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new system, X1950XT or 8800GTS 320mb?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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July 13, 2007 6:27:18 PM

Yeah, I know the question may seem pretty stupid, but...

The X1950XT is a really nice card for its price (I could get one for about 200€). Right now, it can handle almost anything at high quality, and DX9 compatibility will be around for years.

On the other hand, the 8800 series still seem to lack the power to run DX10 stuff nicely. In other words, if I bought a 8800GTS today (about 280€), it wouldn't be because of it being a DX10 card, but just because it is faster than the X1950XT in DX9. Also, the 320mb factor could become a bottleneck in the near future when it comes to running games with AA / AF on, and I'm not even considering the 640mb model; it's much more expensive and my monitor will be a 20" TFT with a native resolution of 1400x1050.

So, considering that the performance difference in DX9 between these two cards is noticeable, but not abysmal at all, wouldn't it be a nice option to spare those 80€ and start saving for a card that is truly DX10-viable when they become available?

What would you do?
July 13, 2007 6:58:19 PM

If there's a game you want to play now where the X1950XT would provide such performance that you'd really wish you had a 8800GTS, get a 8800GTS. Else get an X1950XT. :) 
a b U Graphics card
July 13, 2007 7:01:40 PM

If the 1950 is 512mb, then yes Id agree with you, saving for the future, its a great card. The GTS is great also, and if one cant play it now, chances are the other wont either. Tough choice. To me it comes down to saving the money or not. Your call
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July 13, 2007 7:13:10 PM

No, I'm afraid it's the 256 mb version. But... why would it be much better if we were talking 512mb? I mean, my monitor will still have a maximum resolution of 1400x1050, so at the moment it isn't such a critical factor, is it? And in a year or two, I guess the X1950XT will suffer not because of its memory (like the 8800GTS), but because its general speed...

Ah, Dr_Asik, is there such a game? Supreme Commander, maybe? :D 
July 13, 2007 8:03:14 PM

i think quake 4 and such use more than 256mb of memory when on ultra mode..im sure a few other games will need it with aa/af cranked up. 512 is a safe zone for i i believe, 256 won't cut it anymore
a b U Graphics card
July 13, 2007 8:19:25 PM

Ive got a 1900xt 512mb and a 8800gts 320mb , on 2 of my games, Ive noticed when I crank the aa and af the 8800 lags, where the 1900 doesnt. Yes, for eyecandy and the future, ram makes a difference
July 13, 2007 8:19:39 PM

The 8800 gts, look at simple benchmarks. The 8800 gts destroys the x1950xt at any setting. If your thinking about the textures in the future and saying that the x1950xt 512mb will be better than the 8800gts 320mb than you're wrong. There will not be enough raw power in the x1950 to even deal with it all compared to the 8800. Let's say you don't even use the 8800 for dx10 it's still too much of a better card then the x1950 to overlook.
a b U Graphics card
July 13, 2007 8:27:08 PM

Let me put it this way. My 1900 cranked all eyecandy in oblivion, turning down some in game settings runs fine. My GTS cranked eyecandy (higher eyecandy yes) and a lil better in game settings lags, simple as that. Id step outside, and the slide show would begin. Never happened with my XT. Im asking more of the GTS, true, but it IS a better card. It makes it harder to optimise on a demanding game, from the driver perspective
July 13, 2007 8:35:22 PM

OK, it might be possible that a X1950XT with 512mb would have an edge over the 8800 with 320mb in certain situations, but the thing is that the 512mb version would cost me no less than 265€ (http://www.pixmania.com/es/es/531474/art/sapphire-technology/radeon-x1950xt-512-mb-tv.html). And in that case, with the cheapest 8800 models priced at 271€ (http://www.pixmania.com/es/es/542255/art/sparkle/geforce-8800-gts-320-mb-d.html), well... with all due respect, I'm getting the 8800. Unless somebody is willing to tell me that I should choose the X1950XT because the memory will make up for its worse general performance in the future!

Argh, this is harder than I thought :|
July 13, 2007 8:39:08 PM

@jaydee, I'm really surprised you got a 8800! You for sure I thought would pick up a 2900xt.
July 13, 2007 8:41:21 PM

Go with you gts, just as jaydee said, the 8800 seems slower but at higher settings, so therefore is better because he's running the game at higher settings now.
a b U Graphics card
July 13, 2007 8:42:04 PM

The GTS is the better card, is it better looking forward in all games/situations than a 1950 512mb? Probly not. A 1950 256mb? Yes. Id get the GTS and be happy, its a great card. Theres a few games the 1950 512mb does as good, but mostly the GTS rulz. Against a 256, itll rule even moreso. I love both my cards. No complaints. Just have to get used to the GTS, as its newer
July 13, 2007 8:42:34 PM

