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My buyer's guide!

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August 29, 2003 5:34:00 PM

MY LITTLE BUYER’S GUIDE

I needed to know what’s the best GPU actually on the market. My choice is based on a price/performance ratio.

I search for the best price of different cards based on the GPU used on these boards. I build a little EXCEL table with benchmarks results for UT2003 and Q3. I decided to skip 3D Mark scores, because of the « cheating » issue.

So, basically, I can now tell you what are my choice of cards in different price/performance category for Canadian and US market (I search best CA$ and US$ prices).



ENTRY LEVEL (US$ < 75 and CA$ < 100)

GeForce 4 MX-440-8X
GeForce FX 5200 (NON ULTRA)
Radeon 9000

Winner :
GeForce FX 5200 (NON ULTRA) (52 US$ / 99 CA$)

I found that Radeon 9000 boards are still available, but they can’t beat FX 5200 board on price/performance. So, I don’t recommend them as a first choice. And for Canadian buyer that mostly play UT2003, the best choice is the GeForce MX-440 boards, they are cheap (65 CA$) and perform equally then FX 5200 boards. Of course, if you want a long term investment, don’t buy these GPU.



LOW TO MID LEVEL (US$ < 150 and CA$ < 200)

GeForce 4 TI 4200-8X
GeForce 4 TI 4800
GeForce FX 5200 ULTRA
GeForce FX 5600
Radeon 8500
Radeon 9500
Radeon 9500 PRO

Winners :
US$ = GeForce 4 TI 4800 (140$)
CA$ = GeForce 4 TI 4200-8X (156$)

The US$ market in this category is well balanced, you get the performance you pay for except for the Radeon 8500 that have the worst price/performance ratio in this category (But who still buy this GPU?). Sa basically all these GPU based boards are well priced.

On the CA$ market it's not that good. Your choice is limited to TI 4200-8X and FX 5600 (NON-ULTRA). And for the price difference, the TI 4200 gives about the same performance for 50$ less.



MID LEVEL (US$ < 200 and CA$ < 300)

Radeon 9600 PRO
GeForce FX 5600 ULTRA (NEW)
GeForce 4 TI 4600-8X

Winners :
US$ = All of them
CA$ = Radeon 9600 PRO / GeForce FX 5600 (NON ULTRA)

US$ buyers who wants performance will choose FX 5600 ULTRA (184$) and buyers who want to save good money will buy Radeon 9600 PRO (155$).

On the CA$ market the Radeon 9600 PRO is the clear winner, you can buy it as low as 217$ and the FX 5600 ULTRA are so overpriced (350$). And if you want to save 20$, buy a GeForce FX 5600 (NON ULTRA) and you will get about the same performance.



HIGH END (US$ > 200 and CA$ > 300)

GeForce FX 5800
GeForce FX 5800 ULTRA
GeForce FX 5900
GeForce FX 5900 ULTRA
Radeon 9700 PRO
Radeon 9800 PRO 128M
Radeon 9800 PRO 256M

Winner :
GeForce FX 5800 (NON-ULTRA) (265 US$ / 415 CA$)

Loosers (overpriced) :
US$ = Radeon 9800 256M / GeForce FX 5900 (ULTRA and NON-ULTRA)
CA$ = All the rest

I think, it's a waste of money to buy the TOP GPU. The baords are so overpriced for not that much gain in performance. The have the WORST price/performance ratio.

In the US$ market GeForce FX 5800 and Radeon 9700/9800 PRO (non 256M) are priced between 265$ and 310$, they are all good choices. But the best price/perf. goes to the GeForce FX 5800 (NON-ULTRA).

In the CA$ market, the only real affordable boards are based on the GeForce FX 5800 (NON ULTRA).



SPECIAL AWARDS :

The BEST price/performance ratio :
GeForce 4 MX 440-8X
GeForce FX 5200 (NON ULTRA)

This GPU sucks in today's game, but you get a lot for the money you spent. And playing UT 2003 at 42 FPS is not that bad... :) 

The WORST price/performance ratio :
US$ = Radeon 9800 PRO 256M
CA$ = GeForce FX 5900 (NON ULTRA)

These boards cost so much for so little in there respective market! It's like throwing you cash through the window.

