Hi my name is nvidia2008 and I'm a PC... :) AMD + ATI

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Hi all, you may (or may not) have been wondering where the heck I've been.



Well, while I still have my (touch wood) trusty MacBook White Core Duo, I went and bought in the past week what was supposed to be a "budget mid-range gaming" PC.



Price ~ about USD $600, without monitor.



Firstly, Intel chips run about twice as expensive as AMDs. While Core 2s and Core i7 are all fast and great, they are expensive compared to AMD. So I got an AMD X2 7750 Black Edition (unlocked multiplier). It's 65nm, based on a Phenom quad core but with 2 cores "disabled". So it's dualcore. Price: ~ about USD $65.



The fun part. The AMD runs at 2.7ghz stock, overclocked it on Zalman 9700 air cooling to 3ghz. Clock for clock the Intels are faster, but this dualcore based on Phenom running at 3ghz, Windows XP is responsive and in gaming, the video card is the usual bottleneck anyway.



Okay. Next. The video card. ATI Radeon 4830. USD ~$100. What can I say. ATI really got a winner with their 55nm RV770 GPUs. The price for them is good, good value for the performance compared to Nvidia's 9-series and the GTS250 etc. which are rebranded 9-series. Nvidia is in some deep do-do. Their still relying on G92 derivatives (essentially originally from the 8800GT for example) for all except high-end desktop, and still relies on G92 for mobile (not stuff based of the GTX280). They can't get to 40nm, ATI has started production on 40nm for some GPUs, laptops I believe... Word has it that ATI's design should allow them to ramp 40nm production fairly well through the rest of the year.



The 4830 I have is a "crippled" 4870 ~ not really crippled as such, it still has GDDR3 512MB, 256-bit bus, core clock is 575mhz but running overclocked to 700mhz. Could push it further, but ATI's Catalyst utility maxes at 700mhz. Would have to use Rivatuner or something, not too keen on doing that yet. By the way the cooler on the GPU is Sapphire's own, not the stock cooling which I read was noisy and hot.



For USD $600 I'm playing Valve software max settings 8x antialiasing (Orange Box), Far Cry 2 on all High settings with 4x antialiasing. FEAR2, can run max settings with 4x antialiasing. Of course this is at 1280x1024 but it should hold up same quality at 1680x1050 with dropping antialiasing to 2xAA. I would say though that I'm very much into adjusting settings so it is emotionally beautiful/engaging yet still buttery-smooth.



The infuriating part was it took about a good three days to settle into the PC and install everything. Tried Vista, gave up, couldn't even boot into Windows after installing video card drivers. XP however, all good so far. Power supply died on me (snap, crackle, pop, sparks and burning smell)... However because I used a cheapo one that came with the PC casing. 500W rated branded power supply, and overclocking and handling temps like a champ... So far.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 30
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    The point I would like to make, is that you can take a Mac Mini (well, the components that make up a Mac Mini, with 7200rpm drive), and then just put in a $100 video card and it produces Xbox360 or better quality graphics at say 1680x1050. So really, if Apple really wanted to make an xMac, they can. It's a heating and case design issue. And whatever-else issue related to their product strategy, etc.



    Nvidia hit a home run with the 9400M integrated, but in the new iMacs Apple should have gone with ATI 4830 on the entry level 24" and an ATI 4760 on the 20". It's a pity Apple were quite committed to Nvidia, without realising besides the 9400M Nvidia's GPU pipeline was actually quite weak with the fiascos around getting the GTX280 derivatives down to 40nm and making mobile, cool-running versions.



    If there's the argument about cooling in the iMac, these ATI's are all at 55nm AFAIK. A decent heatsink/fan, it works. Like I said, 24" is a huge screen, and plenty of surface area etc to work with. Thermal engineering on the 24" is impressive, but by no means the best Apple can do.



