinking that there should be some kind of database of systems, with assessment around ease of setup or compatability. So that people can see that out of 67 people with this mobo and this HD no-one has a problem, or 5 people had a problem.

Kind of similar to your data collection exercise but for a different purpose.
a b U Graphics card
October 3, 2006 10:42:36 PM

I really appreciate the effort you are putting into this. I share Cleeve's concerns too though as to what resolution/settings are most valuable. It will also be nice to have actual 7900GTO performance numbers before declaring a leader as we should be talking all maxed overclcoked cards or just stock, not actual stock performance vs potential overclocked perfomance. But anyway, it's a great idea and once more data becomes available I think this will be a really nice/useful thread.
October 4, 2006 12:00:37 AM

Crap! Is there a better card for $250 right now at newegg? I was looking in the ~$200 range, but I might be talked into jumping up to this GTO.
a b U Graphics card
October 4, 2006 12:31:47 AM

Personally, until some decent 7900GTO reviews come out that show a different picture, I think the X1900XT 256MB for $235 AR is still the best sub $300 PCI-e gaming card to buy. Stock, I feel the X1900XT is easily going to win more often than not. Hopefully a few repuatable sites will pit the two against each other at stock speeds and at max OC. Either way, both are good looking cards for the money and if you want NV then this looks to be a far better option than the 7900GS, 7900GT and 7950GT.
October 4, 2006 4:23:09 AM

I have not seen an X1900GT on newegg for a while, so I kind of gave up and started checking out the 7900GT cards. I actually forgot all about the X1900XT. The Sapphire X1900XT has my attention now. The only reason I might consider going Nvidia is if it was a clear winner in the price range.
a b U Graphics card
October 4, 2006 11:11:47 PM

Alot of choices in the $200-250 range. Hard to go wrong with the X1900XT ( or 7900GTO).

BTW, I have 2 mobile AXP 2500+'s, one on an NF7 rev 2.0 and the other on a NF7-S rev 2.0. I jumped on them as soon as rumors first came out about how well the OC'ed. My first was only good for 2.4GHz. And I run that stock speeds in a HTPC and a 9800 pro with a vga silencer. The other had no problem running 2.6GHz on air, and that one I usually keep at 2.4GHz for gaming to reduce voltage & CPU fan speed. It's paired with a X800XTpe. Pretty familiar/similar rigs in your sig. :) 

Here's an old compare link for ya: http://service.futuremark.com/compare?2k1=7691668
October 5, 2006 5:27:00 AM

Yours and mine are or were very similar setups; they have served me for almost three years. I gave up on getting my CPUs Prime95 stable above 205 fsb, and I ended up not really pushing them past 2.35 to 2.4 GHz. I have a feeling the motherboard on my main rig sucks, but the 2nd has not been tested as much. I have been mostly playing NeverWinter Nights, and these machines play it extremely well. They handle Doom3 and FarCry, too, ust not at max, but it is time to upgrade when opportunity knocks. My nephew wanted a gaming computer, so I am gutting the ABIT/Barton/AGP core of my rig for him and rebuilding.

Hey, any comment on how much you like your X1800XT? There is an open box one at newegg now for $172.
a b U Graphics card
October 5, 2006 5:34:19 AM

I am pretty thrilled with the X1800XT. Not as good as the recent $240 X1900XT 256MB, but for $170, that one is hard to beat.
a b U Graphics card
October 5, 2006 6:49:03 AM

Quote:
Yes, I understand my analysis on the 7900GTO is based on OC'ing the memory, but in defense from my readings and as stated by another poster, the 7900GTO is for all practical purposes a 7900GTX. A little mod with NVTweak or Rivatuner shouldn't be a big deal for this particular card.


This thinking invalidates your list.

The GTO is not a GTX, it can be made to act like a GTX, but an XT can be made to act like an XTX, but you don't equate the two.

Either you stock them or you mod them all.

Second, your choice of source for stats also puts your list in question.

Either you need multiple sites, or a more unbiased site with no history of 'questionable results'.
a b U Graphics card
October 5, 2006 8:35:27 AM

looks like my GTO isn't artifact free at /1600, therefore i'd say it wasn't a rebadged GTX. It might need a bios flash if they have undervolted the RAM. That goes above and beyond rebadging it back to a GTX to my mind...
October 5, 2006 4:08:22 PM

TheGreatGrapeApe,

I appreciate your comments.

I don't remember reading anywhere that Anandtech benchmarks are "questionable". No one else brought this up to my attention. I did mention that I would like to add more sources and if anyone had any in mind to please let me know about them.

My plans are to add benchmark data from Tom's Hardware, Xbitlabs, Legionhardware and some others. If you have any sites that you trust, please pass them along as I want to be as fair in making a price/performance list of video cards.

