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6800 VS X800XT: Preliminary results: (editorial)

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May 4, 2004 3:14:41 PM

<b>Which card is to be crowned KING?</b>
Here's what I gather from the reviews:

<b>SHADER STRENGTH:</b>
The X800 is the new king of shader power. It slaughters the 6800 in Far Cry, and that's with the 6800 still using the FX's cheating path... unless PS 3.0 makes a huge difference in speed (I doubt it if it can't even handle 2.0 shaders as fast), the X800 will still be the gorilla.
<b>ADVANTAGE: ATI</b>

<b>RAW SPEED:</b>
This is a close one, but with the X800XT doing notably better at high resolutions with AA & AF, and the X800 PRO beating the 6800 Ultra in many tests, I'll give it to Ati
<b>ADVANTAGE: ATI</b>

<b>IMAGE QUALITY:</b>
Another close one. I do admire Nvidia's ability to turn off their Anistropic filtering optimizations in the driver, but Ati's Temporal AA and Nvidia's old tricks of butchering IQ for speed tips the balance to Ati in this round.
<b>ADVANTAGE: ATI</b>

<b>FUTURE-PROOFNESS / FEATURES:</b>
Nvidia has the advantage here, although you have to wonder... if the X800 has more raw shader power, then which wll be more usable in the future? But still, Nvidia can do things that the X800 series cannot with shaders, and the 6800 has the capability of doing them in 32 bit precision. The 6800 deserves the nod in this round.

As far as features, this is the first major Ati card release that didn't accompany a major feature list of video/rage theatre upgrades. More to come in the near future? Hopefully. But Nvidia had some improvements in the 6800 there, too.
<b>ADVANTAGE: NVIDIA</b>



<b>OVERALL:</b>
Looking at the individual categories you'd think that Ati has it in the bag, but I'm not so sure. Here's why:

Raw speed isn't really much of a factor in these cards because they ALL play uber-high resolutions with high image quality at very playable framerates. Image quality isn't really as much of a factor anymore either because they're more or less on par now. (although Temporal AA is nifty you have to wonder how long it will take Nvidia to implement their version)

That leaves SHADERS as the most important thing... especially when you consider future games in the equation. And here, we have no clear winner... yes, Ati has the brute strength, but until we see what speed/quality advantages PS 3.0 offers, we have no idea the impact it will have.
We need more DirectX 9 games in general, and more DirectX 9 games that use PS 3.0 specifically, to make this call IMHO.
But at this point, both the 6800 and X800 series look VERY attractive to me. I'd be very surprised if an owner of either was dissapointed in their hardware 6 months from now.
<b>ADVANTAGE: TO BE DECIDED</b>

________________
<b>Radeon <font color=red>9500 PRO</b></font color=red> <i>(hardmodded 9500, o/c 340/310)</i>
<b>AthlonXP <font color=red>~2750+</b></font color=red> <i>(2400+ @2.2Ghz)</i>
<b>3dMark03: <font color=red>4,055</b>
May 4, 2004 3:25:07 PM

You forget a couple very important factors.
Heat
Power
Price
Features

erm,


Etc.

I would with ATI for the simple reason that the X800 is a lot cooler and less power-hungry.
That said, however, I imagine that Nvidias card will get better and much better(look at 5800 and the 5950), while ATI has less room for improvement.

A long long time ago, but I can still remember, how that music used to make me smile... <A HREF="http://www.nexus.hu/zonix/DIGGER.MID" target="_new"><b><font color=blue>Digger rulz</font color=blue></b></A>
May 4, 2004 3:28:53 PM

I didn't forget them at all; it's just that those features don't really speak to who will be considered the "King" of this generation of video cards... i.e. the gamer's dream card.

Practicality dictates what people buy, of course, otherwise we'd all be driving ferraris... but my editorial is more oriented on which card will be considered the ultimate, not necessarily practical.

________________
<b>Radeon <font color=red>9500 PRO</b></font color=red> <i>(hardmodded 9500, o/c 340/310)</i>
<b>AthlonXP <font color=red>~2750+</b></font color=red> <i>(2400+ @2.2Ghz)</i>
<b>3dMark03: <font color=red>4,055</b>
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May 4, 2004 3:38:37 PM

Ahhhhhh. OK.


