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Video Card Decision...

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February 29, 2008 5:56:40 PM

I am deciding between a HD 3870 or a 8800GTS.G92

I don't have a lot of money to spend but want to invest it wisely and not waste it, if the higher priced card is worth it for seasons I'm not technically savvy enough to know please explain.

I have 2 Dell 19" displays and don't plan to play games at HIGH settings but maybe mid to low-high and maybe mid-high if that's even possible.

I thank you in advance for your input, comments & opinions.

More about : video card decision

February 29, 2008 6:33:32 PM

That's kind of a funny decision since the 8800GTS is so much faster than the 3870, but also reasonably more expensive. If you don't have a lot of money and won't be playing at the highest settings I'd suggest getting a lower end card than the 8800GTS. They are a lot cheaper and, although slower, offer a lot more bang for the buck. The HD3870 is fine but you should also consider the 8800GT/GS and the newly released 9600GT. There are a lot of choices right now that perform similarly for similar amounts of money...

-mcg
February 29, 2008 6:56:29 PM

Yeah I was just reading a decent article that was saying that the 8800GT is the best card for the money and the slight increase in performance for the GTS.G92 isn't worth it and that the 8800gt 512 is way better than the 3870.

So it seems I'm heading towards the 8800GT or wait a few weeks to a month till the 8800GTS gets to $200 or a pinch below.
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February 29, 2008 7:03:58 PM

I would go with an 8800GT. In most games you wont tell a big difference. The only reason why I went from a GT to GTS was for better cooling. Now several manufacturers offer better cooling. Also brands like XFX and EVGA allow aftermarket cooling without voiding the warranty.

The MSI 8800GT offers great value and after MIR comes less than $200.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

However, I would also encourage that you look at the 9600GT, and it offers great performance at its price point.

But even still the 3780 is a great card and even if you decide on it, I dont believe you'll be disappointed.
February 29, 2008 7:20:21 PM

Definitely look at the 9600GT. It's a little bit faster than the 3870 for about the same price. The 3870 isn't a bad choice, but it would be a travesty not to at least consider the 9600.

If you get an 8800GT try to get one with a modified cooling solution. The stock cooler sucks on many levels. I suppose the same could be said about the 9600GT, but that card doesn't run quite as hot.
February 29, 2008 8:24:09 PM

for a 19inch screen a 3870 is more than powerful enough. If you had a 22 I would suggest a 8800GT.
February 29, 2008 9:10:05 PM

compy386 said:
I'd get the 3870. There's one on sale at newegg for 179.99 after $10 rebate. My friend just got one. It works really well, has great color, and the native HDMI is really nice if you have an HDTV sitting around.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Native HDMI? Not on the card you linked there, bud.
February 29, 2008 9:42:31 PM

mtyermom said:
Native HDMI? Not on the card you linked there, bud.


It comes with an HDMI toggle that they failed to mention, but it is a true HDMI that does carry sound just like all the 37xx series cards.
February 29, 2008 10:42:39 PM

mtyermom said:
Native HDMI? Not on the card you linked there, bud.


I got one for a friend. It definitely has native HDMI. We hooked it up to my Sony 60A2000. Sound and everything works. Haven't actually tried gaming on it, but don't see why it'd be a problem.
February 29, 2008 10:52:04 PM

Native with an adapter, gotta love it :D 
February 29, 2008 11:18:44 PM

homerdog said:
Definitely look at the 9600GT. It's a little bit faster than the 3870 for about the same price. The 3870 isn't a bad choice, but it would be a travesty not to at least consider the 9600.

If you get an 8800GT try to get one with a modified cooling solution. The stock cooler sucks on many levels. I suppose the same could be said about the 9600GT, but that card doesn't run quite as hot.


Actually the 3870 is a bit faster under most circumstances but costs a little more.
Both are great choices,I just installed a 9600gt in my friend's computer and he loves it.
Check out: http://www.tomshardware.com/2008/02/21/nvidia_geforce_9...
February 29, 2008 11:41:49 PM

I'm in the same boat as this guy...debating between the 3870 & 8800GT.

I've got 2 big hangups:
CrossFire VS SLI
ATI drivers

...it's nice to get another card in a few months to a year for $100 and add a little boost to my performance, but SLI isn't supported on the newer Intel chipsets.
Also, ATI drivers pretty much suck right now, and you have to get RIVA tuner or some other 3rd party utility just to prevent the damn things from over heating.

On paper, the 3870 should be owning the competition, but in reality, it doesn't quite work out that way.

Think their drivers will improve enough to the point that they'll start kicking the butt that they should?

Also, HDMI is kinda overrated, IMO. I got a DDL card so I can always have 5.1 going to my receiver, not my TV.

