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THGC Graphics Card Buyers' Guide (05/Dec/2005)

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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August 15, 2003 4:20:14 PM

This buyers' guide is only about gaming cards, and we recommended cards based on price:p erformance. At this moment, we didn't take video processing capability of GPUs into account.

Adrian's Rojack Pot has an excellent desktop graphics card comparison guide, check it for graphics card technical specifications. www.rojakpot.com/showarticle.aspx?artno=88
They also have a Mobile graphics card comparison guide
www.rojakpot.com/showarticle.aspx?artno=98

Detailed technical specification of graphics cards are also available at
http://users.erols.com/chare/video.htm
http://www.area3d.net/overview.php


New Technology

PCI Express
PCI Express has an architecture that is serial based like the SATA while the old PCI is based upon a parallel architecture. So pin count reduces. Also the protocol is much like AGP. Devices do not share bandwidth. Theoritical bandwidth will be 250 MB/s per direction, roughly double the bandwidth of the current PCI and this is available to each device with PCI Express. The above will be the refernce lane x1. Extra lanes with bandwidth multiple of x1 can be added - x2, x4, x8, x12, x16 and x32. x16 is the new generation graphical bus interface. Low latency is also another goal of PCI Express.
(contributed by priyajeet)

SLI and Crossfire
SLI technology increases 3D performance by using two PCI express graphics cards in a system. In a SLI system, both cards split up the rendering job. Both cards must be based on same chipset. This technology was originally invented by 3dfx, but now it's used in Nvidia GeForce 7800/6800/6600 series cards. Crossfire is ATI's response to SLI. Crossfire can be used with Radeon X1800/X1600/X1300 series cards and some X800/X850 series cards. It can also be done with the X300 and X700 across the PCIe bus however not officially supported, unlike the other listed. Crossfire is limited to 1600 x 1200 @ 60 Hz with ATI X800/X850 series cards. No similar limitaion exist with ATI X1800/X1600/X1300 series though.

Performance benefit of SLI is more significant at highest resolutions, especially when Anti-Alasing is enabled. Usually a single 6800GS/GT outperforms two 6600GT in SLI, but two 6600GTs are more expensive than a single 6800GT. And you will also need a motherboard that has two PCI Express x16 slots. This is why SLI is not recommended unless you're looking for the absolute best performance at any cost or want to run all latest games at highest possible resolutions with all eye-candy turned on.

Nvidia TurboCache and ATI HyperMemory Cards
These cards have small ammount of onboard memory and use system RAM as VRAM. They're not much cheaper than similar cards that have full VRAM onboard, and don't perform very well either.


Value Cards

Recommended Cards
Price Range: $50 or less Radeon 9550 (AGP)
Price Range: $50 to $100 GeForce 6600 (PCI Express), GeForce 6200 (AGP/PCI Express), Radeon 9600XT/Pro (AGP), Radeon X600XT/Pro (PCI Express)

Sometimes you may find a better deal than the cards recommended above. If you can find a Radeon 9700 Pro or 9800 Pro under $100, then it's the best choice for AGP. Radeon X700 Pro is another better card to buy, if it fits within your upto $100 budget.

Cards to Avoid
Any SiS/XGI card, GeForce4 MX series, GeForce FX/PCX series, SE models of Radeon 9xxx/X300 series, GeForce 6200 cards with 64 bit memory.

Avoid 256 MB VRAM cards, if you're buying a cheap card. They don't perform better than the similar cards with lower VRAM, but often cost more and come with inferior memory.


Lower Midrange Cards ($100 to $200)

Recommended Cards

Price Range: $100 to $150 GeForce 6600GT (AGP/PCI Express)
Price Range: $150 to $200 Radeon X800GTO (AGP/PCI Express), Radeon X800 Pro (AGP/PCI Express)

If you have money to buy Radeon X800GTO/X800 Pro, then you may consider getting the little more expensive GeForce 6800GS, which is a better performer.


