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Card Recommendations for 1920x1200 COD4 and more

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 18, 2008 6:49:49 PM

Hi,

Recently I purchased a BenQ FP241VW (I needed the additional inputs over the non-"V" and the price was right) with its native resolution of 1920x1200. I have retired from WoW for some time and have been trying to get back into FPS. COD4 caught my attention unlike the rest of the franchise however it's going to dig deep into my wallet to fulfill its requirements.

I have not upgraded the core of my system in quite some time, currently its as follows:

Zalman HD160
Opteron 165 @ 2.4ghz w/Zalman 9500 (may swap to a 9700, not a zalman fan-fan as they are a bit noisy but have the space restrictions)
2x1GB PC3200 Samsung running at 3-3-3-8 @ 1T
Radeon x800 AIW AGP (yes.. AGP) w/Zalman VF900
ASRock 939DUAL-SATA2 (does have a 16xPCI-E slot)
OCZ GameXStream 700W

Then a bunch of drives...

Anyways, I am planning on upgrading my video card first, since that's pretty much what I need now. Unfortunately the x800 AIW wont cut it at 1920x1200. I wont be playing at a lower resolution. In all cases, I intend to go either Crossfire or SLI in the future, however I will be purchasing one video card within the next month, then the next either 3 or 6months down the road along with the cpu/mobo/ram when cash permits.

The options I see are as follows with the approximate cost for me (in $CDN but the same pretty much) before taxes:

3870 $220
8800GT $230
8800GTS 512 $270

And possibly in 3-5 weeks:
3870x2 $450 (pseudoly confirmed)
9800GX2 (if that's what they name it) $650 (rough estimate)

This round I am planning on sticking with the stock coolers and rear-exhausting due to the case design which I am sticking with. As such, I am ditching the 8800GT from the list because I can get a decent deal on the 8800GTS 512 which has a good stock cooler.

For the 9800GX2 I will have to upgrade my PSU to run SLI, most likely. as such I will probably only purchase 1 card as the total cost for the graphics upgrade would be ~ $750 for a single card.

So either I would go Crossfire:
3870
3870x2

or SLI
8800GTS 512

or Single
9800GX2

At 1920x1200 w/4xAA (I know ATI still has issues with the ROPs which is still apparent in crossfire) will the 8800GTS be significantly faster than the 3870 in crossfire in COD4? IE 25% or more. That is pretty much the tipping point for me. I do not switch multiplayer games often, usually I play them for 2+ years, but often play more than one game at once.

The 3870 or 8800GTS 512 I can obviously buy today... the other two I will have to wait till they come out which skews it slightly. If the 3870 was confirmed to crossfire with the 3870x2 then I would pick one of those up in a flash but I have not been able to find that out anywhere.

Sorry for the awkward wording/format, been thinking this through for awhile.
January 18, 2008 7:46:40 PM

Here is another way to break it down for long run/total costs:

2X 8800GTS SLI
Need to upgrade mobo
Need to upgrade to good PSU 800-850W
= $950+/-, most powerful option

9800GX2
No need to upgrade mobo
Need to upgrade PSU 800-850W
=$750, 2nd most powerful option

3780X2
No need to upgrade mobo
No need to upgrade mobo (based on the pw requirements of a single 3870,I'd assume your OCZ 700W should just handle this card)
= $450, 3rd most powerful option

I would wait for the benchmarks on the new dual GPU cards, but if you want to stick with what you have now (CPU, Mobo, PSU, RAM), 3870X2 may be your best/cheapest option. 9800X2 will almost definitely be superior to 3870X2, but I'd bet the increase is not worth the extra couple hundred $. Since you're on a 939 platform, you'll most likely need to toss most of your stuff if you want to upgrade.
January 18, 2008 7:47:50 PM

I have a 8800GT and it seems to do the trick on my Dell24. I can play at 1920x1200 at 4xAA but I have to set the texture down a little. Even with everything maxed its still very playable (for me at least). But at that resolution I just cant tell the diffence with textures/filters on and off after a certain point.

I usually just play at 1280x1024 or 1680x1050 and max everything out. But from what I can tell most games I own I can max out all the way including resolution with my 8800GT.

Although I think the GT is an awesome card I would recommend the GTS over it. The GT is just to loud and gets to warm. I'm within the return policy so I'm going to be taking my card back for next gen when they come out or for a GTS and step up with EVGA later.
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January 18, 2008 8:08:59 PM

I have a Dell 24" LCD
8800GT KO
2 GB ram
X2 4800 @2.4
I run 1920 x 1200 in COD 4 with no AA everything else on normal and high and consistently maintain 91+ FPS when I turn on AA it drops me down to around 70, personally at that high of a res i have never needed to use AA, everything looks pretty.

