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Unsure which to choose-help (and opinions) please

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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July 18, 2007 12:12:34 AM

First off, I am learning the ropes in computers and I do not know very much about graphics cards. So, if possible, could anyone answer these questions:

#1 I have heard (and researched) that the upcoming PC titles (such as Bioschock and Crysis-what else are people rushing to get graphic cards for? :D ) only require DX 9 and comes with a stunted DX 10. So, if this is true, would a DX 9 card work with them? I noticed on the Bioshock site they stated the 8600 for recommended-is this because it has DX 10 capabilities?

#2 Speaking of the Geforce 8600, I have also researched and found that it is not worth the money. {Other sites have denied this and said it was worth the money}. I have read that it runs DX 9 games slower than the 7900 card (except for Oblivion) and does not overclock well [I shouldn't put that since I do not know the purpose of overclocking-other than making it faster]; but, other sites say it is good and stated this:
"low-8400/8500/2400, med-8600gt/gts/2600xt, high/max-8800/2900xt" as the range of cards for Nvidia. So-in my situation-I wish to play modern/older games (present-2 years ago) games, will the 8600 be worth it? Or should I settle for the (I asume cheaper) 7900-or even a different card (even though it does not have DX 10)? This kind of goes to the first question-but even broader-do I need DX 10 cards? I have heard the same thing over and over "wait until better DX 10 cards come". Well, are they saying the 8600 sucks? (Including the GT, GTS, GTX-I don't know the difference but I assume GTX is better)

#3 Speaking of ranges, I am also lost when it comes to ATI cards. One site argued that the Geforce blows it out of the water and that the crossfire sucks. Others have stated that the X1950 kills the 8800. So if possible, can someone give me a general idea compared to the GeForce series? Also, can anyone list a range like above (a low, med, and high-though I do not know if the above one is accurate).

To sum it up, can anyone give me a decent card that can run today's games smoothly, run future heavy hitters smoothly (bioshock, crysis), and stay cheap? {and explain if DX 10 is needed} Long thread but TIA

More about : unsure choose opinions

July 18, 2007 12:15:49 AM

The 8800gts or gtx.
Or the x2900,s.
July 18, 2007 12:27:05 AM

didn't answer my other questions-but I'll check those out...this is why I shouldn't write long threads :|
Related resources
July 18, 2007 12:32:35 AM

1) I've heard similar things and I don't believe that DX10 will be FULLY ready until sometime in 2008. Also, just because a gmae is listed as DX10, doesn't mean that it can only be played in DX10. Games will still be playable on DX9 hardware, but will either run slower or won't have all of the fancy new eye candy. And yes the DX10 capabilities are probably why it is recommended.

2 + 3) I think there may have been some confusion or misunderstanding of what you have read. Current'y, the 8800GTX and Ultra are THE best single card solutions you can get. They are folowed by Ati's HD2900XT which competes with the 8800GTS 640mb. What you read about the 8600 not being worth it is mostly correct. The 8600 GT and GTS are both out-performed by the previous generation and can't handle the advance DX10. On the other hand, they have advance media capabilites that make them a good buy if you are looking for a card for a media pc. Currently, you can find the 8800GTS 320mb for around $250-270 USD. This is an excellent card for the price and worht every penny IMO. Most people will tell you to wait to buy a DX10 card if you already have a strong performing 7 series or X1000 series.

As for your ranges.(in order of best to worst, figuratively speaking)

High-end :
8800Ultra, 8800GTX, HD2900XT or 8800GTS 640mb, 8800GTS 320mb

Mid-end:
X1950XT,7950GT, X1950pro or 8600GTS, 7900GT, 8600GT or HD2600XT or 7900GS, X1650 or 7600GT

Low-end:
HD2600pro, 8500GT, 8400GT or HD2400, and the rest of the 7 and X1 series


(I think I got it right. If anyone wants to correct or change orders feel free)
July 18, 2007 12:37:03 AM

thank you very much lostandwandering; 1 more question for that though...
You said in the Mid-end (which I think I'm going since I'm poor :D ) is the 8600GTS, 7900GT. Would you say the 8600 is better than the 7900 GT? I thought it was opposite-you did say the 8600 was good for media; what if for gaming, would 7900GT be better than 8600
Very helpful information; btw
I'm looking in the $100-150 price range (which restricts a lot)
July 18, 2007 12:58:09 AM

If you don't mind going to the ATI camp, the X1950 is right in that sweat spot you mentioned and is better than the 7900GT and equal to or better than the 8600GTS. The 8600GTS is better than the 7900GT. Personally, I would grab an X1950, either the Pro (~$140) or the XT (~$170).

