# New GPU - which one to get?

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I want to get a GPU, any recommendations? I suppose i'd want to stay up to date with SM 4.0, so i was thinking about the newer generation cards like the gtx280 or gtx 260 What are your thoughts on this ? Can i use them standalone or only in SLI mode ? Any other cards that u can recommend ? Thanks

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The ati 4850 is really cheap for its performance.
It supports SM4.1 and DX10.1.
I have a DX10 card but I'm still playing d3d9 games and coding in d3d9 :|

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The price for the mentioned cards in the US is pretty cheap (for me)..

Except for price what are the disadvantages of using these

or better off - u can tell me which cards do u guys use

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The GTX 260/280 are not worth their money, in my opinion. While they do have some stunning ALU power, the 9800GX2 is faster overall than the GTX280, and cheaper.

Two 8800 GT cards in SLI are faster and slightly cheaper (with slightly less RAM) or slightly more expensive (with slightly more RAM) than the GTX 260.

Of course you could go all crazy and SLI two GTX 280s if you have the money to burn, but seriously, to what benefit?

The situation might look different when the 55 nm versions with DDR5 come out in fall/winter, if they do. That might give the cards some extra bang and they might use less power for more "power", too.
However, seeing that AMD has withdrawn from the high end market, there is no competitive pressure, so it may just be that nVidia delays the 55 nm series in the same way they delayed the geforce 9 series last year.

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How does one compare then say the 9800gx2 and the gtx280?

How can u say that it's not worth the money or that overall performance is better/worse? i've seen some sites that do benchmarks i think it's a good idea to check them out.

However the goal is not to buy the "best card on the market", but to buy a card that is powerful enough (and that shouldn't be replaced in the very-near future).

Also i dont think i prfer to go SLI i prefer to stick with a one card setup.

Can anyone tell me of their own setup ?

Thanks
LiorT

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I bought a 9600GT 512MB a few months ago. While not the fastest card it supports DX10 (Not 10.1), SM4, is fast enough (at least compared to my Raedon 9800 ><). I've had no problems running games like TF2, CoD4, CivIV, WoW, at max detail with playable framerates.

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Quote:
 Original post by LiortHow does one compare then say the 9800gx2 and the gtx280?
By putting either of them into the same computer and measuring different applications, or by reading a review made by someone you trust.

Quote:
 How can u say that it's not worth the money or that overall performance is better/worse?
Regarding the performance, I've read Anandtech's review which compares, among others, those 4 setups.

Regarding whether or not it's worth the money, here is how I came to my conclusion:
1. The GTX280 has no features that the others don't support. The only differences are a wider memory bus and a lot more transistors. The GTX260 is a downclocked, partially disabled GTX280 that fell through quality control.
2. My TFT has a 1600x1050 resolution, so anything higher is irrelevant. I don't care whether I can run a game in 4096*4096 :-)
3. A single 8800 GT (i.e. non-SLI) can display all games I play at good frame rates (good = not noticeable).
4. A single 8800 GT shows acceptable (30+ fps) frame rates on the latest top of the line games (which I don't play, but which someone else might play).
5. A 8800 GT is cheap like crap compared to the 200 series, but it supports every feature they do, so it's entirely sufficient for development.
6. If the 8800 GT really becomes too slow, the 9800 GTX costs only 20 euros more for "roughly 10 fps extra" in the more demanding games
7. I am not doing GPGPU where I need several teraflops

Quote:
 However the goal is not to buy the "best card on the market", but to buy a card that is powerful enough (and that shouldn't be replaced in the very-near future).
That's why I'm saying they're not worth the money. They're not only top of the line models but they're also sold at top prices.
On the other hand, the "older" cards will absolutely do for the next 2 years (or longer) and cost a lot less.

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Quote:
 Original post by samothHowever, seeing that AMD has withdrawn from the high end market, there is no competitive pressure, so it may just be that nVidia delays the 55 nm series in the same way they delayed the geforce 9 series last year.

