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9800Pro, 6800nu or 6800GT?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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August 2, 2004 3:01:42 AM

Hello all!

I'm about to build a new computer for myself, but I can't decide which graphics card I should buy. The system I'm building will be:

Athlon64 3200+
Asus K8N-E Deluxe (NForce3 250Gb)
2x512MB Crucial Ballistix PC3200
200GB Maxtor DiamondMax Plus9 SATA
Antec SONATA (including 380W Antec PSU)

If money wasn't an issue, I'd choose a 256MB 6800GT for my new system, but that would cost me ~$520 (I live in Sweden, taxes on computer parts is ~25% :/ ) which is a bit too much for a single part of my system (would be almost 30% of total price).

Due to the cost of the GT, my primary options are the 128MB 9800Pro, which will cost me ~$260, or a 128MB 6800 non-ultra, which would cost me ~$390. I have looked at a few reviews and benchmarks this far, which indicates that the plain 6800 should be quite a bit faster than the 9800Pro in almost all situations. I'm also willing to OC as long as I can stick with stock cooling, which should favor the 6800nu a bit more than the 9800Pro.

My real question is which option will be cheapest for me in the long run. I seldom do partial upgrades of my systems, as I prefer to keep it "balanced" and buy something completely new when I need more performance. If I buy the 9800Pro I'm hoping to upgrade to a 6800GT when they are cheaper, if I get the 6800nu I'll probably stick with it for two or three years or so when I'll probably buy a new computer again.

I'm concerned that a 128MB card might not be enough to last that long... Doom3 has been released, HL2, Stalker and Vampire:The Masquerade are on the horizon... it would feel weird if I couldn't play those games with pretty good settings with a system that was only a few months old.

As a last thing to consider, I'm aiming for a quiet system, so a silent card gets some bonus points as well...

To sum it up:
PNY 256MB 6800 GT now (~$520)
Generic 9800Pro for now, upgrade to 6800GT later (~$260 right now, hopefully >$520 in total. If it comes below $390 in total I'd be extremely happy)
Leadtek or Inno3D 128MB 6800nu now (~$390)

Any suggestions or advice is welcome!

Edit: I have one more option, which is to buy some crap card to put in my current computer (I'm giving it to my family, they can do with anything) and keep using the Ti4200 for a while. I might be cheaper in the long run than the 9800Pro->6800GT thing, but I would be stuck with the Ti4200 until I could upgrade to a GT, which I think would be a real bottleneck for my new system.

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AXP 1800+, EPoX 8KHA+, 512MB Kingston DDR266, GeForce4 Ti4200 128MB, 60GB IBM HD, Hercules MuseLT.<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Ollibolli on 08/02/04 03:21 AM.</EM></FONT></P>

More about : 9800pro 6800nu 6800gt

August 2, 2004 12:12:42 PM

Best bet - grab a 2nd hand 9800pro off Ebay and then sell it again when you get your new card. Or buy a new 256MB 9800pro and see how it runs your future games - if bad sell, if good then keep.

Whatever you do remember that you can sell anything on Ebay :) 

4.77MHz to 4.0GHz in 10 years. Imagine the space year 2020 :) 
August 2, 2004 12:17:24 PM

Quote:
I'm concerned that a 128MB card might not be enough to last that long... Doom3 has been released, HL2, Stalker and Vampire:The Masquerade are on the horizon... it would feel weird if I couldn't play those games with pretty good settings with a system that was only a few months old.

Many people starts to have concerns about the amount of video memory. I think that most games studios knows that the majority of users have 64Megs or 128Megs of video ram. They will not try to sell games that need 256Megs or 512Megs on the market. They would not sale many copy of their games!!!

If you have check the HardOPC Doom 3 hardware guide, it's clear the 128Megs is enough to enjoy this game. I consider that 128Megs video cards are still good choice.

I understand your dilmena about your GPU upgrade. I have the same problem! I have an old Radeon 8500 (overclocked) and I really don't know what to get to raplace it. I consider the 9800PRO, because it's quite cheap and this card will surely handle high-end games for at least 1 to 2 year. But, as you mention, a 6800 would be a bit more future proof, but by the time DirectX 9.0c (SM3.0) will be mandatory, both the 9800 or the 6800 will be obsolete, anyway!

Though choice!

--
A7N8X / <font color=green><b>AMD Sempron 2800+</b></font color=green> Kingston DDR333 2x256Megs
<font color=red>Built by ATI Radeon 8500LE 128Megs</font color=red> @ C:275/M:290
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August 2, 2004 1:39:53 PM

I wonder if <A HREF="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moores_Law" target="_new">Moore's Law</A> applies to GPUs as well.

