ATI Inferior to NVidia?

KentEl

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Monday's edition of the Toronto Globe and Mail contained a review of AMD's acquisition of ATI. Journalist Shawn McCarthy quoted Rob Enderle of Enderle Group as saying that ATI graphics are inferior to NVidia. Enderle still thinks the acquisition a positive move overall [since AMD ends up with better graphics than Intel can provide with the Centrino platform].

I'm not entirely convinced that the characterization of NVidia as a perennial frontrunner is accurate; rather, I think a tug-of-war not unlike that between AMD and Intel for superiority, more closely describes the current state of graphics prowess.

I'm curious to know what others think. To buttress my argument I ask people to consider 2 things, among other factors: ATI replacing NVidia as chipmaker for the Xbox last year [yes, I realize NVidia didn't have the best relationship with Microsoft], and the pronouncement by Microsoft at this year's WinHEC, that ATI shows off Vista best.

What about benchmarks? What do the gaming crowd gurus think? What does Tom think?

Cheers -

KentEl
 

prozac26

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What about benchmarks? What do the gaming crowd gurus think? What does Tom think?
In gaming, nowadays, both nVidia, and ATI are great, and there is no clear winner. Performance wise, any of those is great with current cards.
 

Gary_Busey

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My take on the two has always been this:

nVidia has the raw power. When you have high resolutions and some effects, nVidia can really smoke a game. However, when special effects are turned up, the FPS drops down significantly. ATI is a little more consistent with their FPS. Initially, they may be a little slower than nV, but when the effects are cranked up, their FPS stay relatively constant.

Now this is just nitpicking really, as both have shown similar performance in similar prices categories, but that's just my impression most of the time when I read reviews.
 

prozac26

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Well, I don't think nV has more "raw power" since current GeForces and Radeons are build on different technologies, so it can't be really compared in that way.
 

FITCamaro

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Not only that but a single x1900XTX has beaten even the GX2 cards in benchmarks until resolutions over 1600x1200. And theres very few people that play over that resolution. Pretty impressive for ATIs technology if one of its cards can outperform the competitions dual GPU card at any resolution in any game. And its not like its just one game either. Its a lot of them.

They're on a fairly even playing field but ATI has an advantage, especially with all the goodies turned on.
 

TheTallGuy

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At this point it seems a matter of preference, maybe with the acquisition one company will be a clear frontrunner, probably nVidia.
 

yourmothersanastronaut

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ATI has always held its own. The two have traded blows for as long as they've been around, there's no clear winner in a series of games that have equal representation of OpenGL and DirectX. Both architectures are great, both have their advantages.

My first video card was a Radeon, based on a Rage 6, that was an upgrade for the old Gateway Pentium MMX 200MHz. It let me play Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, so I was a happy camper.

After that, I had the integrated Intel graphics in my notebook. That phase lasted four painful years.

Now, I have a 7900GT. I looked at benchmarks from both companies, have been for the past year or so. I decided on the GeForce. It was either that or an X1800XT. Since I wanted the capability to do multi-GPU rendering (doesn't mean I will, I just wanted the option), and there were no Crossfire boards for Socket AM2 (still aren't, actually), the 7900GT looked like the best choice.

There is no clear-cut winner. Both companies make great cards, it just depends on what you want to do. I've never used an X1800XT, or any Radeon card other than the Rage 6, for any length of time, so I can't comment. nVidia seemed like the more flexible option, so I went with that. But I do like both companies' products.
 

KentEl

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"The two most common elements in this universe are Hydrogen and stupidity."

That's a lot of laughing gas? ;-)

I thought it was cows and methane, billions and billions served. OK enuff.
 

spacey

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Not only that but a single x1900XTX has beaten even the GX2 cards in benchmarks until resolutions over 1600x1200. And theres very few people that play over that resolution. Pretty impressive for ATIs technology if one of its cards can outperform the competitions dual GPU card at any resolution in any game. And its not like its just one game either. Its a lot of them.

They're on a fairly even playing field but ATI has an advantage, especially with all the goodies turned on.

yeah like I'm gonna spend over $400 to get a 1900xtx to play at 800x600 or 1028x764......riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight....especially now that i dropped almost a grand on my new flatpanel with an insanely high resolution on it.....riiiiiiiiiiight

i think MORE companies should aim their flagship graphics cards at the 800x600 resolution crowd...riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight

"Look mom I just popped $1500 on a new 2400x1800 flat panel and UBER-grpahics card....but i only play at 800x600 cause that's its performance "sweet-spot"'.......riiiiiiiiiiiiight
 

Gary_Busey

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Well, I don't think nV has more "raw power" since current GeForces and Radeons are build on different technologies, so it can't be really compared in that way.
What I meant was I've seen a lot of benchmarks where the NV card is ahead in FPS at lower resolutions/minimal effects, but when it's all turned up their FPS drop significantly, while ATI initally may be slower, their FPS remain relatively constant and at high resoltions (1280 or over) with max effects, end up being faster than NV. This is just a nitpicking, broad generalization I've come up with, but it's hard to say either one is much better than the other since they both are neck and neck as of late.
 

chuckshissle

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I hope ATI and Nvidia would compete more closely like AMD and Intel. That way there's some price cuts and lower price high-end graphics cards. Man, graphics card is so expensive these days, I could buy a cpu, motherboard and rams for the price of one graphics card. I would love to get my hands on the 7950GX2. As for ATI and Nvidia, both are great cards for gaming.
 

yourmothersanastronaut

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You really do have a lot of options (assuming your wallet supports them :wink:). And with DX10 cards (figuratively speaking) just around the corner, there'll be even more options to choose from. Granted, no enthusiast will want a DX9 card after the next edition comes out, but you get the point.

