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Graphics Card Comparison Guide

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 9 years ago | from the dust-off-the-old-hardware dept.

Hardware 271

JaniceZ writes "These days, there are so many graphics card models that it has become quite impossible to keep up with the different configurations. Therefore, we decided to compile this guide to provide an easy reference for those who are interested in comparing the specifications of the various desktop GPUs in the market as well as those already obsolescent or obsolete."

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But what about Linux drivers? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13364240)

I started (or attempted to start) using Linux with a modern graphics card a few years back when I started university, just out of plain curiosity. My buddy and I downloaded the ISO images of Red Hat Linux 8.0, and from that point forward, it all went to shit.

I figured it would be no problem, I used Sun's Solaris quite a bit so I understood the shell at least. Install went well, even though I was confused why I needed seven million partitions which I had to allocate manually and to have a root password since it was a single user machine. After my install, I restarted my machine, saw a bunch of ugly crap being spewed to the screen, and before you knew it, X Windows loaded up and I was in Linux. "Ooh, this looks neat, just like Windows. Let's see if I can surf the web!"

This is the point where I discovered the 'magic' of Linux. It couldn't find a driver for a simple ethernet card. So I got onto another computer running Windows, and found some type of driver for it. All right, I'll just burn it to a cd, pop it onto the Linux machine, and we're good to go. I started looking around for the CD ROM icon...where was it? Apparently I had to mount it manually, luckily I know UNIX. Then it asks me for root password. Okay, so I enter it. Then I can see the CD ROM, great. Oh look, the driver is in the form of source code, I have to compile it. So I tried to compile it with the configure script that came along. Oh wait, I need some !@#$ing stupid C library. All right, so I download that as well in the form of a RPM, which luckily worked, and then I was able to compile the driver.

Okay now what? According to the instructions, I had to recompile the kernel making the driver a part of it. 'Recompile the kernel?' I thought, 'What kind of sick operating system makes you recompile its kernel...' Apparently I didn't know what kind of twisted people designed Linux. Oh wait, it wants the stupid root password again...good God. So after about 5 hours, I had Internet...given that I knew how to use a UNIX machine. Four days later I tried installing something else, it asked me for the same stupid C library but version 1.2.3.4.5 instead of the version I had...God forbid...1.2.3.4.4 (oh what a fool I was for not updating every 10 minutes!) Within an hour, my drive was formatted (twice out of spite) and running Windows XP.

A few months back I was inspired again to run Linux. If you read the tech news, there's no doubt about it, it's taking over the server market. A Linux sys admin will make 20 grand more than a Windows sys admin (Makes you wonder if 20 grand is worth eventual suicide), so I felt I should pick it up. Of course now I was more prepared, I've read books, admin guides, worked as a student UNIX operator, 3 years under my belt as a computer science student, two internships, and had studied the Linux kernel in depth.

I decided I would try a whole bunch of distributions, I tried Red Hat 9, Fedora Core 2, SuSe 9.1, Debian, and Mandrake 10. All special in there own little way...like retarded children. As soon as SuSe loaded up, I was like..."nice nice, very sleek...", then a hissing came out my left speaker that wouldn't go away. Nice autodetection for the sound driver. Bye bye SuSe. All right, let's try Red Hat 9...oh look Red Hat won't give any more automatic updates because now that it has a little bit of money...!@#$ open source, let's become the next Microsoft! Oh Debian and Mandrake, just plain ugly and slow.

What about Fedora Core, Red Hat's latest method of getting code for free rather than having to pay programmers in India $0.85 an hour to do it. Why pay someone when you can have some idiot from GNU or some grad student do it for free, then sell it for 400 bucks a pop. It was surprising though that that experimental piece of crap worked better than all the other distributions, even though its autoupdate some how corrupted my kernel and I had to overwrite it.

But what I find most stupid is the philosophy behind it. Why make something so complex for free? I'm an excellent software engineer, good software is hard to make, it's beyond art, takes incredible amounts of education, hardwork and talent, and it should be kept proprietary and one should be paid to make it. I shouldn't have to run around asking for donations and shouldn't have to live in my mom's basement to get by.

Go to the GNU assholes' site, their feeling is that it should be my 'moral obligation' to code for free and give that code away as well. Those guys don't care about the rest of us, they have jobs, they're being paid by the government to design their half ass compilers and shitty OS. Some of us aren't shady recluses with no other goals in life other than to understand every little thing about computers. After our 8-5 day, we want to live our lives...and giving away software for free is not helping anybody except big corporations who save even more money.

Re:But what about Linux drivers? (0, Offtopic)

Bottlemaster (449635) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364248)

Excerpt:I started looking around for the CD ROM icon...where was it? Apparently I had to mount it manually, luckily I know UNIX. Then it asks me for root password. Okay, so I enter it. Then I can see the CD ROM, great. Oh look, the driver is in the form of source code, I have to compile it. So I tried to compile it with the configure script that came along. Oh wait, I need some !@#$ing stupid C library. All right, so I download that as well in the form of a RPM, which luckily worked, and then I was able to compile the driver.

Wow, this reads just like an Apple "Switch" ad.

Re:But what about Linux drivers? (1, Offtopic)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364275)

It was probably made by the same people.

