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Help! Radeon9700Pro vs Geforce4Ti4600

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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October 15, 2002 8:26:59 AM

I really need help weighing my options here. I'm looking to purchase a system within the next 2 weeks and I'm deciding between the ATI 9700 Pro and the Nvidia GF4 Ti4600. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages I've come up with so far. Feel free to add or comment on them.

ATI 9700 Pro:
Advantages:
- Awesome performance (Outperforms Geforce 4 Ti4600 in almost everything)
- DirectX 9 Support
- Max settings for games are playable (FSAA...etc)
- Industry-leading graphics quality
- Next Gen DX9 games will be supported on this card

Disadvantages:
- High Cost ($50 to $100 more CDN)
- Functionality dependant on BIOS revision (1.01 vs 1.03)
- ATI Catalyst drivers still perceived to be unstable
- May require purchase of another power supply
- May need to make several BIOS and software tweaks & updates to play games/increase stability
- R300 chip is still very new and bugs are still being worked out

Nvidia Geforce Ti4600
Advantages:
- Detonator drivers are usually very good and stable
- Much faster than my current card (AIW Radeon 32mb)
- Reputation and quality of Nvidia's products
- Able to run all of today's games with little chance of instability
- No need for extra power
- Slightly cheaper than 9700Pro
- Has been out longer than 9700Pro and so most bugs have been worked out

Disadvantages:
- Doesn't perform as well as 9700Pro
- Image quality is believed to be not as good as ATI's products
- No DirectX 9 support (May have to purchase a new card within a year to play DX9 games)

The system I'm looking to purchase is the following:
Intel P4 2.53Ghz
Asus P4PE i845PE
Kingston 512Mb PC2700 DDR Ram
Enermax 450 Watt Power Supply
(With little to no overclocking being done)

I've been surfing forums and I've been seeing a lot of issues with 9700Pro's stability. With the GF4 I haven't seen quite as much though. Most issues with GF4 that I've seen only deal with decreased performance between driver updates. Right now I think I'm leaning more towards the GF4 because at the moment, I'm more concerned with stability than performance. What good is a powerful video card if it crashes lots or needs to have its BIOS tweaked somehow? But I'm really considering the 9700Pro... I guess that's why I'm posting here, I really just need some convincing from you guys. Any thoughts???? Maybe you can share some of your experiences with either card??
October 15, 2002 12:04:03 PM

I have a 9700pro runnig in XP2000 & I am quite quite happy with it, the only gamer it doesnt run totally right is THe Thing (textures go a bit blue)

I you want the best quality, the 9700 is the best of the moment, if you want Dx9 future proofing, yet again 9700 is it. (the drivers arent better than detonators but they WILL improve)
if you want an established card and arent worried about having the fastest card in your system, then the ti4600 is quite sweet for any game currently out...

(and be probably fine until Doom3, this is where the NV30s will be needed, so for next summer, the 9700Pro plus or whatever & the NV30 will be going head 2 head)

everybody will vote on their own fav card

no-one shouts louder than someone who is being ignored, or in the case of techies, to be heard over the noise of their PC's ;-)
October 15, 2002 4:33:24 PM

See Above :-p
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October 15, 2002 7:12:48 PM

Yeah.

Another vote for the Ati9700.

[Jedi mind trick] You LOVE Palladium. [/mind trick]
October 16, 2002 3:27:13 AM

i had to make this choice too, i chose r9700 and i am very happy with it :) 
October 16, 2002 5:36:44 AM

I was in the store today to order the 9700 PRO, front of me a dude returned one and I asked him what's wrong. He said it's all good till he try using anything 3D related (games, apps), then it will freeze his whole system (which was a quiet nice system when he explained it to the tech dude what he got). So I walked around in the store and then left, might just give it a little more time before dishing out all that money for it. No rush, rather have the company get more bugs out of it than getting it and then complaining non-stop. :) 

Was going to buy the card first and in a month a 19" monitor, going to get the monitor this weekend instead.

But I will get the 9700 PRO, unless there is something better for the same price by the time I'm ready to get it.

BTW I'm in Canada too, getting damn cold already. :p 

<font color=red>Got a silent setup, now I can hear myself thinking.... great silence</font color=red>
October 16, 2002 6:07:27 AM

Most issues with the 9700Pro have been with users PSU (the one you´re getting is going to be enough) and BIOS revisions. If the card doesn´t work, you can probably send it back to ATI to get it fixed.

I´m probably getting the 9700Pro in a few days, just won´t be able to use it before I save up for a new power-suply :) 

<font color=red>I´m starting to feel like a real computer consultant.</font color=red>
October 16, 2002 8:24:09 AM

Just wondered what monitor ur getting...As im about to get one soon.
Heard some dodgy stuff bout TFT Monitor's and games so im thinking bout a 19 CRT maybe a Illyma 954 Pro... Although LG and Sony may be a possibilty to.....
October 16, 2002 3:49:34 PM

I have Radeon 9700 Pro and IIYAMA Vision Master Pro 454 19" monitor and this is a perfect combination. Both products support high refresh rates, so your eyes will feel great and the picture quality is unbelievable.
October 16, 2002 4:55:27 PM

still debating on the monitor, but looking at the Viewsonic 690FB 19", .21mm, 1600x1200-77Hz

<font color=red>Got a silent setup, now I can hear myself thinking.... great silence</font color=red>
October 16, 2002 8:56:24 PM

I know this sounds silly but my new rig is gonna b heavily modded and very colourful so a beige monitor may look a bit silly...

