I would like some advice about ATi Radeon graphics cards.

By GarbageManatee ยท 13 replies
Nov 15, 2006
  1. Hello.

    Although I have an adequate gaming PC, I am considering either buying a new box or overhauling this one.

    Currently I used an ATi Radeon 9600 pro, I was going to upgrade, but it seems every week theres a new ATi card on the market.

    Even though I am not computer illiterate, I still stood at Best Buy staring at 3 different ATi cards that according the the box had all the same features....yet had different titles and prices.

    Basically I would like someone to give me a hierarchy of ATi cards from best down to the 9800 pro.

    I would be much obliged for any help. Thanks!
  2. Op2

    Op2 TS Rookie Posts: 86

    Hello GarbageManatee,

    How much money are you willing to pay? (This might be the most important question). Also, do you have PCI, AGP or PCI-Express slot? And what are the three cards you're talking about?

    For example, since you're saying that from best down, I am pretty sure this X1950 XTX will make you happy (and it's not cheap for sure):

    You may like this one, Radeon X1900GT, better base one the price: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814142068&ATT=14-142-068&CMP=OTC-pr1c3grabb3r
  3. riekmaharg2

    riekmaharg2 TS Rookie Posts: 137

    I persume you have a AGP slot motherboard as your graphics card is AGP. I would suggest upgrading the motherboard to a PCI-E one then buy a radeon X1900GT this graphics card is alot cheaper than the X1950 XTX and still plays Doom3 & Ghost recon advanced warfighter easyly in full graphics settings.
  4. TimeParadoX

    TimeParadoX TS Rookie Posts: 2,273

    You should build your own computer if you are planning on upgrading to a new Mobo ( motherboard ) to get PCI-E.. But if you dont want to get a whole new computer then you should get this:

    Mobo: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813128322

    Ram: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820227047

    CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16819115005

    Also tell me what case ( if you can find it on www.Newegg.com or on Google ) so I can see if your case and hold a MicroATX mobo

    Sorry if the prices on the stuff is Exspensive but you didnt list a price range..
  5. GarbageManatee

    GarbageManatee TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Price isn't really an object, but I prefer to be "effecient". You know, most bang for the buck.

    If I overhaul the whole machine I'll do it myself, I just need to figure out which graphics card to use for gaming, Postal 3 when it comes out (HL2 engine), and other future games.

    Oh and I would prefer a PCI card, but I am kinda looking for a new MoBo/ processor. I have a P4 and want to get an AMD.

    I don't remember which 3 cards I was looking at in the store, but they were the 3 most expensive ATi ones.
  6. N3051M

    N3051M TS Evangelist Posts: 2,115

    if you're going to get a new mobo, then you need to know what types of video card it can take.. PCI video cards are ok, but not the best.. AGP is better than PCI, but PCI-E craps on all of them..

    i'm thinking you were looking at the x1800's or something.. i'm not much of a video card follower...
  7. wolfram

    wolfram TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,967   +9

    The 7600GT card would be a great PCI-E card. Or the ATI X1900XT, also the Geforce 7950GT......... so many good cards :)
  8. GarbageManatee

    GarbageManatee TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yea the 7600GT looks like a good card, but I had problems with my old NVIDIA card and no longer trust NVIDIA for my video processing needs. So I'm leaning towards the x1900....speaking of, what is the difference between the GT, XT, XTX, and all those other fun little acronyms ATi slaps onto their card types. As far as I can tell the only difference is the memory of the card and the drivers.

