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ATI, Nvidia Reveal New $250 Graphics Cards

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the short-and-sweet dept.

Graphics 84

ThinSkin writes "As part of their 'Spring Refresh,' both AMD and Nvidia reveal new $250 graphics cards, the Radeon 4890 and GeForce GTX 275. ExtremeTech takes both cards and runs them through a gamut of gaming and synthetic benchmarks to decide which card triumphs over the other. Long story short, the GeForce takes the cake with impressive performance at its price, while the Radeon didn't show a high improvement over the cheaper Radeon 4870."

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No improvement of the 4870?? (5, Informative)

FreakinSyco (873416) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435183)

Yet HotHarware tests their 4890 and shows that it outperforms the 4870 in every category... []

and I quote:

"In every test, the Radeon HD 4890 (Asus EAH4890) was faster than the 1GB Radeon HD 4870, and the overclocked 4890 (Asus EAH4890 TOP) simply increased the card's overall lead. In comparison to competing offerings from NVIDIA, the Radeon HD 4890 is faster than the GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 overall, but it didn't quite keep pace with the just announced GeForce GTX 275."

Confusion (2, Insightful)

mac1235 (962716) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435241)

Hardware site 1 disagrees with hardware site 2! Who can we trust!

Re:Confusion (1)

xenolion (1371363) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435281)

no one. We see this every time these two companies release cards. Go around their site and see what they have given the other cards my bet is if one company wins all the time you can find the problem.

Re:Confusion (1)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435665)

Both agree that the Nvidia 275 outperforms the ATI 4890, so really, both sites agree. The differences between the sites performances for the ATI card are probably related to the differences in platforms (CPU, motherboard, RAM, FSB) that the card was installed.

Re:Confusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27435977)

The other difference is that you can easily buy the AMD card, and for under RRP apparently, whereas the NVIDIA launch was brought forward two weeks to piss on AMD's parade, and hence there are only a few cards available right now, if they haven't sold already.

Anyway, this is a gravy card for AMD, it's a high yield tweaked design on a mature process.

Anyway, this is the tweak launch, the next generation will be coming out later this year and will be quite interesting as this could be the design that goes up against Larrabee next year. I'm expecting 2 TFLOPS at least from AMD and NVIDIA however (the new 4890 is ~1.4 TFLOPS).

Re:Confusion (2, Informative)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 5 years ago | (#27437729)

The site that provides more concrete data, particularly about their test methodology. After all, "In god we trust. All others must bring data."

ExtremeTech chose not to test at 2560x1600, despite using a beta driver that significantly alters the resolution scaling performance of the NVidia cards. This means their numbers and thus their conclusions are worthless for anybody who wants to us the higher resolution. On the other hand, they didn't test at 1680x1050 either, so their tests didn't reveal the significant advantage the ATI card has for people with smaller monitors.

HotHardware's review, linked above, did test at both 2560x1600 and 1920x1200, but also neglected 1680x1050. Overall, their testing seemed to be more thorough, but I stopped reading when I noticed that the labels on their first graphs didn't even come close to matching the explanation in the adjacent paragraph. I don't particularly trust numbers when I can't even tell what they're representing.

Anandtech's review seems to test the two new cards in more detail and offers more explanation of how the architectural differences will affect performance. However, they chose to only compare the two cards at that price point, eschewing the context of the more and less expensive products. This makes it harder for the consumer to figure out if it's worth it to spend $250 for a graphics card, but it seems clear to me that Anandtech provides the most reliable data about the two cards, and is certainly more concerned with informing the consumer than deciding for them by proclaiming an all-around winner when there isn't one.

Re:Confusion (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#27438679)

I'm more interested in performance at resolutions 3840x1024 and 5040x1050 myself (max resolution capabilities of the analog and digital Matrox TripleHeads2Go respectively).

Re:No improvement of the 4870?? (3, Insightful)

Zakabog (603757) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435331)

No improvement of the 4870??

and I quote (from the summary):

"Long story short, the GeForce takes the cake with impressive performance at its price, while the Radeon didn't show a high improvement over the cheaper Radeon 4870."

Both articles say the same thing, the GeForce 275 is a better performer, and the 4890 isn't a much higher improvement over the 4870 (though it is still an improvement.)

Re:No improvement of the 4870?? (4, Informative)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435757)

I didn't read the hothardware article. Did they specify at which resolutions which card wins? Did they test with the newest 185 Nvidia drivers? They're moderately slower than the 182's.

Anandtech, my personal favorite reviewer (none of that 1 paragraph/page + 100 page article nonsense *cough tomshardware cough*) tells a different story [] .

In case you don't feel like clicking-- 4890 takes the cake hands down on 24" and sub 24" displays (1920x1200 resolution and lower). At 2560x1200, it's a tossup.