<i> :eek:  <font color=blue>Futile is resistance,</font color=blue><font color=red> assimilate you we will.</font color=red> :eek:  </i>
August 2, 2004 3:48:42 PM

Quote:
They will not try to sell games that need 256Megs or 512Megs on the market. They would not sale many copy of their games!!!



i dunno man. one of the fun things about being a geek is owning a graphically advanced game. liek when i bought Quake3 back in 1999 or 2000 or whatever...

man that game freaking owned my computer, i had turn at a low resolution and with some features turned down, but it was still cool to know that i was playing THE most advanced game engine at the time. quake3 engine still rocks

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August 2, 2004 4:10:15 PM

Unfortunately ebay isn't very accessible to me as I live in Sweden, a great majority of the items I've seen there aren't shipped internationally, and the cost for shipping them here is quite high. I'm sure I can find out other ways to sell off my old parts though, it's not that hard...

Even if upcoming games won't *require* 256 or 512MB cards, you will have to take a step down in visual quality if you don't have a card with that amount of memory. As I said in my initial post I think part of the fun with having a new computer is the ability to play whatever you want at very high graphics settings. If I didn't want that I could probably keep my old 1800+ and Ti4200 for a while longer, there aren't any games this far that my current rig can't handle at low resolutions or low detail settings ;) .

I'm leaning towards the 9800Pro and upgrade later alternative at the moment, as that would allow me to play all games this year at least at reasonably high settings. Also, 6800s have just begun to show up here, so prices should fall pretty soon as supply gets better. If NVidia decides to release a new set of cards later this year, current cards will be even cheaper, so perhaps it's not impossible that I will be able to buy a 6800GT at the same price as a current 6800nu in the beginning of next year.

Too bad my relatives in Canada are too incompetent with computers to order a card for me there and send it to me as a gift, that would save me a whole lot of money... ;)  Stupid swedish taxes...

Edit: Funny that my poster name differs if I log in as "ollibolli" or "Ollibolli"... :p 

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AXP 1800+, EPoX 8KHA+, 512MB Kingston DDR266, GeForce4 Ti4200 128MB, 60GB IBM HD, Hercules MuseLT.<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by ollibolli on 08/02/04 04:12 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
a b U Graphics card
August 2, 2004 6:41:06 PM

The GF6800NU is a bad choice for that money, better to bite the bullet and buy the GT, or to buy the R9800Pro, and then upgrade later (when you can sell your card again).

The GF6800'standard' is just not impressive, and can lose to the R9800XT when AA/AF are enabled (and who doesn't use AA/AF when playing with these cards?). For the premium price I'd go with either the GT or the R9800pro, the GF6800 is too expensive.

As always, just my two frames worth.

- 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: 
August 2, 2004 10:07:28 PM

I would either go with the 9800 Pro, which is a good value and it is pretty good with the new games, or just get your feet wet and buy the 6800GT. The 6800NU just isn't powerful enough to justify the extra cash, in a lot of cases it's only marginally more powerful than the 9800 Pro, if not less, which is unacceptable for the extra amount of money that it costs.

<A HREF="http://www.hardavenue.com/reviews/gf68002.shtml" target="_new">Benchmarks</A> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2113&p=4" target="_new">Benchmarks</A>
August 3, 2004 4:11:35 AM

I would go with 9800Pro, or maybe save up just a little longer and get the 6800GT.

<font color=blue>AthlonXP-M 2500+</font color=blue>
<font color=green>Abit NF7-S</font color=green>
<font color=red>Kingston DDR400 2x256Mb</font color=red>
August 5, 2004 4:05:26 AM

I already have the money to buy any card I want, it's just a matter of how much I'm willing to spend on something like a graphics card. ;) 

I got myself a 128MB Sapphire 9800Pro in the end, that should last me quite a while, and I can justify the cost.

Now all I hope for is for NVidia or ATi to release some new cards by the end of the year or so, that should make cards like the 6800GT drop in price a lot... some six months later when the new cards actually exist in real stores so that someone can buy them (In small quantities at least). ;)  This generation of graphics cards is the worst I've ever seen in terms of aviability of the cards launched. It's silly to have to wait half a year before you can buy the new product, and then only from ebay for twice the recommended price... Sheesh!

Anyway, thanks a lot for the advice, I was close to buying that 6800nu for a while, but you set my mind right again. ;) 

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AXP 1800+, EPoX 8KHA+, 512MB Kingston DDR266, GeForce4 Ti4200 128MB, 60GB IBM HD, Hercules MuseLT.
August 5, 2004 6:36:03 PM

My friend has a 9800 pro w/ a A64 2800+ on a chaintech v-nf3 and Doom3 looks awesome. That card is definitely a good deal.

"It's too late now anyway. That song is stuck in my head and the only way to get rid of it is to blow it out. With a bullet!! - Carl
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