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What is Better- $800 'HD 2900 XT' CF or $650-$700 '8800 Ultra'

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July 25, 2007 6:36:36 AM

What is Better- US$800 'HD 2900 XT' CF or US$650-$700 '8800 Ultra'?????

This is a simple question with no easy answers available to me.

My system is Vista Ultimate 64-bit. Performance under it is all that matters. My MB is CF compatible hence the CF option is being considered along with the 8800.

Price is not much of a concern- performance definitely is. I am looking to upgrade within the next month at the most. Therefore drivers to consider will be Catalyst 7.8 and Forceware 166.22+.

Thank you for your participation!!!!!

More about : 800 2900 650 700 8800 ultra

a b U Graphics card
July 25, 2007 6:44:39 AM

LiquidAMD said:
What is Better- US$800 'HD 2900 XT' CF or US$650-$700 '8800 Ultra'?????

This is a simple question with no easy answers available to me.

My system is Vista Ultimate 64-bit. Performance under it is all that matters. My MB is CF compatible hence the CF option is being considered along with the 8800.

Price is not much of a concern- performance definitely is. I am looking to upgrade within the next month at the most. Therefore drivers to consider will be Catalyst 7.8 and Forceware 166.22+.

Thank you for your participation!!!!!


These charts should be of some help to you. I'm sure will get plenty of responses to your question.

http://www23.tomshardware.com/graphics_2007.html?modelx=33&model1=857&model2=778&chart=279
a b U Graphics card
July 25, 2007 7:00:11 AM

First off, anything written about xfire or sli about Vista is obsolete atm. M$ just issued a correction for them recently, and I havnt yet read improvements/capabilities yet. But for sure, anything you read now will only look better in Vista for both sli and xfire. This is from what I understand a broad spectrum patch/fix by M$, so you may not see improvements in some games, but no doubt you will in others. My votes for the 2900s, since money isnt an issue
Related resources
a b U Graphics card
July 25, 2007 7:04:39 AM

Dont forget the dual card charts

http://www23.tomshardware.com/graphics_sli2007.html?mod... l1=867&model2=819&chart=339

Going strictly off the charts "overall FPS", which gives a not-too-accurate idea as to the overall power of the cards, the 8800 ultra will surpass the 2900XT CF. Considering the cheaper price and the fact that you will avoid CF problems (less hardware = less likelyhood of problems) and incompatibilities, I would go for the 8800 Ultra.

EDIT: Ah thats right money isnt an issue. Well, I still would rather avoid problems with CF incompatibilities, but thats just me :p 
July 25, 2007 7:08:50 AM

As of this Moment

CF=1 Vote
Ultra=1 Vote

1 Vote dead heat- this is great!!!!! :D  :)  :( 
July 25, 2007 7:14:40 AM

What res are you running? I'd hope that if you're spending that much money you're gaming at least 1680*1050 if not 1920*1200. When you go further down the list you see on Oblivion, Prey, Doom3 that the 2900CF starts walloping it. 8800GTS 320MB SLI looks like the best solution (except M&M5) and would be cheaper. Don't get me wrong, I'm an AMD guy but NVidia rules high end graphics right now.
a b U Graphics card
July 25, 2007 7:15:08 AM

@ Randomizer. I didn't know those charts existed. Thanks. My SLI'd 7800 Gt's look like antiques in those charts next to the 8800GTx's when compared in Oblivion. No wonder my performance is down? Could be I don't own Oblivion. LOL! Thanks.

One more vote for the 8800GTX (s) provided you get a good price. I'd settle for the 2900's if I burgularized the store and they were the more accesible in conjunction with my exit strategy.

http://www23.tomshardware.com/graphics_sli2007.html?mod... &model2=814&chart=358
July 25, 2007 7:16:02 AM

Look at this situation like this....

The crossfire is the young fit Cassius Clay. The ultra is the current Mohammed Ali. Guess who will win in a fight.

www.tweaktown.com they have an article there.