AMD Hasn't withdrawn from that market, they just compete differently. Nvidia likes to make their big chips first for the extreme performance crowd and then scale that down to the lower-tier markets. AMD targets the mainstream performance and mainstream crowd initially, then gangs a couple chips together on one card for the extreme performance crowd.

AMD is currently very competitive with nVidia's best offerings. The 4870 performs within 10 percent or so of the GTX280 and sometimes surpasses it, depending on the game. The only caveat is that nVidia's cards don't suffer as much of a penalty as AMDs at very high resolutions (2560+ width) with 4xAA or greater, but very few consumers have displays larger than 1920x1200, even that is a rarity.

Now you have to take price into consideration and AMD is absolutely dominating there -- a 4870 can be had for $275, while a lower-performing-across-the-board GTX 260 with less RAM can be found for$280, but only after mail-in rebate. Even the 4850, which is still within spitting distance of the GTX 260, can be had for only $175. GTX 280s, which only just barely outperform the 4870 are going for around$440 after MIR.

Not that SM4.1 and DirectX 10.1 support isn't terribly necessary (it just adds some filtering guarantees, I believe) but its worth noting that AMD's cards support it and nVidia's do not. The recent Microsoft announcement of DirectX 11 revealed that it would support DX 10.1 cards (but not fully by DX 10 cards).

Unless you're one of the few that has an extremely high-resolution monitor or are tied to SLI by your motherboard, or are willing to pay a 70% premium for a 10% performance advantage in a few games, there is absolutely no reason to go with nVidia this round.

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To melt all this discussion into making a choice, can u name 3-4 cards that i should look into?

Reading "between the lines" i take it that it's not a wise move to buy one of the GTX family cards (not the best bang for the buck).

I haven't even considered the AMD-ATI family cards (lack of awareness to their line of gpu's).

What would u say the top 3-4 i should consider?

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In no particular order --

AMD 4870, AMD 4850, nVidia 9800GTX , nVidia 9600GT

Check out some benchmarks, any recent bench should include most or all of these cards, and then consider their prices. I still say that, right now, AMD has the best value proposition (price/performance/future-proof-ness), but neither the 9800 or 9600 from nVidia are poor cards.

Just months ago, when I build my new PC, I went with the 9600GT because it was the best value proposition at the time (at the time its competitor was the AMD 3800 series, which were inferior) at only $150. I don't regret that purchase, but things would be different if I were building today, in which case I'd go with an AMD 4850. #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites Another thing i totally forgot to ask: Compatibility issues? I know this from a different field (audio recording) where some cards would not work for some reason with different kinds of motherboards... Is this any consideration ? #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites Only as far as SLI/Crossfire go... For nVidia SLI you need either an nVidia chipset (supports either AMD or Intel CPUs), or an Intel SLI chipset (Intel CPUs only). For AMD Crossfire, you need an AMD chipset (only AMD CPUs) you can use any chipset that supports two GPU-capable PCIe slots, and either CPU vendor. For single cards, I'm not aware of any compatibility issues, and certainly not anything widespread or common. [Edited by - Ravyne on July 29, 2008 11:43:28 PM] #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites phantom made a great journal post two weeks ago about the new R700 chip and how it compares to NV's offerings #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites Ahh I remember when I was stuck on choosing a new GPU a few months back. What I did was look on a online store and see all of the latest gpus. Then it was a matter of researching for the best one. Youtube is also helpful because I could see what it would be like on my computer when you find a video which has the same specs as you. Also look at a heeps of diff benchies because they all seem to be different and what is also funny every card perform differently on games. Some on the new gpus absolutely suck on some games and runs totally awesome on others. It's a matter of choosing the gpu for your games and needs. #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites I chose an 8800GT, simply because I needed good OpenGL support, and ATI has burned me in the past around that. Also, performance wasn't the major concern for me, I wanted really good drivers and developer tools, samples, docs etc (OpenGL ones) and NVIDIA trumps ATI in that arena. So for me, ATI was never an option, although if I was buying a card for gaming, I would probably go for an ATI due to great price/performance and crossfire being intel chipset friendly. #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites I'd like to offer my assessment of what GPU you should choose when looking to upgrade your system. First consider the cost bracket you can afford, then consider which games and programs you need the card for, and then consider which company you are going to go with. Some people I know only like Nvidia, while others only like ATI. Unfortunately this may not get you the best bang for your buck if you restrict yourself to one or the other. The list below starts with the best deal and going down from there. Judgments are based not only upon price, but performance that consider over 90% of the games available on the market today. Only a few games, namely Crysis on high settings with a resolution at 1920x1200 or above, will stress anything here, even ATI's 4850. 1) ATI 4850 512MB ~$150 (ATI Mid-range solution)