I would never buy a ferrari... :tongue:

A long long time ago, but I can still remember, how that music used to make me smile... <A HREF="http://www.nexus.hu/zonix/DIGGER.MID" target="_new"><b><font color=blue>Digger rulz</font color=blue></b></A>
May 4, 2004 3:41:54 PM

At the moment ATI > Nvidia

Athlon 2700xp+ (oc: 3200xp+ with 200fsb) , Radeon 9800pro (oc: 410/360) , 512mb pc3200 (5-3-3-2), Asus A7N8X-X
May 4, 2004 3:43:08 PM

Heheh... me neither. Too damn expensive.

But I also wouldn't want a Hyundai calendar, that's for sure. :wink:

________________
<b>Radeon <font color=red>9500 PRO</b></font color=red> <i>(hardmodded 9500, o/c 340/310)</i>
<b>AthlonXP <font color=red>~2750+</b></font color=red> <i>(2400+ @2.2Ghz)</i>
<b>3dMark03: <font color=red>4,055</b>
May 4, 2004 3:44:49 PM

From those of us that are blind and/or brainless, thank you for your brilliant analisis.

Duh.



A long long time ago, but I can still remember, how that music used to make me smile... <A HREF="http://www.nexus.hu/zonix/DIGGER.MID" target="_new"><b><font color=blue>Digger rulz</font color=blue></b></A>
May 4, 2004 3:45:56 PM

I would have to argue that ATI has the advantage in terms of future proof. The reason I think this is because it has more raw power than the 6800U and I don't think the 6800U is fast enough to play FUTURE games with all settings maxed, ie: take advantage of PS 3.0. Sure it's great that it has that feature, but I think it'll be like the GF3 Ti500, in that it has great features, but were never taken advantage of until future hardware generation. Remember the Geforce 3 was the original card to show off Doom 3! The same way the 6800 was used to show off the Unreal 3, but will not be able to do that engine justice when it's finally released.
May 4, 2004 3:46:58 PM

I agree; I can't afford either of these cards, but the lower heat, power, and noise benefits of the X800 would be decisive for me if I could.

Axis of Stupid = coop, Kanavit, FUGGER, SoDNighthawk, and ninkey.
May 4, 2004 3:51:06 PM

I see your point Splenda, but by that line of thinking a Ti4200 is more future proof that a GeforceFX 5700, because it gets higher framerates in Far Cry... although it's limited to DirectX 8 effects.

I don't think this applies to the 6800 as much because it's shaders, while inferior to the X800 PRO, are still superior to the 9800XT's. The 6800 is no slouch, and it still beats the 9800XT in far cry with the FX optimizations turned off.

You may be right, but it's too early to tell until we see what PS3.0 can do, is all I'm saying.

If only 3 must-have games get released that use PS/VS 3.0 only displacement mapping, that would heavily tip the results in Nvidia's favor in the future-proofness category. It's a monster feature, and in a year from now in that situation I think the 6800 would be the clear winner.

________________
<b>Radeon <font color=red>9500 PRO</b></font color=red> <i>(hardmodded 9500, o/c 340/310)</i>
<b>AthlonXP <font color=red>~2750+</b></font color=red> <i>(2400+ @2.2Ghz)</i>
<b>3dMark03: <font color=red>4,055</b>
May 4, 2004 3:52:26 PM

As usual, Hrdware.fr provides a <A HREF="http://www.hardware.fr/articles/494/page8.html" target="_new">very neat and interesting graph with overall/normalized performance</A> (look graphs at the bottom of the page) for these new card.

This gives a one shot picture of pure performance. Of course we have to consider features/heat/etc... But in pure performance ATI is the leader.

--
Lookin' to fill that <font color=blue>GOD</font color=blue> shape hole!
May 4, 2004 3:58:49 PM

Right now, yes, Ati is the leader. It's close, but there is no real argument otherwise.

But consider that the 9700's greatest strength... shader power... wasn't demonstratable for many months after it's release, either.

