What is a good Gaming/3d Rendering Card?

Hi there,

I've always been a gamer and I own a computer store near Pittsburgh, PA. I currently have a Geforce 5900 Ultra I believe. It still plays most games fine, Half Life 2 looks great and plays really smooth. However I just got Battlefield 2 and it actually is pretty choppy on some maps.

The thing is I would like to upgrade now, and would probably get the top of the line ATI card, one that is still AGP compatible. However, I also play around with 3d Studio Max and Poser 5-6. I would love to improve the rendering times with these. Right now it takes about 30-45 seconds to render a single picture. Which, when you're moving a model and then re-rendering the scene about 10 times... it can add up.

I was wondering if anybody has similar interests and has found either 1 video card or a combo card that is great in both areas... both Gaming and 3D Rendering.

Thanks for any response and thanks for your time.

Matt
10 answers Last reply
More about what good gaming rendering card
  1. I am going to leave the 3d rendering question to others, so I won't recommend any cards. But just a side question for you. Did you know the FX series performed so poorly rendering the standard DX9 path that Half Life 2 treats your FX5900U as a DX8.1 card. You can force the DX9 path, but then it's a slide show. Anyway, what you are missing is the water reflections. See <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2281&p=2" target="_new">this review</A> for an in depth look if interested. It shows IQ difference as well as the performance hit the FX takes forcing DX9.


    <A HREF="http://service.futuremark.com/compare?3dm05=658042" target="_new">3DMark05</A> <A HREF="http://service.futuremark.com/compare?2k3=3781954" target="_new">3DMark03</A>
  2. GGA can help him with 3d rendering.
  3. Are you just upgrading your vid card only? Have you looked into PCIe vid cards?
  4. Yeah, GGA was my first thought too. Just wanted to give an explanation why that FX5900U was smoooooth in HL2, but may not be in other new games. :tongue:


    <A HREF="http://service.futuremark.com/compare?3dm05=658042" target="_new">3DMark05</A> <A HREF="http://service.futuremark.com/compare?2k3=3781954" target="_new">3DMark03</A>
  5. FXs stink. Should have bought TIs.
  6. While Cleeve is really more a pro, power-user or 'render-monkey' :lol: IMO, I'll simply recommend the GF6800GT as being a good affordable card with good performance in most 3D animation/rendering/modeling apps as well as a good solid gaming card.

    Wether it AGP or PCIe it's a great value.

    Now likely the GF7800GTX and GT will perform better, but that definitely means a new MoBo (only PCIe).

    The thing about 3DSMAX and the gaming cards is that they fall short of the workstation/pro cards which benefit alot from optimized drivers. The difference is so much that in the last generation the ATi Gaming cards were ahead of the Quadro cards (even the 3000) in 3DSMax 5 without the optmizations by a factor of 2-3:1, yet add the optimized drivers and the cards pulled ahead of even the top FireGL counterparts.
    So I recommend the GF6800GT, but I haven't seen anyone do a good comparison of the two, however I know that Cleeve likes his and the GF6800GT would be a solid choice as an 'all things being equal' situation IMO.

    EDIT, you might also find benifit from a 512mb card (may require going to an 'Ultra'), which I'd usually say is a waste, but for professional apps it does have a considerable impact, especially for high levels of AA. But don't only get 512mb in your card if the rest of your system is being shortchanged because of it.


    - 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:
    <P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by TheGreatGrapeApe on 07/11/05 00:28 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
  7. If i may chime in here for a second. I am also considering a new card to replace my 9800pro. I considered waiting till the new ATI's come out to see what they can do, but am also willing to consider getting something like the X800 or x850XTPE or whatever they are... (to many letters)

    My thoughts are that I should probably wait even if I decided against the top end card because the R520 release should lower the prices of the older cards. What do you guys think?

    I do have a few specific questions for GGA.

    How big of an impact does the graphics card have on rendering and max desktop preformace? I have a P4 3ghz with HT, 800FSB MB, 1gig of RAM, and ofcourse the 9800pro. I can't afford a whole new system with the new duel CPU's atm, I'd love to know how the CPU, vs, the graphics card impacts MAX in desktop chopiness, and rendering times.