Re:But what about Linux drivers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13364323)

I used Sun's Solaris quite a bit so I understood the shell at least. ... though I was confused why I needed ... to have a root password since it was a single user machine
Okay... this person is either a liar or a moron, or both.

How can a person use a Unix-like OS for any reasonable period of time without realizing even on a single user system how important the concept of a root user and root password is?

Re:But what about Linux drivers? (0, Offtopic)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364333)

He works for Linspire?

Re:But what about Linux drivers? (1, Flamebait)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364324)

But what I find most stupid is the philosophy behind it. Why make something so complex for free? I'm an excellent software engineer, good software is hard to make, it's beyond art, takes incredible amounts of education, hardwork and talent, and it should be kept proprietary and one should be paid to make it. I shouldn't have to run around asking for donations and shouldn't have to live in my mom's basement to get by.
Not everybody lives only for money, asshole. Of course, you sound like those ultra-Capitalists who think that absolutely everything should be done for money.
and giving away software for free is not helping anybody except big corporations who save even more money.
That is one of the most ignorant statements in that post, which is saying a whole fucking lot. The little guy, who has very little money to spend on software, is the one who benefits from FOSS. Because he gets better software [gnu.org] for free.
Oh, and FOSS doesn't necessarily mean free as in price, although the code itself usually doesn't cost anything. (Usually, the cost of FOSS is in support and such.)

"takes incredible amounts of education"??? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13364414)

Gee, I must be a farking genius!!!!!! I've got a 7th grade education, and I'm having no problems.When I first started to use LINUX, I had a few problems.The worst problem I had was trying to get help from azzholes off of such irc channels as #newbie, #linux, etc. I found a friend in an entity named wesguin on a cheesy message board at chat.arachne.cz.He replied with these for simple letters, RTFM (Read The Farking Manual). I can tell you were born in the late '70's, early '80's as your education is on par with the instant gratification crowd,(my 23 y.o. lady calls them the 30 seconds and under crowd).Maybe you should RTFM and maybe even read the comments in the source code. Better yet, just stick with wind0ze, after all, it's easier to point and click.And it keeps me in business. :-)

speed of development (5, Funny)

tute666 (688551) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364241)

they'll be obsolete in 5 minutes anyways....

Re:speed of development (2, Funny)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364382)

My 3dfx Voodoo 5 5500 has a fill rate of 666 MTexels/s.

Is it any wonder this was the last card they produced?

Re:speed of development (1)

Gentlewhisper (759800) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364420)

That is why you should not whoreship 6 and all of man's earthly creations!

Worship the *7* today, buy the all new nVidia Geforce 7800 which easily has a fill rate exceeding 7777 MTexels/s!

Re:speed of development (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13364587)

wtf is a texel

Re:speed of development (1)

Glonoinha (587375) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364663)

A texel is a two dimensional voxel.

Re:speed of development (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13364715)


A texel is a pixel with boots, a big-ass hat, and an electric chair.

Re:speed of development (4, Informative)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364722)

"wtf is a texel"

It's a 'textured pixel'. Yeah, I know, that's not too descriptive. In 2D, when you draw a point on the screen, it's known as a pixel. In 3D, when you're filling a polygon with a texture map, every one of the pixels of that texture map is considered a 'texel'. That texel may be drawn of several pixels, but it's still one unit of that polygon that's worth measuring.

Article content is medicore at best (5, Informative)

linux_warp (187395) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364244)

This article does not provide benchmarks, just things like "transistor count" and the number of pixel pipelines. Check out http://graphics.tomshardware.com/graphic/20050705/ index.html [tomshardware.com] has the same information and benchmark charts.

Re:Article content is medicore at best (2, Interesting)

feanor512 (905622) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364312)

The Rojakpot guide provides fillrate and memory bandwidth so you can directly compare cards without doing the math. These are the two most import factors in the performance of the cards. It also has quite a few more cards.

Re:Article content is medicore at best (5, Informative)

Coneasfast (690509) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364326)

i like digital-daily, they have some good benchmarks:

PCI-E 2005 [digital-daily.com]
ATI 2003 [slashdot.org]

for example

Re:Article content is medicore at best (2)

Coneasfast (690509) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364340)

oops, the second link is wrong:
here is correction [digital-daily.com]

Re:Article content is medicore at best (5, Funny)

Seumas (6865) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364353)

Fortunately, I've converted to the Mac, so I don't have to worry about stupid things like having a choice in graphics cards.

(Sadly, I'm not trolling or being a smartass.)

Re:Article content is medicore at best (0, Troll)

Gentlewhisper (759800) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364430)

Fortunately, I've converted to the Mac, so I don't have to worry about stupid things like having a choice in graphics cards.

So you don't like choice?

Tell me again when your kids are forced to be Christians and have to learn all about Creationism in school.

You might be intellectually lazy, but having the right to exercise choice is important for any free thinking human being. I for one do NOT welcome that choice hating/locked down system architecture overlord in Steve Jobs.

flamebait (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13364528)

Tell me again when your kids are forced to be atheists and have to learn all about evolution in school. Oh wait, that's already happening.

Whiffed... (2, Informative)

NeoBeans (591740) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364670)

You do realize you totally missed the sarcasm, right?

Re:Article content is medicore at best (2, Interesting)

Cylix (55374) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364472)

I can't tell if it's supposed to be humorous or arrogant.