I think it is a crossfire vs a GTX maybe but the 8800 gets it's ASS kicked.
July 25, 2007 7:27:01 AM

tj_the_first said:
What res are you running? If you check out 1600x1200 you'll see the Ultra take off and run away with the show. I'd hope that if you're spending that much money you're gaming at least 1680*1050 if not 1920*1200. Don't get me wrong, I'm an AMD fanboy but NVidia rules high end graphics right now.

[edit] Actually when you go further down the list you see on Oblivion, Prey, Doom3. 8800GTS 320MB SLI looks like the best solution (except M&M5) and would be cheaper.


Hi,

I play 1280*1024 but am an IQ (Image Quality) freak. must have full AF and atleast 4-8x AA at full detail levels. SupCom sucks as a result on my system (X1800 CF Edition, FX-60@2964MHz, 2GB HyperX) Anything below 30FPS on these settings for more than 0.5% game time for any game is poor according to me.
July 25, 2007 7:33:37 AM

i think x2900xt cf will work better than a 8800ultra but the difference will not be much. if u have a cross fire board then i think it will be better to get the best crossfire vga card available. but i really think that u should wait for better cards as this 2900xt is not that good because just think that u will pay like $800 for a couple of cards whose performance will be a little more than the card which costs like $650. Think on it. i know it is not easy to wait all the time but if u had an sli board and was thinking of getting two 8800gtx then the story would have been different.
July 25, 2007 7:42:59 AM

939 SLI boards = $150

8800 GTS 640 =385*2=770

Total= 770+150=920

Stretchable perhaps but is it worth it???? Choices suddenly becoming very difficult.
July 25, 2007 7:49:16 AM

Quick reminder- my system is Vista Ultimate 64-bit. This is what I am concerned with primarily.
July 25, 2007 7:53:40 AM

Also anything below 20FPS ever is simply unacceptable. :sarcastic:  :pt1cable: 
a b U Graphics card
July 25, 2007 8:04:01 AM

As I posted earlier, xfire and sli both will get better. http://www.guru3d.com/newsitem.php?id=5634 This link gives a lil info. And yes, the 2900s xfire VERY well. If theres a weakness in these cards, its pretty much eliminated in xfire. And they will dominate an ultra
July 25, 2007 8:08:25 AM

1GB 2900s pushing close to and beyond $1000. New PSU also required.

At my gaming habits this will be wasting money I think. Also the PC MAG benckmarks seem to have questionable results- especially comparing the 2 8800 systems from FNW and Dell side by side.
July 25, 2007 8:28:50 AM

JAYDEEJOHN said:
As I posted earlier, xfire and sli both will get better. http://www.guru3d.com/newsitem.php?id=5634 This link gives a lil info. And yes, the 2900s xfire VERY well. If theres a weakness in these cards, its pretty much eliminated in xfire. And they will dominate an ultra


Great dude,

You do find super recent stop gap solutions. Any link to performance updates ;)  ;)  ;) 
July 25, 2007 8:39:28 AM

I did a quick web check. There is speculation that this HotFix is only for single slot CF/SLI solutions. Is this true????

EDIT: KB936710 does not specify anything in particular however- http://support.microsoft.com/kb/936710/en-us
July 25, 2007 8:47:51 AM

Easy answer.
8800 WINS

Why?

A.) Unless money grows out ur a$$, u will need to sell ur cards one day. 2x 2900's are gonna be WAY harder to sell than 1x 8800.

B.) When, and ONLY when a sufficient ammount of DX10 games come out will we know just how the current h/ware stacks up. We may find an 8800Ultra is barely enough to run dx10 at hi rez. With 1x 8800 u can always go sli if its not enough, or easily sell it and get a 89xx.

C.) 'The best single card for your $' thinking IS mostly right. Sli is scaling VERY well with the current gen cpu's and mobos tho.

D.) Im not impressed with ATI h/ware and s/ware anymore these days. They seem to be behind in their cards, performance and time-wise, they are releasing slower cards way later than NV. Problems at ATI WILL influence ATI, no matter what anyone says. Drivers can be a little suspect too.