BTW, www.monoprice.com is the ONLY place to get cables, and they have DVI to HDMI cables (among other things) that are way cheaper than you'll find anywhere else.
March 1, 2008 2:42:17 PM

My understanding is this:
-9600 is a bit faster than 3870 without AA
-9600 is a lot faster with AA
-Most games these days are solicited by Nvidia, giving their cards a significant advantage until ATI can optimize its drivers (sad but true)
-3870 has better video processing (full VC-1 decoding)
-3870 has a much better stock cooler
-3870 has better "image quality," whatever that means

I guess if you look at it that way the cards are about equal. I'd put my money on a 9600 since AA is important to me. Others could care less about AA, in which case the 3870 looks more attractive.

They're both great cards at great prices though.
March 1, 2008 4:26:55 PM

Something else to chew on:
EVGA and XFX offer lifetime warranties...and their 8800GTs are coming down in price; a few dip below the $200 mark at the egg.

What's really hanging me up is having to eventually get locked into an nForce chipset to go SLI w/ a quardcore.
a c 147 U Graphics card
March 1, 2008 6:35:19 PM

I vote the gts 512 if you can afford it. Outstanding card, it just rocks. You won't regret a single penny. Evga and Xfx are my recommendation because they have awesome warranties.

I am leary on the 8800GT because of the single slot cooler Performance is there though and a bit better then the 3870. the MSI one has a nice cooler on it though and clocked higher i believe.

The 3780 does have a 2 slot cooler which i like. And the prices have come down.

Get the most you can afford or want to pay, that's my rule. If you don't you will kick youself and say "why didnt I spring for the better one for $40"
March 1, 2008 7:18:11 PM

Oh SoS said:
On paper, the 3870 should be owning the competition, but in reality, it doesn't quite work out that way.

Think their drivers will improve enough to the point that they'll start kicking the butt that they should?


Drivers aren't everything. Pentium Ds looked good on paper, but their problem wasn't because the "drivers" weren't that good. There's different architectures with both CPUs and GPUs, so that you can't compare clock speeds and the number of stream processors directly.
March 1, 2008 8:27:21 PM

That's a good looking card drunkalien6. I must admit though that I am partial to eVGA. I've had nothing but good experiences with their cards and the Step-Up program is just incredible. I went from a 320MB GTS to a 512MB GT for nothing but $15 in shipping. They were out of stock GTs so they sent me a superclocked card instead. Like I said, incredible.
March 1, 2008 10:11:36 PM

A 3870 should be fine for you. If you have decent cooling for your case I would say go for the GT. Don't bother with the GTS unless you have the money to blow and really need that double slot and a few extra FPS over the 3870.
March 2, 2008 12:15:55 AM

well i took the plunge; just got that MSI card from newegg.
by far the best bang for the buck.

I figure in 6 months to a year i'm going to be doing another round of upgrades, and at that time i'll see what the chipset & gpu combinations look like; this single card solution will work on any chipset; probably won't do SLI unless they take a serious drop in price in the next year.
March 3, 2008 1:59:25 AM

Well I have a Antec 900 case, Corsair 620HX Power Supply & ZALMAN CNPS9700 110mm CPU Cooler so that should be cool enough I think.

I agree about kicking yourself... if I can get the GTS.G92 512mb for $250 versus the GT 512mb for $200 is $50 worth it even though it probably won't get used to the fullest?

I was even thinking about getting some low-end junk card that will work in the Abit IP35 Pro till the GTS.G92 falls to $200 when the 9800 comes out even if it's a month.
March 3, 2008 1:01:00 PM

For what you've described as your usage, and funds I reckon the 3870 is the best choice.
It would certainly be where my money would go!
You're not really going to get the benefit of the GTS over the GT with the resolution you'll be playing, so in my mind it would be between the 8800GT & 3870.
As I said above, the 3870 would be my choice because it's slightly cheaper (is in the UK anyway) has a better stock cooler (friends of mine have moaned about them and there are plenty of people on here saying they're crappy) generally ATi image quality is better (better colours, cripser display etc.) and if you run an Intel chipset machine, you can pop in another 3870 in the future :) 
March 3, 2008 2:57:54 PM

Well the 3870 is $180 after rebate and the 8800GT is $187 after rebate so we are talking about $7.00 dollars and it seems the MSI 8800GT has a better cooling system then the rest of the GT's so I guess for the extremely small difference in price which is the better card to go with???

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6814102719

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6814127329
a c 147 U Graphics card
March 3, 2008 3:26:58 PM

Don't get the 3870 with the little coolers, I don't like the look of them. I wouldn't feel right with such a little cooler when the original cards came out with a nice big one that blew air out the back.

I'm hearing good things from this MSI card with the better cooling. it doesnt blow it out the back, but if you are going for a GT, id look at this one.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
March 3, 2008 3:46:00 PM

jay2tall said:
Don't get the 3870 with the little coolers, I don't like the look of them. I wouldn't feel right with such a little cooler when the original cards came out with a nice big one that blew air out the back.