Choices are bad! Oh noes... I have to read a bit before spending over a few hundred dollars.

To be honest, if you are not intending to spend more then a hundred dollars your choices aren't so great. Older cards tend to depreciate to their relative value as per their capabilities.

With newer cards there is of course the tax for being a newcomer and the cost of the performance.

When I play this game, I start by determining how much I want to spend and then purchase the better performer in that range. At the point I'm buying a graphics card where all the questions are usually answered. (A new card for me is in the 220-250 range)

Those buying bleeding edge are either going to have to make a blind decision or put in some research time. This is pretty much the way all transactions above impulse buy work.

It's not a curse, it's not a problem introduced in the graphics card market... it's just how things work.

It's kinda silly to just point and buy something. (Though I did just buy my last car that way.. which was silly... but the price was right)

Re:Article content is medicore at best (3, Interesting)

Seumas (6865) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364580)

My gaming PC has a $600 videocard in it. I'm thinking of getting away from the annual process of building two new souped-up PCs to keep up with top of the line gaming and moving to console gaming once the new XBOX and PS3 come out.

My main reason is that I can get any decent strategy or RPG game that I want to play on the Mac. Everything else, I can get for the console. And rather than maintaining two expensive high-end gaming PCs for myself and my brother, we can buy one copy of a game and have one machine that'll last us years. Much better than dishing out $110 for two copies of Unreal or Counter Strike: Source on top of the videocards and everything else.

Mostly, I just want out of the rat race. I have a spare bedroom filled with a couple dozen monitors and linux, solaris and windows boxes and several laptops. And all I use is my Powerbook. I'm undecided as to whether I'll use just the laptop, the laptop and buy a desktop mac on x86 later or if I'll stick with my powerbook and have a windows desktop.

Really, the only reason I would keep the windows box now is the same reason I kept a windows box in the linux/solaris world. Because it runs the games. I think I can do without Counterstrike and a couple other PC games and settle for Halo and Madden and GT4 on the console. Or at least, I'm going to try.

Re:Article content is medicore at best (4, Informative)

DJ-Dodger (169589) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364755)

The Tech-Report has a similar chart [techreport.com] , but theirs is sortable and each card is linked to a review of the card if they did one.

Thank God (1)

seringen (670743) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364249)

I want to replace my radeon 9700 tx with a comparable or better nvidia card for the cheapest possible price, (due to driver issues under linux with certain bleeding edge functionality) but I couldn't even begin to find out how to properly grade cards. Hopefully this will actually help me.

Re:Thank God (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13364298)

That model sounds an oem from Dell. My cousin has one in his Dimension 8250. I believe your best upgrade path is to an agp Geforce 6600gt. Depending on the power supply you could try for a 6800 model, but I'm not sure if you'll want to try that due to the limitations of your power supply. I'm guessing it's rated at 250 watts or so, and Dell underrates their power supplies if I remember correctly so you might be able to risk it. If do you want to go all the way and get a Geforce 6800 Ultra or GT and have a system with a better chance of working stably, you could try PC Power and Cooling, as they offer power supply upgrades that are compatible with Dell systems. You could also wait around for a 7xxx model, but nVidia sems disinterested in agp now. The 6600gt is still a good deal though; it's cheaper and performance wise either ties or beats a radeon 9800 pro, which is obviosuly better than your 97000 tx.

Re:Thank God (1)

seringen (670743) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364319)

yes, it is a dell oem, pretty much exactly your friend's computer. Thanks for the help, I had worried about the power supply on it, too

Re:Thank God (1)

imboboage0 (876812) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364424)

Just to let you know, the 6600GT SERIOUSLY whoops up on a 9800. by the numbers and the benchmarks, everyone has to agree. not to mention, it has that 'new technology' stuff. lol. I have a 6600GT. I got it for ~150 at NewEgg, and it has been worth every penny. Also, If you do the numbers, (pipelines*clock speed) the 6600GT is theoretically faster than the 6800.

Re:Thank God (2, Interesting)

Gentlewhisper (759800) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364485)

I will avoid the nVidia cards like the plague.

Google for "6600GT infinite loop" and you will see what I mean. I have a 6600GT OC from BFG sitting *right here* on my desk, and why isn't it in my computer? Well, it seems like nVidia is staffed with whores who can't even code a device driver properly!

An equivalent ATI card *just works*. Period.

Infinite loop indeed, what did they do, outsource their driver development to munkeys in India? Total waste of my money, never again.. nVidia.

Re:Thank God (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13364558)

I have the same card sitting on my desk...oh wait, in my computer I mean. I have had no issue with the card and it works beautifully.

Plugged it in, installed the latest drivers and it "*just works*".

I had more heat related issues with the 9800 Pro, pawned that card off and bought the BFG 6600GT OC. Been happy ever since.

Re:Thank God (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13364596)

An overclocked card that broke? What a surprise!

Re:Thank God (1, Insightful)

pdbogen (596723) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364661)

'Your search - "6600GT infinite loop" - did not match any documents.'