Higher Midrange Cards ($200 to $300)

Recommended Cards

PCI Express GeForce 6800GS
AGP Radeon X850XT, Radeon X800XT, GeForce 6800GT, Radeon X800XL

GeForce 6800GS performs as good as GeForce 6800GT/Radeon X800XL and costs much cheaper. Buy GeForce 6800GT or Radeon X800XL only if you don't have a motherboard with PCI express slot. Radeon X850XT is a better alternative for AGP systems, if you can find it under $300.


High End cards

Recommended Cards

Best Buy GeForce 7800GT
The BEST GeForce 7800GTX

GeForce 7800GT performs almost as good as 7800GTX, but if you want the absolute best 7800GTX is the card to buy. ATI X1800XT performs on par with 7800GTX, but costs more. Between GeForce 7800GT and X1800XL, 7800GT is the clear winner

Radeon X850XTpe is the best AGP card you can find in the market, but if you are really after the best performance then it's time to upgrade to PCI Express.


Card Manufacturers

ATI based cards:

First, there are 3 real classes of build for these cards, but it's often reduced to 2 for simplicity sake.

- Retail, ATI is the only true retail seller on the market (nV doesn't really have any retail [PNY is their flagship partner]), however it is rare that the distinction is made between this and the next class. Ati's cards are mostly made by Sapphire, who also make their own line (kinda confusing)

- OEM partner, many people include these in the Retail segment because their products ship in a retail box, and most often it is refered to as 'retail' by stores and even people talking here. OEM partners are ASUS, Hercules, Gibabyte, Sapphire, etc. USually comes with a nice box, documentation, cables, software, games. Usually have warranties and support for the card.

- Static-Bag/White-Box OEM this is what is usually simply refered to as just plain OEM. These products come with the bare minimum (drivers, and basic instructions [sometimes only on the CD]), and usually come in the bare minimum packaging, often being found in either a white box or an anti-static bag. Often no support and very minor warranties at best.



Now on to the brands themselves.
Well from what I've seen here's my op-onion;


Built By ATI, this is of course the gold standard / refernce card. In many cases they are among the very best on the Market (like the R9600Pro), but sometimes they are limited because they are only as good as their reference standard, and others outdo ATI (the R9600XT). Guaranteed performance and very good build quality, which is nice with all the 'kinda-PROs', and Sorta-XTs out there. Somewhat limited software package usually (often just one step up from white-box OEM) 3 year Warranty, which is good for people who have a long term comitment in mind. Basically you know what to expect when getting a BBA card.

HIS, the Ice-Q is a beautiful thing, definitely top notch, awesome overclocker, pretty quiet. The Excalibur on the other hand, good but not so top notch, I would say it's average or just above. HIS' reputation isn't as storied as some, but they are know to be a solid maker, new to making products like the ICE-Q, but the Excalibur is workhorse kind of stuff. Can be found with interesting unique feature like VIVO feature on some cards (before ASUS moved to ATI), and HIS offers one of the only non-workstation ATI cards in their R9600 series.

Hercules with the 3D Prophet series, top notch definitely. Both in build and in features. Usually a top overclocker, and the software package usually is tops too. Quality maker with great reputation for going the extra mile. Leaving the market after ATI didn't like the special features, add-ons, clockspeeds, etc. and asked them to fall in line, and Hercules decided the market is to competitive to go through that hassle. The R9800XT is their last line (AFAIK)

ASUS, have started making ATI cards after developing a good reputation making nV cards. ASUS provides most of their cards with VIVO unlike most (but some do like HIS above). Elaborate software package (hardware/temp monitoring, video security feature for home security), and their uniqe HSF solution with dual fans making them good overclockers (as long as you disable SmartDoctor monitoring feature). A top notch maker with a good name (mainly from making good nV products). 3year warranty like ATI. The card I would personally buy IMO, just barely nudging out Hercules, BBA and HIS.


Sapphire usually a good card, usually equal to the BBA but with a little more software. However there can be minor niggling issues from time to time like any of their other cards. Some models can come with a wide assortment of memory modules (11 different types for the R9600P last time I counted). Sometimes can have better features, with their FireBlade editions and UltimateEditions for a premium. Warranty is not quite as good as ATI. The base Atlantis models usually can be found slightly cheaper than BBA, so you usually get what you pay for.