I'm hearing good things from this MSI card with the better cooling. it doesnt blow it out the back, but if you are going for a GT, id look at this one.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I like coolers that blow air out the back :pt1cable: 

But in all seriousness that looks like a good card; way better than the POS stock cooler. Man that thing is loud.

As for 3870 vs 8800GT, performance-wise there is no competition, but the 3870 is generally cheaper. Go with the best that your budget will allow.
a c 147 U Graphics card
March 3, 2008 4:30:16 PM

I do go for the coolers that blow out the back. My GTS isn't that bad at all to be honest. I can't imagine a stock Gt though. The MSI one doesnt blow it out the back but in all honesty it looks as though its a FAR better cooler than the stock GT. Yes it stays in the case and you should make sure you have good air flow but it still a step up from stock. I had a Thermalright cooler on my last card, a x1900xtx and going to the GTS my mobo temp dropped 5C just because the hot air from the vid card wasn't remaining in my case.
March 3, 2008 5:19:16 PM

I would take a 3870
*Direct X 10.1 support
*Builtin audio controller
gud enough for a 19"
a c 147 U Graphics card
March 3, 2008 5:44:49 PM

I think the ATI 38XX and Nvidia 8800 are all great cards. Each is prices prettey much where it needs to be. It is up to you what you feel you will need and can afford. I do like the 2 slot coolers but hey sometimes you can't be choosy.

mlaporta said:

I have 2 Dell 19" displays and don't plan to play games at HIGH settings but maybe mid to low-high and maybe mid-high if that's even possible.
to the OP, if you have it you are going to wanna use it. Once you see high graphic settings you are going to get all excited and want to keep it that way. Hence why people Overclock and get highend cards. I see you were looking at cards just under $200, is this your price range?
a c 143 U Graphics card
March 3, 2008 5:56:07 PM

jay2tall said:
I vote the gts 512 if you can afford it. Outstanding card, it just rocks. You won't regret a single penny. Evga and Xfx are my recommendation because they have awesome warranties.

I am leary on the 8800GT because of the single slot cooler Performance is there though and a bit better then the 3870. the MSI one has a nice cooler on it though and clocked higher i believe.

The 3780 does have a 2 slot cooler which i like. And the prices have come down.

Get the most you can afford or want to pay, that's my rule. If you don't you will kick youself and say "why didnt I spring for the better one for $40"


Cool, I wanted to type exactly the same things but now I don't have to :) 
March 3, 2008 6:26:14 PM

jay2tall said:
I think the ATI 38XX and Nvidia 8800 are all great cards. Each is prices prettey much where it needs to be.

Very well said. Aside from the typos :p 
March 3, 2008 6:50:23 PM

Does anyone see or forecast the price of the 8800GTS.G92 getting to around $225 within say a month?

$225 is probably my limit for a video card, I can wait no problem :sleep: 
a c 147 U Graphics card
March 3, 2008 6:51:30 PM

homerdog said:
Very well said. Aside from the typos :p 

There is a reason I'm an Engineer and not a Grammar Professor. :D 
March 3, 2008 7:29:32 PM

If you're not interested in playing game at high settings you could probably save some money and get a cheaper card. 3850, 8800gs, 8600gts, 2950gt, so on and so forth. For a 19 inch monitor you'll probably be able to play most games with high settings with the 3870.

a c 147 U Graphics card
March 4, 2008 3:06:55 PM

mlaporta said:
Does anyone see or forecast the price of the 8800GTS.G92 getting to around $225 within say a month?

$225 is probably my limit for a video card, I can wait no problem :sleep: 


It is possible. I am starting to see more rebates for these cards, so if you have the $$ up front and can wait for the rebate check you might be good. tghe BFG 8800GTS is $270 with $30 rebate making it $240.

If $225 is your highest cost, I would go for the 8800GT probably something with a different than OEM cooler like the MSI. Personally that would be my next in line. I got my GTS for $300 with $30 rebate so it's $270 I believe. Just watch for the rebates.
March 4, 2008 3:59:45 PM

sometimes I wonder if the posters here are working for ATI/Nvidia trying to sell cards to TC :D .

I use a hd2900pro which I got for $150. Plays tf2 maxed out on my 22". I think that card is equivalent to a 3850/70. Gl finding it tho.
a c 147 U Graphics card
March 4, 2008 4:10:34 PM

tekzor said:
sometimes I wonder if the posters here are working for ATI/Nvidia trying to sell cards to TC :D .

That finger better not be pointing at me. I was 2 seconds away from getting a 3870 when then came out at $220 but then sold out. New egg Jacked them up to like $280 and that was the end for me. It took to long for them to come down in price and by that time Nvidia had 8800GT's back in stock and the 8800GTS's were out. I waited a few months and the GTS came down and had a rebate. Before this I had a x1900xtx. I loved that card, it beat any 7XXX series Nvidia. The G80's didnt give me enough extra performance to upgrade so I patiently waited. Now im happy. I'm not a fanboy, I just shop for the best performance for my price range.
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