Considering you can buy the 4890 right now [] and the GTX275 won't be available for 2 more weeks [] , I think it's pretty clear which card to get.

Re:No improvement of the 4870?? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27437267)

The nVidia card of course

Re:No improvement of the 4870?? (0)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#27439115)

24" for 1920*1200, hehe. Try a 42" 1080p lcd tv with a real home theater for surround sound effects, much more fun than a little PC monitor =)

Re:No improvement of the 4870?? (1)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435947)

Hmm, both articles I read today from my preferred sites (HardOCP and Anandtech) said that it was a close call, but the ATI a bit faster (and the only one actually available for purchase).

Anyway, my gaming days are long gone (except the occasional Wii sports & Civilization), so it is a moot point for me...

Re:No improvement of the 4870?? (5, Informative)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436137)

Replying to my own post above, I actually quickly went through the ExtremeTech article (ok ok take back my /. badge) and confirmed why it is not one of my "preferred" sites. To call the nVidia better they divide the cost by the FPS over the games they tested. Yes, the raw FPS over different games, doesn't need a PhD in statistics to figure out the problem here. Then, they admit that the ATI overclocks very well (with the included utilities from ATI and ASUS), while the nVidia does not, but instead of stating this as an advantage for the ATI card they complain about the cards not shipping at the higher speeds they can easily attain. And finally, they list the nVidia at "$250 street est." price, while the ATI as "MSRP $259" when the latter is right now selling NOW on NewEgg for $230 after MIR or $250 directly. Great Job ExtremeTech!

Re:No improvement of the 4870?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27442011)

My neighbor hit the nail. I'm sick and tired of reading carefully writen (read biased) reviews, I always go to NewEgg and look at the reviews It's the whole upgrade what it matters not the %0.02 increase in some ramdom spec.


Re:No improvement of the 4870?? (1)

notrandomly (1242142) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443015)

instead of stating this as an advantage for the ATI card they complain about the cards not shipping at the higher speeds they can easily attain

Why should I have to overclock to get the most out of my brand new graphics card?

Re:No improvement of the 4870?? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443947)

You shouldn't which is why the review should focus on the as sold spec instead of what a team of monkeys with a cryogenic cooler and 10 years of experience can accomplish. The cards likely ship at the speeds they do because of some failure rates at higher speeds that the manufacturer decided was too much of a liability. It may shorten the lifespan to before the warranty expires or it may cause data corruption resulting in wired errors getting blamed on their equipment and they don't want the hit inreputation.

But they let you change the speeds because if your successful, you will convince others to do so and they will likely need a new video card sooner then later. Either way, the old warning which still seems true is "if you over clock and screw it up, it's your fault-not ours". And that's probably enough to get what they want from it- possible better performance showing this card/device is capable, but it's your problem not mine if it screws up or doesn't deliver.

Re:No improvement of the 4870?? (1)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 5 years ago | (#27444337)

I am not a gamer, but reading the reviews it seems that the ATI cards are conservatively clocked to allow their partners to sell at higher clocks, but also give the users a utility which has a simple slider to OC. So we are talking about somewhat "manufacturer-sanctioned" overclocking that is done by simply moving a slider on a software utility. For the specific ASUS card tested, an ASUS utility was also included which can even increase the voltage for higher speeds (the HardOCP unit was stable at 1GHz).
It is similar to CPU's, not all people will OC but I personally chose a C2D over an Athlon/Phenom (this was before Phenom II), because even though at my price point AMD was sort of competitive, I simply set the C2D at a 20% OC on stock cooling and it is running along happily crunching data 24/7 for the last year or so... So while not everyone will use OC capabilities, it is certainly an advantage and should be treated so.

Re:No improvement of the 4870?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27435373)

Re:No improvement of the 4870?? (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435391)

Not only that, but the linked ExtremeTech article shows that the Radeon 4890 is faster than the 4870 in all cases, and in many cases faster than nvidia's offering as well.

Beware (3, Interesting)

HunterZ (20035) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435209)

The Inquirer (I know, they hate nVidia with a passion) is speculating that the GT275 may be a relabeled GT260, except for reviewer cards which may be relabeled GT280's: []

I guess this is common for ATI/AMD and nVidia to do, but it's the first I've heard of it and it seems awful slimy.

you mean Charlie Demerjian (5, Insightful)

MoFoQ (584566) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435263)

yea...but don't think it's a "they"...just one crusader (don't think he wears a cape): Charlie Demerjian

He just hates nVidia with a passion.
Supposedly, there was some sort of "tiff" between them...them, like many companies, wanting to limit negative reviews, etc.

either way, grains (not just grain) of salt required for his articles regarding NV.