And yes i have a gts320 right now, only cos my 1950xt was just all over the place. So im no NV fanboi :p 

Also... u say..."My system is Vista Ultimate 64-bit. Performance under it is all that matters." Im assuming u play games right? Cos if all u use is Vista, any joe shmoe gfx card will be fine :p 
July 25, 2007 8:59:51 AM

CROSSFIRE
July 25, 2007 9:09:20 AM

Kudos to your frank opinions

I am an IQ freak who loves to play strategy, racing and simulation. IQ benchmark is DX10=Vista. So for all the software-hardware hotch potch (effectiveness, efficiency, communication and other aspects) Vista is the only solution and playing my part in the 'technology race' I thought I might as well get the 'best' :ouch:  :ouch:  So now after ATI had DX10 I decided to upgrade the graphics for my Vista 64. BTW the WEI shows my graphics subscore as 5.9 It dosen't have a higher rating still.
a b U Graphics card
July 25, 2007 9:38:30 AM

Ratings mean nothing, do your games play as youd like them to? Ive owned and still own a 1900xt, and also own a 880GTS320. Now, as far as Im concerned, playing heavier games such as oblivion and dark messiah, theres only a slight difference between these two cards. The 8800 suffers for top eyecandy. I only play at 12x10. If I use AA more than 4x it slooows down in oblivion. More than that, and its a slide show. However, I am able to raise the ingame settings a lil higher with my 8800 at same AA settings. Ive never notived nor had any driver problems with my 1900. The windows link you posted is the fix. It explains that in some games, and configurations, that sli and xfire both go into a one card mode, meaning that youre not getting sli or xfire at all. This hotfix fixes this problem. The thing is, with xfire or sli, your going to have more driver/games issues. But it will, far and away give you a better experience for your gaming. 2 card solutions for games is like an addon. It needs more from the drivers to work efficiently. Someone suggested going to 2 ultras or GTXs. Your board doesnt support that config, and youd of course have to redo your mobo etc.You will get a better overall performance using xfire, as well as a more forward looking solution for REAL DX10 games. Im still for the 2900xfire for best performance. Besides, a pair of 2900s just beat a pair of ultras in 3Dmark06 http://service.futuremark.com/compare?3dm06=2541652 Kinc (the record holder) did it again FTW!!!!!
July 25, 2007 9:56:33 AM

Hi jdj,

Ratings were meant purely for Mr. Mez so that he would have an idea that I have a once top 5 performer card in my system from the DX9.0c generation. And yes SupCom, CoH and ES4: Obv struggle on my system now (at full eyecandy), even C&C3. I had paired my X1800 CF with my X1800XL (The XL I bought a week after launch- I live in INDIA- I imported it from the Great USofA). But in my attempt to get their clock speeds to match and reduce the performance deficit caused due to the disabling of half of the X1800 CF's RAM I eventually killed the X1800XL and was left with the X1800CF only and the X1800XT dosent's exist anymore so do the next best thing- go in for a major component upgrade!!!!

Thats why all the bickering and questioning.
July 25, 2007 10:46:26 AM

2900xt crossfire will beat the 8800ultra in Vista Ultimate 64 no problem.

Go with the ATI's. The ultra is just a compelte waste of money.
July 25, 2007 12:07:47 PM

crossfire, if you have an 8x8x board or a x38 board (ill kill you if you do), the definately, if you already ahve the system to support it (aka the motherboard and the psu) go for it, i know from personal experience, in aus, 2x 2900xts are cheaper then one ultra, so thats the path i took and am not regretting it
July 25, 2007 12:18:35 PM

The Ultra is rubbish value for money. How about getting 2 8800GTX's in SLI?
July 25, 2007 12:38:03 PM

