Video Card Buyer's Guide - Spring 2009

by Derek Wilson on 3/30/2009 6:00 PM EST


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  • triclops41 - Sunday, April 05, 2009 - link

    I think it should be mentioned that the 4670 doesn't require external power, therefore it can be used on pretty much any computer because you only need a very baseline power supply and a PCI-E slot.

    the 4670 is comparable to the 9600gt in power, but surpasses it in quietness, efficiency and flexibility of implementation.

    My secondary PC is a basic dual core dell with a 4670, and it runs any game at 720p full settings without a hitch. Didn't even have to swap out the crappy Dell stock PSU.
  • DBissett - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    So you eyes find what appear to be the BOLD section headings, and then it takes a minute to figure out that the relevant text is ABOVE what appears to be the BOLD heading and not below it. So now you're scanning backwards to read what you want in the review. WHY? Get a better editor on these articles. Eyes don't need this kind of exercise. Reply
  • KhadgarTWN - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    4870 could perform better then GTX 285 in what circumstance?
    let alone in the REAL GAMING review GTX 285 sit on par with 4870X2 with about 2/3 of power consumption. (OCP)
    And how about GTX 260?
    And how about the situation when SLI/CF failed?
    And how about the PSU?

    The only one silly site "cite" about 4870 may catch up GTX 285 is this one....

    Anandtech's recommandation is more and more like a reversed one.
  • 7Enigma - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    Let's see....

    Age of Conan: 4870X2 kills 285 @ 1680X1050, 1920X1200, 2560X1600

    Call of Duty World at War: 4870X2 destroys 285 @ 1680X1050, 1920X1200, >10fps @ 2560X1600

    Crysis Warhead: Close on the low end resolutions but 4870X2 >15% faster at 2560X1600

    Fallout 3: Close on low end resolutions but 4870X2 14% faster at 2560X1600

    I got bored after 4 straight benchmarks in the 285 review showing the 4870X2 was better. Me thinks you need to go back and check your facts....
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    Didn't say 4870x2, but 4870. I'd assume that was a response to the second paragraph on the last page: "Yes, the GTX 285 does offer the highest performance of a single GPU solution in many cases. But the fact that the 4870 costs just a little more than half as much, and in some cases performs higher, leaves a sour taste in our mouths." Reply
  • 7Enigma - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    I was refuting his comment that "in real-world" it is similar to the X2, which it in no way is. reviews now have so much ambiguity in what they decide is [hard] they fail to have much actual scientific comparisons. I used to use them as another source for reviews but after the past couple fiasco's (C2D launch, last 3 or so major gpu launches), I believe they are (and very smartly so) pandering to the flamewars so they can generate ad revenue instead of actual good reviews (I was banned after that comment over there).

    As for Anand's comment it holds water:

    "Yes, the GTX 285 does offer the highest performance of a single GPU solution in many cases. But the fact that the 4870 costs just a little more than half as much, and in some cases performs higher, leaves a sour taste in our mouths."

    Just with another quick look at the 285 article here's what I can see:

    -Age of Conan: 4870 1gig beats GTX 285 at all resolutions

    -Fallout 3: At 1680X1050 and 1920X1200 4870 1gig beats GTX 285

    -G.R.I.D.: At 1680X1050 and 1920X1200 4870 1gig beats GTX 285

    If you just browsed the original review and looked at the bar graphs which only showed the highest resolution (which IMO is not the proper one to show since we are talking single GPU setups where at most people are running 24" displays, I actually think I posted a comment in regards to that choice since many people don't look at the detailed data), you would come away with the 4870 1gig only beating the GTX 285 in Age of Conan. Once you see that unless you are running a 30" display they pretty much split the games selected in 1/2 at 22-24" display resolutions, I think Anand's comment is actually going easy on the GTX 285.

    If I was to write that sentence it would be much more painfully truthful, "Yes, the GTX 285 does offer the highest performance of a single GPU solution in 4 out of 7 cases at 22-24" display resolutions. But the fact that the 4870 costs just a little more than half as much, and in 3 out of 7 cases performs better, leaves a sour taste in our mouths."