Re:Thank God (1)

imboboage0 (876812) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364698)

BFG? Shoulda got a better brand. I have NEVER had any problems with ELSA. Here's a quote from your search. "Gamespace - Vid Card $300 Well 6600GT is a better card than the 9600xt for sure, ... And while your at it, search at www.google.com for "9600XT Infinite Loop Error". ... forums.gamespace.net.au/archive/index.php/t-1479.h tml - 21k - Cached - Similar pages" funny. and you're talking about nVIDIA. "An equivalent ATI card *just works*. Period." Unless you're running an OS that isn't part of a monopoly, ex. Linux.

Re:Thank God (4, Insightful)

dslbrian (318993) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364721)

I will avoid the nVidia cards like the plague.
...
An equivalent ATI card *just works*. Period.

I've had the opposite experience. The worst problem I've had with an Nvidia card has been trouble configuring the DVI display settings on a Linux machine. Eventually thanks to user forums I figured out the magic settings (and they released a driver update with those settings a few days later).

On the other hand, I've been burned by ATI twice on graphics cards. In fact on one of the cards (a card supporting TV in) they never even made functional Windows drivers, much less Linux. Even called ATI tech support on that one and they put me on hold on their charge-per-minute support line - yeah great support there. Funny thing is years after the fact some 3rd party wrote a generic driver for the chipset under Linux which made it work. (So in total ATI "official" Windows drivers never worked, and generic 3rd party unofficial Linux drivers did work)

So now I don't even bother to look at ATI specs. They could make whatever uber-card they want that outperforms Nvidia ten times over, and I still won't ever touch the thing. Twice burned is enough for me.

Re:Thank God (1)

Danga (307709) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364514)

you could try PC Power and Cooling, as they offer power supply upgrades that are compatible with Dell systems.

I am confused. As long as it is ATX standard wouldn't ANY companies power supply work? Or is there something I am missing that is really special about Dell computers? I need to upgrade my power supply soon though since I got a NVidia 6800. I have a 350 watt (I think) Sparkle PS, and it does alright, but I do have 3 HD's, 2 DVD writers, and all of my PCI slots filled too.

Re:Thank God (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13364631)

This is the informative AC from before. Dell motherboards and power supplies use non-standard connectors to connect to each other. A regular power supply won't work in a Dell computer becuase the plug on the mobo has a different pinout, and I don't know offhand if there are any adapters to be had. As an added bonus, Dell uses different motherboard form factors too, so you're stuck with what came in your case. And for the hat trick, standard ATX mobo's won't fit either since the port backplane (the part with printer and ps/2 ports among other things) is also different. Thus, upgrading any Dell pc tends to be inordinately hard after 2 or 3 years. Nowadays, if you want a PC you can seriously upgrade with standard parts, you need to build it yourself or go with one of the high end gaming PC vendors like Falcon Northwest or Voodoo PC, since they use the same exact parts you would be able to, but charge a few hundred extra dollars to assemble it for you first. But hey, at least you know you got decent parts instead of crap from a tier-2 or 3 vendor in Asia, since these companies let you pick individual parts right down to the specific brand name more often than not.

I know all this, because I do all my shopping at Newegg nowadays, since I learned what Dell, HP, and all the other top vendors put in their computers. Pity me, for my first computer was a Dimension 8100 from Dell. I got a first generation Pentium 4 and an IBM Desktar hard drive, with Windows Millenium installed.

Re:Thank God (1)

Cougar_ (92354) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364765)

Well, the thing is, Dell doesn't use ATX. At least, they didn't in the past, I have heard rumours that they now use standard ATX. The worst part is, while they don't use ATX, they DO use ATX connectors. So you can plug in an ATX powersupply, and fry the motherboard, PSU or both. You can also do the same plugging a Dell PSU into an ATX mobo. Adapters are available however, I'm sure Google can help with that. Otherwise, if you're good at soldering, you can do what I did, and resolder the PSU wiring to standard ATX format.

Re:Thank God (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13364727)

Help you find your ass?

Not likely. Not with a flashlight and a full length mirror.

You are an idiot.

more ads... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13364257)

free advertising *yawn*

Me dumb (3, Interesting)

Monte (48723) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364268)

Let's say I didn't know anything about graphics cards. How does this help me?

Re:Me dumb (2, Informative)

feanor512 (905622) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364328)

Look at the fillrate and memory bandwidth. In general a card with a higher fillrate and more memory bandwidth is faster than one with a lower fillrate and less memory bandwidth. This isn't always true, though. The ATI Radeon 9700/9800 series is faster than the Geforce FX 5900 series clock for clock, while the Geforce 6800 series is faster than the ATI X800 series clock for clock.

We really wouldnt need this type of thing (5, Interesting)

Crashmarik (635988) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364271)

If the manufacturers didn't go out of their way to completely confuse the issue to the point where there are no definitive answers to the question.

Re:We really wouldnt need this type of thing (1)

ThatFunkyMunki (908716) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364562)

And what alternative do you provide for the companies, and why should they even give a shit about you?

Re:We really wouldnt need this type of thing (1)

mblase (200735) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364604)

We really wouldnt need this type of thing if the manufacturers didn't go out of their way to completely confuse the issue to the point where there are no definitive answers to the question.

Yeah, why should all these capitalist commercial corporations be so insensitive as to confuse the question of whether their competitors make a better product?

8 year old card (1, Funny)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364279)

I'm still using a 3dfx card - not my game machine but its running XP and does full screen TV & DVD's ok.