The exchange rate award :

CA$ = Radeon 9000 (80 CA$ = 57$ US) - This board cost 70$ in US$
US$ = Radeon 9500 PRO (135 US$ = 187$ CA$) - This board cost 331$ in CA$



So my conclusion are that nVidia have the advantage in price/performance ratio right now! But my results are not full proof! I limited the number of benchmarks to Q3 and UT 2003, so it's not a good comparison for DX9 games.

And the big disapointment here : I tought that ATI would have made better.

Another conclusion : different market (here USA versus CANADA) gives different results. So, a smart choice for US buyer is not necessarly a good buy for a Canadian.

--
Would you buy a GPS enabled soap bar?

More about : buyer guide

August 29, 2003 5:55:37 PM

ermmmm lemme break this review apart (in a good way)

ENTRY LEVEL- if your only willing to spend $100 CAD on video cards, u might as well use on board video, the MX series and 9000 are every gamer's worst nightmares lolz. I have tons of friends asking me" Why isn't my MX 460 perform on par with ur Ti4200, it's a GeForce 4!" -_-

LOW TO MID LEVEL- it's should be $200-$300CAD and with that much in Canada you can get a 9600pro or 9500pro, Ti4200 are like $180 here. This show nVidiotism.

MID LEVEL- what's 9600pro doing there? I can get 9600pros for $200-$250 CDN nowadays

HIGH-END- You have no idea how terrible FX5800 is, the Hardware bugs and such, and you didn't mention 9700 non-pro nor 9800 non-pro, those two are clearly the winners in that catergory.

SO, u certainly dont have up to date prices~~~ and MY buying guide IS BETTER LOLZ( no offence dude)

Proud Owner the Block Heater
120% nVidia Fanboy
PROUD OWNER OF THE GEFORCE FX 5900ULTRA <-- I wish this was me
I'd get a nVidia GeForce FX 5900Ultra... if THEY WOULD CHANGE THAT #()#@ HSF
August 29, 2003 6:20:12 PM

I don't pretend to have THE BEST CHOICE!!!

Quote:
ENTRY LEVEL- if your only willing to spend $100 CAD on video cards, u might as well use on board video, the MX series and 9000 are every gamer's worst nightmares lolz. I have tons of friends asking me" Why isn't my MX 460 perform on par with ur Ti4200, it's a GeForce 4!"

I agreed that those cards scukx, I even mention to avoid them if you think in "long-term".

Quote:
LOW TO MID LEVEL- it's should be $200-$300CAD and with that much in Canada you can get a 9600pro or 9500pro, Ti4200 are like $180 here. This show nVidiotism.

I choose LOW to MID level for Canada at under 200$ because many people will not want to spend more than 199$ for video card. The psychological barrier. By the way, I have a Radeon 8500 128Megs and I will buy an ATI all the way when I will upgrade (I'm almost an "ATI Fanboi"!).

Well, i checked the price in retail store near Montreal. And I checked the prices yesterday. So, if you can find better prices for these GPU based cards. Tell me where you have found those prices???

The price i found...
TI4200 = 156$
Radeon 9600 PRO = 217$

Quote:
MID LEVEL- what's 9600pro doing there? I can get 9600pros for $200-$250 CDN nowadays

It's there because in the US it's 155$. So, it fits there! I know it's to the limit. But, we have to "cut" somewhere. And the performance are about as good as a FX 5600 NON-ULTRA and TI 4200-8X. Next time, I'll move it to the other category, just for you... :) 

Quote:
HIGH-END- You have no idea how terrible FX5800 is, the Hardware bugs and such, and you didn't mention 9700 non-pro nor 9800 non-pro, those two are clearly the winners in that catergory.

Humm.... OK, but I didn't review the cards. I just place in comparison PRICE vs PERFORMANCE. And for the NON pro version of ATI benchmark... I will have to add them!