    Disclaimer: I own a 4870 512meg, but could care less "defending" it against an Nvidia product. I only care about performance/$, and more importantly factual data.
  • san1s - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    grid? age of conan?
    ati biased games, all of them
    if a gtx 260 beats a 4870x2 in the nvidia biased dead space, would "it leave a sour taste in our mouths?"
  • 7Enigma - Thursday, April 02, 2009 - link

    Cherry pick all you want, and claim bias as well, the simple fact stands that when you look at the data the 4870 at practical resolutions for its price range/target audience does quite well against the GTX 285 (that would be 24" and smaller displays). BTW, you forgot about Fallout3 or is that also an ATI-biased game?

    If you feel the games are biased take it up with Anandtech, I'm simply going over the data to refute the baseless claims.
  • san1s - Friday, April 03, 2009 - link

    "feel the games are biased"
    I don't feel the games are biased, the ARE biased toward ati cards
    in a real life scenario, the games you play aren't half nvidia favoring half ati like the selection on anandtech reviews
    looking at the top games, the overwhelming majority are "the way its meant to be played""
    if you want to go for "practical resolutions" and "target audience" then when don't you support testing with the target games that people that pc gamers play?
    "does quite well against the GTX 285"
    the cards are not int he same league, different price points
    performance does not increase at the same rate as price
    for example, you can buy a $100k porsche 911 turbo, or you can step it up to a $200k gallardo
    do you get a 200% increase in performance? no
    same thing with graphics cards, and just about anything else you buy

  • 7Enigma - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    To Anand and the crew:

    This just goes to show the damage those bar graphs can cause when people go back to compare data from previous articles. A casual glance would have you saying the GTX285 pretty much destroys the 4870 1gig in 6 out of the 7 tests (by destroy I mean overall with the bar graphs the 4870 loses the vast majority). This is a false assumption as I described in the previous comment.

    I would like to ask again that either the bar graphs get removed from future articles (I'd personally like this but I think the multi-resolution broken line graphs are not easy to read for people unaccustomed to looking at data), or the team comes up with a practical and more importantly transparent decision on what resolution gets selected for that bar graph. Here's my personal opinion:

    -In single GPU tests (ie the GTX 285 article) the bar graph is either 1680X1050 or 1920X1200. 99% of the people purchasing this card are going to be using a 22-24" monitor (possibly still a 19" even!) and so the majority are going to benefit from seeing the big chart showing one of those 2 resolutions. You also need to sum up succinctly the complex data a bit better in the written portion after the figures. You can break it down anyway you like, but please also have an overall last sentence to the big picture effect. Sometimes you do this, but other times I'm left puzzled what was mentioned when a bigger point should be mentioned.

    -In mainstream card reviews (4850, 8800 (or whatever they are now rebadging them :), and lesser cards) the bar graph should be 1280X1024 or 1680X1050. I think you'll probably find the majority of people are probably split about even between 19" and 22" displays that are looking at these products. Again we want to see higher resolutions for things such as SLI/X-fire, but that is not what these products are predominantly geared towards.

    -In high end/multi-gpu on a card review go hog wild. Sure the large majority of people buying these probably don't even have 30" displays, but that's really who should be purchasing these in the first place. Having 200fps with a 4870X2 running on a 19"-22" display is just stupid, but at least you will be able to show this with data.

    Just my 2 cents. Keep up the great work guys, you are the definitive leader of tech sites.
  • frozentundra123456 - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    Thanks for all the suggestions. Actually, I would try the power supply with a 4830 or 4850 but I don't think it even has 2 x 4 pin leads to put into a six pin adapter. I can only find one free 4 pin lead.

    As far as replacing the power supply, getting it out should be no problem. I am just concerned about getting all the cables reconnected and rerouted properly. It might not be that difficult, but when you look at all the wires and connectors, it looks very difficult to reconnect and re-route everything properly. (The case is rather small by the way.)
  • 7Enigma - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    Get a digital camera, or better yet a video camera and record (with GOOD lighting) exactly how you remove the wires. It really is pretty simple (replacing mobo's is worlds more difficult), but it's fool-proof if you record what you do and then just watch it while you are installing the new one. Just be very careful if you have any SATA hardware as those connectors are designed horribly and can break off if you aren't gentle.