Tyan makes pretty good stuff. You can get a regular models (usually good overclockers) or ones with HSF speed control and a thermal diode for temperature monitoring (diode is in the HSF though so you can't replace the HSF and keep the Temp monitoring), rememebr this is on their regular cards not just XT! The thermal diode equipped cards are hampered by the HSF assembly and doesn't overclock as high as the standard model because the HSF is aluminum, and sits on the memory with RUBBER feet. Good at stock speed (which is above reference BBA speed), but not good overclocker when using the temperature monitoring version with big blue HSF.

VisionTek Xtasy series, a fairly recent convert from nVidia (recent for the R9800pro generation, Asus and MSI are newer of course). Standard build few bells and whistles, but they have been turning out VERY good overclockers, many reviewers brushing up against the top of their class.

Gigabyte MAYA series, offers pretty good cards with lots of feature and software including a packaged overclocking utility (V-tuner), they use their own custom cooler (looks like gold or brass, but it's just coated aluminium so far). Can be much better than BuiltByAti cards, and can sometimes be slightly below their build, depending on the sector of the market the card is aimed at.

Gigacube/GeXcube/Gag-n-puke Not a fan of theirs, don't like a few of their practices like the 'pro-lite', don't trust their build quality, think of it as the same as OEM. This is definitely NOT Gigabyte, like they try to make people believe. Stay away unless you like Russian roulette, or have no other choice.

Powercolor a hit and miss brand, slightly better than Gigapuke IMO. Powercolor is notorious for underclocking their graphics cards and selling them as 'PRO's, the original PC 'R9700Pro' was really an R9700non-pro, it later had a name change to the R9700GOLD . Their cards can even arrive at reviewer's bench underclocked that way. http://www.hardocp.com/article.html?art=NDgz

Connect3D Very barebones maker. Don't hear much bad about them, but definitely a workhorse general purpose vendor, with very little software or accesories, very basic cards. Just a step up from OEM IMO, but nothing bad to say, so an important step up.

Club3D, do NOT confuse this with Connect3D, Club3D is also barebones, but mediocre maker. Their cards are made by Powercolor's manufacturing arm. I have not heard good things about them, and considering their build partner I'm not surprised. Likely left with PC's castoffs, treat like PC and Gag-n-puke.

Crucial Just rebranded Sapphires IIRC. Pretty barebones too. Very much like Connect3D in that they have sparse offering but are OK cards. I have seen people praise their overclocking.

Creative The 3D Blaster ATI cards are currently only available in Europe (north America get the nV FX line). Quality build with ok software package. Not enough reviews to pass final judgement, seems ok. One issue I did notice was that they prefer their own drivers to ATI's reference Catalyst (don't know why since they don't have special features like VIVO or hardware monitoring), and can sometimes have issues because of that.

MSI, new entrant in the ATI camp, like ASUS they came over from nV. No real information on quality of their ATI products, or what to expect from their packaging. But they do have a good reputation from making quality nV parts.

Anywhoo, that's what I've gleaned from my readings over time.

A good source for reviews based on brand (but the link is a little old so benchmarks may no longer be as accurate and some of the links linked to may be dead) is here from 8dimensional;

http://www.8dimensional.com/video-card-reviews/index.html


Start of the ATI section (Scroll down to find the one you're looking for);

http://www.8dimensional.com/video-card-reviews/ati-video-cards.html#ATi_FireGL_X1


(contributed by TheGreatGrapeApe)


nVidia based cards:

the way I would choose
BFG(upgrade to water cooled) ~ Gainward Power Pack >= BFG > Gainward ~ eVGA > MSI ~ Gigabyte ~ Asus ~ Leadtek > Chaintec ~ XFX ~ Aopen ~ Abit

Abit
They have a good reputation on motherboards, but are not much of Nvidia VGA card makers. As a matter of fact they haven't even got the latest 6 series in Nvidia. So one can expect cheaper prices for older models.