Sounds like you could just get away with just a vid card upgrade, I also have a similar system I use for an HTPC hooked up to a projector and running 1280x720 res attached to an HD3850 and I get really good performance out of it as well between 60-80 FPS depending on the map you are playing...

All the numbers I give you as an example are for multi player which is less taxing on your hardware than single player. Frames will go down a bit in single player.
January 18, 2008 9:19:28 PM

Thanks for the input guys.

I am impressed by the numbers you are seeing Delanooch with a near comparable system. I think I probably will continue going with a single 8800 GTS 512 (my first NVidia since the GF2MX/GTS days, although I've had 4 ATI cards since).

Even at 1920x1200, not having AA bugs me right now. 2xAA usually is sufficent when I am moving around in the game, but the weird jaggies without any AA catch my eyes all the time. Yes.. my coffee mug handles are alligned in the cupboard <_<;;

4xAA is my goal however, if I cannot reach it for a reasonable amount of money I will stay with 2x.

January 18, 2008 9:39:26 PM

I should have said "I think I will probably start by going with a single 8800GTS"

I am still unsure if I will be able to run SLI with my current PSU and a pair of those cards however. Being limited to 350W across the two rails connected to the PCI-E connectors will most likely be the limiting factor. I was under the impression that they could peak at ~ 200W each. I do not know how much of that is drawn through the PCI-E connector though..

I think its recommended that for a single 8800GTS 512, 26A should be available on the 12V rail(s), but I believe that is for the whole system. Unless of course this card can suck 312 watts or so just on the 12V which I doubt. I'll poke be searching around for a bit more information as I would like to have an reasonable upgrade path in place.
a b U Graphics card
January 18, 2008 10:26:37 PM

Sli would help a ton at 19x12 4xaa/16xaf. At those settings, SLI scales very well in COD4. http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/nvidia_geforce_8800...

But if you drop fsaa a bit, I'd think a single 8800GTS 512MB would do fine.

edit: Whoa, with your cpu/system I would not go dual 8800GTS.
January 18, 2008 11:02:07 PM

I just got a BFG 8800GT OC2. Altough slightly overclock (675mhz instead of 600 stock), it's almost the same as the original.

I just finished CoD4 on my new Samsung 245BW (native 1920*1200) with EVERYTHING maxed out. I was getting 60fps (vsync enabled) all the time except when I was fighting intense action scene, for which I never went below 40fps. Just as fluid as possible. So I guess it's a nice card for your new monitor.

For Crysis, I think that we'll need to wait another year (or more) to play the game in it's full glory... beacause nothing powerfull enough is on the market. I started it @ 1920*1200 with setting to very high and got only 10-15fps, altough it seems fluid... Well for the 5 minutes I tried it out. Don't laugh at me! I know I was shooting way too high, but I wanted to see how it was... and I didn't see much since tha game start at night :(  .
January 18, 2008 11:08:03 PM

pauldh said:
Sli would help a ton at 19x12 4xaa/16xaf. At those settings, SLI scales very well in COD4. http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/nvidia_geforce_8800...

But if you drop fsaa a bit, I'd think a single 8800GTS 512MB would do fine.

edit: Whoa, with your cpu/system I would not go dual 8800GTS.


Is it only me or...

For me, AA is not as important when you get resolution of 1920*1200. This is because the "ladder" effect isn't as pronounced with higher resolution. For AF, it's a different story tough. But I played CoD4 with only 2XAA if my memory is right, and didn't suffer from this ladder effect at all.

Believe me or not, but AA just isn't as important when you reach such high resolution, so skipping it might just give you more fps without loosing too much quality.

My 2 cents.
a b U Graphics card
January 19, 2008 2:19:10 AM

At 1680x1050 I very often notice the jaggies and almost fixate on them. I can't speak for 1920x1200. It depends on the game though as to how distracting it is.

Funny thing is I can play on aging rigs and be happy at 12x10 no aa. I just ignore the jaggies and am happy the game is tweaked to be playable. But on my main gaming rig I expect all the eye candy and am not happy if I notice it's not there.

January 19, 2008 2:51:38 AM

Hello pauldh,

I didn't mean to make fun of you. Still, for me the jaggies are (should be) less noticable at higher resolution. I agree tough that if the VPU is powerful enough, someone might as well use AA.
a b U Graphics card
January 19, 2008 3:00:15 AM

I took no offense at all to your comment.

And at 19x12 I may feel the same way you do. Unfortunately I cheaped out on a 22" TN (which I like alot actually), so I can't test that res. But yeah, they have to be way less noticeable than at 10x7.
January 21, 2008 6:50:44 PM

pauldh,

I am buying one card now, then replacing the cpu/mobo/ram and getting a second card later this year.

