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Old 02-06-2006, 07:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Video Cards and marketing schemes: who understand them?

I'm somewhat familiar with the GPU branding, but honestly Nvidia and ATI's price points leaves me utterly confused.

From what I can understand here's how it works:

Nvidia:
- Intrdocues a new high end line (7000's)
- Introduces the high end GPU on that line (e.g., 7800)
- Introduces variants on the model (like a car) GTX, XT, TC, etc...
- Introduces a lower end model on the line (7300)
- Introduces various point on the line throughout.

ATI:
- Mostly the same thing, but they've renumbered their 9000's line for PCI express with an X (e.g., X1900)

Some questions I have:
- Are high end lower lines better than a low end higher line (FX 5900 vs 7300 or 6200 TC)
- What are the biggest factors to the quality of a graphics card (4x or 8x AGP, MBs, Pipelines, etc...)
- Is there a standard rating system available that comapres cards? Newer cards always get benchmarked it seems against each other, but what about older vs. newer (again, 5900 vs. 7300) Is there a website that provides this?
- Is there any way to compare mid range ATI and Nvidia cards? Where do 9250s, 9550s, 9800, etc.. fall between the FX and 7000 series?
- Does price always reflect quality?
- Does the card manufacturer matter greatly? (eVga, Leadtek, PNY, etc)

Any help is appreciated. Inconsequentially I think I may buy a new sub $100 card. Maybe even sub $60 since I may be upgrading my computer in a year or two.
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Old 02-06-2006, 07:55 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm still a little new to all this stuff, But this is my understanding. Please correct me if I'm Wrong.

You usually want to buy the newest video card because it will have the newest technology on it, Like smartshader 2.0 (old) to smartshader 3.0 (new)

"What are the biggest factors" Well....You want Pcie because its 16x, New games now require more ram, So get 256+.

ATI and Nvidia have taken different approaches with pipelines and what not, Ati is using less pipes with more speed and Nvidia is using many pipes with less speed. So, you can't look at just pipes or just speeds, You need to read reviews, look at bench marks, and ask Questions here

It definitely matters what brand you buy because the cheaper brands use lower quality parts to make there video cards. You get what you pay for I wouldn't say the cheaper brands are nesasery bad, But the more expensive brands will probably be a little better and last a little longer.
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Old 02-06-2006, 08:11 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hmm, well, thanks for that information. I'm still confused (as is a lot of mainstream users I think) with were these products match up.
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Old 02-06-2006, 08:16 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The sweet spot for all video cards is always around $200. Presently, the 6800GS is out for AGP and floating around that mark. BUT, if I were you, I'd get the 7800GS, as it is the end of the line for AGP. That's the best it's going to see, so I'd upgrade it and ride it out till it's life is over.

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Old 02-07-2006, 03:29 AM   #5 (permalink)
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That's way out of my price range. I don't play enough on my PC to warrant any card over $60-100.
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Old 02-07-2006, 03:47 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Hmm, I think I found one good start to my question. The site has a comparison chart for all current graphics cards. I dumped into excel for a little balanced scorecard.
http://www.techreport.com/etc/compar...x?sort=mpixels
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Old 02-07-2006, 04:02 AM   #7 (permalink)
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What games do you normally play? Because if you just plaY NFS3 or somethin, a Geforce2 or 4 would suffice.
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