Re:you mean Charlie Demerjian (2, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435403)

My impression of charlie's nvidia coverage is that he "sweats the small stuff," "makes mountains out of molehills," etc. But on the big stuff, he's pretty accurate. For example, he had the scoop on the overheating nvidia chips months before it came out anywhere else. That screw-up cost nvidia (and partners like HP) double and maybe triple digit millions of dollars of losses. I would consider the claims in that article to be "big stuff" - sending high-end cards to reviewers and low-end (and mostly unavailable at that) cards to customers is big stuff.

We'll all know for sure in a month or two, but for now, he's got the benefit of my doubt on this claim.

Re:you mean Charlie Demerjian (1)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435763)

The only problem with this theory is that the video card companies have been called out on this every time they have done it in the past. It is very simple for a review site, once seeing allegations like this, to go to their local store and simply buy a card. And the other problem is that there are simply too many review sites for companies like ATI or Nvidia to send review samples. There is almost a new review site up almost every 2-3 months, and if one of those picks up a retal product (or as is the case of all the real good review sites, they always purchase a normal retal product), will very quickly see the shenanigans going on with the review samples. So I call BS on the article.

Re:you mean Charlie Demerjian (1)

MoFoQ (584566) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436229)

true...but video card companies aren't the only ones.

many semiconductor companies do it mainly to increase yields off of a single wafer.
Not all chips on a wafer can pass off as high-end parts. Some will have to be "modified" to make them lower-end parts; even then, at least they aren't throwing that piece of silicon away.
Case in point, celerons and durons (blast from the past)

Re:you mean Charlie Demerjian (1)

MoFoQ (584566) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436187)

the problem is...he's crying wolf too many times...sure...once in a while, he's bound to get it right...but other

in the end, it just hurts him and his crusade.
If he at least wears the face of being unbiased, his observations would carry more clout.
Case in point, look at the comments on his articles, many claim that he's...well...let's just say they aren't nice comments.
Sometimes, more damage can be done by being or at the very least seeming to be objective. It adds credibility.

either way, I was hoping for a slight "+2" funny rating....guess no one got the bit about the cape.

Re:you mean Charlie Demerjian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27436587)

Personally, I think he has an axe to grind with nVidia. Granted, what they have been doing lately has been quite dastardly, but somehow he lets ATi/AMD slide on similar headfakes.

Just because the man is right 1 time out of 10 doesn't make him great. Just remember he's wrong the other 9 times. I've noticed that most of the heavily biased articles are from him or the ones that are just flat out confused or wrong have the Charlie Demerjian imprinteur attached to it.

Re:you mean Charlie Demerjian (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#27439273)

Just because the man is right 1 time out of 10 doesn't make him great. Just remember he's wrong the other 9 times.

Please cite 2 cases where he was wrong.

When I said that he makes mountains out of molehills, I meant that he inveighs against anything they do regardless of whether it is really something bad/wrong or just the way things go. But it is easy to tell the difference between him bitching about something like arbitrary branding decisions and him reporting significant fuckups like the overheating chips, or before that the lack of price/performance competitiveness against ATI's products with their latest respective generations.

Re:you mean Charlie Demerjian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27440687)

Charlie Demerjian has been making wild accusations against nVidia regularly for years. He got it right once with the overheating issue - and even in that case I believe it did not turn out to be as extensive as he "predicted" (hoped, more accurately).

Let's take a look at a quote from Charlie's latest rant:

That brings us to the launch strategy. Nvidia will be allowing reviewers to write about the 275 on April 2, but there will be no cards. Etailers can 'sell' them from that date, but they are warned that cards won't be available until the 14th... maybe. This is because they don't really exist... yet.

And, two days later (by a different author; one without a massive irrational grudge against nVidia):

AT THE INQ, we were sure April Fool's Day jokes were limited to April 1st. So imagine our surprise when, this morning, April 2nd, we discovered Nvidia's âmythical' GTX275 card - paper launched today - was actually being made physically available by Palit.

(From ).

Gosh, what a surprise.

Re:you mean Charlie Demerjian (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#27441483)

Charlie Demerjian has been making wild accusations against nVidia regularly for years. He got it right once with the overheating issue - and even in that case I believe it did not turn out to be as extensive as he "predicted" (hoped, more accurately).

I'm pretty sure it turned out to be even larger than he first reported - spreading from laptops to desktop cards. iirc, Nvidia had to take a $30M writedown on their quarterly earnings to cover the costs.

AT THE INQ, we were sure April Fool's Day jokes were limited to April 1st. So imagine our surprise when, this morning, April 2nd, we discovered Nvidia's âmythical' GTX275 card - paper launched today - was actually being made physically available by Palit./quote

Surprisingly, you left out the rest of the article that tends to support what Charlie wrote - namely that as far as anyone can tell, the only reason Palit has stock is because they significantly cut QC corners, skipping an entire QC turnaround cycle and that customers buying cards from this first batch are likely to get burned.