Nvidiots were saying how useless DX 9 was for months. Even the 5800 looked decent on the day of it's release because of the lack of DX9 titles.

History has crowned the 9700 the King over the 5800. I think it's too early to crown the X800XT over the 6800 Ultra is all I'm saying.

It could go either way, depending on shader implementation. Hopefully the Far Cry PS 3.0 patch will give us some indication.

________________
<b>Radeon <font color=red>9500 PRO</b></font color=red> <i>(hardmodded 9500, o/c 340/310)</i>
<b>AthlonXP <font color=red>~2750+</b></font color=red> <i>(2400+ @2.2Ghz)</i>
<b>3dMark03: <font color=red>4,055</b>
May 4, 2004 4:00:47 PM

For all we know 3Dc could become a greater asset then PS3.0.

*Dual PIII-800 @900 i440BX and Tualeron 1.2 @1.7 i815*
May 4, 2004 4:06:16 PM

Not really possible, an open texture compression standard will never surpass a DirectX version as a standard, no matter how impressive it is.

You can't fight Microsoft. Besides, texture compression is great, but it doesn't really compare to displacement mapping. It's the next bumpmapping, the feature everyone's waiting for.

________________
<b>Radeon <font color=red>9500 PRO</b></font color=red> <i>(hardmodded 9500, o/c 340/310)</i>
<b>AthlonXP <font color=red>~2750+</b></font color=red> <i>(2400+ @2.2Ghz)</i>
<b>3dMark03: <font color=red>4,055</b>
May 4, 2004 4:17:34 PM

Cleve, first of all, there is a good possibility M$ will make 3Dc a standard.

Secondly, normal maps are just as important as displacement mapping.

Half-Life 2 = normal maps!!! Valve has said that, through steam, even more normal maps (and normal maps with higher resolutions) will be added to HL2 over time. Also expect to see extensive normal map usage in HL2 mods.


Right now, IMO, ATI > nVidia, and ATI is what I would buy. This is not set in stone though. I'm interested to see some Doom III and HL2 benchies... the real things (no alphas/betas!).

8x nVidia FSAA... unusable. 4x 2-pattern Temporal... hot damn;) Although, nVidias 8x approach would look better than 4x 2-pattern temp. 6x 2 pattern temp vs. nV 8x... dunno. However, either is better than the highest usable nV FSAA mode.


Me: are you saying I can't provide?
Me: cause I know I can provide.
Me: oh and I can provide money too;)
Rachel:) : why do we need money when we can just stay in our room and have sex all day?<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Willamette_Sucks on 05/04/04 12:19 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
May 4, 2004 5:00:33 PM

Yes wilammette, but the point being that all DX9 hardware can do normal maps, but only the 6800 can do displacement maps.

And from an eye-candy standpoint, displacement maps are the future, IMHO. But we'll see.

As far as the compression texture standard, if it's implemented into a version of DirectX it'll be on par with displacement mapping, but that wouldn't occur until DX10... which the X800 won't be compatible with anyway.

I'm not saying the 6800 is better... I'm saying it remains to be seen what impact PS 3.0 will have. And that's ALL I'm saying.

________________
<b>Radeon <font color=red>9500 PRO</b></font color=red> <i>(hardmodded 9500, o/c 340/310)</i>
<b>AthlonXP <font color=red>~2750+</b></font color=red> <i>(2400+ @2.2Ghz)</i>
<b>3dMark03: <font color=red>4,055</b>
May 4, 2004 5:06:22 PM

Displacement mapping is some 1337 shiz, I'll drink to that for sure;) More or less I agree with you, I just wanted to offer a little balance, as there is another side to the issue.

Me: are you saying I can't provide?
Me: cause I know I can provide.
Me: oh and I can provide money too;)
Rachel:) : why do we need money when we can just stay in our room and have sex all day?
May 4, 2004 5:38:33 PM

Quote:
8x nVidia FSAA... unusable.

IMO 8xAA is not necessary at all because the only really perceptible visual difference with it ON is unclear, fuzzy text.

