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nVidia vs ATI - need some insight

Discussion in 'Techno-Magic' started by chevalier, Apr 17, 2005.

  1. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    I can get some not so fresh GFX cards around here for somewhat reduced prices.

    At the moment, I have an old Riva TNT2 M64, 32 MB RAM. Have to replace it because some games won't even run and, generally, the stuff is antedeluvial.

    The options are (from an internet auction):

    • Old GeForce 2 cards. They cost spare change. Stuff with 64 or even 32 megs is still around and the card alone costs not much more than the shipment. Currently, I have a bid in place for a 32 meg GF2 for 2 euros. Sometimes there's a 120 meg one for an euro or two more.
    • GeForce FX 5500 cards, 128 megs and 128 bit. Tends to cost 30 euros.
    • Radeon 9550 cards. They generally tend to exceed 50 euros, but sometimes you can land a 128bit/128MB one for about 40 plus shipment. I've heard it overclocks well. With extreme luck, it could go for 30 euros with change.
    • Radeon 9600, 128 bit, 128 megs. Tends to cost more, but sometimes you can land one at 40 euros with change (with luck), or up to 50.
    Don't have the PCI-E slot. I don't play games all so often, so my chief concern is getting a reasonable card for a reasonable price. Something solid, preferably fully DX9 compliant, but no superduperhyperstuff needed.
     
  2. Warrior of the World

    Warrior of the World Questing through space

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    I have a Geforce FX 5500, 128Mb card, and it works just fine for me. I have never used any of the others, so I won't venture an opinion there, but mine has served (and still serves) me well.
     
  3. Wordplay Gems: 29/31
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    If those are your options and you do not play games too often, then FX 5500 or 9550 is your best/cheapest choise. IIRC, FX has some problems with noise and 9550 is just a overclocked previous generation card. Not sure, but both should do the job.
     
  4. Kitrax

    Kitrax Pantaloons are supposed to go where!?!?

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    The ATI card was a good one back in it's day, but it's still pretty good.

    What it will come down to is: which crowd you want to join, the ATI club or the nVidia club. :rolling:
     
  5. Tap Dancing Oyster Gems: 7/31
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    I'm pretty sure that only the nvidia FX5500 supports DX9 - but both the Radeon 9550 and 9600 are better cards (probably about 25% better). To be honest you will end up toning down the graphics that much with the FX5500 you won't really realise any difference between DX8 and DX9.

    Check out this link they do tend to favour NVIDIA on this site. The FX5500 will perform similar to the FX5600/FX5200"Ultra"

    http://graphics.tomshardware.com/graphic/20041004/vga_charts-04.html#3dmark_2003

    If you can get your hands on a 9600XT or PRO so much the better, but try and avoid the SE.
     
  6. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    Hmm... in their benchmark, it looks like FX5600 is better than R9600. Strange...

    For +/- 125 euro, there's Radeon 9600 XT 256MB/128bit and GeForce 6600 128MB/128bit. How about these two? FX5700 with 256 megs also costs the same here. R9550 128/128 costs half that.

    [ April 22, 2005, 00:55: Message edited by: chevalier ]
     
  7. Taza

    Taza Weird Modmaker Veteran

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    I'd recommend the FX5500 128meg. For the price alone.

    I've seen so much complaining about stability problems with ATI cards that I am personally now avoiding them. (Have seen a lot of cases myself, too.)
     
  8. Tap Dancing Oyster Gems: 7/31
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    I miss quoted on the radeons - they are apparently dx9.

    I have just upgraded from my asus Fx5600 - I'm looking to get about £40 for it, being as you probably live on the other side of the world its probably not the best deal you could get. But that should give you an idea on how much to pay.

    I could play Doom3 at 800*600 and Far Cry at 1024*768 (medium settings P2.66 512mb) I just had a look and the fx5500 is a revamped FX5200 which is a considerably weaker card than the FX5600 -

    http://www20.graphics.tomshardware.com/graphic/20041110/buyers_guide-19.html

    It really depends on what your going to use it for. The older radeon models seem to be slightly better then nvidia, the pick of the current bunch seems to be the 6600gt (£120). Unless you have a bit more to shell out for a x800xl (£180). The 6600 will do a good job on current games - it just depends on how much you want to spend.
     
  9. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    Hmm... can get a new R9500 128/128 or a used 9600pro 128/128 for close to that. Benchmarks are confusing. One kind shows GF to be better, the other makes it "clear" Radeon is your way. GF's appear to be weak on geometry but to have better textures and handle the RAM better (not sure on this one).

    Right now, I'm trying to land an RX800pro 256/256 on an internet auction. The user says she doesn't have the equipment to examine it, so she gives no warranty but it works fine for her. As she has about 100 positive opinions collected from other users and 0 negative ones, it shouldn't be too risky. It stands 100 euro right now. Wouldn't normally consider it, but the price is 300 for a new one in the shop. About 5 hours left, though, so it may eventually hit even the usual price of an x800 on that auction. Oh well, but those 9600's will always be there, so no loss missing one or two such auctions.
     
  10. Yirimyah Gems: 11/31
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    In re the 6600, it's a very good card. Apparently there is a tweak you can use to overclock it to being a 6600 Ultra or GT. I recently replaced a Radeon 9600 with a 6600GT and performance increase (3DMark 05, Doom 3, Aquamark, Farcry tests) was multiplied by 6 to 12 in each graphics test.

    I strongly recommend it.
     
