Video Card Dilemma (need a very high performance card: 6800 gt-sli/ultra? x850 xt?) - Techist - Tech Forum

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Old 04-02-2005, 11:17 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Video Card Dilemma (need a very high performance card: 6800 gt-sli/ultra? x850 xt?)

Hello to everyone.

I have searched through the forum and have found numerous threads addressing the whole "video card question". However, none of them really seemed to target the real issue of which card was a better value. I just hope this thread can be real and filled with actual fact & evidence, not supportive fanatics defending their card to their last dying breath. Please post with evidence and read all or a majority of the post before replying. Positive feedback is appreciated.

I am looking to build a new computer, and as you could have guessed, the GPU is a very large component in the computer, pricewise and performance wise. This is why I have decided to lay a fairly steep budget on the graphics card, but somehow, I can't arrive at a decision.

Obviously I have targeted the x850 XT and 6800 Ultra. I was even suggested to consider the 6800 GT because of its price and get an SLI board to buy another 6800 GT when the price drops. The 6800GT SLI combination seemed to be the most attractive option, but I am in search of getting a lot of performance very soon.

x850 XT or 6800 Ultra?
So far, I am really veering towards the x850 XT because of its pure golden performance, even though it does not have a very steep advantage over the 6800 Ultra. The x850 XT and 6800 Ultra have around the same price, but based upon online reviews (anandtech, guru3d, pcstats), the x850 XT takes the performance edge even though slightly. Despite its higher grunt, the 6800 Ultra just plainly dominates OpenGL games (particularly Doom3). Out of these two cards, I simply want a great amount of performance. However, I do want a noticeable amount of performance at a balanced cost. For the same price with the x850 slightly overpowering, my decision from these two cards rests on the x850 XT.

the 6800 GT SLI option
I believe the 6800 GT SLI option would dominate the x850 xt. However, cost-wise, buying two 6800 GTs right out of the box would be much more expensive (+$70 for sli mobo, +$275 for GPUs). Obviously the best way to counter that cost would be to wait until the 6800 GT cost declines. The only problem here in my case is that I do need a very high performance GPU quickly, and waiting is not really an option considering the garbage PC I have now. Unless someone can convince me (benchmarking, test results) that the 6800 GT SLI setup is worth the wait and will clearly dominate with a noticeable performance increase, my decision still lies on the x850 XT given my current standpoint and conditions.

ATI vs nVidia reputations
From reading numerous posts here and online reviews, nVidia simply seems to be a solid reliable manufacturer. However, the majority of nVidia supports' posts had no support to backup nVidia's reliability edge over ATI's GPUs. As long as the card will last and does not constantly give me game support problems, then I am satisfied. I know that ATI has a reputation to have driver support problems, but in all honesty, if it can be fixed and isn't consistent in every game I play, then it should not be a big issue. Overall, I have seen that ATI has had a reputation from building strong performing cards given the 9800s long lasting edge. In contrast, I have seen nVidia to expand outwards into newer technologies given SLI. Like I have said earlier, I am in search of a simply high performing dominant card. Given ATI's reputation, the x850 XT still holds my decision.

future?
I have heard a few posts of people expecting to see new releases by nVidia in this coming May. Hell, if this is true, then perhaps I should be waiting. Although my cost budget is next to nothing, it has somewhat capped at the $550 or less price range. Let's be honest though. Should these new coming cards be ridiculousness, are there even any games that can abuse these cards? Sure the 512mb x850 looks to take things to the next level, and nVidia probably has something in store to compete, but they are looking to be incredibly expensive at release given that they have to exceed their already outstanding cards.

conclusion: incorporating price, performance, and potential
  • The 6800 ultra looks to be out of the picture compared to the x850 xt given its earlier release and same price range as the x850 xt. I have heard that the 6800 GT can be overclocked to perform to the degree of the Ultra, making the $120 price difference useless.
  • The 6800 GT single GPU packs a punch for its price, but obviously cannot overtake the x850 xt performance wise. Then again, do look at the price. Obviously the 6800 GT-SLI looks to dominate in the future once the price drops. However, in my case, I need a well rounded card that is not just a gamer card. I need a level of video processing performance. Since the SLI system is only utilized from support games, the x850 XT would more suit my needs for a card to perform solidly in multiple areas and not just games.
  • The x850 XT is obviously a solid card, bringing performance over all single GPUs currently on the market. Given its capabilities and price matching the 6800 Ultra, the slight performance advantage has been taken into systems currently dominating and looking to have a future (DirectX) as opposed to the nVidia GPUs which accelerate in OpenGL rendered games.
Given my current budget ($550 or less), the x850 XT has dominated performance over the price matching 6800 Ultra and has greater all around capabilities over an SLI system. Considering ATI's reputation for strong performance GPUs, the x850 XT is my decision so far. Please convince me with evidence, reviews, benchmarks, test results, or whatever needs be, but not with "ATI crap". To be honest, a post as such is crap.

