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cvearl
04-14-03, 11:39 AM
This is for nVidia people wondering if they should make the leap to ATI. I had nvidia forever and really thought I would never go back to ATI having tried both an 8500 and a 9000 Pro just prior to getting a G4 last year. I will say, my G4 served me well and I am amazed at how well it still stacks up to the competition! As long as you don't use AA, it is just as fast as a 9500 Pro. All that from a card that is a year old! Impressive indeed.

Anyway, having had a 9700 Pro for several weeks now....

VISUAL QUALITY - My nvidia always looked great as long as I stuck with the 30.82 WHQL drivers. Anyhting since, I felt things were looking a little washed out even in the desktop. That might explain why the newer DET 40's were faster. Is it possible that some concessions were made by nVidia to gain some performance? Perhaps but I no longer care. I stuck with the 30.82's The G4 was gerenally fast. Only real problem was not quite fast enough. Especially when I enabled even just 2xAA. In that mode, I had a really hard time keeping fps above 40 let alone 85!

My summary of the 9700 Pro --- Holy Crap it's fast and beutifull!!! I believe that I have found for me what I consider the sweet spot for this card in terms of the games I have been playing so far.

Keep in mind, I am a littel pickier than some when it comes to FPS and image quality balance. Getting 240 fps in a game is irrelevent to me. My monitor is locked at 85Hz. I use vsync as I HATE tearing in games. With vSync enabled, my primary goal in any game is to maintain 85 fps at all times in 1024x768x32 with a minimum setting of 2xAA. There are alot out there that say "I always play 4xAA and 8xAF no problem". I could to but not at my standard fps requirements in new games. 2xAA is good enough for me. I went back to my G4 and captured some screenies and then captured some on my 9700 Pro. I can honestly say that the 9700 Pro 2xAA looks pretty close to the G4 4xAA. As for AF, I can take it or leave it in newer games. AF makes a really huge difference in RTCW though and I don't feel any performance hit to fps in that game. Everywhere else, I really get hit.

Individual Game Findings. Again going 1024x768x32 and maintaining 85fps all the time...

RETURN TO CASTLE WOLFENSTIEN - This is OPENGL. I have all the "in game" settings maxed to full and in the OpenGL TAB in the ATI drivers, the quality sliders are maxed as well. Also, I set to 4xAA and 8xAF(Quality). Set like this, this game is drop dead gorgeous and never goes below 85fps. I am assuming that all Quake III based engines will run the same. (EDIT - Outdoor maps drop me to 45fps. I turned off AF).

FREELANCER - D3D game I guess. All "in game" detail settings maxed to full settings. ATI driver page set to 2xAA and no AF. It looks awesome and again never goes below 85fps. I can stay at 85fps with 4xAA and 4xAF but then other games don't run as well. So I sacrafice and leave it at 2xAA and no AF.

UT2003 (and likely Unreal II) - D3D games. All "ingame" settings set at normal (which still looks great to me) and 2xAA no AF again. Stays at 85fps even in the Antalus map. If I were to stick with Indoor only maps, I could go to all settings in game set to high. But I like one setting fits all so normal settings with 2xAA it is. I'll have to go ack and play Unreal II again now that I have this card. I only tested it once for a few minutes as I have already completed it on my G4.

WARCRAFT III - Everthing maxed in game. 2xAA and no AF. Always awesome and never falls from 85fps. (EDIT! - LOOKING A SECOND TIME, IT IS CAPPED AT 65fps. This is apparently normal for this game.)

RALLISPORT CHALLENGE - D3D game. Graphics setting defaulted to MEDIUM. ATI set to 2xAA no AF. This one pisses me off a bit. I can go to HIGH detail setting and the DIRT tracks all run at 85fps at all times. I's the ICE tracks that force me to MEDUIM. Oh well, in MEDIUM it is nearly as beutifull and runs silky smooth in ALL tracks and race types. Also I play from behind the car. Not in the car. If playing in the car, I can go to HIGH without an issue for most of the ICE tracks. That is probably because I am no longer rendering my own car from behind which takes alot of juice to do.

C&C GENERALS - This one is wierd. At 2xAA all game details maxed. If I play Skirmish or campains, I get fps equal to the game speed settings. ie; If the game is set to 30 I get 30fps at all times. Yet if I play DIRECT connect with a friend, I am at 85fps at all times with occasional dips to 60 when the game gets really busy. I have talked to many about this and this is just the way it is for everyone in Skirmish mode or Campain.

ADDED April 11 - Another successfull game on R9700 Pro!
GHOST RECON - 1024x768x32 @ 2xAA no AF, Mipmap textures on, everyhting full detail, 24bit Zbuffer setting (32bit is greyed out for some reason), shadows at the middle setting. 85fps at all times and looks great!

