8800 GTS vs HD 2900 XT - BIG Decision

Hey guys,

With my new PC, I'm currently stuck in a dilemma. I, frankly, don't have a clue what to do and I hope that some of you can help me out here in making this decision.

Basically, here is my situation:
I have a 17" LCD monitor and I want to play next-gen games such as Crysis and UT3 in Direct X 10 with most of the bells & whistles at 1280x1024 resolution. Not necessarily with AA and AF very high, but I at least want to play the games in most of their visual glory with no problems.

So I've narrowed my decision down to two cards:
NVIDIA 8800 GTS (320mb or 640mb)
ATI HD 2900 XT

I'm on a limited budget, so bigger/better cards such as the GTX are unfortunately out of my price range.

However, I'm also stuck in more crap: My PC only has a 300w PSU, so I'll need to be getting a better one (at around 550-600+ watts) so that I can at least power a new video card. The HD 2900 XT, as we all know, is quite a power hog compared to the 8800 GTS cards, so that's a bit of a worry for me.

So what would you guys recommend? I want something that will hold me over even up into the future.

The 8800 GTS is an appealing card, but the HD 2900 XT has scored higher on several benchmarks and blasts the GTS on the RB6: Vegas benchies, leading me to believe that UT3 may perhaps run better on the 2900 XT?

Also, I'm going to be lucky to afford the nearly-$300 GTS (320mb), but I've heard that the 640mb version would be most ideal since more video memory would hold me over better in the future.

HOWEVER, the HD 2900 XT has 512mb of video memory, so perhaps this would be good enough, and since it has scored higher than the GTS cards in several benchies, maybe this would be the better choice overall?

But then we get into the bad ATI drivers and piss-poor DX10 performance in Lost Planet, somewhat worrying me about what the HD 2900 XT may lead to (major future disappointments).

The HD 2900 XT has also been experiencing some strange price changes (went from $320 to $400 in a matter of days), so should I just sit around and wait for the price to drop so that it's back down to $320 and closer to the GTS's price?

I'll leave it up to you guys to help me decide .. please don't come forth with a biased opinion, because I don't care what route (ATI/Nvidia) I have to go. I just want to game!

Here are the options, as a summary:

8800 GTS (320mb) = I'm for sure this is the card I can afford, and a new PSU wouldn't be a big worry for this one.

8800 GTS (640mb) = I've heard that if I go for a GTS, I'd might as well spend up to $400 for the 640mb one since more video memory would help me out in the long run. But the price would really be risking it.

HD 2900 XT (512mb) = This, personally, is the most appealing card to me, but I'm also not 100% sure whether I'm correct in its power. It's also pretty expensive (usually over $400) so I may not be able to afford it. BUT, if it's the best deal overall and will really be the best DX10 contender, I think this would be the best for me.

Sorry for such a long post.

Thanks very much to those of you who respond! :)

(P.S. If you vote for a choice in the poll, please back it up with your own opinion if you don't mind.)
7 answers Last reply
More about 8800 2900 decision
  1. If what you're planning on is future games, my reccomandation is to wait for them to come out and then you'll be able to make a much better decision. Also, the same hardware might have dropped in price by that time, or better hardware have come out for the same price.
  2. I agree with Asik that there is no such thing as future proof.

    You've conveyed very well what you want but your needs are so well thought out that you have pinpointed the GPU conundrum that anyone in your shoes faces right now.

    I'm leaning toward the 8800gts for your criteria, it has proven dx9 performance and given your target resolution the 320 would be fine. It should not surprise you in it's performance and would be the definite price/performance winner.
    On the other hand the 2900xt may have better future performance. The big if is whether or not ATI can/will work with game developers and their own driver team and realize it's on paper performance.
  3. Agreed while the HD 2900XT is the clear winner here, with the G92 maybe coming out later this year along with PCI 2.0/DDR3/Quad-Core

    if you hold out till next year all those will be out and heck the prices on current gen hardware will be dirt cheap. so you have a choice go current gen now and spend as much as you would be in 6 months buying DDR3/Quad-Core/G92 or wait and then go Last gen and save money $_$

    spend what you save on something nice for your parents(fathers day!) or your Girl Friend...... supposing you have one..... :wink:
  4. Wait at least a month after the HD2900XT 1GB card comes out (I believe tomorrow). Then you'll see which has the better price/performance and if the 1GB version is kick ass, then there should be some price drops with the nVidia cards and hopefully the 512MB version of the XT as well.

    That's pretty much what I'm doing right now, sitting on a fence waiting for a stir in the water. I'm almost certain you will have regrets if you buy in the short time ahead, I believe a month or two later will be the better time to buy.
  5. Sounds good, thanks very much for the advice. :)
  6. 8800GTS 640mb is my recommendation.
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