    So far, I'm impressed this year with AMD and ATI. From a value-for-money, performance-per-price and decent quality perspective. I don't need quad core (in which case maybe Phenom2 vs IntelQuads is another story entirely), and Core i7, well, is overkill for games... Where just USD $100 to $200 is the key to unlocking really nice gaming, not really tons of RAM or quadcore CPUs.
  • Reply 2 of 30
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Oh, only thing concerning me is warranty issues because parts are assembled from different manufacturers and bought at, at least 2 different shops. But hey, that's the self-assembled computer world. I bought (well they sold me) the wrong CPU cooler fan so I managed to exchange that for a 4GB thumb drive and FEAR 2 (aww yeah Alma's back...)



    I don't know why Dell, etc. charge so much for so-called "Gaming" PCs. They can take fairly lower-end Core 2s, just make sure it has a decent power supply and like I said, a $100 GPU, and voila! Gaming PC. None of this Studio- or XPS- whatever with "ultra super duper with quad core" nonsense.



    In fact, I don't know which big company might do it, but Dell, HP, can just take AMD dualcores, drop in ATI 4800 series, and those can be inexpensive decent overall good HD gaming PCs. If it's a question of PC gaming only being for the "hardcore" and mainstream gaming belonging to XBox360... then so be it.



    Okay rambling now and finishing up at work to go back to tinker with my PC, so... byes for now.
  • Reply 3 of 30
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Edit: Far Cry 2 can run all settings Very High, 4XAA, 1280x1024. Make sure in Catalyst "Adaptive Antialiasing is off".



    Unreal Tournament 3 DX9 can run all settings max, 8XAA, 1280x1024, Make sure "Adaptive AA is off" as well.



    Valve (TF2, etc. Adaptive AA can be on.)



    Overclocking ATI 4830 to GPU Core 720mhz/993mhz mem ... pushing 70degC... Testing stability.
  • Reply 4 of 30
    nordkappnordkapp Posts: 270member
    Hi 2008,



    You seem to be having a good conversation going here, so I wont say too much



    Last I recall you went somewhere hot near the equator, and consulting, still there? Having fun with your PC, its about time I upgraded my graphics, running a GF8800GTS, which would be struggling a bit with new games, but I dont play games anymore - out of protest of DRM.



    I would like to give GTAIV a look, the new FEAR looks interesting and Bioshock2, but until DRM is abolished, I'll hold out.



    I recently tried to install Linux on an oldish laptop. Wouldn't recommend it for a weekends' fun. Linux is shite for consumers.
  • Reply 5 of 30
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    So now don't you have to change your screen name to ATI2009?
  • Reply 6 of 30
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post


    So now don't you have to change your screen name to ATI2009?



    Very tempted to... However I like keeping nvidia2008 ... I liked the Nvidia 8 series GPUs and 'Twas a good year, the 1st half anyways... And ignoring the 8600 defective chips...
  • Reply 7 of 30
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nordkapp View Post


    Hi 2008,



    You seem to be having a good conversation going here, so I wont say too much



    Last I recall you went somewhere hot near the equator, and consulting, still there? Having fun with your PC, its about time I upgraded my graphics, running a GF8800GTS, which would be struggling a bit with new games, but I dont play games anymore - out of protest of DRM.



    I would like to give GTAIV a look, the new FEAR looks interesting and Bioshock2, but until DRM is abolished, I'll hold out.



    I recently tried to install Linux on an oldish laptop. Wouldn't recommend it for a weekends' fun. Linux is shite for consumers.



    Yup still here on the equator... as I understand Western civilisation is doomed so I'll be hanging out here for a while...



    Just got FEAR2 will be installing tonight. Long day meeting clients so just wanna go back soon and spend some quality time with Alma* heh...



    Go on. Get an ATI 4870 1GB and run it with a 22" 1920x1080 screen... Ya Linux is madness PC with XP and drivers and this and that is complicated enough



    *one has to play FEAR to get what I mean
  • Reply 8 of 30
    futurepastnowfuturepastnow Posts: 1,772member
    I'm going to build a gaming PC for about the same amount of money soon. AMD and ATI (well, OK, they're both just AMD) is really looking good at that price.



