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Buying a New Card: Could Use Some Help

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July 11, 2007 5:49:53 AM

Hey all,
So I sold my older graphics card for $125 in hopes of buying a new one. I had been looking at either the Radeon HD 2900 XT or the 8800 GTS 640MB. I was having a tough time deciding when my girlfriend, of all people, asked if there was something better that I could get to just settle the issue, as she is tired of me spending time online looking at prices and reviews, and so am I :whistle:  . Thus I have been looking at and found an MSI 8800 GTX 768MB for $499 before rebates, $479 after rebates. Now I have no idea what to do, I have narrowed it down to either the 8800 GTS 640MB, for a little over $350, or the 8800 GTX. I told my girlfriend that it would be more money, to which she replied, "Well yeah, but will it last longer so I don't have to deal with you wanting to buy one next year?" Touche girlfriend, and I had no real response. Yes it will last longer probably, yes it is better, but what about the price difference? The thing that keeps sticking in the back of my mind is that I have to get a new card as I no longer have one and I do have $125 toward a card that I didn't have to work towards, which drops the price by $125 as I cannot simply pocket that money. Also, this year I will have a job during college as an IT tech and have a decent income during the year. Also note that I have no other real expenses, though I do need to buy a car at the end of next school year for an internship. So, long story short, what would you guys do? Do you think it is worth the price difference or should I just get the GTS? I want this card to last me a little over 2 years. My specs are below if you need that information. Thanks for any help.

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a c 130 U Graphics card
July 11, 2007 6:59:10 AM

Sorry but i gota say you should have kept what you had, dont know if you are running vista but if you are not then you wont benefit from the limited dx10 support the cards you mention have.
Going on the res you have down for your monitor the GTS 6400 is the best option of the cards you listed some people say that there is very little difference in performance between that and the 320 so you could save even more if you wanted.(check out some benchies first though)

Mactronix
a b U Graphics card
July 11, 2007 9:19:20 AM

Youll get a better card in the GTX. Will it last longer? Yes, tho like mac said, DX10 will more than likely clobber it eventually. For ANY DX9 game, it rules, and as far as DX10 games go, no one really can say, as there arent any out yet. Right now, its the most forward looking card you can get. Will it become medium range in DX10? Most certainly, BUT, itll give more performance as time goes by and games demand more from your card. It also draws alot of power, runs hotter etc. the price we pay for top hardware. Your choice. If it was me? Id be a buyin a GTX!!!
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July 11, 2007 11:25:53 AM

mactronix said:
Sorry but i gota say you should have kept what you had, dont know if you are running vista but if you are not then you wont benefit from the limited dx10 support the cards you mention have.
Going on the res you have down for your monitor the GTS 6400 is the best option of the cards you listed some people say that there is very little difference in performance between that and the 320 so you could save even more if you wanted.(check out some benchies first though)

Mactronix



I don't agree with the first part of your post, I think an upgrade to a GTS would be a great upgrade. It would be worth it for the outstanding dx9 performance alone, and the availabe data for dx10 performance is too prelimanary and limited to make any conclusions.

@Murphy

My GTS 640MB works great with my 1920x1200 resolution with all quality settings on max 16xAF and 4xAA gets around 45-70FPS on BF2142. The 320MB one should also be a good option for you. Just check out some benchmarks and consider that upcoming games may require a little bit more graphics memory than the current ones. Also, EVGA has the step-up program so you may want to consider that as well.

The GTX seems to be significantly better from the benchmarks, but I wouldn't count on it lasting that much longer considering that the next generation of cards may be much better than the GTS and GTX especially for dx10 performance.
a b U Graphics card
July 11, 2007 1:03:36 PM

Man, the card you had was nice. I don't think you will be very impressed unless you do go for the GTX. It'll probably last longer than your girlfriend.... ;) 
July 11, 2007 1:19:45 PM

Interesting - I was choosing between the GTS 640, the GTS 320 and the 2900XT and I plumped for a GTX in the end, as I saw a good deal on one. It as £300 / $600 - which is a great price in the UK.

My logic was that I wasn't really sure that I wanted to spend a large sum of money on a card that was 1.5 times the performance of the card I had (X1800XT), but I was happy to spend a little more on a card that would double the performance I had - the GTX is the fastest card out there by quite some margin barring the Ultra.

