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adistortions
01-05-04, 06:19 AM
Hey Gang...

I'm new here and have some questions - I'll also throw some background in.

My plans are to build me a new PC (I've already got a case w/400watt, 80GB 7200 8MB HD and CD-RW on the way).
I've been doing a lot of research over the Radeon 9800 and FX 5900 (as I always do with any new 'toy' I purchase) At first I was gearing towards a Radeon 9800 but for some reason I have shifted towards the 5900 for a lot of reasons.

This should prove to be a dramatic upgrade over my previous system I had since 1999 which is an AMD 450MHZ 128MB-RAM and a VooDoo3 3000 16MB.
I was pretty disappointed with the system from a gaming point of view and got tired of all the high prices and gimmicks when it came to supposedly high-performance hardware and many issues I had with Windows 95/98 so I decided to go the way of an Apple iMac (not for gaming, but for stability and video editing)

Through this time I've owned a PS2, Dreamcast (still have one with about 180 original games) and have been pleased with console gaming since. I quickly realised that for the amount of money I was spending up updating my PC I could easily obtain an awesome library of games for console systems that didn't require $1,800 for a awesome PC setup. Now... it seems that things are taking a turn backwards.... not price wise but that PC's seem to have jumped in graphic quality and prices being still so-so.

I got to play NFSU on a friends computer the other day... I was highly impressed.
His LCD monitor however I think was making the image a bit 'pixely?' but overall very nice and much higher res and detail then I had expected. Thus bringing me to my current decision to build a new gaming rig for myself.

Here's what I have in mind:

AMD XP2800+
1GB Micron DDR RAM (PC2700 I believe?)
80GB 7200 8MB (Hard Drive)
MSI K7N2 (nForce 2 chipset) MoBo

and finally and most probably the MSI GeForce FX 5900 128MB

A few questions however (especially since the price differes so much)
How would you guys rate a Ti4600 over a FX 5900?
(my friend had a Ti4600 and a 2800 AMD but I noticed some slight stuttering)

Is it worth the price difference? Should I get a cheaper 4600 now and wait for even a better NVIDIA card to come out in a while?

I see the 5900 and 5950 and everyones commenting that the 5900 is the model to choose as 50mhz isn't that big of a deal difference, which is fine by me since it is cheaper. I don't want to spend more than $300 on the card, and the MSI version I see fits the bill.

Being that NFSU is one of the main games I would like to play... I have read throughout the forum that some people are having problems with the game and the NVidia cards.... so what should I expect? Has it been fixed or is there still some problems with this?

2nd.... FPS is alright... I'll play Unreal here and there and I may eventually get into
Battlefield and possibly some other FPS related games. I'm not really into the RPGs like they used to be back in the late 80's and early 90s' (ahh, the TSR games and AD&D... haha, Secret of the Silver Blades...) anyways..
:p Back to my point... does someone have a small list of games thats' not exactly FPS or RPG's that would take advantage of this card?

3rd... once I do get the card (because I really DO plan on getting it regardless)
is there a link somewhere to download user-made demos for the card (not from NVidia) but actual coders pushing the card (or do people do that anymore?) (looks back in the 90's when everyone used to push performance on the older systems)

4th.. Anyone play Midnight Club II with an FX? Any comments about this?
How it runs, etc. All the damn reviews I see online just rate the same games over and over and over again .. (Quake 3, Unreal, WarCraft III, etc.)

5th... I know brand is an important factor. Originally due to price I was going to get a XFX GeForce 5900 but I'm now shifting my opinion to get a slightly higher priced MSI version (as it would also match my MoBo.) What do you think?

6th... Does someone here have a 2800 system with 1gig of ram and a 5900 ?
What's your 3D Mark 2001 score if you don't mind me asking (and don't forget the resolution ;)

Lastly... I go to nvidia's website... then to the 5900 section...wtf is there like 9 different cards listed? VTD this SVTD that...XT this? blah blah... I don't know too much about the cards obviously but they also don't do a good job at describing
EXACTLY what the differences are and WHY or how much the difference is.
I want to make the right purchase the first time and not find out I had bought a crippled version or some *LIGHT EDITION* version of the card. At the same time, I don't need the Ultra either (as mentioned earlier above)

well.... I think I've dragged my first and probably longest post out as far as I can ;)

Any other suggestions would be appreciated. I don't plan to go beyond a AMD 2800+ at the moment as I have a fixed financial outlook for my new PC and assume what I'm building should be plenty enough for some time to come.