Thanks. I greatly appreciate any feedback.
Calzinger.
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Old 04-02-2005, 11:36 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I think you should get a single 6800GT right now. They can easily be OC'ed to Ultra speeds and above. The XFX SLI'ED 6800GT's currently hold the 3dmark03 record.

Once you buy a single 6800GT, you can save up some money. In a few months you can get another 6800GT or get a new card as your 6800GT in 6 months would be complete crap possibly.

And the x850XT does take a lead on directx, but Nvidia closely trails. And on opengl, the 6800GT dominates.
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Old 04-02-2005, 11:49 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Well that is what brings up a potential issue of mine. I am in search of a card of pure power. The only reason I would get a 6800 GT now is to save to get another 6800 GT for SLI later on. SLI is strictly for gaming performance while I would like a card that perform a good level of rendering and video works. Now correct if I am wrong, but I do think the x850 XT can outperform an SLI system in rendering and video set. Obviously SLI will kill in a gaming set.

But looking at the 6800 GT as a single GPU (non-SLI), overclocked to an Ultra, is it a solid competitor with the x850 XT? Does the x850 XT solidly take the upper hand? Or would the 6800 GT OCed really compete with the x850 XT and virtually bring me the same level of noticeable performance?
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Old 04-02-2005, 12:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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video cards have almost no effect on rendering and video works, that's all on the cpu. i suggest you take another look at your needs. instead of spending so much money on a video card, spend more on a nicer cpu and get a single 6800gt (which will still play every game out right now at very high settings)
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Old 04-02-2005, 01:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Is that so? So even if I get the x850 XT or 6800GT, as long as they are running the same CPU I will virtually get the same level of video compression power? If that's the case, then hell, the 6800GT looks to be worth it.

Especially after looking at online test results (http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2290&p=9), the 6800GT actually looks to be an incredibly competitive card for its price. I initially thought that it had a certain level of downgraded performance compared to the other cards, but for $120 less, it can be overclocked to compete with ATI's GPUs.

When do you think the 6800 GTs will drop in price? I want to get SLI since I'm losing the x850 XT advantage.

Is it easy to overclock the 6800 GT to an Ultra? Since the 6800 GT is quite a lesser card from the x850 XT, overclocking it to a competitive level would obviously reason out my gaming needs.
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Old 04-02-2005, 02:12 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I would get the x850 xt. IT is not terribly expensive but it is the most powerful graphics card out there (besides the pe version). It also comes with a new and improved cooler so that it can be easily overclocked and still maintain cool temperatures. I also hear the cooler is nice and quiet.
I don't think SLI is worth it. You will have to deal with support issues for it and it would be more effective to just replace a single card with a new improved card than just adding another weak card in.
You mentioned ATI's driver support. I have found it wonderful. For the new x850 xt they have an improved catalyst control center that is real neat. It gives you a multitude of tuning options and also allows you to overclock right from there. There is also an easy profile management that you can utilize from the tray icon that allows you to quickly load up a select profile from multiple profiles you have. So for regular desktop work it might be on one setting and then if you want to game just load your gaming profile where the settings are higher and it is overclocked a little bit.
Also, ATI's beta 64 bit drivers work wonders for me.

