which radeon card

jmycal

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okay i am going to put together a new system strictly for gaming and network to my current computer. i have decidedddedddd on the asus a7n8x 2.0 deluxe, a pair of corsair twinx memory of 512 matched, not sure of speed will ask in memory forum, and a athlon xp 2500+ barton core cpu with 512 l2 cache. question is which radeon card do i want. and what is the difference between a pro and pro ultimate?

let me clarify i don't do a whole lot of gaming, but i want something that can play games smoothly and fluently and something that will perfom highly. let me know, thanx in advance

<font color=purple><b><i>The Principle's of the Lust are easy to understand. Do what feel, feel until the end</b></i></font color=purple>
 
Your first choice for a casual gaming Radeon card for someone building a new system for gaming would be the R9700non-pro IMO. It's availible at a good price and performas VERY well. Next on the list would be either a VERY cheap R9800non-pro, or an R9600PRO. The 9700/9800 would give better performance but the R9600Pro gives good performance and at a very low price.

The difference between pro and non pro is usually clock speeds, but can also involve things like quality of memory (the case in the R9600/R9600Pro. As for Pro-Ultimate or anything that sounds like that be worried about the whole line. Check to see where those cards match-up with an ATI reference card in the same category / #. Sounds like a Gigacube thing, pro-ultimate, ultra, etc. Be very careful with a Gigacube or Powercolor card. Their figures don't always match those of Reference boards, and you may be thinking you are getting a good deal on a 'PRO' card when actually it's a non-pro card with a 'pro' nomenclature sticker thrown on to confuse new/ill-informed buyers.

Those are my suggestions. That and maybe a Nice R9500Pro if you can find one for a good price. Stay away from an R9500non-pro. The R9500Pro bests the R9600Pro in many areas, but is often now found at a 10-20% premium, which is only worth it if you think it is. I don't, at that point go whole hog for the R9700NP.

As for the memory get the fastest and lowest latency ram you can get. I have the Corsair XMS-Extreme PC3200 CL2 stuff in
my rig, even though it's not properly used by the crap VIA KT400! The Nforce board should make the most of the PC3200 (which you can still overclock no problem) so it's worth the premium (you probably could get twice the memory I got for the same price I paid back then [Argh!]).


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jmycal

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the company that has the pro and pro ultimate is sapphire i believe neither gigacube or powerchord.

according to pricewatch here goes

radeon 9700 128 $218
radeon 9700 pro $285
radeon 9800se 128 $215
radeon 9800 pro $296

what is different between 9700 & 9800. would rec pro or no pro. i don't mind spending extra money if the card is worth it, thax


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ufo_warviper

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Your first choice for a casual gaming Radeon card for someone building a new system for gaming would be the R9700non-pro IMO.
Forgive me ape, but my opinion on this matter differs so greatly that I felt obligated to comment. So please don't take offense dude. Perhaps my greatest reason for commenting is to see where I might stand wrong (which I could quite likely be considering my knowledge in graphics cards isn't quite up to par with yours) in my own judgement after reading your reply.

To start off, it might help clear up the matter, if you could explain procisely what a "Casual Gamer" is in your own terms. My definition of the term seems be way off from yours judging from the context that you are using it. Honestly, for someone who doesn't play games often but does play games I would have reccomended anything between a Radeon8500LE to a Radeon 9600 Pro depending on their budget. I play games very frequently on the laptop I'm typing on, and it only uses a Radeon 7500C Mobility 32 meg DDR. And aren't all the Radeon Mobilities basically a 1/2 of a Radeon.

Now this paragraph might be slightly off-topic & not as iimportant as the others, and the one after it that I already wrote. I consider myself more than a "casual gamer" because I play frequently and the fastest cards I own are only GeForce4 Ti 4200s. No, I would never reccomend this card to a hard-core gamer because their budgets are usually more flexible considering that most gamers feel obligated to maintain & keep up only 1 system updated. I usually have to keep at least a minimum of 3 systems semi-up-to-date because the family's gaming budget is coming out of my wallet for the most part, a 20-year old college student.

Now that inserted the OT rant, I will now resume back on topic. A Radeon 9700 non-Pro is <b>WONDERFUL</b> even for a High-end gamer IMO. The difference between this card and other others is very negligible considering the price you pay for what? A 10%, maybe at most 20% performance boost over a Radeon 9700 non-pro. Most cards that are priced above this level are terrible values for even the most hardcore gamers. And when when i say terrible, I mean <b><i>terrible</i></b>. I wouldn't reccomend anything above a Radeon 9700 non-pro to ANYONE, including performance conscious gamers. When someone pays $400 for a graphics card, about $150 of that extra cost is the price paid for bragging rights, which is completely childish, as it is stupid & arrogant. I'm not calling you stupid ape, I usually respect your opinions as pretty much at the professional level, but this is so far off from my understanding of the subject.