  • 7Enigma - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    Oh and get some zip-ties. Any hardware store will sell a large multipack with different sizes. A handful of them can make a huge difference in appearance and airflow, not to mention avoiding the horrifying discovery that when you place the tower upright a cable hangs down into a fan....not saying that ever happened to me. :) Reply
  • The0ne - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    That's taking some of the fun out of figuring out the best way to route cables inside your PC :) Well, I enjoy doing it hahaha Reply
  • 7Enigma - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    Of course, but I can easily see how any computer work can be daunting for the first time, especially when dealing with cabling with PSU's and mobo's. I can still remember the first time I built a system; I think I spent 2 hours with all the mobo cables sweating and shaking the entire time just hoping I didn't cross any wires. Then a couple years later on a build I had a bum stick of ram (1gig kit, 2X512meg) which had me tearing my hair out for a couple hours....since then the mantra of K.I.S.S. has allowed me to avoid most of the common pitfalls during builds/upgrades. Reply
  • MagicPants - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    How can you recommend the 4870 X2 when two 4870s are cheaper? Reply
  • RyuDeshi - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    Maybe because that would require an SLI board. For me that would be another $100-150 for a decent SLI motherboard.

    Although if you already have an SLI board, then it makes sense.
  • 7Enigma - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    Also don't forget the power savings (~15w) which while not massive is still significant. Reply
  • PopcornMachine - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    If this is the big secret, then I call it a BIG disappointment...">

    What's the point of a model between the 260 and 280, even if it were something new?
  • CookieKrusher - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    I love articles like this because every couple of years I end up brushing up on my tech savvy. With that in mind, could I ask what the conventional wisdom is for playing games at 1920x1080? That is, what is the typical single and/or dual card solution for playing at medium-high quality?

    I'm asking because this question is being prompted by the recent death and replacement of my old 17" lcd with a new 24" one.

    In any case, helpful write up. thx.
  • just4U - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    260/216 and the 4870 are sweet spots currently for that resolution. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    For me personally, I'd shoot for something at the level of the GTX 260 Core 216 or HD 4870 1GB... those will handle almost all current games at 1080P without difficulties. If you're willing to drop details, you can get by with a 4830/4850 512MB card, or the GTS 250/9800 GTX+ cards, but I'd try for more rather than less. Reply
  • bwanaaa - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    I think I am dreaming. Did I see that for 170 bucks x 2 ( that's 2 copies of the 4870 1 gb) you get a crossfire solution that is the second fastest thing going?! (just below an sli setup of 2 copies of the 295!) Reply
  • barn25 - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    Its articles like this i dont like if you gonna post something like dont say wait a month. Just post about what there then amend it when the time comes! Reply
  • 7Enigma - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    I disagree. There are probably several people reading this article that were going to build there system this week. If Anandtech had posted the article without mentioning to wait a week/month those people could have gone out and built a system and then immediately felt like they made a mistake. I personally thank them even though I'm not currently building a system because back in January when I did build a gaming rig it was these types of articles that helped my buying decision. If I had been in that situation now, seen this article (without mentioning to wait a week/month, instead having the "choice" for a particular price point) and purchased a card that was a worse choice a week later, I would be very VERY peeved. Reply
  • RamarC - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    even with the impending shakeup, that's a great card for $90. Reply
  • alfredska - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    Why would you publish this article now, instead of at the end of the week? As it stands there are two categories that say, "wait". At least at the end of the week you could reduce this to one, and perhaps even be able to provide more insight into why we should wait for the ~$100 price range. Reply
  • SiliconDoc - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    Clucking for red cards and dissing the green ones couldn't be resisted. Come on man, don't you know who you're reading ? Reply
  • chrnochime - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    I don't understand how a NDA bars AT from even mentioning the name of the cards. Might as well not include those two categories if all we're getting in either one is a big wait sign.

  • The0ne - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    You're being fed information that is not normally public yet. There are several issues with releasing some of the information ahead of the intended time. There's too many details on the subject alone to warrant a discussion here. You have marketing, pricing, customer schedules, testing, etc.

    I actually don't understand why you guys wouldn't want to know that products are going to be release shortly. It's almost a catch22 with many of you that feel this way. On one hand Anandtech is giving you a heads up on products within a weeks time and on the other hand you bitch about Anandtech not giving you a heads up when they do mentioned it in the article the same day it's release.

    Wouldn't it be better for you to know that there are changes coming within the week rather than being surprise at the point and bitching that you could have gotten some warning before the announcement? You can't have it both ways, and seriously you're not in the business to be fed the info anyhow. So consider the heads up previliged information.
  • The0ne - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    I think the article would be substantially more useful if there were links for the review(s) of the video card selections made and a link to your "overall" performance charts of the various video cards if there is one. Thanks in advance. Reply
  • The0ne - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    This is where I’m interested in for my next video card. My PC’s are all running on 30” LCDs now so high resolution is a must. My main is setup as dual-view to my big TV as well and performance takes a hit from that. Having said that however, I’m hoping for some good reviews for whatever cards you guys announce. Although my 9800gx2 is doing well, I have a dual-core sitting on the ground with no video card.

