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Thread: Are the latest Graphics Cards overkill for most P4s? Look at mine. Opinions?

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    Question Are the latest Graphics Cards overkill for most P4s? Look at mine. Opinions?

    Hi, everyone.
    I'm an avid gamer and amateur video editor gearing up for a Graphics card upgrade in the next few months (currently running Radeon 8500 128MB), and I'm wondering how to know whether my list of potential choices are overkill and a waste of money for my system.
    I'm seriously considering the following:

    1. AIW X800XT (for the gaming and video capabilities, it looks good)

    2. X850XT Platinum Edition (just a beast that looks like it has a long lifespan)

    3. 6800 Ultra (for the Dual DVI and future game compatibility 32 bit fpp that everyone is saying ATI can't do)

    For the rest of my system, my philosophy has traditionally been to generally go for the next to last generation of technology. That way it's established, the drivers have matured, and bugs worked out of the system. Finally the price has dropped significantly. Also, if it's new to me, it still seems like the cutting edge over my earlier equipment.

    All that being said, here's the system I'm putting together:

    -Abit IC7-MAX3 AGP8x mb (with VTT voltage mod for the issues associated with it for OC'ing)

    -P4 2.8C (Northwood SL6Z5) for overclocking

    -2GB DDR MUSHKIN BLACK LVL2 PC3500 memory (With Winbond BH-5 chips)

    -Maxtor Diamondmax 10 200GB 16MB Buffer ATA133 HDD for OS

    -Later addition of a pair of SATA RAID0 drives for gaming, multimedia work etc...

    -Turtle Beach Santa Cruz PCI sound card

    -Windows 2000 with SP4 (okay, okay, maybe XP later)

    -Koolance Exos2 water cooling system with CPU, GPU, and HDD coolers

    -MGE WIN-600PS 600 Watt Power Supply

    I think that's it. I've read many discussions in various forums that the latest generation of video cards such as the Nvidia 6800s and the ATI X800/X850 series are all so powerful that all but the latest CPUs and MBs will be unable to unleash their full potential. What about my system? How do I know what's appropriate and what's just a waste of money?

    Also, I'd appreciate any suggestions and recommendations on what video cards will perform to their maximum potential with this system well into the future (assuming no major changes to my system).

    Thanks for any and all insights anyone might have.

    -Erik.
    Last edited by e.lectronick; 30-04-2005 at 06:42 PM.

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    • [DW]Cougho's system
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    dont worry about your CPU holding you back, it simply wont or not to any real degree.

    Certainly if you play at 1280 or over your GPU will be your limiting factor, especially if you overclock that P4.

    Its upto you what you go for, personally i have an X800pro with 16 pipes and its been ok, i game at 1280x1024 and it handles everything perfectly.

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    Thanks DW,

    That's good to know. But what about all of this 32 Bit Fpp versus 24 Bit Fpp I hear about Nvidia and ATI? The scuttlebut I've heard is that new engines like UE3 and upcoming ones will require 32 bits (Nvidia) while ATI cards are only 24 bit. Does this mean that currently available Nvidia cards might be the choice with a longer lifespan going into the future?

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    • oralpain's system
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    No, it means all current cards are going to suck in the future, like always, and that ATI will fake FP32 in the drivers (making it run slower but keeping full IQ), or reduce image quality (probably to an unnoticeable degree), if necissary.

    No way is anyone going to release a game that can only run on Geforce 6 series cards in the near future. There may indeed be several games that will run better on them, but the market share of 6800/6600/6200s is way too low to make any money if those cards are required.

    Buying the 4th fastest card now then upgrading it in a year is not going to be much more expensive than getting the absolute fastest card now, and will leave you with a faster card in the end.

    I'd go with an X800XL or the cheapest 6800GT with a decent warrantee. If you will use the features of the AIW, get it, but be sure you actually have a use for it.

    As for the rest of your stuff it, looks fine. The mushkin memory is a bit expensive for waht it does however. Very similar perfromaing memory can be had much cheaper.

    Windows 2000 SP4 is fine, absolutely no reason to waste moeny moving to windows XP just so you can get a better paint program and windows movie maker. XP and 2000 SP4 will perfroma exactly the same in games (or any other third part programs) if they are both setup properly.

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    Banned StormPC's Avatar
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    Buying a 6800GT or X800XL makes sense if you are overclocking or if you have the need for DX9.0 gaming. If not they are overkill to varying degrees.

    IMO it is difficult to justify an X800 XT PE or 6800 Ultra (or higher) for most P4 systems, especially for a budget CPU like the 2.8 Northwood.

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    Quote Originally Posted by StormPC
    especially for a budget CPU like the 2.8 Northwood.
    Wasnt all that long ago you told me:

    Quote Originally Posted by StormPC
    the words budget and Intel P4 should not be in the same paragraph.
    Not that this has any relevance to the thread and is slightly out of context.

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    hmmmmmm im into light vid editing, as im into digital animation and graphic's (prem, photoshop and lightwave are the main 3 progs i use for a the jobs) i upgraded last year around this time, and i didnt go for the top card, then it was 9800xt, i think the x800 where delayed or jsut comin out cant remember.. only that
    1. couldent aford to pay £300 on a gfx card,
    2. didnt want to pay £300 on a gfx card.

    I ended up geting a solid 9800 128 pro, for a nice £130, a very fine card. sometimes i could use more power when i get into high poly modeling as the fps does drop when i rotate etc, but it dosent bother me that much, and for games i play in 1024*768 and im a hardcore cs fan and dod, so power for that game is overkill lol, as for hl2 etc it runs them fine also, i dont think ill bother upgrading to a x800 or 6800 but my next upgrade would be for a 512 meg card *dreams* if i can hold out that long that is.