Thanks in advance for all your answers and time for reading my post :cool:

Clint Thompson

adistortions
01-05-04, 06:28 AM
Ahh... one more thing I did forget to mention.

How is performance with GTAIII and Vice City (as I will be ridding my PS2 with those games as well as a few other items) to get my new graphics card :)

I still want to be able to play Vice City as I haven't gotten to beat it yet.

Thanks again....

aapo
01-05-04, 07:05 AM
Originally posted by adistortions
Is it worth the price difference? Should I get a cheaper 4600 now and wait for even a better NVIDIA card to come out in a while?

I think FX5900 is a lot better card than a Ti4600. An FX5900 (even SE) for < 200$ is a good pick IMHO.

I see the 5900 and 5950 and everyones commenting that the 5900 is the model to choose as 50mhz isn't that big of a deal difference, which is fine by me since it is cheaper. I don't want to spend more than $300 on the card, and the MSI version I see fits the bill.

It's simple. If you aren't willing to spend $300, pick an FX5900(SE), but beware that the SE version has relatively low 700MHz memory clocks compared to 850MHz of the normal version. If you're willing to spend $300, pick a Radeon 9800. They are faster and more future proof due to their better PS2.0 speed, which is at least two times faster than FX5900 (speaking of unoptimized speed). In the distant future, when neither FXs nor Radeons won't get serious optimizations, FXs will be a lot slower. But both types of cards will be old then anyway... ;)

saturnotaku
01-05-04, 07:48 AM
Originally posted by adistortions
I got to play NFSU on a friends computer the other day... I was highly impressed.
His LCD monitor however I think was making the image a bit 'pixely?' but overall very nice and much higher res and detail then I had expected. Thus bringing me to my current decision to build a new gaming rig for myself.

You sound like the kind of person who doesn't upgrade his PC very often. With that in mind, the setup you have chosen now is pretty good considering the price of all the components. However, if this is something that you don't plan on upgrading for a number of years, I would ask you to consider waiting another few months until AMD releases its new socket design for the next lineup of desktop Athlon 64 processors. These new processors should be less expensive compared to what's out now and the motherboards should be inexpensive as well as they will not require the use of registered memory. I know it sounds like a lot to ask but if you're patient just a bit longer, your investment in new components will pay a higher dividend.

A few questions however (especially since the price differes so much)
How would you guys rate a Ti4600 over a FX 5900?
(my friend had a Ti4600 and a 2800 AMD but I noticed some slight stuttering)

If you saw stuttering in NFS: Underground, that's more of a game issue with NVIDIA cards. This game is yet another in EA's glorious repertoire that suffers from crap console port syndrome. FX5900 cards suffer from the same problem. EA did release a patch but it didn't seem to do any good so this one is probably be going to be up to NVIDIA to fix.

In every other game, the 5900 is going to spank the Ti4600 in terms of performance. The difference is huge.

Is it worth the price difference? Should I get a cheaper 4600 now and wait for even a better NVIDIA card to come out in a while?

I see the 5900 and 5950 and everyones commenting that the 5900 is the model to choose as 50mhz isn't that big of a deal difference, which is fine by me since it is cheaper. I don't want to spend more than $300 on the card, and the MSI version I see fits the bill.

If you wait a little longer to upgrade, by the time those new AMD processors come out the latest generation of NVIDIA and ATI cards will be out as well. You can then get the mid-range version of one of those or pick up a bargain on one of today's high-end cards. The Radeon 9800 Pro can be had today for about $260-275 and that's going to be your best bet if your price range is in that realm.

Or you can still wait and get a current generation 256 mb card (GeForce FX 5900/5950 or Radeon 9800 Pro/XT) when their prices inevitably drop because of new model introductions.

[quoteBeing that NFSU is one of the main games I would like to play... I have read throughout the forum that some people are having problems with the game and the NVidia cards.... so what should I expect? Has it been fixed or is there still some problems with this?

