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Card brand vs GPU

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November 2, 2006 11:21:37 AM

How much difference is there between cards with the same GPU and amount of memory but from different manufactuers? Is it purely down to extras that come packaged with it and warranties etc?

I ask because I'm thinking of getting a GeForce 7900GS 256mb, and the best price I've found is one from Innovision costing $286.60 AUD. An Asus, on the other hand, is $356.62. Is there anything I should be wary of about buying the cheaper card? (I really don't care about bundled software).

More about : card brand gpu

November 2, 2006 12:04:18 PM

There's very little difference.

Some will have different coolers on (some may be quieter than others), some may be factory overclocked, but the generic cards, eg Innovision, will use the nVidia reference design and cooler. It will work fine.
November 2, 2006 12:08:43 PM

Warranty, support and build quality are the differences. A cheaper brand likely will use some cheaper components and may not be soldered as well. It's best to buy trusted brands, but then the less expensive one may work out just fine.
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November 2, 2006 3:04:56 PM

Quote:
There's very little difference.

Some will have different coolers on (some may be quieter than others), some may be factory overclocked, but the generic cards, eg Innovision, will use the nVidia reference design and cooler. It will work fine.


I agree, and in the OP's case, I'd go for what's cheaper.
November 2, 2006 6:19:59 PM

Quote:
...build quality are the differences.

Not really, quality is usually about same, it's not really a factor.
a c 365 U Graphics card
November 2, 2006 7:28:33 PM

Quote:
...build quality are the differences.

Not really, quality is usually about same, it's not really a factor.

Cards a made by a handful of OEM manufacturers and are sold to the various namebrands who either sells them as is or replaces the stock HSF with a different HSF.
November 3, 2006 9:53:18 AM

>That's not the case with the Powercolor products

The memory chips, yeah, they're put on by the manufacturer - but the graphics chip comes from ATi - they're bought in. It's unfair to blame Powercolor for being unable to unlock extra pipelines!
a b U Graphics card
November 3, 2006 11:08:36 AM

Some things that you need to consider:

Will you overclock it in anyway?

If you will, go for the more expensive brands as they use better parts, which would simply equal to better overclockability.



Are you really only interested in the video card itself?

I actually only buy inno3d's video cards simply because i never overclock and i'm not interested with what's bundled with the card. Inno3d is a "good enough" brand that use good components and pretty much stick to reference design (which would mean that benchmark scores on the net would be around the same score as what you'll get).




How long do you intend to keep this thing anyway?

For longevity, the higher priced brands which use higher quality parts would make the life of the part longer. Though usually within 2 years a video card starts to show its age, feature-wise or performance-wise.
November 3, 2006 11:38:21 AM

Uh, ATI does the binning, like any chip manufacturer.

They will offer up the good chips to be made into 9800Pros, the slightly less good chips to be made into 9800s and the worse chips to be made into 9800SEs.

Card manuf's will go to ATI and go "we need 10,000 Pros, 50,000 9800s and 100,000 SEs" and ATI will go "here you go, that'll be $loadsamoney"


The "being able to unlock things" occurs when ATI suddenly realises that they have 100,000 9800 capable chips in stock and no 9800SEs - because people are buying more SEs - the chip makers always sell more of the lower speed-binned chips, because their price is lower!

So ATI goes "right, we'll re-mark some of these 9800s as 9800SEs", does some careful software munging to make them not run as 9800s any more, and sells them on.

The manufacturer who buys 100,000 SEs might end up with 50,000 genuine SEs, and 50,000 ones which used to be vanilla 9800s.

It's pot luck as to which one you get, not the card manufacturers.



This is slightly different now - frequently chip manufacturers try to make it a hardware mod so you can't change the chip back - an example is the E6300 and E6400 Core 2 Duos - they've physically got 2Mb of L2 cache per core, but 1Mb of it per core is disabled in hardware.
November 3, 2006 1:50:03 PM

>not binning

Really? I was definitely under the impression that ATi and nVidia both did both speed binning and feature binning. Oh well. You learn something new every day :) 
November 4, 2006 12:33:58 AM

I'm not going to overclock, so that's not an issue. I guess it couldn't hurt to look at what extras do actually come with cards and weigh up what it would likely cost me to buy them myself and which ones I'm likely to want anyway.

As for how long I'm going to keep the card... well, probably longer than two years.

It's good to hear that Innovision's cards are pretty close to benchmark values because the benchmarks from this site are exactly what I've based my choice of card on.

Thanks for the advice, everyone
November 4, 2006 8:59:43 PM

Go with the ASUS one. You won't regret it.

They are quiet ( even for ones with a fan) OR might even be Passively cooled.

ASUS are no.1 for motherboards and they are good for Graphics cards as well.

You also get some wicked ASUS software too.
!