ASUS
They have a good reputation for their motherboards and ATI cards, and though feature wise their Nvidia graphics card line up isnt all that different from say MSI, Gigabyte but they do incorporate features like TD/TVD/Deluxe (another name for VIVO) and have wierd non-standard naming systems. They do have a very good hardware/software bundle and usually cards come with a free webcam. The board layout and design is simple and neat. As mentioned in the ATI section, they are decent overclockers, specially the ones with dual fans. They provide 3 years of warranty but do have a bad reputation for their support. Personally I think the higher level of support you get from them, the better support they provide. Cost wise, they are slightly, more expensive than the usual Geforces.

BFG Technologies
BFG (Big F*cking Gun) live up to their name. Company comprises of a bunch of hardcore gamers producing cards for gamers. They are the top card producers for NVIDIA, and excel in service and quality. For comparison, BFG can be compared to HIS (for ATI) with an extra edge. They OC their cards and then guarantee that. How many manufacturers do such a thing? Their cards have life time warranty, and the company provides 24/7 customer service. The only drawback is that their products are priced relatively higher than other OEMs. But that makes sense as they give lifetime warranty on over clocked stuff. If you have the money, this is where your shopping cart should stop. Cureently BFG is selling all the cards from the last 6 generations of Nvidia GPUs with the exception of the latest 6600 series. Also BFG offer a few other gaming goodies including upgrades for the graphics card like water cooling. Note: before buying make sure you meet power requirements, as these guys OC their cards, u dont want to fall behind.

Chaintech
To keep it short and simple, they are Gigabyte wannabes. Take a few unique features out of a gigabyte, make it a bit cheaper, give same or worse warranty and we get a Chaintec. Not that its bad, there are better alternatives like Gigabyte, MSI and Asus.

DFI
Havent seen much of their cards around and might not be for sale in the Americas. They entered into the retail market for motherboards only recently and because of their colors and geeky designs have scored points among the enthusiast community. They are more of a bulk OEM, so the cards they are making might be in those brand names computers you buy.

EPoX
Havent heard of these in the retail segment and not sure if they are available in the US for sale. Like DFI, these guys also make for brand name computer manufacturers.

PNY Technologies
PNY have been Nvidias best bud. Have been loyal to them ever since making both desktop and workstation cards. Their desktop series are not at all outstanding. They are the simplest version of a stable Nvidia card one can get. they are might be a bit cheaper than most of the others and are a good choice for a tight-on-budget user, or a non-enthusiast not interested in pushing graphics limits to extreme. They often have value promotions and give out bags n stuff with their cards. They do offer a lifetime replacement warranty on 1-2 cards, but only guys with burnt PNY cards can tell what do they actually mean by lifetime. On others something like a 1-3 year warranty based on conditions.

eVGA
eVGA are another big name in NVIDIA OEMs. They make good cards and provide decent service. (dunno about their warranty customer service - maybe somebody can tell)
They have an all rounder web site and provide a number of attractive features. Seldom they have games and give away cards. Apart from their technical support, they have a community where news/help can be obtained. They have intensive documentation on the website with troubleshooting utilities. They also host a marketplace where one can sell old cards, trade etc. Another attractive feature that they provide with their cards is the “Step-up program” wherein you would be allowed to upgrade your graphics card (bought after Feb. 2004) within 90 days of purchase, to their latest card for one time only. I.e. they buyback your old card for the full price and apply it to the new card. Before you buy, look into the terms/conditions of this feature. Their prices are more attractive than BFG, but cards are at stock speeds. Quality wise the cards look pretty much the same as other OEMs, though these guys give games like Doom 3 free with certain cards. eVGA will definetly be in my top 5 list if I ever plan to buy a Nvidia.

Gainward
Though they don't have a fancy site like others, Gainward makes some serious stuff. They are among the famous OC cards and come in two main different flavors. The coolFX series are the competition to BFG. These are OCed cards; water cooled and come with utilities to OC further and supported just like the BFG. Though these are quite expensive. The other not so expensive flavor also have massive heat sinks on them for the over clocker, but they aren’t water cooled or OCed by the company. On the other hand they don’t have much documentation on their website about the products and or troubleshooting steps. Few websites also sell Gainward cards with single slot heatsinks for those who dont have enough space. warranty ??Final summary is that card is designed for the OCing enthusiast as well as performance user.

