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Last gasp for my system (7800 vs. 6800)

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November 26, 2006 9:14:39 PM

I'm thinking about a last gasp for my mature system.

I have a Pentium IV 3 Ghz processor
Ample power (500 watts)
1 GB RAM (maxed...)
and an Nvidia GeForce 6800 GT w/ 256 VRAM

The Nvidia GeForce 7800 GS OC w/ 256 VRAM has dropped in price to about $250.

I'm a gamer. Would I notice a significant improvement? I'm thinking about a major upgrade, but that won't happen for a while, at least a 12 months from now.

Thanks!

More about : gasp system 7800 6800

November 26, 2006 10:05:53 PM

agp right? then yes you would notice a difference.

also i have seen the 78gs at new egg for around 200$
after m.i.r.
November 26, 2006 10:18:52 PM

Yes, it's an aging AGP system, and the 7800 looks so appealing, but I understand it's more of a clock speed boost not anything monumental (i.e., no additional pipes, etc.).
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November 26, 2006 10:25:10 PM

well the 78gs is the top agp card you can get.

the x1950 ati cards will be just as good or better.

but they are kinda hard to find.

anyway if you can afford around 250$ those are the choices to go with.
aside from a whole new build.
November 26, 2006 11:17:21 PM

I have both and in some games like Half Life 2 the 7800GS is superior to the 6800GT. However, in some games I notice no difference whatsoever. The 7800GS runs cooler and has optimizations in the core that the 6800GT lacks. On the other hand the 7800GS only has 8 ROPs compared to the 6800GTs 16. See following article:

http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,1697,1918891,00.a...

Both of my cards are BFG branded. The BFG 7800GS is the original "reference" design. The latest BFG 7800GS uses a newer copper HSF that is heavy. But the weight causes the card to "sag" and may induce unnecessary vibration - I know because I had to return two of these cards for excessive vibration that only got worse over time. I notified BFG of the problem and suggested that they attach a "brace" spine along the top edge similar to that used in the PNY 6800GT. However, I have not had the problem with the reference design BFG.

Hope this helps and good luck!
November 26, 2006 11:58:45 PM

I am not sure about the performance level of the 7600GT but I think it was better than both of the cards you are talking about and it is the newer generation GPU. It is available in AGP and I think it was around the price you are looking at.
November 27, 2006 12:12:05 AM

I have not really read any reviews of the 7800GS, since I switched to PCI-E a while back. However you might find this interesting

http://www.penstarsys.com/reviews/video/evga/7600gtco/

The 7600GT basically beats the 6800GT by a 50% margin in most cases, especially at higher res. If the 7800GS is roughly like a 7900GS, then you should expect at least double the performance that you're currently getting with the 6800. Whether that improvement is worth 200-250$ for a card that you wont be able to reuse once you upgrade your system... thats up to you.

Cheers
November 27, 2006 12:15:30 AM

Quote:
The 7600GT basically beats the 6800GT by a 50% margin in most cases



wrong.
November 27, 2006 12:34:26 AM

Don't bother with a 7800GS if you already have a 6800GT. Wait for the X1950Pro AGP to drop or upgrade to a PCIe system.
November 27, 2006 12:38:36 AM

50% seems a bit over-optimistic but no doubt the 7600gt beats the 6800gt
November 27, 2006 12:42:23 AM

Quote:
50% seems a bit over-optimistic but no doubt the 7600gt beats the 6800gt


more like 5% i have both cards.

but for the money the 76gt is the bomb compared to the 68gt.
November 27, 2006 12:58:44 AM

I agree that the difference in the 7800 and 6800 will be marginal. Whoever said 50% has got to be on drugs !!!

Save your money and if you need to stretch that 6800 a little further then overclock it, the 6800 series has a little headroom.. so play with that.

You should put that $250 towards a brand new machine in the New Year, because if you get a 7800 you will regret it because of the minimal improvement.