That you left out that extremely important qualification is interesting. It would suggest that you are even more guilty of doing exactly what you claim charlie does. Seems par for the course given all the criticism I've read of his writing, it is extremely rare that someone can critique charlie of being anything more than a harsh critic without resorting to deception.

Seems highly unlikely (3, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435975)

The 275 is something of a "cross" between a 260 and 280. The 280 has 240 shader cores, 1GB of RAM and a 512-bit memory bus. The 260 has 192 or 216 cores depending on the version 896MB of memory and a 448-bit memory bus. They are both 65nm parts. Well the 275 is a 55nm part and nVidia's spec page says it has 240 shader cores, 896MB of memory and a 448-bit memory bus. Hence like I said, a cross between the old two.

Ok well that leave one of two situations for the Inquirer conspiracy theory:

1) nVidia is giving the reviewers cards with more RAM. Possible, but not likley. Also, wouldn't give significantly better results. Turns out that much RAM isn't useful for games these days.

2) nVidia is lying on their product spec page. They are sending 240sp versions to reviewers, and 192 or 216 core versions to the public. Very unlikely, they'd get sued for false advertising.

I just don't buy it. I suppose in theory they could do something like increase the clocks on review cards, but that is real likley to get noticed. Those reviewers know how to run utilities like GPU-Z as well as the rest of us.

I am starting to think nVidia needs to sue Charlie Demerjian for libel. There's not much question his intent is malicious, and he certainly puts out false information. His only defense would be that he didn't know it was false and of course that brings up the question as to why he didn't check, being a journalist and all.

I'll believe this if someone has some kind of real proof, but this seems totally unsubstantiated.

Re:Seems highly unlikely (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442297)

The 275 is a 285 with rops disabled, that's the only difference, or Core 216 with ROPS enabled. But they are the same chip the GT200. If you look at the specs it's obvious they based the 275 around the GTX 260 reference design PCB based on the Core 216/GTX 260.

Either way I was totally underwhelmed by both cards in terms of performance, I'm not sure why everyone is getting their panties in a bunch. Anyone owning 8800 GTS / GTX from the last gen still can play every game on the market.

For anyone who owns and 8800 GTS / GTX it's best to wait for the next generation rather then waste $ on this one, when the 4870 and GT200 first came out, it was obvious that both parts were underwhelming performers.

Re:Beware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27436123)

Anyone else find that The Inquirer site kills dead Safari 4 beta on PowerPC Macs?

Re:Beware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27436505)

Relabeling is common, but that's not what the issue is here. What's worse is changing the graphics chipset while maintaining the same label, which is what they're being accused of here. The average observer is going to read reviews for a "GT 275", but the product being reviewed and the product being sold in the box are different things. This is not the same as calling one thing A and then later calling the same thing B; if you read something about A, it is still true of A. When you read something about B, it is still true of B. And if you have the additional knowledge that A == B, then you can also interchange information about them with little harm. The only way you'd be hurt by this is if you believed one was better than the other, AND you paid more because of it.

A confirmed example of nvidia's product swapping is the GeForce 9600 GSO, which started out with one core and was swapped out for a lower-performing core, with no change to the product label. It's a class-action waiting to happen, really.

Regardless of technical merit, nvidia is a really scummy company in their business practices and I've never been comfortable with buying their products. Which is why I haven't, and don't intend to.

ATI 4890 on linux (5, Informative)

MC68040 (462186) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435229)

This might be useful to someone like me, Phoronix just reviewed the 4890 on Linux with the ATI catalyst drivers: [] :)

Re:ATI 4890 on linux (1)

ReptileQc (679542) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435293)

Yes that is great news indeed!

I am looking to replace an onboard (Asus / nVidia) video card by an ATI.

That might be contrary to what most people say around here, but I've always had more luck on Linux with the ATI drivers than the Nvidia driver.


Re:ATI 4890 on linux (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436655)

I'm running ATI now (Ubuntu 8-10 @ 64 bit), but with my on-board I have fewer options than with nVidia, the options pane looks just horrible, I cannot tilt my screen and (biggest point) I cannot do any 3D while having Compiz (desktop acceleration) enabled. It pretty much sucks and I am thinking of buying nVidia again. I moved to ATI because of the promises of better drivers, but IMHO they haven't really delivered.

OTOH, it's a fast, fan-less GPU with dedicated memory for an on-board and my machine is mainly for browsing and development. The VGA out is pretty good as well, which is surprising for a cheap GPU.

