I'm looking for a step above 9800 Pro. I personally have a 9800 pro, and am not impressed with its performance. That said, the unit in question, ie the one i'm going to replace, is in a different system. I'm replacing a 9600 Pro which is oc'd/softmodded to xt. Even a 9800 would be an improvement for that 9600...but i want to go one step higher. Recommendations please! Nvidia or ATI only. Limit of $230 or so.
AIW X800XT has been as low as $255 but is over $300 now. 6800GT hasn't been that low, X800XL AGP was down as low as $225 but is now higher. X800 pro to me seems like your best bet in that $200-230 price range right now (online USA)unless you go refurbished/used. The refurbished X800 pro AGP with 3 year warranty directly from ATI has been gone for a week or so, that was a good deal for $185 shipped.
The <A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681..." target="_new">256MB X800GTO</A> is a good AGP card for that money. Slower core than the pro, but higher memory. It's Better than a 6800 and has good potential of going well beyond stock speeds too. Getting down to the bottom, a 6600GT will definatley outclass your 9800 pro also.
Best to worst if you can find one in your range:
X800 pro/ X800GTO 256MB(faster clocked than 128MB versions)
I run a 3800+ x2 and 2x6800gts...as a back-up i have a 2500+ paired with a 9800 np. I also have a 9500 and a 9600pro sitting around on different machines. I gave the 9600pro to a buddy of mine, so he'd have a little more gaming power. Anyway, so he was wanting to know what it'd take to get to my level...i said about $1500...To get roughly the same playability i have. Anyway, so he came back asking what he could do to make his machine faster for Counter Strike...He's running a XP2000, 512x1 (and i threw in a couple of old 256 sticks too...so 1gb now), the 9600pro, and an old msi board of some via 266 flavour. I told him if he wanted to see a real improvement he's got bottlenecks right now at the fsb and the graphics card (not to mention the hd i gave him is crap...20gb prob 5400rpm...). Basically i built him a machine with some of my spare parts. He said he'd have to save up to get $230...So i'm not going to push the price on that. In fact i'm going to do whatever i can to bring that down. Anyway, so thats the low-down.
1500 is what i said...i didn't give it any real thought...
He could get by with:
6800 vanilla...$180 or so..
case and 24 pin psu $85-100 (maybe...prob a lil more on this one)
reuse: burner, keyboard/mouse, monitor, diskette
That comes out to $780 + 35 or so shipping... 815 give or take.
...around $2495 for my complete system...He asked what it'd take to get one like mine...You can get most of what i have now for a lot less then when i payed for it. So i'd say it was fair saying $1500.
Well, you give him the system you spec'd out, swap the graphics card for a 7800 GT for an extra couple hundred, and it'll up the ante on your two 6800's in a few games for less than a grand.
Then he sells his old crap and gets a couple bucks back, even.
Don't get me wrong, you've got a beautiful rig, a hellalot better than my own to be sure.
It's just that your spiffy X2 doesn't give extra gaming performance compared to it's single-CPU cousins, and the 7800 GT's are really, really good - good enough to challenge a couple 6800's in tandem here and there.
Yea the x2 doesn't do anything for me in regards to gaming (or very little anyway...), and sometimes hurts it. And that 7800 series is awesome. Right this second i don't even have both 6800's in, and at the same settings i'm now lagging a bit in cs (relatively...i can visibly notice a difference when i turn quickly...). I only have one in because i was trying to put my new hs's on those cards one at a time...but it turned out they didn't fit, and after a flurry of emails and pictures, i have a new set on the way, and my 6800 now sits without a hs on my desk at home.
In most bench's that 7800 high end (gt? or gtx...?) is just awesome. I had a funny look on my face when i read that last week...I think i was mouthing "Dammit"...then "time to overclock those bitches". Heh. But as is, they're overheating not oc'd at all. Hitting 90c. I've got a 120mm fan blowing out from over those two cards, because it was doing worse with it blowing on to it. =/ The hs should help some, but really it's an issue with air not circulating right. I've got an ungodly amount of fans in this machine, but it just isn't circulating. I think maybe i need to drill some holes in the bottom or something...maybe put another fan or two down there.
Basically when you have two cards...2-3 inches apart...both running anywhere from 50-90c, not to mention the chipset fan running 45c between the two, you get a very hot spot. Also, there is a fraction of an inch, between the cards and the hds...so air is cut off all the way across the case. I have a 80 blowing across the hd's out on to one of the gpus, and one directly below it blowing air in...so there ARE fans there...just not enough to make a difference. The side fan (120) blows hot air out, the two on top blow warm air out, 2 80s in back blow air on to the cpu, 2 in the psu blow out, 2 in the front blow in. Shew...the tornado on my xp90 and the 3 120s are on a fan controller. I have a wattage tester plugged in to the power coming out of the computer and while gaming i'm pulling about 210w, 222w with the tornado all the way up, 225w with all 4 fans all the way up. I haven't gotten to test that thing with the other 6800 in yet though. I'm pretty curious how much putting that one in would pull. That said, i only pull 130w when everything is just sitting there, and only 160w when i have just the two core's maxed. (obviously when gaming i'm only maxing one core...)
We need more guys like you on the forum to tell it like it is when it comes to overhyped dual graphics card setups. Too many people assume it's all roses & sunshine, and don't consider the PITA thay can be.
Well, you could always sell both of your 6800's and buy a nice 7800...
Corsair TwinX 3200C2 is $114 at Newegg, but they had Patriot Sig series on sale for $70 (2X512). Chaintech VNF4 Ultra is $69.50. I've seen some deals on 250-300GB HDD for $95. Check out bensbargains.net - Newegg has a 74GB Raptor for $146 right now ($20 MIR).