Read what I said above.

[quote]2nd.... FPS is alright... I'll play Unreal here and there and I may eventually get into
Battlefield and possibly some other FPS related games. I'm not really into the RPGs like they used to be back in the late 80's and early 90s' (ahh, the TSR games and AD&D... haha, Secret of the Silver Blades...) anyways..
:p Back to my point... does someone have a small list of games thats' not exactly FPS or RPG's that would take advantage of this card?

Couple games that come to mind are Morrowind and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Neverwinter Nights is another.

3rd... once I do get the card (because I really DO plan on getting it regardless)
is there a link somewhere to download user-made demos for the card (not from NVidia) but actual coders pushing the card (or do people do that anymore?) (looks back in the 90's when everyone used to push performance on the older systems)

Search this forum for the user Humus. Click on a link to one of his posts and in his signature there's a link to his site where he has Direct3D and OpenGL demos. Most of them are optimized for ATI cards, but he does tell you on what cards any demo will run.



MC2 suffers from the same problems as NFS: U - poor console port. If you have MC2 for the Playstation, it's not going to be worth getting for the PC.

[quote]5th... I know brand is an important factor. Originally due to price I was going to get a XFX GeForce 5900 but I'm now shifting my opinion to get a slightly higher priced MSI version (as it would also match my MoBo.) What do you think?

Brand doesn't matter all that much as most cards stick pretty close to the NVIDIA reference design. I tend to stick with BFG cards because they have the best warranty/support, they're based locally (to me) and the people there are really cool (I got to tour their facility).

Lastly... I go to nvidia's website... then to the 5900 section...wtf is there like 9 different cards listed? VTD this SVTD that...XT this? blah blah... I don't know too much about the cards obviously but they also don't do a good job at describing
EXACTLY what the differences are and WHY or how much the difference is.

Looking just at the 5900 non-ultra there are basically two types, regular and SE. SE cards have lower memory clock frequencies than the regular (700 vs. 850). Cards with the 850 MHz memory are getting increasingly hard to find now because the prices of 5900 non-ultra cards have bottomed out. Make sure to carefully read the specs of a card and don't hesitate to ask us about a specific card.

MUYA
01-05-04, 07:50 AM
I have 1 GB Geil PC3200 memory, and 2800+ and Abit nf7-s v2

Great combo, no issues to speak of and the 2800+ is always overclocked to 3200+ clock @ 2.2ghz, it can go higher with a lil bit of voltage tweaking.

great combo nforce2 ultra 400 + bartons and 1 gig, things load up that much faster, as in games levels etc.


Now I have a 9700 Pro and 5700U, I get 4900 onionmarks with the 9700 Pro and 3800 with the 5700U. Not exatcly a 9800 Pro + 5900 comparision but, it gives you a rough idea as the 9800 pro is clocked higher and the 5900 has double the pipelines over the 5700U as well as memory bandwith.

Need For Speed is playable at 1024 by 768 with no aa (ie AA is borked because of the special effect which u can turn off to get AA) with all effects on on the 5700U. Some ppl report stuttering on NV cards...I didn't expereince that.

I dun have midnight club, but F1 99-02 runs well with the 5700U but with 9700Pro, i can get away with full settings and AA/AF. Should do even better with the 5900 or 9800pro.

As for the versions of 5900, as appo said, there are 2 variants of the 5900 non ultra, the 5900 regular and 5900XT/se. wheras the 5900 regular is clocked as per NV's specs, the 5900SE/XT are not. They have lower memory clocks, in order to bring costs but if u read the reviews, the 5900XT/SE are within a hair's breadth of the 5900 regular benchies but they can be had for a lot less.

Gator
01-05-04, 08:03 AM
AXP2800 is a great chip, and good choice on NForce2. You might wanna get an Asus or Abit NForce2 though, because the MSI Nforce2 doesn't overclock as well. You may say to yourself now "I don't plan to overclock" but you never know in the future and better to be safe than sorry. With that in mind, definetly get DDR400 PC3200 memory instead, because that will help insure your overclockability. And don't worry DDR400 PC3200 runs perfectly fine at DDR333 PC2700 speed, and the price difference is nothing.