The Lacie 19 Blue 3 looks stunning to look at but not seen many reviews.

N E 1 know much bout Lacie Monitors????
October 17, 2002 5:19:23 AM

I have a LeadTek GeForce Ti4600 that at the time was the best I could find. I would like to have the Radeon9700Pro but I need more reasons just like the original post.

The 9700 is faster, but what sort of values? Is it 2x/3x better than 4600?
Since the ti4600 doesn't support directx9 does that mean I simply won't be able to use directx9 apps and games, or I can but it'll be unstable?
October 17, 2002 5:55:47 AM

DX9 games will still run but as with DX8 games they run a whole lot better if the hardware has direct support.. of course.. some games on DX9 will just state DX9 hardware as a requirement... but in general a ti4600 will run DX9 by using software rendering on the fancy new DirectX bits.. and using it's Hardware DX8 for everything else.

On hte stability issue... if it's mostly PSU related problems that crop up with the 9700 then I think our original poster is safe. He said he was getting OR has got an Enermax 450W.... that's heaps isn't it?? maybe he'd be in trouble with a RAID 5+0 array and dual 2100 MPs.. but other than that.. I think he's safe.. most problems IMO are with Generic 300W PSUs.

Hope that clears the mud to slightly translucent..

"Meet me on Platform 10 in 3 minutes... or Platform 3 in 10 minutes, whichever you prefer!!"
October 17, 2002 2:45:32 PM

How about just spray-painting the beige monitor? L
And how about just spelling out "anyone" instead "N E 1"
You can´t be that old-school :) 

<font color=red>I´m starting to feel like a real computer consultant.</font color=red>
October 17, 2002 3:48:22 PM

LOL

Think i must have had to much to smoke...makes me kinda lazy :-)


And im still debating bout a 17 " TFT...I erd TFT arnt great for games but ive also erd they r fine 4 games so im still undecided. :-|
October 18, 2002 12:34:01 PM

it depends on the screen technology, Toms latest roundup lists a 15" ADI & a 15" Samsung that seem to getting near the quality needed for CRT level gaming...

no-one shouts louder than someone who is being ignored, or in the case of techies, to be heard over the noise of their PC's ;-)
October 19, 2002 2:52:33 PM

think ive found a monitor thats looks the bizness its expensive but the Hercules Prophet 920 looks awesome and ive seen some great reviews.

But 500 Pounds is alot of money for a monitor.............
October 19, 2002 3:07:22 PM

Another vote for ATi 9700, i've had it for about 2 months now, i'm very pleased.
October 19, 2002 8:56:48 PM

I can't afford a radeon 9700 so i thought maybe ill get a Geforce 4 4200 but hen i read that in windows XP 3d games can only run at 60hz max so the refresh rate is horrible and can cause flickering in games and case some not to work at all at certain settings. this made me change my mind and reconsider buying and ATI 9000 instead just for now.
October 19, 2002 9:00:06 PM

Windows XP does have a refresh rate problem. But you can easily fix it. Download <b>Powerstrip</b> and there is a setting to lock the refresh rate. This will force games to be run at the refresh rate you select.
October 21, 2002 1:47:05 PM

I thought the 9700 is quoted as about 20% better than the Ti4600...

Now I have a problem: I was just about to buy a P4 2.8, 512x2700 RAM, Radeon 9700, XP Pro, Audigy, ZXR 500 spkrs, Asus P4S8X mobo + other bits as part of a well-priced MESH package (£1670) ... Intention is to make it as powerful as poss so I don't have to upgrade for (hopefully) 2-3 years. I like 3D games big time, but for historical reasons don't want to do upgrades myself (there are always complications) and don't trust anyone else (there are even bigger complications!!) so I want to get a fully-supported system (on the basis that if I tinkered with it - like by putting in a new video card next year - it would invalidate the warranty).

Today I have read about probs with the ASUS mobo - instability, fixed by a bios update that kills performance... :-(

Now a mate has just said he wouldn't touch the 9700 as (a) its ATI and (b) NV30 will kill it... :-0

Q1: In your exteeeeeemed opinions is the ASUS problem *likely* for get fixed in the next couple of weeks?

Q2: When is NV30 *really* going to be available in the UK?

Thx for any feedback to this, my virgin post.

Best regards all
October 21, 2002 1:50:44 PM

No, the R9700 is much more than 20% faster than the Ti4600. The worst case scenerio is a 20% improvement. With AA and Aniso (what's the point of owning a high-end card without using them), you're looking at an average 2 to 3X performance improvement. In JKII, the R9700 is up to 5X faster than the Ti4600.

