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genesys

GraphicsCard for developer vs. hc gamer

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Hi! I need a new graphicscard and wanted to ask, what are the differences in what is important for a hard core gamer and what is important for a 3D gamedeveloper when buying a graphicscard? Are there even any differences? So far I used an ATI FireGL V3200 and actually i'm quite happy with ATI since after my experience ATI cards are a little bit more tolerant than NVIDIA (at least when targeting windows). On the other hand some of the NVIDIA tools that work only on NVIDIA cards look very promising. And I'm also interested in nvidias Gelato technology - so maybe a nvidia card would be the better choice... And DirectX 10 support would also be a good thing at the moment I think... What graphicscard would you recommend for a DirectX/OpenGL developer who is interested in building games and not in being a hardcore gamer and who doesn't want to spend more than 500$-600$ ? Thanks!

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A GeForce 8800 GTS can be had for not too much money at all, and runs with the best ATI has to offer. And depending on what you want to spend, you can step up to the GTX or even Ultra.

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Original post by genesys
I need a new graphicscard and wanted to ask, what are the differences in what is important for a hard core gamer and what is important for a 3D gamedeveloper when buying a graphicscard? Are there even any differences?


A game developer could simply use even 8500/8400 passively cooled card on NVIDIA reference clocks. These cards would be disaster for a player.

A player might use 8800 GTS or better, however these cards would be disaster for developer. High energy consumption, noise, can't allow them to run overnight for automated testing.

Also developer needs more memory than player, as player would receive an axed low memory version. A developer would need a IDE, ogg vorbis player, videoplayer, several tools, and possibly one instance of his game running at the same time.

Stay away from HD 2400 pro/XT becase they have bad price performance ratio. 8400 is also somehow low end.

Also ATI somehow delayed accelerated drivers for Linux, so...

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Original post by Raghar
Can't allow them to run overnight for automated testing.

In fact, many cheaply (non-passive) cooled mid-range cards are louder than many high-end-cards.
I don't know about the 8800 series but from what i've read they are not very loud. I personally have a 7800gtx and it's absolutely quiet. In 2d it isn't noticable at all and in 3d stress-testing everything you hear is a bit of air-flow. No noise at all. Furthermore, all high-end cards these days have temperature sensors so they will clock themselves down before overheating. Running these cards over night is not problem at all.

During development, I often have the situation that for quick network-testing it's necessary to run multiple instances of the program/game at once on the same machine. These are the situations where having a performant card really pays off since low-end cards will mostly make your machine slow and unresponsive in that situation.

IMHO the best bang-for-the-buck high-end card these days is the 8800gts 640mb. It's much cheaper than the GTX or Ultra versions, it's fast and should work well with next generation of games coming out. For ATI: I currently have a x1600 in my notebook but i'm not very impressed. Neither by the performance (an old gf6600 outperforms it easily) nor by their drivers (the windows drivers are okay, linux drivers are a nightmare and they have always been like that - I'm following the ATI linux drivers for four years now and despite all statements and promises ati has made, nothing has changed).

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Hi!

Thank you for your help!

I decided to go for the GeForce8800 GTS, not yet sure wether 320 or 640 MB (is it really worth spending 100$ more?)

There are many different GeForce8800 GTS cards available.. are there still big differences, or can I just go for the cheapest one?

thanks again

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Original post by sth
Quote:
Original post by Raghar
Can't allow them to run overnight for automated testing.

In fact, many cheaply (non-passive) cooled mid-range cards are louder than many high-end-cards.
I don't know about the 8800 series but from what i've read they are not very loud. I personally have a 7800gtx and it's absolutely quiet. In 2d it isn't noticable at all and in 3d stress-testing everything you hear is a bit of air-flow. No noise at all. Furthermore, all high-end cards these days have temperature sensors so they will clock themselves down before overheating.

170 W power required is problem by itself. Thermal pollution they might (unnecessary) impose on rest of the computer components might be also reason why to avoid them.

Quote:
During development, I often have the situation that for quick network-testing it's necessary to run multiple instances of the program/game at once on the same machine.

Have you tried to run them headless?

Quote:
For ATI: I currently have a x1600 in my notebook but i'm not very impressed. Neither by the performance (an old gf6600 outperforms it easily) nor by their drivers (the windows drivers are okay, linux drivers are a nightmare and they have always been like that - I'm following the ATI linux drivers for four years now and despite all statements and promises ati has made, nothing has changed).

Notebook graphic cards are watered down normal cards. It's no wonder a X1600 mobile is worse than NV 6600 GT (or NV6600). X1650, or X1950 would be more fair confrontation.

That bad Linux drivers are actually bad news.

[Edited by - Raghar on July 24, 2007 8:20:54 PM]

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Original post by genesys
I decided to go for the GeForce8800 GTS, not yet sure wether 320 or 640 MB (is it really worth spending 100$ more?)

There are many different GeForce8800 GTS cards available.. are there still big differences, or can I just go for the cheapest one?


If you have that money, go for large memory version. Of course 8800 GTS is overkill for anything else than playing, and some distributed HPC applications.
Three times as much power consumption, three times as price, its abilities are often unneeded.

BTW if you'd like real killer, look at quadro series. Thought you probably don't work with movies and insane GFX operations. 1.5 GB GDDR3 is probably overkill for majority of designers. However, if you have monitor with 3000+ resolution it's quite beautiful. (After a little mod on cooling system.) Large texture processing, stereo view acceleration... Scary.

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