Edit: (Income tax return)

I'm intending to go multi card (although I wouldn't with the 9800gx2 if i were to wait for its release). Right now I'm leaning towards the 8800GTS 512 and picking up a second later. The thermals of the 9800GX2 are probably going to be horrific in my case (others should be fine though). I am just waiting until the NDA on the 3870 is up on Wednesday I believe. In the meantime I'll continue playing COD4 on my aging x800 @ 1920x1200 no AA/no Ani low/medium textures ~ 15FPS :( 

This game still amazes me but the choppiness definetly gives me a headache. Lowering the resolution just makes it fuzzy and hard on the eyes unless I dont have it set to stretch.

I obsess over jaggies since the original UT days, they just bug me. same as tearing, sparkling, etc.
January 21, 2008 8:15:16 PM

I know what you mean praeses. Playing COD4 with a X600 sucks. I hate playing on maps like Overgrown In 800 600. Makes my head spin because of all the jagged vegetation.
January 21, 2008 8:51:04 PM

Well, your PSU will handle dual 8800GTs or 3870s with relative ease, so your PSU will not need upgrading. If you do plan to go dual vga in the future, I believe the HD 3870 currently scales better then any other card on the market, so that would be the way I would go. If you can swing it, the 3870X2 would be nice, however a sing 8800GT 512 will meet your current goal (COD4 at 1920x1200 with 4xAA)

Both my 8800GTS 320 and my 8800GT 512 can play COD4 with ease at 1680x1050 with 4xAA and 8xAF and everything else as high as it will go.
January 21, 2008 9:30:31 PM

I run COD4 at 1920 x 1200 on a G80 GTS640, paired with a Q6600. Settings on maximum and AA at 4x - no worries.

I'd gor for the G92 8800TGS512 - can't go wrong with that - it will probably be quicker than my 1 year+ old card.
January 28, 2008 3:45:13 PM

I have been using the Galaxy 8800GTS 512 for a few days now and it seems to work quite well. Coming from my ATI card, the colours are a bit off from what I am accustomed to in 3D (with the same texture settings, AA/AF). Arguably the ATI ones are better, but working on adjusting the NVidia ones to match. They currently look generally "greener and duller".

From what I can tell for the most part i'm hovering ~ 40-50FPS in combat at 1920x1200 4xAA. I believe my CPU is bottlenecking me here. I definetly take a hit in 3mark06 on the non-cpu tests due to it compared to in a Q6600 box (It gets murdered in the CPU tests).

Have it slightly oc'ed to 750/1000 (dont know shader offhand but whatever default multiplier it uses would be set) and I haven't noticed the fan ramp up yet (although it may have). At boot time or if i manually crank it > 50% its quite loud, but mostly wind noise which is due to the blower style fan from what I can tell. It doesn't whine and its not particularly annoying but distracting hence why I leave it at default. It does run a bit warm, I believe 43 is the lowest I've seen, I do not know the highest but I've seen 59 so far. My room temperatures are low, usually 11-18C. I have the heat off, so basically whatever I have on in my apartment heats it. 29% is barely audible over the rest of my system which is fairly quiet with nexus fans. The AA seems to be "better" than that on the x800, with more natural blending. AF appears to be the same.

So far, I'm quite happy with this card, just waiting on the rebate. It also fit nicely in my Zalman HD160 with about 1" clearance from the back of the PCI-E plug from the PSU and the harddrive rack. It barely fist on my ASRock 939Dual-SATA2 though. I had to bend one of the SATA raid connectors about 30degrees which really are not meant to be bent.

If Nvidia decides to do a shrink of the 780i in the near future I'll probably pick one of those up. I have not been able to track down an ETA on that yet.

Summation:

Thumbs up:
Performance
Low Noise
Rear Exhausting
Cool
Possible OC potential
Dimensions (barely)

Thumbs Down:
3D Colours
Rebates :S
Power Consumption (definetly higher)

Edit: It's heavy.. quite heavier than my x800AIW & ZF-900. Take that as a pro or con. It also feels very sturdy. The PCB didn't seem to creak/crack or flex and the enclosed cooling system makes it seem rather hardy.

This is also my official return to NVIDIA's side since my ti4200 which had much more troublesome colour issues, horrible fuzzy VGA, poor accordion-style cooler, and a premature death. Most of that was probably vendor dependant but it did follow the reference design.
January 28, 2008 4:39:41 PM

I use a 8800GT and works surprisingly well. Doesn't even overheat.
1920x1200 2xAA all MAX.
January 28, 2008 7:54:55 PM

looks like I will be going to 1920x1200 from 1680x1050 this week so I will be able to give you some first hand experience!
!