Re:ATI 4890 on linux (1)

Nikker (749551) | more than 5 years ago | (#27439925)

I have to agree there with you. I bought an Asus board with an onboard ATI/AMD GPU on it, it's just for a media centre pc so graphics doesn't mean that much, so I figured with all the source released and Linux support getting a bit more press it might be ok for now .... I gotta say you've burned me before ATI and this was no exception it wasn't even a cutting edge GPU either . Ubuntu would id the card and I installed both the radeonhd and blobs both sucked pretty hard when it came to even basic desktop effects and 1080p was brutal on a Athlon x2 5000+. Switch to win7 and it all clears up and 1080p uses ~%30 CPU now.

Needless to say I'm not touching ATI again until I get solid reviews on OSS drivers.

Re:ATI 4890 on linux (1)

makomk (752139) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442685)

biggest point) I cannot do any 3D while having Compiz (desktop acceleration) enabled.

I think that the latest ATI driver release is supposed to fix this, finally. Took them long enough. Users of xserver 1.6 may have to wait for the 9.4 drivers next month, though...

Re:ATI 4890 on linux (1)

Svenne (117693) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436757)

Keep in mind that ATI's driver doesn't support vsync on Xvideo, which means you'll experience lots of tearing when watching videos.

Re:ATI 4890 on linux (1)

ianare (1132971) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436399)

Do you know if this version of catalyst finally supports the new driver ? I can't upgrade to ubuntu 9.04 because of this issue ...

Re:ATI 4890 on linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27442323)

To follow up... You can't cleanly compile the latest ATI driver against 2.6.29.

There's a patch somewhere on the Phoronix forums, you get a few errors in your dmsg, but it seems to run ok for me so far with my 4850 :)

Summary is flamebait (2, Insightful)

MooseMuffin (799896) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435243)

Nothing in the linked article or the other various reviews of the two cards I've seen today concludes "the Radeon didn't show a high improvement over the cheaper Radeon 4870."

GeForce or Radeon?? (5, Insightful)

PIBM (588930) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435247)

I'm not sure on how to analyze that post after reading TFA. It seems that the radeon beat the nvidia in most of the cases, even at the $ per average FPS..

Thus why is this tagged with nvidia as the winner ?

Re:GeForce or Radeon?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27436537)

low $/FPS numbers are a *good* thing. Where did you learn how to do math?

Re:GeForce or Radeon?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27437769)

Beat != more

It's a tie, not a win for nvidia (3, Informative)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435251)

Looking at a wider range of reviews, I think we can call this round a draw. That means the real winners are consumers, because the selling point will become price.

Or, if you read the most interesting review of these cards, you'll see why maybe nvidia will skip the price game this time and instead try (and fail) to sell their cards based on physx: []

Taking the cake... (1)

telomerewhythere (1493937) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435463)

The cake is a lie. You keep the cake.

Kind of useless test... (4, Insightful)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435539)

Kind of a useless test from my point of view, that of someone that would be looking to upgrade, for one simple reason.

These comparisons never seem to include the last generation of cards, and thus of no real value to me since I cannot determine how much of an upgrade I would be getting.

I don't care how many fucking cores it has if it doesn't perform better then what I have right now.

Benchmark testing my own machine(as a comparison tool) is sort of useless as well since the REST of my machine may be totally different then what they used.

Which is better then which is an entirely moot point if neither is better then what I have.

Re:Kind of useless test... (1)

GeorgeS (11440) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435781)

AMEN Brother!!
It's like a car comparison telling me one gets better MPG but, never telling me how many MPG it actually gets.

I don't care if it gets 2 MPG more than the other if they both only get around 5-7 MPG and therefore they both suck. /end rant
Sorry, I need some sugar :)

GPUReview (4, Informative)

TypoNAM (695420) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435965)

Check out GPUReview's video card compare and see what the theoretical performance differences are: []

It does appear that the just announced cards aren't listed on that site yet to compare against unfortunately.

Re:GPUReview (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436191)

You are correct. Neither the GTX275(not listed) or the Radeon4890(listed, but no data) are available for comparison on that site.

I already tried that. That very same site is what I used to decide on my GeForce 8600GTS, and I am quite happy with the results. I feel the comparison was pretty accurate, having used the card for almost a year now, and having had a chance to compare to the cards friends have.

I stand by my original statement. The test in the article provides me with no usable information other then "One is slightly better then the other, but it is still unknown if either is better then an 8600GTS, on any particular hardware arrangement".

Thanks for the link though. I had originally found it here on Slashdot myself, and I am sure someone else was just exposed to it by your posting. Excellent site, when it has the data.

Wow (2, Funny)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435605)

$250.00. That's more than half of what I paid for my entire system new. The cost of a new system seems to be heavily based on the graphics/monitor. Used to be RAM and disk.

