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Graphics nVidia or ATi? Pros/Cons for/against ATI please!

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Ravenheart, 24 Nov 2010.

  1. benji2412

    benji2412 <insert message here>

    25 Apr 2009
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    I detect trolling here.
  2. Bloody_Pete

    Bloody_Pete Technophile

    11 Aug 2008
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    I've been using ATI for the last couple of generations and I've been more than happy with them. Had no major issues or problems personally. I've found them to run very quietly and performance is great, I game as the same resolution as you.
  3. Marine-RX179

    Marine-RX179 What's a Dremel?

    24 May 2010
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    Of course, ATI cards are perfectly capable cards, but they do "tend to" get heavier performance hit with frame rate dropping faster when higher AA is applied if comparing to Nvidia.

    Bottomline is, 6850 and GTX460 1GB are on par with each other, if comparing at 4xAA; whereas if using 0xAA or 2xAA, 6850 would sometimes deliver a few fps higher than GTX460 1GB in some games. Crossfire and SLI are now on even footing with each other...neither is really superior than the other...that is of course assuming the Crossfire is working flawlessly without driver issue.
  4. rollo

    rollo Modder

    16 May 2008
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    An emo topic

    Pro nvidia

    Cuda apps
    Single card gpus
    High performance

    Not cheap
    Heavy on heat
    Heavy on power

    Pro ati
    Use less power
    Have good AA capabilities


    Suffer from driver issues ( the fact you gain about 20% performance in a years ownership really does show how bad they can be at times)

    As for crossfire vs sli

    Crossfire and SLI both suffer from micro stuttering this problem gets worse at low resolutions aka 1920x1080 anything above this and it's not as noteable

    Both setups have considerable power draw and driver support issues enough it's getting better, if I had £400 I'd buy the single gpu every time vs duel gpus. It's why bit tech doesn't recomend any sli or crossfire solution.
  5. Marine-RX179

    Marine-RX179 What's a Dremel?

    24 May 2010
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    Yea. Too many people are just comparing the numbers of the frame rate results of multi-GPU set up with single high-end GPU, with absolutely no consideration toward micro stutter.

    Crossfire/SLI at 25-35fps ain't gonna be as smooth as 25-35fps on a single GPU...generally speaking, they would need at least extra 5-10fps ahead to get the same smoothness as the single GPU.
  6. Tangster

    Tangster Butt-kicking for goodness!

    23 May 2009
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    Hasn't been a problem since the 3series really.

    In order of importance:

    Nvidia +
    Highest performance single GPU card
    CUDA/F@H performance
    Regular driver updates
    More overclockable(unless you get your hands on a cheap 58xx series.
    3D vision(well...)

    Nvidia -
    High power draw(less so with the GTX460's)
    High end is expensive
    High temps with GTX470/80
    High end is also loud

    AMD +
    Better price/performance
    Less power hungry
    High end is quieter than Nvidia counterparts(mid range/low end are similar)
    Free GPGPU video encoder
    Milkyway@home/SETI@home performance(take it or leave it...)

    Less frequent driver updates
    Crap F@H performance.
    Large...really big cards, about 1.25-2.5cm longer than their Nvidia counterparts(important if you have a smaller case)

    A note on Multi GPU. Worth it only if you run multi monitors/have a 30"screen and can't afford a GTX580/whatever AMD bring out.
    Last edited: 25 Nov 2010
  7. ashtefere

    ashtefere What's a Dremel?

    29 Nov 2009
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    First of all:

    If you are a fanboi for either GPU brand you should not be posting here.

    Someone here said something along the lines of "I dont believe ati drivers increase performance" and also said "My gtx 270 was smoother than my HD5870".
    Both of these statements are conjecture and incorrect. HD 5870 is in the range of 10% to 150% faster depending on test.
    The word "smoother" also tells me you don't understand how graphics cards work.

