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  • new video card info/help

    I am about to build a new pc. I have always built my pc's, but it has been a while. My current one has lasted 3 years. Most of the new hardware is not that difficult to figure out. But, video cards have made a lot of advancements over the last three years. Here are some of my video questions.

    I will be building a Quad Core, 800W (or more) SLI ps, 3 or 4G RAM and Nvidia 680i MB with Vista. This machine will be a game machine with OS and games only. I would like to push a 22 wide screen HD monitor to higher res.

    1. What is the major difference between ATI 2xxx and Nvidia 8xxx? Which is better? I have read about the new streaming processors vs pixel processors.

    2. Should i go with two medium grade cards (8400, 8500, 8600) or one great card, 8800? what is the difference between them?

    3. as with #2, should i go with two 320M/512M cards or one 768M card?

    4. ATI's system is easy to figure out, but what is the difference between GTS, GTX, Ultra?

    I have read the specs on most of them, so i understand that, is the difference as clear as specs or what?

    thanks guys
    50

  • #2
    Re: new video card info/help

    As far as nvidia 8800 series cards, performance wise they stack up like so, GTS, GT (new), GTX, Ultra (although some will debate whether the new GT is better then the 640mb GTS). Also a 2nd revision of the GTS is on the horizon, you may want to wait and see its performance/cost as some claim it will be better then the GT and GTX series cards.

    Which card to get largely depends on what resulution you would like to play at and how much $$ you have to blow. Obviously if you had money coming out of your behind SLI Ultra cards would be your choice, but anyone in their right mind won't buy that :D. If you are going to be gaming at 1280x1024 you would get away with a lower end card, although for a gaming rig I really wouldn't suggest anything other then an 8800 series card especially now that the GT came out. A card like the GTX or Ultra will allow you to play at resolutions of 1900xXXXX or even 2500xXXXX with AA. The GTS and GT start to fall behind drastically at high resolutions with AA.

    I would say for 1680x1050 and under you could live with a GT or GTS (although games like crysis are really sticking it to systems with anything less then a GT, although a GTS still manages).

    I suggest you look at benchmarks for games they will usually compare 4 or 5 cards on any given setting and compare fps, that will give you an idea of how the cards stack up.
    Take for example the latest article from toms hardware which shines light on the new GT card http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/10/29/geforce_8800_gt/. You can see the GT hangs near the performance of the GTX in most cases and is half the price.

    At this moment I would say the best bang for the buck is the 8800GT, although GTS rev2 and new ATI cards are just around the corner so if I were you, I would wait and see the benchmarks on those.

    I can't really comment on ati cards as I have been an nvidia fanboy forever ;).


    I love gaming, mmmmmmmm

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    • #3
      Re: new video card info/help

      Are you going to get all four of those gigabytes? Don't forget unless you have full 64-bit action going on, you can't address beyond the 4GB barrier and your video ram will displace part of your system ram into the relm of inaccessability.

      On video ram, it's pretty much governed by the resolution you want. I run 1600x900 on my GTS/320. 1920x1080 used to be my way to play, but for counterstrike, I demand solid 75fps+, so I backed it off a bit.

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      • #4
        Re: new video card info/help

        In my experience, the best bang for the buck always lands around 1350 shipped.
        % wise of your total budget, in general I like:
        GPU: 35%
        CPU: 20%
        RAM: 15%
        HD: 10%
        Mobo: 10%
        Case+PSU+DVD: 10%

        Quoting from newegg on a $1300 budget system:

        GPU: 2x8800GT 512Mb (2x$260=$520 [40%])
        CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 ($280 [22%])
        RAM: 2x2GB PC2-5300 ($150 [12%])
        HD: WD Caviar 320gb 7200rpm SATA HD ($80 [7%])
        MOBO: ASUS P5N-E SLI ($125 [10%])
        DVDRW: ASUS Black 20X ($40 [3%])
        CASE: RAIDMAX SMILODON w/500W PSU ($95 [7%])

        Total: $1,290

        Not exactly the numbers I posted above, but as you can see by shaving a bit off the hard drive, ram, and processor, I was able to get a really good sli setup that would only be beat by 8800GTX or ULTRA in sli (or i guess the GTS when they refresh the card).