Now the other thing you could do, stay with me on this, buy an eVGA 8600GTS. eVGA has a step-up program that allows you to upgrade your video car for the price difference between the 2 within 90 days of the 8600 purchase. Say you buy an 8600GTS for $180. In 60 days you decide it isn't adequate enough. You trade in the 8600 for the 8800GTS 320 (which is around $260) and all you pay is the $80 difference between the two. So you essentially had 2 cards for 260 bucks.
Something to think about.
July 18, 2007 1:09:15 AM

Great, great, great! Thank you so much-the eVGA seems interesting, I might check it out; I was lookign into the X1950 on newegg and I found some interesting prices ($104.99 after $35.00 Mail-In Rebate); at the same price I found the 7900GS-so I'll look even more in the X1950 (even though I do not know the difference from a IceQ 3 Turbo and a HDCP).

Thank you very much.
One last thing-If its too much, you need not try. How could you compare the ATI cards, such as the X1950 with their Radeons? I noticed there were none on your list, so I'm lost on their range. Nevertheless thank you very much. (Now I'm off to see games that are compatible with the X1950). And one lasssst thing: I'm assuming (again) that the X1950 is better than ATI X1300 (you say the X1 series is the lower end). Correct if wrong, if you want :D  Thanks!
July 18, 2007 1:13:02 AM

If you have around $120-130 to use on a graphics card then get either a 7900GS or X1950Pro.

If you have around $170-190, get the X1950XT.

The next price point is at $280 with the 8800GTS 320.

If you have less than what I stated, start saving more, if you have more than what I stated, get a GTX.

the HD2400/2600 and 8400/8500/8600 are not even worth the silicon they are made on, my dream is one day to find the engineers from both companies that committed the sin of creating those designs and piss on them and finally setting them on fire, see if that actually teaches them never to make such crap designs in the first place.

And to the guy 2 posts above, the 8600GTS is NOT better than the 7900GT, in fact it can't even catch the X1950Pro. And about the eVGA step up, my understanding is that you have to pay the difference between what you paid and what they have listed on their site as the "MSRP" which is quite a bit more than what they usually retail at, so you'd end up paying about $300 or so for a GTS.
July 18, 2007 1:14:48 AM

Ouch harsh on the 8400/8500/8600 haha. I was seriously about to buy them but I decided to do more research and nub questioning (good thing I did). Thanks
July 18, 2007 1:19:11 AM

Don't or you'll probably end up cracking your own skull from kicking yourself so much in the head, same principle applies to any of the Radeon HD2K series except the HD2900XT.
July 18, 2007 1:23:39 AM

I hope you mean that by asking nub questions lol-and not the X1950
July 18, 2007 1:26:47 AM

No I meant that if you bought any of the cheap GF8 you'll end up with a self-provoked serious injury.

But hey I figured a use for the HD2k and GF8 cheapies... We can set a guiness record, how fast you can set a graphics card on fire? How fast you can smash a graphics card with a sledgehammer? Good uses for those right there.
July 18, 2007 1:59:18 AM

Yes 1950PRO or XT or 8800 series are the best price/prformance right now.I would include the 2900xt but it is more expensive than 8800 gts for not much advantage.
July 18, 2007 10:02:44 AM

all i have to say is:

dont go dx10 unless you are gonna go all the way ie.8800gtx or 2900xt
in all other currently available dx10 cards,you are paying extra for the dx10 (and some extra multi media crap) capabilites which will ultimatly be proven redundant as they will not handle games such as crysis or bioshock.the next generation of dx10 cards will be far supperior. hell,i wouldnt even buy an 8800gtx or 2900xt as i do not trust that they will exel in dx10.considering the pricing its just not worth it. i can see it now,spending all that cash and then when crysis actually arives having to play it on medium settings and low res.whats the point?