Ummmm (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436671)

The problem is you are comparing a very high end graphics card to the price of a very low end system. These two cards aren't quite the highest end offered, but they are up there. These are the serious gamer type cards. We are talking "All details up, high rez, fast frame rate," things. Thus they are targeted at higher end systems.

A $500 system is very low end. Nothing wrong with that, just recognize that. Now that means that all the components are thus lower performance. In a system of that price, probably somewhere in the realm of $5-20 is going towards video. It is most likely an integrated video processor of some kind.

While graphics are a major cost in high end systems, they certainly aren't half. My graphics card was like $400 new, but then my processor was like $250, soundcard was $200, and so on.

A $250 graphic card is the thing you'll find in $1200+ computers, not in $500 computers. There's room in the market for both.

$200 sound card? (1)

Doug Merritt (3550) | more than 5 years ago | (#27440831)

Years ago I knew why some premium sound cards were worth the money, but I've long since lost track of the marketplace (aside from reading various things in the last year about old versus current versus upcoming Linux sound support).

So I'm curious, what do you get on today's systems that makes it worthwhile to pay $200 for a sound card?

I had the feeling it was no longer for wavetable, nor for number of bits of d-to-a conversion. Is it 7.1 surround, or what?

Re:$200 sound card? (4, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#27441431)

Depends on the purpose of the soundcard. In the pro arena, it is number of inputs and outputs, and quality of said inputs and outputs. In the consumer arena it is also I/O quality and to a lesser extent variety, but hardware effects as well.

The effects are pretty simple. Some cards, like the X-Fi, have a DSP onboard and can process 3D spatialization effects in hardware. This is of use for some games. Some games, like say Unreal Tournament 3, only do rudimentary software processing. So if you lack a card that handles OpenAL acceleration, you get only 2 channels and little effects. If you have a hardware OpenAL card, you get full surround and all the effects. Some games can go both ways and simply sound a little better with hardware, or just load the CPU less. Others can't use hardware acceleration at all. It isn't a magic bullet, but useful if you are a gamer (and I am, very much so).

The quality of inputs and outputs is a bigger one, and one you can spend a lot more money on. You are correct that basically every converter these days is 24-bit. However, that isn't the tricky part. The tricky part is all the supporting analog hardware that you use. This is the difference between a system with a high and low SNR and things like that. For example you will find that nothing comes near the theoretical 144dB SNR that 24-bit offers. You may find that a cheap soundcard gets 90-100dB, and it may even by lying about that and reporting the D/A component values, not the final signal, whereas a pro card might get close to 120dB (and really get that).

Also they often have outputs to better deal with special things like low impedance headphones. If I plug my headphones in to the onboard sound, there is audible noise. Why? Well in part the lower SNR but most because its opamp is getting overloaded. The headphones are rather low impedance (40 ohms) and that's more than it can handle. My X-Fi has a headphone port, which has either a buffer to provide more current or a better opamp (or both) so it has no problem powering them and generating no audible noise.

So higher end cards get better overall sound quality, at least if paired with higher quality components later on. Does it matter? Depends on you mostly. Me, I like high quality sound. I have a "home theater" setup for my computer, not computer speakers.

It isn't necessarily something for everyone, but some people like it. Also it may fall by the wayside in consumer systems if HDMI becomes popular. That carries surround audio, in addition to video. So instead of a soundcard you could hook that in a receiver and handle all the D/A conversion there. The digital signal would be output by the video card, of course.

Re:$200 sound card? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27442079)

mod parent informative/insightful

Re:Ummmm (1)

Wdomburg (141264) | more than 5 years ago | (#27447987)

Five hundred is "very low end"? Not for general purpose desktops. Think more like $250-300.

More of the same (1)

cha0zmag3 (1521207) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435717)

Every time new video cards are released, you have all these different comparison tests, by various sites, and they come up with the same thing: It depends. Depends on the rest of the hardware in the system, it depends on what your application is, depends on the cycle of the moon, depends on the cycle of the locust. What we have here is more useless results. Out of all the components in the PC, it seems like the video card is the most subjective part. It almost makes me want to give up PC gaming forever and just deal with the onboard video.

Funny (3, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436057)

I thought price fixing was illegal in the US. I'm curious as to how the two top competitors manage to release "new" products at the same time and for roughly the same price (within $50 of each other)...

Ohhh wait, must be that "free" market at work again?

Re:Funny (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436211)

Both have the same entry price point.
That's not uncommon at all. In fact there is a whole method for calculating it.

There doesn't need to be a conspiracy or collusion or 'price fixing' for 2 similar products to have the same price point.