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        • #5
          Re: new video card info/help

          This is one time where I can't really discourage a SLI setup. It's so cheap to get 2x8800GT that it's pretty easy to fit into a decent budget. Although, you'd need a good PSU. Spending $95 for case, PSU is stretching it. A good PSU will cost at least $100. A PC should always have good, clean and steady power. Raidmax apparently pack good PSU's with their cases but it's best to be able to look at the stats of a PSU and determine if it provides enough amps.

          Cases are pretty important too (at least for me). I like a case to have rounded edges and easy access to components. I don't fiddle around in my case a lot but when I do I want it to be quick. Check out cases that have rails for sliding in the optical drives and removable drive bays for your harddrives.

          - It's who you game with.

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          • #6
            Re: new video card info/help

            8800 GTS is a "stripped" (some features and pipes are disabled) down version of the base 8800. The GT is supposed to be on the new G82 with a bit more power under the hood than the base 8800. And the Ultra is probably overclocked and provide significant performance if you plan on running at 1440 x 700 or above.

            The 320MB GTS performs (and in some areas excel) in medium resolutions. The 640MB and above can handle the higher resolutions better than the 320.

            On a 22" LCD, you should go for a 8800GTS 640MB (or the 320MB at least). The 8600 performs about on par with that of the 7800GS (so no real significant boost for a DX10 card).
            |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
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            • #7
              Re: new video card info/help

              If you were to build right now, today, I would suggest the 8800GT hands down. Price/performance is remarkable from all the reviews and benchmarks and whatnot I've read.

              If you're building, "soon,' I would suggest waiting a month and a half, see what ATI brings to the market, and if Nvidia has a rebuttle by years end. A 8850 may be on the horizon, and it'd be akin to shooting yourself in the foot to get a GTS or GTX right now if something like that comes out and is at a reasonable price.

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              • #8
                Re: new video card info/help

                1. What is the major difference between ATI 2xxx and Nvidia 8xxx? Which is better? I have read about the new streaming processors vs pixel processors.

                Right now, Nvidia is absolutely the way to go. I own a Radeon HD 2900XT (I got a great price on it though my work) but Nvidia has the performance war sewn up this time around. ATI gets better with each driver release but I don't think the new Radeons have the hardware grunt to keep up with the 8800 cards.

                2. Should i go with two medium grade cards (8400, 8500, 8600) or one great card, 8800? what is the difference between them?

                Always go with one better card over two lesser ones. SLi is great for getting an extra year out of your hardware cheaply by adding another card after they've dropped and it is great if you have a ton of money and want to spend a bunch on two high end cards but you'll have fewer issues and better results with one higher end card.

                3. as with #2, should i go with two 320M/512M cards or one 768M card?

                Go with the higher amount of VRAM. When you run SLi, you only use the VRAM on one of the cards. For example, when I had two GeForce 6800 cards running in SLi, only 256MB of VRAM was available for use rahter than the combined 512 on the two cards.

                4. ATI's system is easy to figure out, but what is the difference between GTS, GTX, Ultra?

                IMO, the Ultra is a huge waste of money as it is really nothing more than an overclocked GTX. I think the differences have been explained pretty well prior to my post so I'll just echo what has been said above and suggest that you go with one of the new 8800GT cards. They cost less than the 640MB GTS and are benchmarking close to the GTX.
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                • #9
                  Re: new video card info/help

                  There is an October 29 review on the Tomshardware site for the 8800GT. It nicely compares all these cards using current games. The 8800GT looks like a great value for performance. Newegg currently lists the EVGA models for around $300. A lot less that GTX models.
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                  • #10
                    Re: new video card info/help

                    Get a 8800GT for now. You can wait but I don't think nVidia will release anything interesting for the rest of the year. They pretty much have the high end market so there's very little pressure for them to release a new flagship card.