Mid-range? Can we say that anymore with $150 cards that run just about any game currently available? A "mid-range card"that performs well on just about any game on high settings except for perhaps Crysis. I have one of these and can vouch for its incredible effectiveness. No need to go SLI or Crossfire unless you have a 30"+ monitor! 2) ATI 4870 512MB ~$250 (ATI High-end solution)

Unless you're tight on the wallet but don't want to settle for a 4850, even though it'll pull its weight in whatever you throw at it, the 4870 (x1) 512MB is a good solution. Be cautious in that it runs fairly hot, so you want good cooling in your case if this card will be with you for years to come. Slightly faster than the GTX260 in most cases.

3) Nvidia GTX260 896MB ~$260 (Nvidia High-end solution) A decent solution that parallels the performance of the 4870, for just a little bit more cost, and who like Nvidia over ATI. Don't pay much heed to the fact that the Nvidia solutions lack DX10.1 and a few other features ATI provides. It is mostly marketing gimmicks at this time, unless of course you really need these specific features. 4) ATI 4870x2 1GB ~$450? (ATI Enthusiast solution)

Coming out in a few weeks. There is a 2GB version, but 1GB in most cases isn't even needed, so stick with the 1GB total for this configuration. This card should do Crysis real well for all but those with 30"+ monitors that are setting everything to the max. Every other game will run perfect. It will also likely beat out the GTX280 in many cases.

5) Nvidia GeForce 9800GTX 512MB ~$200 (ATI Mid-range solution) The price of this card has also dropped since the introduction of the GTX series. It is an excellent solution for those that don't mind slightly outdated hardware. Drivers here are more mature as well, so performance is still rather good compared to the newer generations. Still, the 4850 and 4870 beat it in performance AND price overall, so it's not really worth it. 6) Nvidia GTX280 1GB ~$430 (Nvidia Enthusiast solution)

The cream of the crop when it comes to getting the best performance one can hope to have in a single GPU solution. Prices have come down dramatically since its introduction, so its a solution worth considering if you really need to push the horsepower. Ask yourself first if you do, as again most games today run well on the 4850 if you have a mainstream monitor... ATI's Mid-range solution. This will also likely lose to the 4870x2 in many cases.

These are the main cards offered today that sport the newest technologies and fastest performance. Any of these, depending upon your specific needs, will do you well in your system.

A few key specifics that you may want to consider that will sway you one way or another:

1) OpenGL support (Nvidia)
2) DX10.1 (ATI) (No one uses it right now and it will never be a major feature before DX11)
3) CUDA (Nvidia)

[Edited by - Mathew Anderson on July 31, 2008 2:29:22 PM]

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Frankly; no.

You post is wrong on a few levels, mostly todo with the performance difference between the HD4870 and the GTX260 and GTX280.

In short;
The HD4870 out performs the GTX260 in pretty much all tests.
The HD4870 comes in VERY close to the GTX280. Certainly close enough that the 'cream of the crop' is looking nothing more than an over priced and under performing chip.
The HD4870x2 flawlessly beats the GTX280 in the tests I've seen.

Frankly, AMD is a no brainer this time around; the cards are cheaper and more powerful than NV's selection.

About the only things which make NV a worth while option right now is;
1) Opengl support
2) CUDA (and even that is being ported to AMD hardware with NV's help to get PhysX running).

Hell, based on my experiance if you are running Vista AMD even have a driver stability advantage!

If you don't mind me asking where did you get your figures from to come up with your views on the various cards power? Because right now everything I've seen pretty much screams "AMD ftw!"...