Gigabyte
Just like their ATI cards, the Nvidia cards are bundled with games and software. They also include the gigabyte exclusive V-Tuner II overclocking utility with good hardware monitoring. Some cards have a fanless heat pipe based cooling system, hence making no noise. They do mention OCing along with their card specs so one can safely assume that there products are designed to OC. They have an extensive website and have heard no complaints about their service.

Leadtek
They are another OEM for Nvidia, an old one. Nothing too exceptional about their cards, which could make them totally stand out. However they use their own HSF design, something called the 3 Air-surround cooling system. According to reviews the design looks pretty good and solid and covers both sides of the board, but how efficient that would be for overclocker can only be told by a Leadtek user. I have read 1-2 articles of successfull OCing. Few of their high end section cards come with dual DVI connectors. They might be available for a bit (just a bit) cheaper than the bunch. They provide warranty upto 3 years.

MSI :- same as ATI one maybe
As said in the ATI cards section, MSI is known to produce quality components. Their motherboards are still considered one of the favorites and one can expect a similar reputaion in their graphics cards. MSI also is supposed to have a very good service. Along with a detailed website, they also have MSI forums wherin problems can be discussed. They give a handsome software bundle with their cards too. One attractive feature of their cards is the implementation of DOT (dynamic oversclocking, which when enabled can overclock the card from 2-10%. Though not a feature for enthusiasts, but good for an average user who doent want to overclock manually. As they talk a lot about OCing on their website, one can say that these cards will do well among OCers. They are price competitive with other OEMs.

XFX
They are another fancy board OEM, make fancy boxes and fancy websites. Few cards have dual DVI and are upto date with Nvidia chipsets. They will be in the same price range as others. FOr warranty, they ask you to contact Pine, whaever that means.

(Recently I've got some responses about XFX from two of our community members)]
Quote:
XFX has gotten much better....Double lifetime warranties....and often the cheapest you can buy. They take out a lot of games and programs....

if you alredy have the games and programs, you dont need them so ther XFX would be a good solution....i would move them up on your raniking to EVGA Gainward....but at the very least to where chaintech and those are.

Quote:
I just got a XFX 7800GT VIVO PCI-E DDR3 Extreme clocked at 450mhz core and 1050 memory.

Plus points:
1. Good price cheaper than the competiters for the performance.
2. Excelent softwre bundle COD 2, farcry, X2, Moto gp2 and other overclocking utilities.
3. Lots of other accessories: 2 x s-video cables, 2 x analog adapters, HDTV/vivo cables, graphics power adapter adapter.
4. good warranty and manuels.

Bad points:
1: no bad points what so ever, yet.


AOpen
They dont have a big name in graphics as others, but do have some good looking Nvidia lineup of cards. Pricewise they are pretty much the same as others, cheaper if not more expensive. Their lineup goes under the name of Aeolus and geforce for older cards. Aopen is upto date with Nvidia chipsets. Few of their cards feature double DVI connectors. Would recommend these over PNY and same category as chaintec, leadtek types. They also have a good documented website.

Others heard of, but not recommended
Not recommended because not many reviews about these. Dont know even if they are surviving. No info on availibility, features or warranties. Some of them might have heard of but maybe not w.r.t VGA cards.

Shuttle
Soltek
SOYO

Unheard brands
the reason for not hearing about these might be because of their retail availibility in the US. They might be like DFI and Epox OEM bulk sellers. None of these are recommended.

Compro Personal Cinema
Elsa Japan
FIC
I/Omagic
Jaton
Palit/Daytona (this brand is infamoous for making crippled cards with 64 bit memory interface)
Prolink
Albatron
Biostar

(contributed by priyajeet)


Good place for searching prices

http://www.pricewatch.com. is best place for searching prices. You can search for graphics card prices under "Cards" --> "Video" section


Comments/Suggestions/Flames

Send me a private message or post in the graphics card forum.