I would get a single 8800GTX since you can get it for around $480-500 and OC it to an Ultra
July 25, 2007 1:26:44 PM

those fps on TH video card chart seem flaky. i currently run my bf2 @1280x1034 max everything my my fps dont drop bellow 130.
my specs:
e4300 @3420mghz @idle 24c load 48x with TR 120x)
g.skill 6400hz @ 950 4-4-4-10
evga 8800gts 320mb @ 667/1050(going to step-up to 8800gtx)
p965 ds3 rev 1.3
crappy 120g ide hd
POS BLURRY acer x221wsd
a b U Graphics card
July 25, 2007 1:31:53 PM

javimars said:
those fps on TH video card chart seem flaky. i currently run my bf2 @1280x1034 max everything my my fps dont drop bellow 130.
my specs:
e4300 @3420mghz @idle 24c load 48x with TR 120x)
g.skill 6400hz @ 950 4-4-4-10
evga 8800gts 320mb @ 667/1050(going to step-up to 8800gtx)
p965 ds3 rev 1.3
crappy 120g ide hd
POS BLURRY acer x221wsd
In defense of common sense here, they (THG) run their rig at 2.9ghz cpu and dont oc theyre cards unless specified. I hope youre getting better fps than what they do with a slower rig than yours :non: 
July 25, 2007 2:06:28 PM

You can get a single 8800GTX for around $500; with the 9800GTX coming Q4 2007, buying two HD 2900XTs is a serious investment when Nvidia claims their new card will be between 2-3x as fast as the current 8800GTX and out before the end of 2007. I'd imagine two HD 2900XTs would also require a power supply something like this: ;) 
July 25, 2007 2:19:20 PM

bfellow said:
I would get a single 8800GTX since you can get it for around $480-500 and OC it to an Ultra


I agree with this. Some people are saying that the current DX10 cards may be duds when real DX10 games come out. It would be better to play it safe by doing buying one 8800gtx right now rather than maybe screwing yourself out of close to $1000. You could always buy the 2nd 8800gtx later if it turns out they do well in games like Crysis and other DX10 titles. If not, you could sell the 8800gtx and buy a better option when one comes available.
a c 130 U Graphics card
July 25, 2007 2:26:08 PM

LiquidAMD said:
Hi,

I play 1280*1024 but am an IQ (Image Quality) freak. must have full AF and atleast 4-8x AA at full detail levels. SupCom sucks as a result on my system (X1800 CF Edition, FX-60@2964MHz, 2GB HyperX) Anything below 30FPS on these settings for more than 0.5% game time for any game is poor according to me.


Your not making sense to me you claim to be a IQ freak yet you run at 1280x1024 with full af and 4-8 AA.
Your just not using the hardware you have if you were to get a pair of ultras or 2900s and run them at this sort of res it would be like buying a racing car and getting it restricted.
These cards are capable of much more all you do by reducing the res is shift the load to the cpu.
If you up the res you will find you wont need the same af and aa levels to get the same results and it will actually look better.
Also you may find your fps increase as well.
July 25, 2007 2:45:39 PM

Dude,

Agreed that higher resolutions are better for overall quality, but tell me one thing- what would an image on 1920*1200 look with low in game texture quality, no AA and no AF, low draw distance and the like. I bet you that it will look worse than 1280*1024 with everything maxed out. You are quite correct I am an IQ freak not a SR (screen resolution) freak. Also lower resolution means that graphics cards will have a longer life and my FX-60 can atleast chug out data for 40-50fps at everything maxed out. Therefore my X1800 lasted me until now.

Hope it makes sense to you.
July 25, 2007 2:51:23 PM

LiquidAMD said:
Dude,

Agreed that higher resolutions are better for overall quality, but tell me one thing- what would an image on 1920*1200 look with low in game texture quality, no AA and no AF, low draw distance and the like. I bet you that it will look worse than 1280*1024 with everything maxed out. You are quite correct I am an IQ freak not a SR (screen resolution) freak. Also lower resolution means that graphics cards will have a longer life and my FX-60 can atleast chug out data for 40-50fps at everything maxed out. Therefore my X1800 lasted me until now.

