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Choosing a graphics card

Posted: Sat May 09, 2009 8:12 am UTC
by Themata
Well I've only got one thing left to get for my system, which is a graphics card, but I'm a little stuck on what to get.

I'm pretty sure I want either a geforce GTX260 or a radeon 4870 1GB, and the prices on each are quite similar (~300 each).

What I wanna know is which card is really better in terms of price/performance/reliability? I've seen the 4870 come very close to the GTX260 in benchmarks, but I'm unable to decide which to get.

Advice?

Re: Choosing a graphics card

Posted: Sat May 09, 2009 6:01 pm UTC
by Zeroignite
Are those non-US dollars? I'm seeing 4870s for a bit over half that price.

Re: Choosing a graphics card

Posted: Sat May 09, 2009 7:11 pm UTC
by defaultusername
Judging by his location, I'd say those are Australian dollars.

Here is a comparison of those two specific cards. I didn't read it very carefully, but it looks like the geforce pretty much wins on every account.

Re: Choosing a graphics card

Posted: Sat May 09, 2009 9:42 pm UTC
by kernelpanic
If you're unsure between similarily-spec NVidia and ATI, go for NVidia, they have a longer lifespan, higher reselling price and need a less powerful PSU. On the downside, if you want to have your case open, they are much uglier

Re: Choosing a graphics card

Posted: Sat May 09, 2009 10:27 pm UTC
by Axman
I'd recommend a GTX 260 in your situation.

Re: Choosing a graphics card

Posted: Sun May 10, 2009 11:10 am UTC
by Game_boy
kernelpanic wrote:If you're unsure between similarily-spec NVidia and ATI, go for NVidia, they have a longer lifespan, higher reselling price and need a less powerful PSU. On the downside, if you want to have your case open, they are much uglier


What? I've never seen any credible hardware site claim that. Nvidia and AMD cards are exactly the same now except for performance and price. If you go back far enough you can find a time (~2004) where ATI drivers were unreliable or Nvidia cards melted due to poor cooling (2008) but there is no difference now.

--

As for the graphics card it depends on the kind of GTX260. A 4870 1GB will usually beat a GTX260 with 192 'cores', but lose to a GTX260 with 216 'cores'. Whichever is cheaper, I'd say.

Re: Choosing a graphics card

Posted: Mon May 11, 2009 4:18 am UTC
by Themata
This power supply (my current one) wouldn't be powerful enough to drive either of those cards though would it...?

http://www.osmart.com.au/product.php?pr ... stseller=Y
Features:
Comply with ATX12V V2.2
Support Vista operating system with high-end graphic card
Enhance dual +12V output capability to 18A
SLi Ready and support Intel & AMD Dual & Multi core
Super silent with intelligen-thermal fan control technology
80% high efficiency performance Active PFC with PF up to 0.99
100% Hi-pot and burn in tested
12cm sleeve bearing cooling FAN
FAN speed auto control by thermal sensor inside power supply
20+4PIN connector for M/B
SATA connector for HDD
Two 6Pin PCI-E provides more power for graphic card

Re: Choosing a graphics card

Posted: Thu May 14, 2009 4:26 am UTC
by Themata
I hate to bump but I needa know this before I buy a new GTX260. Is 18A on the 12v rail too low for a GTX260? Even though I have 2x 12V rail?

Re: Choosing a graphics card

Posted: Thu May 14, 2009 4:48 am UTC
by BumpInTheNight
I don't see an issue with using that card with that PSU.

Re: Choosing a graphics card

Posted: Thu May 14, 2009 8:06 am UTC
by Themata
I've just heard people saying 18A on the 12V rail isnt enough for cards like this. I'm happy if thats wrong though cause I don't wanna buy a new PSU! :D

Re: Choosing a graphics card

Posted: Thu May 14, 2009 3:10 pm UTC
by mosc
If the rails are 18A EACH, you shouldn't have any problem. If they're 18A combined, you might run into problems mattering on what else you've got in that box.

Re: Choosing a graphics card

Posted: Fri May 15, 2009 4:25 pm UTC
by b.i.o
kernelpanic wrote:If you're unsure between similarily-spec NVidia and ATI, go for NVidia, they have a longer lifespan

Feel free to tell that to the entire generate of mobile 8xxx cards that are defective and now failing.

