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Most sensible short-term video on path to upgrade

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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Which video option makes most sense?

Total: 13 votes

  • 1. Suffer with Intel GMA3100 for a month or two, then buy 8800GTS.
  • 31 %
  • 2. Move the 7600GT and buy a 7300GT ($64) for the old box.
  • 24 %
  • 3. Suck it up and buy the 8800GTS/320 now. \"For everything else, there''s Mastercard.\"
  • 47 %
a c 191 U Graphics card
June 20, 2007 3:56:56 PM

I'm about to build another PC. Eventually I'm pretty sure I will put an 8800GTS/320 in it, however that rather stretches the budget at the moment to buy it outright.
I can move my 7600GT, but would need to put something in its place temporarily so it would not render my current system unusable.
A lesser card is not an utter waste, as I can eventually give it to a non-gaming family member.

My primary game is Guild Wars, with a little Sacred, Dungeon Siege II, and Diablo II thrown in.

I anticipate having company and we will want to be able to play at tolerable fps on both of these machines. As an example, my laptop (with x1300 video) can play it at 30fps, which is marginal; 40+ would be better.

Which option makes the most sense? I haven't found any benchmarks on the GMA3100, but am inclined to choose #1 unless it would suck too badly.

What do you think? Thanks.
a b U Graphics card
June 20, 2007 6:51:53 PM

Just FYI I don't think the GTS-320 is going to move too much on price, it's been a damn fine deal for a while, and until something challeneges it better it'll stay that way.

Once consideration is the resolution, I'm assuming your max resolution in the 1600x1050-16x12 range, and maybe 1280x1024 for this recommendation.

My suggestions are either get the GTS-320 right now and enjoy the hell out of it, or use the X3100 until the new 65nm upper-mid-ranges come out and then buy one of those; or get a wicked value GF7900/X1900 series card and ride that until you have another new need for a better card.

Personally I say go with the GTS-320 right now if you can budget for it and not put yourself in a debt you can't handle, but only if you want max settings or will be playing games more demanding than what you have listed.

I don't think the games you currently play need or benefit from all the GF800GTS has to offer compared to a cheap GF7900/7950 or X1900/1950 for about half the price, but those would be my two recommendations. An X1950Pro or GF7900GS for a long term hold for the new refreshes is likely the way to go for the games you listed, but if you're at all interested in FPSs or games with DX10 patches or native support, then I would suggest the GTS-320 right now and get the benefit you can get from it now.
a c 191 U Graphics card
June 20, 2007 8:14:59 PM

Thanks for the detailed answer. I'll take another look at the x1950PRO. I had read that some of them were howlers, although an aftermarket cooler could fix that. I think you're right that the games I play aren't at the top of the power curve. I play at 1440x900. I don't care for the mechanics of Oblivion, so I don't play that, but I could see buying another RPG or two if something good comes out. GW2 is due in '08, but what I've read makes me leery. The first time I can't get to an area or complete a task in a non-instanced area because of interference from griefers may be the last time I play. We'll see. Thanks again; time to browse Newegg some more!
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a c 130 U Graphics card
June 20, 2007 10:46:06 PM

Im not 100% on this as i also couldnt find anything on the gma 3100 but i do know that the gma3000 isnt bad. logically the 3100 would be a model up.
My step son has just got a system with the 3000 in it and it says it has sm3 /T&L /dx10 support to follow /hddr lighting and is 256mb ram.its only company blurb but for what its worth they say its equivelant to a 1950pro.
a c 191 U Graphics card
June 21, 2007 9:14:34 PM

I can accept that a marketing droid would report that a GMA 3000 is equivalent to the x1950Pro. Do I believe that any integrated graphics can touch a x1950Pro? I forget who said it in another thread this morning, but " :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  "

I'm going to try and find out what good RPG titles are due out and check their requirements, but I'll either get the 8800GTS/320 or a 7900GS. I'm not a fanboi, but the power draw of ATI's offerings in that range is unacceptable since I'm building a PC, not a space heater.