    Only one week so no big deal. Thanks for the heads up!
  • poohbear - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    sweet, most recomendations are for ati products. I hope this wakes nvidia from their stupor and they release another 8800gt type of card that shakes up the market! Reply
  • SiliconDoc - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    But ATI is losing a billion a year- so be careful what you wish for.
    Nvidia stock aint great but its been there before - and has legs with TESLA sales.
    So just cool it - or the red roosters might be jumpin the coop chickless after a bit more castration.
    Do some real good and dial 1-800- O and beg a couple billion stimulus for the reds - right, everyone should pay for failure.
  • Finally - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    ...those suckers already did that. Those are called 9800 and 250... Reply
  • frozentundra123456 - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    Yes that was a typo in my earlier comment. I did mean the 4670 for a 300w power supply.
    I agree that the 4830 or 4850 is a better value if your system can handle it. However, I don't want to upgrade my power supply too, because this is quite a bit more difficult than just plugging in a new video card. I don't think the power supply even has the proper connectors for an 6 pin connector.
    However, this is really irritating in a way. It would cost so little to put a 400 or 500 watt power supply in even an off the shelf model, and it would make the computer much more versatile.
  • caliche - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    Check on your power supply specs. Say you have a 300W PS with 70% efficiency rating, that gives you around 210W to work with. A P4 based chip may by iffy (power hogs) but a Core 2 Duo or newer AMD chip probably has the headroom. I have an "off the shelf" C2D with 300W PS and added a 512MB Radeon 3850 to it and it games well. Look up the power usage for the newer cards under load and see what will work, I know the lower/middle end cards are getting pretty thrifty on the power usage. Maybe borrow a Kill a Watt or similar to see what your current power usage is under load.

    So maybe a 4830 or a 9800 GTX+ with a power adapter may work out. Some vendors include the "2x4 pin Hard Drive to 6 pin" adapter or you can get them separately, if you have two 4 pin adapters it's worth a shot.
  • Exar3342 - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    That is incorrect; the PSU still supplies 300W, but it is pulling 390W from the wall. The efficiency just describes how much actual wattage is needed to supply the rated wattage amount. Reply
  • caliche - Thursday, April 02, 2009 - link

    Thanks for clearing that up, so I was being way too cautious and probably could have went with a bigger card. Good to know. I just heard so much about underpowering it causing artifacts, lockups, etc so going a little lower made more sense than messing around with returns and issues. I just want it to work.

    So "300W power supply" should be providing 300W of power if it's not total junk, but you still have to look at what cable is getting what power. A single six pin adapter or two 4 pin drive adapters converted into a single six pin is all you need for most of the midrange cards, so a 4650 or whatever they announce next month (4750?) in a smaller off the shelf system should be just fine from what you are saying. And a 4830 may be fine as well if you figure out the power use in detail.

    And a dual slot cooler if possible in case the off the shelf parts on the case are not quite ready to deal with all that heat the bigger cards throw out. Now I want to upgrade again.
  • strikeback03 - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    Is the power supply riveted into the case or something? Removing 4 screws and some connectors doesn't seem that hard. Reply
  • The0ne - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    Maybe he's got one of them Antec P180 cases and the PS is shoved and jammed in their. I had to do it so it "could" happen :) Reply
  • ev0styLe - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    Veroxious add my Xfire ev0style or MSN I may be able to help u out Reply
  • faxon - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    I was going to get an HD4870 1GB Vapor-X from Sapphire @ newegg for $220 by the end of the week. looks like maybe there is going to be a price drop or the release of the HD4890 in the very near future? if so sweet, it's probably going to be to fast for my needs anyway! Even then, price drops are FTMFW, and i dont mind paying $20 less for something! Reply
  • 7Enigma - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    I built my gaming rig back in January with the 512-meg version of the card you are talking about. While I wish they had designed the cooler to completely exhaust the air out of the case (I'd wager only 30-40% actually goes out the back), it keeps the chip incredibly cool even at a moderate overclock. It will raise your case temps quite a bit since it is dumping most of the heat inside the case, but as long as your PSU and rear case fans are operating properly it shouldn't be a problem. I highly recommend the card(s)! Reply
  • just4U - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    It seems that they use something very similiar now on their stock 4870s to. I have one of those and it looks alot like the vapochill cooling (silver heat pipe mind you) Thing is ... it runs really cool. I get 50C idle and no more then 65 under max load. Sapphire did a nice job on those... which has upped my thoughts of them (considering some of their "stock" cooling options in the past)
  • 7Enigma - Thursday, April 02, 2009 - link

