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What Makes A Good Graphics Card?


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9 replies to this topic

#1 JPHarvey

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Posted 09 August 2006 - 11:03 PM

Howdy all :thumbsup: ,

I'll be looking at getting a new graphics card soon enough, but I only have a vague idea of what makes one card better than another (and I have a fair idea that it's DIRECTLY related to price!).

For example, I figure that the more RAM and better type of RAM (ie GDDR3) the better. But what about the memory clock, core clock, pixel pipelines, shaders etc etc? It is all a bit confusing, and this time I want to make the right choice.

My last card was a Powercolor Radeon X800GTO (PCI-x16) 256MB. Now, comparatively, to a lot of other (what I thought at the time) similar cards, this was clearly an under performer. I believe it has something to do with having only 8 pixel pipelines as opposed to the 12 that most other cards have. Am I right?

Any help welcome.... :flowers:
[CPU]Intel E6600 Core 2 Duo @ 3.19GHz
[MoBo]ASUS P5N32-SLI Premium (nForce590)
[RAM]4GB Corsair XMS2 DDR2-800 CL4 @ 710MHz
[GPU]XFX 8800 GTX 768MB [SLI] @ Stock
[PSU]CoolerMaster 1kW
[Audio]ASUS Xonar D2
[Case]Antec Nine Hundred
[OS]Windows Vista Ultimate 64
[LCD]SAMSUNG 226BW
[Other]WC'd CPU & SLI

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#2 nforce

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Posted 10 August 2006 - 12:08 AM

Well, I've figured that it is much harder to tell what is a better video card than other parts. Like with a cpu, it has the speed and info right in the name (athlon 3700 or pentium 3.7ghz) so you can easily tell what would be a better choice. With video cards, its harder. Take a radeon 9600 for example. It has a gpu of 500mhz, but a better performing card may only have a 400mhz gpu or something. I think that you are right in some of the reasons like the type of memory. The biggest things are probably how many pixle pipelines, and the name of the card(obviously the radeon x1600 is better than the x300). You might also want to go a little bit off the price.(More $ = better card, like you said). Also, more ram isn't nessesarily better. Some cards just aren't fast enough to use all that ram.(Companys stick another few ram cips on it and jack the price up $50 with no real performance boost. Some newer cards may be fast enough to use it all though with that gddr3 and stuff) Just off the topic, maybe you would want to try a high-end nvidia card, they're good. Also, x800 card is not that bad(better than what I got), maybe you need to upgrade other parts of your system to get desired results(cpu and ram play a big part in game fps too) Hope that helps.

#3 nforce

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Posted 10 August 2006 - 12:11 AM

Oh yes, also, I reccomend getting a card from a different reseller, powercooler is sometimes cheaper, but I've seen a lot of complaints about them.

#4 JPHarvey

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Posted 10 August 2006 - 12:47 AM

Okay cool.
I do think though that my GPU is letting me down, as my RAM CPU and MoBo are all relatively good (Intel P4 630 (3.0GHz), Gigabyte GA8I955X-PRO MoBo, and 2 x Corsair 1024MB (4,4,4,12) in dual channel DDRII-533 (PC4200))..

My intent is eventually to go onto to either SLI or Crossfire (thinking SLI because I prefer Intel, and ATI are moving towards AMD now of course) with Intel Core 2.... when I win the lotto, or something along those lines. I don't know why I don't win...maybe coz I don't buy tickets!!
[CPU]Intel E6600 Core 2 Duo @ 3.19GHz
[MoBo]ASUS P5N32-SLI Premium (nForce590)
[RAM]4GB Corsair XMS2 DDR2-800 CL4 @ 710MHz
[GPU]XFX 8800 GTX 768MB [SLI] @ Stock
[PSU]CoolerMaster 1kW
[Audio]ASUS Xonar D2
[Case]Antec Nine Hundred
[OS]Windows Vista Ultimate 64
[LCD]SAMSUNG 226BW
[Other]WC'd CPU & SLI

#5 Mr Alpha

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Posted 10 August 2006 - 05:26 AM

My recommendation is to not look at the pixel pipelines and memory clock and bus width and so on and just look at some benchmarks, it will be a lot easier that way. Trying to make sense of all the technology in a graphics card is a lot of work, is is practically a whole computer in it self. After having made sense of all the hardware details you also have to take the drivers into account which have a significant impact on performance.