I agree with AnandTeck observation which sums up all the thoughts:

Quote:
Of course, we are still trying to gather all the pieces that explain why we are seeing the numbers we are seeing. <font color=red>The problem is really the amount and level of information we are able to gather is based on how the API maps to the hardware rather than how the hardware does things</font color=red>.

<A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.html?i=2044&p=21" target="_new">http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.html?i=2044&p=21...;/A>

The thought I highlighted alone makes current ATI X800 achievements suspect because all the tests and benchmarks of these next generation cards are based on the their performance in previous generation of API. Simply put, technologically, nVIDIA has stepped into the XXI century while ATI has not.

<font color=green>"The creative powers of English morphology are pathetic compared to what we find in other languages." (Steven Pinker, The Language Instinct)</font color=green> :cool:
May 4, 2004 5:43:31 PM

After reading the Anandtech article, the 6800GT has my attention, clocked at 350/1000 16 pipelines, performs very well, drains little power. A little volt mod+watercooling i might just get it to perform at 6850U's speeds.

<A HREF="http://forums.extremeoverclocking.com/myrig.php?do=view..." target="_new">My PC</A>
May 4, 2004 5:56:05 PM

The only problem is that it will be available in a month or more.

I guess that Nvidia did the right thing in not falling behind ATI in announcing their product, even if it is a little raw and not-quite-ready.

A long long time ago, but I can still remember, how that music used to make me smile... <A HREF="http://www.nexus.hu/zonix/DIGGER.MID" target="_new"><b><font color=blue>Digger rulz</font color=blue></b></A>
May 5, 2004 12:09:39 AM

I highly disagree, but that is a personal decision.

NVidia's 8x will look better than ATI 2-pattern 4x temporal AA because of the super-sampling, but that also KILLS the performance. It does point out the weaknesses of multi-sampling though. IMO nV's 8x looks alot better than ATI's 6x (non-temporal).

Me: are you saying I can't provide?
Me: cause I know I can provide.
Me: oh and I can provide money too;)
Rachel:) : why do we need money when we can just stay in our room and have sex all day?
a b U Graphics card
May 5, 2004 12:34:29 AM

Like your synopsis, think it's pretty accurate.

That being said, I think I may even skip this generation.

Unless I see something that really makes me go, WHOLEY moley! I'm just going to bypass both of these.

Nothing is motivating me yet. It would be nice sure, but I'm really going to check their AIW offering more than anything else. Nothing new from ATI, some nice catch up from nV, but parity is not impressive unless you've been WAITING for something, as some people have been. If there is some exposure of the early utility of SM3.0 as found in the NV45 then maybe I'll be intruiged. I'm still dissapointed that some of the old tricks are coming back though.

However, right now neither card is adding anything more to the playability for me. I'm going to reserve my judgement for the PCI-EX cards, but I have to say I'm not extremely impressed. These cards didn't make me go "Wow, gotta have THAT!", my reaction thus far has been "Hmmm, now those are acceptable numbers". I'm actually more impressed by ATI's driver additions more than the card itself. And nV has simply given me a good competing product. Hopefully this will push both of them to their next releases faster.

Anywhoo, that's my two frames worth from the cheap seats.

Doesn't mean I won't get an X880/NV45, but unlike my drive to get the R9600Pro, right now I don't think I'll be ordering it first week off their e-stores. I'm now more amped to simply upgrade my MOBO, too many CPU limited games out there it seems.


- You need a licence to buy a gun, but they'll sell anyone a stamp <i>(or internet account)</i> ! - <font color=green>RED </font color=green> <font color=red> GREEN</font color=red> GA to SK :evil: 
May 5, 2004 12:40:55 AM

I hear you Grape; I think I'll be skipping this gen as well... unless something big compels me to do otherwise. (a killer game with PS 3.0 maybe? we'll see...)

A $150 9800XT would fit the bill bretty nicely in the meantime though. Hell, 1024x768 with 2x temporal AA and uberhigh framerates is just fine for now, thank you.