Well that's the 7 games I am playing right now. Once I am done them, I will go and try out NOLF2 and Ghost Recon (EDIT - JUST TRIED IT). Have not tried them since my G4. I hope I have a simular experience with them as well. I really wished I had a 2.8Ghz though. Then I know I could go to HIGH in both UT2003 and Rallisport and stay at that magic 85fps mark.

Again... nVidia owners. Don't walk. Run to the store and get a 9700 Pro or 9800 Pro and GET IN THE GAME! Unless you own a G4Ti4600. Then wait a few more months and see where things are going if you are patient enough.

Charles.

darkmiasma
04-14-03, 12:16 PM
excellent experience review ... i'm glad you like your new card.

question about warcraft III: i thought there was something in the configuration file that locked the game at 60fps max. could you tell me where you got the 85fps number from?

- mike

Paul
04-14-03, 12:43 PM
Hmm. Where have i read that before? Was it on the B3D or Rage3D forums?

Glad you like your card anyway.

GlowStick
04-14-03, 01:16 PM
To be the opposition, your lucky you dont play Half-Life/mods.

Number of times GlowSticks computer has crashed today at 1:14PM = 3.

This weekend me and my friends had a small lan party and i had 6 crashes in Counter Strike in the first 20 min we were trying to set it up. It really was annoying, but luckyfully i have an intel board that boots up really really fast.

When i had my Geforce3 i never had game related crashes, sorry to say, but i am still dissapointed with the ATI drivers.

cvearl
04-14-03, 02:44 PM
Originally posted by darkmiasma
excellent experience review ... i'm glad you like your new card.

question about warcraft III: i thought there was something in the configuration file that locked the game at 60fps max. could you tell me where you got the 85fps number from?

- mike

I guess I'll have to check again! I use FRAPS. I'll let you know.

Charles.

cvearl
04-14-03, 02:45 PM
Originally posted by Paul
Hmm. Where have i read that before? Was it on the B3D or Rage3D forums?

Glad you like your card anyway.

Yup this is also posted over there. I can reach more nVidia brethren here though. Just like to share experiences.

Charles.

cvearl
04-14-03, 02:49 PM
Originally posted by GlowStick
To be the opposition, your lucky you dont play Half-Life/mods.

Number of times GlowSticks computer has crashed today at 1:14PM = 3.

This weekend me and my friends had a small lan party and i had 6 crashes in Counter Strike in the first 20 min we were trying to set it up. It really was annoying, but luckyfully i have an intel board that boots up really really fast.

When i had my Geforce3 i never had game related crashes, sorry to say, but i am still dissapointed with the ATI drivers.

Ya, I heard that. I have a friend though that plays CS all the time on a 9500 Pro and claims never to have crashed. He tells me he plays in OpenGL though. For me, leaving a game gives me a black screen. But I am not playing currently so I don't mind.

Charles.

GlowStick
04-14-03, 02:56 PM
Originally posted by cvearl
Ya, I heard that. I have a friend though that plays CS all the time on a 9500 Pro and claims never to have crashed. He tells me he plays in OpenGL though. For me, leaving a game gives me a black screen. But I am not playing currently so I don't mind.

Charles.

My problem is if ESC is hit instant crash, if a map changes there is a about a 30% chance of a crash, if the focus is lost, thats an instant crash if i hit the ~ key that is about a 30% chance of crash.

I herd Cat 3.1 and soon to be released 3.3 fixes it. Really to lazy to revert back, but will upgrade =P

Steppy
04-14-03, 02:56 PM
Originally posted by GlowStick
To be the opposition, your lucky you dont play Half-Life/mods.

Number of times GlowSticks computer has crashed today at 1:14PM = 3.

This weekend me and my friends had a small lan party and i had 6 crashes in Counter Strike in the first 20 min we were trying to set it up. It really was annoying, but luckyfully i have an intel board that boots up really really fast.

When i had my Geforce3 i never had game related crashes, sorry to say, but i am still dissapointed with the ATI drivers. Then drop back to cat 3.1's for CS...I still wanna know why when NV users drop to old drivers it's fine, but if ATI users have to do it, it's inferior drivers.

cvearl
04-14-03, 02:58 PM
Originally posted by darkmiasma
excellent experience review ... i'm glad you like your new card.

question about warcraft III: i thought there was something in the configuration file that locked the game at 60fps max. could you tell me where you got the 85fps number from?

- mike

Wierd! I tested it. I was sure the counter said 85. However it says 65 almost all the time with the exception of occasional flashes of 70. I must have been tired that night. I really don't play it anymore. Just on my hard drive still. I tested this one really fast and I must have mistaken the 65 for an 85. Oops! All the others I used FRAPSLOG to check average fps. This one I did not. Just started, played a few minutes and glanced and then got out.

Charles.

GlowStick
04-14-03, 03:06 PM
Originally posted by Steppy
Then drop back to cat 3.1's for CS...I still wanna know why when NV users drop to old drivers it's fine, but if ATI users have to do it, it's inferior drivers.