And for the "next version" of my buyer's guide, I will split it in 2 part. Canadian and US prices.

Thanks for the comments!

--
Would you buy a GPS enabled soap bar?
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August 29, 2003 6:26:31 PM

In Australia The top end winner would have to be the 9800np at the moment as a 9700np is to hard to find and not much cheaper. And i agree that spending any more than $500AU on a card cannot be justified, it would be hard enough to justify spending this amount as it is. The Mid range would be either a 9600 pro or a 5600 ultra as both can be found for a reasonable price (300 - 350) and at reasonable/similar performance. The budget cards are taken out by nvidia either a Ti4200 at $190 or a fx5600, which has high speed ram can be found for $230 if you know where to shop. And as for the 5200 and 9000, they can be left for the oem fanboys out there and houswives that play card games on their pcs.

If he doesn't die, he'll get help!!!
a b U Graphics card
August 29, 2003 10:27:32 PM

Plain and simply disagree with your views on the R9600P v FX5600non-u.

Only the FX5600Us are worth the money and the R9600Pro is a better choice than a regular Ultra. The FX5600 non-ultra is NOT owrth the money in ANY $ currency, and you would be better served by a GF4 while waiting for the FX5700 or a better card (in the winter) when the games that need them arrive.


- You need a licence to buy a gun, but they'll sell anyone a stamp <i>(or internet account)</i> ! <A HREF="http://www.redgreen.com" target="_new"><font color=green>RED</font color=green> <font color=red>GREEN</font color=red></A> GA to SK :evil: 
August 29, 2003 11:13:22 PM

I'm sorry to break it to you, but CoolSquirtle/Spitfire's guide is WAY better, even though CoolSquirtle is a 120% nVidia fanboy. The only thing I see here that would be worth including in the guide that they have would be prices for Canadians sinces there are so many of them here. Speaking of Canadians, where' AMD_MAN????????? I haven't seen him here in so long, one would think that he probably died in a car wreck or plane crash or something. I miss the 'ol chap though.

Also, the inclusion of UK prices would be benefiial as well since I've seen a few "Brits" around here lately as well.

My OS features preemptive multitasking, a fully interactive command line, & support for 640K of RAM!
August 30, 2003 12:03:54 AM

UFO i love u ;) 

Proud Owner the Block Heater
120% nVidia Fanboy
PROUD OWNER OF THE GEFORCE FX 5900ULTRA <-- I wish this was me
I'd get a nVidia GeForce FX 5900Ultra... if THEY WOULD CHANGE THAT #()#@ HSF
August 30, 2003 1:17:29 AM

You didn't include the 9700 non-pro. Right now, this would probably be the best "bang for buck" card right now.

Also, you said the 5800 non-ultra was the winner in the high end? Hmmm, mind telling me where I can get one? They seem to be pretty rare since they've been discontinued.

You've also recommened a lot of of Nvidia cards for the mid range and up. However, are we forgetting about a little dx9 issue with these cards? Even if the Radeon cards were more exspensive (in most cases they are cheaper), the fact that they CAN perform dx9 as specified would be worth the higher price. Therefore if someone says, I want to play dx9 in all of it's glory, as of right now, the only way to go is with Radeon.
September 2, 2003 11:39:48 AM

It's OK!

I actually learned a lot by reading users comments on my "buyer's guide".

But, what I wanted to do, was to check price/performance. But, what I really need to do, is to add DX9 games or benchmarks in my excel spreadsheet. But, I'm not sure which games I should use. I don't want to use 3DMark03, since I feel there is too much controversy about this synthetic benchmark.

Like, I stated before, I usually recommand ATI cards to my friends. But, when I check at the "real" numbers for UT2003 and Quake 3 (I know, it's not DX9!) I see that nVidia have the edge. I don't necessarly think that nVidia have a better GPU for the FUTURE, but in today's games nVidia seems to have better priced boards.

Well! I really appreciate your input and I really lie this forum. I learn a lot!

