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MSI NX6600GT vs MSI NX6800 vs GB 6600GT Turbo

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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February 22, 2005 6:36:05 AM

Hello all! I know you've probably heard this about a thousand times already around here, but I'd like some advice regarding a new video card I'd like to purchase.

Ever since I got my first PC back in '96 I've always wanted a first class system to play games with. Just this past September I finally got that wish when I bought my Dell 8400. It has an Intel Pentium 4 550 (3.4 GHz Socket 775 w/HT and 800 FSB) processor and 1024 MB of SDDRRAM (I'm not sure if it's PC 2700 or 3200, but I think it's the latter). However, the power of a good video card has eluded me once again, as my system came with a Radeon X300 128 MB SE card (it's the crap one with the 64-bit memory interface).

As such, I decided to buy a new video card. However, there are several things that are limiting my choices (for better or worse):

For starters, my motherboard has a singular PCIe slot; as hard as it is to belive, there is no AGP slot available on my motherboard, so the video card I get has to be PCIe.

The games that I want to use the new card for are Battlefield Vietnam (and the soon to be released Battlefield 2) and Counter-Strike: Source. Both these games run decently on my Radeon X300 SE, but not as well as I'd like them to, especially BFV, which is very fickle. I'd also very much like to play Doom 3 and Far Cry and other future generation shooters (like S.W.A.T. 4, F.E.A.R., and Time Shift) with my new card.

As such, I'd like to get a current card that supports the latest technology. So far, nVidia's 6000 series cards seem to have the edge as they support SM 3.0 (which ultimately translate to higher FPS for games that utilize it), not to mention the fact they are cheaper and generally faster than their Radeon counterparts.

I'd also like to play my games at a minimum setting of 1024x768x32 BPP with all settings set to High and 4x FSAA and 8x AF and still get an acceptable framerate (around 40 FPS).

In terms of money, as much as I'd like to get a 6800 GT, I honestly don't think I can afford the $550+ CAN for it.

Since I'm located in Canada (specifically in Markham, Ontario, where ATI is headquartered, no less!), shopping online has turned out to be the most economical solution as cards found in brick-and-mortar stores are significantly more expensive (usually by about $20-$50 CAN more). Also, most online retailers are based in the US and not all of them ship to Canada, which further limits my choices.

Given these limitations, I spent several weeks researching various cards and have narrowed down my list of candidates to the following cards:

MSI NX6800-TD256E GeForce 6800
MSI NX6600GT-TD128E GeForce 6600 GT
Gigabyte GV-NX66T128VP GeForce 6600 GT Turbo Force Edition

The MSI NX6600GT-TD128E has garnered numerous accolades and awards and has been touted as one of the best, if not the best, video card on the market, all things given. This card would be a sure sell for me, however...

Gigabyte's GV-NX66T128VP GeForce 6600 GT Turbo Force Edition gives me pause. It seems like a great card on the surface, but I haven't been able to find any reviews or reliable benchmarks for it. Maybe some of you have heard more about it and can compare it to the MSI NX6600GT.

Like I said before, I'm strapped for cash, however, I may be willing to shell out money for a vanilla 6800, if the price is right. The MSI NX6800-TD256E card is the cheapest 6800 chip card I can find anywhere and the reviews for it seem very positive.

My dilemma on which card to choose is this:

1. Given that I mostly play BFV and CS:S, a 6600 GT card should be good enough; however, I don't know how tough newer games will be on the 6600 GT. I don't want to shell out $200+ CAN only to find three months down the line that my 6600 GT is starting to fall behind.

2. Similarly, since I only recently got back into computer tech, I don't know how often card manufacturers come out with newer cards. I can conceivably see myself replacing a 6600 GT in a year or two, but not before. The 6800 would have to last longer, however, at least 3 years, maybe 4. If I shell out the extra money for a 6800, given past trends, can anyone guess how long will it be before it becomes obsolete? Would a 6600 GT be more worth my while?

3. I am very much interested in overclocking my card, as I have seen significant performance increases overclocking these cards (usually around 10 - 15 FPS increase!). However, given the 6800 slower core and memory clock, I'm not so sure it gives as much of a boost overclocked as the 6600 GTs do. Does anyone know which one will ultimately provide better overclocking performance?

I realize my post is a bit on the long side, so thanks for sticking to the end. So, can anyone offer me any sound advice (no pun intended)?