So basically I would just go with the single card and not bother with SLI, the x850 xt is uber-powerful but still maintains a decent price. And you just can't beat the stock cooler on it. This is a good price for one:
http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduc...142-037&depa=1
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<font size=\"1\">Intel Pentium 4 3.4GHZ HT-------------------AMD Athlon 64 3000+ Winchester
Intel Stock CPU Cooler------------------------Zalman 7700-Cu
Idle: 51C---------------------------------------Idle: 21C
Load: 72C--------------------------------------Load: 28C
ASUS P4C800-E Deluxe-----------------------GIGABYTE K8NF4-9 NForce4 4X
512MBX2 Corsair XMS 2-2-2-5 PC-3200-----512MBX2 Corsair XMS 2-2-2-5 PC-3200
ATI RADEON X800 XT Platinum Edition-------ATI RADEON X800 XL
Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS----------Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS
Western Digital Raptor 37GB 10K------------2X Western Digital SATA150 Caviar SE 80GB RAID 0
Antec True 480W------------------------------Thermaltake Silent PurePower 680W
Zalman 5.1 Headphones----------------------Zalman 5.1 Headphones
Zalman High Sensitivity Microphone----------Zalman High Sensitivity Microphone
Microsoft Multimedia Keyboard 1.0A----------Logitech Media Keyboard
Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer 4.0A---------Logitech MX510
3DMark05: 5,928------------------------------3DMark05: 5,000</font>
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Old 04-02-2005, 02:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I have heard though that since the x850 XT is already such a high performing card, there isn't a lot of room for overclocking. It has already reached its limit if you will.

Considering the 6800 GT's price, it is nearly $120 less and can be overclocked to the Ultra. Obviously 2x 6800 GTs can greatly out perform a single card solution. Sure the x850 XT has the greater performance, but given the 6800 GT's overclocking capability and potential for SLI, it has bought me over.

Unless the x850 XT's performance is dominating the 6800 GT, nVidia seems to be giving a run for its money. Judging by Anandtech's review (http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2290&p=1), the 6800 GT is right up with the x850 XT even without the overclock.

I basically need performance that comes at a fair price, not $100 more for a slight performance increase.
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Old 04-02-2005, 02:35 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Then you might as well get the x800 xl. I have that, very overclockable and it is just about as good as a 6800 gt for only $285
http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduc...142-036&depa=1
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<font size=\"1\">Intel Pentium 4 3.4GHZ HT-------------------AMD Athlon 64 3000+ Winchester
Intel Stock CPU Cooler------------------------Zalman 7700-Cu
Idle: 51C---------------------------------------Idle: 21C
Load: 72C--------------------------------------Load: 28C
ASUS P4C800-E Deluxe-----------------------GIGABYTE K8NF4-9 NForce4 4X
512MBX2 Corsair XMS 2-2-2-5 PC-3200-----512MBX2 Corsair XMS 2-2-2-5 PC-3200
ATI RADEON X800 XT Platinum Edition-------ATI RADEON X800 XL
Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS----------Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS
Western Digital Raptor 37GB 10K------------2X Western Digital SATA150 Caviar SE 80GB RAID 0
Antec True 480W------------------------------Thermaltake Silent PurePower 680W
Zalman 5.1 Headphones----------------------Zalman 5.1 Headphones
Zalman High Sensitivity Microphone----------Zalman High Sensitivity Microphone
Microsoft Multimedia Keyboard 1.0A----------Logitech Media Keyboard
Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer 4.0A---------Logitech MX510
3DMark05: 5,928------------------------------3DMark05: 5,000</font>
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Old 04-02-2005, 02:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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If they bring similar performance then perhaps it would be best to stick with a 6800 GT and have the SLI option open for later on rather than having to spend a whole load of money later on for a new GPU and throw the x800 out. This way, I can utilize the 6800 GT in the future.
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Old 04-02-2005, 02:45 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Well I guess you're going with SLI then.
Also why is there is a picture of the x850 cooler in your avatar?
And why in your sig does it say you hav an x850 xt already?
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<font size=\"1\">Intel Pentium 4 3.4GHZ HT-------------------AMD Athlon 64 3000+ Winchester
Intel Stock CPU Cooler------------------------Zalman 7700-Cu
Idle: 51C---------------------------------------Idle: 21C
Load: 72C--------------------------------------Load: 28C
ASUS P4C800-E Deluxe-----------------------GIGABYTE K8NF4-9 NForce4 4X
512MBX2 Corsair XMS 2-2-2-5 PC-3200-----512MBX2 Corsair XMS 2-2-2-5 PC-3200
ATI RADEON X800 XT Platinum Edition-------ATI RADEON X800 XL
Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS----------Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS
Western Digital Raptor 37GB 10K------------2X Western Digital SATA150 Caviar SE 80GB RAID 0
Antec True 480W------------------------------Thermaltake Silent PurePower 680W
Zalman 5.1 Headphones----------------------Zalman 5.1 Headphones
Zalman High Sensitivity Microphone----------Zalman High Sensitivity Microphone
Microsoft Multimedia Keyboard 1.0A----------Logitech Media Keyboard
Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer 4.0A---------Logitech MX510
3DMark05: 5,928------------------------------3DMark05: 5,000</font>
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