    I see about the same temps, but mind you the Sapphire Vapochill cards are slightly overclocked (780 core, 1000 memory), but it is a really well designed heatsink that with some small changes could really be fantastic. I was very pleased not to have to potentially void my warranty by buying a new card and immediately ripping off the stock heatsink to use an aftermarket one. Reply
  • Veroxious - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    It REALLY grates my nads that we get ripped off SO badly here in South Africa. On average we are paying 2 to 2.5 times more for our graphics cards. A frggin 4830 is on average $210 while a 9800GTX+ is $300!!!!! YET our memory, mobo and LCD prices are mostly on par with the US. What's up with that? Maybe I should start my own import company and offer gamers better prices. The cherry on the cake is the DISTRIBUTORS here are selling it at these high prices. Gigabyte has a futher 25-50% premium because there is a sole distributor. I'm disgusted to say the least.

    Back on topic. While I agree that ATI offers considerable savings for performance the drivers really are spoiling it. I have a friend who had endless problems with his Asus 4830. Yes I know the 4800 series run hot BUT I would have expected a company like Asus to fare better in the quality stakes. Also the card works a lot better WITHOUT installing the Catalyst Control Centre. NVIDIA is miles ahead in that department although when the 4800 series is hooked up it does offer amazing eye candy for the money. It just runs too hot though...........

    Any of you enthusiasts willing to help a brother out by shipping a card to South Africa that I will purchase online and send to your house? Pretty please????????
  • SiliconDoc - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    You've got to cue in the marrket size, the advertising dollars and effects, the safety of resources (theft or damage) - perhaps shipping to the horn is a factor, then heat concerns maybe give higher rma rates - a whole host of things - in the USA big ticket stores have large cheap distribution networks and outsized sales number in large quantity discount - etc. Then perhaps also an exchange rate and bit of a push from the capital marketeers backing things.
    So all sorts of factors.
  • just4U - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    We have similiar problems in Canada. The 4830 Typically goes for $150, 4850/250 199 and up. The 4870 300-330 and the 260 (oddly enough) about 275.

    I've been noticing with the 260/216 that it's generally selling below 4870 prices in canada and the uk .. might be the same for the states to. If that's the case it would seem that it is the better buy overall.. It does really get cloudy at the top tho (260/4870/285 ect)
  • Proteusza - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    As a South African living in London, I can say we dont do much better over here. The 4850, which can apparently be had for $130 - $150, goes for £100 to £130 here. Apparently part of the reason for the difference is that all of our prices (Uk and South African) include VAT, while American prices dont because there isnt a nation wide sales tax regime, it can differ depending on the state and even the town apparently. So the prices shown exclude tax and shipping. Reply
  • strikeback03 - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    There is also the fact that depending on where you live a lot of the cards can be had tax-free and many often include free shipping. But stuff there generally does seem to be more expensive. A friend living in England was looking for a new lens for her camera, and decided she is going to try and wait until next time she comes home to the US to buy it, as what is a $1000 lens here typically runs over £800 there. Reply
  • The0ne - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    Meh, it's not that different from other countries. You just have to get out more to see how the market is for certain products. I wouldn't worry too much about it seeing as your country isn't the worst for pricing and you can't do anything about it :)

    Many of you may think China is a cheap place but they're really not, in certain cities. Yes, you can get cheap products at the black markets and what not but at retail stores, forget it :) I seriously don't know how anyone making $50 can live there :o
  • san1s - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    I don't see why you wouldn't see the gts 250 as a competitor to the 4850
    most review sites show it performing equal or better than the 4850, and with the dual slot cooler, it runs a lot cooler, which is a plus.
    looking through the prices">">
    the gts 250 has matched the 4850 in pricing
    why won't you recommend it?
    it is a competent competitor at the same price
  • SiliconDoc - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    Yer in red roosterville buddy - they can't help themselves. Reply
  • MadMan007 - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    I believe it's really the 1GB GTS 250 that is the competitor. The 512MB versions (for now) look to be all over the place in terms of PCB (some were rebranded 9800GTX+?) and power requirements. Reply
  • MadMan007 - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Why such secrecy? I know you can't break NDAs by giving details but rumor mills have had info regarding the HD4770 (or whatever it will be called) and the GTX 275 for long enough. You can't even mention the names? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    NDA pretty much means we can't talk about the details until the date the NDA lifts. While there's plenty of speculation and some unofficial benchmarks, Derek has hardware in hand for some of the stuff and has official information on other stuff. So, while you can read elsewhere about unofficial specs, the official stuff can't be disclosed yet.