I hope nVidia decides to allow cards of different families (e.g. a 7900GT and an 8900GT) in SLI mode together. That would be sweet. If the way SLI mode with physics works like I think/hope it will, it should be possible.
 

sojrner

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A tug-o-war is a good analogy of their status in the market I think. Ati is actually older if I remember correctly. (correct me if I'm wrong) And inovation and "first to market" w/ technology 'X' has always tradeds hands from the begining.

For quite a while ati had many driver issues compared to Nv, but w/ the advent of the radeon brand and the catalyst drivers that has ceased on the windows end. They now have more devs on windows drivers then Nv, but much less on Linux. That directly translates into the quality on the respective platforms. IMO

Looking at the last few generations (on the desktop) you can see that the gf4 was killing the radeon 8x00. The radeon 9x00 (specifically the 9700) stomped the gf4 and the (horribly abyssmal) fx5x00 series from Nv, and was first w/ sm 2.0.

The gf6 came back, and ati was slow in getting out the x800s... arguably they were equal and sometimes better in "raw" performance but the gf6 had "newer" tech w/ sm 3.0 (their turn to be first). b/c they were late to the game however Nv won back much of what was lost (market-wise) to the 9x00 series.

This brings us to today's gen of cards, the gf7 and the x1k. I would argue that (as some have stated earlier) that they are roughly equal. Depending on the test and bench either one can win. The 7800 lost more to the 1800, but both "refreshes" the 7900 and 1900 trade off rather well. More centered around pixel processing as the 1900 sits heavy on that and the 7900 runs away w/ raw texture processing. (that is what Gary_Busey was getting at I think)

My personal take is that Nv is more agressive w/ marketing but more reserved w/ new tech directions. Ati engineers more "new" advancements (and is diverging farther from Nv and "traditional" gpu's very fast) but has sucked in the past w/ marketing it and even getting it to market fast enough to compete... The 9700 was so amazing when it came out (along side the gf4 ti 4600) and was still revealing performance and tech advances well past it's "prime" (even along side the gf6 series!).
That is near 3 geberations of Nv cards! Nv could not touch it until that gf6 generation. Ati lost alot w/ the slowness to market of the x800 cards, which is for too many reasons to list here. The 1900 is greatly asynchronos compared to anything else, and may prove some longevity as well as driver revs reveal more performance. (or may prove the wrong direction to go tbh... new tech is risky, which may be some of the reasoning why Nv is slower here)

If you look at market share they are about equal, and a few % points trade back and forth right now. What will happen after a few years w/ this merger is anyones guess, market or performance...
 

cleeve

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yeah like I'm gonna spend over $400 to get a 1900xtx to play at 800x600 or 1028x764......riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight....especially now that i dropped almost a grand on my new flatpanel with an insanely high resolution on it.....riiiiiiiiiiight
He said until ***OVER*** 1600x resolution you tool... :roll:
 

FITCamaro

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yeah like I'm gonna spend over $400 to get a 1900xtx to play at 800x600 or 1028x764......riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight....especially now that i dropped almost a grand on my new flatpanel with an insanely high resolution on it.....riiiiiiiiiiight

i think MORE companies should aim their flagship graphics cards at the 800x600 resolution crowd...riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight

"Look mom I just popped $1500 on a new 2400x1800 flat panel and UBER-grpahics card....but i only play at 800x600 cause that's its performance "sweet-spot"'.......riiiiiiiiiiiiight
Like to say "right" or something? Anyway once you stop acting like a dumbass listen.

I wasn't talking about 800x600. Notice I said "up to 1600x1200" 1600x1200 and below is what most people play games at because we can't afford $1000+ widescreen LCDs. But a $250-300 19" LCD and a $450 GPU is more doable. And you don't have to get the XTX. You can get the x1900XT for $350 now and easily OC it to XTX speeds for the same performance. So the point is valid that at resolutions 90% or more of people play at, a single ATI card has bested Nvidia's top dog dual gpu card.

Look at a lot of top games out there now. At 1280x1024 with full detail you can get good framerates. But even with SLI/Crossfire at 1920x1200 (or whatever it is) and higher you often get below 60 fps with all the details on. I don't know about you, but I don't spend $1000 on a monitor. I have a 19" LCD and play everything at 1280x1024. And yes, I plan on getting a X1900XT or a X1950 when they come out to play at that resolution. Because at that resolution with all the details on, the card will perform where I want it to.

So learn to pull your head out of your ass and actually read what people say.

