View Full Version : What kind of graphic card should i get?

06-16-2007, 12:40 PM
I'm deciding to get a new graphic card. Right now there are 2 types i'm looking at: Geforce 7900 SLI and Geforce 8600 SLI. Any expertises in here that could help me decide. What should i look for? is it memory bandwidth, fill rate per second, or something else?

06-16-2007, 01:27 PM
8600 SLI? Go for a single 8800GTS, it will perform significantly better than either of your choices and leaves room for upgrade later. If you're using a resolution greater than 1400x900 then get the 640mb version otherwise the 320mb will be fine.

06-16-2007, 02:29 PM
Yeah if you can afford GeForce 8600GTS SLI then you can easily afford an 8800GTS. Not only is it better but you can later add another one of those when one is no longer enough. Personally though unless the prices get a bit lower I'm going to buy one of those MSI silent GeForce 8600GTS cards. :D

06-16-2007, 03:50 PM
I'm deciding to get a new graphic card. Right now there are 2 types i'm looking at: Geforce 7900 SLI and Geforce 8600 SLI. Any expertises in here that could help me decide. What should i look for? is it memory bandwidth, fill rate per second, or something else?

SLI is only really worth it when using really high end cards. Otherwise, you will get more value from just buying a single better card. Plus you won't have to deal with all the problems- like bad drivers and huge PSUs- that SLI brings along.

06-17-2007, 02:36 AM
If you are unsure about which video card to get i suggest to use the same reference for choosing a video card as I do which is http://www.tomshardware.com but here is a more direct link http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/06/11/the_best_gaming_video_cards_for_the_money/

Hope that is of some use, it helps me thats for sure.

In my opinion TomsHardware is the best resource for computer enthusiasts.

06-17-2007, 02:52 AM
Do you plan on wanting DX10? If so get the 8600, I've got an 8600GT and It's pretty nice, no fan just a fat heat sink (in fact all the GeForce x600 series have heat sinks rather than fans (in the vanilla and GT anyway). My friend has 2 7900GTXs in SLI, he only gets about a 15% performance increase, really not worth it for double the price :)

06-17-2007, 03:50 AM
I've always though that SLI was a gimmick. How can one card know where vertices will reside in screen space and thus which card will handle them without pre-transforming the vertices from model space to screen space? It can't.

So what it comes down to is a set of vertices being sent to one card to process and the rest to the other card. So while they process in parallel there is no guarantee that the pixels will reside in the scan portion for each card. After all without transforming the vertices the cards do not know where on the screen and thus which card will paint that pixel.

If SLI is a mere ...card 1 paints the first half of the screen and card 2 paints the second half...that's still not much of a gain. Essentially it boils down to doing 2 rep stosd's over 2 half-sized screen areas simultaneously. Not worth the money.

After doing more reading SLI can also do split frame mode in which 1 card renders while the next is preparing to render the next frame. NVidia SLI does SLI on a per-pixel and per-triangle basis which could result in a speed gain.
They claim you can get up to 2x speed gain with SLI but I've never seen any results quite that high yet. So in split frame mode you are essentially doing a double buffer between cards.

06-17-2007, 07:05 AM
I've seen SLI give results... but not enough to warrant buying a second $300-400 card for. I say if your system is starting to get dated and your graphics card is running about $125 and you need a little graphics boost then SLI isn't a bad upgrade.

06-17-2007, 10:16 AM
Thanks guys, i checked out those cards and it look quite good. So that mean SLI is not as good as they said? The 8800 GTS actually looks really good. My plan was buy one card around $150, then will get the second card later. But i guess i'll just have to wait a little bit to get the 8800 then. What about RAM, should i upgrade RAM as well since the graphic card is higher. I'm currently having 1GB of RAM.

06-17-2007, 11:03 AM
Well the graphics card will have dedicated memory so just because you upgrade that doesn't nessasarily mean you need to upgrade your RAM. However, many games that would need an 8800GTS to play would likely recommend more than 1GB of RAM. Luckily for you, though, with the introduction of DDR3 and the retiring of DDR, the price of DDR2 has dropped to being dirt cheap. You could pick up a 2GB DDR2 667 set for well under $100 or a single 1GB for much cheaper.

