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Getting a 2900 XT: Am I making a Mistake?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 14, 2007 1:42:12 PM

I'm about to splurge $400 on a video card. Conventional wisdom says 8800 GTS 640mb. But after my limited research, I'm itching to pull the trigger on the much-maligned 2900XT instead.

With the latest Catalyst drivers, it's looking like the 2900 XT either matches or outperforms the 8800 GTS in most games --- as long as anti-aliasing is deactivated. In fact, the 2900 XT even matches the 8800 GTX in some of the latest titles. Very impressive for a $400 card.

So my weird logic is this: The 2900 XT is good enough to play most of the current games at high detail settings. Maybe not as well as the 8800 GTS, but still very good. But in 2008 and beyond, both the 2900XT and the 8800 GTS will be relegated to mid-range status. Neither will be good enough to render the latest games at maximum detail settings. As always, once that happens it's the anti-alias that gets shafted. At that point, the 2900XT's AA problems become moot point. However, you still reap the (sometimes huge) performance advantage of the 2900XT over the 8800 GTS for non-AA games.

So, the 8800 GTS will be a better "high-end" card for the next 6 months or so. However, compared to the 2900XT, the 8800GTS is destined to be an inferior "mid-range" card for 2008 and beyond. Since I plan on using the same card well into 2009, the 2900XT would be better for me in the long run.

Is my logic sound? Am I making a mistake in choosing the much-despised 2900 XT over the venerable 8800 GTS?

More about : 2900 making mistake

September 14, 2007 2:02:18 PM

At this point you should 100% get the 2900 XT... it is on par or better than the 8800 GTS at the $380 range. Any disadvantage it has in certain games compared to the 8800 GTS is a negligle difference, where as the games it surpasses the 8800 GTS is a noticeable difference.

imo, the only 8800 GTS to get is the 320 version now, due to it giving a great price / performance ratio. Otherwise 2900 XT > 8800 GTS 640
September 14, 2007 2:10:14 PM

I also saw the 2900 XT in benchmarks/games beating the 8800GTX and was shocked. I think the drivers are getting better as time goes on, it all depends on what direction future games will go. I dought that all the unified stream processers are all being use to their fullest. Toss a coin or go with you gutt. For me now not being able to use the AA is what would make me go for the 8800GTS 640MB, I can't stand not using AA in games that need it.
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September 14, 2007 2:17:01 PM

*oops wrong thread.
September 14, 2007 2:53:47 PM

summer_of_alvin said:
Is my logic sound? Am I making a mistake in choosing the much-despised 2900 XT over the venerable 8800 GTS?


A few months ago, I had the choice of a basically fast, reliable, 8800 GTS 640 and a slow, questionable HD 2900 XT that was more expensive. I chose the 8800 GTS. Now, was I to buy a card, I would get the 2900 XT. The 2900 XT did turn out to just have driver troubles, rather than a design flaw. While it doesn't really beat the 8800 GTX, it comes close for a lot less money than the 8800 GTX and more than holds its own against the 8800 GTS.

My opinion, go for the HD 2900 Xt.
September 14, 2007 2:58:17 PM

Yes get the hd 2900xt but choose a brand that has at lest 3 years warranty i would deffinetly not buy one of this new cards that run too hot with just 2 years warranty.
September 14, 2007 3:13:20 PM

summer_of_alvin said:
I'm about to splurge $400 on a video card. Conventional wisdom says 8800 GTS 640mb. But after my limited research, I'm itching to pull the trigger on the much-maligned 2900XT instead.

With the latest Catalyst drivers, it's looking like the 2900 XT either matches or outperforms the 8800 GTS in most games --- as long as anti-aliasing is deactivated. In fact, the 2900 XT even matches the 8800 GTX in some of the latest titles. Very impressive for a $400 card.

So my weird logic is this: The 2900 XT is good enough to play most of the current games at high detail settings. Maybe not as well as the 8800 GTS, but still very good. But in 2008 and beyond, both the 2900XT and the 8800 GTS will be relegated to mid-range status. Neither will be good enough to render the latest games at maximum detail settings. As always, once that happens it's the anti-alias that gets shafted. At that point, the 2900XT's AA problems become moot point. However, you still reap the (sometimes huge) performance advantage of the 2900XT over the 8800 GTS for non-AA games.

So, the 8800 GTS will be a better "high-end" card for the next 6 months or so. However, compared to the 2900XT, the 8800GTS is destined to be an inferior "mid-range" card for 2008 and beyond. Since I plan on using the same card well into 2009, the 2900XT would be better for me in the long run.