Personally if you had a 6600 or even a 7300 I'd say go for it... but it's not a good step up from the 6800 series.
November 27, 2006 1:18:39 AM

Perhaps you should buy a cheap pci-express moderboard for your old processor. Then you can upgrade your graphics to something more worth wile. If you decide to later upgrade you processor and ram, you can still keep your new graphics card.
November 27, 2006 2:40:17 AM

Follow the magic highlighted link in my last post. Or, since I'm procrastinating from real work, check these out :


1. http://www23.tomshardware.com/graphics.html?modelx=33&m...

(9-5)/5 = 80 % increase in Oblivion


2. http://www23.tomshardware.com/graphics.html?modelx=33&m...

(22-15)/15 = 46% increase in an RTS

3. http://www23.tomshardware.com/graphics.html?modelx=33&m...

(20-12)/12 = 66% increase in an RPG


Generally you'll notice that the higher details/res you go, the larger the gap will be. At 800*600 you'll likely have the same on any semi-decent card.

Infortunately I am no longer on drugs, as I got my degree a few years back and now I have to work daily. Good times ....


Cheers
November 27, 2006 3:04:48 AM

Oh come on, you can't call those significant numbers. Yes you can quote percentages.. but on such low numbers it is purely semantics. Hell if you got 1 frame on the one card and 2 on the other that would be a 100% improvement... but still a useless statistical analysis.

The 7800 is not 50% better than the 6800 in real world experience... and definitely not worth spending $250 on.

I still recommend using the coolbits registry hack or rivatuner and bumping the memory and GPU speeds up. Then save the cash for later.

Sorry about the lack of drugs RedWing. :wink:
November 27, 2006 3:07:23 AM

Quote:
Follow the magic highlighted link in my last post. Or, since I'm procrastinating from real work, check these out :


1. http://www23.tomshardware.com/graphics.html?modelx=33&m...

(9-5)/5 = 80 % increase in Oblivion


2. http://www23.tomshardware.com/graphics.html?modelx=33&m...

(22-15)/15 = 46% increase in an RTS

3. http://www23.tomshardware.com/graphics.html?modelx=33&m...

(20-12)/12 = 66% increase in an RPG


Generally you'll notice that the higher details/res you go, the larger the gap will be. At 800*600 you'll likely have the same on any semi-decent card.

Infortunately I am no longer on drugs, as I got my degree a few years back and now I have to work daily. Good times ....


Cheers



looks like a 68gt in agp, probably with an xp 3200 barton core
and the 76gt is pci-e with something like fx57 or c2d.

that can make a difference.
November 27, 2006 3:17:26 AM

Here's a closer comparison of the two AGP lines. 7800GS versus a 6800 Ultra.

http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=30296

Even if he has a 6800GT or GS the difference isn't going to be that great. And as I said he could overclock to 6800 Ultra Levels on a GT or potentially unlock a GS model for extra pipes and throughput.

DON'T BUY THE NEW CARD !!!!
November 27, 2006 3:21:29 AM

Thanks for the helpful feedback.

It seems that upgrading to a PCI-e system would be the most financially reasonable way to go, but I've got a DELL now so I can't necessarily switch out the MB, etc., I'd need to do the whole shebang.

I think my BIOS might also limit my overclocking capabilities, but I'll look into focusing on the GC.

Could someone tell me what the decrease in number of ROPS (was that it?) means?

So in real-world terms, I could notice a frame-rate improvement from 5 to 50%. Would I be overly optimistic to expect a 15-25% improvement? If it's closer to the 25% number I'd be more likely to make the upgrade.
November 27, 2006 3:26:19 AM

Quote:
Thanks for the helpful feedback.

It seems that upgrading to a PCI-e system would be the most financially reasonable way to go, but I've got a DELL now so I can't necessarily switch out the MB, etc., I'd need to do the whole shebang.

I think my BIOS might also limit my overclocking capabilities, but I'll look into focusing on the GC.

Could someone tell me what the decrease in number of ROPS (was that it?) means?

