How important is Shader Model 3? (deciding between ati X850XT and nvidia 7600GT) - Techist - Tech Forum

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Old 06-10-2006, 08:55 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How important is Shader Model 3? (deciding between ati X850XT and nvidia 7600GT)

I'm gonna upgrade my video card for now and then upgrade again early next year. Newegg has the X850XT for a little less than the 7600gt and from what I can tell the X850XT actually scores ~17% better than the 7600gt in 3dmark05.
Only problem is it doesn't support shader model 3. So how important is SM3? Would a game that runs SM3 look better on the 7600gt because of that? Is SM3 in most games?
What would you guys suggest? (Keep in mind I'll be upgrading again shortly after DX10 cards come out.)
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Old 06-10-2006, 09:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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sm3.0 is pretty nice. escpecially if your playing newer games. really like it in elder scrolls (you have to turn it on in the .ini file) plus ATI drivers suck, and most games are stamped Plays Best on nVidia (besides HL2 and a few exceptions, and UT2007 will more than likely be partnering with nVidia again)
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Old 06-10-2006, 11:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
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All that marketing crap doesn't affect anything just because it has a certain label on it; Nvidia just pays the game developers to put their label on their games so that more people will reach for an nvidia card instead of ATI. ATI's X series drivers are pretty bad from what I hear unlike ATI's X1k series. To get some of the eyecandy like HDR you would need SM 3.0 (with a couple exeptions like Lost Coast). Although some games that are ATI biased games like Oblivion they will run better on the X850XT.

Or you can take option 3, a X1800GTO. It beats out the 7600GT in games like COD2, FarCry, and Oblivion (performs better then a 7800GTX in outdoors).

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814102013

So I would just skip the X850XT over and either get a X1800GTO or 7600GT.

Oblivion GPU tests: http://anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2746&p=1
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Old 06-11-2006, 11:08 AM   #4 (permalink)
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So do you have to turn SM3 on or is that just in oblivion?
What I'm wondering is what will look better, the faster card without SM3 or a slower card with SM3? Also how many games use SM3, is it all new games or just some?
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Old 06-11-2006, 12:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I would get something with SM3 just for the looks and more future proofness. Ive played age of empires 3 with and without SM3 and SM3 looks much much better IMO.
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Old 06-11-2006, 02:14 PM   #6 (permalink)
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agreed, stick with the nvidia for now... hopefully next gen will be even more competiive (cheaper,faster cards!) (that i don't have to by 2 or 4 of to play on high settings >=/ )
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Old 06-11-2006, 05:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
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How about a ATI X1600XT? The HIS one has 600/1400 with 12 pipelines and SM3 support. It looks like it would score higher than a 7600gt and I've heard it overclocks good.
If I don't normally get stuff when it first comes out will the driver issuses really be all that bad?
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Old 06-11-2006, 05:30 PM   #8 (permalink)
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No, the x1600 has come out on bottom on bencehs with most games. I'd go for the 7600GT. Also, having SM3 on a card allows the card to use 'smarter' and faster ways to display. Therefore, having SM3 will help out a lot. Look between a x1800 (the cheapest one) and a 7600GT. I think the 7600GT might be the better deal.
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Old 06-11-2006, 09:18 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Alright it seems like I will just go with the 7600gt. Does anyone know if the EVGA is a good one? Which one would you guys suggest?
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Old 06-11-2006, 10:23 PM   #10 (permalink)
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EVGA is generally very nice.
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