    In regards to the drivers:
    ATI drivers are not as high performing as nvidia. There is a lot of lost potential there. ATI gradually do increase driver performance through product lifecycle, but its still not enough IMO.
    ATI release on average 1 driver update per month.
    ATI drivers, while not as fast as nvidia drivers, have been (for the last year) more stable (no bsod, no fan melt, etc)
    I still see friends with NV4 disp BSOD.

    Crossfire bugs/crashes for ATI are woeful. I have a dual HD5870m crossfire system. Getting things to work right is a veritable nightmare.
    Nvidia SLI is more stable in this regard, but performs only slightly better compared to ATI when both work optimally.

    In regards to HD69X0 cards:
    The old 58xx series had 5 dimensional shaders of 1 smart and 4 simple. The new 69xx cards have shaders of 4 smart. (more efficient).
    They new cards have 2 poly per clock processing, so geometry is much faster, z-culling is much faster.
    Base clock speed is about 900-920mhz depending on partners, at 1920sp.
    Leaked (only counting reliable leaks) show the 6970 being average 7% faster than GTX580 on 3dmark 11 (bags of salt with 3dmark...).
    By my own (simple maths) calculations, HD6970 in real games will be significantly faster than GTX580 at same or less power draw.

    The GTX 580 is still an excellent card. In fact, due to the HD6970 probably being more expensive due to it being faster, the GTX580 will most likely drop in price (especially due to being out for a short while) meaning it will be the better value card.
    The HD6950 will be slightly faster than the 480, by comparison, and cheaper, too.

    So, making it even simpler:

    + Ati drivers more stable
    - Ati drivers less well written, so not as fast as they should be
    + nvidia drivers faster
    - nvidia drivers more prone to massive crashes/bugs
    - Ati Crossfire far, far less stable than SLI
    + nvidia SLI much more stable than Ati Crossfire
    - Ati Crossfire suffers microstutter (FPS appears lower than it is, screen looks 'jittery'.
    - nvidia SLI suffers microstutter (FPS appears lower than it is, screen looks 'jittery'.
    + Ati better bang for buck (for now)
    + nvidia GTX580 probably going to drop in price soon (great card!)
    - nvidia's entire GTX 4XX fermi line (470, 480) is a terrible, bad joke of a graphics card line.
    - ATI 69xx going to be less power efficient than 58xx series

    The best advice I can give you for both sides is one thing - stay away from any kind of dual GPU.
    Microstutter really does screw up your perceptive performance. Your FPS will say 60, but it will look and feel like 30.

    My card purchases have been (with mini review)

    Nvidia TNT (my first pc - card was amazing at the time - counter strike at full fps!!!!)

    Nvidia Geforce 4 MX (wow! huge upgrade! couldnt max out newer games though - I later discovered the 4 MX was a cut down overclocked geforce 2. The birth of 'the way its meant to be renamed!)

    Ati Radeon 8somethign (should have been faster than Geforce 4mx, but wasnt for the games I played. Dissapointed.)

    Geforce 4 MX SE (same performance as my MX but with shaders! happiER).

    Geforce 5600 (Massive performance jump! really, very happy.)

    Radeon 9800se unlocked to 9800 pro (holy crap... biggest performance jump ever. Maxed out absolutely everything.)

    Geforce 6100 integrated (financial troubles - constantly BSOD nv4disp as well. Pathetic.)

    Geforce 6800gt (really great card. Killed it when i put a peltier on it back to front.)

    Second Geforce 6800gt (again, really great - no problems at all, fast as hell. Didnt kill this one)

    Geforce 7900gs with voltmod (nice jump, really fast - one of the best cards I have ever owned.)

    Second Geforce 7900gs (first experience with SLI. Never seemed as fast as a single card though but numbers appeared higher in benchmarks. First experience with microstutter)

    Geforce 8800gts 320 (Fast fast card. Was happy with it, but was only a stepping stone to get...)

    Geforce 8800GTX (phwoaaaaar... totally awesome, over the top, amazingly fast card. Really great, ahead of its time architecture. Overclocked well. NV4disp BSOD occasionally but worth it.)