Secondly, I've read of some annoying warranty issues with MSI, so if you wanna get the FX5900, I'd going with BFG, Asus, EVGA, and several others. MSI quality is decent, but if you do have a probem you don't wanna have to haggle with the company. And for something in the $200us price range, the FX5900 non-ultra is definetly the best deal going. R9800 is good stuff, but you can't beat the price Nvidia is offering right now. And donot bother with the 5900Ultra or 5950, the minor performance difference is not worth the price they want for them.

All the games you mentioned should work great with this setup, enjoy!

gstanford
01-05-04, 09:09 AM
Some good games to check out: I consider them all must have games.

Hitman2: Silent Assassin
Mafia
NOLF2
Race Driver
NeverWinter Nights
Max Payne2
Ghost Recon

There are lots of other older titles too from about when you left PC gaming behind (NOLF1, DeusEx, Vampire the Masquerade, Max Payne1, Dungeon Seige) and many many more. There is a lot more to pc gaming than stale RPG's and FPS nowadays.

On the hardware side of things, be aware the "classic" (non 64 bit) Athlon has basically finished its evolution. 3200+ is as fast as it will ever get. However its still a solid platform and you'll get a lot of good gaming from it for a long time to come at an excellent price compared to newer technology.

Videocard wise, I'd be inclined to pick up a GF4 Ti and await the second generation of DirectX9 cards.

Gator
01-05-04, 09:20 AM
Originally posted by gstanford
...Videocard wise, I'd be inclined to pick up a GF4 Ti and await the second generation of DirectX9 cards.

Why? You could get the far superior FX5900SE for a mere $188 at http://www.newegg.com

It'll outperform even the GF4 TI4600-8X in DX9 AND DX8 performance

gstanford
01-05-04, 09:34 AM
I have yet to see a DX9 class card I would actually spend my money on, and i'm a fairly early adopter in the graphics card world.

$90US will get you a 4200, if you shop wisely you should find one that hits 4600 speeds, like mine (Asus V9280s2).

Gator
01-05-04, 09:54 AM
Originally posted by gstanford
I have yet to see a DX9 class card I would actually spend my money on, and i'm a fairly early adopter in the graphics card world.

$90US will get you a 4200, if you shop wisely you should find one that hits 4600 speeds, like mine (Asus V9280s2).

an excellent point, but if you look at what he's upgrading from... an AMD K62 450mhz to an AXP2800, clearly this person does not upgrade very often. It would be more advisable for them to buy the FX5900 because it has DX9 so it's better prepared for the future, if only slightly more prepared. GF4 TI4200 for $90 kicks ass... but when Doom3 and HL2 comes out, he'll be sorry he didn't get the FX5900

aapo
01-05-04, 10:35 AM
Originally posted by saturnotaku
Search this forum for the user Humus. Click on a link to one of his posts and in his signature there's a link to his site where he has Direct3D and OpenGL demos. Most of them are optimized for ATI cards, but he does tell you on what cards any demo will run.

Here is a direct link http://esprit.campus.luth.se/~humus/.

And, just nitpicking, the Humus demos aren't optimized for any cards. The OpenGL shaders use the standard ARB extensions and GLSL, which give all brands an equal footing. The DirectX demos similarly use HLSL shaders giving the FX shader compiler a full opportunity to do its magic. I don't think Humus has neither resources nor interest to hack brand-specific optimizations into his demos; he seems to concentrate on general algorithm design (which is very very very good IMO). :)

There are, of course, reasons why the Humus demos don't play at all or don't play well with FX hardware:
1. There is no GLSL support in DetFX OpenGL drivers.
2. The floating point render targets aren't exposed in DetFX DirectX drivers.
3. For some reason, even the RGBA16 fixed point render targets aren't available in DetFX DirectX drivers.
4. FX hardware generally runs standard floating point shader code slower than Radeons.

Parts 1. - 3. prevent some of the demos from running, while part 4. makes the rest to run slow with FX hardware. nVidia has promised to fix parts 1. - 3. in the future driver releases (we are waiting, nVidia!). I think these driver quarks will be fixed when new games start to use those cool visual effects that Humus has already demonstrated for us. :D

adistortions
01-05-04, 12:35 PM
Cool... thanks for all the responses!

