Debunking Video Cards: What you should read before you buy!! - Techist - Tech Forum

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Old 02-09-2006, 02:27 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Talking Debunking Video Cards: What you should read before you buy!!

A few days ago I wanted some advice on which video card to buy. All I heard was "buy the fastest one out there!!!! Gosh!!" or some other rhetoric. It wasn't too helpful. I did some research, not just on the current brands, but even on discountinued brands, marketing schemes, etc. Here are some preliminary results:

1. Newer cards aren't always better
2. Higher end cards offer marginal performance increases per $
3. Cards under $50 have almost no coorelation to performance. Just whatever the sale of the day is.
4. ATI and NVIDIA do a good job of confusing the average consumer with marketing gimmicks. 6000, 5000, SE, XT, GTX all can have vastly different impacts. A GeForce 6200 can suck next to a 5500 depending on specs.

I took all the Nvidia & ATI graphic cards rated by Adrian Rojak and computed a scorecard based on performance numbers (i.e., fill rate, memory bandwidth, etc). I looked up current prices on ebay, newegg, and pricegrabber and computed a score per $. Here are some preliminary findings.

Best Scores (some of the newest cards are not included):
1. GeForce 7800 GTX 512MB-----4.32
2. Radeon X1800 XT-------------3.60
3. GeForce 7800 GTX----------- 3.28
4. Radeon X850 XT PE-----------2.97
5. Radeon X800 XT PE-----------2.85
6. Radeon X850 XT -------------2.85
7. Radeon X1800 XL------------ 2.70
8. GeForce 7800 GT------------ 2.66
9. Radeon X800 XT------------- 2.66
10. Radeon X800 XT PCIe--------2.66

Then I looked at score per dollar:
1. GeForce FX 5950 Ultra------2.65 -------- 1.86
2. GeForce FX 5900 SE------- 2.41 -------- 1.47
3. Radeon X800 SE----------- 1.81 -------- 1.71
4. Radeon 9700 Pro ---------- 1.67 -------- 1.30
5. Radeon X800GT------------ 1.47 --------1.51
6. GeForce 6600 GT---------- 1.45 -------- 1.44
7. GeForce FX 5900---------- 1.36 -------- 1.64
8. Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB---- 1.35 -------- 1.44
10. GeForce 6200------------- 1.15 -------- 0.68
11. GeForce 6800------------- 1.11 -------- 1.61
12. GeForce 6800 XT---------- 1.07 -------- 1.86
13. Radeon 9600-------------- 1.03 -------- 0.58
14. Radeon 9800 Pro 256MB--- 0.96 -------- 1.45
15. GeForce FX 5500---------- 0.92 -------- 0.54

From what I can see, the best value seems to be a better, high-end older card like a 5900 Ultra (which scored as good as a GeForce 6800 XT). On ebay you can pick one up for not much more than generic Radeon 9200 SE's or whatever on sale at Fry's.

I'll still do some more analysis. Please ask questions or make comments. I know there are some drawbacks to this (Direct X, pixel shaders, other qualatative factors), but its a interesting start.

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Old 02-09-2006, 05:47 AM   #2 (permalink)
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You can play BF2 and FEAR on ultra high settings with a 5900ultra :amazed: :shocked:

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Old 02-09-2006, 07:13 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The 5900 Ultra?? I don't care what kind of tests were done, the entire FX series is total and utter crap. If anything, the 9800Pro should be better, because it is about the same price and it beats the crap out of it. Or the 6600GT.
so, umm, err yeah
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Old 02-09-2006, 10:40 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The reason is 9800 Pro and the 6600 GT are more expensive on the second market. The 5900 & 5950's have lots of variability on eBay, dropping their average price.

For example, if you have $50-60 only to your name, you can't afford a Radeon 9800 Pro. But you can watch for a deal on ebay for an older card. This list is difficult to draw up ideal comparisons, but I'm just trying to take a stab at finding the best value or the best card at a given price point.

Why? Because too many people are unknowingly buying crappy deals like this:
"To err is human - and to blame it on a computer is even more so." - Robert Orben
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Old 02-09-2006, 11:12 AM   #5 (permalink)
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This thread is utter crap and is outdated and biased information. There is no way the X800 cards beat out today's cards such as the 7800GT and X1800XT! And I would strongly suggest NOT getting the FX 5900 Ultra. The FX series was crap and barely supports DX9 (I think the Radeon 9600 Pro beat the FX 5900 Ultra in Half Life 2, not sure though). I doubt the FX 5900 could max out BF2 in even 1024x768. Get some updated information before you post.
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Old 02-09-2006, 11:28 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Whoa. Before you flame, please read a little closer. You don't even know what this post is talking about. Why don't you reread this post and then edit your comments.

I have biases in here, the only inherent problems is trying to figure out the best way to calculate a score. Like I said, some qualative factors aren't able to be statistically applied.

If you know of a better card than the FX 5900 for $50-70 please post a recommendation. I by all means don't think this list is perfect or all inclusive. I'm sure same days there is a hot deal on a better card which would shoot it up to the top of the Score per $ list.
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Old 02-09-2006, 11:47 AM   #7 (permalink)
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No, I see exactly what the post is about, but I hate to break it that 6800GS is the bang for the buck card, not the FX 5900 Ultra. You have to take into account DX9 optimization, Shader Model 3, driver optimization, pipelines, overclockability, game benchmarks, etc.
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Old 02-09-2006, 12:09 PM   #8 (permalink)
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People on here do not say get the X1900XTX (as you said, it is a confusing name) they say concentrate your budget on the GPU as that is where your performanced is gained.

The 6600gt is a bargain now. Save up for that, otherwise you are wasting your money.


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Old 02-09-2006, 11:40 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Good idea.


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