    2 more questions. If the pro cards are so much better with max, should I consider one of those, or do they suck for gaming?

    Is it possible that any of the gaming cards (I prefer ATI to be honest but not against Nvidia) can use the pro drivers to boost MAX preformance? Then I can buy a gaming card and install either the gaming drivers or the pro drivers depending on what I'm doing.

    Thanks for all your help. I know this is a lot. More then I intended to ask to be honest. :)
  8. Quote:
    How big of an impact does the graphics card have on rendering and max desktop preformace?

    Pretty significant I haven't seen anything that compares CPU to Graphics card the way they do for games, but the closest you will get is dual Xeon versus DualMP from 3Dchips (had to wait to come in to work to find the review);

    <A HREF="http://www.3dchips.net/review.php?id=62&page=22" target="_new">http://www.3dchips.net/review.php?id=62&page=22</A>

    they are using 3DSMax 5, so it's a little dated, as is the choice of cards, but it's the one I was thinking of above, and it shows that there is an impact based on type of CPU. Also if you look at the next page, there's the impact of the optimized drivers (notice the gaming cards aren't included since they don't get that benifit);

    <A HREF="http://www.3dchips.net/review.php?id=62&page=23" target="_new">http://www.3dchips.net/review.php?id=62&page=23</A>

    Quote:
    If the pro cards are so much better with max, should I consider one of those, or do they suck for gaming?

    They aren't for gaming, cost <i>at least</i> twice as much for equivalent power, and do not get the patches for game relatd issues. The better solutions is softmoded gaming cards that get the Pro driver benifts but still allow you to revert back to gaming, they also cost alot less, and often have faster cores and memory (pro cards are built to be reliable, not blazing fast).

    Quote:
    Is it possible that any of the gaming cards (I prefer ATI to be honest but not against Nvidia) can use the pro drivers to boost MAX preformance?

    Only if the drivers or the card has been hacked to allow that to happen. The easiest and least risky hack are the 'softmod' hacks, like SoftQuado and SoftGL (google is your friend :wink: ). For some of the Softmods you can switch back and forth rather easily. The problem is I haven't seen much success being made in the last generation (GF6/X8) cards for SoftModing. Without those alterations PRO drivers will not work with gaming cards, and you won't get the optimized benifts for programs like 3DSMax, Maya, Rhino, etc.


    - 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:
  9. Thanks for all the info! I really appriciate the effort you took in finding all this for me. :)

    I wonder how the current AMD's would stack up to the current Intels.... :)

    Since there are no benchmarks, do you think you could guess as to the overal contribution % of a graphics card to a render, vs a CPU? Or is there no way to even take a decent guess at it?

    BTW something you said got me to thinking... You said that the pro drivers for the pro cards are highly superior to gaming drivers/cards for rendering, and you also said that while they have trouble softmodding the new cards, the older ones mod decently (it seems)

    What if I bought my new card, say, a X800XL, or X800XT, or X850XTPE (that discussion is in another thread, I think you've posted there too) :) Once I have my new card, what if I softmodded my old 9800pro? Would it be a better render card then one of the 3 cards I meantioned above?

    BTW Thanks again for all your help, in this thread and the other. :) $600-$800+ is a lot of money for a student to drop on anything..... :/
  10. There's no easy way to guess because it depends on the complexity of the models and how they benifit from the newer architectures. I have no idea where the limits would be on newer cards/cpus. There's be alot of development on both fronts, especially VPU design, and things like transparency, layers, etc. all add extra complexity to 'guessing' at what would be best. Considering that the new record for SpecView was set with an AMD X2 and using the massively incredible Realizm card, I'd say there's still alot of headroom on most apps. What has more influence? I dunno, but likely CPUs gives you more bang for your buck beyond a certain level of graphics card because most of the apps benift from parallelism and increased memory, and graphics card can be limited without going into an array.

    Yeah softmoding the PRO would be a good interim solution for sure and at least offer additional benifti.

    Here's a bit on the SoftMod's from Rojak's to give you some more insight;

    <A HREF="http://forums.rojakpot.com/showthread.php?t=9832&page=1&pp=20" target="_new">http://forums.rojakpot.com/showthread.php?t=9832&page=1&pp=20</A>


    - 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:
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