Re: Choosing a graphics card

Posted: Tue May 19, 2009 9:42 pm UTC
by kernelpanic
b.i.o wrote:
kernelpanic wrote:If you're unsure between similarily-spec NVidia and ATI, go for NVidia, they have a longer lifespan

Feel free to tell that to the entire generate of mobile 8xxx cards that are defective and now failing.

He doesn't want a mobile card, but a desktop one. I think ATI is better for laptops, but not desktops

Re: Choosing a graphics card

Posted: Tue May 19, 2009 10:13 pm UTC
by mosc
kernelpanic wrote:He doesn't want a mobile card, but a desktop one. I think ATI is better for laptops, but not desktops

I think you have no idea what you're talking about and make decisions based on emotional attachment to the letters "nvidia".

Re: Choosing a graphics card

Posted: Mon May 25, 2009 7:09 pm UTC
by kernelpanic
mosc wrote:
kernelpanic wrote:He doesn't want a mobile card, but a desktop one. I think ATI is better for laptops, but not desktops

I think you have no idea what you're talking about and make decisions based on emotional attachment to the letters "nvidia".

Please explain why anyone would have an emotional attachment to those letters

Re: Choosing a graphics card

Posted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 6:27 am UTC
by Atmosck
Themata wrote:I've just heard people saying 18A on the 12V rail isnt enough for cards like this. I'm happy if thats wrong though cause I don't wanna buy a new PSU! :D


Like was said earlier, if that's 18A per rail (and it probably is), then you should be fine. If it says SLI ready, and has 2 6-pin PCI connectors (which is exactly what the GTX 260 uses), it's probably safe to bet that it will work. What's the wattage of your power supply? They say you need at least 500W for that card, but would recommend at least 650W to give you some breathing room for other components. It's odd that it says 18A on the +12V rail and SLI ready, because i thought the SLI requirement was 22A on the +12V Rail. With just 1 card, i would be surprised if this power supply was insufficient.

Re: Choosing a graphics card

Posted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 8:29 am UTC
by po2141
I have seen on the grapevine that there is little between the two cards you mention except that the Radeon supports DirectX 10.1 whereas the nVidia has on-board PhysX, so choose one of those and off you go. I have a GTS250 and it can be run in 3xSLI, I guess thats the same for the GTX260, Im not sure if the Radeon supports this (or your motherboard com to think of it...maybe just concentrate on my first point...).

Re: Choosing a graphics card

Posted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 3:34 pm UTC
by Game_boy
po2141 wrote:I have seen on the grapevine that there is little between the two cards you mention except that the Radeon supports DirectX 10.1 whereas the nVidia has on-board PhysX, so choose one of those and off you go. I have a GTS250 and it can be run in 3xSLI, I guess thats the same for the GTX260, Im not sure if the Radeon supports this (or your motherboard com to think of it...maybe just concentrate on my first point...).


FYI, DX10.1 also tends to improve game performance in the titles which support it while PhysX takes a huge performance hit in the games which use it.

The Radeons do support 3-way Crossfire, but neither SLI nor CF are good value.

Re: Choosing a graphics card

Posted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 11:44 pm UTC
by Axman
Game_boy who is obviously high wrote:neither SLI nor CF are good value.

Re: Choosing a graphics card

Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 3:18 am UTC
by Atmosck
Axman wrote:
Game_boy who is obviously high wrote:neither SLI nor CF are good value.


That's debatable. When you get into mid-range cards, it can actually be pretty good. Two 75-Dollar cards in SLI (e.g. 2. GeForce 9600 GT) will be better than 1 $150-dollar card (GeForce 9800 GT). And if you absolutely have to have the most powerful option, your FLOPS per dollar may not be right, but that's how you get the most possible power.

But in my case, It makes upgrading cheaper. I bought a GeForce GTX 260 when they were $250. A year or two from now, when i want to upgrade, i don't have to throw away the power i already have, because I can just buy a second one and use both of them. (And it's down to $175-$200 already) Two of them together would have a comparable performance to say, a GTX 285.

Re: Choosing a graphics card

Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 8:03 am UTC
by Amnesiasoft
Atmosck wrote:Two 75-Dollar cards in SLI (e.g. 2. GeForce 9600 GT) will be better than 1 $150-dollar card (GeForce 9800 GT)

Those aren't the prices I'm seeing. I see $90 and $120 respectively.

Axman wrote:
Game_boy who is obviously high wrote:neither SLI nor CF are good value.

