Price Guides, February 2005: Video Cards

by Kristopher Kubicki on 2/19/2005 12:05 AM EST
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  • PrinceGaz - Saturday, February 26, 2005 - link

    It's been a week now, is Wes going to let us know what issues he found with the nForce4 boards? Reply
  • rastamanphan - Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - link

    Where are the AGP ATI cards on the highend card pricelist? Reply
  • Bobby Peru - Tuesday, February 22, 2005 - link

    crucibelle, the x700 pro is not PCI-E it is AGP bus.

    they are saying, for PCI-E use x700 pro or Leadtek
    6600GT PCI-E. For AGP use XFX 6600GT. Only newer
    motherboards have PCI-E.

    I guess if nobody else is having heat problems that
    guy at pricegrabber installed his heatsink wrong.
    Reply
  • donxvi - Tuesday, February 22, 2005 - link

    XFX claims the new heatsink is 20 degrees COOLER than the old, reference design. Reply
  • fargazer - Tuesday, February 22, 2005 - link

    I have been considering a Linux desktop for a while now, and one thing I could use from a video card roundup is how well the various cards perform under Linux. Any chance of that being covered, either in a general pricing guide for video cards, or in a separate article? Reply
  • crucibelle - Monday, February 21, 2005 - link

    Kristopher,

    I was wondering if you could tell me why the 6600GT was previously recommended as the best mid-range PCI-E card (midrange buyer's guide), but now it's the x700 pro that is recommended. Why did you all change your minds? Thanks!
    Reply
  • Bobby Peru - Sunday, February 20, 2005 - link

    This raises the general issue of possible differences between "review" pre-production boards and actual production boards. It may be asking a lot but it would be interesting if review sites were able to just buy boards at retail rather than having special boards sent to them by the manufacturer. I need to find some explanation of reading the writing on the memory chips to determine their speed. I will say that at least review sites do generally post detailed photos of the boards. I can believe that if a manufacturer wanted to shave costs before doing a production run that the memory and the heatsink would be obvious places to start. At this point I would simply ask people what their heat sinks look like, what their memory chips say, and if their board looks like the review board photos. For all we know the other review is from some agent provacateur troll. The last sentence is a typo, 1.6ns is preferable to 2.0. Reply
  • KristopherKubicki - Sunday, February 20, 2005 - link

    Bobby Peru: I have one of these cards and I have not noticed the thermal throttling mentioned in the price grabber "review". I cannot disrepute the 2.0ns memory, but as for gettings speeds lower than a 5950: that seems like a complete farce.

    Kristopher
    Reply
  • Bobby Peru - Sunday, February 20, 2005 - link

    I wonder if AnandTech or someone who bought this card recently could comment on this review from pricegrabber...

    "I purchased this card after reading many many reviews of the GF 6600GT series of cards, especially the XFX version of this card. Needless to say I am quite disappointed with what I received.

    XFX has changed their production process for their 6600GT series of cards. No longer will you get 1.6ns memory, they are now including 2.0ns. Which by itself it not necessarily bad, but every review currently out there was done with the 1.6ns memory. You will not be able to get the same results that the reviewers have gotten in the past.

    The worst part of the changes XFX made with this card was the heat sink and cooler. The cooler they are now shipping on the card is a small underpowered piece of crap, not the nVidia standard 6600GT cooler.

    I removed the cooler, cleaner all surfaces with 100% Isopropyl Alcohol then re-installed it with Artic Silver 5. The result: the GPU runs at 55c even at IDLE with no overclocking. Under full load it hits 80c+. This cooler sucks.

    I can’t play Half-Life without choppiness as the card is throttling down because of excess heat. In 3DMark 2003, this card gets a lower score than my FX5950. Again because of heat related throttling.

    If you buy this card plan on buying a third party cooler as well. Or make sure you get an older version of the card that has the standard nVidia heat sink and fan. That way you can get the 2.0ns memory as well.
    Reply
  • glennpratt - Sunday, February 20, 2005 - link

    AGP != PCI-E Reply
  • bigpow - Sunday, February 20, 2005 - link

    Wait a sec.

    [quote]XFX dominates the 6600GT AGP landscape, and without a doubt, the card [RTPE: PVT43AND] remains our AGP mid-range pick.
    [/quote]

    I thought AT recommended Leadtek 6600GT PCI-E on a previous comparison test?