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Just to toss in a few more bits of info:

ATI has a CUDA competitor, and the architecture of the 48x0 series has more resources available for pure computation.

Linux support on ATI is improving, they've released a ton of technical documentation in recent months which has stabilized a lot of things in the open-source drivers since they no longer have to rely on reverse engineering and inference.

I've read before, but I'm not sure how true it is, that ATI's past OpenGL support issues are partly because of their more-strict interpretation of the OpenGL spec. They have more failures not because they have poor implimentation, but they fail when they should. Again, not sure how much truth there is to that statement though.

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Quote:
 Original post by phantomFrankly; no.You post is wrong on a few levels, mostly todo with the performance difference between the HD4870 and the GTX260 and GTX280.In short; The HD4870 out performs the GTX260 in pretty much all tests.The HD4870 comes in VERY close to the GTX280. Certainly close enough that the 'cream of the crop' is looking nothing more than an over priced and under performing chip.The HD4870x2 flawlessly beats the GTX280 in the tests I've seen. Frankly, AMD is a no brainer this time around; the cards are cheaper and more powerful than NV's selection. About the only things which make NV a worth while option right now is;1) Opengl support2) CUDA (and even that is being ported to AMD hardware with NV's help to get PhysX running).Hell, based on my experiance if you are running Vista AMD even have a driver stability advantage!If you don't mind me asking where did you get your figures from to come up with your views on the various cards power? Because right now everything I've seen pretty much screams "AMD ftw!"...

Just look at various reviews and you will see the cards are placed here appropriately. You have to consider price, performance, features, essentially everything to ensure an accurate assessment. I'm setting these based on an unbiased opinion of course. They are accurate to what the state of these cards are today, although of course there are always interpretations on what should be where, but this is close enough to make an informed decision on your next purchase.

I'm not exactly sure which part you have a concern with? The 4870 is noted as being close to the GTX260 but not outperforming per-say, and the slot is 4), noting that it is still behind my considerations for the 4870. I've agreed with everything you've mentioned here I believe, more or less.

In any case, here are some good reviews that I found useful:

http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/powercolor_hd4870/
http://techreport.com/articles.x/14990
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/nvidia-gtx-280,1953.html
http://www.hexus.net/content/item.php?item=13736
http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/590/1

[Edited by - Mathew Anderson on July 31, 2008 2:14:42 PM]

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The default answer to this question at this point in time is: "buy an Ati 4850".

It's powerful (can run any game out there, sans Crysis, at max settings); it's faster than its immediate competition; it has good driver support (flawless under Vista and pretty good under Linux - who'd guess! (*) ); it is packed with features (DX10.1, video decoding, HDMI audio); and it won't burn your pocket.

Now if you want to spend more or less money, feel free to look around. But if you care about the price/performance ratio, the choice is pretty clear.

You really can't go wrong with this card.

(*) Driver support is excellent. I tested 8 games (3 DX10 ones, two DX 9, one GL1.5 and one Glide-over-GL2.0) and everything worked smoothly.

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Quote:
 Original post by Mathew AndersonI'm not exactly sure which part you have a concern with? The 4870 is noted as being close to the GTX260 but not outperforming per-say, and the slot is 4), noting that it is still behind my considerations for the 4870. I've agreed with everything you've mentioned here I believe, more or less.

I think you have your numbers muddled.
HD4850 comes close to, and iirc sometimes beats, the GTX260 but doesn't out perform it per-say. They are mostly on par iirc, but I've mostly ignored the HD4850 because...
HD4870 comes close to, and in some cases beats, the GTX28. Again, pretty much on a par.

Your ordering is correct when it comes to cost however, but still unless you need something the GTX260 or the GTX280 offer then it's an AMD no brainer.

also;
Quote:
 [the HD2870x2] will also likely beat out the GTX280 in many cases

Anandtech ran a pre-view a few weeks back; the HD2870x2 beat the GTX280 in each of the 4 games tested. I suspect it will never score less than the GTX280, most likely only coming level in an OpenGL or Xfire unfriendly game as at that point its pegged back to a single HD2870.