    So i sopose what im trying to say is, if u can justify paying the amount for a top end card, and u think the power of the card is going to benifit you then go for it, otherwise go for a good card thats had its price sliced dramaticly like i did.

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    If you were to get a 6800 ultra, i would strongly advise getting a 6800GT instead they are cheaper, and there is very little performance difference!

    Otherwise your philosophy is good, i.e. buying last gen! Saves a helluva lot of money!

    Ian
    Mac fancier > white macbook base spec .................. CS: muddyfirebang

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    No point getting a Ultra or XTPE for a 2.8C Northy.

    A plain 6800 would be perfect, or a X800XL.

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    If you are into video editing as well would a AMD64 chip not be better?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Famished
    If you are into video editing as well would a AMD64 chip not be better?
    No, why do you think that?

    Thats what the P4's excel at.

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    http://www.overclockers.co.uk/acatal...ics_Cards.html

    11th Item Down

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    Price: £188.00 Including VAT

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    Thumbs up Confirmation of my suspicions

    To answer questions about my choices of hardware; I've already got it all except for the video card, mostly from slow collection at great bargain prices over a long period of time. It is too late to switch to a different MB or processor at this point in time. But thanks for the recommendations, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by oralpain
    No, it means all current cards are going to suck in the future, like always, and that ATI will fake FP32 in the drivers (making it run slower but keeping full IQ), or reduce image quality (probably to an unnoticeable degree), if necissary.
    >>>Yeah, that's what I suspected...

    Quote Originally Posted by oralpain
    I'd go with an X800XL or the cheapest 6800GT with a decent warrantee.
    >>>Also, what I suspected...

    Quote Originally Posted by oralpain
    As for the rest of your stuff it, looks fine. The mushkin memory is a bit expensive for waht it does however. Very similar perfromaing memory can be had much cheaper.
    >>>Actually, I already have it. I got a great deal on it years ago. It's been sitting in my drawer waiting to be used.

    Quote Originally Posted by oralpain
    Windows 2000 SP4 is fine, absolutely no reason to waste moeny moving to windows XP just so you can get a better paint program and windows movie maker. XP and 2000 SP4 will perfroma exactly the same in games (or any other third part programs) if they are both setup properly.
    >>>Good, to know what I suspected was true. I never liked the look of XP anyway. Just like OSX. Sometimes change is not the same as progress...

    Thanks to everyone for the insights. Much appreciated. If all of these things are true, I'm beginning to wonder whether a 9800 pro or even a 9600xt might suit my needs better until the next generation of cards comes out. Only question is, how long will AGP cards be made into the future, and will the next generation even be made for it? If not, perhaps the currently available ones are some of the last and most powerful there will be? I know they make PCI vid cards still, but they seem to level off at Radeon 9000 or so. You don't see 9600 or above for PCI, so it makes you wonder at which point PCIe will be the only platform for the latest and greatest cards.
    By then, however, I won't need to give my kidney to afford even an X850XT

    -Erik.
    Last edited by e.lectronick; 02-05-2005 at 02:26 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey21
    No, why do you think that?

    Thats what the P4's excel at.
    While it is generally true that historically the P4 has been much better at encoding tasks than the AMD stuff (especially those apps which utilize SSE2 and HT), the Intel chips (despite how hard the Intel funded review sites try to convince us) do not enjoy the advantage they once did. Since the dualchannel S939 chips came out it is now quite easy to build an AMD system that will not only encode as well as an Intel but in many cases beat it substantially. With the improved Venice and San Diego cores AMD has actually pulled ahead of Intel in this area.

    Intel was on the right track with the Dothan. I would really have liked to see them spend more time and energy developing these. The Dothan actually represents something very good and new from Intel and they really need to develope it. Dothan is really the only new thing coming from Intel. They seem to be taking the "improve the chipset" approach rather than working on better CPU designs. Even their dualcore stuff is not new. It's basically just two P4s on a single die.

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    The gaming industry is going 32bit fpp. It will start with the unreal engine3. ATi will not be able to fake 32 bit because it is hardware related.

    You wont be able to run a 64bit OS on a 32bit cpu will you? This is along the same lines. UE3 developers have tried using 24 bit fpp cards to see the outcome, there is severe artifacting present.

    If your looking for the future get a nVidia card.

    The ATi cards dont even support directx9.0c fully. Look at sm3 and hdr these are features from micrsoft that ati hasnt implemented in their cards.

    And before you say sm3 and hdr are useless, ATi is going to implement them in the R520 "FUDO".

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    Banned StormPC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mesce
    The gaming industry is going 32bit fpp. It will start with the unreal engine3. ATi will not be able to fake 32 bit because it is hardware related.

    You wont be able to run a 64bit OS on a 32bit cpu will you? This is along the same lines. UE3 developers have tried using 24 bit fpp cards to see the outcome, there is severe artifacting present.

    If your looking for the future get a nVidia card.

    The ATi cards dont even support directx9.0c fully. Look at sm3 and hdr these are features from micrsoft that ati hasnt implemented in their cards.

    And before you say sm3 and hdr are useless, ATi is going to implement them in the R520 "FUDO".
    There are far too many ATI cards in the field for any software company to be interested in a game that will not run properly on anything but the highend nVidia cards. As long as you brought it up, to program that way would be as stupid as programming a game for 64 bit only CPUs. IT AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN!

    I fail to see how your CPU/OS comparison applies to a GPU. Both the OS and videogame are running on the CPU. The videocard only excelerates the video. You may have heard the term "video excelerator"???
    Last edited by StormPC; 05-05-2005 at 01:12 AM.

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