                    Plus, the price/performance ratio for the $300 range cards is pretty good. You can save a bunch of money there, ditch the card in 1.5 years for something in the same price range. I think it's better to get parts that are sort of in the middle to almost high end and upgrade more frequently. Building a system without upgrading over three years is really hard to do. The system will be asking for an upgrade at around 2-2.5 years. At the 1.5 year mark, you could still play new games at decent speeds but an upgrade would let you play the games coming out in the next 1.5 years.

                    - It's who you game with.

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                    • #11
                      Re: new video card info/help

                      Originally posted by =Sarc= View Post
                      This is one time where I can't really discourage a SLI setup. It's so cheap to get 2x8800GT that it's pretty easy to fit into a decent budget. Although, you'd need a good PSU. Spending $95 for case, PSU is stretching it. A good PSU will cost at least $100. A PC should always have good, clean and steady power. Raidmax apparently pack good PSU's with their cases but it's best to be able to look at the stats of a PSU and determine if it provides enough amps.

                      Cases are pretty important too (at least for me). I like a case to have rounded edges and easy access to components. I don't fiddle around in my case a lot but when I do I want it to be quick. Check out cases that have rails for sliding in the optical drives and removable drive bays for your harddrives.
                      I'm gonna have to disagree and tell you that I got an 500W 89% efficient PSU for $50 that has less that %1 thd on any of the 12v rails (didn't check the other rails). Yes it is important to have a good PSU but they definitely do not start at $100 and in fact many of the more expensive ones don't perform any better than the 'lesser' brand name PSUs. About four years ago I would agree but manufacturers realized the cost of them making better quality PSUs DOES pay for good publicity. Just check HardOCP or Anandtech (and their PSU battles) to really get some good insight into what constitutes a good PSU.

                      This is coming from a person who's relative has had a computer catch on fire while operating due to a crappy PSU.

                      A good case (easy access to everything, tool-less) is great I undervalued that a lot before I got this machine with an Antec Lanboy. Lame marketing aside, it has too many good features (secret compartment for screws, supports 120mm fans everywhere. Tool-less PCI brackets).

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                      • #12
                        Re: new video card info/help

                        Originally posted by =Sarc= View Post
                        Get a 8800GT for now. You can wait but I don't think nVidia will release anything interesting for the rest of the year. They pretty much have the high end market so there's very little pressure for them to release a new flagship card.

                        Plus, the price/performance ratio for the $300 range cards is pretty good. You can save a bunch of money there, ditch the card in 1.5 years for something in the same price range. I think it's better to get parts that are sort of in the middle to almost high end and upgrade more frequently. Building a system without upgrading over three years is really hard to do. The system will be asking for an upgrade at around 2-2.5 years. At the 1.5 year mark, you could still play new games at decent speeds but an upgrade would let you play the games coming out in the next 1.5 years.
                        Not only that, but the 8800GT 512mb final MSRP (by Q1 2008) is supposed to be $200, with the 256mb less than $200. Right now you can get the 512 from outpost.com for $230 shipped no rebates.

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                        • #13
                          Re: new video card info/help

                          I got the GT SSC from EVGA and it rocks. The new GT cards are amazing. There is one issue with them right now where the fan does not know when to kick in and I had to set it manually using Rivatuner. To make matters worse for this one issue, this card runs HOT!!! Overall though, the card is awesome and i am running everything on high with no lag.

                          Also, make sure you get a nice PSU. Dont short sell yourself, get something with good power and check reviews. I would look to spend between 100-150 on a good one. the wrong choice here can do as little as make your system glitchy with odd hard to diagnose problems to as big of a problem as destorying your entire PC.
                          Battlefield Samurai 'Banzaaaiii!!!

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