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Columns The Sea of Grey

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Tim S, 29 Feb 2008.

  1. Tim S

    Tim S OG

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    http://www.bit-tech.net/columns/2008/02/29/the_sea_of_grey/1

    With so many great products in the £100 to £150 price range, there's never been a better time to buy a performance mainstream graphics card... or has there? Tim Smalley mulls over the ups and downs of having lots products to choose from.

    :geek:
     
  2. [USRF]Obiwan

    [USRF]Obiwan New Member

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    Excelent read! You are spot on. Consumers are confused. And I bet manufacturers are equal as confused. It is amazing me that they can find the marketing ideas for jamming a new card in between the 'other' bunch. (the Pixar birds animantion comes to mind)

    For years it was easy to choose your shiny new videocard. You had 4 options:
    Brand A/B [ budget, medium, high, extreme ]

    You picked one that suits your 'income' and then you where a happy gaming puppy for 1 to 3 years.

    But now you have:
    Brand A/B [ lowest, lower, low, medium, medium slightly faster, medium fastest, high, high (almost as fast as higher), higher, high x2 (a little faster then extreme but more expensive), extreme. ]

    And now we all are confused because their is way much to choose. And in the end, we cant choose at all and wait for something better.

    But there is a solution...

    Ditch all older cards and inbetween cards from the market with a bulldozer. Make it budget, medium, high, extreme again. And for chist sakes make a new Highend/extreme card because the 8800GTX/ultra is getting too OLD and takes way to much juice from my 'green' walloutlet.
     
    Last edited: 29 Feb 2008
  3. EvilRusk

    EvilRusk New Member

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    Good point Obiwan, that's how I remember things. Geforce 4 MX, ti 4200, 4400, 4600. That was about it! This myriad of card options has put me off for now. My 7800 just about manages.

    When I got an x800pro it was because you couldn't find a 6800gt anywhere (and they were more expensive if you could). I later came to regret that when stuff like Oblivion came out, but when I got my x800 there was only 1 6800gt in stock out of all of the websites I checked, compared to a full choice over brands for the x800.
     
  4. Blademrk

    Blademrk Why so serious?

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    I'm in the same boat now, I've been meaning to upgrade my 6600 GT for a while, but now I've finally decided to actualy upgrade I'm just boggled by the number of cards and which one to go for. I'll probably go for a BFG nVidia card (as that was what my last one was) but as for the version.....
     
  5. Paradigm Shifter

    Paradigm Shifter de nihilo nihil fit

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    Yep, will certainly agree that the sea of choice out there makes life more difficult when deciding about new hardware.
     
  6. Shielder

    Shielder Live long & prosper!

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    I've looked at loads of sites, compared benchmarks (synthetic and 'real world') and looked at prices, and, for my budget the 8800GTS seems to be the best. Now all I need to do is to ask whether I want to spend £175 for a standard card, or an extra £25 for an overclocked card.

    Or, for an extra £25-£50, I could get a GTX, but is it worth it considering that I've seen gaming benchies that suggest that the GTS can be faster on some games...

    Decisions decisions decisions.

    Andy
     
  7. tk421

    tk421 Idiot.

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    is it just me, or did anyone else notice this?

    i remember the last great mid-range performer, possibly the best "bang for the buck" card ever - Ati's 9600 pro.

    now Nvidia comes out with what people are calling the "next great mid-range" card - the 9600 GT.

    Coincidence?
     
  8. Tim S

    Tim S OG

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    Personally, I thought the 9500 Pro was better than the 9600 :)
     
  9. Bluephoenix

    Bluephoenix Spoon? What spoon?

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    eh, I bought high-end with the fact in mind that as long as DX10 doesn't suffer a major change or revision that requires new hardware, I'd be set for a while.

    reason I did this is because I was thinking along the same lines as tim. Nvidia is still crushing the high-end, and all the focus is on the midrange. I want to wait out that and upgrade when there is some competition and a less murky set of choices.

    all things said, the thing that will likely drive a new upgrade is either a revision of SolidWorks that utilizes the Qudaro cards' CUDA capabilities, or the next Elder Scrolls game.
     
  10. Bungle

    Bungle Rainbow Warrior

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    Nice article Tim. There is of course a benefit to all this confusion in the Graphics market. That being education. I'm sure like myself, many people turn to sites like Bit-tech to educate themselves when issues like this occur. By forcing the consumer to educate themselves, the manufacturer shoots themselves in the foot.
     
  11. Tim S

    Tim S OG

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    That's a good point you make, and you're definitely right - it's a good thing... but I think we all remember the days when the graphics market was really simple to understand. In the last few years, it's gone into overdrive.
     
  12. Nature

    Nature Member

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    Beads? Horseshoes? These things have nothing to do with stuff!
     