    Geforce 8800GTS 512 (not as fast on paper but overclocked waaaaay higher, so ended up faster. Really good efficiency, awesome performance, great overclocker. No more nv4disp crash strangely - very happy, one of the best I have had.)

    Geforce 9800GX2 (Nightmare/headache/etc. Had to custom make a jumper so the card would turn on with out the right PSU connector. Constant Nv4disp BSOD. Hard reboot in Age of Conan whenever a necromancer summoned a certain pet in front of me. Hard reboot in WC3 whenever someone cast a certain spell in dota. This was fixed with a driver update, but wanted more performance in AOC anyway, so...)

    HD 4870x2 (First one was faulty and only one GPU worked. Dissapointed.)

    Second HD4870x2 (this one worked. much more performance, no more crashes. Some games a little slow due to terrible crossfire support. More or less satisfied but microstutter was apparent.)

    Laptop integrated 3650 (Meh, it was ok. Bit slow. Nightmare to install drivers)

    Geforce GTX 270 (Great card! a little inneficient in regards to power but didnt care. Maxed out battlefield 2 more or less. Very happy, one of the best I had. Still had occasional nv4disp BSOD, but I didnt mind)

    ATI HD4850 (it was fast, more or less. Really noisy and hot. Did not like it, but it ticked all the boxes.)

    Geforce 9800 GTX+ (basically my 8800gts512 with some tweaks. About the same speed as the HD4850 but was quieter so I was happy. Didnt have any NV4disp BSOD this time round. Decided to go for more speed though)

    HD 4870 (worked great, quieter than 9800gtx till it up and died after a month. )

    HD5870 (DOA. Furious. Was at a time when you couldnt get any either.)

    2x HD5850 crossfire (seemed to have no driver issues. Worked in most games. Performance was good, but lower than I expected from it.)

    2x HD5870m crossfire laptop (essentially, 2 HD5770's in crossfire. Decent, not the best. Drivers are a freaking nightmare. Support is garbage. Terrible. Most games run faster with 1 gpu only. Wont get crossfire ever again. OR SLI either. Cant stand microstutter any more.)

    Most probably a GTX580 if the price drops, unless the 6970 is more than 20% faster (it might be, id bet 50/50 on that.)

    The most memorable things I have about my nvidia experiences, in order:
    Good, Honest speed. Really fast. Like a v8 muscle car.
    Most of the cards I had would randomly BSOD with NV4disp or other nvidia driver probs.

    Same, but for ATI are:
    Decent performance, great bang for buck. Good efficiency - like a japanese import car in regards to speed.
    TERRIBLE crossfire support. Single card performance is great.

    It really is terrible being a fanboi. It really does not help you, or anyone else to fanboi. It means that 50% of the time you pay MORE money for a SLOWER card simply because of... what... some kind of religious zeal?

    Buy the best card at the best time!!!! Who cares what brand is on it?

    Getting the best performance for the least money is something to be proud of. Doing the opposite, knowingly, is something to be very very embarrassed and ashamed of.

    My 2c.

    Last edited: 25 Nov 2010
  8. Ravenheart

    Ravenheart What's a Dremel?

    3 Oct 2009
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    Well thanks for all the replies, certainly given me something to think about.

    Will let you all know when/if I do opt for an ATI/AMD Card at some point in the near (ish) future.

    Thanks again for all the replies.
  9. Bakes

    Bakes What's a Dremel?

    4 Jun 2010
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    I'd love to be able to say that this is an excellent, unbiased thread, but that would be lying.

    In my relatively short life, I've owned an nVidia Ti4200, an nVidia 8800gts, an nVidia gtx285, an ATI 5870 (for a short while in Crossfire) and (from last weekend) an nVidia GTX580. I've been happy with all, and apart from the irritating driver bugs at the start of Windows Vista, I've had few problems with any.

    Personally, I've used all Catalyst versions (since 10.2) without issues. I don't think the issues are as blown up as you claim they are - making sweeping generalized statements is probably not the best way to make an argument.

