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Nvidia and ATI features

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May 24, 2011 11:36:46 AM

Hey Guys

I know there are allot (and I mean allot) of posts out there about the “Nvidia 590 vs ATI 6990” and I already did allot of digging but I still have some reservations I cant wrap my finger around.
I want to buy a new graphic card witch will be either a 590 or a 6990, but my problem is I don’t know witch to chose.
I know the strengths and weaknesses of the two cards but one thing all those reviews and “VS” posts miss are the features. There are a ton of posts that compare the two cards hardware and post FPS results but none compare the features.
I have mostly had Nvidia cards but I don’t have any reservations so if the ATI is better then that’s what I will go for. I have been looking at features like Tessellation and PhysX but I don’t know if ATI has some-thing similar.

I hope you guys have some advice regarding this, and thanks for all the help :) 

More about : nvidia ati features

a b U Graphics card
May 24, 2011 3:28:54 PM

AMD cards do support tesselation, but not PhysX. I'd take the 6990, but I wouldn't purchase either. As far as features here's a couple differences.
Nvidia - CUDA, 3D surround
AMD - Eyefinity

What resolution and what are you using the build for?
a c 216 U Graphics card
a c 80 Î Nvidia
May 24, 2011 3:45:45 PM

AMD also features Morphological AA (works for any game, even if they won't support other forms of AA) and officially supports SSAA (limited in use).

The AMD 6990 also features lots of noise. If you plan to put a water block on it, always wear a headset or are deaf, that's not a problem. Otherwise, I'd recommend two 6950/70's instead.
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a b U Graphics card
May 24, 2011 5:41:28 PM

bystander said:
The AMD 6990 also features lots of noise. If you plan to put a water block on it, always wear a headset or are deaf, that's not a problem. Otherwise, I'd recommend two 6950/70's instead.


LOL, +2
May 25, 2011 6:12:55 AM

jbakerlent said:
AMD cards do support tesselation, but not PhysX. I'd take the 6990, but I wouldn't purchase either. As far as features here's a couple differences.
Nvidia - CUDA, 3D surround
AMD - Eyefinity


This is exactly the kind of input I was looking for :) . I have had a decent share of graphic cards in my life but I have never had this much trouble in picking one :) .
Sound is not an issue for me, I don’t really care how loud the card is or how much power it uses.

I know that ATI/AMD cards support tessellation but from what I can gather NVIDIA’s is about 8x times faster. I also must point out that I don’t care much for 3D, but I already have two monitors and I might be headed for a 3 so Eyefinity sounds like something cool.

Can Eyefinity be used without the game supporting it?


What resolution and what are you using the build for? said:
What resolution and what are you using the build for?



My monitors run 1920x1080, and the rig is for gaming.
a c 216 U Graphics card
a c 80 Î Nvidia
May 25, 2011 6:39:04 AM

GanX said:
This is exactly the kind of input I was looking for :) . I have had a decent share of graphic cards in my life but I have never had this much trouble in picking one :) .
Sound is not an issue for me, I don’t really care how loud the card is or how much power it uses.

I know that ATI/AMD cards support tessellation but from what I can gather NVIDIA’s is about 8x times faster. I also must point out that I don’t care much for 3D, but I already have two monitors and I might be headed for a 3 so Eyefinity sounds like something cool.

Can Eyefinity be used without the game supporting it?





My monitors run 1920x1080.


That's not exactly true. AMD's tessellation is just about as fast on light to medium tessellation usage. It's when tessellation is used heavily that Nvidia cards pull ahead, and sometimes significantly.

The main reason is that all the Nvidia cores or shaders can be used to perform tessellation, so in heavy tessellation situations, Nvidia cards can transform more cores to perform tessellation faster, but this does take away their usage for performing other tasks.

AMD has separate tessellation units that only perform that task, so as long as it's not a heavy load, they perform it well, and it has no effect on performance with other tasks.

I do like how Nvidia cards can transform to handle as much tessellation as needed, but in most cases, it's not needed. But when it is, it is nice.
May 25, 2011 7:01:59 AM

bystander said:
That's not exactly true. AMD's tessellation is just about as fast on light to medium tessellation usage. It's when tessellation is used heavily that Nvidia cards pull ahead, and sometimes significantly.

The main reason is that all the Nvidia cores or shaders can be used to perform tessellation, so in heavy tessellation situations, Nvidia cards can transform more cores to perform tessellation faster, but this does take away their usage for performing other tasks.

AMD has separate tessellation units that only perform that task, so as long as it's not a heavy load, they perform it well, and it has no effect on performance with other tasks.

I do like how Nvidia cards can transform to handle as much tessellation as needed, but in most cases, it's not needed. But when it is, it is nice.


Thank you for the explanation. Do you know if tessellation can be used for any game or graphical applica-tion or dose it require the game or application to support it?

As far as I understand it there are games that support tessellation and therefore can produce more de-tails and there are games that did not take tessellation into account but they still get some benefits from it like smoother surfaces and edges?!
May 25, 2011 10:24:29 AM

I have done some more digging and must say that I am a bit confused now. I know that Nvidia pretty much sits on PhysX and there is something that’s called GPU accelerated PhysX and CPU accelerated PhysX.
But doses this mean you can install PhysX and have a ATI/AMD card, the only difference being that its now using the CPU and not the GPU?

This PhysX thing is the only thing holding me back from buying the 6990 I just need to figure out if its something I need or not. From what I can find on the web people say that PhysX is a dying technology because game developers are using other methods of achieving the same result, I just don’t know what to make of it.

I hope some of you guys can shed some light on it.