I also did some research and from what I can tell:

1) The GTX is unlikely to come down in price until the end of the year, when the G90 comes out
2) The top of the range G90 will be significantly (perhaps 1.5 times) faster than the GTX, but use similar architecture to the 8800
3) No-one seems to know what ATI's plans are
4) It looks as if all the current DX10 cards are going to struggle with DX10, but the GTX is significantly faster than the rest so will struggle less

All guesswork really, but the main thing is that the GTX will definitely last you longer than the GTS, and probably longer than the 2900.
a b U Graphics card
July 11, 2007 2:41:46 PM

From what Ive heard, the 700 from ATI/AMD is going to have duo/gpu setup, and to be a 65nm process, possibly 55nm
July 11, 2007 5:03:57 PM

jitpublisher said:
Man, the card you had was nice. I don't think you will be very impressed unless you do go for the GTX. It'll probably last longer than your girlfriend.... ;) 


ROFL. Well, you never know, cept for the fact that we've been dating for 3 years. She mentioned the upgrade cause she knows I obsess over these things, but you may be right.


As to the other responses, thanks to you all they have been most helpful. I understand what you all are saying, especially about the fact that it is hard to know how any of the current DX10 cards will actually perform once DX10 games start coming out for real. I actually don't have Vista, nor am I that worried about getting it. I make it a practice not to buy an OS that doesn't even have a service pack yet. I will probably end up getting it by the end of the year or maybe next summer. I obviously know that I will see more of a performance increase with the GTX than the GTS, given the card I was coming from. In defense of my upgrade, however, while the x1950XT was fine when I had my 17" monitor, I noticed a decent drop in performance when I got my 22" and I am a stickler for performance. I do think one way or the other a 8800 upgrade is still a good decision due to their excellent performance in DX9.

I guess I am still somewhat on the fence as what to do. I am already considering spending $400 on a graphics card, so part of me wonders what $80 more really matters? I do think the GTX will last somewhat longer just due to its better performance right now it might take a little longer to degrade. However, it is more expensive. I have looked at benchmarks, a lot of benchmarks, and tradtitionally find the GTX to be anywhere from 15-30 FPS more than hte GTS, and that is something to consider. I will have to do some more research, and a bit more money planning, before I decide.
a c 130 U Graphics card
July 11, 2007 7:39:40 PM

Well it seems to me that what you now need to decide is if you can stomach an extra $150 for the GTX i myself in your position would get the GTS 640 and save the diff towards a second Gen dx10 card when you upgrade to vista (which isnt cheap in itself).

To pshrk i see where you are coming from and given that the op is now running a bigger monitor (which wasnt mentioned in the first post) i completley agree but on a straight swap on xp so no dx10 support i couldnt personally justify the $350 for a new card.
a c 143 U Graphics card
July 11, 2007 8:27:02 PM

I'm voting for the GTS too.

The GTX needs a big case and a big PSU and it costs more and it doesn't do that good in DX10 games anyway. I saw benchmarks with the GTX in Call of Juarez doing 10 fps, yuck... At your resolution, and with DX9 games, the GTS will be great.

My compliments to the girlfriend, she's got a very nice attitude :lol:  :lol: 
July 11, 2007 8:50:46 PM

mactronix said:
Well it seems to me that what you now need to decide is if you can stomach an extra $150 for the GTX i myself in your position would get the GTS 640 and save the diff towards a second Gen dx10 card when you upgrade to vista (which isnt cheap in itself).

To pshrk i see where you are coming from and given that the op is now running a bigger monitor (which wasnt mentioned in the first post) i completley agree but on a straight swap on xp so no dx10 support i couldnt personally justify the $350 for a new card.


You pretty much hit the nail on the head in terms of justifying the extra $125 in my case. You may be right that it would be better to get the GTS, save some money, and then maybe upgrade again in a year or so. It might be more realistic for me, and a better decision financially. It's not so much that I demand amazinf performance, but that I really just love to build computers. That's one of the main reasons that I buy new parts, because I like the research and everything else involved. I was wondering if you think it might be worth trying to schedule it so that I can take advantage of EVGA's trade up policy. i.e., if I buy in mid August the 90 days would probably last me until Nvidia's newer line and then I could trade up. The problem is I would have to pay the MSRP value.