Re:8 year old card (1)

NemosomeN (670035) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364412)

3dfx made some awesome cards, and Glide was nice. I still used my Voodoo3 for years after I got it, and when I got it, it wasn't top of the line. Too bad they went under.

ditto, 3dfx voodoo 3000 TV (1)

burnttoy (754394) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364461)

Works fine for me. Best of all it's passively cooled. It sits in an old P3/866 which is also passively cooled. Actually not a bad machine for a load of stuff pulled out of a skip after the company I was at went tits up.

Re:ditto, 3dfx voodoo 3000 TV (1)

Wolfier (94144) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364724)

The Voodoo3's are keepers, as well as the Geforce MX, if you want a fanless card.  I used to play CS with them and they now end up in my girlfriend's computers (she doesn't 3D game).

These old boards are still way better than the VIA onboard videos sold today in terms of 2D quality and 3D performance.

These cards are cool, reliable, and with rock solid stability (out of ALL video drivers I have used till today, Nothing beats 3dfx in terms of driver stability!)

I'm looking for a fanless 6600 setup right now, tho none of the local stores carry them :(

It _is_ a shame (3, Insightful)

Achra (846023) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364304)

Anyone else that accidentally bought an ATI Radeon 9250 knows what I'm talking about.. Why is it acceptable to rename the 8500 to 9250, just to make it sound more "relevant" in the modern market? The fact is that if you're going to buy a vidcard you have to do a crapload of research. Period. You can't stand in the PC store and say, "I dunno, what you got for $50?" anymore. You'll end up with a pile of junk. Another good example is the Geforce 4mx, basically a rebranded Geforce 2.

Re:It _is_ a shame (1)

Mishra100 (841814) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364322)

That pretty much relates to anything you buy that costs over $100. If you don't know what you are buying then you are a lot more susceptible to being jipped.

If I was going to buy a car and just picked a random car, then I might have bought a Daewoo...

You really shouldn't be buying anything computer related unless you know about it. The nice thing is, once you buy the card and you enjoy it; you can recommend it to your friends. So having a trustworthy friend is always a great help in that department.

Re:It _is_ a shame (5, Insightful)

Achra (846023) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364361)

True.. I may come off as being whiney and uninformed as well, but I can remember when the 3dFX Voodoo2 was measurably better than the Voodoo. The Geforce2 was better than the Geforce, the Geforce3 better than the geforce2... I mean, you're going to have your stinker pieces of hardware, but both Nvidia and ATI's product line now is absolutely not linear. The Radeon 9600 is slower than the 9500... The Geforce 5200 is slower than a Geforce4 ti..
For all those that are going to ask me for hard benchmark data... Find it yourself. :) I'm too busy trying to sell my Radeon 9250.

Re:It _is_ a shame (3, Insightful)

Mishra100 (841814) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364398)

I think you posted a total logical point. I just wanted to add a couple of things.

And if we are discussing naming conventions, I absolutely HATE Nvidia's naming conventions and really don't buy from them because of it. At least when I buy a 9600, I know its better than a 9200. But when I see
NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra
GeForce FX
NVIDIA nForce4 SLI
GeForce 6 Series

I have absolutly NO IDEA what is better...

Re:It _is_ a shame (1)

lee1026 (876806) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364543)

the nforces are motherboards. the fxs are also called geforce 5s. hope that helps.

Re:It _is_ a shame (1)

Tanmi-Daiow (802793) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364567)

Actually, Nvidia's newest 6000 line, they are linear. 6200 is less than the 6200 GT. the 6600 is better than the 6200 GT. The 6800 is better than the 6600 GT, etc. In my opinion, Nvidia has taken the correct road. ATI is still in never never land when it comes to names.

Short list (5, Informative)

Brian Stretch (5304) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364334)

If you want Linux compatibility, you want nVidia. Yes, nVidia's drivers are closed-source, but they're at the same level as their Windows drivers, right down to the overclocking controls.

If you want a fanless, low-power GPU that can also do light gaming, get a GeForce 6200 with as much onboard RAM as you can find (ignore the TC "TurboCache" crap).

If you want a midrange, not-too-power-hungry card, get the 6600GT. This is my favorite card.

If you need a high-end GPU, get a 7800GT. If you have money to burn, get the GTX version. Check to make sure your power supply is up to snuff (Seasonic S12 series is my favorite, highest efficiency I've found), especially if you did something silly like buy an Intel P4. If you can afford one of these you can afford a proper AMD 64-bit processor to go with it.

There, everything you need to know. The 6200 was a pleasant surprise to me. I put one in my parents' Shuttle SFF box (Athlon 64 3000+), replacing a Ti4200, and the lower power consumption was enough for the main system fan to slow down to its minimum 1000RPM most of the time. It's still good enough to play UT2004 Demo at full detail at 1280x1024 res.

Re:Short list (2, Informative)

s_p_oneil (795792) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364405)

You have to watch out for some of the 6200's. Some are a step down from the 6600's and others are a step up from the 6200 TurboCache versions. Even though they're not TurboCache versions, they are actually slower than the original 6200. It's a shame that they're not marked as being different from the others.

If you want silence, there are some fanless 6600's on the market. They may use too much power to run in a Shuttle, though. ;-)

Re:Short list (1)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364423)

Good pun.

Mod parent up, funny.

Re:Short list (2, Informative)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364415)

He's right. I have an ATI video card, and it's pure misery.