Thanks for your input.
a b U Graphics card
June 22, 2007 12:23:08 AM

:!: :?: :!:

What are you talking about space heater?
I think you're confusing the Pro with the XT. The X1950Pro is on 80nm it's relatively power efficient compared to it big brother or the GTS-320, but it is more power consuming than the GF7900GS;

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/display/geforce8...

The GF8800GTS consumes more juice at 2D than the X1950Pro does at max 3D load.

As for the noise, once again you seem to be confusing the bigger brother with the Pro, look down at the bottom of that same page and you see the GF7900GS is the stand out volume wise, and out of all three the X1950Pro is quieter, and often the GF7900GS is noisiest.

So be sure to check your choices if you care about those things.

PS 14x9 is a good resolution for the GTS-320, because it should last long enough at that res, even at 16x10 I'd start to think about just getting the X1950Pro and re-buying for longer term playability, especially in DX10 titles.
a c 191 U Graphics card
June 22, 2007 3:37:35 AM

That was a 8600GT review you linked, not a 8800; and it had GTX comparisons, not GTS. I will stand corrected about the x1950Pro vs. the XT though. I was looking at the PSU size that Newegg says they need. The 7900GS is lower than the Pro (22A vs. 26A iirc).
For the performance of the 8800GTS, I may be willing to tolerate a little more heat, but the GS and Pro are too close in performance (by Tom's charts).
a b U Graphics card
June 22, 2007 4:08:22 AM

Quote:
That was a 8600GT review you linked, not a 8800; and it had GTX comparisons, not GTS.


Look harder homer.... the 8800GTS is included in the numbers, so you have all the players in one handy page instead of me linking to pages for each card and one tfor power and one for noise. One stop shopping.

Quote:
I will stand corrected about the x1950Pro vs. the XT though.


If you don't want to take the advice put forward to you on that page that's your choice.

Quote:
I was looking at the PSU size that Newegg says they need. The 7900GS is lower than the Pro (22A vs. 26A iirc).


Yes it is, like I said and like the charts showed, but compared to a GTS, both sipp power.

Quote:
For the performance of the 8800GTS, I may be willing to tolerate a little more heat, but the GS and Pro are too close in performance (by Tom's charts).


Fine, I've given you unbiased advice on all of them, it's up to you to absorb it or ignore it, I'm not going to bother convincing you since I rcommended all three in one way or the other.
But the space heater comment was just laughable considering that the X1950Pro is nothing compared to the true space heaters.
June 22, 2007 4:20:19 AM

Quote:
For the performance of the 8800GTS, I may be willing to tolerate a little more heat, but the GS and Pro are too close in performance (by Tom's charts).


too close in perfomance? what is this guy talking about?

Are you saying that a 7900GS and a X1950PRO are "close" to the perfomance of a 8800GTS 320?

If thats what you mean, Im sorry to tell you but you are totally wrong. Even at low resolutions, the 8800 should beat those 2 cards easily.

BTW, you can get the 8800/320 for as low as $250 AR in newegg.
a b U Graphics card
June 22, 2007 4:22:59 AM

No he means the GF7900GS and X1950Pro are close to each other for performance. At least that was my read, although my interest wanes so maybe not.
June 22, 2007 4:29:06 AM

Quote:
No he means the GF7900GS and X1950Pro are close to each other for performance. At least that was my read, although my interest wanes so maybe not.


Now that you say it, I understand. I misunderstood his sentence since it looks confusing.

I agree that the X1950PRO is the winner compared to the 7900GS, but keep in mind the 7900GS is more overclockeable than the X1950PRO, and the fan might be louder, but usually video card fans are pretty small and arent annoying are CPU fans or PSU fans etc.

Ape, I also understand that the X1950 is more power efficient compared to the XT, but is it compared to the 7900GS? Since ATI is usually more power hungry, I believe it should not be, but having in mind is built in 80nm, I dont know what to say.
a b U Graphics card
June 22, 2007 6:05:49 AM

Quote:

I agree that the X1950PRO is the winner compared to the 7900GS, but keep in mind the 7900GS is more overclockeable than the X1950PRO,


Depends on the model as to the overclockability, but compare the X1950PRo to a stock overclocked GS and then decide whether you think the returns are enough?

Quote:
and the fan might be louder, but usually video card fans are pretty small and arent annoying are CPU fans or PSU fans etc.


