Is there an upgrade path from...?

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roleki

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I have an old x86 Win XP Pro machine with a 256MB GeForce 8600GT and a 128MB Ageia PhysX PCI card. As you can imagine, I'm not getting very good results out of Batman: AA with that setup. I'm not even sure my PhysX card is even doing anything anymore, to be quite honest; it used to make a difference in games like City of Villains and the UT3 PhysX maps but I don't see a difference with it in Batman AA at all.

In any event, given that I have a very narrow upgrade path (single PCIE x16 slot), not a ton of money to spend, and primarily play UT3/BatmanAA, would I be better off just pulling the PhysX card completely & going with a 1GB GTS 250 or would there be a point to keeping the PhysX card and getting a lesser GPU? Ever since nVidia swallowed up Ageia I've been kind of lost & confused about the whole PhysX scenario. It was cool while it lasted? Anyone have any ideas?
 

roleki

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Thanks for your reply; the CPU is a Q6600 2.4Ghz, and the PSU is 375W; I know I'll have to upgrade the PSU along with the video card, which is another valid reason I'm stuck looking at 150.00 cards. I was thinking something in the 650W range might handle a 'newer' card? Keep in mind, the 'newer' card I am looking at is a 512MB 9800 GTX; it's 40.00 cheaper than the GTS 250 I was looking at and seems to have similar clock/specs.

When you say that single cards take a performance hit, does that imply there may still be use for my PhysX card? I've tried finding information about whether it's considered a 'non nVidia' card or if it handles PhysX when running next to my 8600 GT but it's a very frustrating endeavor. There was a time when UT3 absolutely flew and looked awesome with my setup; now it's 800x600 unless I want lots of tearing and an occasional stutter. Batman:AA looks essentially identical with PhysX acceleration on/off, but I still get the wonderful performance hit if I enable PhysX acceleration. City of Villains is pretty much the same story as UT3 - at one time it ran pretty well, then when I wasn't paying attention it got bad.
 

jezzarisky

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most non-nvidia cards won't support physx especially if it's the one being ran for physx. and any nvidia driver over 186 (I think) won't allow it at all. and I would say go with a 9800GTX unless you can find a 9800GTX+ for about the same price(a GTS 250 is a rebranded GTX+) But I'm not sure where you're looking, because I have found several GTS 250's on newegg for about $105-110
 

roleki

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Yep, and it's showing PhysX on the CPU, whether I have GPU Physics enabled or not. That seems to jibe with everything I've read since posting this, as of the driver Jezzarisky mentions.

A big part of my initial confusion about all this stems from how I ran into the problem - the last game I bought before Batman:AA was UT3, and I hadn't updated drivers in (a long time). So I bouoght B:AA and though it would be a good time to update drivers. Then all of the sudden, UT3 sucked. I thought it was my graphics setup, showing its age and in a way, it was. But if Nvidia had just left things alone I'd probably be blissfully ignorant instead of not-so-blissfully ignorant.



I wound up ordering a 260 GTX, for a few probably-incorrect(?) reasons that seemed to make sense to me when I was trying to figure this out. For one, I'm already reporting 3.0GB of system RAM with only 384MB tied up in my graphics setup; the 250s I looked at all had 1GB of 256-bit DDR3, whereas the 260 has 896MB of 448-bit DDR3... thought process being I would probably wring more benefit out of a slightly-smaller but slightly-faster video RAM than I would get out of the extra 128MB. I don't know if that makes sense or not? Secondly, and most importantly, when I mentioned to my wife that I needed to get a new PSU and GPU I said it would probably run me 300.00 to get both. If I went under budget on this endeavor, she'd expect a similar performance for all future special project appropriations, and the prospect of that is unacceptable.
 

roleki

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Dang it, that's what I was afraid of; I had glanced at the specs for the 5850, but when I saw it didn't come with PhysX support and a free 700w modular PSU I felt compelled to look into other products that fit into my budget and met the feature requirements I had in mind. Unfortunately, that left me having to settle for a sub-200.00 GTX 260 :(
 

shadow187

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You SHOULD have gone with an HD5830 + a $60 Corsair 550W. That would have given you better performance for the same $300 price. Alternatively, send your GTX260 back, and save up another $100. An HD5850 should give you more than 50% performance than that GTX260.
 

builderbobftw

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No 5830 is trash. You should never buy one, ever. Even the 260 is a better choice.
 

roleki

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Come on now, in my defense, there was a recommendation earlier in the thread to get a 9800/250; the 9800 GTX+ would have run me 135.00; for 50.00 more I got nearly twice as many stream processors and nearly twice the memory bandwidth with the 260. It didn't seem like that bad of a call at the time.

