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HD2900XT vs 8800GTS... again...

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  • Graphics
Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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August 1, 2007 8:14:20 AM

Hello folks!

That's my first post here, never read the forums too much, but i'm a Tomshardware reader for quite a long time...

I come before you, oh masters of the hardware knowledge, to seek for guidance (Jesus, i'm playing too much RPGs)...
I need a new graphic card... I REALLY need a new graphic card.. I've always kept my computer upgraded, but i've been lazy in the past few years, so i'm still stuck with a Radeon 9800 pro, while wanting desperately to play new games with all their shiny colors and blinking lights that makes us all epileptics... So you can feel my suffering.. (LOL)

Anyway... I'm torn between a Sapphire HD 2900XT and a Foxconn 8800GTS 640MB...
I know that this question has been asked a hundred times, but there are some specifics in my case, not to mention that benchmarks are quickly being obsolete by the fact that ATI is constantly shelling out new drivers...

My specific situation is:

- I will NOT SLI/Crossfire the graphic card... I'm going for a single setup...
- Here where I live, both cards costs EXACTLY the same, so money is not an issue...
- My 19" LCD monitor has a native resolution of 1280x1024 so that's the res. i'll be playing. Getting a new monitor is not an option.
- Re-sell value is not an issue, since I know several knobs that would buy dogpoo if it has a Nvidia/ATI badge on it. Even if is a very smelly one...
- Noise is not a problem.
- I can only get one of these two models and makers... It's impossible to find other models since it's a very restrict market in here...

If you were in my situation and you could only choose one of them, and the only thing you have to worry about is performance, wich one would you pick????

Thank you very much, in advance, for your time and patience :) 

More about : hd2900xt 8800gts

a c 177 U Graphics card
August 1, 2007 8:38:40 AM

In case you missed it, I suggest you start by reading this review.

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/display/radeon-h... 0.html#sect0

Basically, the 2900XT doesn't do so well with RPG type games. It did well in Oblivion, but it sucked big time in the other RPG games. If RPGs is what you play, you're better off with the 8800GTS. I vote for the GTS not only because of how well it handles RPG games, but because its consistent throughout all games. The XT is the only card I know of that can beat the GTX in one game, then lose to the x1950XT in the next. (look at the stalker review to see it lose to the x1950xt.) Don't get me wrong, the 2900XT is a good card, but I'd only suggest it if it were cheaper then the 8800GTS, which you said it wasn't.
August 1, 2007 9:23:34 AM

I've been asking myself the exact same question, and the bets answer i've been able to come up with is flip a coin.

I couldn't get that xbit link to work so i didn't see those benchies unfortunately.

Toms has a set of pretty good benchmarks were you can compare the two here though, and they're recent drivers.

click here


basically it boils down to the 8800GTS beats the pants off of the 2900XT in Doom 3 with no AA/AF but the 2900XT wins every other benchmark at 1280X1024, but marginally.

Right now what this all means to me, if I'm buying a card that can handle it I'm going to be maxing out AA/AF as much as i can, so the single 8800GTS win with no AA/AF is meaningless, but the 2900XT wins mostly by only a couple of FPS, and lets face it you aren't going to notice this because you're pretty much always cranking out more FPS than your monitor refresh so it makes no difference.

The only thing that i've been able to find a real difference in the two cards is HD playback, the 8800GTS dumps quite a bit of load onto the CPU and the 2900XT does not.

But at the end of the day if you have a half decent CPU it'll handle the load of being able play HD video, so who cares if the 8800GTS leaves more work for the CPU to do, you wont see a quality change at all.

So again after all of that i say flip a coin... then go out and buy the 2900XT, we need to keep AMD/ATI alive so that Intel/Nvidia aren't monopolies, that would be bad for prices and innovation. And since you've got two products that perform the same, for the same price giving ATI/AMD a bit of a hand wouldn't hurt.

Ok, and the 2900XT mostly does win the benchmarks, even if it is only by a little bit, and it OC's like a monster.
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August 1, 2007 11:11:57 AM

i say the 8800gts640mb, because they are both the same and wanted to make the decision harder...get the 2900xt, it is the better choice, plus, it comes with hdmi, so it's got a next gen connector, so if something does pop up, like a mfing huge screen 1080p screen with hdmi, you can use it.

oh, ps, they order these benchmarks based upon highest fps at lowest res instead of highest fps at highest res, since you are saying between the 640 and the 2900 im assuming high res is important, the 2900xt wins hands down, sorry nvidia
August 1, 2007 12:22:28 PM

For the resolution you are playing at, there is no difference in performance between the GTS 320 and the GTS 640 - so you should really be choosing between the GTS 320 and the 2900XT.