Intelligence is not merely the wealth of knowledge but the sum of perception, wisdom, and knowledge.
October 21, 2002 4:53:08 PM

Your friend is stupid or has old info, ATI has worked hard to make good/better drivers, and from what I hear they´ve done good.

Installing a new vid-card should´t void any warranty. I´ve never had any complications, OK "complications", yes, but never any damage. And pluging in add-on cards is pretty basic knowledge.

Asus need to fix the problem, it´s their obligation. And in the meantime you´re entitled to refund if the board doesn´t work, maybe get different board?
Does the board use AGP8x? if so, ATI has admited that there is a prob. between a few AGP8x MBs and the 9700Pro.

NVidia will have to have screwed up something big-time for the NV30 not to rock. I think that if evereything goes well the final cards will land in europe 1-1.5 months after the launch, which is in a month or so.

<font color=red>I´m starting to feel like a real computer consultant.</font color=red>
October 21, 2002 4:53:48 PM

Post deleted by Ghostdog
October 21, 2002 6:58:59 PM

Thx Ghostdog.

What might be *realistic* performance improvement expectations of NV30 over Radeon 9700? If we are talking 10-15% then I'll go Radeon now, but if it'll be a case of a 100% gain then I'll wait...
October 21, 2002 6:59:26 PM

I dunno, everyone has such high expectations for the nv30. It kinda reminded me of the pre-release rumors about the Radeon 8500. Everyone had such high hopes for it, and it wound up being level with or slightly below the compition's GF3. Nvidia is having alot of trouble getting the nv30 out the door right now, and I hear that their origional shipments are going to be very small due to low yeilds. How much of that will be reflected in the price and the performance of the card?

In the meantime, the r9700 core has no trouble overclocking to 400 mHz (the RAM is a different story altogether). I forsee a radeon 9800 (a radeon 9700 clocked at 400/400) being released at around the same time as the nv30 in order to take the wind out of nvidia's sales. Now that ATI has the AIW version of the 9700 out the door, I'm kinda wondering what they are working on/sitting on. They're definately going to release something new when the nv30 comes out.

With the nv30 only achieving 20% yeilds (full report at anandtech.com), ATI has a very good chance of doing some serious damage to nvidia.

And what is this "nv30 is going to blow away r9700" based on anyway? Has anyone anywhere gotten their hands on one and run a few tests? As far as I'm concerned it's all just vaporware until someone actually has it in their hands and has run a few tests. As someone who got burnt by the whole r8500 hype machine, I'll only believe it when I have some concrete evidenice in my hands.

--------------
Knowan likes you. Knowan is your friend. Knowan thinks you're great.
October 21, 2002 9:49:32 PM

Thats my opinion too. Of course nv fans will have high expectations of and talk up the new kit (I am completely neutral either way). Maybe it will be brill, maybe not: who knows? Maybe it'll take 6 months to settle down. My inclination is to go with the rig I've been quoted...

Thx for the feedback m8.
October 22, 2002 5:07:01 PM

I agree that ATI is defenetly hitting it big right now, they have even stated that by the time NV30 is out they will have something faster. Is it a re-design of the R300, R300 with DDR2 and maybe higher clock-speeds? Who knows, but they seem to be ready. They are gaining popularity and if they would finally get rid of their reputation as having bad drivers everything would be A-OK :) 

NV30 has to be a excelent chip. At least pounding the 9700Pro, NVidia wouldn´t bother releasing it otherwise.
If the NV30 turns out to be a failure NVidia could be facing trouble due to ATI´s success at the moment. NVidia has the money and the resources to deliver "the goods" and one failed chip won´t kill them, but if you remeber what happened with 3Dfx you´ll see the danger.

I´ve heard rumours that it might even be as big of a step forward as the GF256 was. Most is still rumours (i forgot all about the Anandtech article) though.

Remeber how big the expectations for R300 was? People were speculating for several weeks about how good it would be, and personally I think it met the demands.

I too try to stay neutral and just go with who ever has the best tehcnology at the time. If you start debating about the whole ATI vs. NVidia-issue it will eventually lead to who has the better drivers LLL, pointless.

<font color=red>I´m starting to feel like a real computer consultant.</font color=red>
October 23, 2002 10:15:16 PM

im happy with my ati 9700 pro, its runs fast, it looks great and i cant wait to upgrade my cpu setup to something a lot faster.. hopefully then i will be able to unlock the hidden tallets that are within..
i only have a xp1800 with 512mbs ddr in a kr7 board.. im hitting about 12600 3dmarks 2001se, i would love to hit over 15000 with a new cpu and what not.. but im not really sure what to go for as such..
but anyway, anyone that wants a ti 4600 when they can have a ati 9700 pro for £50 more, is silly.. in my opinion.. go for the ati card, it can only get better.. and faster!!

if all else fails... kick it and if it goes wrong, say it wasnt you...
!