Is my logic sound? Am I making a mistake in choosing the much-despised 2900 XT over the venerable 8800 GTS?
If I had to get a card in that price range, I probably would pick the HD 2900XT. Yeah, it may not be as fast as an 8800GTX, but it's price is certainly worth the performance it provides now.
September 14, 2007 3:17:42 PM

This card rocks dude, the catalyst 7.9 drivers are EXCELLENT.
September 14, 2007 3:20:03 PM

The HD 2900XT is the most forward-thinking graphics card available now. You can't go wrong. (at least until better cards come out next year)
September 14, 2007 3:28:21 PM

I've used both 8800's and 2900 XTs. You can't go wrong with either, for the price.
September 14, 2007 5:17:23 PM

My 2900 is a good card, best possible choice right now :) .
September 14, 2007 5:28:54 PM

just make sure ur PSU will survive the experience!
September 14, 2007 6:18:13 PM

Get an S3 Virge card!




Or the HD2900XT!
September 14, 2007 6:25:52 PM

I made a similar post not to long ago about whether or not I should get the 2900xt. I was worried about the AA issue they were having before but from just about all the replies that I got they were telling me that for the most part that has been worked out.
September 14, 2007 7:13:50 PM

AA and the HD2900XT has improved 10 fold since their later driver releases. With Catalyst 7.7 or 7.8 (I honestly can't remember which series had the first revisions for AA) I can say that I had seen vast improvements in FPS while using AA. As an example, when playing Test Drive Unlimited at 1680X1050, High details, 4X AA and HDR enabled, I originally would not exceed 30-35 FPS. After the later driver releases, I currently see anywhere between 48-60 FPS using the same settings. And quite frankly, I'm really not too sure why people think this card runs extremely hot. Maybe i'm jaded from having used the hottest card on the planet (my X1900 GT would idle at 70C and routinely hit 93C under load) but an idle temp of around 55C and a load temp of 78-81C using an OC of 833 (743 stock)/ 888 (823 stock) is pretty acceptable in my books. In the end, I say go with your gut. Both are great cards, I just happen to be somewhat of an ATI fanboi seeing as how the last Nvidia card i've owned had been a G-Force 2 MX-200 :) 

Cheers
September 14, 2007 8:11:27 PM

dude get the 8800 , the ati will pull a lot of power and generate a lot of heat IMHO.

Plus if you are so bothered about the games in the future , you may as well hold out for a little longer and see what may be available in 2008
September 15, 2007 1:50:28 AM

Just built my rig about three weeks ago. I had the choice of a 8800GTS or and HD 2900 XT. I went with ATI and very glad I did. It's running everything I can throw at it and regardless of any Anti-aliasing issues everything looks phenomenal at 1680x1050. Very glad I went ATI this round. Only 1 game casualty out of 83 games old and new that won't work and I don't know whether to blame this on Vista or the lastest Cat. 7.8/7.9 drivers. I based my purchasing decision on price basically since most reviews at the time were 50/50 on the 2900 and it was in the same ball park as the 8800GTS. Paid $389 for an MSI which I read very good things about in a Tweaktown review. For the record, my last video card was a XFX 7950GT AGP, so don't accuse me of being a fanboy. Although I must admit, I do dig redheads.
September 15, 2007 3:15:12 AM

Redheads ftw! I as well would give a slight edge to the 2900xt right now, as its improved so much recently. Though like others have said, both are great cards.
September 15, 2007 3:26:46 AM

Idiots saying **** about the card being too hot. Thing hits no more than 80c really under load. A lot of you dont know wtf your talking about. 80c is not that hot at all for a video card. The only "bad" thing is that it requires more power than nvidia cards. nVidia needs to stop making all these cards and come out with good drivers. But anyways, yes, get the card.

And btw people with the 320mb 8800. Play GRAW2 or some high texture game and then compare it to the 640mb version
September 15, 2007 4:30:45 AM

Wow, I'm surprised at the amount of positive response towards the 2900XT. I guess I shouldn't have been referring to it as a "much-maligned" card.

I probably spent way too much time reading old threads, when the Catalyst drivers weren't up to par yet. It's the 2900XT for me, then...
September 15, 2007 12:24:35 PM

well, looking fairly at it, it DOES produce more heat and require a bit more power than the 8800 (I don't think the difference is huge in performance either), so I personally advise people who are confident their PSU and cooling can survive to get the 2900
a b U Graphics card
September 15, 2007 1:58:05 PM