Re:Funny (1)

fish waffle (179067) | more than 5 years ago | (#27438771)

That's not uncommon at all. In fact there is a whole method for calculating it.
There doesn't need to be a conspiracy or collusion or 'price fixing' for 2 similar products to have the same price point.

Quite true. The situation for the consumer, however, is the same. And really, even if they aren't agreeing on a price, if a group colludes on an algorithm to set the price then they still collude.

Re:Funny (1)

SpacePunk (17960) | more than 5 years ago | (#27440491)

"There doesn't need to be a conspiracy or collusion for 'price fixing' for 2 similar products to have the same price point."

There, fixed that for you.

Re:Funny (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436239)

It's certainly not because they both want to compete at a very lucrative price point, nor is it the case that they have various cards at different price points (which also compete with each other). This is a clear case of market manipulation, call the FTC!

Pay attention (2, Informative)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436339)

When ATI released the 48x0 cards, their top of the line, they had something like 80% of the performance as the top nvidia cards and cost 1/2 as much.

Prices on cards are dropping.

And as others have stated its a price point.

Re:Funny (3, Funny)

int69h (60728) | more than 5 years ago | (#27437239)

Strangely enough McDonald's, Burger King, and Wendy's all sell their sandiwches for roughly the same price as well. Clearly it's the work of a burger cartel.

Re:Funny (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443645)


Re:Funny (2, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#27440629)

In perfect competition price = marginal cost and unless there's cost differences there shouldn't be a price difference either. Even if you include the write-down costs of assets for a sustainable zero profit operation it still shouldn't differ. The situation is more like this: Around here there's three gas stations very close to each other and they're usually within... in USD, 0.015$/liter. Why? Because it's damn hard to sell overpriced gas if doing a live market survey takes less than a minute. When someone starts with cutthroat pricing they'll all follow and so they all bleed. And none of them can afford to bleed for very long, so when someone raises prices again they follow back up. It doesn't take many rounds of that before you get an implicit collusion - if you don't start we don't start and we all turn a nice profit. Explicit collusion would be all agreeing to add a price hike on top of that. But in all cases the prices are the same across all three, all the way from cutthroat competition to blatant anti-trust violation.

EVGA step up plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27436065)

Thanks to EVGA I got a 260 not long ago, and just got notice I could upgrade to the 275 for the cost of shipping, since the 260 is already doing massivly well (running almost every game at max settings) the 5 bucks for shipping is a real nice deal for once.

This is not an add for EVGA, i dont work for them, I just thought it was kinda cool that for once, my video card isent outdated (and unsellable) from the getgo

Re:EVGA step up plan (1)

Penguinoflight (517245) | more than 5 years ago | (#27457013)

EVGA is just one of those companies that gives manufacturer support a good name. Even when their products are junk, and most of them are, they stand by and provide the best of customer service.

We all need more desktop graphics cards! (1)

paulhar (652995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436171)

Since the world is slowly (rapidly?) moving towards the lap/notebook this market surely can't be a growth one.

i.e. in my house I've moved all my kids computers (4), mine, and the wife's to laptops. Oh, and my low power home server broke so I switched it to EEE701 since the 20MB/sec it cranks out is more than sufficient for the G/N network.

That, and none of the new chips they're bring out seem to be much better than renamed versions of the old ones. My "old" 7900GTX has about the same performance as the 9600 I've got in my MBP...

Dual-GPU variants? (1)

cbhacking (979169) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436577)

I'm not sure about nVidia, but ATI has (for a while now) offered "X2" versions of its high-end cards, with two GPUs connected via integrated CrossFire (like SLI). These cards are more expensive, to be sure, but last time I checked the 4870 X2 was the best single card available.

Presumably the 4890 is also available with two GPUs? How about the 275?

Cheap, reliable ATI PCI Express card (0, Offtopic)

RGRistroph (86936) | more than 5 years ago | (#27437059)

For years I used the ATI Rage Pro 128 MB AGP card in all my computers, because it worked reliably with all linuxes and other OS's and was cheap, and performance was more than good enough. At one point I bought 15 of the cards for $3 each on ebay, and used them one by one in various servers and desktops.

Now, most of the motherboards have PCI Express slots in them. I would like to use ATI cards with all open-source drivers. What is the equivalent card I should be purchasing ?

Re:Cheap, reliable ATI PCI Express card (1)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 5 years ago | (#27437889)

Keep an eye on Phoronix to see what works (and performs) well with Linux. While they don't inspire any confidence in their abilities to do an in-depth, comprehensive assessment of several pieces of hardware, they are good at comparing one ATI card to the next and one version of the kernel or drivers to the next. They also do a great job of reporting on the status of new and upcoming features in the open-source drivers.