Mad Cat
:D 
February 22, 2005 10:39:13 AM

well, you certainly seem to have looked into this a lot.

the little bit of advice that i can give you is DON'T by high spec graphic cards for less than we all know they are worth. it will come back and bite you in the ass! to that end, if you can't afford an MSI, Sparkle, ASUS, gigabyte (other reputable manufacturers), version of the 6800 then don't waste your money. cheaper cards are cheaper for a reason (oc'd components, cheap heatsinks, noisy fans, poor aftersales service...).

there are plenty of people who will argue with me but i don't believe that the 6600gt will last two years at the top edge of the gaming market, in fact, i'd say we'll be lucky to see it last past 12 months. games like X2 and DOOM 3 already have it pushed well past being able to deliver 35fps comfortably with FSAA and AF enabled, or at least, that is my experience. maybe other's have a setup that works better (mine == 3500+, ASUS A8N-SLI deluxe, 2GB@400MHZ, 6600gt).

my advice, save for a bit longer and get go for the big gun. it'll play the top labels comfortably for longer and who knows, with a wee bit of OC'ing magic it may well stand the two year threshold. the only reason i figured i'd get away without going for the 6800GT Ultra is that my mobo supports SLI and in europe, 2x 6600GT still works out cheaper than the 6800. hence i have the luxury of getting to add the extra graphics power when i need it(prob inside of the next 2 months).

________________________________________________________
know your limits, and never stop trying to exceed them!
February 22, 2005 1:50:41 PM

If you want ti to last, the 6600GT isn't the way to go. It's a solid card, but not top tier.

Go 6800GT, or wait a little bit for a cheaper X800XL solution to become available (which is as good as a 6800GT, but just coming into retail now, so it'll be a bit more expensive than it should be for a month or two).

________________
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Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
February 22, 2005 4:17:26 PM

I agree with cleeve, plus I prefer ATI anyways :smile:

<font color=green> Woohoo!! I am officially a <b> Journeyman </b>!! </font color=green>
February 22, 2005 5:20:10 PM

First off, thanks for the advice so far.

In regards to the 6600GT's lifespan, I don't mind replacing the card within a year or so (ie. sometime in 2006), but not any time sooner.

Also, a lot of the current cards out now are using a chipset that is already a year old. How long until ATI and nVidia come out with a new chipset?

Finally, in regards to ATI vs nVidia, I don't have a problem with ATI at all, it's just that they don't support the latest Shader Model technology. I've seen benchmarks where nVidia cards were compared using both SM 2.0b and SM 3.0. The SM 3.0 increased performace on average by 10 FPS. That is quite significant. I also find that the Radeon cards (at least the last time I looked a few months back) were always more expensive (between $50 - 100 more)than their equivalent nVidia versions. That it is why I'd rather opt for the nVidia cards, but if you guys can make a good case for ATI, I'm willing to change my mind.


Mad Cat
:D 
February 23, 2005 4:00:03 AM

Well, including shipping to Canada:

MSI NX6800-TD256E = $377.70 US from Computer HQ

MSI NX6600GT-TD128E = $258.72 US from ZipZoomFly

Gigabyte GV-NX66T128VP = $252.10 US from Computer HQ

MSI RX800XL-VT2D256E = $422.10 US from Computer HQ

Some of you suggested the X800XL, so I put that one in too. Bear in mind that the prices above are US dollars; I have to convert them to Canadian dollars, which usually cost more.

Also, as you can see, the X800XL is only $50 more and certainly looks better on paper. However, I'll have to check benchmarks before I make a verdict.

BTW, I found this Gigabyte X800 at Zipzoomfly for $265 US: http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Product...
Is this for real or is it a rip?


Mad Cat
:D 
February 24, 2005 12:57:03 AM

Really? What kind of CPU and RAM do you have?


Mad Cat
:D 
February 24, 2005 2:54:36 AM

get the 6800 but buy it from a good company like asus
and if you have to wait awhile it might be more worth it
ati and nvidia are releasing new cards soon
i say like 3 months tops
so the 6800 will drop in price

hear me now, believe me later, trust me in between
i`m a cop you idiot
i`ll be back
February 24, 2005 6:08:30 PM

I'm not buying from Asus, no way. Their prices are significantly higher than everyone elses (we're talking $30-60 US) and I've heard their tech support is pretty terrible. That being said, I'm also very reluctant to go with eVGA, as they only provide warranty for ONE year.

