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OpenGL Video cards...

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Hi, I'm not sure this is the right place... Is there a hardware/product section on gamedev? If its not against the forum rules, I'd like to ask your advice. Its time for a new video-card but I simply don't know what to choose. I'm not really up-to-date about the new hardware and their prices. I don't need TV-out and that kind of stuff, just a powerfull video-card which is capable for writing new shaders and effects like HDR. I don't know if this is true, but people say that nVidia has better support for OpenGL, while ATI does a better job with Direct3D. I'm programming in OpenGL and I was thinking about a price around the 250 euro (I don't know exactly, but that's 280/300 dollars or something). I was thinking about a GF6800 GT. But again, there are different types and manucracturers (and thus different prices). And maybe ATI has a better deal for the same price? What would be a good choice with this budget? Or maybe someone knows a good site with all kind of comparisons? BTW. I guess all these new cards need a nuclear power plant to run. I have a stunning 300W PSU right now. A new PSU is not cheap either, so if there are still cards that can run on my current PSU... as long if the performance different isn't too big. The same for cooling. Are the onboard coolers of these cards enough or do I need to move to the north pole to prevent overheating? Greetings, Rick

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Not exactly. It depends a lot on the rest of the system, and those "requirements" are extra high, because NVidia and ATI want to cover their asses and be absolutely sure people have good enough PSU's.

My brother recently bought an Athlon 64 3500+ and Geforce 7800 GT, and hooked it up to his old no-name 350W PSU. Runs without a hitch.

Edit: But of course you should have a decent quality PSU no matter what. I'm just saying the wattage they usually claim to require is overrated

[Edited by - Spoonbender on November 3, 2005 2:55:38 PM]

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Thanks for the info! I'm a little bit afraid with the power thing, my current card pops up messages saying that there isn't enough power. I ripped everything out of my computer so only the basic hardware like 2 harddrives, disk station, DVD reader, Motherboard, RAM and a soundcard are mounted. But there were still problems.

I think it has to do with my video-card fan. The stupid thing couldn't rotate anymore so I think the card was wasting power trying to get it working. I disabled the fan and put a large next to the open case. Works better now but when running Quake4, everything still gets f@#$ed up. I dunno, its worth a try and if all modern cards require relative much power anyway, its time to buy a new psu I think.

Rick

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Guest Anonymous Poster
More important than the wattage of your power supply is the quaity. A high-quality power supply will deliver plenty of power at each of the different voltages required and the power will be 'clean'(ie constant DC with very little noise) while a low-quality supply will deliver too much power at the voltages that aren't used much and not enough at the voltages used a lot, the will deliver voltages quite far from the proper value (the standards give a lot of room for differences, not sure on actual values but for ex maybe +5V can really be +4V to +6V - high quality will be like 4.9 to 5.1 varying because of temperature/line power/etc very little while low quality will be 4.5 to 6.5 varying randomly), and the power provided will have a lot of noise and small spikes and dips.

Both will work 'fine' for low-demand machines (though low-quality supplies put some strain on the electronics), but for high-demand machines you need either a very high wattage low-quality part (if it says it can supply 500W, you can probably count on it for MAYBE 400W using a decent measurement setup), or a decently rated high-quality part (if it says 400W you can count on it providing 400W).

Most systems don't need a lot of power, but use high wattage low-quality supplies because they're cheaper. If you can afford it, a quality power supply is a good investment because you can keep it in your newest machine whenever you upgrade and get less expensive parts to take it's place in your old machines (since you probably don't care as much about them).

You can find decent reviews of power supplies on many hardware websites, such as Anandtech.com:
http://search.anandtech.com/search?q=power+supply&site=atweb_collection&client=atweb_collection&proxystylesheet=atweb_collection&output=xml_no_dtd

-Extrarius

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Everyone should be careful about saying things like:

"X is the best mainstream card there is."

This is up for serious debate. Better to say, "I've used X, and it's worked well for me, but lots of people have nice things to say about Y as well."

Personally I think if you want to get serious, you need more than one development machine, and more than one brand of video card. Maybe NVIDIA does better with OpenGL, but wouldn't that mean if you made your game sing with ATI first - that it would be easy enough to adjust for NVIDIA - and then you would maximize your market?

I don't know... just saying that there is more than a single point of view here, and brand loyalty is a sure way to miss out on important views.

Both the X700 and the 6600GT run under $200. Both seem reasonable to me.

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Thanks everybody! I think I've made up my mind. I'll just try it with the current psu, if it fails, I can always buy a new one (better quality).

@ owiley
My current video card is a Sparkle GeForce 5700FX Ultra. Besides from the fan, it still works fine. When disabling AA and using 800x600, most games are running pretty well. I could buy a new fan, but I think I'll go for a new one. My dad needs a video card and I'd like to check HDR stuff :)

Greetings,
Rick

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Cards for around $250 that seem attractive (assuming AGP here):
GIGABYTE GV-R80L256V Radeon X800XL 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 VIVO AGP 4X/8X Video Card ($252)
ELSA GLADIAC 940GT Geforce 6800GT 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 AGP 4X/8X Video Card ($279)
I'd suggest you poke around the ATI offerings, since the NV offerings are very slim in this price bracket -- the 6800GT is the only option you have, and it's on the upper end of the range.

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keep in mind nv4x ie gf6xxx are more advanced than ati x700 + x800 cards
for playing games this aint important but since this is a game development site u might wanna keep this in mind

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Quote:
Original post by zedzeek
keep in mind nv4x ie gf6xxx are more advanced than ati x700 + x800 cards
for playing games this aint important but since this is a game development site u might wanna keep this in mind


This is true in the PS2.0 vs ps3.0 range. I am curious though if the ps3.0 stuff for the gf6xxx is sufficiently fast to actually use? I know when they released the 5200, their ps2.0 stuff was seriously hampered!

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Quote:
Original post by Steven Hansen
This is true in the PS2.0 vs ps3.0 range. I am curious though if the ps3.0 stuff for the gf6xxx is sufficiently fast to actually use? I know when they released the 5200, their ps2.0 stuff was seriously hampered!

Well, of course some features of sm3.0 are practically useless. (Like the higher instruction limits. If you hit those instruction counts, you're in big trouble no matter what)
But others have no performance penalties, or are even more efficient ways to do the same things.
(Dynamic branching can be used to merge shaders, so one SM3.0 shader can replace several 2.0 ones, meaning fewer API calls to load new shaders)
Or geometry instancing, allowing you to batch a bunch of render calls, again speeding things up.

Quote:

This is up for serious debate. Better to say, "I've used X, and it's worked well for me, but lots of people have nice things to say about Y as well."

Not always. That only works if people have said nice things about Y, and those nice things are relevant. And considering the OP wanted a card capable of "new shaders and effects like HDR", I'd say that something SM3.0-capable is a must. Which means X700 or X800 is out.

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