Re:Cheap, reliable ATI PCI Express card (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27438057)

Buy an el-cheapo 3450. It's passively cooled, and does the basics well. It isn't a great 3D performer, but if you're running Linux that won't matter! ;)

I use one, and it works fine (video tearing excluded).

Re:Cheap, reliable ATI PCI Express card (1)

RGRistroph (86936) | more than 5 years ago | (#27448069)

I have done some googling, and I think I will try out the ATI Radeon 3450 as you suggest, thanks for the tip.

Re:Cheap, reliable ATI PCI Express card (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27440131)

i would suggest any board w/ intel integrated graphics. great linux support w/o proprietary drivers. and probably better performance than your rage 128s. (i used to love that card too)

Re:Cheap, reliable ATI PCI Express card (1)

RGRistroph (86936) | more than 5 years ago | (#27440573)

I'm not a hardcore Intel boycotter, but as long as I'm going to pick something to semi-standardize on, I'm not going to pick Intel. AMD is not a corporate saint and would probably be as abusive if they had the market power, but when I have a choice, Intel won't get my business unless they seem to substantially change their behaviour over a long time period.

Re:Cheap, reliable ATI PCI Express card (1)

Warlord88 (1065794) | more than 5 years ago | (#27440857)

And why is that? I agree about the 'saint'-like comment about AMD. But if AMD is churning out better CPU/GPU at lower price, then why not go for it? - [] And Intel onboard graphics have received shit from every graphics enthusiast out there.

Re:Cheap, reliable ATI PCI Express card (1)

RGRistroph (86936) | more than 5 years ago | (#27447905)

Perhaps you misread a "not" in my post . . . we are in agreement.

Whoever Wrote the Summary is a Fucking Idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27439713)

Just judging by the FPS tests, the 4890 beats the 275 most of the time. This is what matters the most to most gamers. So how can you call this a "win" for nVidia?

1 top, 1 mid, 1 low (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27440903)

Make a $400 card that will do everything (max settings, full AA&AF), a $200 card that will do everything on an average-sized monitor, and $50 for everything else. There are way too many card models out there.

long story short? (1)

Oriental_Hero (72624) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443957)

Hmmm, I read the article and paid great attention to the benchmarks. 4890 tends to score better.

Here, read the FPS results for yourself all run by Extreme Tech at 1900x1200 (from about 22" to 27" monitors).

card noAA/4xAA

275 24/19
4890 24/21

far cry 2
275 68/56
4890 79/56

275 125/105
4890 126/95

COD5 World in Conflict
275 61/40
4890 56/38

Company of Heroes
275 99/84
4890 69/60

Supreme Commander
275 66/64
4890 68/63

275 71/43
4890 61/54

275 29/28
4890 47/42

Stalker Clear Sky
275 50/23
4890 48/23

OCUK Price of 275 229.99 GBP inc VAT
4890 209.99 GBP inc VAT

So to say the 275 takes the cake is rather a strange view.

Nvidia and AMD are both very savvy and big organisations. They have products aimed at all market sectors now. From budget gamers to bleeding edge competition sponsored gamers.

TBO, to choose a graphics card today, you have to know which games you play. Cos both Nvidia and AMD have roughly equivilant cards for the performance and the budget. Yup, it's that close a race!

The other factors you have to consider are
Chosen output? (pretty much determined by your optimal flat panel resolution these days!). No point looking at 24" panel resolution results (1900x1200) when all you have is a 19" (1280x1024)

How pretty you like it? Note the two values above. The second value is lower as it uses AA at varying levels. Think of it like putting the roof down on a convertible car. Car looks and feels great, but the performance hit is quite noticable.
Similarly to cars, some ppl can't live without that AA feature turned on (along with AF too!). So when comparing the numbers, find out if those features are essential to you.

NB: DO NOT USE THE ONBOARD GRAPHICS RAM AMOUNT AS AN INDICATOR! The graphics card manufacturers these days have cottoned onto that one. It's a bit like having 16 valves on a ford fiesta 1.1L. it'll improve it but in the end it's still a tiny 1.1 litre engine. Similarly with graphics cards.

Now I'm not espousing Tomshardware, but this page is the only one with a complete hierarchy that i've found that shows a rough relative performance with older cards too, so you can really see whether it's worth an upgrade.,review-31515-6.html []
Also has some mobile graphics cards listed too, so you can see what portability is costing you performance and price wise!

umm ok? (1)

SM177Y (1414965) | more than 5 years ago | (#27450137)

ok im not seeing how the 275 "takes the cake". the benchmarks all show the 4890 beating it in game...AND with less power consumption and a lot less heat...and the 275 is 10$ more. and thats b4 rebates :P lol as far as i can see...the 4980 took the cake...and ate it too :P
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