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Graphics Software Hardware

ATI, Nvidia Reveal New $250 Graphics Cards 84

Posted by timothy
from the short-and-sweet dept.
ThinSkin writes "As part of their 'Spring Refresh,' both AMD and Nvidia reveal new $250 graphics cards, the Radeon 4890 and GeForce GTX 275. ExtremeTech takes both cards and runs them through a gamut of gaming and synthetic benchmarks to decide which card triumphs over the other. Long story short, the GeForce takes the cake with impressive performance at its price, while the Radeon didn't show a high improvement over the cheaper Radeon 4870."
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ATI, Nvidia Reveal New $250 Graphics Cards

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  • by FreakinSyco (873416) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @02:25PM (#27435183)

    Yet HotHarware tests their 4890 and shows that it outperforms the 4870 in every category...

    http://hothardware.com/Articles/ATI-Radeon-HD-4890-RV790-Unveiled/ [hothardware.com]

    and I quote:

    "In every test, the Radeon HD 4890 (Asus EAH4890) was faster than the 1GB Radeon HD 4870, and the overclocked 4890 (Asus EAH4890 TOP) simply increased the card's overall lead. In comparison to competing offerings from NVIDIA, the Radeon HD 4890 is faster than the GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 overall, but it didn't quite keep pace with the just announced GeForce GTX 275."

  • ATI 4890 on linux (Score:5, Informative)

    by MC68040 (462186) <henric@digi[ ]-bless.com ['tal' in gap]> on Thursday April 02, 2009 @02:28PM (#27435229) Homepage

    This might be useful to someone like me, Phoronix just reviewed the 4890 on Linux with the ATI catalyst drivers:
    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=amd_radeon_hd4890&num=1 [phoronix.com] :)

  • by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @02:30PM (#27435251)

    Looking at a wider range of reviews, I think we can call this round a draw. That means the real winners are consumers, because the selling point will become price.

    Or, if you read the most interesting review of these cards, you'll see why maybe nvidia will skip the price game this time and instead try (and fail) to sell their cards based on physx:

    http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3539 [anandtech.com]

  • by electrosoccertux (874415) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @03:05PM (#27435757)

    I didn't read the hothardware article. Did they specify at which resolutions which card wins? Did they test with the newest 185 Nvidia drivers? They're moderately slower than the 182's.

    Anandtech, my personal favorite reviewer (none of that 1 paragraph/page + 100 page article nonsense *cough tomshardware cough*) tells a different story [anandtech.com].

    In case you don't feel like clicking-- 4890 takes the cake hands down on 24" and sub 24" displays (1920x1200 resolution and lower). At 2560x1200, it's a tossup.

    Considering you can buy the 4890 right now [newegg.com] and the GTX275 won't be available for 2 more weeks [dailytech.com], I think it's pretty clear which card to get.

  • GPUReview (Score:5, Informative)

    by TypoNAM (695420) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @03:21PM (#27435965)
    Check out GPUReview's video card compare and see what the theoretical performance differences are:
    http://www.gpureview.com/show_cards.php [gpureview.com]

    It does appear that the just announced cards aren't listed on that site yet to compare against unfortunately.
  • by Ecuador (740021) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @03:35PM (#27436137) Homepage

    Replying to my own post above, I actually quickly went through the ExtremeTech article (ok ok take back my /. badge) and confirmed why it is not one of my "preferred" sites. To call the nVidia better they divide the cost by the FPS over the games they tested. Yes, the raw FPS over different games, doesn't need a PhD in statistics to figure out the problem here. Then, they admit that the ATI overclocks very well (with the included utilities from ATI and ASUS), while the nVidia does not, but instead of stating this as an advantage for the ATI card they complain about the cards not shipping at the higher speeds they can easily attain. And finally, they list the nVidia at "$250 street est." price, while the ATI as "MSRP $259" when the latter is right now selling NOW on NewEgg for $230 after MIR or $250 directly. Great Job ExtremeTech!