I know this isn't what you asked, but it is worth taking on board.
a b U Graphics card
August 1, 2007 12:28:36 PM

The drivers for the 2900 are still so-so, though they do come out monthly. Its a toss-up. If you do decide to get the 2900, be sure to have a big PS and plenty of cooling.
August 1, 2007 12:55:58 PM

WARNING!! (forum rage)....,

DUDE!, just get whichever you want!... seriously, it don't matter. Or better yet, read the thousand other threads that say..... 2900XT or 8800GTS....AAAARRRRHHH!

Don't listen to rammedstein dude, he obviously has an ATI/AMD brand stamped on his a**, he must enjoy hot, noisy underperforming cards.... . Do some real online review research from various sites that have tested both and make your OWN educated decision.

(rage end)
August 1, 2007 1:07:13 PM

Can you get the 8800GTS 320 any cheaper? At your resolution, that would be the obvious card of choice.
August 1, 2007 1:29:01 PM

I have a HD2900XT from Extreme PC with 1 GB of DDR4 memory, this card runs great, have no issue what so ever with noise.I too had a 9800 pro before this card.Nvidia also has a great card, everyone has their own preference.My new system arrived on Friday.Ran Lost Planet with Direct X10 ,looked great.Anyway enjoy what you can for now because graphic cards are changing all the time so whats new now will be old news soon.
August 1, 2007 2:10:04 PM

Isn't the 9800 pro an AGP card? I don't believe they make either of the cards you are considering in AGP, but I could be wrong. Make sure your motherboard can handle PCI-E cards before shelling out the cash.

I personally would go with the 2900XT. I find the color rendering to be slightly better. And to the guy who said that it sucks for RPG style games... lmao, a graphics card doesn't know what type of game you're playing. All it knows is how many polygons/pixels it has to compute and AA.
August 2, 2007 11:51:40 PM

Thank you all for your inputs!!!

Right now, i'm leaning torwards the HD2900XT, but the decision isn't made yet...

badger101101, yes, the 9800pro is an AGP card, but i'm building a new system from scratch.. thanks for the warning though! :) 
August 3, 2007 1:17:22 AM

ethel said:
For the resolution you are playing at, there is no difference in performance between the GTS 320 and the GTS 640 - so you should really be choosing between the GTS 320 and the 2900XT.

I know this isn't what you asked, but it is worth taking on board.


this guy knows what he is talking about.

and with that being said choose the gts 320 because it costs less. with the money saved put it to a new card for next year lol.

if you had ... lets say a 20.1' monitor i would say get the gts 640 but you don't.

did i change your decision?
August 15, 2007 1:35:12 PM

http://enthusiast.hardocp.com/article.html?art=MTM1MSwx...
<- That article was made in Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Seems like that ATI's HD2900XT doesn't do too well at the lower res. So depending on what resolution and what resolution you usually play at, thats what should determine the video card you grab.

If you are going for the lower - mid ranged resolution 1280 to 1600 res, I'll recommend even a 8800 GTS 320MB (for example EVGA's Superclocked series, which in some cases out runs the stock 8800 GTS 640MB). If you are going beyond 1920, then definitely the HD2900XT.

But if it all comes down to it, I'd go for the HD2900XT, keeping the competition alive :D  (*that being said, I just recently bought an EVGA Superclocked 320MB)
August 15, 2007 1:48:07 PM

June13th, 2monts ago ALOT change in 2months, such as the GTS beating the 2900xt, switching to the 2900xt beating the GTS.
August 15, 2007 1:58:45 PM

After the 7.8 driver release, the 2900 xt is faster in general I think.
August 15, 2007 3:22:10 PM

It mainly fixes AA and AF, which is awesome.
August 15, 2007 4:50:47 PM

OK! So, if you want midrange yeah, it seems that the 2900 is the better choice. It is also (in theory) dx 10.1 already. I say skip both of them and spend a couple of extra $$ on a gtx.

Other then by bias towards the gtx right now, listen to peoples heeds very well. The 2900 is a power hog. It is hot, and it is loud.