    Whilst the nVidia driver glitch might not have affected most people - it was a high-profile bug, and ATI has not had any high-profile screw-ups in the last year - it has always been the minority effected with the 5k series. My problems with ATI drivers have been due to 3rd party boards (horrid fan control YAY) - something that is ostensibly not ATI's fault.

    Just so you know, by 'absolutely nothing wrong', they usually mean 'absolutely nothing wrong for them'. Sure, in all situations there are some people who have trouble - my copy of CoD BlackOps for example refuses to let me connect to a friend's Zombie games - yet the other people he is inviting get in just fine. That doesn't mean that the game is fine - just for them. Also, if you're resorting to criticizing the users of a product rather than the product itself in your argument, you're doing it wrong.

    That's more a problem with multi-GPU - there are well-documented issues with multi-GPU systems - and those issues are not exclusive to systems with a red badge.

    *mostly factually based* :p

    Oh god that was a pain in the neck. I remember it irritating me for months and me just finding no cure for it.

    Oooohh, that's a tricky thing to say. The performance of ATI cards is obviously going to improve over time, but there's no way of actually proving it - since all the benchmarks are (obviously) benchmarks - which gives ATI an incentive to optimize for them. Be wary of talking about performance improvements - they're certainly there, but as for proving them beyond a cursory statement - you'll find it next to impossible.

    Depending on the cooler, obviously. The GTX580 produces no less heat than the GTX480 - it's just cooled far far better (vapour chamber yay)

    I'd only heard that the 6970 will beat it bang-for-buck wise - again this is why I don't like to talk about rumours - because almost all the people who actually know are under NDAs (which they don't want to break).

    We won't, and that's the beauty of it :p

    That comes over a little condescending - and it's just not right. Draw yourself a little diagram. Make a line of 60 boxes - then try to fit 37 boxes into it as many ways as you can - there are clearly ways of putting in large amounts of lag due to when the framerate was highest during the second. Whether that actually happened is obviously debatable, but there are definitely ways of having a card run at the same speed (or slower) yet appear smoother.

    Well, that's the whole point of the '10.1, 10.2, 10.3' nomenclature, isn't it?

    How can you make this statement? There's no way of proving whether the driver or the card is faster or slower.

    No leaks are reliable.

    No hard evidence to base it on.


    I'm sure there are around 200 nVidia/ATI software engineers who would be able to each spend 30 minutes explaining to you in great detail how you are wrong. Just sayin.

    can only think of one.

    To the OP:

    ATI and nVidia cards are just graphics cards. To you the graphics card user, unless you spend all your days bunged up in some GPGPU hell, you likely won't notice a difference. You may have noticed a lot of statements bandied around here - and the vast majority are just sweeping generalizations.
    Go by what's cheaper and gives the best performance - not by the name on the box - it's served me well.
  10. ashtefere

    ashtefere What's a Dremel?

    29 Nov 2009
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    Great poins there, Bakes. I have simplified/generalized a lot of my statements for OP's benefit, but I think you see where I was going with a lot of my points.

    I need to clarify in regards to the ATI drivers.

    ATI drivers upon release, generally improve a lot over the next 6+months. The driver developers arent giving more performance to the card, but optimising the drivers for the card closer to full performance.

    Nvidia drivers, on the other hand, dont improve as much over their lifecycle, meaning there isnt as much room for optimization.

    Seeing as it is in a graphics card's manufacturers best interest to have the highest performing card, they obviously arent purposely crippling their drivers.

    Thus, by my own conclusion, the nvidia drivers are released much better optimized/more well written than the ATI drivers.

    This is even more apparent with linux drivers. Linux drivers for have historically ATI sucked in comparison to nvidia drivers.

    Lastly, in the regards to the leaks - these are from AMD's original "nda is up on nov 22", to which some tech sites leaked slides on the 23rd. The slides showed full information on shader count/etc.
    I discount all the other leaks, personally.