As mentioned, this is a work-in-progress but I think it does give a general idea of where video cards stand. I thought it kinda proved the "Short-List's" recommendations for these cards.
October 5, 2006 4:11:05 PM

Hey Cleeve, don't worry about sounding overly critical. That's where the most improvement comes from. I'm sure Robert Montgomery Knight was never too critical on his players. ;-)

Your input is greatly appreciated.
a b U Graphics card
October 5, 2006 5:24:02 PM

Quote:

I don't remember reading anywhere that Anandtech benchmarks are "questionable". No one else brought this up to my attention. I did mention that I would like to add more sources and if anyone had any in mind to please let me know about them.


Most people don't notice it but it's been well examined here a few times.
Selective use of resolutions, settings and omissions of products (as pointed out where's the X1800XT, why aren't they all tested the same resolutions throughout?). Stuff like that along with exclusive access to early product of just one company makes their reviews questionable.

Quote:
My plans are to add benchmark data from Tom's Hardware, Xbitlabs, Legionhardware and some others.


I'd drop legion if I were you, but Xbit has always had great detailed benchies, and now Tom's is back to solid quality reviews thanks to some people in particular IMO. I'd also add Firingsquad for their detil investigations at hi res and hi AA. I'd usually add [H] to a list for looking at the cards themselves, but for your purposes their non-apples reviews don't fit.

Guru3D has great list with many tests and multiple games.

Hexus usually has a good selection of appples-apples and 'best settings' reviews to combine them.

TechReport also does a good job, but limited reoslutions (usually the one they thing is best, but detailed reviews for sure).

Some others are ok for 'unusual info', but questionable like Anand as to their motives, like DriverHeaven is constantly being pegged as ATi-centric, but they do do off-beat tests nearly no one else does.
October 5, 2006 6:52:26 PM

I'm a bit confused. And it won't be the last.

That link you gave, it goes to a benchmark listing an A64 at 2.6 GHz under the System Configuration. Though, in the title, it states AXP 2500 at 2.6GHz.

Why the disconnect?
October 6, 2006 6:10:48 PM

Per Cleeve's notice of FiringSquad benching the eVGA 7900GTO, I've added a price/perf list from them. Check out the OP.
a b U Graphics card
October 6, 2006 10:26:02 PM

Not sure what you mean about the old 3dmark compare link. But more important, I like the updates you have done on the price/performance charts.
October 7, 2006 1:33:55 AM

Here ya go.

Did 3DMark01 capture the specs incorrectly?
a b U Graphics card
October 7, 2006 3:06:29 AM

LOL, I never noticed the 64. I guess 3dmark didn't recognize the Mobile XP. Weird. It got the NF7 Nforce2 right, but not the CPU.

3dmark03 did a better job. Same setup just different fsb OC.
http://service.futuremark.com/compare?2k3=2277655
October 9, 2006 2:42:38 PM

X1900XT 256 MB loses it's price/perf leadership due to increase in price over the weekend.

Both the X1900XT 512MB and X1900GT move ahead with the X1900GT taking the price/perf crown.

For single card solution:

Biggest price/perf change decrease was in the 7900GT as the price went down by $20 while the 7950GT has the 2nd biggest decrease. The 7900GTX went up by $24 and was the biggest price/perf increase.

For dual card solution

Biggest price/perf change decrease was in the X1950XT as the price went down by over $26 (therefore over $52 for Xfire) while the 7950GT SLI followed up with the 2nd biggest decrease. The 7900GTX went up by $24 (therefore by $38 for SLI) and was the biggest price/perf increase.
October 20, 2006 11:50:46 AM

X1900GT still price/perf leader. See the first post.

For single card solution:

Biggest price/perf change decrease was in the 7900GTX as the price went down just over $30. The X1900XT 512MB went up by over $30 and was the biggest price/perf increase.

For dual card solution:

Biggest price/perf change decrease was in the 7900GTX SLI as the price went down by over $60. There were no increases in prices for dual card solution within this analysis. Though, if one were to pick the X1900XTX to put into Xfire mode, then this cost would of increased.

Biggest Let Down:

X1950Pro was suppose to be out at $199 but the cheapest I could find it was $229 and the ATI version is $299. If this card would of been $199, as a lot of sites mentioned it would be when released, it would of taken the price/perf crown away from the X1900GT with an awesome score of 3.62. As it stands, the X1950Pro came in with a score of 4.16. This being worse then the X1900XT 256MB which just took a price/perf hit during this round of price updates.

If anyone sees any lower prices, please let me know.
October 25, 2006 5:18:15 PM

As of 10/25.

Coming in at $199, the X1950Pro takes the price/perf crown.

Worthy Note: 7900GTX available for $299 after MIR at zipzoomfly. It matches the price/perf of the once king, the X1900XT 256MB. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. 8)
!