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Which card to get (1950 or 8800) - need your wisdom!

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June 21, 2007 4:57:31 AM

I just bought parts for a new computer (E6420, DS3 mobo, 2gb of fast ram) and need a video card. Let me give you some background.

I have a 20" widescreen at 1680x1050 and hate playing games at resolutions other than native. I am NOT a hardcore gamer. I want to play current games pretty well, and be able to play future games decently. I mostly play FPS games as well as some RTS. Though I don't game too much, I will definitely play a lot of SC2 when it comes out.

The dilemma I'm having is how good of a card to get. I would like this to last a couple years (as I said, I'm not a hardcore gamer anymore). I've been considering a few options. I could go with a x1950pro (about $120). This might not last a few years, but I could maybe upgrade to a better card later (though not a high end card, I want to keep total cost low) - this would be good since I'm not sure how much I'll game in the future, but this option probably costs the most.

Another option is the x1950xt for about $180 (the cheap one on newegg plus a HSF). I'm not sure how long this would last. The third option is the 8800gtx 320mb for $260 at newegg. This would obviously last the longest, but it's the most expensive (I don't game large amounts... is it worth it?).

Any opinions on this? It took me about 10 minutes to research and buy all my other computer parts, but I'm clueless on the video card.

More about : card 1950 8800 wisdom

June 21, 2007 5:31:49 AM

I only have a 19" monitor and I recently upgraded from an X1950Pro to a 8800GTX 768mb, the difference was phenomenal, the GTX is much better, more than doubled my 3DmMark'06 score and believe it or not is actually quieter than the ATI. I think the 8800GTS 320mb is your best bet, awesome value for money.
June 21, 2007 5:52:06 AM

I'd go with the 8800GTS 320 too. In fact, I'm getting one on October 15 at the latest. I simply won't wait for whatever 8900 comes out. I got this budget 7600GS just to tied me over until then.

People argue whether the 8800 series is really good in DX10 based on Lost Planet and Call of Juarez demos, and they argue over the X2900 too. Regardless of whether either card does well in truly native DX10 games vs. the next generation of Nvidia or ATI cards, we can be sure that they will at least do DX10, whereas a high end DX9 card is a dead end.
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June 21, 2007 5:57:00 AM

Quote:
whereas a high end DX9 card is a dead end.


A DX9 card isn't a dead end, the street just gets narrow.

DX9 cards will still run all the new games that are made for DX10 as they will have a DX9 shader path written into the game as well. You just wont get some of the visual benefits that you'd get with DX10 card.
June 21, 2007 7:45:46 AM

The only point in having Vista now is DX10, and that needs a DX10 card.

For example, when I first played Morrowind, I had a Radeon 64 DDR, but when I got a Radeon 8500, I saw the pixel shader water effects. When I first started playing Oblivion, I had a Radeon 9800 Pro. When I upgraded to an X1650 Pro AGP on the P4, I got HDR. I also get HDR on my new main PC with the 7600 GS.

I fully admit that games can be enjoyed without the best in graphics, but part of my enjoyment is to see the game world in all it's splendor. There are games coming out now that support a Geforce 3 or Radeon 8500 at the low end, but who would want to stick with those cards after all these years unless poverty is an issue?

Admittedly, good graphics can't save a bad game, but good graphics boost many an average game's appeal.
June 21, 2007 11:39:59 PM

So you guys think an 8800gts 320 (the cheapest one) would last me a few years and would be a better value than a 1950pro with a possible upgrade in the future if I end up playing more games?
a b U Graphics card
June 22, 2007 12:00:52 AM

I would actually say no to the GTS-320 lasting you a 'few more years' it will only last you a few more months than the X1950Pro/Xt really for what your stated needs are. Sure it will play games longer, but if you're already a stickler for the performance at native res, you may want to do the X1950Pro/XT followed by a more capable refresh at Xmas.

The only sticking point would be a game like Crysis IMO, which is a huge question mark right now. However IMO if you're loking to make 16x10 playable then DX10 will likely be out of the question.

The only thing is that if you don't mind playing in DX9 mode for about the same length of time, then spending the $140 more for the GTS-320 will give you 16x10 DX9 gaming and then lower resolution DX10 gaming.

