I'm shopping around for an ATI Radeon 9800 pro (128mb)...
I've collected a few prices, and in general they all differ by only a few quid, so I was wondering what peoples thoughts where on the differences.
See, my thoughts are that all chips are made by ATI ("powered by ATI" cards, I cant get ATI own brand here in the UK), its just the boards that differ. Given the standards (probably) imposed by ATI, the boards must be fairly similar as well.
So, given the following 4 brands:
2. Generic (unbranded / value OEM type stuff)
3. Crucial (memory manufacturers)
Is there any odds between them do you reckon? if I get one or the other its not going to have much bearing is it?
fyi, it'll be put in a 3ghz p-4 with 1gb Corsair RAM..
Sapphire is surely not the "top of the line" as far as ATI cards go, but most of the time they're not bad either.
The only differences you will see between any are different kinds of memory, and different achievable overclocks. Also some brands (including Sapphire!) have had a history of having more problems than cards built by ATI, or high-end cards like Hercules. Crucial and visiontek follow the ATI reference design exactly, and therefore should be exactly the same. Sapphire and power color can differ. I mean, not all 128mb power color 9800 Pros are the same! Even under the same model name! Power color is all over the place, but actually some of their cards have a certain type of hynix memory (forget the name/type) thats rated for 450mhz or something, and while it didnt actually hit that in the review i read, it did hit between 420 and 430, which is more than the samsung that comes on ATI cards (and visiontek/crucial).
So sometimes its the luck of the draw. Main thing to look out for is the type of memory, if you see "Inferion" stay away. Also there are 2 types of the Hynix memory, one kicks ass, one doesn't. Samgsung is what ATI uses and its good, and will OC to between 360 and 380 (assuming youre not water cooling it or something!).
So check the memory (and clock speeds), and then go with the cheapest one!