Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

NVidia vs. ATI

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
Share
August 23, 2007 9:09:25 PM

An age old debate...I'm almost afraid of what I might start here, so I'll say this upfront: I'm looking for constructive comments, not just strong biases.

I'm building a new computer. I've been noticing that some of the newer hardware (not just video cards) can cause issues with some older games. For example: my girlfriend's laptop has issues with the original Unreal Tournament engine. It's got a GeForce GO 6Somethinrather (can't remember the exact number). That happens to be a totally awesome game, even if it is becoming oldschool, and most of the other games I really like are from around that time. But then I'd also like to be able to play games like Battlefield 2, F.E.A.R. and Half-Life 2. So I'd like to make sure that any hardware I put into my computer is going to be as compatible as possible with not just the other hardware I put in, but also the software and games I run.

Having said that, I need to find out the pros and cons of ATI vs. NVidia, as well as any known compatibility issues with those cards. Here are the specifications for the computer thus far this in.

Processor: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ Brisbane 2.3GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM2 Processor
Motherboard: ASUS M2N-SLI Deluxe Socket AM2 NVIDIA nForce 570 SLI MCP ATX AMD Motherboard
RAM: G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar RE WD3200YS 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s
DVD-ROM: ASUS Black 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA
Power Supply: ATX 500W Daul12V (V2.03)
OS: Windows XP Pro 64-bit

The video card I'm considering:
BFG GeForce 8800 GTS OC 320MB GDDR3 PCI Express

Although I am worried about price and performance, my biggest concern, again, is compatibility. SLI is also near the bottom of my list of priorities.

More about : nvidia ati

August 23, 2007 9:17:58 PM

Compatibility isn't really an issue anymore between Ati & Nvidia. Just buy the best card you can afford.

That 8800 GTS is a good choice.
August 23, 2007 9:29:23 PM

Ati does not really have an answer to the 8800 GTS 320, at least in terms of price/performance. I like my HD2900XT, but this card is in another price range (i.e 8800 GTS 640). Never really had experience with Nvidia cards or drivers since the last Nvidia card I had owned was a Geforce 2 MX400. From what i've read, ATI seems to be more on top of their drivers with monthly revisions. Nvidia seems to get complaints for their support. ATI's cards are apparently more power hungry but their performance is comparable within the same price range to Nvidia's. In the end, it might just come down to price point and dare I say, bias/fanboism.

Cheers
Related resources
August 23, 2007 9:54:40 PM

I would prefer nvidia drivers to Ati's **** drivers+CCC anyday...
August 23, 2007 10:05:08 PM

Yes, they are about the same. We have both ATI and nVidia in our house. I do like the monthly driver updates from ATI, regular enough that I can look for it on that Tuesday. So regarding your question about compatibility, go onto both sites and read the release notes for their latest drivers, and maybe the previous one. I have usually been an ATI fan but I am more likely to chose a card for performance/price point at the time I'm building.

As it turns out, sometime tonight I will be rebuilding my sons PC (now a Athlon 2500 with 6800GS ) to a AMD X2 4400 with a x1950XT. I went with that GPU because it will be end of the year before I install Vista on that box and need to worry about DX10. I'll let the prices drop and more cards arrive until then. No DX10-only games until spring at the soonest I reckon.
August 23, 2007 10:09:31 PM

well, to be honest....your on safe grounds with both companies.

Just depends on how much ur willing to spend. If you can afford the 8800, go for it. Its great for now and should last you a while yet.

If thats stretching the budget, your next best "gaming" options would be X1950XT or pro from ATI, or the 7900 series cards from Nvidia. In this region however, you will loose the ability to play games in dx10...and personally the image quality is better in ATi cards than Nvidia ones (the 8800 however sorts this slight lack in image quality very nicely).
August 23, 2007 10:42:39 PM

Well personally I have had better luck with ATI based cards. But overall I'd say that it really depends what you are going to do with it.

Performance wise the 8800 GTX/Ultra reign supreme for DX10/DX9 cards.

