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Hardware Technology

Graphics Card Comparison Guide 271

JaniceZ writes "These days, there are so many graphics card models that it has become quite impossible to keep up with the different configurations. Therefore, we decided to compile this guide to provide an easy reference for those who are interested in comparing the specifications of the various desktop GPUs in the market as well as those already obsolescent or obsolete."
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Graphics Card Comparison Guide

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  • It _is_ a shame (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Achra ( 846023 ) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @08:49PM (#13364304) Journal
    Anyone else that accidentally bought an ATI Radeon 9250 knows what I'm talking about.. Why is it acceptable to rename the 8500 to 9250, just to make it sound more "relevant" in the modern market? The fact is that if you're going to buy a vidcard you have to do a crapload of research. Period. You can't stand in the PC store and say, "I dunno, what you got for $50?" anymore. You'll end up with a pile of junk. Another good example is the Geforce 4mx, basically a rebranded Geforce 2.
  • Re:It _is_ a shame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Achra ( 846023 ) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @09:05PM (#13364361) Journal
    True.. I may come off as being whiney and uninformed as well, but I can remember when the 3dFX Voodoo2 was measurably better than the Voodoo. The Geforce2 was better than the Geforce, the Geforce3 better than the geforce2... I mean, you're going to have your stinker pieces of hardware, but both Nvidia and ATI's product line now is absolutely not linear. The Radeon 9600 is slower than the 9500... The Geforce 5200 is slower than a Geforce4 ti..
    For all those that are going to ask me for hard benchmark data... Find it yourself. :) I'm too busy trying to sell my Radeon 9250.
  • Re:It _is_ a shame (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mishra100 ( 841814 ) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @09:15PM (#13364398)
    I think you posted a total logical point. I just wanted to add a couple of things.

    And if we are discussing naming conventions, I absolutely HATE Nvidia's naming conventions and really don't buy from them because of it. At least when I buy a 9600, I know its better than a 9200. But when I see
    NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra
    GeForce FX
    NVIDIA nForce4 SLI
    GeForce 6 Series

    I have absolutly NO IDEA what is better...
  • by thirty2bit ( 685528 ) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @09:40PM (#13364479)
    It's a useful reference for people who have graphics cards that are a year or two or more old and need a comparison guide for a new purchase. I'm pleased to see it includes Direct-X levels for each card. That is the most often overlooked attribute in reviews. The only other similar ref I have seen is an issue of Maximum sellout^h^h^h^h^h^h PC that is over a year old, listing DX levels by chipset. Before HL2 and Doom3 came out, plenty of people were wondering what DX version their cards were, and if they would be usable.

    There is no 'article text' because this appears to be a set of comparison charts, not a card discussion, and there is no explanation of 'what is what' because it is assumed that if you are comparing stats, you already know your subject. Finally, there is indeed an article navigation control at the bottom of the page. At least there is in Firefox, and also no Google ads for me, thanks to the same.
  • YAG3DGCC! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @09:40PM (#13364480)
    Oh Boy! Yet Another Generic 3D Graphics Card Comparison! Like we've never seen one of those before!

    How about something that covers new ground? How about evaluating the features beyond simple stats and 3D performance in various games I'll never play?

    I want to see a comparison that looks at these characterstics without regard to 3D FPS...

    1) Noise level, idle and under load
    2) Heat level and/or power consumption, idle and under load
    3) DVI signal quality when pushed to maximum resolution & refresh rate - i.e. how long a cable I can hang off of it at what resolution
    4) Video acceleration - mpeg2, mpeg2 for hi-def, WM9, WM9 for hi-def, h.264 and h.264 for at hi-def resolutions
    5) Video de-interlacing support and quality - 3:2 telecine at what resolutions, how about 2:2 telecine, etc
    6) Video scaling quality -- how many taps for vertical, how many taps horizontal, any fancy algorithms, test-pattern measured quality levels

    Anybody and his brother can put up a speclist of 3D features or run a set of semi-standard 3D benchmarks and they already have. How about somebody with some real tools - oscope, multi-meter, pattern tests, etc do something new and useful to the REST of us for a change?
  • by Mustang Matt ( 133426 ) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @10:09PM (#13364572)
    It seems like Matrox kind of got swept under the table over the years. They always made great cards. Not necessarily the best for gaming but they had some cool features before any one else.

    Seems like they haven't really introduced anything new in quite some time.
  • Re:Thank God (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pdbogen ( 596723 ) <pdbogen-slashdot@ c e r n u .us> on Saturday August 20, 2005 @10:46PM (#13364661) Homepage
    'Your search - "6600GT infinite loop" - did not match any documents.'
  • Re:Thank God (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dslbrian ( 318993 ) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @11:05PM (#13364721)
    I will avoid the nVidia cards like the plague.
    An equivalent ATI card *just works*. Period.

