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Video Card question

Discussion in 'Techno-Magic' started by Maurolava, Nov 25, 2009.

  1. Maurolava

    Maurolava Neither to go back, nor to take impulse Veteran

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    [​IMG] I'm in the process of upgrading my video card and is being a while since I look a card, I'm a bit outdated on terms. :o

    1. What is the difference between DDR2 SDRAM and GDDR3 SDRAM?
    2. One card in question has 512MB and 1.8Ghz (Memory Clock Speed) and the other has 1GB and 800Mhz. So which is best and why?
    3. Lastly, is there really a difference between ATI and NVIDIA?

    Thank you in advance for any help! :)
     
  2. Kitrax

    Kitrax Pantaloons are supposed to go where!?!?

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    #1 - DDR is system memory, GDDR is graphics memory. The difference between GDDR2 and GDDR3 is increased speed and data bandwidth. They're up to GDDR5 now.

    #2 - It depends on a lot of variables. Are they both GDDR5? How well does the GPU utilize the RAM? Is it 128-bit, or 256-bit, or even 512-bit? Who *makes* the actual chips? You'd have to read the reviews and look at the benchmarks to actually tell the difference.

    #3 - Yes! ATI offers better cards in terms of price, driver compatibility, and awesomeness! Right now, the ATI 5970 is the king of videocards...when they released the 5870 a little while ago, it was ~half the cost on NVIDIA's top card that was several months old at the time. NVIDIA was forced to cut prices just to remain competitive. :shake:

    If I were you (depending on your budget), I go for a ATI 5970, or a 5870, or a 5850 in that order of awesomeness. ;)
     
  3. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Uh, what? ATI is notorious for problematic drivers and has been for a decade. Their cards are always priced lower than Nvidia's, but you can also read millions of complaints from people over unoptimized and/or problematic drivers. Whereas Nvidia's drivers are nearly always top notch. I always buy Nvidia's cards even though they're more expensive just to save myself the headache over drivers that I've been hearing from pretty much every gamer with an ATI card for years. Maybe that's drastically changed in the last year, but I really doubt it. Also take into account that the majority of games are primarily tested and optimized for Nvidia's cards and not ATI's.
     
  4. Taza

    Taza Weird Modmaker Veteran

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    ATI cards have a vastly superior price/performance ratio... at the cost of a barrage of driver problems and a tendency to run very hot - so hot, in fact, that ATI cards make the Xbox 360 look reliable. They also eat power like no tomorrow.

    nVidia's expensive but reliable, and some of us who have tried both gladly pay the extra price just to avoid dealing with ATI drivers.
     
  5. Maurolava

    Maurolava Neither to go back, nor to take impulse Veteran

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    The cards that I was looking at are:

    1. GeForce® 9800 GT 512 MB GDDR3 PCIe 2.0 x16
    2. GeForce® 9500 GT 1 GB DDR3 PCIe 2.0 x16

    The first one is 256bit, while the second one is only 128bit.

    Now, while budget is a bit of concern, the real issue is founding a really good card that is compatible with my system. For example, I was first looking at the "Diamond Viper ATI Radeon HD 3850", but I found out I could not use it because my power supply is not good enough! :( (350W). I guess I should add that I want to have a card that meets the specifications on Dragon Age as well, although not the only reason while I want to update the card.

    Now, this is important. I definitely don't want to buy something that is gonna give me headaches down the road. I have little patience for stuff like that. So, if I need to put/pay a few more buck for less pain, then so be it!
     
  6. Kitrax

    Kitrax Pantaloons are supposed to go where!?!?

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    Huh...I must be one of the (apparently) few people who has had nothing but problems with Nvidia. Between my experiences with my laptop's Nvidia go5200, my brother's current 8600GT, my cousin's Go 8600M, and my buddy's GeForce 9400 on-board video...they've all had driver issues. My laptop is currently using the driver from 2005...because it's the only one that *works*! :flaming:

    However, my dad's ATI card (forgot what I put in there a few years ago...and I'm not willing to go stick my head in his tower right now), and my ATI 3870 have been top notch in quallity and driver compatibility. :love:

    WTF?!?!? You've only got a 350W PSU? What's a matta' you? :nono:
    Upgrade that POS a.s.a.p.! With 350W, you're not going to be able to run much of anything....
     