  13. legoman666

    legoman666 Beat to fit, paint to match.

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    The only thing that still gets me is ATI's and nVidia's naming schemes. Each company needs to pick a standard and freakin stick with it. If card A is better than card B but less powerful than card C, then the naming scheme should reflect that, I shouldn't have to dig through a bunch of reviews to figure it out.

    For example, 9600GT compared to 8800GT and the 8800GTX and the 8800GS.

    Or another example, the 9700pro was named fine, then there was 9800pro and 9500pro, which was also fine. However, the next generation of cards(x800's) completely did away with that naming system. WHY?! Then to top it off, the following generation also screwed it up: x1800 and the x1900. Not to mention there were some cases where the x1800 was faster. Then theres the 2900/2600. Which just mystifies me even more because the 2600 performed worse than the x1800/1900 series. Now we have another naming scheme with the 3XXX series. At least the the naming system within each different generation typically makes sense when looked at by itself.

    And this all completely ignores the constantly changes prefixes and suffixes. Pro, XT, XTX, PE, XT PE, HD, GT, GS, GTX, ABCDEFGHI etc.
     
  14. Bladestorm

    Bladestorm New Member

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    Had there been less cards about I might have been out and had an 8800GT by now, but as it is I think I keep coming back to "but there might be a clear winner in another few months.." as you say.
     
  15. Multiplectic

    Multiplectic His Stigness

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    Actually, they kept the naming system, only a little bit modified (because of marketing). The "X" in "X800" stands for "10" (in roman numbers). It's just "Radeon 10800XT" sounds like garbage to me, and maybe ATi's executives back then thought the same.
    The same thing with "X1900", it would be "11900".

    The naming schemes are alright, there's nothing wrong with them once you understand the logic behind.
    The x600 series (HD2600, 9600GT, 8600GT, etc etc), are mid-range, the x300-500 are low-end and the x800-900 are high-end.
    What's so difficult to understand?
    Usually the new mid-range perform as the old high-end (or a bit less more often than not), and there's not much to explain about the new low and high-end.

    The only confusing thing are suffixes. Fortunately AMD ditched them. Now nVIDIA has to follow the trend.
     
  16. Xtrafresh

    Xtrafresh It never hurts to help

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    i am also annoyed by the naming schemes. I think nVidea and ATI do this to prevent eachother from picking a naming scheme that's 20% above the other :wallbash:

    Anyway, customer fear is indeed a big problem caused by the unholy amount of cards being released. There's one upside though, and i don't think that this is communicated enough to the public. To the less critical customer it doesn't matter which one you pick, they are all good products. So who cares, pick the one with the coolest pic, or the best looking cooling solution. Just stay away from anything named 'GS' and you're fine :D
     
  17. GauteHauk

    GauteHauk New Member

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    I had an old ti4600 in a gateway rig(my first computer, cut me some slack) so the computer I'm on now is my first self build. Unfortunately I assumed the 8600gt would be a good fit(as this was a budget build), but it seems the whole build would benefit greatly from a much stronger card. Had I only known that the price would plummet and the card would perform terribly in so many situations. I almost decided on a 9600gt until I saw performance numbers.

    However, I commend you bit-tech, on these reviews you do. There are four sites I tend to frequent to get a few ideas on the card market and I'm really thankful you guys are here. To be honest, you're usually the most in-depth review I can get. I should have listened about the 8600gt. I know better. I'll do right next time.
     
  18. legoman666

    legoman666 Beat to fit, paint to match.

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    Is the X really a 10 or is that just a logical guess? If so, then I never thought of it that way, and if you look at it like that, it kind of makes sense until you hit the 2600/2900 series. x600 has not always been midrange, remember 9500pro? (and the 9600pro that followed but was lowered powered).

    AMD did it right. Now they screwed it up with the Phenom. Intel was also fine until recently. Now there's the Q, X and E prefixes. Gah.
     
  19. Multiplectic

    Multiplectic His Stigness

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    I remember reading it somewhere, I don't remember where. :duh:
    Anyway, it sounds darn logical to me.

    Well, the "2600/2900" series should have been "X2600/X2900", just that AMD wanted to be different and got rid of the old naming. If you pay attention, in some HD2900 reviews, some writers occasionally said "X2900" instead of "HD2900". :hehe:

    The exception of the rule, if you ask me. :D
    Great card that was.

    Q = Quad / X = Extreme / E = Dual. Is that so hard? :p
    Alright, dual cores should use the "D" prefix. But, my guess is that Intel opted for the "E" because the "D" was used in the old dual-core Pentiums (D820, D930, etc).
     
  20. legoman666

    legoman666 Beat to fit, paint to match.

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    Great comments. What is my T7200 named after then? ;) And what about their numbering? Q6600 = 4x2.4ghz. ??? T7200 = 2x2.0ghz ???
     
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