I agree, and according to the review the GS is pretty much the same at 1M, so I only brought it up a an indication that the X1950Pro was neither a space heater nor the loudest of the group as was mentioned by the OP.

Quote:
Ape, I also understand that the X1950 is more power efficient compared to the XT, but is it compared to the 7900GS?


No, and that's the balance. The GF7900GS is arguably a lower performer (even when both are overclocked) but even when the GS is overclocked it has a lower power draw than the Pro even at it's (the Pro's) stock speeds. This is why I contend they all hae benefits, and all three should be considered, especially since their value also depends on the games played etc and the lifespan expected.

Quote:
I believe it should not be, but having in mind is built in 80nm, I dont know what to say.


Well the 80nm doesn't make up for the more transistors at a higher frequency. Also when nVidia went from the GF780 to GF7900 they were able to achieve great efficiencies, reducing the number of transistors required to do the same task. So it's not to surprising that the optical shrink (not full process jump) didn't provide enough benefit to overcome the transistor difference.
June 22, 2007 1:25:39 PM

Quote:
I'm about to build another PC. Eventually I'm pretty sure I will put an 8800GTS/320 in it, however that rather stretches the budget at the moment to buy it outright.
I can move my 7600GT, but would need to put something in its place temporarily so it would not render my current system unusable.
A lesser card is not an utter waste, as I can eventually give it to a non-gaming family member.

My primary game is Guild Wars, with a little Sacred, Dungeon Siege II, and Diablo II thrown in.

I anticipate having company and we will want to be able to play at tolerable fps on both of these machines. As an example, my laptop (with x1300 video) can play it at 30fps, which is marginal; 40+ would be better.

Which option makes the most sense? I haven't found any benchmarks on the GMA3100, but am inclined to choose #1 unless it would suck too badly.

What do you think? Thanks.


dude to be honest dont get a 8800gts if your going to play those games. Thats like having a ferrari enzo for going round town... rather pointless and somewhat expencive. while the only card people seem to talk about nowdays is the 8800gts. you dont need one for those games. yes ill probably get flamed now for saying this but they seem to tell people who want to spend £50 on a graphics card to buy an 8800gts. :lol: 

If you want to play those games then get a 7900gs or an ati x1950pro and forget the 8800.

Hope that helps
June 22, 2007 2:14:31 PM

You don't say what monitor you use... that's the most important thing. If you can only game at 1280x1024, an 8800GTS is a waste of money. I play at 1400x900 and an 8600GTS I got for $170 plays everything I want to play at max resolution.
a c 191 U Graphics card
June 22, 2007 2:34:55 PM

Quote:
For the performance of the 8800GTS, I may be willing to tolerate a little more heat, but the GS and Pro are too close in performance (by Tom's charts).


too close in perfomance? what is this guy talking about?

Are you saying that a 7900GS and a X1950PRO are "close" to the perfomance of a 8800GTS 320?


No no no...funny...the 7900GS and X1950PRO are too close to each other. I can see my choice of words was not clear, which probably set the Ape off too. The GGA is one of the people I never ignore on these forums, and I didn't want it to sound that way. Yes, you recommended any of the options under different circumstances, which was the grist I needed to contemplate.

I went back and found the 8800GTS numbers on the power chart. I think considering the games I play now, the 7900GS is probably my best choice. By the time I want or need DX10, there will be other cards out.
a c 191 U Graphics card
June 23, 2007 4:11:09 PM

Considering GGA's suggestions, after considering my requirements, I ordered this 7900GS:

EVGA 256-P2-N624-AR GeForce 7900GS 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 KO Video Card - Retail $149.99 ($129 after MIR)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

...to be cooled by this:

ZALMAN VF700LED - ALCU 2 Ball Blue LED VGA Cooling Fan with Heatsink - Retail $20.59
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1683...

I'll be able to test these in my current rig, since the new one is waiting for the price cuts. Hopefully I will have no DOA problems, but I'll have a few weeks to deal with them if I do.
By the time I need DX10 (Vista is not in my near-medium term future), there will be more mid-range choices available.

Thanks for your comments and suggestions.
!