    Incidentally, this is one of the big reasons for the spin off of DailyTech - we are separate companies, so they are not bound by our NDAs and we really don't discuss much with their people. I haven't talked to anyone at DailyTech in ages, other than saying hello at CES. It allows our "sister" site to report details as they find them, without worrying about what Anand and the rest of us may have agreed to keep silent.
  • MadMan007 - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    Yeah I just thought it was funny that even names weren't mentioned, I wouldn't expect technical details. Reply
  • MadMan007 - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Most all of the recent reviews (not system guides etc) were very negative about ATi drivers. What's changed since then? Reply
  • SiliconDoc - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    What hasn't changed is a lot of BSOD's and game crashes.
    That's ok, hassles and cursing makes a rooster feel like a big chicken man tech.
    I even gots my free ati teachin tool, es' called a BSOD, now don't you sob on my behaf'.

  • Hacp - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    What about Cuda and Physix? Reply
  • SiliconDoc - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    Don't say that - the red rooster strutters don't want to know what it is - don't mention Cuda, or Folding, or Warmonger, totally destructive enviroments, using your older 8 or 9 series NVidia as a physx card so never losing out buying up - just shush up the rd roosters are strutting about plucking eachothers chest hairs and waiting for the big green tractor to run them over for the last billion dollar ati loss time. Don't mention the crap ati driver issues or the CCC or the broken fixes every ding dang month when you finally get in a groove the bleeding quid idiots scrap it all again and remake a mistake.
    Just pat the little roosters on the head and tell them when they flap their wings they look real pretty and the chickenfeed is a plenty fer them. They don't have Ntune eiterh do they ? They have their hothead cards pusging electromigration - so even the red return door is revolving all the time - another chickseed hit.
    You want a piece of crap, it's always the cheap bargain basement - and there's always a shuckster pushing it between lies.
  • Jorgisven - Wednesday, April 08, 2009 - link

    I'm not really a fanboy of either. I get what works for my budget, but if I were an nVidia fanboy, I certainly wouldn't be pushing Cuda, or PhysX (see other Anand article) as they're totally overrated. There aren't enough games that make interesting use of PhysX (except maybe one), Cuda is still too proprietary as opposed to OpenGL. Yes nVidia's business model makes everyone gaga over their latest monolithic card, but when the performance numbers can't beat a cheaper card, it's tough to compete. On the other hand, ATI drivers have been the bane of many GPU purchases. Also, FYI, nTune is available on any nVidia product, GPU or not. I have the 780i and the HD4850 and I can use nTune just fine.

    Also, only somebody that knows nothing about value knocks the "bargain" cards. Who cares if you have a $3,000,000 Bugatti if it can be almost beat by the $100,000 tuner car with the right driver? Sure it looks cool and has some nifty buttons, but when push comes to shove, the only person who gets the Veyron is the guy with too much money to care. Good for him. Not everybody has the money to spend on it. And if something works nearly as good for a fraction of the cost, that is going to be the breadwinner in business, while maybe not the envy of coolness.
  • bigboxes - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    There clearly was a nVidia recommendation. On the first page they recommended the 9600GT. However, they didn't feel it was any better or worse than the 4670. For the $180 price point they recommended the GTX 260 core 216 or 4870 1GB depending on which games you play. Lastly, they recommended the GTX 295 if you wanted the best. Unfortunately for nVidia fanboys the ATI equivalent does just about everything you would ever need at a much cheaper price point. In fact, the overall theme of this guide is that ATI provides the best performance/price. That's too bad that it upsets you. You shouldn't place too much importance in brand names and put more on the actual product. You'll be much happier. Reply
  • PopcornMachine - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Apparently there will be something new at $100, or something will be pushed down to that level, and I can't wait to hear about it.

    But, while the 4670 is a real nice low power card, the 4830 is already under $100 and a lot more powerful. There are 3 such models at NewEgg right now, including a Sapphire for $75 (with rebate).

