Understanding Graphics Cards

  allstar 12:33 21 May 03


I am thinking of buying a new graphics card. However, I am a bit lost as to the structuring of NVidia and ATI ranges.

I have loked at Tom's Hardware but it didnt really explain where each card, eg GeForce 4 Ti4200 or the ATI 9500 come's in the respective ranges - for instance are they the newest chips or old ones?

  Pilch.... 12:53 21 May 03

The latest Nvidia geforce4 ti4200, is an ok card, although you can probably get an ATI card now that is better performance for around the same money.

But you want to look out for the FX range by nvidia or the 9800 range by ati as they are the latest chipsets.

My advice is though go with ATi as they are now taking over from nvidia as the best chipset's.

  two00lbwaster 13:08 21 May 03

hey pilch.

current problems are with the nvidia chipsets the fx range which support directx 9 features fooling benchmarks though driver issues so the performance of these cards is under question.

the 4200ti is getting a bit long in the tooth if you can afford one of these cards then youre probably better off going for a 9500non-pro/pro 128mb memory editions. the latter card supports both directx9 and agp8x. the former may only support 8xagp and directx8.1. the 9500pro is slightly faster than the 4200 and sometimes the 4400 too

click here

thats what you want to look at for the benchmark comparisons

  allstar 13:15 21 May 03

Thankyou for your replies.

This explains a lot.

Just one more thing, are any manufacturers better for different chips or are all ATI 9800 chipset cards the same?

  two00lbwaster 17:12 21 May 03

er i think they're pretty much the same all will conform to the same specifications though some may over specify ie have faster ram to allow overclocking or use different coloured and designed pcbs. just a note though sapphire make the reference boards for ati and they also make the boards for connect3d

  hugh-265156 17:28 21 May 03

depends on what games you want to play.if you want to play the latest games a radeon 9000pro or geforce 4200ti is ok for a while yet.but in six months time you may need something more powerful.but this will always be the case and you will always pay a premium for the latest cards.

there is no point in spending £300+ on a graphics card if your monitor can only handle 1024x768 or if you have a slow processor all that power will be wasted.

  allstar 20:17 21 May 03

Thanks for all the help.

It has been very useful.

  Ironman556 20:33 21 May 03

Cards may have the same chipset, but the cheaper ones may not just be due to the branding, but may also use cheaper boards/components, which will lead to a slower card overall. For example (not premoting anyone) the GF4 Ti4200 made by gainward, may have a higher price tag than a GF4 Ti4200 sold in the "Dabs Value" range, but it's also likely that the Gainward is a higher quality card, so will perform better.

I bought a GF4Ti4200 a few months ago but due to compatibility problems had to return it. When I buy a new card I'm going for a Radeon. Image quality is better for DVD's etc. I also know 2 people with new PC's, similar systems, one with a GF FX and one with a Radeon 9800Pro. The Radeon easily outperforms the GF, and can run the latest games at full whack. The Sapphire Radeon cards are popular and have a lower price, while still being good quality cards.

(Have you looked at the PCA reviews online?)


  professor 20:34 21 May 03

ATI has released a Radeon 9600 VPU chip, unlike the 9500 chip that was based on the 9700 the 9600 chip has been designed from the ground up and is far superior to the 9500pro chip and just as good as the 9800 chip(but not the 9800pro chip sadly)

and here is the best bit...a Radeon 9600pro with 128MB DDR RAM only costs about £130 as opposed to the Radeon 9800 pro which costs a wallet troubling £300 or so...and best news of all is that the 9600 pro not only has AGP8x support and full hardware DX9 support but its only about 10-15% slower than the Radeon 9800 pro.

as for nvida FX cards...dont touch them!! all they are is yet another re-make of the Geforce3 chip nothing really special or different...not only that but the nvida FX cardsare noisey basterds too the fans on them literally scream into action the instant you fire up a game.


  allstar 20:38 21 May 03

Ironman 556 & Professor

Thanks for your very useful input.

It is much appreciated.

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