So in real-world terms, I could notice a frame-rate improvement from 5 to 50%. Would I be overly optimistic to expect a 15-25% improvement? If it's closer to the 25% number I'd be more likely to make the upgrade.



a new build would make the most sense.

if you can keep your old computer for a spare and build a new one.
as your old one would be a decent keeper.
November 27, 2006 3:28:15 AM

Quote:
So in real-world terms, I could notice a frame-rate improvement from 5 to 50%. Would I be overly optimistic to expect a 15-25% improvement? If it's closer to the 25% number I'd be more likely to make the upgrade.


you would see a difference but not 200$ more.
November 27, 2006 3:49:59 AM

Overclocking the graphics card has nothing to do with the BIOS on the motherboard. If you download the coolbits utility here:

http://downloads.guru3d.com/download.php?det=815

Double click on the extracted file you will mod the registry to unlock an extra panel in the advanced section of your driver. Here you can tweak up the GPU core frequency and the graphics memory frequency. You could easily see a 10-15% improvement in performance just by doing this. There is also an auto overclock function which will stress test your card and leave it at the highest overclock ( minus a couple of percent safety margin ).

Try this, it costs nothing... and if it isn't enough for you then you haven't lost a thing (except perhaps you graphics cards warranty). It's a great utility and you might be really surprised.
November 27, 2006 4:46:24 AM

Personally I'd agree with the people here and say just tough it out with the 6800GT (which is a great performer given it's age). I was just trying to give you a measure of performance gain you'd get for your 200-250$.
Obviously everyone in here thinks that for some weird reason, actual gaming benchmarks are useless semantics when measuring performance, and the 7800GS, a card based on the 7800GT core, is basically the same thing as a card based on the 6800GT core. Ok, I wont argue. I wont try to find any other gaming benchmarks either, since all those will be nothing but pointless statistics. In fact, I guess it's safe to say that any video card review is nothign but a collection of pointless numbers and statistics. As if these reviewer fools think that people actually look at these numbers to see if there's a relative performance gain compared to their current hardware ... pffft. The main factors that should determine your video card purchases are

a) The hot animated chick on the box

b) The amount of times the words "extreme", "performance" and "PCI Express" are used in the description of the card on the back cover.

All jokes aside though, I've owned a 7600GT (which is somewhat weaker than a 7800GS) and I know for a fact that I've been getting much better frame rates in FEAR, COH and currently Medieval 2 : TW than my friend's nearly identical computer (based on an OC'd d805) but sporting an overclocked 6800XT instead of a 7600GT. I would say gameplay was much smoother at 1280*1024 at high/medium settings on my rig, than it was at 1024*768 at mediium/low settings on his. In my understanding the 6800XT is somewhat weaker than a vanilla 6800 - but considering that he's OC'ing it to the max, it can't be THAT much weaker.

Again, given all that I've mentionned above, I still consider that a 250$ would best serve you as a "downpayment" on a new PCI-E core2 system, that it would on a 7800GS upgrade.


As for whoever mentionned that Tom's has different cards running on different hardware, that would make their entire benchmark collection a little absurd, don't you think? I think it's a safe bet they tried to keep the base testing platform identical for all the card (obviously they had to find another mobo for the agp card). In fact, the CPU in all cases is an FX-60.

p.s. OC'ing your card, especially a 6xxx/7xxx series Nvidia card is always a good idea. It's almost always a guaranteed 10% free performance boost on stock cooling. Go for it man, see if it can satisfy you while you wait to build a new system.
November 27, 2006 5:38:09 AM

Heh, I was so anxious to prove my point, that I forgot to write the main thing I wanted to mention.

If you're absolutely set on giving yourself one last video card upgrade, I suggest you do some searching to see where/how much the x1950Pro AGP cards are going for, and keep them on a weekly price watch. Although the AGP version of the card is ridiculously overpriced compared to the PCI-E (think 300$ vs <200$), the x1950Pro is likely the best AGP card you could get, and with performance in the 7900GT domain.