    So I really don't understand the recommendation of the 4670. If something so much better than the 4830 is going to be available for $100, then I would hold off on that purchase as well.
  • Zoomer - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    More than likely the rumored 4750. :) Reply
  • frozentundra123456 - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    I have an off the shelf system with only a 300w power supply. This makes the HD4870 attractive to me because it doesnt require an external power connecter. I only game at 1440 x 900 and lower.

    That said, I really liked the guide. However, to me it would be useful to include what kind of CPU is reqiured at the various levels of GPU performance. I know this would vary a lot from game to game, but it would not be useful to get a video card that the CPU cannot keep up with.
  • 7Enigma - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    That is one of the very few hardware articles I read on They (for the bigger titles) typically do a cpu/memory/gpu testbed that shows exactly what matters in a particular game. It is extremely enlightening to find out that for instance going from 1-2-4gigs of ram has, say, very little improvement, while going from 2.6-2.8-3.0GHz (cpu) has a much bigger impact. I would personally never build a system around a game (I'm sure some of you WOW players would), but what is really nice is to know what to temporarily overclock for better performance. Reply
  • josh6079 - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    The HD4870 has two power connectors and you would probably need something more than a 300W power supply if you were to include it in your rig. Reply
  • RU482 - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    pretty sure he means 4670 if he's mentioning a 300W PSU in an off the shelf system Reply
  • Hrel - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    What about the HD48501GB? Which is a much better option than the 2GB model unless you have a really expensive monitor i.e. 2560x????1920, I don't know that one.

    Oh, also, the GTS250 512MB version card is great, and IT IS shorter and built on the new referance design; not to mention XFX was selling one on newegg for $118!!!! Definetely a better option than HD4850 for that price.

    Also, the HD4830 is available at $75, so that's a better option than the 9600GT or the HD4670. 5-10 bucks more for significantly better performance.

    Seriously anandtech, this "guide" was really disapointing.
  • SiliconDoc - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    Well Dewreck can't help himself, it's 100% red 100% of the time - because right after any reluctant second listed pincy line ok if I must NVidia recommendation, the pleas to not buy or go up to the next level or wait or don't get it get a better ATI happen - EVERY TIME.
    He had to back off the 4850 because raving and red roostering for that for so long got a bit tiring, so now it's the 4850x2 instead.
    LOL - great move noone noticed.
    He even claims he cannot find a 285, the 280 was less desired so don't get it. LOL
    He's so red rooster NVidia doesn't give them test cards anymore. They've almost blackballed him entirely.
    But he likes that - makes him feel he has done his crowing and stubby wing flapping well.
    Um, but the guide is great - just put on your red rooster costume, come in, start strutting about, bobbin' yer head and quackin', flap yer little twitterin wings and take off on the propaganda - just don't mention PhysX, game profiles, dual card forcing, Cuda, power savings, or things like EVGA SLI enhancement for instant sli on newly released games...Warmonger, the new Mirror's Edge, PhysX for soft bodies, etc.
    Yeah, and make sure you give the new messiah O a jingle and beg for a couple billion for amd/ati who keep losing their shirts with the bestes red cards the whooorld has ev' known !
    Can't you see a red bug eyed fanboy going for the gold with flippers and a paddle when the "good ship" lollipop is sinking !? rofl
  • Hrel - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    what the hell is with all the rooster referencing??? You sound like a lunatic. Reply
  • RU482 - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    I would guess the 4830 isn't on there because it is about to disappear (and that $75 IS after rebate).

    Also, FWIW, that $79 4670 pictured (and others) can be had for $49 after rebate (often with free shipping too), making it a heck of a bang for the buck low end card.
  • SiliconDoc - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    The 4830 was a good buy when it hit - at $75 - I actually liked that and thought it might make it worth the hassles.
    It jumped up to over $100 when it was better recieved than expected - and now it's back down a bit.
    That was a good value card - not too hot, okay on power instead of going into raging powerhungry overdrive like the 4850 and 70.
    Good delivery of value, they tweaked up the shaders with that kerfluffle if you recall... they were gonna release lower perhaps.
    Anyway, the rooster did ok that time.
  • Hrel - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    hm, I didn't know anand's prices were pre-rebate. That's true though, the 9600GT/HD4670 is a heck of a lot of card for 50 bucks, I didn't think they went under 60, I never checked. Reply
  • Hrel - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    I meant HD4850X2 1GB, and also, you guys probably should have just held off a month on the review. Reply
  • josh6079 - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    The GTS 250 512MB is not shorter and is not built on the new reference design.

