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Dead 8800GT - Await RMA Replacement or Replace?

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a b U Graphics card
March 27, 2009 2:07:39 AM

My eVGA 8800GT died 2 days ago, and while eVGA has accepted my RMA for replacement, I'm considering simply replacing it altogether with an HD4870 1GB and just selling whatever replacement card they send back. Though, I may keep the replacement for a 2nd system as my kid brother has been bugging me to build him a PC. Anyway, let me get to the main reason(s) I'm considering just replacing it.

My system components (minus the 8800GT):
WinXP SP3
MSI K9A2-CF AM2+ 790X Motherboard
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ BE @ 3.2GHz (16x200 - Stable and Cool)
OCZ Reaper HPC (2 x 2GB) DDR2-800 (XP only "sees" 3.25GB, but it's better than the 2GB crap Crucial Ballistix it replaced)
2X Seagate ST3500410AS 500GB SATA-II HDD (RAID-0)
Hanns-G HG216D 22" 1680x1050 Monitor

Now, since I've got an AMD/ATI 790X CrossFire-capable board and AMD/ATI's 4870 has dropped so much in price, I'm wondering if going to an all AMD/ATI setup is worth it. (The 3870 just didn't impress me in comparison to the 8800GT 14 months ago, nor does it now.) Dropping ~$200 for a 1GB 4870 isn't the concern, but the performance difference is. More specifically, the performance gain, if any, that I'll see is what's important to me. I know I'll gain the ability to CrossFire an AMD/ATI card in the future, but I see little need for that presently. I'd prefer to stay with a single-card setup and avoid what can become a CrossFire (and for that matter, SLI) nightmare.

Of course I've heard tons of complaints about ATI's drivers over the last year or so, so I'm a little wary in that regard, but the new Cat 9.3 seems to have sorted a great deal of those issues out. Maybe a list of games I play would help...

Crysis Warhead, Fallout 3, COD4, Warhammer Online, GRID, numerous NFS titles, Farcry 2, Savage 2, assorted HL2 titles/mods, and a few others. Honestly, my 8800GT handled just about anything I threw at it very well, only slowing down at all during very intense multi-player action in a few of those titles when 4xAA or 8xAA and 8xAF or 16xAF were enabled. For the most part, it ran single-player games at Max or near-max settings for just about everything.

One last thing to consider is I'll very likely start using a 32" 1080P HDTV (1920x1080) as a secondary (perhaps primary) monitor. With the slightly increased resolution, I'm betting I'd have to tone down my game settings on a replacement 8800/9800GT.

Of course, as a final option, I haven't ruled out a single GTX260 Core 216, either.

Thanks for your time!
March 27, 2009 3:03:18 AM

Well, you will definitely see an increase in performance. The GTX 260 Core 216 and the 4870 1GB are almost the same in performance, so there is no problem with which one you pick.

What PSU do you have?
a b U Graphics card
March 27, 2009 3:23:54 AM

Cooler Master RS-550. It's got three 19A 12V rails. I've got one un-used 6-pin and one un-used 8-pin connector, as well as a few un-used SATA HDD power connectors. I could power any single card, but might have to replace it if I ever wanted to power two beastly cards in a Crossfire setup.
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March 28, 2009 5:04:42 AM

I seriously doubt he will be getting a GTX+ (aka GTS 250) as a replacement for his RMA, it's a completely different card.


A 550W PSU should be fine for a single 4870 or GTX 260. As for it doing Crossfire or SLI, it would be close, but I wouldn't doubt that you could.
a c 358 U Graphics card
March 28, 2009 5:13:43 AM

If you decide on RMA'ing it, eVGA will ship you another 8800GT. However, if they no longer have any in stock, then they will give the next higher video card which they do have in stock.

Whatever card you receive, you can still opt to buy a HD 4870 (or whatever) and eBay your eVGA replacement.
a c 106 U Graphics card
March 28, 2009 4:16:25 PM

Get a Radeon 4870. It will be a big increase and you can crossfire it with another 4870 for even more performance. Well, really you can technically crossfire a 4800 series card with any other 4800 series card (like a 4830 and a 4870), but mixing cards seems to have mixed results.
March 28, 2009 5:22:47 PM

Developers are heavily digging into dual card system setups at this moment. Over the last few years it has been slow but now they are really getting into it. I strongly recommend anyone who can run a dual card setup. The performance gains are EXTREMLY Noticable and are worth the price. I have a dual 4850 setup and im amazingly happy with the performance. With the recent price drops with the 4870s i recommend you get 2 of those and crossfire. Ive had radeons for years and let me tell you all the hubub about driver problems is just that. There are a few driver issues on each side and let me put it this way. The only time a driver issue ever annoyed me was in crysis there was a shadows problem a while back where small white pixels would show up on rocks and ***. Only time i ever really noticed a driver based issue. Everyones got em it. But yeah pick up dual 4870s you wont be sorry.
a c 177 U Graphics card
March 28, 2009 5:54:47 PM

I`d wait until the newer ATI cards are released before making a decision, they should be out next week and are likely to push the price of existing inventory down still further.
If you can`t wait the 1 Gb HD4870 is a great card and a worthy upgrade, as is the GTX 260. Given your CPU, I`d say stick to just the one card, my E6600 could n`t drive one at full speed at stock clocks and was showing small FPS gains throughout my overclocking games, right up to 3.3 GHz @1920x1200.
a b U Graphics card
March 30, 2009 12:28:07 PM

So... Upon investigating my system further, I've come across another issue. It would seem my system might be suffering from a faulty PSU. SpeedFan and HWMonitor both report my 12V voltage at 9.77V, however, when in my BIOS, it reads as 12.14V. I'm also seeing one of my temp sensors reporting as 128C! (I know! Wtf right?!) I've physically put my hand on every component in the system to see if it scorched me and nothing does, so I don't know what that 128C is all about...

So, that all said, could it be the dead 8800GT causing the voltage problem? I've got corruption in my POST, BIOS, RAID detection, and system screens, so I know for sure the card is beat. But could the faulty card also be responsible for the 9.7V readings?

I've no way of testing the system with a different card properly as I don't have any other PCI-E cards handy.
a c 177 U Graphics card
March 30, 2009 1:23:26 PM

Sounds like they are reporting incorrect values, both show my rig as having 1.47v on the 12v side, obviously wrong. I`d just put those readings down to the software not your hardware.
a b U Graphics card
March 30, 2009 2:35:30 PM

Interesting possibility. It just has me worried as I already have to pay ~$20 to Fedex or UPS to ship a 2-lb video card back to eVGA. I don't want to have to spend even more to ship a heavy PSU back to CoolerMaster.

Any other reliable monitoring software I could try? Preferably one that fully supports the Fintek F71882F monitor chip on my MSI K9A2-CF mobo...

I just can't help but wonder if maybe what happened to the video card stemmed from what might be a problem with the power supply.
a c 177 U Graphics card
March 30, 2009 4:44:10 PM

I`d trust the BIOS readings, I doubt a 12v device would run with less than 10v supplied to it.
!