Personally considering you panel resoluition and dislike of scaling (which I completely understand) I would say that you should save the money and then buy a cheap GF92 by product or RV670 when they come out,because likely they will outperform the GTS-320 in actual DX10 games (my edjucated guess), and they will also likely be only slightly more expensive than the $140 savings and the resale value of the X1950Pro. However if you're averse to recouping the money or the hassle of swapping out a card at Xmas time, then go with the GTS-320 which is a damn fine card, but as we approach a longer term, I'm not sure I'd say it's over twice the value of the X1950Pro for the resolution you want, and with the X1950XT-256 for $160 + your HSF even that is more compelling since likely enabling DX10 means you either still turn down features on the GTS-320 or you have framrate drops at your native resolution. I don't think StarCraft2 would matter, but for FPSs you'd definitely notice.

Anywho, that's my two frames' worth.
June 22, 2007 12:31:12 AM

So this card (1950pro) will play most games today and within the next several months pretty decently? I might just go with that. That would give me the added benefit of seeing if I still play a lot of games in the future before upgrading.
June 22, 2007 2:00:37 AM

Quote:
I would say that you should save the money and then buy a cheap GF92 by product or RV670 when they come out,because likely they will outperform the GTS-320 in actual DX10 games (my edjucated guess), and they will also likely be only slightly more expensive than the $140 savings and the resale value of the X1950Pro.


I'm probably going to get an 8800GTS 640 instead of an 8800GTX because the "8900" is coming out. I'll see how it does in DX10 when I actually get to play Crysis and other native DX10 games. After I did my above post about futureproofing, I saw Tom's Hardware's evaluation of playing the Lost Planet demo under DX9 and DX10 -- they did not see all that much difference.

If it looks like the 8900's are coming out by November, then I'll just wait, though this budget 7600GS is getting a bit old. I also wished I'd known that AMD was coming out with a 2600 AGP soon after the PCIe. I would have held off a few months and not gotten the X1650 Pro for the old Northwood.

If you buy, you might miss a better deal a few months later, and if you wait, you can wait forever because the next generation is just around the corner. There's never a perfect time to do either unless you have a firm release date and, with DX10, games that actually will allow for a benchmark.
June 22, 2007 4:16:36 AM

So... any thoughts about the 1950pro?
a b U Graphics card
June 22, 2007 4:19:12 AM

Yah, it's a solid card that will do what you want until the Truely 'must have' DX10 games come and and the nice 65nm must have cards come out too.

Sapphire's pretty good, I prefer HIS and Gigabyte, but Sapphire's got a solid build and good warranty and customer service from my experinces.
June 23, 2007 2:19:59 AM

Quote:
Yah, it's a solid card that will do what you want until the Truely 'must have' DX10 games come and and the nice 65nm must have cards come out too.

Sapphire's pretty good, I prefer HIS and Gigabyte, but Sapphire's got a solid build and good warranty and customer service from my experinces.


Thanks for the advice, I think I'll go with that.
June 23, 2007 2:45:35 AM

i'd go for the 1950 pro, esp the sapphire one, it is cheap (can be had for $120 after rebates) and the cards heatsink also does the vrms, so you have good cooling on them.

sure, it performs slow compared to the 8800gts but at less than half the price it is worth it, also, DX9 is still solid because SM3 still delivers some visually stunning effects, people just need to work a tid bit harder to code them.
June 23, 2007 3:15:48 AM

You might want to take a look at the ATI 2900 close to par with the 8800 with the new drivers, and is quite a bit cheaper. Only downside is it is 20% harder on power and noiser.
June 23, 2007 3:23:43 AM

careful with the 8800's I hear they draw a lot of power and you might need to spend even more on a new powersupply too.
June 23, 2007 4:00:12 AM