Bang for buck, really depends what your intentions are. From what I read here the 8800GTS 320 is the best value unless you want high resolutions. In higher res. the 8800GTS 640 and X2900XT trade blows (X2900XT wins in most benchies).

For a straight out DX9 card the X1950XT seems to be the best overall. From what I have read nVidia didn't really answer this card, instead they jumped up to the DX10 cards (which do outperform this card in DX9, but cost alot more, so if not worried about DX10 anytime soon and you don't have alot of cash this is a great value).

This could be incorrect but its the impression I get from reading reviews and the forums.

I would say ATI is working harder at customer service to try and regain market-share they lost due to the delays in the X2k series release. I've heard and read alot of complaints about nVidia's drivers and customer support, however it has been getting quieter and it seems to be getting better. ATI's drivers seem to be on par or above nVidia's which is sad considering that the 8800's have been out quite a bit longer.

Finally, I personally use ATI cards and in my experience they have been more dependable. I'm sure there are others that have had the opposite experience, but I'm just going from what I have seen and heard as I would believe most do. I plan to build a new system early next year and I can tell you I have no idea what brand GPU it will run. NOT a fanboy, just a happy (so far) ATI customer.
August 23, 2007 11:26:26 PM

if you aren't playing at a high res, the best card out at the moment (imo) is the 8800 gts 320, if you are playing at high res, you really need the 640
August 24, 2007 10:02:40 AM

Nowadays I have one nVidia 6600 thats is old. But in the past I had ATi cards, all-in-wonder and other models. I tried nVidia but the image quality from Ati is much better. The main problems came from bad Catalyst drivers that drove me mad. Now I am waiting for the next generation from ATi and I hope AMD can make better cards and drivers. I do not see any advantages in power hungry cards that requires large heatsinks, blowers and high power PSU and do not offer good HD decoding speed with less CPU help. I would be good to see an Readeon 2600 XTX with 256 bit, 256 MB GDDR4 or more, single slot card with or without crossfire giving us a showtime. :wahoo: 
August 24, 2007 11:48:10 AM

Personally i would NEVER in a MILLION YEARS buy an 8800, but it is the best deal there is right about now. So go for the 8800 gtx 320 it is really worth it.
August 24, 2007 11:54:57 AM

Rabidpeanut said:
Personally i would NEVER in a MILLION YEARS buy an 8800, but it is the best deal there is right about now. So go for the 8800 gtx 320 it is really worth it.


hehe, if i was stuck on a budget, i'd get the 8800gts320, if i wasn't, id get the 640, if i had no budget and a better psu, i'd get a 2900xt
August 24, 2007 12:24:00 PM

If you ever make the jump to Linux, you'll probably be happier with an Nvidia based GPU. My laptop's ATI Radeon Mobility 1400 has been a thorn in my side when it comes to Linux.
August 24, 2007 1:01:55 PM

Thanks for all the great input guys.

I think I'll stick with the 8800 GTS 320mb...if I've got a little extra money I'll get the 640mb version.

Another quick question: I've read that BFG cards can run really hot, but they have a lifetime warranty. Are there any other things I should probably know before getting a BFG card?
August 24, 2007 1:31:06 PM

If you get their top Oc'ed ones, they do run hotter then the regular oc'ed ones that they offer, but it shouldn't be a problem unless you're case has limited ventalation.

I've had 2 BFG cards. My first was a 6800GT OC. After 3 years the fan started to squeek and they replaced the card no questions asked. My current is a 8800GTS-640 OC. Hopeing for the same quality and support!
August 24, 2007 3:17:42 PM

Quote:
I would prefer nvidia drivers to Ati's **** drivers+CCC anyday...


I'd agree with you on the Catalyst Control Centre... really don't like that piece of software (badly thought out, slow, aesthetically jarring and you need it if you want to force HDR and AA...). That is, however a personal thing... and I really like ATi's Cards. Just can't stand the CCC...

And there is a point to this - if it's a straight toss-up between two similar cards... then your liking for the control interface is as good a factor as any to push you in one direction or the other... so consider it...