________________
<b>Radeon <font color=red>9500 PRO</b></font color=red> <i>(hardmodded 9500, o/c 340/310)</i>
<b>AthlonXP <font color=red>~2750+</b></font color=red> <i>(2400+ @2.2Ghz)</i>
<b>3dMark03: <font color=red>4,055</b>
a b U Graphics card
May 5, 2004 2:03:20 AM

I have only read Tom's and Anand's reviews so far. Pretty good analysis, but I do agree with what someone said that heat, power requirements, and size are all on ATI's side too.

And to add one, AVAILABILITY seems like it may be on ATI's side. Available first, and quite possibly, if the rumors turn out to be true, available in greater numbers than 6800U. The GF6800GT may be the best NV40 that is available in large numbers? Just a guess.


ABIT IS7, P4 2.6C, 512MB Corsair TwinX PC3200LL, Radeon 9800 Pro, Santa Cruz, TruePower 430watt
a b U Graphics card
May 5, 2004 2:25:04 AM

Actually it's an Xp2000+ running at 2200+ and yeah, a little sick of it when I need a little multitask power (serious work goes to dually rig) or big multiplayer scenarios. Sure it's better than most of my friends' rigs but it could be so much more. It's single channel memory, ugh!, it's the medicore version of the KT400 with the memory performing better at 333 than 400mhz, and it's just not up to snuff for some games (not sure exactl what impact it is having on UT2K4, but I'm sure it's there).

I would just like a change, and maybe I'll focus a little more energy on other things for now, and wait for my desktop replacement parts to mature before building. I bothers me, but its the smart thing to do since this round of results wasn't impressive enough for me.

At least I'm no longer chomping at the bit, so I can start focusing on other things and let these developments just happen. Kinda depressing in a way, kinda feels like the Matrix sequels. Hopefully there's a Kill Bill or Return of the King on the near horizon. :cool: <- Binoculars looking towards Horizon...


- You need a licence to buy a gun, but they'll sell anyone a stamp <i>(or internet account)</i> ! - <font color=green>RED </font color=green> <font color=red> GREEN</font color=red> GA to SK :evil: 
May 5, 2004 2:29:47 AM

Just thought I'd add another pov. For me it's a matter of which card will be able to rock on a 22" monitor at 1600x1200 with eye candy. That's a decent requirement. I'm still a bit hesitant though since I need to upgrade my entire rig in the coming year and it seems like pci-ex would be worth waiting for.

<font color=red>_______________________________________________</font color=red>
Nov. 6, 1971: "I gave back, I can't remember, six, seven, eight, nine medals"

- John Kerry, a Presidential Candidate
a b U Graphics card
May 5, 2004 3:21:15 AM

I agree.

I have 16x12 at home on my 19" and my 17" (can force 19x14 on the 19, but looks crap, not supported). And even with 19" 16x12 makes text look small in games like morrowind. I would prefer custom resolutions of 14x10 (available on some games) which is much better suited to 19" IMO.

I have a 21" IBM P260 at work that can run 19x14 @ 75hz and 16x12 at 85hz. Which would likely give me additional benifit from these new cards. But for now I don't see the need to trash my current monitors when the difference would still be rather minor IMO. 1280x1024 is nice, and I can achieve that in most games I play with my card on just minor AF. I just don't have that killer itch anymore. I do plan on upgrading to PCI-EX regardless, the NV40/X800 series never an option really, but now the X880/NV45 is not as important to me as getting the best MOBO I can, even if I have to wait and extra month. My focus has changed. And while these are impressive, they just don't offer what I was hoping for. The X800 has me wanting in features I had expected, and the GF6800 has me wanting in other areas.

I'm still not 100 percent decided, I'm just not as amped as I once was. Now it's about as important and upgrade to me as DDR2. I'll get it when I get it, I'm just not pre-ordering or ordering direct the way I did last generation. Nothing to really make me feel that yet. Maybe that's because I did kind of miss the first installment of the last generation and got amped about the R9600P on it's own.

Hopefully there will be something like that soon too. And maybe if I get a nice PCI-EX mobo with onboard graphics I can get everything else ready for that special card, and use it primarily to host UT2K4 :lol:  .


- You need a licence to buy a gun, but they'll sell anyone a stamp <i>(or internet account)</i> ! - <font color=green>RED </font color=green> <font color=red> GREEN</font color=red> GA to SK :evil: 
!