Keep in mind, the ONLY games I play are UT3, and of late, Batman:AA. Both of these are PhysX titles, so leaning nvidia isn't going to nail me on that end too badly. I had found this benchmark and the only nvidia card in that list I could A) afford & B) find was the 260 Core 216. The 260 doesn't appear to be that bad in base UT3, either.

To give a frame of reference my current setup is running Batman:AA at 37fps with high detail/no AA at 800x600... even if I'm nowhere near the ~130fps that the stock 260 is getting in that article, I'm pretty sure I'll have a noticeable improvement when I get this thing going. No, it's not the improvement that the 5850 would appear to have given me, but what I bought was nearly 1/3 cheaper and nets a theoretical 4x improvement.

In any event, I'll give it a shot, and if it sucks, then yes, lesson learned.
 

Mousemonkey

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You'll be fine with that 260, the last generation of cards from both ATi and Nvidia have not somehow magically stopped working in games just because the 5 series has arrived and the same will be true when the Fermi cards are released.
 

notty22

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You did alright with your choice, a 5850 costs 300.00 dollars, is a poster here going to send you the 100 dollar difference, :) ? Your a physx guy, so there was no reason for you to go ATI right now, and the 260 gives everything ATI has in that price range a run for its money.
 

builderbobftw

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Yeh, except for

1. Less heat.

2. Faster preform,ance

3. Less power usage.

4.Eyefinity.

5. DX 11

6. Lower prices.

But yeah, other than that 6 you're right!!!!
 

roleki

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Very true, but it's hard to keep things in perspective when you see some of the gaudy numbers the cards in the $250+ range are capable of producing. But yeah, a couple years ago I'm sure there were people saying "oh, card whatever sucks, you should hold out for a GTX 260" In any event, if the card I picked can hit 60fps in my favorite games with some options enabled, I'll consider it a worthwhile purchase.



I can't really blame people for shouting down the nvidia stuff - from all appearances the 5850 looks like THE card for 'regular folks'. But I knew before I started this thread that I would be going with something from nvidia, I just wasn't sure if the PhysX card would be of any use if I went that route, or if it would have been handy had I went ATI, or if it's a paperweight...

I never really got a firm answer on that point, but based on what I saw when dinking with the PhysX overlay it would seem the dedicated PPU card is a relic & will occupy shelf space next to my Canopus Pure3D.



Pretty sure anyone looking to connect 3 or 6 monitors aren't going to give a flying whatever if their video card was cheaper or that it uses less juice. Not that I'm trying to be snarky, just saying that list of selling points is stronger without Eyefinity on it, kind of like 99.99% of the population could give two-less whether a card supports PhysX. I only care because I want to play 2-year-old games - how many people have to upgrade to get better perf out of their 2-year-old games?? I'm not due for a 5850 for another 6 years, easy :)
 

notty22

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1. And you sir Fail

2. You sound like a used car salesman
 

roleki

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Just a quick follow-up, got the 260 GTX via UPS this afternoon, installed it a few hours ago. It's early yet, but so far I am liking it. With all options maxed out on UT3, I get a solid 62fps, everywhere. I took the frame rate smoothing off & was hitting 200fps in some spots, with all options on. The lowest I hit was 112fps. Batman:AA isn't as drastic - with 2x AA and PhysX enabled, I'm usually in the 53-61fps range. Works for me.
 

roleki

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While your enthusiasm is appreciable, it's a shade away from psychosis. I am happy with what I bought and it's doing exactly what I need. If I wanted to play Crysis, I would have looked for a card that just did raw FPS.
 

builderbobftw

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Whatever, I just sort of angers me that not only did he buy the card after everyone if the thread told him not to, he now auctualy is trying to tell us that it was a good buy, and that we're "physcotic".
 
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