Hi everyone. I have had an AGP system for about 6 years now. Back then Nvidia was top dog and I have always been an Nvidia fan. The main reason is b/c I always heard that ATI cards had driver problems.
I looked at some benchmarks for the Nvidia 400 series and they don't look good. It seems whatever ATI card I looked at was beating the 400 series. I dont know if they were X2 cards or not.
So my real questions are: Are ATI cards still having problems with drivers? and Are Nvidia cards really that bad performance wise?
Yea think your a little out on both accounts, the fermi cards (400 series) perform well, the 480 is still the fastest SINGLE GPU card on the market and whilst there were reportedly driver issues with the ccc 9 drivers the 10.x drivers have apparently fixed most issues. Personally I have never had driver issues with either my 2 4870s or my 2 5870s.
EDIT - haha was about to link to that anandtech review
The real problems with Radeons were back on the 8500 days. With the 9000 series, they really started to improve, and by the time they launched the 3000 series ATI had pretty reliable drivers. Anyway, yeah the 400 series has gotten alot of criticism, not all of it unfairly, but it just depends. Anyway, I wouldn't look to Psycho's single benchmark.
Since you've been looking at the reviews yourself you know the that GTX 480 is generally a little faster than the 5870 and the 470 is usually between the 5850 and the 5870. Sometimes the 470 is faster than the 5870, and others it's slower than the 5850, but it just depends on the scenario. One think that's apparent though is that the GTX 400 series uses alot of power and the reference models are loud.
Many of us here like the 5000 series cards. It just depends on what your budget is, and depending on what you are looking at you may also need to consider a power supply. If you want the absolute top end solution then you're looking at some overclocked 5970s in CF, or Tri SLI GTX 480s. In either situation case size and ventilation are considerations.
Personally, I love the value that ATI offers. You'll be pleased by both companies' products, but you will likely pay a little more for equal performance if you go with NVIDIA.
I run two radeon 4870s crossfired, and they work nicely in every game I've played (BC2, MW2, Crysis, Mass Effect series, WoW, WC3, LOTRO, whatever).
Occasionally, there are programming hiccups with using crossfire, in particular with games that were programmed for XBox and ported over to PC (like BC2), but new drivers have always resolved these issues after a month or so.