  • Pay attention (Score:3, Informative)

    by jgtg32a (1173373) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @03:50PM (#27436339)
    When ATI released the 48x0 cards, their top of the line, they had something like 80% of the performance as the top nvidia cards and cost 1/2 as much.

    Prices on cards are dropping.

    And as others have stated its a price point.
  • Re:Confusion (Score:2, Informative)

    by 644bd346996 (1012333) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @05:37PM (#27437729)

    The site that provides more concrete data, particularly about their test methodology. After all, "In god we trust. All others must bring data."

    ExtremeTech chose not to test at 2560x1600, despite using a beta driver that significantly alters the resolution scaling performance of the NVidia cards. This means their numbers and thus their conclusions are worthless for anybody who wants to us the higher resolution. On the other hand, they didn't test at 1680x1050 either, so their tests didn't reveal the significant advantage the ATI card has for people with smaller monitors.

    HotHardware's review, linked above, did test at both 2560x1600 and 1920x1200, but also neglected 1680x1050. Overall, their testing seemed to be more thorough, but I stopped reading when I noticed that the labels on their first graphs didn't even come close to matching the explanation in the adjacent paragraph. I don't particularly trust numbers when I can't even tell what they're representing.

    Anandtech's review seems to test the two new cards in more detail and offers more explanation of how the architectural differences will affect performance. However, they chose to only compare the two cards at that price point, eschewing the context of the more and less expensive products. This makes it harder for the consumer to figure out if it's worth it to spend $250 for a graphics card, but it seems clear to me that Anandtech provides the most reliable data about the two cards, and is certainly more concerned with informing the consumer than deciding for them by proclaiming an all-around winner when there isn't one.

  • Re:$200 sound card? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday April 03, 2009 @12:57AM (#27441431)

    Depends on the purpose of the soundcard. In the pro arena, it is number of inputs and outputs, and quality of said inputs and outputs. In the consumer arena it is also I/O quality and to a lesser extent variety, but hardware effects as well.

    The effects are pretty simple. Some cards, like the X-Fi, have a DSP onboard and can process 3D spatialization effects in hardware. This is of use for some games. Some games, like say Unreal Tournament 3, only do rudimentary software processing. So if you lack a card that handles OpenAL acceleration, you get only 2 channels and little effects. If you have a hardware OpenAL card, you get full surround and all the effects. Some games can go both ways and simply sound a little better with hardware, or just load the CPU less. Others can't use hardware acceleration at all. It isn't a magic bullet, but useful if you are a gamer (and I am, very much so).

    The quality of inputs and outputs is a bigger one, and one you can spend a lot more money on. You are correct that basically every converter these days is 24-bit. However, that isn't the tricky part. The tricky part is all the supporting analog hardware that you use. This is the difference between a system with a high and low SNR and things like that. For example you will find that nothing comes near the theoretical 144dB SNR that 24-bit offers. You may find that a cheap soundcard gets 90-100dB, and it may even by lying about that and reporting the D/A component values, not the final signal, whereas a pro card might get close to 120dB (and really get that).

    Also they often have outputs to better deal with special things like low impedance headphones. If I plug my headphones in to the onboard sound, there is audible noise. Why? Well in part the lower SNR but most because its opamp is getting overloaded. The headphones are rather low impedance (40 ohms) and that's more than it can handle. My X-Fi has a headphone port, which has either a buffer to provide more current or a better opamp (or both) so it has no problem powering them and generating no audible noise.

    So higher end cards get better overall sound quality, at least if paired with higher quality components later on. Does it matter? Depends on you mostly. Me, I like high quality sound. I have a "home theater" setup for my computer, not computer speakers.

    It isn't necessarily something for everyone, but some people like it. Also it may fall by the wayside in consumer systems if HDMI becomes popular. That carries surround audio, in addition to video. So instead of a soundcard you could hook that in a receiver and handle all the D/A conversion there. The digital signal would be output by the video card, of course.

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