I don't upgrade my computer alot.... then again I never really needed to.
I've tried doing the LAN thing with my iMac as best as it will do (and with the 4 games I CAN play on this thing, haha)

As far as MSI goes... I feel more comfortable dealing with MSI then I would
BFG (who is BFG) and what's the deal with like 7 different manufacts. making the same card? (that kinda worries me) but I think I'll either go with MSI or XFX (going by all the reviews I've been reading over the various cards for the last 2 weeks or so)

Gator.... Again... with the MoBo..... your right about the possibility of overclocking but I thought I read that the K7N2 had room to be overclocked. (Not that I'm an OC'er because I'm not) I'm also not going to be playint at 1600x1200 or madness like that.... 1024x768 should suit my desire. It would sadden me to have to OC my system from the initial purchase. AMD64 isn't in my price range to care about getting right now (even as awesome as it would be) I just assume if in 4-6 months the price drops insanely and I can pick up a 3400 for a good price then I will.

Who knows... even by then NVidia may have a new card out (whats this I hear about the NV40?) of course at that point... if I was to move up to the AMD64 and a even newer NV40 I would have to stick with that for about a year. Upgrading more then 2 times a year isn't my style... I don't have to be the best heh... and I don't need it -

I seen a MSI 5900 at newegg.com but it didn't have TV in functions from what I seen (and since I'm into video editing it wouldn't be a bad feature to have I think) at least, it couldn't hurt right? Any opinions on this? Users who've used this feature? I just want the VTD version of the card (as I understand has the video in feature) with the 400/850 clock rates. Any reliable sources for this in the MSI flavor?

Also.... I have a HDTV down in my living room.... anyone with feedback on hooking up such a system to their HDTV? What's the results like... desirable?
Then what resolution do you run it at on a HDTV?

gstanford - yep, I'll give Hitman a look up and Max Payne 2 is a must. I loved the first one on the PS2... so I'm sure I'll enjoy the 2nd one on the PC.

Thanks much for all the help!! Very cool forum you guys have here...

Clint Thompson

Gator
01-05-04, 12:57 PM
just get a Hauppauge WinTV PCI card with HDTV capability. The problem with buying an AIW or video in&out (VIVO) capable videocard, is sure you'll be happy now, but when a more powerful video card comes out you'll always have to go the AIW or VIVO route, and that costs more money. If you buy a PCI TV Tuner card, you keep the TV features no matter what video card you buy. That opens up your options to buying the newest card in a cheap OEM package with no extras; or you could get ATI, Nvidia, XGI, anyone you might want while still keeping the TV features.

Trust me, my Hauppauge WinTV has survived a Radeon 7200, R8500, and GF4TI. It will continue to do so well beyond DX 10 cards, etc...

saturnotaku
01-05-04, 01:08 PM
Originally posted by adistortions
As far as MSI goes... I feel more comfortable dealing with MSI then I would
BFG (who is BFG) and what's the deal with like 7 different manufacts. making the same card? (that kinda worries me)

Who is BFG? If you've looked at the video card section of any major electronics retailer (Best Buy, CompUSA, etc) in the last year, you'd know who BFG is. What you get from them that you don't get with MSI is the following: toll-free, 24/7 tech support by phone or e-mail, and a true lifetime warranty. If your card goes bad for any reason regardless of how long you have it, BFG will replace it with either the same card or with next-generation technology in the same price range that you bought your card at.

adistortions
01-05-04, 05:07 PM
Ok Saturn... you may have sold me on the BFG thing :)

Here's a link I got... but it seems kinda inexpensive to me.
Am I missing something?

http://www.enpc.com/cgi-bin/enpc/aslm5900_128.html

Thanks...

adistortions
01-05-04, 05:20 PM
btw Saturn... what color PCB is your BFG?