  11. Tap Dancing Oyster Gems: 7/31
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    Firstly you were considering a FX5500 now your considering a X800! As long as you get it for a reasonable price what the hell. You may be in the enviable position of being CPU limited rather than by your graphics card soon.
     
  12. Faraaz Gems: 26/31
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    Radeon 9600 is VERY reliable, more so than the GeForce cards in the same price range, and if you can manage to get a Pro version of the card, then its even better.

    As far as choosing a particular camp goes, I've always felt that ATi had the more reliable and better cards than Nvidia.
     
  13. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    I've seen some benchmarks in which Radeon 9600XT beats GF6600 to performance. It also seems that the old GF Titanium cards are better than anything new except they don't support DX9 and sometimes even DX1. Why they can't just make a Titanium with DX9 support is beyond me.

    Currently, I'm trying to get a 9600pro or XT, I think. They are somewhat older and "lower" than the GF5700 to 5900 stuff and Radeons up to 9800 (except the pro and XT versions, of course), but the price is lower and all.

    I'm afraid of the X300-X800 series and GF6000+ because the Radeons seem to be natively PCI-E and take a huge loss by supporting AGP through a converter. Not sure about GF's, but unless they are in the improved versions, they seem to perform worse than even GF5900 and R9600 XT, let alone R9800 or R9800pro.

    GF5600 seems to be somewhat better than R9600 (not pro), while 9600pro would be on par with GF5700. R9600 XT would be more or less on par with GF5900. R9600pro costs more than GF5600, but R9600 XT costs less than GF5900.

    If I'm getting something wrong, please correct me. ;)

    Edit: How about the GF4 Titanium stuff? They are DX8.1 and not 9, but they are cheap now and they still beat the newest cards in benchmarks. I could get one for 30 euro or something.

    [ April 26, 2005, 12:43: Message edited by: chevalier ]
     
  14. Tap Dancing Oyster Gems: 7/31
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    I had a Ti4200 in an older computer that I sold a little while back - it was pretty good. In fact I would say it was on a par with the FX5600.
    I was a little miffed really but the FX5600 was part of a bundle. The Ti4400 and Ti4600 were even better for the time (I beleive there was a Ti4800 as well)
    Nvidias FX series was really pretty weak - not much of an improvement on the 4 series. About the only one you ever see recommended is the FX5900XT which people try and flash to an ultra version. I think this was mentioned in an earlier thread here, personally I can't be a*sed with overclocking or modding.
    To get a real insight you might want to try Anandtech, Guru3d or digit life's sites.

    You really need to look at what you are going to be using this for. Obviously Doom3 and Half Life2 are better with a higher end card.

    Whether your CPU/RAM will limit performance with some of the newer cards - if you running less then 1.8ghz you might be better off with an earlier card anyway. Less then 1.2ghz and I'd consider a DX8 card (GForce4 or similar).
     
  15. Wordplay Gems: 29/31
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    @ Chevalier

    I'm currently using GeForce 4 Ti-4400 and although it is about 3 or 4 years old it performs rather well. Time to upgrade in about 2 years though, but if you CPU isn't that good (from 1 GHz to 2 GHz), then I can definitely recommend Ti-4400 or Ti-4600. Out of the three, 4200 is the cheap model, 4400 mid-range, and 4600 flagship.
     
  16. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    My CPU is Celeron 2.4 and I have 512 MB RAM. The hard drive is some new fast thingy, as well.
     
  17. Wordplay Gems: 29/31
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    Celeron? Cut the power in half and you get the real value versus Pentium or XP series. When the dual-core processors come out Celerons are practically obsolete for anything else but office work.
     
  18. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    I had an Asus version of the 9600XT running in my system for about 30 days and sent it back for an EVGA nVidia FX5900XT, which is a lot better card, IMO, after having both installed in my system. The ATI card had a poor look on all my BI Infinity games. The hand painted 2D scenes in all of the Black Isle games had poorer color saturation, and they looked a little fuzzier than with the nVidia card. But in 3D games, such as Neverwinter Nights, there was no difference, at least that I could tell.
     
  19. Capt Massacre Gems: 5/31
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    Like OP, I had a TNT2 M64 which was pretty decent.
    But I have a flat panel with DVI connection, to take advantage of it, I purchased a Radeon 7000, it's cheap and has both VGA & DVI.
    It is stable and years ahead of TNT, but years behind good cards of today. There's no fan. It's not compatible with some older AMD configs.
     
  20. ejsmith Gems: 25/31
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    It's true the Ati cards will take a contrast hit over the Nvidia cards. I've probably mentioned before the Ati cards, when rendering Direct3d, can only output 24bit color. The Geforce either output 16bit or 32bit. So all the Infinity games will take a color hit.

    With that said, Chev, it really depends on what you have to spend. The Ati9600 line is an excellent Dx9 card in comparision to the Fx5900 line, which is really a Dx8.1 card with limited Dx9 ability. If you buy a 5900XT, flash it to a 5950Ultra, and then watercool it, it makes for a resonably priced Nvidia card. However, you could by a stock aircooled Radeon 9800 Pro, and get better performance, for the same price as the 5900XT + watercooling.

    Right now, the best Nvidia buy for your performance is a watercooled 6800GT. It will easily clock up to 6800Ultra levels, and you'll have a watercooling kit that you could also use to cool your CPU.

    As far as the Ati cards go, it's the 9800 Pro for you. Everything else is in the PCIe flavor.
     
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