The x800GTO had a very good value and was ATI's response to the GeForce 6600GT, but it was a midrange card not a high-end like most x800s.
"Anyone who cannot form a community with others, or who does not need to because he is self-sufficient [...] is either a beast or a god." Aristotle
Intel Core 2 Quad | XFX 780i SLI | 8GB Corsair | Gigabyte GeForce 8800GTX | Auzentech X-Fi Prelude| Logitech G15 | Logitech MX Revolution | LG Flatron L2000C | Logitech Z-5500 Digital

#6 JPHarvey

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Posted 10 August 2006 - 04:14 PM

Alright, sounds like a fair plan. Yeah, so really most X800's were to go up against the nVidia 6800 - is that right?

And what are the good brands/resellers out there fro GPUs?
[CPU]Intel E6600 Core 2 Duo @ 3.19GHz
[MoBo]ASUS P5N32-SLI Premium (nForce590)
[RAM]4GB Corsair XMS2 DDR2-800 CL4 @ 710MHz
[GPU]XFX 8800 GTX 768MB [SLI] @ Stock
[PSU]CoolerMaster 1kW
[Audio]ASUS Xonar D2
[Case]Antec Nine Hundred
[OS]Windows Vista Ultimate 64
[LCD]SAMSUNG 226BW
[Other]WC'd CPU & SLI

#7 Mr Alpha

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Posted 10 August 2006 - 05:36 PM

Yeah, so really most X800's were to go up against the nVidia 6800 - is that right?

Yes, most x800s were at the same level as the 6800, but the x800GTO was ATI's 6600GT. I would have thought its price would have been a bit of a give-away.

You know, it just so happens that they have a mid range GPU buyers guide at AnandTech, where they are using the x800GTO as reference. Have a look.
"Anyone who cannot form a community with others, or who does not need to because he is self-sufficient [...] is either a beast or a god." Aristotle
Intel Core 2 Quad | XFX 780i SLI | 8GB Corsair | Gigabyte GeForce 8800GTX | Auzentech X-Fi Prelude| Logitech G15 | Logitech MX Revolution | LG Flatron L2000C | Logitech Z-5500 Digital

#8 JPHarvey

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Posted 10 August 2006 - 06:08 PM

Thanks! No, at the time I just thought I was getting a bargain - of course lately I realise there isn't much bargain getting in the video card purchasing department - you pay for what you get I guess.
[CPU]Intel E6600 Core 2 Duo @ 3.19GHz
[MoBo]ASUS P5N32-SLI Premium (nForce590)
[RAM]4GB Corsair XMS2 DDR2-800 CL4 @ 710MHz
[GPU]XFX 8800 GTX 768MB [SLI] @ Stock
[PSU]CoolerMaster 1kW
[Audio]ASUS Xonar D2
[Case]Antec Nine Hundred
[OS]Windows Vista Ultimate 64
[LCD]SAMSUNG 226BW
[Other]WC'd CPU & SLI

#9 Gilli

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 07:58 AM

Here is a link for graphics card comparisons http://www.reportlabs.com/testbed/version1...top50nvidia.php
Enjoy

#10 JPHarvey

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 03:21 PM

Thanks Gili!
It's been I while since I was asking those questions! I ended up getting an XFX 8800GTX, so am pretty damn happy now... :thumbsup:
[CPU]Intel E6600 Core 2 Duo @ 3.19GHz
[MoBo]ASUS P5N32-SLI Premium (nForce590)
[RAM]4GB Corsair XMS2 DDR2-800 CL4 @ 710MHz
[GPU]XFX 8800 GTX 768MB [SLI] @ Stock
[PSU]CoolerMaster 1kW
[Audio]ASUS Xonar D2
[Case]Antec Nine Hundred
[OS]Windows Vista Ultimate 64
[LCD]SAMSUNG 226BW
[Other]WC'd CPU & SLI




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