rather wait for second gen cards where you will get far more performance for your dollar.

this is a lesson that the technology industry teaches us evertime it launches something new : never buy the first version of a cpu/gpu,mobo chipset, ram standard (just look at ddr3) etc as they ultimatly prove to be overpriced in terms of real world performance.

rather get a high end dx9 card (preferably ati as in my opinion, they clearly won the battle for dx9 in the end with marginally better perormance and unmatched visual quality).

so heres what you should do.1.go to newegg.com 2.find the best ati card (x1950xt/x1950pro etc 3.buy it.

that card will eat through pretty much everything thats come out in the last 2 years. and thats alot of good gaming - company of heroes,supreme comander, stalker, oblivion, fear,dark messiah etc.theres alot of good gaming to be had if you missed those and other titles before moving to dx10.by the time you have played those, dx10 will be more standardised and less of an exotic technology = good price to performance ratio
July 18, 2007 11:16:22 AM

Leaving DX10 out of it 8800 series are the fastest DX9 cards around.TBH it will probably take more than 1 generation before DX10 even starts to be worth it.
a c 130 U Graphics card
July 18, 2007 11:23:55 AM

Gota agree with every thing said so far the dx10 compatable cards are just that they can do it but not well hey there is no dx10 games to test them on any way.
If you go to the sticky "best graphics cards for the money" at the top of the forum and scroll to the bottom of it all under other cards will be a complete list of cards in order of merit.
Mactronix
a c 191 U Graphics card
July 18, 2007 11:55:54 AM

A lot of good stuff up there.
One thing to also consider is your PSU. What brand/model is it? Newer graphics cards need more juice, in some cases a LOT more.
When I had a decision similar to yours to make recently, I chose a 7900GS. For the game(s) I play (mostly Guild Wars), the faster X1950XT wouldn't make a visual difference, but its hair-dryer fan would have made an undesirable audible difference. The x1950 also sucks more power, meaning more heat; worth it for a visible performance jump, but not in my case.
Back to the PSU; if this is a new build you're contemplating, make sure you get a quality one that offers enough amps on the +12V rails for the GPU you want. If it isn't a new build, either limit the GPU to what it can handle, or plan to upgrade this part too (and include it in your budget).
a b U Graphics card
July 18, 2007 12:07:32 PM

But the 1950 wouldve given you much higher performance, which you chose not to have
a c 191 U Graphics card
July 18, 2007 12:27:56 PM

No, for the games I play, there would have been no notable difference. I was upgrading from a 7600GT. With vsync on, I'm limited to 60 fps, so I don't need to care about anything higher. If I played Oblivion, or planned to play Crysis, then there would be an incredible difference, so I would have stretched my budget to a 8800GTS. In another two weeks, I'll have two PCs again, a C2D (probably e6750) with the 7900GS, and my current X2 3800+ with the 7600GT. At some point, I'll buy a next-gen DX10 for the primary PC and pass the 7900GS down (someone else will get the 7600GT), but that won't happen until I need it.
a b U Graphics card
July 18, 2007 12:48:35 PM

Yea, since your set up currently, Id wait for next gen. I currently have a 8800 gts 320 and a 1900xt, and theres not alot of difference between the two cards, Iand I do play oblivion dark messiah etc, some heavy games. I bought about a month ago (8800) which leaves me with hoping for a price drop on the GTX for my stepup . THEN its next gen and a whole new rig, with a penryn or a phenom
a b U Graphics card
July 18, 2007 1:24:53 PM

A lot of good advice here, very simply do not buy a graphic card of any kind right now based on DX10 compatability, or capability. You simply don't need DX10 yet. The midrange DX10 cards are very poor performers. So what if they run DX10, what exactly are you going use them for that actually requires DX10? Full DX10 implementation is still a long ways off, at least a year. By that time many including myself think that even the highend DX10 cards out today will be poor performers. By the time you really need to upgrade to a DX10 card, the hardware will superior to what you can buy today.

The 8600-2600 cards? They are all marketing hype to get the average Vista user to spend money on a midrange "DX10" card thinking they'll have ubber performance in Vista simply because the the card is a DX10 card.
Ba-lon-ey is exactly what it is.