--
Would you buy a GPS enabled soap bar?
September 2, 2003 1:17:41 PM

Don't forget that the UT2K3 benchmarks were also doctored by Nvidia. If I were you I'd go with a completely different benchmarking scheme. Also, the FX 5200 card is a big piece of crap. It couldn't beat a used kleenex in performance. In fact, I wouldn't even use it as a coaster let alone recommend it...even for entry level it sux. Especially since you can get a Ti 4200 64MB for under 100 bucks AND the performance of the 64MB is comparable to the 128MB version...that's the new entry level card now. Especially since DX9 games won't be mainstream for a few years yet. DoomIII will run on any card so you can't use that as an excuse.

Quote:
The BEST price/performance ratio :
GeForce 4 MX 440-8X
GeForce FX 5200 (NON ULTRA)

That line above...is a crock. Sorry dude but these two cards are NOT the best price performance ratio cards on the market right now. Period. For ATI it would probably be the 9600 series cards and for Nvidia it would be the Ti 4200. The MX cards (GF4 series) are the crappiest cards to have EVER come to market for ANY graphics vendor. They are simply a GF 2 card with some additional pixel shaders...They SUCK with a capital 'S'

I've realized that I'm doing nothing but bashing your post...but I cannot find one bit of truth in it nor one bit of sense. Your ideas are preposterous and outlandish regarding what is a good video card and what a good value is. Bah...I can't even find anything good to say at all. I'm done with this. I could go on and on about how badly your entire post was designed, thought out, and implemented...but I guess I don't have the energy left after only reading the first 1/4 of it. It would be exhausting and not even worth my time.

Disclaimer:
<b> If anyone reads this buyers guide...please disregard anything TheRod has mentioned in it. Do not take anything he recommends to heart and do not trust any card he has recommended</b>

<font color=blue>I've got a better idea. Let's go play "swallow the stuff under the sink." </font color=blue>
<font color=green>Stewie Griffin</font color=green> from <i>The Family Guy</i>

TKS
September 2, 2003 1:44:04 PM

Well, all bad comment on my post and I like this. You know why, because it's what I expected...

You may don't understand me, but I choose a VERY weird approach... I choose to NOT CONSIDER anything but FPS in 2 games. So, I did not consider design or feature support... Or image quality.

I only used 2 metrics : price and FPS in 2 games. So, I knew that my choice would be biased. The only problem with my post. Is that I did not explin this well enough.

Because, I needed to know one thing : what if today I have X dollars to spend on a graphic card regardless of anything else...

So, I have weird conclusion and I know that this might be the best "logical" choices. But, when you check only performance and price in those 2 games, ny conclusion are not that bad...

Of course, if you consider other factor : DX9 support, image quality, future game support, etc... The results would be more best overall value for money, not price/performance.

And best value for money, it's what most reviews site try to do.

So when I check to RAW numbers and I have NO MORE than 200 CA$ to spend on a graphic cards my only choice GeForce TI 4200-8X (156$ + TAXES = 180$). I know they are not the best cards out there! But I only have 200$!

Of course, if I have more money to spend... I would buy a Radeon 9600 PRO for 217$ + TAXES = 249 CA$.

So, thanks for the critics, in my next "buyer guide" I will try to make it clear that I the best price/performance doesn't necessarly mean BEST VALUE for PRICE or beast choice in term of technology or future game support.

--
Would you buy a GPS enabled soap bar?
September 2, 2003 6:12:53 PM

Quote:
Disclaimer:
If anyone reads this buyers guide...please disregard anything TheRod has mentioned in it. Do not take anything he recommends to heart and do not trust any card he has recommended

Probably the most important statement in this thread about TheRod's guide.

Quote:
Also, the FX 5200 card is a big piece of crap. It couldn't beat a used kleenex in performance. In fact, I wouldn't even use it as a coaster let alone recommend it...even for entry level it sux.

This one had me cracking up so hard! You gotta love FX5200 & GeForce4 MX bashing, it just so much fun!