Well first off i am lazy.... and on my gf3 i only upgraded to the drivers on the web page and never touched them since 41.09 very stable no problems whatsoever.

Paul
04-14-03, 03:19 PM
On a reasonably related note, the latest official nVidia drivers have fixed a long standing annoying problem with HL and it's mods - when you used to alt-tab out, and then back in, you'd have a constant flickering mouse pointer.

Now gone :D Very happy about that.

Steppy
04-14-03, 03:27 PM
Originally posted by GlowStick
Well first off i am lazy.... and on my gf3 i only upgraded to the drivers on the web page and never touched them since 41.09 very stable no problems whatsoever. That's fine, but widen the scope and look at other people(I have an 8500 that has caused me 1 problem since I got it two months after its release but that's not the case for everybody)...many people from both companies have to use slightly older drivers from time to time, I just question why that makes one companies drivers inferior and not the other one.

cvearl
04-14-03, 03:54 PM
Originally posted by Steppy
That's fine, but widen the scope and look at other people(I have an 8500 that has caused me 1 problem since I got it two months after its release but that's not the case for everybody)...many people from both companies have to use slightly older drivers from time to time, I just question why that makes one companies drivers inferior and not the other one.

Personally I have never heard people directly say to me personally that older ATI drivers were "inferior". Life over there (ATI camp) feels about the same as it did here from a driver revision standpoint. I have many say that 3.1's were required for half life. But if you need to play freelancer, you need 3.2. I guess if you are a fan of both games, you are basically screwed until both are fixed at the same time.

Charles.

cvearl
04-14-03, 03:57 PM
Originally posted by darkmiasma
excellent experience review ... i'm glad you like your new card.

question about warcraft III: i thought there was something in the configuration file that locked the game at 60fps max. could you tell me where you got the 85fps number from?

- mike

Hey, is there a hack to break that fps limit in Warcraft III????

Charles.

marcocom
04-14-03, 04:27 PM
personally i have no problem with nv/ati moving on from CS/Halflife issues and focussing on newer stuff and making that move faster and more stable.

no offense, but the HL engine is only like...what. 4years old now?

Paul
04-14-03, 04:30 PM
It's the biggest player base, and thus needs to be properly supported.

saturnotaku
04-14-03, 04:47 PM
Hopefully the Catalyst 3.3s will fix both problems and we won't have to deal with this.

GlowStick
04-14-03, 05:08 PM
Originally posted by Paul
It's the biggest player base, and thus needs to be properly supported.

Yup, most played Online FPS.

Here is the live stats from GameSpy

http://www.gamespy.com/stats/

Half Life 31754 servers, 108566 players
BattleFeild 1942 1894 servers, 10329 players
Quake 3 3122 servers, 5787 players
Americas Army 713 servers, 5622 players

darkmiasma
04-14-03, 05:11 PM
Originally posted by cvearl
Wierd! I tested it. I was sure the counter said 85. However it says 65 almost all the time with the exception of occasional flashes of 70. I must have been tired that night. I really don't play it anymore. Just on my hard drive still. I tested this one really fast and I must have mistaken the 65 for an 85. Oops! All the others I used FRAPSLOG to check average fps. This one I did not. Just started, played a few minutes and glanced and then got out.

Charles.

thanks for checking up on that.

Originally posted by cvearl
Hey, is there a hack to break that fps limit in Warcraft III????

Charles.

not that i know of, but you don't need it for RTS games. If they are doing 30-40 FPS that's all you need ... 60 is just a bonus. Nothing changes that fast in those types of games.

- mike

The Baron
04-14-03, 05:21 PM
Meh, since my only experiences with Cat drivers were on a Radeon 7200 (oh yeah. kicking it Old Skool) on a Win98SE box... I still say ATI drivers suck. ;) Those things were BASTARDS to install--installing a TNT2 on the same box (yes, I'm serious about the Old Skool comment) took all of 10 minutes. The ATI one took about 25... bleh.

Rogozhin
04-14-03, 07:17 PM
I had more problems with the 30 series dets on my geforce 4s than my 8500 and 9700 but I don't use fallacious logic to justify any of my conclusions.

rogo

Steppy
04-14-03, 07:51 PM
Originally posted by The Baron
Meh, since my only experiences with Cat drivers were on a Radeon 7200 (oh yeah. kicking it Old Skool) on a Win98SE box... I still say ATI drivers suck. ;) Those things were BASTARDS to install--installing a TNT2 on the same box (yes, I'm serious about the Old Skool comment) took all of 10 minutes. The ATI one took about 25... bleh. I've still running a Radeon 32DDR and a TNT2 Ultra in the kids box(all on XP though)...Never took me more than 5 minutes to install ANY card. Though I can imagine that problems are most likely to crop up installing the oldest catalyst supported hardware on an old OS.