Also, make sure you know that there is a new line coming out soon from NVIDIA. The word is that the 9800gtx is coming either late this year or early next. It should be more then 2x faster then the 8800 ultra with the price tag of only $600. Just imagine what the 9800gts will be like...
August 15, 2007 9:40:24 PM

My 2900XT is no louder while playing a game or running 3DMark06 than the stock cooler on my old X800XT was. It's only loud when you modify the fan speeds in ATiTool, above 40% the fan starts to get loud, which is funny but oh well, it keeps the card cool at those low of speeds that's great, means you can OC the thing if you don't mind the noise with the stock cooler. Although the heat is there the cooler evacuates it out of the case very well.
August 15, 2007 10:36:26 PM

does anyone know what drivers are used in toms vga charts for the 2900?if those are the 7.8 drivers then thasts pretty sad
August 16, 2007 1:25:05 AM

spaztic7 said:
OK! So, if you want midrange yeah, it seems that the 2900 is the better choice. It is also (in theory) dx 10.1 already. I say skip both of them and spend a couple of extra $$ on a gtx.

Other then by bias towards the gtx right now, listen to peoples heeds very well. The 2900 is a power hog. It is hot, and it is loud.

Also, make sure you know that there is a new line coming out soon from NVIDIA. The word is that the 9800gtx is coming either late this year or early next. It should be more then 2x faster then the 8800 ultra with the price tag of only $600. Just imagine what the 9800gts will be like...

you know that companies like nvidia will only print the best details.... they will say yes we have 2x the processing power of the gtx, but I bet a large sum of money that the 9800gtx won't get 2x the fps
August 16, 2007 12:06:57 PM

spuddyt said:
you know that companies like nvidia will only print the best details.... they will say yes we have 2x the processing power of the gtx, but I bet a large sum of money that the 9800gtx won't get 2x the fps


This could be very true, we will have to wait and see. I really don't care about the fps as long as it is at 60fps. I am just excited to see this new card come out. I would expect it to really improve the visual quality to be well beyond the 8800. But where would to make it look better?

I am a sucker for future technology. I find it interesting to learn about. That way I can always talk nerd with my friends.
August 16, 2007 12:50:25 PM

go with 2900xt as it is more future proof. as it supports dx10.1. but as we all have seen the performance of it in dx9 and dx 10 games, it isnt up to the mark. so it is hard to say that it will perform good in dx10.1 games. but the drivers are getting better and better. so we never know when 2900xt gets upto the mark. hope i helped
August 16, 2007 4:03:16 PM

Honestly, I don't really think it will matter. There are a lot of game developers that wont support DX10.1 because they don't see the purpose in it. Pulse, there is only 1 DX10 game out right now. 2 when Bioshock comes out on the 21st.

So if he goes 8800gts/x he will be fine. Nvidia stated a couple of days ago that they are going to start to focus on their drivers for the 8800 line... FINALLY!
August 16, 2007 6:25:11 PM

but the thing is that will nvidia be consistant in that, like AMD? and also the op has said either 8800GTS 640mb or x2900xt, so 8800gtx is out of the question. listen, if we avoid AA and other filters, then 2900xt is really good. and dont think that ati will omit this problem which it's 2000 series is facing. with consistant changes in the drivers, this problem will be rectified. and once this happens, 8800gts will be a waste infront of 2900xt.
a c 177 U Graphics card
August 16, 2007 7:07:53 PM

Will be? For most games currently, as long as you use the 7.7 drivers, the GTS is already a waste. The 2900XT beats it most of the time, often coming within striking distance of the GTX. (and as I showed in either this thread or a different one, that is with AA/AF on.)
August 16, 2007 7:54:56 PM

I think the entire arguement boils down to this: The 8800 gts and the 2900xt perform very similarly, generally (with the current drivers) the 2900xt slightly beats the 8800 gts in performance but it requires substantially more power and generates substantially more heat, they both have very similar prices as well therefore it is largely a matter of preference, slight heat and power vs slight loss of power (and very slight in both).
August 16, 2007 8:00:37 PM

As far as I know the 8800 GTS can be overclocked by another 100 or so MHz while I wouldnt dream of overclocking the x2900.

I personaly prefere the ATI cards but in this case I would probably go for nvidia cos power consumption does matter.
August 16, 2007 8:24:05 PM

I am sure that someone here has a link but I haven't seen any benches comparing an OCed GTS 640mb card against the the 2900xt which doesn't seem to do that well without special cooling. From personal experience the GTS OC very easily to near GTX speed without uneccessarily high temps. A stock speeds a comparison doesn't tell the whole story!
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