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Chipsets, motherboards, and Nvidia vs. ATI (n00b question)

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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October 11, 2007 5:08:41 PM

N00b builder, please be gentle.

I'm attempting to build a budget gaming computer, and keep getting conflicting information on certain things . . .

Just to get this straight: it actually doesn't matter if your motherboard has an Nvidia chipset-- you can still use an ATI videocard with no problem? I've had one person tell me that it's a very bad idea, but the consensus here seems to be that it doesn't matter. Is that right? Thanks.

And could anyone explain "bits" to me? What's the difference between a 256MB 256 bit card and a 256MB 128 bit card?
October 11, 2007 5:33:09 PM

No it doesn't matter as long as you don't have plans for SLI or Crossfire. You can run any single card in any mother board (within reason, like PCI-e card with a PCI-e motherboard). Without hacked drivers and BIOS' it is almost impossible to run Crossfire on an SLI motherboard and vice-versa.

October 11, 2007 6:10:39 PM

lostandwandering said:
No it doesn't matter as long as you don't have plans for SLI or Crossfire. You can run any single card in any mother board (within reason, like PCI-e card with a PCI-e motherboard). Without hacked drivers and BIOS' it is almost impossible to run Crossfire on an SLI motherboard and vice-versa.


Explain more about hacked drivers?

:D 
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October 11, 2007 7:03:22 PM

No, it doesn't matter. Some people have said there is a slight performance penalty for running an ATI video card on a Nvidia motherboard, but no one has even shown me any links. I therefore chalk it up to rumor/FUD. Basically, if it fits in the slot, it will run. Whats in it for Nvidia if word gets out their motherboards can't run certain video cards as fast as other motherboards? What would be worse is if word got out when the x1950XT was king. No body would want to buy the fastest video card and a motherboard that would run it slower then others.

Onto hacked drivers. It is possible to run CF on a SLI motherboard (or vise versa I would assume) using hacked drivers. These are drivers that somebody modded to get something working on a platform in which it isn't supposed to work. They aren't faster drivers if thats what you are wondering, just hacked. You usually don't want to do this as the drivers would need to be "re-hacked" every time there was a driver update. Its rumored that the most recent set of hacked drivers is based off the 88.xx series drivers, so they are very old.

Onto the subject of bits. What you are referring to is the bus width between the GPU and the memory. On low end cards this is usually 64bits wide. On midrange cards it tends to be around 128, while 256+ is usually reserved for higher end cards. The bit width is only a part of the equation however. How fast the memory "moves" is also just as important. Faster clocked memory on a slower bus width is as fast as slower clocked ram on a wider bus width. For example, if you had 256MBs of DDR2/3 on a 128bit bus, but its clocked at 500MHz (1GHz DDR), it would be as fast as 256MBs of DDR2/3 on a 256bit bus if that memory is clocked at 250MHz (500MHz DDR). Look at the specs of the 6800GT and the 7600GT. The 6800GT uses a 256bit memory bus, but often loses to the 7600GT which as "only" a 128 bit bus. You can't just look at a card and say "oh, it has a 128bit memory bus, so it must not be very fast". It might sit on a 128bit memory bus, but it might have a very strong GPU, or have very fast memory that will make up the difference.
October 11, 2007 9:20:35 PM

4745454b said:
Onto hacked drivers. It is possible to run CF on a SLI motherboard (or vise versa I would assume) using hacked drivers. These are drivers that somebody modded to get something working on a platform in which it isn't supposed to work. They aren't faster drivers if thats what you are wondering, just hacked. You usually don't want to do this as the drivers would need to be "re-hacked" every time there was a driver update. Its rumored that the most recent set of hacked drivers is based off the 88.xx series drivers, so they are very old.


A good example of that would be HP using 2x2900XT's in crossfire on a NForce 680 board. They did this in one of the Blackbird varients.
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