People will argue it in both directions, but they're just completely incorrect. My 4 year old GeForce works far better under Linux than my brand spanking new Radeon.

Re:Short list (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13364660)

> My 4 year old GeForce works far better under Linux than my brand spanking new Radeon.

Which isn't saying much as a 4 year old Radeon is also likely to work better than a spanking new one.

Re:Short list (3, Interesting)

adam613 (449819) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364708)

That's not surprising. Most four-year-old hardware will work better on Linux than the brand-new equivalent, because various developers have had four years to write drivers.

What is impressive about nVidia is that their brand-new hardware works just as well under Linux as the four-year-old stuff.

Actually... (1)

ProdigySim (817093) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364513)

On the subject of Video Card RAM, the added onboard memory makes Little [tomshardware.com] to No [tomshardware.com] difference. (See Radeon X600 Pro 256/128 and 6200 TC32/64) As long as your card has at least 128MB onboard, it's not going to choke from memory problems.

Re:Short list (-1, Troll)

geekoid (135745) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364517)

"especially if you did something silly like buy an Intel P4. If you can afford one of these you can afford a proper AMD 64-bit processor to go with it."

Except AMD is full of lying thiving bastards. Other then that, yeah there cool. well, hot really.

Re:Short list (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13364582)

No, new P4s are hot (really, really hot), 64bit AMDs are cool.

Re:Short list (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13364641)

If you want linux support, you do _not_ want Nvidiot, they only have binary drivers and nvidia has never shared any documentation with open source developers.

The best card to use if you run an open source system(*BSD, Linix, Plan 9, ...) is Radeon 9200, which was the last card for which ATI released any docs.

Nvidia used to make good hardware, this days they only make junk and they refuse to release any docs for it, latest news is that Nforce4 SATA controller will _never_ be supported in Linux, not even thru binary drivers, and all we get is a promise that "in the future they will try to do better":

http://lkml.org/lkml/2005/8/10/169 [lkml.org]

If you care for Linux and Open Source, never buy Nvidia.

Re:Short list (1)

pyite69 (463042) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364665)

I have a 6600GT and it is nice, but I think I am going to get a Gigabyte 6600 256MB because it is apparently fanless.

My computers sounds like a jet engine.

Re:Short list (1)

Kargan (250092) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364764)

You could always just buy a third party silent VGA cooler. Just remove the stock cooling array and attach. $20 for a good one at most places around here.

The 256MB 6600 apparently doesn't need a fan because it's not even close to performing as well as the 6600GT.

Nvidia Linux support (4, Interesting)

DrJimbo (594231) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364761)

A couple years ago, I noticed a memory leak in OpenGL apps when using Nvidia drivers and an experimental Gentoo Linux kernel. I sent Nvidia an email about it around 10 pm Saturday evening.

I got a response about 20 minutes later which included a patch for the Linux kernel I was using. I recompiled my kernel with the patch and it fixed the leak.

It is too bad their drivers are closed source, but I have to say that their Linux support is outstanding and on a par with the best support I've experienced.

nVidia and compatibility (2, Interesting)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364763)

Yeah, I've always had good luck with nVidia drivers/cards and Linux - although not sure I'd say they're exactly "at the same level" as the Windows driver counterparts.

On my MythTV box, using a GeForce 4Ti 4600 card, I've run into lots of issues of nVidia changing around little details related to the card's ability to output in HDTV resolutions, to properly select or auto-detect which port the card is connected to (s-video, composite, or DVI/VGA) and other such things. It generally works well... don't get me wrong. But some of the optional parameters nVidia says you can specify in your XF86Config-4 file seem to shift around from version to version in their driver updates, and things that work fine in one release are broken again in the next. (Lately, I've had issues where the option to specify some "overscan" for composite or s-video output with an integer value between 0.0 and 1.0 seems to have no effect at all on my card.)

Re:Short list (2, Interesting)

myslashdotusername (903486) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364773)

If you want Linux compatibility, you want nVidia.

and if you want a graphic card with a Manufacturer's Warrenty you want to get an ATI. Seriously for certain card models ATI cards aren't that badly supported (even under linux) sure, most ati cards work better under windows than under linux (with a few exceptions) but if you're buying a gaming system and worrying about linux you're either A. dual booting or B. running some type of virtual machine set up, or C. planning on migrating down to 'linux' when you retire the system. and if you're building a 'workstation' you're going to be looking at the FireGL cards, and nvidia has nothing that compares to FireGL and the linux drivers for ATI products are Specifically written for the FireGL product lines..

so you be happy with your Nvidia card which has some dubious warrenty from some company who may or may not have a 'real' setup for providing warrenty service, and requires you to return the card to a retailer, who pays a $xx,xxx a year fee for the right to RMA defective products to the manufacturer. i think i'll stick with ATI, and if i need an ATI card to work under linux I'll be sure to grab up a FireGL card...

They missed FPS (4, Interesting)

Mishra100 (841814) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364341)

I hear video cards being rated in FPS(frames per second) in certain video games all the time. If person A can get 100 more FPS out of Doom 3 using an ATI at the same cost as a Nvidia, usually they are going to go for that.

So my question is why didn't they include this in there? They have a lot of good data but I just wish that someone would run all the video tests on each card and check out the FPS data on certain popular games and produce them in a nice chart similar to this one.