    Which one is it? XFX or Leadtek?
    Reply
  • ShizNet - Sunday, February 20, 2005 - link

    AGAIN - all details are behind us (quality/image/expandability)

    what is reason to purchase $400+ vidCard? one reason - to play GAMES (pc) - you don't need this beast for e-mail
    OR you can buy xCube/gStatioin/pBox (any puns are welcome) - pay same ~$50 for same game
    AND get same pleasures out of building/shooting/conquering

    going back to the start:
    does all this HardWare advances are OVERRATED? - because they won't last for a year

    i won't even touch HERE what you can do w/ lil mod to those xStations/pBoxes
    and i am NOT a fan of M$ or Sony, just a fan of story: 'little train that could'
    Reply
  • semo - Sunday, February 20, 2005 - link

    #19
    doom 3 is not playable on p4 1.8 with a radeon 7500
    have to get a geforce ti i guess
    Reply
  • KristopherKubicki - Saturday, February 19, 2005 - link

    ShizNet: I would first look at who is taking a year to rewrite games from console to PC. Obviously MS has a vested interest in keeping Halo on the XBOX before putting it on PC. It's not that its fundamentally really hard to do, but my guess is it's licensing and politicking that keep releases on the console.

    As for the hardware argument - given the same PC hardware I would not be surprised if many of thsoe same games look/feel identical. I think your argument is moot because 1.) CounterStrike is definitely not a benchmark of performance/quality for PC or XBOX and 2.) San Andreas will hit PC and XBOX at the same time. And I bet you it'll continue to look better on the PC anyway. I really haven't seen a single title on XBOX that was better than the same title on PC with the exception of the purposely crippled Halo.

    Kristopher
    Reply
  • ChineseDemocracyGNR - Saturday, February 19, 2005 - link

    Actually Doom3 is playable in a Pentium 4 1.5GHz with a GeForce MX 400.

    You can't have both an outdated PC and good quality image settings, you gotta pick one.
    Reply
  • ShizNet - Saturday, February 19, 2005 - link

    i'm not arguing here the quality of the image or the way the business runs (at loss or gain)
    LOOK deep into issue on hand - xBox (hardWare/softWare) is 2 yr-old and it still can 'catch up' w/ brandNew-hingEnd PCs. try to run 2 yr-old pc -- HL2 @ ~20 fps and doom3 @ ~10 (if at all)
    while xBox chopping away @ Halo, CS, not to mention SanAndreas and others
    don't you think there is someThing wrong with this picture?
    Reply
  • KristopherKubicki - Saturday, February 19, 2005 - link

    PrinceGaz: Many (most?) new Xbox games have 1080i or 720p capability.

    But yeah, the XBOX is sold on a loss just for people to buy games. And believe me even on HD, games on my XBOX look like garbage compared to my PC :)

    Kristopher
    Reply
  • ShizNet - Saturday, February 19, 2005 - link

    #13
    is it your answer? or is it your 'MAYBE'?
    do you even know how code is written? first you write the way it should be, then you 'optimize' it to hardware (of your choice ati/nVidia/other)
    so you telling me it's easier to write for 2 yr-old nVidia (dx 8.x) than for dx 9.x APIs? there are no lowLevel coding in vidGames anyMore. if you haven't heard games are based on engines (APIs): doom, source (halfLife2)... same s**t for console or pc.. and drivers are provided/adjusted by ati/nvidia, not the other way around
    with your idea about 640x480 - plug your HIGH-end pc card in the same TV and see the quality of image and tell me about AA/AF
    go put that P from your - :P - where it should be
    Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Saturday, February 19, 2005 - link

    The X-Box normally runs at 640x480, which is all a standard TV set can take (and may be slightly blurry at such a "high" resolution if it isn't a good quality TV).

    As with all consoles though, the reason why the X-Box is cheap is really because it was sold for less than the manufacturing cost, as the real money is made from consoles with game sales and every X-Box game sold netted Microsoft a good few dollars.
    Reply
  • ChineseDemocracyGNR - Saturday, February 19, 2005 - link

    KristopherKubicki,
    sorry for the off-topic, but did AnandTech also test K8T890 boards? So far only two are available (from ASUS and Soltek), but from what I gathered the ABIT, Gigabyte and Albatron boards should be out real soon.
    Reply
  • KristopherKubicki - Saturday, February 19, 2005 - link

    PrinceGaz: We have a roundup scheduled for the very near future (days at most perhaps). From what I could gather from our internal conferences, nForce4 (Ultra and SLI) had several hiccups - but not showstoppers. With the proximity of the analysis, I'll let Wes go into more detail in his review.