    That's the GTS 250 1GB.
  • Hrel - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    no dumb person, I already ordered two, from XFX, for 118 dollars each, for other people. The card is an inch and a half shorter. Anandtech's original article stated that they were just guessing, and they were wrong in that guess. Both the 1GB and 512MB versions use less electricity and are 1.5 inches shorter. Reply
  • SiliconDoc - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    Umm, yeah, cause the red rooster got stomped struttin' about with the chickenfeed lines by the big green tractor - brute force don't you know...wins.
    Now the cluckers are ticked with that no test card TKO, so on goes the blabbering article. Maybe there's a bit of green from the reds, in hopes that the billion dollar losses can be stopped. Keep clucking D' ! hahaha
    Glad to have discovered the truth.
  • Zoomer - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link"> Reply
  • justniz - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    ATI 's Linux drivers are a joke.
    If you plan to run Linux at all, go with nvidia.
  • stmok - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    Depends on perspective: I see things in the long term.

    ATI/AMD is opening up documentation specifications in a gradual manner. (Has to be cleared of legal issues). The result is the ability for the open source community to write their own driver...Which is one less step during installation and set up of a Linux system. (A benefit for the end user).

    Ubuntu 9.04 will support Radeons from R100 through R500 families with full 3D Acceleration. There is also X-Video and EXA support for the ATI R600 (Radeon HD 2000/3000) and R700 (Radeon HD 4000) series.

    According to this, AMD is helping with the 3D Acceleration code of the R600 series.">

    They are also pushing out some R700 series documentation.">

    What's Nvidia doing? Intentionally restricting any form of open source contribution down to mere trinkets of code for 2D acceleration only, nothing more. Everything else is all proprietary support. (Which means an extra step during installation of Linux for everyone!)

    The Nouveau project is working to address this "proprietary deficiency" with their own open source driver for Nvidia cards. They have a long way to go as they have to "reverse engineer". (No support from Nvidia).

    On top of that, there is an effort to shift everything to Gallium3D driver architecture. (Which will simplify future video driver development).

    In the short term, you would consider Nvidia.
    In the long term, it may be better to look at ATI.
  • anglesmithtitanius - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    ATI drivers compile and install without going to single user mode

    Last time i checked Nvidia drivers did not compile with the latest and greatest kernel, BTW ATI does

    stop the FUD.
  • HelToupee - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    Bullshit. nVidia's latest drivers compile everywhere ATI's do.

    nVidia's drivers DO NOT and HAVEN'T in the past 3 YEARS required you to go to single user mode to install. Jesus Christ in the sky, where do you get this shit?!?!? Yes, if you update your kernel, you have to recompile your kernel modules, just like you would with ATI's stuff.

    What ATI's drivers leave out is support for output on all formats (HDMI, TV). nVidia has that. Support for hardware video acceleration of hi-def formats (H.264, so Bluray) is also not available in ATI's stuff yet. (even though it was promised last November. I guess the hooks are there, but they've yet to release any code so it can be used by players) nVidia's H.264 and VC-1 acceleration has been usable in most major players (mplayer, Xine, XBMC video player) for months. Newest builds of Mythbuntu, Boxee, etc FULLY support it.

    You stop your own FUD, FUD-tard!

    Sincerely, someone who's been running a 7600GT under Ubuntu for 2+ years.
  • Zoomer - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Don't really care since I don't game in *nix environments. Well, if I do, it's nothing that requires serious gfx acceleration.

    Anyway, their drivers does work in most variants of linux. Sure it's not updated monthly, but so what?
  • Ananke - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    So we are going to have news regarding 4890? Is it really that good? I am waiting for that card. Reply
  • XiZeL - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    looking at its spects the only diferences is that its an overclocked 4870 1Gb, and i run my powercolor 4870 at the same clocks as the announced 4890 clocks Reply
  • retrospooty - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    Except the 4890 is a much better overclocker. Most early users are claiming at or near 1000mhz core on air, 1000+ easy on water. Reply
  • explicit4u - Monday, April 06, 2009 - link

    exactly, the 4890 is a completely different card. Reply
  • Zoomer - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Rumors: ~10% improvement. Tweaked shaders, gpu/mem clk increase. Reply