Right now the only thing NV are king of is price, so in that regard, yes you proably have them in the correct order of least to most expensive (well, apart from the X2 card which might well be a little more than the NV offering but as it's not offically out yet).

I'll leave you with the following quotes taken from 2 of the pages you linked me to (the others didn't talk about the AMD cards at all); pretty much prove my HD4870 vs GTX280 point, for futher reading feel free to follow the link Gaiiden provided;

All quotes/comments based on 1920*1200 results.

From OverlockerClub.com;

Quote:
 Wow! As the resolutions grew in the Crysis benchmarks, the HD 4870 overpowered the other cards in the testing, including NVIDIA's flagship GTX 280.

Quote:
 Again, the HD 4870 seems to do better at high resolutions, even beating out the GTX 280 at 1920x1200. [knights of the sea]

Quote:
 Once again, the HD 4870 comes out near the top at the higher resolutions, just falling short by two frames at 1920. Awesome. [bioshock]

Quote:
 Even with high framerates, the HD 4870 was only slightly faster than the HD 4850 card in Call of Duty 4. The GTX 280 showed its muscle in this game across all resolutions.

Quote:
 The ATI-based HD 4870 averaged well in the higher resolutions, even trailing at the feet of the GTX 280. [World in Conflict: I dispute 'trailing' given a 38fps vs 34fps advantage to the GTX280]

Quote:
 The HD 4870 won every resolution in the Call of Juarez test.

Quote:
 The HD 4870 was holding on during the whole series of resoltuions until the end where it just could not keep up.[CoH:Op Fronts]

In all those tests no mention of the GTX260 at all. AMD shown to be on par or in a couple of cases beating the more expensive GTX260, with CoH:Op Fronts being the major loser for AMD by 36fps vs 49fps.

From TechReport, all at 4x AA, 16X AF, 1920x1200 unless otherwise noted;

COD4
HD4870 69.1
GTX280 68.8

HL2
GTX280 92.7
HD4870 75.6

ET:QW
GTX280 103.7
HD4870 95.3

Crysis Very High, 1920*1200
GTX280 20.3
HD4870 18.5

Assassin's Creed, 4X AA, 2560x1600
HD4870 41.8
GTX280 37.4

GRID,4XAA 1920*1200
HD4870 80.0
GTX280 67.6

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Exactly, just as my recommended order has suggested and filled in with comments for each, although my numbers don't appear to be muddled. They mainly agree with what you've stated, so I'm not sure where the problem is yet.

I want to get my hands on one of the 4870x2's once they are released, but that isn't my "need" talking so much as my urge in simply exploring high end graphics power :).

[Edited by - Mathew Anderson on August 1, 2008 8:31:37 AM]

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nVidia understimated AMD offering, and the results is what we see: nVidia thought that they could use once again their architecture, but in order to provide enough power they came out with an expensive chip. ATI choose another path, and this round they won.
I always had nVidia (Tnt 2, geForce 3 and gForce 6600), but this time I bought the 4870. The only issues are a small (compared to nVidia) amount of memory and bad driver support, that lead to bad power managment.
That aside, I'm currently playing all games I have (Yes, even THAT one) at maximum quality, resolution and AA being the only thing that can hurt the performances.
And let me say one last thing: this is the first time we can have a graphic card for that price and that can handle without problems any game available.

So, this is my opinion: even if you have a lot of money, buy a 4870 (perhaps the x2 that should come in a few weeks). Next year you might consider buying another card, but spending those money for the gForce has not much sense...

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What do u mean by bad drivers? those are the sort of things that scare me :)

And what is the x2 version?

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Well all my last several GPU's have been from Nvidia(6600,7900gtx, and currently 8800GTS) but the next card I'm gonna get is an ATI 4870 or 4850. Most likely gonna go with the 4870 since it has a dual slot fan so it should be quieter. Every single slot vidcard like the 8600gts I got a while back has been quite noisy in comparision(like a hair dryer or jet taking off) so you might take that into consideration if it matters to you?

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