Hey maybe you guys could help me out with this I am also hung up on what video card to get for my new pc! The monitors I am looking are 20 and 22 inch, they're both wide screen and with a native resolution of 1680x1050 the videocards im looking at are: 8600GT 256mb, 2600XT 256mb and a 1950PRO all of these I will OC. What one of these will perform the best at 1680x1050 Im leaning towards the 1950 due to the advantage in memory bandwidth. I have a 350w Omni PSU (lol) that was made on the 1st of March 2003 (sticker says so) Ive looked on the casing of it and have found no information about rails and amp's. Im currently running a 6600GT
June 23, 2007 5:32:25 AM

The ASUS X1950 Pro, for example, recommends a 450 watt power supply with 30 amps on the 12 volt rail:

Quote:

450-Watt power supply or greater, 30 Amps, 12 volt rail is recommended (assumes fully loaded system)
For CrossFire: 550 watt power supply or greater, 38 Amps, 12 volt rail


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I could not find similar information on the Sapphire, and though someone reported doing okay with a 300 watt power supply, that might not stand up under full load while gaming.

IMHO, even the minor future proofing of an 8600 or an X2600 is preferable to any DX9.0c card right now. Driver improvements may make those cards more viable in true DX10 games than they are in the demos that are out right now (ie Lost Planet etc).

The 8600 needs less power than the X1950 Pro and the same should be true of the X2600 class cards. Especially if you are hoping to overclock, then pay attention to the power supply.

Running a better power supply well under load is safer than stressing out the minimum power supply for a given configuration. For example, though my power supply would support an 8800 Ultra, which needs a 500 watt with 34 amps, I would only trust it with an 8800GTX or GTS.
June 25, 2007 2:26:43 PM

Quote:
So this card (1950pro) will play most games today and within the next several months pretty decently? I might just go with that. That would give me the added benefit of seeing if I still play a lot of games in the future before upgrading.


NO NO NO ---- Don't waste $150-$180 ON A DX9 CARD .... ! Even if the dx9 cards will play dx10 games you're gonna lose alot .... It's gonna end up like buying a high end black and white tv .... :roll: Gotta get my waist boots on again .... the BULLS*HIT is getting deep on supporting anyone wasting money on a dx9 " new " video card !
June 26, 2007 1:22:38 AM

I argued for anyone getting the higher 8600 or an X2600 class card if they couldn't go over $200, but there are many who say that the cards marketed for HTPC's just can't do DX10 (ie based on Call of Juarez and Company of Heroes, plus the Lost Planet benchmark). I argued that the new ATI drivers showed with the X2900 that performance can improve, so it's probable that both Nvidia and AMD's midrange Dx10 cards will be viable.

I guess I lost the argument because so many are convinced that DX10 just won't run well on any current generation DX10 card, drivers or not. Still, I'd rather stick with my stopgap 7600GS and wait for the next generation of DX10 than to get the current high end DX9. That I still consider a dead end. So, I recommend that everyone wait if they're not happy with current DX10 performance. Unless they like to buy a new card every 6 months or so.
June 26, 2007 2:29:24 AM

Quote:
spend an extra 20 or 30 dollars and get 512 mb version of the x1950

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

more memory means you'll have less a problem running games with full textures!

Uhhh, that a X1950GT not the X1950PRO that the OP was looking at. And as for playing DX9 games, I wouldn't spend extra money for more memory. Negligible performance difference.
June 26, 2007 9:55:06 AM

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And as for playing DX9 games, I wouldn't spend extra money for more memory. Negligible performance difference.


More memory works for Oblivion with mods. If a gamer doesn't play games that benefit from extra textures, then the extra $30 isn't worth it, yet. There are many games coming out that will work on Vista's legacy DX9, so they might take advantage of more RAM on a DX9 card because they're used to the amount of RAM on the DX10 models.

Quote:
I to am facing a similar decission. I'm deciding between the Saphire X1950XT, and the XFX 8800GTS, priced at $150 and $250 respectively.


I'd recommend spending the extra money for an 8800GTS. Were it not for the airline tickets for my family's vacation, I'd have had one by now! I really think the current benchmark issues with the 8800GTS and GTX and the X2900 are related to both poor driver optimization and poor implementation of DX10 in games that started development as DX9 titles.

I think it will get better and then you'll be happy to have an 8800GTS. If worse comes to worse and you get an "8900GTS" in a year, then the 8800GTS will still have better resale value.
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