@aevm

Yeah I see your point and I might actually lean in that direction.
And yeah lol, my girlfriend is pretty awesome in that she doesn't care if I spend money on my computer. Probably because she knows I usually talk myself out of spending too much mone anyway.
a c 130 U Graphics card
July 12, 2007 7:29:21 AM

I have never used trade up myself but then thats been because what i wanted at the time was available and there was no DX9/10 stuff going on, I think that at the min with all the uncertainty going on about new releases and dates that trying to time a purchase to be within the trade up time is an excellent idea that way you should catch some refresh cards if not new releases.
Keep an eye on the forums and ask about for prospective release dates (taken with plenty of salt these days though) after that all you can do is hope you timed it right.
The other option is to go with what you want now and sell it on ebay etc latter(just hope they dont drop the price of a new one too much when they release the newer cards).
Mactronix
July 12, 2007 12:31:31 PM

If your monitor is 1050x1680, or 1200x1600 its a tossup between the 640 and 320 versions. 4the$ its the 320 unless you have a 1200x1920 monitor, then its all GTX.

f61
July 12, 2007 4:25:00 PM

I recently was in a very similar situation, looking at that msi gtx...eventually I opted for a pre-oc'd 640 with a good shader freq.
a c 193 U Graphics card
July 12, 2007 6:28:21 PM

Looking at your PSU, I'm not sure it's up to a GTX. Unless you plan to upgrade that too (another $120+?), your safest upper limit is probably a GTS. I'd get a 320. If it can't handle DX10 games when they show up, it won't hurt as much as having spent even more on a GTX that may not handle them much better, but either one will easily handle DX9.
July 12, 2007 9:01:38 PM

Hmm, thanks for all the comments guys. They have helped me with my decision. I decided not to go with the GTX, I can't rationalize the cost.

Final question: I will either go with the 8800 GTS 640MB or the 2900 XT. Any thoughts as to which is better or might last longer? I know that is hard to tell, but I accept any speculation involved. I know my opinion but I would like to hear what others think.
a c 130 U Graphics card
July 12, 2007 9:20:50 PM

Why dont you ask a hard one :D 
From what i have seen they perform pretty similar depending on the game/app used in the benchies and i would go with the 8800 as a solid proven dx9 card its hard to fault. While the 2900 may well pull ahead of it when some proper dx10 gets thrown at it and developers start wrighting stuff to run on the dedicated tesilation unit.however we are talking about the hear and now,for me it seems that it runs hot and sucks a lot of power (to be expected)but the gts from what i have read draws all its power from the pcie slot so must be better on that score.
So thats one vote for the gts 640
Mactronix
July 12, 2007 9:24:56 PM

My personal vote is also for the gts 640. Of course, I come to my decision, go to get the card I want on NewEgg, only to find it is out of stock until Mon lol. Oh well, I guess I'll have some time to kill.
July 12, 2007 9:40:18 PM

Sorry to add more confusion to this, but this really is a confusing market right now. Check this link out:

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

This is a very recent review with a wide spread of games and resolutions tested. And with the latest drivers there is negligible difference between the GTS 320 and the GTS 640 - why not save yourself a few bucks and buy your gf something nice with the change :) 
a c 130 U Graphics card
July 12, 2007 10:04:33 PM

Yes i can see where you are coming from and on the face of it its very reasonable to try and save money when the performance is so similar only thing that worries me is the way games seem to keep needing more and more memory.
Not so long ago games wanted 128 cards now it seems 256 is the norm, i just have this feeling that the jump to 512 wont be that long coming and with a 320 people will find themselves stuck in the middle so to speak.
So with the longevity of the card in mind i would personally still pay the extra for the 640.
Mactronix
July 13, 2007 3:22:27 AM

@ethel
You are right about the benchmarks, but have you seen benchmarks for certain games such as Oblivion? In Oblivion there is a pretty big difference between the 320 and 640 versions due to Oblivion needing that extra memory buffer for textures and the like. I can see what you're saying, but $50 more for twice the memory and likely better performance in high texture based games is worth it to me. Not to mention it seems like more of an upgrade to me to go from a 256 card to a 640 card than if I was going to a 320 card, makes me feel like my upgrade money is really going somwhere. I appreciate the input though.

I also wanted to say thanks to everyone who responded. This was my first time on these forums and I will definitely stick around. Everyone seems very helpful and polite and the advice has been very useful.
July 13, 2007 10:57:24 AM

murphy82nd said:
@ethel
You are right about the benchmarks, but have you seen benchmarks for certain games such as Oblivion? In Oblivion there is a pretty big difference between the 320 and 640 versions due to Oblivion needing that extra memory buffer for textures and the like. I can see what you're saying, but $50 more for twice the memory and likely better performance in high texture based games is worth it to me


Wow, $50 is a small difference - here in the UK it is $100!

Definitely worth it then - good luck with your new card, you won't be disappointed.
!