My OS features preemptive multitasking, a fully interactive command line, & support for 640K of RAM!
September 2, 2003 6:30:33 PM

Quote:
You may don't understand me, but I choose a VERY weird approach... I choose to NOT CONSIDER anything but FPS in 2 games. So, I did not consider design or feature support... Or image quality.

That approach is about as weird as it is unprofessional.

Quote:
Like, I stated before, I usually recommand ATI cards to my friends. But, when I check at the "real" numbers for UT2003 and Quake 3 (I know, it's not DX9!) I see that nVidia have the edge. I don't necessarly think that nVidia have a better GPU for the FUTURE, but in today's games nVidia seems to have better priced boards.

The new Tomb Raider and Tron 2.0 are "today's games" aren't they. DX9 is no longer a thing of the future, it is now a thing of the PRESENT.

Quote:
I actually learned a lot by reading users comments on my "buyer's guide".

I really hope so, really I do! We aren't trying to be mean or noob-bashing you. We're just giving our honest opinions as critics about the flaws of this guide. I did like the new idea of the inclusion of prices for multiple countries, regardless of how innaccurate they were. Nevertheless, I couldn't help but get the impression that this was an uninspired copy-cat work, just like some of the threads I post in the "Other" section. However, if you are sincere about this guide, as you gain experience I am sure we can expect high quality production from you in the future! :smile:

My OS features preemptive multitasking, a fully interactive command line, & support for 640K of RAM!
September 2, 2003 7:13:45 PM

I would like to find more DX9 bench in reviews. I know there is a couple of review sites that have some of them...

I can't wait the next BIG review from Tom's Hardware. Probably with the next Radeon core revision! (9900)

--
Would you buy a GPS enabled soap bar?
September 2, 2003 9:18:49 PM

sure.....

MINE BUYING GUIDE IS BETTER :D 

lolz

Proud Owner the Block Heater
120% nVidia Fanboy
PROUD OWNER OF THE GEFORCE FX 5900ULTRA <-- I wish this was me
I'd get a nVidia GeForce FX 5900Ultra... if THEY WOULD CHANGE THAT #()#@ HSF
September 2, 2003 11:07:51 PM

I don't begrude you your price range choices.

However your choice for NVIDIA on the high end NVIDIA card sucks, I think.

I would have recommmended an ATI 9800 nonpro 128MB since the 9700's are seemingly hard to come by in this neck of the woods.

Further, supporting falsified benchmarks, nevermind the legaleze NVIDIA wants to use, about optimizations, should be punished. But that is neither here nor there since the NVIDIA productis a poor purchase for longevity (it sucks at DX9).

:frown:


The loving are the daring!
a b U Graphics card
September 2, 2003 11:26:23 PM

I have no buying guide and it's better than TheRod's.
Spare TheROD Boil the Child!

<i>
"It's not a piece of $hit."
"It is a piece of $hit! Don't worry about it, I don't even have a piece of $hit! I have to envy yours."</i>
- Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Price/Performance, come up with better metrics. Check out <A HREF="http://www.extremetech.com/print_article/0,3998,a=41363..." target="_new">THIS</A> review (granted it's old) to see how it's done. At least their two measures involve more than just 2 games.

Oh well, I'll stick with price/value/valu-added/mice/rodents and figure it out from there.

But thanks anyways T-Rod. :wink:


- You need a licence to buy a gun, but they'll sell anyone a stamp <i>(or internet account)</i> ! <A HREF="http://www.redgreen.com" target="_new"><font color=green>RED</font color=green> <font color=red>GREEN</font color=red></A> GA to SK :evil: 
September 3, 2003 12:37:28 AM

hey once u boil the child, can i eat it?

Proud Owner the Block Heater
120% nVidia Fanboy
PROUD OWNER OF THE GEFORCE FX 5900ULTRA <-- I wish this was me
I'd get a nVidia GeForce FX 5900Ultra... if THEY WOULD CHANGE THAT #()#@ HSF
September 3, 2003 1:37:20 AM

If you boil the child that's ok. If you microwave the child, I'll just have to shoot you! FYI, my dad works for PNY. He was able to promptly persuade all of the engineers and upper-level management, to NOT send back your 120% Beloved (& wedded) Ti4200 card unless you send me back my bloody microwave first, arse-hole! I mean it, you <b>won't</b> get it back unless you send the microwave oven to me back in its original mint condition!