I just checked out a review and the PCB was Blue.. then I seen another that was green. Not that it really matters heh..just curious. :)

digitalwanderer
01-05-04, 05:22 PM
Originally posted by adistortions
Ok Saturn... you may have sold me on the BFG thing :)

Here's a link I got... but it seems kinda inexpensive to me.
Am I missing something?

http://www.enpc.com/cgi-bin/enpc/aslm5900_128.html

Thanks...
OMG, is that a 5900NP that isn't an SE for under $200? Someone tell Ragejg quick! :lol:

adistortions
01-05-04, 05:28 PM
Originally posted by digitalwanderer
OMG, is that a 5900NP that isn't an SE for under $200? Someone tell Ragejg quick! :lol:

If it was an SE wouldn't they be required to put it in the description?

Pardon my ignorance but NP is?

So should I get this card? hmm....

If it's a 5900 with the true clock speeds and not an SE I would think that's a yes.
Heh...

digitalwanderer
01-05-04, 05:36 PM
Originally posted by adistortions
If it was an SE wouldn't they be required to put it in the description?

Pardon my ignorance but NP is?

So should I get this card? hmm....

If it's a 5900 with the true clock speeds and not an SE I would think that's a yes.
Heh...
Sorry, "NP"="non-Pro" and just is a way of designating it as a non-pro version of the 5900.

I agree with you. If it isn't an SE than it is a great deal, that's why I mentioned. A member here was looking for just such a deal just the other day.

Clockspeed would definately be a good way to tell the difference. I can't remember if it was listed or not.

adistortions
01-05-04, 05:45 PM
Well... I just called them (ENPC)... and got somewhat of a run-around.

He said he doesn't have specifics on the card and I would have to go to the BFG website. WTF? How do you not have specs about a card you sell? Anyways... I'm kinda leary about ordering from them now even though I did get a quick response from 2-3 different people.

It doesn't state if it's SE or not (again, does BFG make an SE version) and they have no more details.

argh....

aapo
01-05-04, 05:46 PM
Originally posted by digitalwanderer
Sorry, "NP"="non-Pro" and just is a way of designating it as a non-pro version of the 5900.

Yes. In other words, 5900U(ltra) > A 5900NP > 5900SE/XT. Generally, if someone orders a FX5900 online, he can never know for sure what variant he's gonna get in the end of the day. Well, it's surely not an Ultra if it's ~200$. :D

But all of those are pretty good for < 200$. :)

digitalwanderer
01-05-04, 05:55 PM
Originally posted by adistortions
Well... I just called them (ENPC)... and got somewhat of a run-around.

He said he doesn't have specifics on the card and I would have to go to the BFG website. WTF? How do you not have specs about a card you sell? Anyways... I'm kinda leary about ordering from them now even though I did get a quick response from 2-3 different people.

It doesn't state if it's SE or not (again, does BFG make an SE version) and they have no more details.

argh....
Well it doesn't look like BFG makes an SE according to their site (http://www.bfgtech.com) (hover over the "products" button, no 5900se listed.)

Here's the stats of their 5900np from BFG's page on it (http://www.bfgtech.com/5900_redux.html)

Specifications
• GPU NVIDIA® GeForce™ FX 5900
• Bus Type AGP
• Memory 128MB DDR
• Core Clock 400MHz
• RAMDAC Dual 400MHz
• API Support Microsoft® DirectX® 9.0, OpenGL
for Microsoft® Windows®
• Connectors VGA, DVI, S-Video out
• 300 million vertices/sec.
I'd say go for it, it looks good. :)



(BTW-Note how I didn't say a bloody thing about how the 9800 is better?) :p

adistortions
01-05-04, 06:07 PM
****.. Saturn.. you are right :D

That's the fastest e-mail reply I've had since NEVER!

I just got this in the e-mail from BFG (as I asked about their 5900 cards)
I'm going to buy one from them for sure now!!

here's the email:

Clint,
You are correct we do not currently sell the 5900SE. Our card is the 850
MHz memclock.
Thanks

---------

Well.. I know what I'm getting :)

adistortions
01-10-04, 08:46 AM
So.... any responses on if your BFG 5900NU 128MB is Blue or not? :)

saturnotaku
01-10-04, 09:40 AM
'Tis blue indeed. But PCB color should matter not. That's like evaluating a car based solely on its paint color. ;)