I would recommend these (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820161675).

06-17-2007, 12:10 PM
Yeah I remember having to upgrade from 512MB to 1GB of RAM because Black and White 2 was shuddering so horribly on my system. Also remember if you are going to be using DirectX 10, you'll be running Vista as well. Factor in the requirements/recommendations of the OS as well as the game. Vista really doesn't run good unless you have 1GB just for it.

Edit: I'd recommend Corsair ValueSelect 1GB (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820146580). And wow has the price ever come down! I purchased one of these a few months back for ~$60 and now its only ~$35! I might just buy another soon.

06-17-2007, 12:19 PM
Black and White 2 runs fine on my sys with 1GB but again I wouldn't exactly call that engine the cream of the crop.

A lot of how an engine performs comes right down to how it is coded, how they are caching data, how they use your system, etc, etc. Many games seem to take a brute force approach in that they figure the speed of the system will make up for any lack in their own resource system. This usually results in lag, sound files loading on demand causing lag, video issues, etc, etc.

I've got games that have excellent graphics and run super fast. Then I've got games that have mediocre graphics and run terrible. The difference? Code.

A sure fire way to test your performance is using an application designed to do so or find out the average FPS you are getting across a wide array of games. Sports games notoriously perform poorly probably because most of the power is used for complex AI processing. Flight simulators are a good benchmark although FSX is NOT a good benchmark. Beautiful graphics but a horrible and I mean horrible 3D engine that performs like a turtle even on super duper high end systems. Now games that take just any computer and a monitor to run right, AKA Doom 3, Half Life 2, etc, are good examples of what your system can do.

Another factor is whether you run with vsync on or off. With it on you are severely limiting the FPS but you will eliminate shearing (screen refresh mid-render). At 100Hz the max FPS you can get is 100. Now add-in all the eye candy, sounds, AI, etc, etc, and you do not have many frames to play with. Turn vsync off and some of your games will probably scream. Games that have the Havok physics engine in them may only allow you 60Hz but there are also ways around that.

So research before you buy which is exactly what I am also in the middle of doing. Don't worry about SLI right now. SLI is like a last ditch effort to save an aging system but cannot afford to upgrade to a new one. But then again most mobo, CPU, memory upgrades are around 500 to 700 dollars and another good video card is 300 to 400. I just cannot see SLI being of any use. NVidia sure can see a use for it since they will be getting you for 700 to 1000 dollars for both cards.......so of course they are gonna market it like it's the best thing sinced sliced bread.

06-17-2007, 12:27 PM
I'd still recommend 2GB over 1GB with Vista. There just isn't any reason to skip it with prices as low as they are - where 4GB is just $128. I paid $120 for 512MB DDR back in Summer 2004. :(

06-17-2007, 06:46 PM
My motherboard is "Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe", and it says the RAM that it supports are DDR400/DDR333/DDR266. There nothing much i can do now, but those RAMs are surely expensive.

06-17-2007, 07:09 PM
Ouch, time to get a new motherboard... DDR isn't really made anymore so anything that is left is very expensive. If you have a DDR motherboard, then does it even have a PCI-E slot? If it doesn't then there is no way you're getting a GeForce 8 Series card.

06-17-2007, 07:52 PM
Yes, my motherboard is PCI-e SLI, it is an "Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe". I guess i'll wait for a while until those motherboards' price go down a little bit more. For now, my motherboard is doing alright.

06-17-2007, 08:32 PM
Whoops, probably should have seen that. Heat is getting to me.

06-17-2007, 08:36 PM
Actually your board is not that old. The newer version of it is the A8N32-SLI-E Deluxe for the 939 socket and the M2N32 SLI for the newer AMD AM2 socket . AFAIK the only board that supports DDR2 on the AMD side from ASUS is the M2N32.

DDR3 for AMD should be released late 2008.

06-17-2007, 10:54 PM
yeah, i bought it last september with the intention of 64bit and SLI, I guess SLI is not matter anymore with one high graphic card.

06-18-2007, 02:49 AM
Whoops, probably should have seen that. Heat is getting to me.

With that rig your sitting next to, I'm not surprised ;)