My OS features preemptive multitasking, a fully interactive command line, & support for 640K of RAM!
September 3, 2003 3:02:56 AM

TKS wrote
Quote:
The MX cards (GF4 series) are the crappiest cards to have EVER come to market for ANY graphics vendor. They are simply a GF 2 card with some additional pixel shaders...They SUCK with a capital 'S'

Sorry TKS, but the MX cards dont have pixelshaders. They have an improved memory controller though...



I help because you suck.
<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by geneticweapon on 09/02/03 11:18 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
September 3, 2003 3:11:42 AM

I just knew something didn't sound quite right about the GF4MX in TKS's comment.

Nevertheless, the GF4 MX was a deceptive marketing scheme like TKS said.

My OS features preemptive multitasking, a fully interactive command line, & support for 640K of RAM!
September 3, 2003 12:05:50 PM

But here (Montreal), Radeon 8500 are hard to find. The 8500 AIW is still widely available, but for a "budget" card, this version can't be chosen. So, besically we are left with Radeon 9000 and FX 5200. And the FX is 25% faster than the 9000 in DX8 games. But, in DX9 games, it might be different...

--
Would you buy a GPS enabled soap bar?
September 3, 2003 12:07:55 PM

Yes! I know, I must find comparable benchmarks for more NON PRO version of the ATI baords. Because I tried to find comparable benchs (same system spec and config).

--
Would you buy a GPS enabled soap bar?
September 3, 2003 12:40:48 PM

doh?! I suck again! I didn't mean to say pixel shaders...now that I think about it I thought they had improved AA...but I can't remember. Doesn't matter...all Nvidia cards have blown after the GF2 series.

*hugs his GF2 GTS Ti card*

<font color=blue>I've got a better idea. Let's go play "swallow the stuff under the sink." </font color=blue>
<font color=green>Stewie Griffin</font color=green> from <i>The Family Guy</i>

TKS
September 3, 2003 11:15:57 PM

TKS Said:
"Doesn't matter...all Nvidia cards have blown after the GF2 series."

*hugs his GF2 GTS Ti card*

Ahem....Dude. Guess Nvida fooled everyone except you. ;) I'll put my Ti4200 64 MSI card to yours any day ;) 

and oh yeah. I just hope you "hug" your card with the power cord un-plugged.

Toodles
September 3, 2003 11:32:03 PM

Ahem wha? Your Ti 4200 card is nothing more than an overclocked Geforce 2 with some improved AA features and a better memory controller.

They never reinvented the wheel like ATI did with the R300 chip. So, they don't get props for the GF 4 series. However, the Ti 4200 is an excellent value for a very good performer. But, like I said, the GF4 Ti series isn't anything more than a suped up GF2. I am and will always be partial to the original. :tongue:

<font color=blue>I've got a better idea. Let's go play "swallow the stuff under the sink." </font color=blue>
<font color=green>Stewie Griffin</font color=green> from <i>The Family Guy</i>

TKS
September 4, 2003 4:34:34 PM

Dude, no one credible has ever claimed the Ti4200 is an overclocked Geforce 2..according to your logic, the FX series is just an amped-up Geforce 256 :0 and isn't that the "original"? Btw, I still have my trusty GF2MX 400 32MB pci card running in my old comp.

no way ...Rage 128 all the way! ;) 

If you are so high on the new ATi, Knock yourself out. Although ATi still refuses to allow immediate second party development of their top chips, which keeps these cards way overpriced. (their choice) Indeed, the refusal of ATi to allow overclocking out of the box with the 9500/9700 series drivers (unless you use powerstrip) is very unlike the case with Nvidia. Yes, things are better with 9600/9800, but it shouldn't have taken such a long time.




Fueled by AMD and MSI: two great names that go great together! btw. stay out of trouble: watch anime!
Mach5Motosport
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