The only reason to look at the highend DX10 cards is simply that they are the fastest things you can buy for DX9. Or, if you don't want to spend a lot of money on the 2900's or 8800's, the 1950's cost less, and their performance is excellent.
July 18, 2007 2:49:51 PM

in reply to #1; e.g. Crysis and Bioshock are the first games that will be fully DX10 from the ground up, there is also DX9 versions available for cheap-asses, er I mean people with older systems, but the DX10 versions look truly fantastic... there are some "DX10" titles out already (e.g. Call of Juarez) that are just poor DX9 ports that run slower, but Crysis etc. will be truly DX10

in reply to "To sum it up, can anyone give me a decent card that can run today's games smoothly, run future heavy hitters smoothly (bioshock, crysis), and stay cheap?"

No! Basically if you want a cheap card, it'll be cheap. If you want a card to run all games out already smoothly and stand any chance of running Crysis smoothly, you need an 8800 GTX (and even that won't run Crysis with ALL settings Maxed)
July 19, 2007 12:50:21 AM

I was trying to make the same decision last week and following advice and research since, must agree with the general consensus above - go with the X1950 Pro/XT. That leads me onto my question which I hope you guys can help me with. I decided last week to go for the X1950 Pro with 256MB (within my budget and good reviews). Since then I've been pricing up the rest of the new-build.

Now it's decision time but I have two choices following a slight price drop recently:

1. 512MB HighTech Radeon X1950 Pro, IceQ3 v2, PCI-E (x16), Mem1540 MHz, GDDR3, GPU 590 MHz, 12 Pipes. @ £124.26

2. 256MB HighTech Radeon X1950 XT, IceQ3 v2, PCI-E (x16), Mem1800, GDDR3, GPU 650 MHz, 16 Pipes, VIVO. @ £150.39

I know the XT would normally be the higher spec card, but does the increased memory of the Pro on this model make a difference? Which is the best option please? Plus, is this a good make or can you suggest better options?

Thanks in advance.
July 19, 2007 12:54:55 AM

XT cranks!
July 19, 2007 1:02:42 AM

XTXTXTXTXTXTXTXTXTXTXTXXTXTXTXTXTXTXTXTXTXTXTXT

Also I've seen them go a lot cheaper on Ebuyer.com and overclockers.co.uk (About £95 + some other thing you europeans do)

July 19, 2007 1:13:12 AM

emp said:
XTXTXTXTXTXTXTXTXTXTXTXXTXTXTXTXTXTXTXTXTXTXTXT

A lso I've seen them go a lot cheaper on Ebuyer.com and overclockers.co.uk (About £95 + some other thing you europeans do)


Okay, so pretty conclusive which one you and uberman prefer then! Cheers guys. So does the additional memory on the Pro not help then? Also, the make - is it alright or is there a particular brand I should be searching for?

LOL! BTW - that other thing we do is called VAT (tax @ 17.5%) and believe me, is not through choice!
July 19, 2007 1:22:44 AM

Dam funny europeans and their funny little kinks, oh well. This is the one I was referring:

Sapphire ATI X1950XT 256MB GDDR3 VIVO dual DVI PCI-E Graphics Card

[£89.35]
VAT thingy: [£104.99 inc VAT]

http://www.ebuyer.com/UK/product/119441

And I dont know about the brand, but then again Im not too hot on ATI's brands, only on nvidia (EVGA :D )

Anyway, the extra memory won't give you extra performance if that's what you're referring, as long as you keep your res at or under 1280x1024 you should be fine.
July 19, 2007 2:00:55 AM

Great, thanks EMP.

Think I'm sorted now then. Only problem with Ebuyer is the (normally) higher than usual shipping costs. I'm going to put down a list of what I've come up with so far on a new thread when I've checked some more prices. Hopefully you wouldn't mind giving it the once over to give me your opinion?? This will be my first build myself so welcome all opinions. Will be tomorrow hopefully.

Cheers
July 19, 2007 2:17:04 AM

Sure, actually, I'm USUALLY lurking around the New Build Forums, I just come to graphics when Im really bored or have something worth my time.
!