Hope it makes sense to you.
Who told you playing at a higher resolution shortens a videocard's life? :lol: 
July 25, 2007 2:56:47 PM

Heyyou27 said:
Who told you playing at a higher resolution shortens a videocard's life? :lol: 


Comeon dude,

Life as in product effectiveness not life and death!!!!!! :bounce:  :bounce:  :bounce: 
July 25, 2007 3:23:13 PM

Ultra
Dont know where I read that though...

Best option would still be a GTX with some OC done afterwards.
a c 130 U Graphics card
July 25, 2007 3:53:05 PM

LiquidAMD said:
Dude,

Agreed that higher resolutions are better for overall quality, but tell me one thing- what would an image on 1920*1200 look with low in game texture quality, no AA and no AF, low draw distance and the like. I bet you that it will look worse than 1280*1024 with everything maxed out. You are quite correct I am an IQ freak not a SR (screen resolution) freak. Also lower resolution means that graphics cards will have a longer life and my FX-60 can atleast chug out data for 40-50fps at everything maxed out. Therefore my X1800 lasted me until now.

Hope it makes sense to you.

Going all the way to 1920x1200 is taking what i said to a bit of an bit extreme and like i said the cards you are talking about are able to run the AF and AA draw distance textures etc at higher res than you run.
It just cant not look better :) 
A lot of people myself included until i started going on forums seem to think that a lower res =less work for the gpu =better fps and image,but it just dosent work like that,while it is basically true they miss the point that in doing that they may as well run a cheaper less powerful card maxed out instead of effectively crippling an expensive one.
Mactronix
July 25, 2007 4:33:56 PM

I would go for 8800.
reasons:
it cost less, use lower power, its much quitier (and i mean a lot), Nvidia have better non windows drivers, CF still have big issues in Vista.
July 25, 2007 5:09:51 PM

I vote GTX overclocked, avoid any CF issues...

Save some coin for later in life when new ATI dx10 cards come out (assuming they’ll be good) and CF is 100% functional in Vista64... then get two wicked ATI cards, and make that machine smoke.


July 25, 2007 5:11:51 PM

mactronix said:
Going all the way to 1920x1200 is taking what i said to a bit of an bit extreme and like i said the cards you are talking about are able to run the AF and AA draw distance textures etc at higher res than you run.
It just cant not look better :) 
A lot of people myself included until i started going on forums seem to think that a lower res =less work for the gpu =better fps and image,but it just dosent work like that,while it is basically true they miss the point that in doing that they may as well run a cheaper less powerful card maxed out instead of effectively crippling an expensive one.
Mactronix


I do agree with you dude- with a lot of what you say,

After all we did move from 800*600, 1024*768 and 1280*1024 and so on. But at this point ESPECIALLY after you consider the CPU limitation (FX dies trying to calculate SupCom with many units, AA kills the best of cards and megapixel rendering [read high res] also kills the cards) I must stick with this res for the moment.

Even GTR2 struggles with multiple car renderings- adding rain kills it (framerate). Running at lower res will future proof the current gen DX10.0 cards to a certain extent when games actually arrive and truly speaking +ing res or +ing AA is the same thing somewhat. Both kill framerate and both improve image quality. I guess it is a matter of opinion. And if you are on LCD there is only 1 optimal resolution and for my screen- Dell 1905FP it is 1280*1024 and is also the maximum supported.

Another thing is that screen res is the only thing that is not technological capability limited. For example HDR, AA, HDR+AA can all happen at any res with different performance levels provided the hardware supports it. However whereas HDR or AA only is easily done- HDR+AA suffers (in comparison) due to implementation techniques (consider FarCry with HDRAA or Obv which only supports either HDR or AA). The escape is lower res and having all the eyecandy. All the eyecandy that the API and the game supports is what I am really after. 1280*1024 can offer that for now and the near future with the cards in question.
July 25, 2007 5:34:11 PM

LiquidAMD said:
Comeon dude,

Life as in product effectiveness not life and death!!!!!! :bounce:  :bounce:  :bounce: 

Playing at a lower image quality will attain the same results. :sarcastic: 
a b U Graphics card
July 25, 2007 6:39:58 PM

Here's a few links, keeping in mind waht JDJ said about the Hotfix and things changing. Also PS to post long links use the URL tags to make them not be truncated use [ instead of < , but <url>link</url> will make sure it stays good when turned into a clickable link. I often try it first and then go back and edit if it needs tags.