    I've had the opposite experience. The worst problem I've had with an Nvidia card has been trouble configuring the DVI display settings on a Linux machine. Eventually thanks to user forums I figured out the magic settings (and they released a driver update with those settings a few days later).

    On the other hand, I've been burned by ATI twice on graphics cards. In fact on one of the cards (a card supporting TV in) they never even made functional Windows drivers, much less Linux. Even called ATI tech support on that one and they put me on hold on their charge-per-minute support line - yeah great support there. Funny thing is years after the fact some 3rd party wrote a generic driver for the chipset under Linux which made it work. (So in total ATI "official" Windows drivers never worked, and generic 3rd party unofficial Linux drivers did work)

    So now I don't even bother to look at ATI specs. They could make whatever uber-card they want that outperforms Nvidia ten times over, and I still won't ever touch the thing. Twice burned is enough for me.

  • by js3 ( 319268 ) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @11:28PM (#13364798)
    if you can't handle the slashdot!
  • by rrhal ( 88665 ) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @11:33PM (#13364813)
    I think you will want one of the newer PCI-e cards.

    The older AGP standard transmitted data to the card very fast but could only read it slowly. This worked well for the things that graphics cards traditionally do.

    The newer PCI-e cards can read from the graphics card at a much higher rate.
  • by freidog ( 706941 ) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @11:56PM (#13364889)
    If the CPU wars of the last 5-7 years have taught us nothing; it's that you really can't judge a product on stats alone. At some point you have to see it perform. If we went strictly by the Rojak tables, the 5900 Ultra is a clearly superior card to the Radeon 9800 Pro.

    Radeon 9800 Pro 128-bits 380 MHz 3040 MTexels/s 256-bits DDR 340MHz 21.76GB/s
    GeForce FX 5900 Ultra 450 MHz 3600 MTexels/s 256-bits DDR 425 MHz 27.20 GB/s
    The 9800 Pro has 1 additional vertex shader pipe, but the raw pixel pushing of the 5900U should be a good 15-20% faster than the Radeon.

    Clearly that is not the case in the real world []

    A modern graphics card has so many complex and intricate features and tradeoffs for performance and power and production, looking at a handful of stats isn't even a good comparison when we're dealing with GPUs of the same family, much less a wide ranging comparison.

    If you want to know how something performs, there is no substitute for benchmarks.
  • Re:It _is_ a shame (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mornelithe ( 83633 ) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @01:56AM (#13365243)
    GeForce 4200, 4400, 4600
    GeForce FX5200, FX5300, FX5700, FX5750, FX5900
    GeForce 6200, 6600, 6800
    GeForce 7800

    nForce refers to motherboard chipsets. Regular is regular, SLI means it supports SLI, and Ultra means it's the highest performing model (which also happens to include SLI).

    The only confusing aspect is the suffixes like GT (Ultra, GTX, LE) on the graphics cards, which can make cards with the same number have different specs. Of course, ATI does that was well (which is better: A Pro, an SE an XT or a regular?). In fact, the major difference between the naming schemes the two companies use is that the first number for a nVidia card is the generation the chip is from (4, 5, 6), while the first number in an ATI card is (supposed to be) the version of DirectX it's built to support (or, it was until the X series; they ran out of 9-based numbers, I guess). So for a time, ATI was actually inserting new 9x00 chips between existing 9x00 chips from an earlier generation. Are you sure that a 9600 is significantly worse than a 9700 in that situation?

    nVidia's naming scheme is no more or less complex than ATI's. You're just familiar with ATI's product line, and rather ignorant (it seems) of nVidia's.
  • I live in the linux world, and I've got guild wars running on my second monitor.

    Cedega (transgaming's wine) rocks. I love it.

    And I'm using a Geforce FX 5900, which runs all my games at 1280x1024, 40-50 FPS. You can get one for ~$130 at pricewatch or techbargains.

    I've got an xbox and Ps2, but I just don't come back to those games the same way I come back to PC games.

    *shrug*. I've tried to make the move. I've got a mac mini, a powerbook, and 2 consoles. I still like my x86 linux box the best.
  • by Mortlath ( 780961 ) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @04:05AM (#13365537)
    But did you look at the results? One was a post by someone named "Infinite Loop", and some of the others were explaining an old problem, and some were not about it at all.

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: A giant panda bear is really a member of the racoon family.