Re:They missed FPS (1)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364616)

One of the earlier posts in the topic points you to http://graphics.tomshardware.com/graphic/20050705/ index.html [tomshardware.com] which seems to have what you are asking for. You are right, the submitted article isn't nearly as useful to buyers as the tomshardware article.

Re:They missed FPS (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364618)

www.tomshardware.com www.anandtech.com www.hexus.net www.pcworld.com www.techtree.com take your pick.

Ouch my wallet! (5, Funny)

Wino (655084) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364352)

That list looks like my damn credit card bill for the last 10 years! What would be really cool is if the guide had check boxes and when you hit submit it tells you how much money you wasted on all those shiney new gfx cards over the years.

Wait... on second thought that wouldnt be cool at all.

Which GPU is best for scientific computing tasks? (0, Redundant)

Drew Curtis (904851) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364356)

Is that commensurate with how well it performs in games?

Re:Which GPU is best for scientific computing task (1)

netllama (72910) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364436)

NVIDIA's Quadro line of cards is meant for workstations (instead of consumer/gaming) purposes.

Re:Which GPU is best for scientific computing task (1)

Drew Curtis (904851) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364520)

I was referring more to the recent work on using the GPU for non-graphical tasks.

Re:Which GPU is best for scientific computing task (1)

LordHatrus (763508) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364693)

Then you're still probably well off with Nvidia's quatro.

When the mainstream magazines fail, (3, Interesting)

TuxPaper (531914) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364360)

the web picks up the slack. Back in the day when I bought computer magazines (at least 2 years ago), I've always wanted comprehensive charts of the latest graphic cards listed in magazines. Occassionally, if they were doing a graphics card special issue, there'd be maybe 7 cards compared.

However, this comparison guide is hardly a "easy reference". It's on the web, so give it some features. I want to sort, filter out columns, have side-by-sides comparisons, comments/ratings by users (or staff), etc.

I live in Japan now, where I can pick up a monthly computer magazine, and they have a section dedicated to charts on the latest CPU, Video, HDD, Motherboards, and Chipsets. The video chart, for comparison, has 14 different specs, all listed on one row, making it far easier to compare than this site.

The only advantage to the charts at the site in this story is that it will/does include old cards. But, as with other commenters in this thread, I say this story certainly feels like a cheap ad.

Re:When the mainstream magazines fail, (1)

hexed_2050 (841538) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364537)

Back in the day when I bought computer magazines (at least 2 years ago)

Two years ago is "back in the day?" I thought two years ago felt like yesterday.

wow, what an utterly useless article (-1, Flamebait)

timecop (16217) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364378)

Yea, let's list graphics chips from 5 years ago, without any explanation of what is what, filled with google ads, on a slow server, and with no navigation to the END of the article (where I assume the actual text is, i never got there the server is halfdead now), and no actual useful data to speak of?...

And why is this on front page?

Re:wow, what an utterly useless article (4, Insightful)

thirty2bit (685528) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364479)

It's a useful reference for people who have graphics cards that are a year or two or more old and need a comparison guide for a new purchase. I'm pleased to see it includes Direct-X levels for each card. That is the most often overlooked attribute in reviews. The only other similar ref I have seen is an issue of Maximum sellout^h^h^h^h^h^h PC that is over a year old, listing DX levels by chipset. Before HL2 and Doom3 came out, plenty of people were wondering what DX version their cards were, and if they would be usable.

There is no 'article text' because this appears to be a set of comparison charts, not a card discussion, and there is no explanation of 'what is what' because it is assumed that if you are comparing stats, you already know your subject. Finally, there is indeed an article navigation control at the bottom of the page. At least there is in Firefox, and also no Google ads for me, thanks to the same.

Suggestions for Linux PCI? (1)

shotgunefx (239460) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364409)

I'm using a docking station with an old Dell CPTv Celeron laptop as the base for my car computer that runs Debian Woody. The interface I'm working on runs on PerlSDL

Anyone one to suggest a good PCI linux friendly card for the dock? Tried doing some research but PCI video cards aren't exactly popular anymore. Hard to find any hits that aren't after 02.

So far peformance is ok, but moving up from a 8mb ATI rage mobility seems like a a cheap way to get more performance. Especially for some of the bells and whistles I'd like to implement. (Maybe writing it in something besides Perl might give me some more leeway, but that's not negotiable).

Any suggestions?

Re:Suggestions for Linux PCI? (2, Informative)

weekendgeek (711624) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364644)

How about a nVidia FX5500 or FX5700? Roughly about $100 and easy driver installation.

Newegg has them in stock (just search for video cards with a PCI interface).

Re:Suggestions for Linux PCI? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13364650)

I just bought an eVGA GeForce FX5200 PCI (~$50) for my wife's computer. Its almost more video than her computer (700 MHz Celeron) can handle. OpenGL1.3 capable. ATi 9250's are available in the same price range, but the nVidia seemed like it might be a hair better.

My solution (4, Interesting)

YuriGherkin (870386) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364470)

I recently came up with a good way to compare video card with a bang-for-buck type analysis.

* I went to the latest review of VGA cards at Tom's Hardware [tomshardware.com] .