Drivers... no comment.
August 24, 2007 3:28:49 PM

I personally never understood the big deal with the CCC, other than it takes a few seconds to start up.
And you don't even have to really use it anymore, the Ati driver gives you an icon in the system tray that gives you control over pretty much every setting without going in to the CCC.

On a side note, the CCC in Vista has almost no lag on startup. If Vista didn't suck so bad, the problem would be eliminated. :p 
August 24, 2007 4:01:06 PM

Personally I just hate the layout of the CCC but the latest Nvidia drivers force me to use a single giant window which I don't like at all compared to the smaller sidebar.
August 24, 2007 9:58:38 PM

i just use the drivers and then instead of CCC i make use of ati tray tool. works just as good, without any hassle.
August 24, 2007 10:49:05 PM

skittle said:
I would prefer nvidia drivers to Ati's **** drivers+CCC anyday...

I own an 8800GTX and an 8600GT and driver support for both cards hasn't been very good.
August 24, 2007 11:33:37 PM

As far as i can see the drivers for both cards are total crap at the mo, though catalyst 7.8 is a lot better than the initial rubbish they gave us.

Oh and if you ever plan on using linux only one or 2 Suse distro's came with ati support (which did not even work but hey) so getting an nvidia would be the wiser move there.

I liked the old ATI control panel not CCC. It uses all my bloody ram and then takes a million years or so to launch and slows down my system startup :Spits on CCC:

AND they force me to install .net framework 3.0 which is unacceptable. I have enough windowsiness on my pc already without adding a bit more.
August 25, 2007 12:03:41 AM

I used to use the control panel that ATI had, but then I realized a significant increase in performance of my card when I installed the CCC so ever since that day I have loved it. The increase was literally a 30% increase on my 3Dmark, and frames were more consistant on my games as well as most tearing in my games was gone without need vsyc (which I hate...I try to avoid that feature at all costs). So I have no complaints and I am also with cleeve in that I do not understand the hate towards that software especially since you dont need .netframework anymore for it and it is opening alot faster now. Just my two cents!

Best,

3Ball
August 25, 2007 1:00:38 AM

CCC sucks... thats all there is to it. Nvidia control panel is awesome, only thing it needs to be complete is a way to control fan speed.

And yes, ive used both... CCC is the only thing that keeps me away from ATI these days.
August 25, 2007 1:20:57 AM

Skittle please support your claim...I am curious to know which features about the nvidia control panel that u like more than the ATI CCC, and yes I have used both and see very little difference in the two. Thanks!

Best,

3Ball
August 25, 2007 2:46:07 AM

I think they both suck; I prefer the old Nvidia control panel.
August 25, 2007 2:53:51 AM

Heyyou27 said:
I think they both suck; I prefer the old Nvidia control panel.

Ahhh yes the classic view? Where you have to right click? Wonder what happened to it.
August 25, 2007 9:29:53 AM

Quote:
i just use the drivers and then instead of CCC i make use of ati tray tool. works just as good, without any hassle.


Thank god for that. I'll give it a go next time I install the drivers. It is purely a personal issue... I don't like the lag and I REALLY can't stand the aesthetics of the thing. NVidia's alternatives have nothing to do with it. It's just ugly. Although I'm suprised to not be the only one.
August 25, 2007 10:53:02 AM

vincio_filiarum said:
Quote:
i just use the drivers and then instead of CCC i make use of ati tray tool. works just as good, without any hassle.


Thank god for that. I'll give it a go next time I install the drivers. It is purely a personal issue... I don't like the lag and I REALLY can't stand the aesthetics of the thing. NVidia's alternatives have nothing to do with it. It's just ugly. Although I'm suprised to not be the only one.



with tray tool, its just there at the bottom...waiting for you to click it and fiddle with the millions of options it has :na:  . some very handy stuff. I specially like having my fps shown in all games i play along with the GPU temp and fan speed, so i can see how hot my card gets and fiddle with the fan settings accordingly.

it also has the option to use your mobos internal monitors, so you can monitor CPU temps + fan speeds + voltages and what not while playing games...lol. very nifty little prog.
!