    I know a lot about computers, but GFX cards arn't my specialty.
  9. Mirob

    Mirob TechSpot Paladin Posts: 478

    As far as AGP goes, I think a x850xt PE is the best Radeon card until the x1950 pro AGP cards hit the market. When they do the x1950 pro will be the best AGP card ever made. Curenty the nvidia 7800gs is the best AGP, you may have seen one at Best Buy(WORST buy!)
  10. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    The main difference is in the clock speeds and in certain cases (speaking of the GTO designation specifically) the number of pipelines. For an AGP system, the 6800GS or an X800GTO is a great card. Both are roughly equal in performance and offer tremendous bang-for-the-buck potential. Also, NVIDIA is a great manufacturer of graphics cards and their current champion, the 8800GTX, bests every other card on the market by a very wide margin. Imagine running BF2142 at 1600x1200 with 16X AA and all other settings maxed out and still getting around 60 FPS!
  11. GarbageManatee

    GarbageManatee TS Rookie Topic Starter

    mmmmmm. You sir have my attention. Yea that would be a sweet improvement over my 9600. I'm just miffed cause back in the day, I had a GeForce 4 (I can't remember too well, but pretty sure it was 4 or 4 something) back when that was a good card to have. Yet it had problems running graphics for a lot of games that even my dad's WORK PC (with an ATi card - a cheap one) could render. So when I upgraded I went for the 9600 pro (I bought it that same month the 9800 camge out so i saved about $250).

    *Edit* I just checked online, it wasn't a GeForce 4, the GeForce 4 is what I was looking at getting, but instead I switched to ATi and got the 9600pro. I also went over that wiki link of Radeon processors, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to get one of the x1900 models. Thanks so much to all of you for your advice!!
  12. wolfram

    wolfram TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,967   +9

    Just make sure you have a good PSU (power supply), and a pretty good PC too. :)

    For example, it would be stupid to get a X1950XTX if you have a P4 2.4 Ghz Processor and 512 MB of RAM for example...
  13. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,019

    This will be next to impossible to do as Radeon cards have been changing their architecture in ways to be better suited to specific conditions.

    For example, a 9800 Pro will utterly SPANK an X1600 Pro in texture rich, high overdraw games.. but the X1600 Pro will meet or exceed the 9800 Pro in many shader-rich games such as Oblivion (assuming HDR off on both cases).

    The reason being is- in previous generation products, the architecture would create GPU pipelines that would provide similar pixel shader pipelines as they had normal texturing pipelines. Newer Radeons are leaning away from this and putting a stronger emphasis on pixel shader performance than pure texturing/fillrate performance.

    A a very simplified example, the 9800 Pro has 8 pixel/texel texturing pipelines and 8 pixel shader pipelines for executing shader code. The X1600 Pro only has 4 pixel/texel texturing pipelines yet 12 pixel shader pipelines. So, this in effect makes this architecture only yield half the per-clock ability to render textures, but a good 25-50% improved ability to process pixel shaders.

    A card like the 9800 Pro with a heavily shader-rich scene will not reach it's fillrate potential because the pixel's it's rendering have shader-code (and bottlenecks) that need to be calculated prior to rasterizing the scene. Most all new games (DX9.0 and above) have heavy use of shaders so no matter what fillrate you have, you may still have low performance due to complex scene shaders to provide better looking visuals and more realistic surfaces in the games.

    The X1900/X1800, for example- only has 16 pixel/texel rendering pipelines, but a whalloping 48 pixel shaders. Compare this to NVidia's line which can have 20 or 24 pixel/texel pipelines but also 20-24 pixel shaders. Older, fat texture games will see improvement on the Geforce 6 and 7 series cards, but shader rich games like Oblivion will see improvement on Radeon X1000 series cards.

    When looking at upgrading your videocard, you should dig to see how many texture pipelines, pixel shaders, vertex shaders and memory interface (128 bit, 256 bit, 512 bit, etc.etc.). From here, you can leverage clock speeds, shader ops, texture render ops (ROPS), etc.etc. per clock. You'll see there is no "clear" winner, but instead price/performance brackets and products from both IHV's that can yield improvements in specific games (be they high-texture or complicated shaders).

    Hope this helps!
  14. GarbageManatee

    GarbageManatee TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks SharkFood! That clears up my confusion. :-D
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