Note to others: When I said "at any resolution in any game" read that in the attitude of that its impressive that they can do it at all. I didn't mean they outperform the GX2 in every resolution in every game.
 

theaxemaster

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They may have more people working on drivers, but they still suck. More people != better.

I think right now ATi has the right idea being heavy into shaders since they're doing the majority of the work in modern games. And if their linux/driver support didn't still suck, I'd probably buy one. As is, there's a 7900GT in my living room that's going in tonight ;)

Nvidia hasn't had much success with relationships with other companies recently (RE: MS and Intel), it wasn't a "its too expensive" decision like they'd like us to think. However, you're talking about two companies that VERY much like to run the show, and I think nvidia has grown past being fully willing to do that.

I think that for future consoles, you will see an AMD/ATI solution. Why? Because they can get it from one company. Unless Intel tries to buy nvidia, to build a console in the future, its either source parts from intel and nvidia and try to integrate them, or get an integrated solution from AMD/ATI. When you're talking about two companies that already don't get along, and a single company (essentially) that can give you a damn good product, the choice is obvious. Either way, I hope the tug-of-war continues, because we benefit from it.
 

FITCamaro

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I think that for future consoles, you will see an AMD/ATI solution.
You know I didn't think of that. That actually is true. With the CPU and GPU being produced and designed by one company, it would be a hell of a lot cheaper. Who knows. In 2010-2012 we might see an AMD/ATI powered Xbox720 or PS4.
 

Rickler

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Well, thanks for sharing:)

Care to give reasons?
They do suck, a whole load of air. ATI cards sound like jet engines.
ATI cards run hot, turning cases into easy-bake ovens.
ATI drivers are just plain horrible.
 

sojrner

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I thnk that they all run on memories that are too old for them to actually remember themselves... I pointed out earlier that ati drivers used to suck way back before the radeon brand and the "catalyst" name. Most of these ppl just say that b/c they sucked 10 years ago they suck today. (extreme, but true)

Yes, linux support is lacking. It is getting better but still a far cry from Nv's linus drivers.

Windows drivers are another story, and are quite solid. They get more revs w/ many more incremental improvements then anything Nv actually releases. (read: not a beta driver) And I can about bank on the fact that at least once a month I will have a new driver. This means that improvements, game fixes and new ideas get to me much faster and in a finished form. I have yet to be dissapointed by them. :)

Nv cannot say the same... most of the time I see the same driver on their site for months on end (sometimes more than 6 months) and to get any fixes you need to hunt down a beta driver from some 3rd party site. This of course does not mean the driver is crap, but it is still irritating. :x
 

cleeve

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They do suck, a whole load of air. ATI cards sound like jet engines.
ATI cards run hot, turning cases into easy-bake ovens.
ATI drivers are just plain horrible.
Lol. Look at the Nvidiots come out of the woodwork.

Well, I review both Ati and Nvidia cards for Tom's Hardware, and I can tell you that both Ati and Nvidia cards and drivers are excellent for Windows gaming.

They both have small irritations as far as the driver panel goes, but they are both stable and game fast, and that's what matters. Anybody who says differently is living in the past, or is a fanboy tool.
 

FITCamaro

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They do suck, a whole load of air. ATI cards sound like jet engines.
ATI cards run hot, turning cases into easy-bake ovens.
ATI drivers are just plain horrible.
Complaint 1: Apparently you weren't around for the release of the 5800 Ultra that sounded like a vacuum cleaner. Nvidia cards can be just as loud.

Complaint 2: Their cards currently run a little hotter since they haven't scaled down their process like Nvidia did. But the release the X1950 series will change that. And at ATIs heatsink blows the air out of the back of the case instead of inside like Nvidias. So your arguement is incorrect. If anyones cards heat up the inside of a case at the moment, its Nvidias.

Complaint 3: Funny. When I had a 9800 Pro 128MB it worked great and was way better than the 5900 I had. Have you ever even owned an ATI card? Besides, I've found problems with Nvidia drivers too. Their latest release was telling me about how I couldn't enable SLI on my 256MB AGP 6200. And then it blue screened my computer one time. Software will never be perfect for anyone.


Shut your mouth when you don't know what you're talking about.
 

lcdguy

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i am a long time user of both ATI and Nvidia Products. In my experince the biggest mistake ATI made was making the CCC program. they should have just left it alone. Secondly as far as FPS unless the cards of equal perfoamnce there is more than a 15-20fps difference then i consider both cards of equal performance. I have used both the 7900GXT and the X1900XT. I kept the X1900XT since at the time the 7900GTX was plagued with being a crappy board, it was DOA 5 days after i bought it and since i have no love for this kind of problem or RMA's i stuck with the X1900XT. Additionally don't waste money on an XTX model the amount you pay vs the perfomace game is not worth it.

Finally i have found that the ATI is a better all round solution since it can do HDR+AA, my fps usually sit between 40-60FPS AVG and thats with everything cranked to the max at a res of 1680x1050 in games like FEAR and HL2 (that includes Lost Coast). The final thing that sold me was the X1000's support of H.264 Hardware Acceleration :D

anyway thats my rant, you can call me an Ati fanboy if you want, i won't care.
 

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