:bounce: 
a c 172 U Graphics card
a b Î Nvidia
May 25, 2011 10:48:08 AM

GPU accellerated physx must be run on a nvidia card, but you can run it on cpu but much slower and lower the physx setting to get it to run well on cpu. it is available in a limited amount of games, most games use other physics solutions that are not restricted to one manufacturer or another. you can also run an AMD/ATI card as your primary card and buy a cheap GT240 or something to use along side it as a dedicated physics card. That way you get eyefinity +amds better AA + your hardware accellerated physx (which as far as i can tell just adds more particle effects in supported games, look at some youtube vids)
a c 376 U Graphics card
a b Î Nvidia
May 25, 2011 10:54:54 AM

You can count the number of games where GPU PhysX is a significant feature on one hand. I wouldn't make it a consideration when choosing a video card(unless you reeeeally like some of those games.)
FYI the HD6990 actually beats the the GTX 590 in the tessellation heavy Unigine Heaven benchmark;
May 25, 2011 11:09:43 AM

iam2thecrowe said:
GPU accellerated physx must be run on a nvidia card, but you can run it on cpu but much slower and lower the physx setting to get it to run well on cpu. it is available in a limited amount of games, most games use other physics solutions that are not restricted to one manufacturer or another. you can also run an AMD/ATI card as your primary card and buy a cheap GT240 or something to use along side it as a dedicated physics card. That way you get eyefinity +amds better AA + your hardware accellerated physx (which as far as i can tell just adds more particle effects in supported games, look at some youtube vids)


Thank you, this is pretty much what i was looking for. I know about the AMD/Nvidia hybrid solution and I think considering that I can still achieve PhysX when I want (I still have a 280 GTX) I will chose the 6990.

jyjjy said:
You can count the number of games where GPU PhysX is a significant feature on one hand. I wouldn't make it a consideration when choosing a video card(unless you reeeeally like some of those games.)
FYI the HD6990 actually beats the the GTX 590 in the tessellation heavy Unigine Heaven benchmark;
http://tpucdn.com/reviews/ASUS/GeForce_GTX_590/images/heaven_1920_1200.gif


This was the same impression I was getting. There are not many games that actually support PhysX. You kind of surprised me with Heaven I though that Nvidia would beat ATI/AMD here. Thank you for the input!!
May 25, 2011 11:10:31 AM

Considering all the great feedback you guys gave me I think I will go for the ATI/AMD 6990. Thank you all!
a c 216 U Graphics card
a c 80 Î Nvidia
May 25, 2011 3:40:37 PM

jyjjy said:
You can count the number of games where GPU PhysX is a significant feature on one hand. I wouldn't make it a consideration when choosing a video card(unless you reeeeally like some of those games.)
FYI the HD6990 actually beats the the GTX 590 in the tessellation heavy Unigine Heaven benchmark;
http://tpucdn.com/reviews/ASUS/GeForce_GTX_590/images/heaven_1920_1200.gif


I'm curious what tessellation setting is used on the benchmark, it does not say whether it was tested with normal or if it was with extreme. I'd guess it was normal, but who knows.
a c 376 U Graphics card
a b Î Nvidia
May 25, 2011 7:05:50 PM

Looking at the article I got that from it doesn't say what settings were used
a c 172 U Graphics card
a b Î Nvidia
May 25, 2011 11:33:10 PM

GanX said:
Considering all the great feedback you guys gave me I think I will go for the ATI/AMD 6990. Thank you all!

you SHOULD just get 2 x 6970's in xfire. a 6990 is essentially 2x 6970's on the one card but runs a bit slower, hotter, more expensive and is noisier than running 2 separate cards.
May 26, 2011 6:33:56 AM

iam2thecrowe said:
you SHOULD just get 2 x 6970's in xfire. a 6990 is essentially 2x 6970's on the one card but runs a bit slower, hotter, more expensive and is noisier than running 2 separate cards.


I do not believe this to be the best solution because of a few things. Two cards use up more space, they probably use more power and there is bound to be some performance loss on the CrossFire. Also where I live its actually cheaper to buy a 6990.

I agree it’s defiantly a solution and I know that the two 6970 in Crossfire actually are better in some cases than the 6990 I have read allot of reviews and VS but its feels like the 6990 is a more complete product.(if feels like they had more time to refine it)

Still you have a valid argument, thank you for the suggestion.
a c 216 U Graphics card
a c 80 Î Nvidia
May 26, 2011 6:42:44 AM

GanX said:
I do not believe this to be the best solution because of a few things. Two cards use up more space, they probably use more power and there is bound to be some performance loss on the CrossFire. Also where I live its actually cheaper to buy a 6990.

I agree it’s defiantly a solution and I know that the two 6970 in Crossfire actually are better in some cases than the 6990 I have read allot of reviews and VS but its feels like the 6990 is a more complete product.(if feels like they had more time to refine it)

Still you have a valid argument, thank you for the suggestion.


I'm not sure if you are aware, but a 6990 is two 6970's in crossfire that reside on the same card. But in order to keep power demands in check, they down clocked them.
a c 172 U Graphics card
a b Î Nvidia
May 26, 2011 10:12:59 AM

GanX said:
I agree it’s defiantly a solution and I know that the two 6970 in Crossfire actually are better in some cases than the 6990 I have read allot of reviews and VS but its feels like the 6990 is a more complete product.(if feels like they had more time to refine it).

6970 crossfire is better in ALL cases, not some. The 6990 is not a more complete product, they just slapped 2 gpu's on one card and downclocked them to keep under the PCIE power limit. They are running very close to that limit and i think that is one more reason to stay away from them. The only reason to get one is if you only have 1 pcie slot and need that kind of power, then i agree, that should be your choice. Otherwise 2 x 6970's is better in every way.
!