With the holiday season coming up, it's possible x1950Pro prices will drop. In my opinion, for someone looking to upgrade an AGP system, the x1950Pro is the only serious candidate in the 200-300$ range. The only downside with getting such a card is that you'll be sorry to see it go when you upgrade to PCI-E :) 
November 28, 2006 2:42:40 AM

ROP stands for Raster OPerations. Raster operations provide the instructions for controlling bitmap throughput. In theory, a video card with 16 ROPs could send twice as many raster instructions for each successive frame than one with 8 ROPs. It doesn't always work out that way - depends on what tradeoffs and optimizations the developer is trying to achieve, and which API (Application Programming Interface, i.e., OpenGL) the developer is coding for. At least that's my understanding...I've never written code at this level so I don't claim to be an authority. Hope this helps in your deliberations.
December 8, 2006 2:00:05 AM

Thanks.

Here's a somewhat related query.

a) How do I find out my framerate during a game? For instance, Medieval Total War II, people always quote their machines' framerates, but I don't know mine.

b)Let's say it's 20 FPS, what would the 78GS do over the 68GT?

c) Finally, what percentage framerate difference, or absolute framerate difference (i.e., 20% increase, or 8 more frames / sec) would be needed before I (i.e., my eye) could tell a difference?

Thanks, sorry to ask such newb questions!
December 8, 2006 2:25:04 AM

I find that in Medieval2, due to some AI bugs, there's often a CPU bottleneck (when they assault your city, sometimes there's a huge accumulation of troops on the wall that seem stuck, on hardest mode, which causes slowdowns even on a 7900GTO for me).

RTS games like MTW2 dont need as many frames per second to appear smooth, 30 will do just fine for the most part. I doubt you'll be able to tell anything above 30-35, but you'll definitely be able to tell when it starts getting choppy at roughly <20. Especially when you try to move the screen as it happens (easier for the eye to spot the choppiness in moving the whole screen rather than some little dudes on the battlefield).

Use FRAPS to find out your framerates, google it up and I think they have a free evaluation version for download. Can be used in any game.

As a reference point (if you need one), I play MTW2 at 1280 with 4 AA/max AF and everything on highest. Mostly very smooth except for the above-mentionned AI-related issues. A 6800GT should be able to handle the same resolution on medium details and maybe no or lowest aa/af settings with equally smooth gameplay. Personally I can't tell between
(2x AA + 4 AF) and (4xAA and 16xAF) ... image quality seemed the same to me on several test runs.
December 13, 2006 10:43:43 PM

Well, some people you just can't stop from spending. I purchased the 7800 and am mildly pleased.

I used to run MTW2, for instance, on my 6800 at about 18-20 FPSs, and now I'm up to 28-30, which IMO, is a significant difference. Also, I'm running with higher detail across the board.

I still realize that the $250 may not have been worth it, especially considering these PCI-e cards are cheaper, faster, and the way of the future.

The last gasp is exhaled, and...it's okay.

Thanks for all the help!
December 13, 2006 11:43:34 PM

well from all the post here you will have to make up your own mind on what to do. AGP is a dead end, but if ya make it last awhile longer(vid upgrade) and build a new system a year from now like you mentioned, prices will be hopefully cheaper, like the core2, 8800 pci vid cards, and hopfully memory. But i have purchased the BFG 7800 gs oc for my son, and this card rocks"for an AGP" he is a avid gamer, he plays Oblivian, tom clancey games, flight/racing sims and etc....(sorry 4 the spelling) and he is very satisfied with the performance, his system specs are (socket 478)P4 3.0, 7800 vid, 2 gig mem, asus MB, 550 watt PS. I would like to up grade a new system myself, but the price of mem is well over priced, and not worth it to me,(my opnion), but if you can wait for a while and prices should start comming back down(hopefully), after the vista hype settles down. Then and only then will I upgrade to a complete new system. Im like you, trying to stretch this trusty agp as long as possible, I have a BFG 7600 on order now for my system. But what ever you do, the choice is yours.............cheers, and good luck!
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