    Would that I could afford a Core i7, but $200 for an X58 motherboard is the deal-breaker there.
  • Reply 9 of 30
    nordkappnordkapp Posts: 270member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post


    I'm going to build a gaming PC for about the same amount of money soon. AMD and ATI (well, OK, they're both just AMD) is really looking good at that price.



    Would that I could afford a Core i7, but $200 for an X58 motherboard is the deal-breaker there.



    IIRC, the P58 chipset is due to be released soon, and might be worth waiting for as the P range of Intel boards is usually half the price of the X range.



    Shows what happens when there is little competition in the CPU space, Intel rips you off....
  • Reply 10 of 30
    futurepastnowfuturepastnow Posts: 1,772member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nordkapp View Post


    IIRC, the P58 chipset is due to be released soon, and might be worth waiting for as the P range of Intel boards is usually half the price of the X range.



    Shows what happens when there is little competition in the CPU space, Intel rips you off....



    P55, which will use a new LGA1156 processor socket (and what some people are calling Core i5 ). Probably coming in July or August.
  • Reply 11 of 30
    nordkappnordkapp Posts: 270member
    yeah! thats what I meant - must not post after a few beers!
  • Reply 12 of 30
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nordkapp View Post


    IIRC, the P58 chipset is due to be released soon, and might be worth waiting for as the P range of Intel boards is usually half the price of the X range.



    Shows what happens when there is little competition in the CPU space, Intel rips you off....



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post


    I'm going to build a gaming PC for about the same amount of money soon. AMD and ATI (well, OK, they're both just AMD) is really looking good at that price.



    Would that I could afford a Core i7, but $200 for an X58 motherboard is the deal-breaker there.



    For a gaming PC, I really don't see the value in going Intel.



    Firstly, the benchmarks for Core i7 show actually markedly reduced framerates because Windows or the games is not "familiar" with the Core i7 yet. Of course, this is just an anomaly that is probably being progressively corrected through this year. But I have read some benchmarks showing Core i7 causes *poorer* gaming experiences.



    Secondly, X58 motherboard is all sexy and what not but you don't need it and it is expensive.



    What we're talking about for gaming is mainly framerates at 1680x1050 and 1920x1080 resolution. Which means the GPU is most important. With Nvidia stagnating at GTX285~ and G92 (8800GT-esque) derivatives, you've got ATI 4850s and 4870s that really offer good value for the money and can handle antialiasing and the latest games quite well.



    I think the biggest scam Intel is perpetrating is in the gaming space. Look at all the benchmarks. Tell me which games and framerates are really CPU dependent. Forget about 3DMark06 or especially Vantage. Real-word, real-gaming scenarios. Even an AMD X2 5000+, considered a cheapo, old CPU, loses maybe several fps compared to an Intel quadcore. And that's when tested with extremely fast GPUs where they try and bottleneck the CPU to get meaningful comparisons.



    You don't need quadcore, you don't need Intel, you don't need Core i7 for gaming. Sure, if you're doing video encoding and 3D rendering by all means Intel would be the way to go. But mainly gaming, AMD CPUs are the way to go for value.



    As for motherboards, you need a decent Gigabyte or similar which allows good voltage stability and overclocking. Don't need to blow too much cash on it if you just need a good brand, good stability and no overclocking. Crossfire board, I say the money you save on not getting it, you can put towards a new GPU when the ATI 5-series 40nm comes out by end of the year, perhaps, rather than running two 4-series in crossfire.



    Power supply. Critical. 500W, maybe 600W "true power" is crucial for running any GPU from ATI 4850/ Nvidia 9800 and above. To be fair ATI GPUs also run hot and draw 100+W, maybe up to 200W on full load.



    RAM. 2GB for WinXP, 4GB for Vista 64bit.



    CPU. If you're looking at a 1.5 year timeframe then an AM2+ motherboard with Phenom or Phenom II, dualcore I reckon is well and good. A 2 year timeframe would put you at looking at Phenom II X4 with AM3 motherboards ... Which come in just under Intel quadcore in price. Core i7 and X58s, like I said, I really think that cash should go to boosting your GPU up to a Nvidia GTX285/295 or ATI 4870/4870X2.



