Good Oblivion Video Card?

By cfitzarl ยท 9 replies
Aug 3, 2006
  1. I have posted a few other posts about graphic cards, and I am trying to get afew more opinions on what card I should get. I have an AGP 8X slot with a 450 watt power supply. I have a budget of around $100, and prefer ATI over Nvidia.
  2. wolfram

    wolfram TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,967   +9

  3. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 1,975   +9

    The psu says 18amps. Is this good or bad?
  4. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,019

    How close to $100 is your budget fixed to? Bummer because you missed out on this card for $124 last week, but it's still a steal at this week's price at $139:

    What isn't common knowledge is- these have been shipping as 16-pipe cards (XL) versus 12-pipes (GTO). Sapphire made this hybrid GTO but anyone's guess how long these full 16-pipe models will be avail for this cheap!

    I ordered a couple of them and they all arrived with all 16-pipes open/256 bit memory interface. This was an insane deal for $124... and still so at $139!
  5. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 1,975   +9

    If I waited a few days (probably into next week), I could strectch my budget to around $130. I do wonder though, the X800 is better than the x1600? I have seen new X800's for arund $120 on ebay (I am very cheap, will go for the cheapest one). I just want a card that has the potential to run Oblivion at least on medium settings (I know I need more ram to do that, but still).
  6. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,019

    The X1600 Pro has SM3.0 and FP16 support for HDR... but has 4 pixel pipes, 16 pixel shaders, 5 vertex shaders. It also only has a 128-bit memory interface.

    In a nutshell, while it has pixel shader performance similar to the X800 GTO, it has less fillrate and less bandwidth. It basically trades a large degree of performance for a couple of extra features. Still good cards though!

    The X800 GTO is designed to be a SM2.0/I16 blend card. Stock, these have full 12-pipelines (12 pixel shaders as well 1:1) plus a 256 bit memory interface.

    The Sapphires linked are a special, 16-pipe model... so as while they do not support SM3.0 or FP16 blends for some forms of HDR, they have blindly larger scale power and much, much greater performance.

    You wont be able to enable HDR in Oblivion, but you can use Bloom as well as several "Fake HDR" mods to yield similar effect. In the end, you'll be able to play Oblivion with much greater framerate and higher resolutions.. not to mention crank EVERYTHING else up higher (except HDR) and use anisotropic filtering to sharpen the game up for basically "free"..
  7. nickslick74

    nickslick74 TS Booster Posts: 575

    If you look at the spec, yes the GTO is better (especially the one Sharkfood mentioned).
    1600 has: GDDR2, 128 bit, 500/800 core/memory clock, & 12 pixel pipes
    GTO has: GDDR3, 256 bit, 400/980 core/memory clock, & 12-16 pixel pipes. Verry good deal!

    Sharkfood beat me to the punch!
  8. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,019

    Gotta be careful here.. those aren't a full "real" 12-pipes. They are only pixel shader pipelines, not pixel/texture pipelines.

    It's like the new X1800/X1900 series. These are only 16-pipeline cards, but with 4 pixel shaders per pipe. This yields a whopping 48 pixel shader pipelines, but only 16 texel/texturing pipelines.

    The X1600's are basically a 4-pipeline card with 3 pixel *shaders* per pipe. This yields 4 pipes @ 12 pixel shader pipelines.

    Fillrate on a videocard is the measurement of how many single or multitextured pixels a card can produce per second. As more modern games have more shaders, on-screen pixels are usually the collective efforts of pixel shader code instructions THEN being filled/displayed. ATI is shifting focus moreso away from fillrate performance and more towards pixel shader instruction performance. Unfortunately, heavily multitextured games with simpler shaders (some of current games) will not perform well this way. Also, fillrate helps with AA/Anisotropic filtering performance.
  9. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 1,975   +9

    So your pretty much saying in the long run, save up and get an X800? Also, I know I don't prefer Nvidia (had a 6200, which I sold to a friend who had an Mx), but will that give me better performance? I have always known ATI to run well with bright* games, and Nvidia to work well with heavy Pixelshader games like Doom 3, Quake 4, and F.E.A.R (do the .'s really have to be there?). Am I right, or wrong?

    *Games like Oblivion or Call of Duty 2, you know, with a lot of sun and brightness in general.
  10. wolfram

    wolfram TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,967   +9

    For cards like the X800GTO, 9800 PRO, 6600GT, that's pretty bad. It the PSU is a very cheap, no name one, it could blow. Believe me, that CAN happen, as it happened to my father. His PSU blew and killed the entire machine.

    I'd recommend a new, quality 400W PSU.
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