[code:1:a4f3e152fc]
Credits:
********

Idea & Basic writing: Coolsquirtle
Editing & Maintanance: Spitfire_x86
PCI Express: priyajeet
Card Maufacturers (ATI) section: TheGreatGrapeApe
Card Maufacturers (nVidia) section: priyajeet

Copyright © 2003-2005 by Coolsquirtle[/code:1:a4f3e152fc]
December 17, 2005 10:17:33 AM

sir:

(PCI express/AGP)

from what you have said that dont take GF 6200 @64 bit means
i should take 128 bit? is there a big difference?

thank you
December 17, 2005 10:01:20 PM

Graphics card memory bandwidth has significant impact on performance. Cards equipped with 128 bit memory has twice memory bandwidth compared to the cards which have 64 bit memory.
Related resources
December 17, 2005 11:05:28 PM

for another question sir,

i only got a budget of $70 budget for video card. what im doing
is encoding videos, editing images using adobe photoshop and corel,
playing games.. etc. im quite a multitasker in editing pictures etc.

what could be the videocard for me to buy
planning to take pci express?

thank you for your time
December 18, 2005 4:14:22 PM

It depends somewhat on your store price. At newegg.com, GeForce 6200 is the best you can get within $70.
December 19, 2005 8:30:22 AM

Any comment with Leadtek 6600TD 256mb 128bit ViVo? ($112)
very expensive? worth it?

how about gainward 6600 256mb 128bit ($104)
December 19, 2005 6:40:16 PM

You should look for 128 MB GeForce 6600 or Radeon X700. Much better than GeForce 6200 and costs around $100. 256 MB VRAM won't make differnece in performance for these cards.
December 20, 2005 3:52:38 AM

sir,

only available x700 in my place is His and Powercolor.

what could you say ill take the leadtek?
December 20, 2005 5:41:25 PM

Usually PowerColor is not a good brand to get. You can get either that HIS X700 or one of those GeForce 6600's. As I said before, there would be no difference in performance between 128 MB and 256 MB cards. So you might want to save a little money and get a 128 MB card.

Check this article to make up your mind, whether to get X700 or GeForce 6600.
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2238
December 20, 2005 7:39:57 PM

Radeon X1300 Pro is a good alternative, if you can find one for $100. Should perform on par with Radeon X700/GeForce 6600 and ATI's AVIVO definately looks interesting.
December 28, 2005 10:45:07 PM

Quote:
BFG Technologies

BFG (Big F*cking Gun) live up to their name. Company comprises of a bunch of hardcore gamers producing cards for gamers. They are the top card producers for NVIDIA, and excel in service and quality. For comparison, BFG can be compared to HIS (for ATI) with an extra edge. They OC their cards and then guarantee that. How many manufacturers do such a thing?
Well XFX for one. In fact it is common to find 7800's factory overclocked. As has already been pointed out XFX is less expensive and has a "double lifetime" guarantee. Their cars are guaranteed for as long as you own them and if you sell it the second buyer also gets a full guarantee. I've got an XFX 7800 GT and I'm totally happy with it. There is no way you could have owned cards for all the companies you have opinions about. Perhaps you should eliminate your rankings of card makers and only comment on the ones you actually have experience with.
January 3, 2006 5:27:40 AM

Quote:
There is no way you could have owned cards for all the companies you have opinions about.

True, but he has garnered a lot of information from trusted regulars, and many years of reading complaints, reviews, and comments, etc.
Spitfire is one of the best resources on the web.
Just say thankyou.
January 9, 2006 2:39:22 PM

Dear all

I would like to upgrade my VGA, and i saw the AIW X800 XT card
after I read so many reviews, I think it very good for me.