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  7. Maurolava

    Maurolava Neither to go back, nor to take impulse Veteran

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    :o I know, I know... But at the time I bought my PC I didn't know about the PSU 'till it was too late. At any rate, is it really that important to upgrade the PSU, when the only thing that I am (ever) going to change is the video card?

    Back to my original question though, which of the 2 card mentioned above do you guys recommend, or is there another card out there that can do the job?
     
  8. a soubriquet Gems: 5/31
    Latest gem: Andar


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    I would upgrade to a 500-600 watt PSU just to be safe. You can get a pretty decent one for ~$50.

    I would go with the 9800GT, even though it has less dedicated VRAM. Based on all of the charts I have looked at, it is quite a bit more superior than the 9500GT.
     
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  9. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    You need a 500W+ PSU because high-end graphics cards eat up a lot of power. This isn't an optional upgrade; you need it unless you enjoy your computer restarting every time your graphics card starts sweating a bit.

    I can recommend the 9800GT; I have it myself and it's handled everything that I've thrown at it very nicely.
     
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  10. Taza

    Taza Weird Modmaker Veteran

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    @Kitrax: I haven't had driver problems with NVIDIA since I started using NVIDIA drivers as opposed to card manufacturer custom drivers. At all.

    I know there were driver problems for the first few months of Vista, but that's pretty much the only major NVIDIA driver bug I've even heard of.

    When, then again, using ATI on Windows causes much more crashes than NVIDIA drivers - and occasional incompatibilities causing a game to be unplayable - though that's rare. And performance problems and occasional errors in picture quality, but those are usually hard to notice.

    When going for other operating systems - think Linux - ATI drivers will be the death of you though.

    Nevermind the heat and reliability issues - which I suppose you can avoid by burning in the card and then installing aftermarket cooling; voiding your warranty to ensure your card works is a bit counter-intuitive though.
     
  11. Maurolava

    Maurolava Neither to go back, nor to take impulse Veteran

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    Ok, I'm convinced. I found a good one (I think :o) for $65.00

    Well, since I was not taking into consideration the PSU, I have a new question. As I mentioned before I was looking to buy the ATI Radeon 3850HD, but I couldn't because of the PSU; however, since that is not longer an issue. Which card should I go with the ATI 3850HD or the GeForce 9800GT?
     
  12. Merlanni

    Merlanni Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    An ATI 1600. 2600. 3870 and now 4870 and no problems what so ever with heat or drivers.

    If you buy a Ati 3000 serie or nvidia 8000/9000 serie the card is absolete. We are two generation passed those. Still good cards, but not for 3 or more years. The 4000 serie from ati is interesting. A ATI 4770 or 4850 gives a lot of bang for buck. Still those are not new either, just a bit newer as Nvidia's 9000.

    First the power unint since that one will last at least 5 to 10 years and goes to the next box. After that a ati 500 serie or nvidia 200 serie is the next step.

    Link to a videocard chart http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/...-charts-2009-high-quality/Far-Cry-2,1512.html

    This is a big list to put things in the right place. farcry 2 (1610x1050) high

    Do not be fooled by the amount of memory. 512 mb is more than enough for a 20/22 inch screen. 1024 is needed for bigger screens like tv's


    Which PSU did you find? (We most likey have an opinion about it as well) This is a good brand: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371007



    the two medium: Ati: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102864
    Nvidia:http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130434

    Nvidia a little bit faster

    Cheaper: Ati: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150369
    Nvidia: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130339

    Nvidia a little bit faster but uses a bit more power if I recall correctly,

    In the end it does not matter wich brand. Both brands are good and the internet is full with flamewars between nvidia and Ati.

    If you cannot decide tell us the exact amount of money you have left(if you want to) after the PSU. We will debate it. Meanwhile read reviews to sink the data in.