    My 2 cents on enthusiast but not super hardcore gaming PCs ...I'm no expert on gaming PCs but based on my reading I think there are some real evidence out there on value-for-money purchasing strategies.



    The whole Intel juggernaut of advertising and hype had a "backlash" effect for me. I did more research and for gaming, I think the evidence strongly points to GPU being the most important factor, and at least for the next year or so, Intel quadcore and Core i7 is way overkill and does not boost true, real-word framerates significantly. Especially quadcore. With games really being so demanding on the GPU.
  • Reply 13 of 30
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Admittedly one area I did not do enough research was on motherboards but in the $85~$150 space there should be some decent motherboards, for example Gigabyte (I wouldn't really recommend Asus)...



    Probably best to go for an AM2+ motherboard which supports AM3 45nm CPUS ( http://arstechnica.com/hardware/news...am2-boards.ars )
  • Reply 14 of 30
    I've bought Gigabyte motherboards before. I'm sure I will again. I'll probably wait for the AM3 Phenom II 945, which should come out sometime this month.
  • Reply 15 of 30
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Actually, even for video encoding, at various price points, AMD is competitive. Check out the 45nm Phenom II triple-core: http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu...ii-x3-720.html



    I would however take the gaming results with a pinch of salt since they are tested at 1280x1024. A more reasonable benchmark should have been 1680x1050 and 1920x1080 with 4x antialiasing, in which case I wonder how much of a lead AMDs have over Intel or vice versa.
  • Reply 16 of 30
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post


    I've bought Gigabyte motherboards before. I'm sure I will again. I'll probably wait for the AM3 Phenom II 945, which should come out sometime this month.



    Cool.
  • Reply 17 of 30
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Played about 2 hours of FEAR2 last night. Not bad. I had somewhat high expectations, as the story, effects and weapons build it's looking interesting. Very gory, but surprisingly "artistic". Similar feel and gameplay style as the first FEAR, but somewhat juiced and somewhat random, if seemlingly confusing, plotlines thrown in. A bit of a Doom 3 edge... Well, that's my opinion thus far... Alma makes "appropriate" appearances so far. Can't say too much more without giving away spoilers.



    And YES. 4:3 and 5:4 screens are supported. This was the big fear (pun unintended?) with the Demo, which was widescreen-only, as I recall.
  • Reply 18 of 30
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Oh and the ATI4890 is out... Looking very interesting. ... Crossfire two 4890s and... ... Need a chunky, chunky power supply though to have enough juice for the whole thing.
  • Reply 19 of 30
    trumptmantrumptman Posts: 16,455member
    Good luck with the new machine nvidia. I gave up on PC gaming a few years ago and my next gaming machine will probably be a Nintendo Wii with the kids. That said...



    PC hardware is INSANELY cheap right now. I keep getting emails from Tiger Direct for Barebones deals that are just unbelievable. Minitower versions of everything that is in the iMac minus the HD for $200. Add in $50 and you have a ridiculously fast machine. It is amazing right now to see that the hardware has become so cheap. People are adding in 4 gigs for RAM for like $10 a gig and it is a name brand. That is amazing.
  • Reply 20 of 30
    nordkappnordkapp Posts: 270member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post


    Played about 2 hours of FEAR2 last night. Not bad. I had somewhat high expectations, as the story, effects and weapons build it's looking interesting. Very gory, but surprisingly "artistic". Similar feel and gameplay style as the first FEAR, but somewhat juiced and somewhat random, if seemlingly confusing, plotlines thrown in. A bit of a Doom 3 edge... Well, that's my opinion thus far... Alma makes "appropriate" appearances so far. Can't say too much more without giving away spoilers.



    And YES. 4:3 and 5:4 screens are supported. This was the big fear (pun unintended?) with the Demo, which was widescreen-only, as I recall.



    it has got mixed reviews, I had a look around the FEAR site after your last post, and had a look at a new card, but I just cant do it!



    I think I would probably get a PS3 (for the price of a new card) than get back into casual PC gaming, but there is little chance of that, too many things to do.
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