I'd much rather go with an equivalent manufacturer, like MSI, Gainward or Gigabyte whose prices are lower, have better tech support, and have more than a year warranty.

Also, I've been doing a lot of reading and I don't think I'll be opting for a 6800, unless it's price drops dramatically (I'm talking below $300 US). I checked the VGA charts and found that with a good system (which I do have) you can get an overclocked 6600GT to be almost as fast as the 6800. Of course, you can always softmod and overclock the 6800, but if the X800XLs starting appearing in greater numbers, the X800XL's price should drop down close it it's MSRP and make it much more worthwhile than even a softmoded and overclocked 6800.

Any thoughts on this?


Mad Cat
:D 
February 25, 2005 4:31:08 AM

Do you know what the special code for the X800XL is or where I can find it?

EDIT:
Nevermind, I found it already.


Mad Cat
:D 


<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by MadCat2099 on 02/25/05 12:35 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
February 25, 2005 5:56:17 PM

I'm not buying from Asus, no way. Their prices are significantly higher than everyone elses (we're talking $30-60 US) and I've heard their tech support is pretty terrible. That being said, I'm also very reluctant to go with eVGA, as they only provide warranty for ONE year.

I'd much rather go with an equivalent manufacturer, like MSI, Gainward or Gigabyte whose prices are lower, have better tech support, and have more than a year warranty.

Also, I've been doing a lot of reading and I don't think I'll be opting for a 6800, unless it's price drops dramatically (I'm talking below $300 US). I checked the VGA charts and found that with a good system (which I do have) you can get an overclocked 6600GT to be almost as fast as the 6800. Of course, you can always softmod and overclock the 6800, but if the X800XLs starting appearing in greater numbers, the X800XL's price should drop down close it it's MSRP and make it much more worthwhile than even a softmoded and overclocked 6800.


i don`t agree that asus is overpriced they are rock solid and your buying security that ur stuff will work right

as far as the video cards i would wait for the new tech then 6800 stuff will drop or u could fo ati as well

hear me now, believe me later, trust me in between
i`m a cop you idiot
i`ll be back
February 26, 2005 4:13:46 AM

Well, let's put that contention to a test:

At ZipZoomFly, you can get an Asus EN6800GT-2DT256 PCIe card for $519 US; it comes at stock speeds with a 3-year warranty, a copy of Joint Operations and a free webcam (which I already have).

At the same site, you can buy a BFG 6800 GT OC PCIe card for $489 US; it comes overclocked out-of-the-box with a lifetime warranty and a copy of FarCry (a much more popular game than Joint Operations). If you happen to already have FarCry, you can get this same card sans FarCry for $479 US.

Both manufacturers make top-notch cards, but why would I want to pay $30 US more for a slower card with useless bundle of software and hardware? And that's not even mentioning the fact that the Asus card isn't even available in stock should I choose to buy it.


Mad Cat
:D 
February 26, 2005 4:47:58 AM

[Well, let's put that contention to a test:

At ZipZoomFly, you can get an Asus EN6800GT-2DT256 PCIe card for $519 US; it comes at stock speeds with a 3-year warranty, a copy of Joint Operations and a free webcam (which I already have).

At the same site, you can buy a BFG 6800 GT OC PCIe card for $489 US; it comes overclocked out-of-the-box with a lifetime warranty and a copy of FarCry (a much more popular game than Joint Operations). If you happen to already have FarCry, you can get this same card sans FarCry for $479 US.

Both manufacturers make top-notch cards, but why would I want to pay $30 US more for a slower card with useless bundle of software and hardware? And that's not even mentioning the fact that the Asus card isn't even available in stock should I choose to buy it.


Mad Cat
:D ]

ok i see your point i just feel that asus is a pretty solid company, but as of late i have seen that they are a little pricy, the a8n sli board is 200 and similar ones from other companies are like 180. i would just rather have an asus then lets say sparkle brand. in your case though i have heard that BFG is a really good brand i just never heard of them up until yesterday and i would have picked asus if i were not a member here at toms


hear me now, believe me later, trust me in between
i`m a cop you idiot
i`ll be back
February 27, 2005 8:53:52 PM

The Asus 6800GT 256mb is a great card, it's based on the 6800ultra PCB, uses 2 molex connectors, and has a higher default voltage.

Yeah BFG doesn't allow bios volt mods same with PNY, while all other brands, most times cheaper, does it perfectly.
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