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Core Clock Speed and Video RAM aside, where's the trick nowadays?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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March 24, 2011 12:02:43 AM

I have not built a gaming PC since the glory days of the ATI Radeon 9800, so I'm quite rusty!

Back in those days, I remember the main specifications to shop for were simply Clock Speed and amount of Video Ram.

My, how times have changed.

Not only was ATI bought out by AMD, but it looks like I can't even buy a "Brand Name ATI" or "Brand Name Nvidia Card" anymore. It looks like they're all just built on the original format of the chipset, and ATI & Nvidia don't directly sell anymore! Why, oh why?

For being an avid gamer, but not into overclocking, I am quite happy with playing games at default video settings, so I was looking into the following two cards:

Nvidia GTX 460
or
Radeon 5770

My confusion comes from this: I'm seeing from Tom's Hardware benchmarking, the GTX 460 performs better than the Radeon 5770, but how is that possible? They both have 1gb Video Ram, but the Clock Speed of the Nvidia is 650mhz where the ATI is 800mhz. Shouldn't that mean the ATI is faster?

I think there is obviously another factor now that it's no longer the year 2002 that I need to catch up on, but I can't seem to find what that is. Any suggestions?
a c 194 U Graphics card
March 24, 2011 12:10:35 AM

Just like CPUs architecture is a much bigger difference than clock rates, if you notice the 5770 also has a ton more stream processors than the nVidia card, but they function differently so its quite deceptive. I dont think anyone can simply look at the specs of an AMD card and the specs of an nVidia card and tell you which one will be faster, there are just too many subtleties in the architectures.
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a c 171 U Graphics card
March 24, 2011 12:25:52 AM

"Back in those days, I remember the main specifications to shop for were simply Clock Speed and amount of Video Ram. "

were you living under a rock? back in those days there was still much more to consider than ram and clock speed. did you also think a 2.4ghz p4 performed the same as a 2.4ghz athlonxp?? why didnt you buy the cheaper 9600pro as it had 400mhz clock frequenct instead of the 9800 which had 380mhz>????? I think you have been out of it so long you forgot what graphics cards and computers are all about.......
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March 24, 2011 12:29:05 AM

I don't know why the chastising was necessary, but that still hasn't answered a single thing. I'm also confused as to what a frequenct is. Could you elaborate?
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a b U Graphics card
March 24, 2011 3:09:24 PM

its da da duhhhhh frequen-tee lol
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a c 125 U Graphics card
March 24, 2011 3:54:23 PM

Just check out reviews... there's a lot going on now I don't understand what it all means. You could always try google.

In the meantime, the 460 is a nice step up from a 5770
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