Re: Choosing a graphics card

Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 3:12 pm UTC
by Game_boy
Atmosck wrote:
Axman wrote:
Game_boy who is obviously high wrote:neither SLI nor CF are good value.


That's debatable. When you get into mid-range cards, it can actually be pretty good. Two 75-Dollar cards in SLI (e.g. 2. GeForce 9600 GT) will be better than 1 $150-dollar card (GeForce 9800 GT). And if you absolutely have to have the most powerful option, your FLOPS per dollar may not be right, but that's how you get the most possible power.

But in my case, It makes upgrading cheaper. I bought a GeForce GTX 260 when they were $250. A year or two from now, when i want to upgrade, i don't have to throw away the power i already have, because I can just buy a second one and use both of them. (And it's down to $175-$200 already) Two of them together would have a comparable performance to say, a GTX 285.


OK then, all >$150 solutions are poor value. Even if that's two 4770s in CF. It simply doesn't give the price/performance that $90-$110 cards like the 4850 or 4770 do, while those cards can play almost every game on high settings at decent resolutions.

SLI/CF or any >$150 cards should only be considered for resolutions greater than 1600x1200 for new games on high settings. Or Crysis.

The "buying a second one in a few years" doesn't hold water. At that time you'll be able to buy a midrange card for about the same as a GTX260 that would outperform two of them. It happened with people who bought an 8600 with that intention, and found that a $100 4770 today would beat that setup at much lower power consumption.

However I would agree that, for example, two $80 HD4830s would beat a $150 HD4870.

Re: Choosing a graphics card

Posted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 12:15 pm UTC
by SlyReaper
kernelpanic wrote:
mosc wrote:
kernelpanic wrote:He doesn't want a mobile card, but a desktop one. I think ATI is better for laptops, but not desktops

I think you have no idea what you're talking about and make decisions based on emotional attachment to the letters "nvidia".

Please explain why anyone would have an emotional attachment to those letters

Your avatar looks like the Linux penguin, so I guess you are a Linux user. nVidia cards are known to have better support under Linux than ATI cards. Thus, your experience would have given you a bias towards nVidia cards.

Just guessing.

Re: Choosing a graphics card

Posted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 2:51 pm UTC
by Axman
That Linux driver opinion's about as dated as the multi-GPU one; since the acquisition of ATI by AMD, who relies heavily on Linux via the server channel, ATI has redoubled their Linux driver work. Now they're simultaneously dropping Linux drivers to match Windows drivers.

When Vista launched, NVIDIA attempted to repackage XP code into Vista drivers (causing almost a third of Vista's first year's crashes, in case you also thought that Vista was unstable) which caused them to refocus their efforts on Windows.

'Course, that's for closed-source drivers.

Re: Choosing a graphics card

Posted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 3:09 pm UTC
by SlyReaper
Axman wrote:That Linux driver opinion's about as dated as the multi-GPU one; since the acquisition of ATI by AMD, who relies heavily on Linux via the server channel, ATI has redoubled their Linux driver work. Now they're simultaneously dropping Linux drivers to match Windows drivers.

When Vista launched, NVIDIA attempted to repackage XP code into Vista drivers (causing almost a third of Vista's first year's crashes, in case you also thought that Vista was unstable) which caused them to refocus their efforts on Windows.

'Course, that's for closed-source drivers.


I realise this, but it's only recently that ATI have been properly supporting Linux. If you've been using Linux for years, chances are you'll already have given up on ATI cards.

Re: Choosing a graphics card

Posted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:09 am UTC
by Themata
Ok. This is the decider here. It has come to my attention that I can either get an EVGA GTX 260+ (216 SP) for $309, OR a Sapphire Radeon HD4890 1GB for $333 (I could have had the Gigabyte one for $269, but it sold out :()

Which is the better choice? I know that Axman did a review on the 4890, just wondering which'd perform better

Edit: Okay upon reading reviews, it seems the GTX 260+ has nothing on the HD4890.

Re: Choosing a graphics card

Posted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 5:15 pm UTC
by Game_boy
Themata wrote:Ok. This is the decider here. It has come to my attention that I can either get an EVGA GTX 260+ (216 SP) for $309, OR a Sapphire Radeon HD4890 1GB for $333 (I could have had the Gigabyte one for $269, but it sold out :()

Which is the better choice? I know that Axman did a review on the 4890, just wondering which'd perform better

Edit: Okay upon reading reviews, it seems the GTX 260+ has nothing on the HD4890.


Yeah, get the 4890.