    Power unit: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371007
     
  13. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    Ditto. Tal is right. I bought my 9800GT as stop gap card, but it runs so well that it's been in my machine for a year. Great card, for $100.00 US. I'm not a fan boy, so I don't think brand matters all that much. I've pretty much stuck with nVidia because of the high quality. But ATI gets good reviews and people seem to like them. I think the important thing is that you find a card in your price range that does what you need it to.

    The ATI 3850 as the "Ultimate" version is not as fast as the nVidia 8800 GT (older but somewhat similar to a 9800GT):

    http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/sapphire_radeon_hd_3850_ultimate_3870_atomic/page7.asp

    My average FR with an EVGA 9800GT is about 65 fps on HDR at 1280X800. But I'm running a Core 2 E6600 not the Core 2 Extreme X6800 Firing Squad used in their test machine.

    http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/sapphire_radeon_hd_3850_ultimate_3870_atomic/page4.asp
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2009
  14. Taza

    Taza Weird Modmaker Veteran

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    ATI cards are a *lot* faster for the same price.

    NVIDIA cards are more reliable - including the results you get from the card.

    There's two situations when there's a clear absolute winner - notebooks and Linux users - in both cases NVIDIA wins hands down.

    Assuming proper cooling and no need to be relatively crashproof nor a need to do professional-level GPU-accelerated visual processing (say, server, media center or media workstation), both are valid choices.

    For the same money - do you want reliability or power? Reliability, NVIDIA. Power, ATI. Both... then you want the truly highend (expensive) NVIDIA cards.

    Also, the GTX 250 is the one officially replacing the 9800GT - but the GTX 260 isn't bad either. Personally? Waiting for the hands-on reports of NVIDIA's next generation.
     
  15. Maurolava

    Maurolava Neither to go back, nor to take impulse Veteran

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    This one


    Ok, so if I understand this, the GeForce® 9800 GT is much better than the Diamond Viper ATI Radeon HD 3850?

    If so, why is the ATI so expensive, compared to the 9800GT :confused:

    First, reliability and then power... if I can have both great, but money is an obstacle. I don't think I want to expend more than $200. Even with that amount I will have to wait longer that what I wanted to make the extra cash!
     
  16. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    I thought they were the same price? In regards to speed, the 3850 is not even close to the 8800 GT. The 8800 GT is even a tad faster than the 3870:

    http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3151&p=6

    The 9800 GT is a reworked 8800 GT. It is compared more to the ATI 4850, than it is to the 3850. But the 4850 is certainly a better performer. If you can find a good price on one it may be an even better choice. Take a look at the difference in performance between the 4850 and the 9800 GT:

    http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/1520/gigabyte_9800_gt_zalman_edition/index18.html

    Note the 9800 GT still won the Tweaktown "Must Have" award.

    This ATI 4850 looks quite nice and it's only about $20.00 more than the 9800 GT. And you can order it through SP.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150337

    Although this 9800 GT is only $79.00 (after MIR), and has a full 1GB:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814133304
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2009
  17. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    I have an ATI 4870 since last October and using a 64bit system I have no complaints about ATI drivers. The card is good, potent and ought to be available for an affordable price. They sell at $ ~170,00 at Newegg, and are indeed more expensive than your choices. Theyre also better than both the GeForce® 9800 GT and the GeForce® 9500 GT no matter what and how much bit or RAM they have.

    You might be able to get one cheaper second hand as hardcore gamers will reliably buy the even more powerful, later model ATI cards.
     
  18. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    If that's $170.00 US, he can get an ATI 5000 series card for that much, which is even better. Much like the other cards, the 4870 is older technology, (certainly not worth $170.00) and at a higher price point, it's better just to purchase a card based on newer technology.

    The 9500 GT is about a $50.00 card these days.
     
  19. Taza

    Taza Weird Modmaker Veteran

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    The GTX 250 is basically a reworked 9800GT, mind - same power, less power use, less heat, less installation trouble.
     
  20. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    Taza - I agree with what you have been saying, but I've been trying to keep Maurolava at his price point. The GTS 250 is an excellent value, but I think it is a bit more (like $150.00 US, but I'm not sure). I'm afraid to look because I might be tempted to buy one myself. :)
     
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