    Otherwise, thanks for your well thought out response, Bakes.

    People - this is how you debate in a forum!

  11. Marine-RX179

    Marine-RX179 What's a Dremel?

    24 May 2010
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    As I said, ATI drivers for SINGLE GPU card are usually spot-on, the biggest problem is with their driver support for Crossfire.

    And I don't think I'm over-generalising anything...if you look in various computer forums on the topic such as "official 5xxx feedback thread", you would see lots of people having problem with their Crossfire set up after 10.4, particularly with 10.6 breaking crossfire completely for some people.

    And no I wasn't talking about the micro-stuttering of multi-GPU set up (I know it affect both camps)...the people I refered to who moved from 5970 or 58xx Crossfire to GTX480 were those who spent a long time constantly battling with the Crossfire not working properly/to full potential (driver) issue. And frankly, I have not seen nearly as many people having problem with SLI if compare to Crossfire. If I was to spend £400+ on the graphic cards, I would want to enjoy playing some games on them, without constant headache and frustration on not getting the most out of the cards.

    As for the regard on die-hard ATI fanboy saying there's "absolutely nothing wrong" with drivers for Crossfire, they do mean it that way. I've seen Crossfire 58xx owner with got crossfire issue raged and particular yelled at them saying something along the line of "Don't make me out as some kind of noob...I know computer well enough to know how in install the damn graphic card and their bloody drivers!!!!"
    Last edited: 26 Nov 2010
  12. wyx087

    wyx087 Homeworld 3 is happening!!

    15 Aug 2007
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    i don't know where you are getting your driver improvements from. my experience with single 5870 is each and every driver update are all the same, apart from making a few games worse by introducing shuttering, although average FPS did become better.

    the problem i see with ATI is their card is full of shuttering. try to play Dirt 2 on an ATI card and you'll experience split second pauses with tearing, the pauses are more often when Vsync is enabled. play Dirt 2 on a nVidia card with Vsync and you will experience no tearing or any shuttering/pauses.

    my experience when upgrading graphics cards usually include buying a bigger monitor. 8800GTX to gtx 260 with a 22 to 24inch upgrade. 5870 to gtx 580 with a 27inch upgrade more or less same time. only time i did not upgrade my monitor was when buying 5870. and my experience with 5870 was that although benchmark FPS has increased, none of the games i play got smoother.

    smoothness is the exact measurement of gaming experience. FPS number, however, does not tell you anything. Crysis can be played very smoothly when it's at 25 or 60 FPS, so why do you care what FPS Crysis is running at? same story with other games. as long as there are no shuttering when running a game, there are no reason to try to benchmark a FPS number out of it.

    so, my point is: (laid out in ash's prefered bullet points)
    -ATI driver improvements are just FPS numbers
    -ATI driver does not improve game smoothness experience (for 5870 single card at least)
    -nVidia with their developer support program, guarantees you best experience with those titles
    -one cannot compare driver performance to other driver when cross vendors and cross card architecture

    my advice is when two cards are similarly priced, go for nVidia one as it will provide you with out-of-box performance, ease of use and smooth gaming experience. but if ATI card gives you massively value for money then why not give ATI a try.

    there are no fanboy, only personal preference. im not sure why two person preferring different vendor should flame each other with such ugly names.
  13. Blarte

    Blarte Moderate Modder

    15 Jul 2008
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    eye up £ v's performance & heat and noise = Card of choice
  14. CrapBag

    CrapBag Multimodder

    17 Jul 2008
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    Hmm editted and ended up with a double post, ooops.
  15. CrapBag

    CrapBag Multimodder

    17 Jul 2008
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    Was that a typo as there is no 270?

    If you meant a 275 and that struggled to max out BF2 I find that kinda odd. Did you mean a GTX 275 playing Battlefield Bad Company 2?

    I have a 275 and it never drops below 140FPS playing battlefield 2 @ 1920x1200 with everything at full, which is what I would expect playing a five year old game.

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