Quote:
why can't people like you shut up for once. The only people who complain of heat and power consumption are those that have inadequate airflow and 450W PSU that came with their case. To mention the heat and power is like comparing it to the P4, the problem there was that no amount of realistic clock increase was going to make it competative, the difference with the 2900XT is that all you need is realistic driver improvements.
OK, time for school. First of all, the 2900 is hotter than the 8800gts, but does it run hotter? That in itself is a good question. The 8800 series dumps half the heat from the card into the case, thus releaving some of the heat quicker out of the card. The 2900 pushes all the air out the back, away from all componants, thus holding the heat longer, and equally heating the card more as well. Now the card may "run" hotter, but does it really produce more heat? Thats questionable. One thing it does do, is it keeps all that heat away from all your innards, which is a good thing. The power draw is large, but so is the GTX'S. And since this card falls in between, is somewhat forgivable. It shouldnt be question on its merits, as its a fine card, as well are the 8800s.
September 15, 2007 2:16:41 PM

Could anyone link to the Cayalyst 7.9 benchmarks? Thanks!
September 15, 2007 2:25:16 PM

I don't know if there is any 7.9 benchmarks yet, but my 3DMark scores gave a little more with 7.9 so it's all improving :) .
September 15, 2007 3:39:29 PM

Just make sure your PSU has the right connectors for the 2900
September 16, 2007 1:36:31 AM

starcraftfanatic said:
Just make sure your PSU has the right connectors for the 2900


and if doesn't have any PCI-E connectors look for a card like the MSI or Asus that comes with the proper adapter cables or be prepared buy them separately. To run the card at normal clocks, it will work just fine with PCI-E to dual molex adapter cables. See pic of Asus below, it comes with two as a matter of fact. If you wish to overclock the HD 2900 XT then you need to have something connected to the 8-pin PCI-E connector on the card. This can be a 8-pin PCI-E cable or a 6-pin to 8-pin PCI-E Cable Adapter such as the one that was included with my MSI HD 2900 XT.

September 16, 2007 2:27:39 AM

I would save just a little bit longer and get the Gtx or Ultra if you just have to have one now. I mean you're already spending $400 on a card. Or better yet just stick around until the new cards come out. But I have not used any of the 2900's or know anyone with them so I can't say anything about it. I do on one hand have the Gtx and it is a great card and i wouldn't settle for anything less. Either way, don't be so worried any choice you're going to make is going to be a great one. Enjoy your new card!
a b U Graphics card
September 16, 2007 1:02:19 PM

Be happy you have a choice. Last December for a new build, my choice was GTS or GTX.
September 16, 2007 1:08:38 PM

seriously, I wouldn't bother waiting since it looks all the new cards coming out for a while will be mid range so I would just get teh 2900, you won't crave a gtx because its a still damn good card
September 17, 2007 12:13:38 AM

One thing that swayed me towards the 2900 XT is that it's an Absolute Beast on the UT3 engine, especially whenever the is AA turned down. It's in a different league from the 8800 GTS, and quite often it matches/exceeds the GTX.

I'm expecting a deluge of games based on the UT3 engine for the next 2-3 years. Game developers will milk that engine for all it's worth. We saw the same thing happen with previous incarnations of the Unreal and Quake engines. So I really believe the 2900XT will hold up much better than the GTS in the long run. That's good for someone like me, 'coz I don't upgrade my PC quite as often as other folks...
September 17, 2007 12:49:34 AM

The thing is blazing hot... Haven't you seen the FLAMES coming off of that card!? :lol:  :sol: 
September 17, 2007 1:03:26 AM

summer_of_alvin said:
One thing that swayed me towards the 2900 XT is that it's an Absolute Beast on the UT3 engine, especially whenever the is AA turned down. It's in a different league from the 8800 GTS, and quite often it matches/exceeds the GTX.

I'm expecting a deluge of games based on the UT3 engine for the next 2-3 years. Game developers will milk that engine for all it's worth. We saw the same thing happen with previous incarnations of the Unreal and Quake engines. So I really believe the 2900XT will hold up much better than the GTS in the long run. That's good for someone like me, 'coz I don't upgrade my PC quite as often as other folks...


EXCELLENT point, my friend. Someone said that the 2900 was a forward thinking card. Since this is true, think forward. Supposedly, the U3 engine will really reward the unified shader system. Look at Roboblitz benchies; that's a "dumbed-down" version of the U3 engine after all.
-cm
September 17, 2007 1:11:02 AM

celewign said:
EXCELLENT point, my friend. Someone said that the 2900 was a forward thinking card. Since this is true, think forward. Supposedly, the U3 engine will really reward the unified shader system. Look at Roboblitz benchies; that's a "dumbed-down" version of the U3 engine after all.
-cm
Why would you use RoboBlitz when Bioshock, Medal of Honor: Airborne, and a few other Unreal3 based games are floating around?
September 17, 2007 6:40:44 PM

because he was bored?
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