Please if any body have an advice to better card or about it, please post.

my usage is( games, rarly video editing( towice in a year ))
January 12, 2006 7:37:40 AM

I want to buy an AGP card for about 140$, what's the best choice?
January 13, 2006 1:51:25 PM

Isn't there any 256mb card that is below 140$ and worth it?
January 15, 2006 8:46:28 AM

Thanks for your suggestion, I will go with the Asus N6600. Hope it overclocks well.
January 15, 2006 9:31:02 AM

Sup? Got some Q:
I'm going to buy new Video card but which of these cards below is better?
:lol:  (128MB/128bit DDr3)N6600GT/TD by Asus; yeeeey!!!
:idea: (128MB/128bit DDr3) GF 6600GT by leadtek; hmmmm..
:| (128MB/128bit DDr3) GF 6600 by Leadtek
:roll: (128Mb/256bit w/ native memory DDR) 6800LE by X..pert.. uh.. :?: .. :!: ... :idea: ... yeah... Xpert.. Vision...?.. !@#4%1
January 15, 2006 10:10:54 AM

Quote:
Sup? Got some Q:
I'm going to buy new Video card but which of these cards below is better?
:lol:  (128MB/128bit DDr3)N6600GT/TD by Asus; yeeeey!!!
:idea: (128MB/128bit DDr3) GF 6600GT by leadtek; hmmmm..
:| (128MB/128bit DDr3) GF 6600 by Leadtek
:roll: (128Mb/256bit w/ native memory DDR) 6800LE by X..pert.. uh.. :?: .. :!: ... :idea: ... yeah... Xpert.. Vision...?.. !@#4%1


IMO, go with eVGA 128-P2-N368-TX Geforce 6600GT 128MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card - Retail for more details click on the following link:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

better than those you mentioned
January 23, 2006 3:01:11 PM

I am about to buy a new high level graphics card.. i read the new chart and i am confused.

Quote:
ATI X1800XT performs on par with 7800GTX, but costs more.


from the tests it results that the 1800 is way slower than the gtx (and even gt). only with hdr (and only serious sam is provided as a test) it is faster (hdr). so my questions.

1)why 3dmark 06 says the 1800 is faster when the card is actually nearly 20% or more slower than the 7800gtx? (as stated in your "3D Performance Improvements Through Upgrades")

2)does the 7800 gtx suffer a 25% decrease in performance when hdr (avaliable in many present and future games) is activated?

3)take f.e.a.r. the 1800xt is 52 fps 7800gtx is 98, that's a 95/98% difference!!! there is an error?

4)how can i know what is the best card? (assuming that the majority of games i'll play uses hdr (i actually play half life, day of defeat)

Tnx
a b U Graphics card
January 23, 2006 3:49:03 PM



The X1800XT is often faster than the GF7800GTX-512, so your statement about the plain GTX being faster is a minority situation, not the common affair. In most things with or without AA/AF the X1800XT will outperform the GF7800GTX, except at low resolutions where there's no strain on either card.

Quote:
1)why 3dmark 06 says the 1800 is faster when the card is actually nearly 20% or more slower than the 7800gtx? (as stated in your "3D Performance Improvements Through Upgrades")


3Dmark mean nothing to cross platform performance in games. It more of a stress test for specific features within a family of products. And don't bother with older reviews that use outdated drivers.

Quote:
2)does the 7800 gtx suffer a 25% decrease in performance when hdr (avaliable in many present and future games) is activated?


Sometimes more, sometimes less, all depends on the games/situation. But yes it will always suffer a performance hit when the features is actually being used.

Quote:
3)take f.e.a.r. the 1800xt is 52 fps 7800gtx is 98, that's a 95/98% difference!!! there is an error?


No that is just OLD, look at more recent reviews using the latest drivers which offer performance geared towards the new cards, and equal the dual core playing field;

http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/asus_extreme_x1800_xt_top/page10.asp
http://www.driverheaven.net/reviews/X18Crossfire/fear.htm
http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=201&type=expert&pid=12

Quote:
4)how can i know what is the best card? (assuming that the majority of games i'll play uses hdr (i actually play half life, day of defeat)


Well if you are focused on HDR then the best card would be the X1800 or soon to launch (tomorrow) X1990 which can both do use FSAA while enabling HDR.

For HL2 the implementation is rather flexible in that it can switch between formats of HDR depending on the hardware so that even older SM2.0 hardware can enable the feature.