Best review... but German (not latest drivers but post launch drivers) w/ XT-512;
http://www.computerbase.de/artikel/hardware/grafikkarten/2007/test_ati_ radeon_hd_2900_xt_crossfire/

FiringSquad did Xfire tests in their review of the 1GB (shows differ with 512MB);
http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/diamond_radeon_2900_xt_1gb/

Tech Report XT-512 with Launch drivers;
http://www.techreport.com/reviews/2007q2/radeon-hd-2900xt/index.x?pg=1

Not many Xfire reviews out there worth looking at unfortuantely (ie posting something more than 3Dmarks and 1 game or setting).
a c 130 U Graphics card
July 25, 2007 6:52:45 PM

LiquidAMD said:
I do agree with you dude- with a lot of what you say,

After all we did move from 800*600, 1024*768 and 1280*1024 and so on. But at this point ESPECIALLY after you consider the CPU limitation (FX dies trying to calculate SupCom with many units, AA kills the best of cards and megapixel rendering [read high res] also kills the cards) I must stick with this res for the moment.

Even GTR2 struggles with multiple car renderings- adding rain kills it (framerate). Running at lower res will future proof the current gen DX10.0 cards to a certain extent when games actually arrive and truly speaking +ing res or +ing AA is the same thing somewhat. Both kill framerate and both improve image quality. I guess it is a matter of opinion. And if you are on LCD there is only 1 optimal resolution and for my screen- Dell 1905FP it is 1280*1024 and is also the maximum supported.

Another thing is that screen res is the only thing that is not technological capability limited. For example HDR, AA, HDR+AA can all happen at any res with different performance levels provided the hardware supports it. However whereas HDR or AA only is easily done- HDR+AA suffers (in comparison) due to implementation techniques (consider FarCry with HDRAA or Obv which only supports either HDR or AA). The escape is lower res and having all the eyecandy. All the eyecandy that the API and the game supports is what I am really after. 1280*1024 can offer that for now and the near future with the cards in question.

Yea i just guess we are coming at the same prob from different angles seeing as how your monitor wont support a higher res its all accademic any way.
Are you aware by the way that if you really want to you can force AA to run with HDR in oblivion form the drivers.
Been good chatting see you around the forum.
Mactronix

July 25, 2007 7:06:29 PM

At your resolution, I would go with the Ultra. Usually SLi and CF are used for people with higher resolution displays. Though there are a few games where the HD 2900's are outperforming the Ultra (Oblivion and 3DMark...), but overall you would be better going with the ultra.

Busta
July 25, 2007 7:32:38 PM

yes, lower rez allows the card to be useful longer... makes sense to me :) 

They are correct though that running an ultra system at that level might be a waste...

some things to think on though:

the Ultra is probably the safer choice only b/c you do not need a new psu or really any upgrades other than the card... and if you don't like it or want to upgrade to the newer cards in a few months it WILL be easier to sell and recoup some cash.

the CF system would enable much higher IQ settings even in games that don't support CF as you can run ati's uber-quality AA and AF in CF where the second card does all the calcs for that... gains you much higher levels of AA and such... and as pointed out already the CF system should continue to improve in performance over time... BUT you would prb need that new psu (which you already mentioned) which ups the price quite a bit.

just my 2 bits.

a b U Graphics card
July 25, 2007 7:47:36 PM

The thing to remember though is even while he's talking about lower resolutions, he is concerned about the effect of minimum FPS, and that's the other area where Crossfire/SLi help out.

Xfire should pretty much eliminate most dramatic noticeable dips in games.
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