* I chose the top 12 video cards from ATI and nVIDIA

* I created a spreadsheet which calculated the relative rankings of each card across about 30 different tests for a range of games/benchmarks. i.e. the top scoring card in a category got 100% and the remaining 11 cards were expressed as a fraction of the top score.

* I averaged the rankings for the 30 categories

* I used a local hardware search tool to find the current "buy it today" best prices for each of those cards.

* I divided the average ranking by the price to get a bang/buck ratio that can help to compare the cards. i.e. so a card that averaged 90% but costs AUD$600 would have a lower final score than a card that came in at 50% but only cost AUD$200

Unfortunately, the spreadsheet is at work but the 6600GT was a clear winner in terms of bang-for-buck.

All these 12 cards were good, and most of them were the only ones remaining in the extreme tests like high-res DOOMIII with AA sort-of-tests. So, even if a card only came in at 50% average, it was still able to work with all the latest games at reasonable frame rates.

YAG3DGCC! (4, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364480)

Oh Boy! Yet Another Generic 3D Graphics Card Comparison! Like we've never seen one of those before!

How about something that covers new ground? How about evaluating the features beyond simple stats and 3D performance in various games I'll never play?

I want to see a comparison that looks at these characterstics without regard to 3D FPS...

1) Noise level, idle and under load
2) Heat level and/or power consumption, idle and under load
3) DVI signal quality when pushed to maximum resolution & refresh rate - i.e. how long a cable I can hang off of it at what resolution
4) Video acceleration - mpeg2, mpeg2 for hi-def, WM9, WM9 for hi-def, h.264 and h.264 for at hi-def resolutions
5) Video de-interlacing support and quality - 3:2 telecine at what resolutions, how about 2:2 telecine, etc
6) Video scaling quality -- how many taps for vertical, how many taps horizontal, any fancy algorithms, test-pattern measured quality levels

Anybody and his brother can put up a speclist of 3D features or run a set of semi-standard 3D benchmarks and they already have. How about somebody with some real tools - oscope, multi-meter, pattern tests, etc do something new and useful to the REST of us for a change?

Re:YAG3DGCC! (2, Interesting)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364569)

I agree. Most of the 3D benchmarks push the idea that the only buying considerations for buying are FPS and dollars. It would be nice if they considered the other stuff like you mentioned.

I personally would like to see a database like what storagereview.com does, and be able to cull out rediculous crap like graphics cards that take two slots. I'd also like to know what sound pitches the on-board fans use and how loud they are.

It seems like the people that buy the high end stuff buy without regard to practicality. It was bad enough that high end cards used two slot spaces but didn't need it for circuitry. Then there are rediculous modders that eliminated almost all useful PCI slots so they can use a CPU cooler on a GPU.

Re:YAG3DGCC! (1)

pangu (322010) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364679)

How about something.... new and useful to the REST of us for a change

Those things take effort and time. Turning on FPS counters do not.

Useless (1)

SniperClops (776236) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364540)

This guide is useless, it doesn't have any benchmarks for comparisons

Nice charts, what happened to Matrox? (2, Insightful)

Mustang Matt (133426) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364572)

It seems like Matrox kind of got swept under the table over the years. They always made great cards. Not necessarily the best for gaming but they had some cool features before any one else.

Seems like they haven't really introduced anything new in quite some time.

Re:Nice charts, what happened to Matrox? (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364713)

Yeah, Matrox was great but its 3D part was awful. I'd love to see them get into 3D business to compete ATi and NVIDIA. I owned a G400. Great card, but not so great for games.

Fanless video card Review with benchmarks (3, Informative)

digitalderbs (718388) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364576)

I'm in the process shopping for a fanless card. I found this review [digital-daily.com] useful (Nvidia and ATI). Sorry, no linux. The review comes with detailed benchmarks.

includes...
  • PCI-E and AGP
  • Nvidia Geforce 6200, 6600 and 6800 models
  • ATI X300, X700, X800
  • Benchmarks : 3DMark05, 3DMark03, Half-Life 2, Doom 3, Far Cry,

Rojakpot? (3, Informative)

mblase (200735) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364599)

Didn't we already slashdot this server once today [slashdot.org] ?

What ever happened to "Regular" cards? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364648)

What if all you want is just to display some stuff on the screen, and dont care about having the highest FPS on the planet..

I remember when 25 dollar cards were plentiful and DID THE JOB...

Not everyone that owns a PC is a gamer.

Re:What ever happened to "Regular" cards? (1)

lee1026 (876806) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364658)

ins't that what intergrated video is for?

Re:What ever happened to "Regular" cards? (1)

ArchangelX (904709) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364772)

Then get a motherboard with onboard video :) Video cards are designed to do extra tasks than just display stuff. Though this [newegg.com] link will yeild cards that are 25 dollars are under, and "just display some stuff on the screen".

A More Concise Table... (2, Interesting)

ptcheezer (677747) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364672)

I've always referred to this excellent pcvsconsole table of PC video card specs [pcvsconsole.com] for a very concise overview of the specs and performance of the various video cards. It really is worth a look if you want to see how much more horsepower is in the newer cards as compared to the older ones.

Brand comparisons? (1)

virgil_disgr4ce (909068) | more than 9 years ago | (#13364757)

Does anybody maintain a decent chart of brand comparisons? I always find it difficult to sort out which specific package is the best or most appropriate.
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