By the way, does anybody think that with proper driver optimizations and so on the 8800 series will be able to run DX10 games consistently in the future? In other words, do you think it's a question of bad drivers, bad implementation, etc. or is it just that these cards don't have the power to do it, and once DX10 spreads every proud non-millionaire 8800 owner will bang his head against the wall?
a b U Graphics card
July 13, 2007 8:46:21 PM

bruce555 said:
@jaydee, I'm really surprised you got a 8800! You for sure I thought would pick up a 2900xt.
Right now Im gaming at 12x10, didnt want to upgrade my psu, my opty 185 already runs hot and for the money, the GTS 320 is nice. Next gen, Im going ATI/AMD again, no doubt, as I believe unless nVidia changes the way theyre doing their shaders, they wont impress
a b U Graphics card
July 13, 2007 8:51:31 PM

gusanoapestoso said:
By the way, does anybody think that with proper driver optimizations and so on the 8800 series will be able to run DX10 games consistently in the future? In other words, do you think it's a question of bad drivers, bad implementation, etc. or is it just that these cards don't have the power to do it, and once DX10 spreads every proud non-millionaire 8800 owner will bang his head against the wall?
I have a feeling, when DX10.1 implementations come out, the 8800 series wont do alot. The 2900 has the shader design and the 8800 has the gpu (shader frequency) design right. I know ATI is planning on running 2 cores on their next arch, similar to the 8800's, and so far, I havnt seen nVidia do alot in regards to addressing the shader problem.
July 13, 2007 8:53:38 PM

I wouldn't worry about dx10.1 yet as we're still waiting for a migration to dx10.
July 13, 2007 9:56:29 PM

Not bad, what's the price difference between the other manufacturers like evga and bfg?
July 13, 2007 10:34:01 PM

I haven't seen much of eVGA here in Europe, I'm afraid. The Sparkle is 270€. Then there's BFG's OC'ed version for 304€, currently out of stock, and the XFX XXX Edition (the one OC'ed to 580/1800) for 328€, available in 8-10 days. I don't trust entirely those people though, because they list the XFX XXX as having 500/1800 frequencies. I'm afraid they could be selling a "vanilla" XFX as an XXX. The Sparkle is really tempting. If you told me it's decent I may go for it.
a b U Graphics card
July 13, 2007 11:31:40 PM

gusanoapestoso said:

Argh, this is harder than I thought :|


You've got some good advice, and the funny thing is that the experience is similar to most GTS-320 owners.

The GTs-320 does struggle sometimes when the effects are cranked, and will lag behind the XT and XTX at the same settings (not only talking about higher settings).

However as you go forward into future games, you will likely see that the stresses become different and high AA is not an issue, and as such then the memory size doesn't matter as much.

To me the GTs-320 is a better choice because it's got more features and it will have a higher resale value into the future. Performance can be close depending on the situation, but overall the GTS-320 will outperform and would be the better long term solution IMO.
July 14, 2007 5:10:30 AM

It all depends on how long you will use the card. If you want to use it for a year or more go for the 8800. If you want to upgrade as soon as gen2 dx10 cards come out so you can max out Crysis get the x1950xt or better yet wait till xmas to get a top of da line gen2 card. Don't use dx10 as a factor as there are no dx10games out. No one knows how the 8800/2900's will work in dx10
July 14, 2007 10:17:09 AM

@ OP:

Whats your Graphx card now, that you want to upgrade? You might be better off staying where your at. Surprised noone asked that yet.
July 14, 2007 11:15:36 AM

The thing is, on one hand, gaming won't even be the primary use for this computer (CAD and numerical simulation will, I'd say), though it's obviously the most critical one (except for RAM), so it's not like I'm going to commit suicide if I can't max everything out in every game at the moment. But, on the other hand, I don't know when I'll be able to get an upgrade, so even ignoring the DX10 factor, it might be wiser to get a faster video card. Nah, for me I guess it all comes down to being able to fit an 8800GTS into the maximum budget without detracting too much from other components.
July 14, 2007 11:23:01 AM

No can do, f61, I'm building an entirely new system. For the record, my current GPU is a 7600GS. I got a 6800GT for my last PC build about three years ago, but it fried in a pretty spectacular manner in October, right after cleaning it. With a flash, and lots of smoke, and a burnt plastic stink that didn't go away in hours. I probably dropped water on it and short-circuited or something.
July 14, 2007 11:42:05 AM

Your 1950XT 256 / 8800 320, they are both good cards for one more year. After that it will DX10+, you will need 512 minimum.

Current cards for DX10 are fair at best, so buy which ever is less expensive.

A word about "FPS"

What are we looking for in gaming performance wise? First off, obviously Guru3D tends to think that all games should be played at the best image quality (IQ) possible. There's a dilemma though, IQ often interferes with the performance of a graphics card. We measure this in FPS, the number of frames a graphics card can render per second; the higher it is the more fluently your game will display itself.

A game's frames per second (FPS) is a measured average of a series of tests. That test is often a time demo, a recorded part of the game which is a 1:1 representation of the actual game and its game play experience. After forcing the same image quality settings; this time demo is then used for all graphics cards so that the actual measuring is as objective as can be.

Frames per second Game play

<30 FPS very limited game play
30-40 FPS average yet very playable
40-60 FPS good game play
>60 FPS best possible game play

• So if a graphics card barely manages less than 30 FPS then the game is not very playable, we want to avoid that at all cost.

• With 30 FPS up-to roughly 40 FPS you'll be very able to play the game with perhaps a tiny stutter at certain graphically intensive parts. Overall a very enjoyable experience. Match the best possible resolution to this result and you'll have the best possible rendering quality versus resolution, hey you want both of them to be as high as possible.

• When a graphics card is doing 60 FPS on average or higher then you can rest assured that the game will likely play extremely smoothly at every point in the game, turn on every possible in-game IQ setting.

• Over 100 FPS? You have either a MONSTER of graphics card or a very old game.
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