    Kristopher
    Reply
  • bobsmith1492 - Saturday, February 19, 2005 - link

    Maybe because the xbox runs at like 640x800 resolution, and this hardware can run it at 4 times that resolution with AA and AF and the xbox is a mass-produced group of identical objects that makes it easy to progam for..... :P Reply
  • ShizNet - Saturday, February 19, 2005 - link

    how the f**k is it possible?
    xBox runs M$ OS and PC hardWare (including vidCard) and able to play new games just fine AND for only ~$200
    where the same game for PC takes extra year to reWrite (i wonder why) and hardWare demands are about $2000 more - just to be able to play the same game??? can you say - we are giving run arounds here? CPU for $400+, memory for $300+, vidCard for $500+.. and ++

    what we'd read if there'd be no need for new vidCards every 6 mo.? silver arctic paste review?
    Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Saturday, February 19, 2005 - link

    Please Kristopher, say more or tell us when the article that reveals the problems is due to be published. I'm one of those who is waiting for E revision A64 before jumping on the nForce4 bandwagon, and I'm glad I did if there are problems with the chipset.

    I never intend to use SLI though as I know it is more cost effective overall to sell the first card and buy a second-hand replacement instead of another duplicate card.

    Are the problems limited to nVidia's nForce4 SLI implementation (which would be odd as you say Intel's Turnwater is fine, and nVidia created SLI), or something more fundamentally wrong with the PCIe implementation?

    We need this information as a lot of AT readers are buying nF4 SLI boards every day and will be seriously upset if you have delayed information about a problem.
    Reply
  • KristopherKubicki - Saturday, February 19, 2005 - link

    Live pretty much answered everything for me. nForce4 beware for now.

    Kristopher
    Reply
  • joeld - Saturday, February 19, 2005 - link

    yeah, where are the high end nvidia cards? Reply
  • Regs - Saturday, February 19, 2005 - link

    I would also like to know the issues with SLI on motherboards. Since everybody on the message board has been recommending or has all ready purchased a SLI set up, I think it would be of great importance to explain what you guys have uncovered.

    And I really like that you guys down with the Real-Time pricing engine. It's one powerful piece of programming ingenuity.
    Reply
  • Live - Saturday, February 19, 2005 - link

    Very nice guide! Keep up the good work. I did miss the 6800 U in the high end AGP tough. Or is it unavailable? I would hope to see a strong stand against paper launches in the next video preview (Hello agp from ATI?) Nivida and ATI are doing a poor job right now.

    #5 considering it was hinted that AnandTech were supposed to have published there SLI roundup this week I would guess they have uncovered issues in those creepy underground labs they call home. SLI only works on a few games and if you play an unsupported game you take a performance hit and a huge financial hit considering you played for 2 cards and get less performance then one.

    #3 I am pretty sure it is supposed to be the 6800GT.
    Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Saturday, February 19, 2005 - link

    #3- I think it's supposed to say 6800GT, not 6600GT :) Reply
  • AtaStrumf - Saturday, February 19, 2005 - link

    What exactly did you mean by:

    "With **issues** on nForce4 starting to surface, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense right now to throw all of your eggs into the SLI basket."

    I'm not aware of any issues.
    Reply
  • Pete84 - Saturday, February 19, 2005 - link

    Considering the much higher transistor count and die size of the X800XL, I doubt that ATI will be able to get to the 6600GT price point.
    BUT they will or should be able to compete on the price / performance ratio.
    Reply
  • Sc4freak - Saturday, February 19, 2005 - link

    "Prices are falling rapidly on the X800XL, and we will probably have a better feel for the market in the next couple of weeks. If the card stabilizes just under the GeForce 6600GT, we would be crushed, but at the rate that prices are dropping, it might do much better than that."

    Why? I'd say that if the X800XL stabilised at ~$200, I'd be very, very happy.
    Reply
  • Ozenmacher - Saturday, February 19, 2005 - link

    I just bought an ATI X800 XL...I will take that card anyday over the 6800 GT Reply

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