Overall it depends alot on the games you play, but for the ones you mentioned, the X1800XT does better than the plain GTX, and the GTX-512 beat the XT in HL2 with HDR enabled, but the XT outperforms in F.E.A.R.

Really either one will do well, you just get the added (probably checkbox) feature of AA with the X1800XT.
January 23, 2006 5:08:50 PM

What you say (and what i see in the links) makes a lot of sense to me.
TNX!

Now i know what card to buy tha 1800.
I really believe that hdr is "the future" of games so i prefer a card that goes well with it (also in aa)

many years ago i hated ati cards, they were just silly, some yars ago i buyed a 9700 pro, payd full price because it was new. this winter i buyed half life 2 and was able to play it near full detail (1024 no aa) also in hdr!! 9700 pro was a great value for money, so i'll go for ati :-)

I only hope that tom's hardware post an update on their graphic card chart. rignt now it is soo bad, looking at it i'll probably choose the worng card for me..
a b U Graphics card
January 23, 2006 5:25:06 PM

Just a bit of advice, wait a few days, the X1900 is about to launch tomorrow with wide avilability, and it should bring down the price on all the cards you're considering.

Really the era or Mfr A vs B should be behind us, the companies still act like the PR works, but for anyone who's smart enough to do some comparing, they simply bypass that FUD. Both ATi and nV have solid options, and in your case it just so happened to favour one company. A few months ago the story would've been very different, and in a few more months that too may be the case.

Quote:
I only hope that tom's hardware post an update on their graphic card chart. rignt now it is soo bad, looking at it i'll probably choose the worng card for me..


Yep, one can only hope. Things change shortly after release of new cards, so the older reviews tend to lose somewhat of their relevance, no matter who writes them. Just always check to make sure the test system setup is similar to what is readily available to the public right now. It's tough to the reviews keep current (I know), but if you're being payed to do it, it makes it a bit more of a priority IMO, especially if people rely on you to make their purchasing decisions.
March 17, 2006 11:08:55 AM

A X1800XT 512 mb came in my sight while browsing an online romanian shop.
Well it is made by power color and it costs about 500$ full taxes with shipping. You might think that the prices are high but that's honestly the cheapest i could find(7800GT costs about 450-460$).
So is it a good card?
On my old rig i have a 7000 made by Powercolor and it never failed me. On another rig i have a 5600 Ultra. On the last one the fan isn't working so i had to put in the case some extra fans. So i have only good experiences with Powercolor.
My question is as it follows,is this card a good buy for the money?

BTW. 7900GT are still nowhere to be found in Romania. And they'll probably cost the same if not more.
May 10, 2006 10:49:06 AM

hey guys,
i recently built a new computer, with a gecube ati radeon x1300 pro, 512mb ddrII, and already had take it back, because the screen would flicker sometimes, and before the windows xp loading screen, a fullscreen of garbled lines and boxes would show up.

do u think the card is good or not? if not what card would u recommend, for the same price, around $200AUD
May 10, 2006 2:35:07 PM

X1300 PROs are decent baseline cards, you just got a bad one is all.

I don't know what australian prices are like, just cross reference the most expensive one you can afford with the 'best cards for the money' thread.
May 10, 2006 3:30:03 PM

I just got a low-end card: An Nvidia GF4 Ti4200...is it better than the Ati 9550? I got the Ti for $33 with shipping...and the ATi is ~$40 no shipping...
May 10, 2006 3:35:50 PM

I'd have gone for the 9550 as it's a DirectX 9 part and very overclockable, the Ti4200 is a DirectX 8 part and quite old by today's standards... but as for raw framerates they're not worlds apart.

Someone has to update this buyer's guide...
June 23, 2006 11:59:48 PM

lawlz
September 11, 2006 10:02:24 AM

any body here heard about the card manufacturer Inno3d???
September 12, 2006 12:00:29 AM

yes..they're in asia though..
October 8, 2008 4:55:26 AM

Why does the link for this thread show up on the (related) Forum list on the right side in the current "do drivers make a difference ... " article?
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