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So please don't take offense dude.
No problemo dude, we cant all thik alike. :wink: But do re-read my post as to my suggestions (no $400 even suggested, the lesser versions are my recommendation and the R9800non-pro only if i was 'VERY cheap'). Althouh some of the post did seem like a back-handed compliment. :tongue:

'Casual Gamer' isn't an easy thing to define. Some people think that it's a person who plays crummy games or plays things like CS etc.
To me I'm a 'casual gamer', I have other distractions in my life but I like to play the occasional game. Most recently I play CHASER, but the DEMO version shipped with MAX-PC. Anything less to me isn't a casuall gamer, it's just someone who 'ocasionally' plays a game or two and doesn't play any of the recent titles. A hardcore gamer plays games VEY often, worries moe about FPS than IQ and has a list of titles on the go, many warez, and even a fai amount paid for. I would put someone like W.S. in that category (especially with his UT p'zone statements). Thelower category below casual to me would be someone who plays older titles (NHL 9X, Sim City 2000, Need For Speed [the original or 2] etc.) They only play when there is little else to do, but they still hit the machine at least once very month or two, etc.

Someone who as he himself said is <i>" going to put together a new system strictly for gaming "</i>, be they casual or not, I think with all the gear he's throwing in this box, anyhing lss than an R9600Pro would rob the system an would be a waste of money. If it were a SLIGHTLY more hardcore gamer worried more about upcoming titles, then I would have suggested the GF4, but only because I would pair that with a future upgrade to a better card in the winter/spring when killer games come out. The recommmendaion of at least and R9600P and preferably an R9700n-p allows fo the maximum return on the dollars invested and does allow the card to be semi-futreproof (as much as possible in that range). If this were someone with an older system looking to simply replace or ad a card, then I suggest they go with a GF4, beause likely their older CPU, Memory Mobo etc. would be a better upgrade target and anything above a GF4 wouldn't be properly exploited by that system.
Seeing as he is building his platform based on a top end ASUS mobo (not their very best/expensive but dang close), and some exotic memory (well not too exotic, but is rare air stuff), plus a higher mid-end CPU, I think a btter match would be a card that would last 'til the next upgrade.

I of cours put the R9600Pro in there because truely a the prices hey go for there is nothing IMO that gets you better return in the cheaper end of the mid-market. Yes the R9700non-pro does outclass it y a fair bi, but really the 'casual' user likely doesn't do things that would stretch the R9600Po, even by next year's standard.and running games at 8x6 doesn't bother the casual gamer. The thing is though, if ou can afford it and are willing to pay for it there is NOTHING on the market IMO that beats the R9700non-pro, and i would hve a slightly longer useable likfe IMO. But like I said it's really a question of what fits your profile once you've seen what all the cards have to offer.
What it all comes down to is a red ofthe situation. As muh as he paints himself as a 'casual gamer' he's plonking down for some serious parts (superior to mine, except the memory) for a machine built for gaming. If anything he's on te high end of casual gamer, or one looking for the next investment in a comp. to last 2+ years. If he were entioning generic memory, an ECS mobo, nd a Celeron, Duon or Lower Clocked XP (or even a DELL system) then I would have steered him lower down the food chain. just don't think this person wants to get a new card in 12 months time (although timelines seem to be getting stretched more an more these days).

Anywhooo, tha's my take on it.


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Stay away fromt the R9800SE it's a VERY crippled card. Out of the ones you've listed the R9700non-pro would be the best choice.

Also note that an R9600Pro can be had for around $150, so keep that in mind and check some benchmarks and see what games ou play reach the minimum framerates you are looking for at the settings you usually play at.

As for pro vs. non-pro, I'd say if you're not going to be playin it alot and you don't live for gaming he added dollars for apro could be better spent on something like another hard-drive or on actual game titles. Neither the R9700Pro nor the R9800Pro are worth the extra ~$70 IMO.

Sapphire is an ok maker, just make sure it's a bran you can trusts, and saphire's prety god with those cards.If it were the R9600Ps then check he card info first because there are so many different ones.

Once again, just my two frames worth.


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ufo_warviper

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So if I play about 30 minutes to 4 hours a day or so on average, would that probably be "casual gaming"? I did used to play like 2-4 hours a day in the summer, but it probably won't be more than 30 minutes a day now that I love wasting my time A THGC and have to do homework :wink: . About how many hours a day a "hardcore gamer" would spend, like every minute they have even if it meant neglecting responsibilities, perhaps 6-10 hours aday like thos EQ addicts? You're right about me not reading your entire post, when I saw "9700" & "casual gaming" in the same sentence, I was like what? This card for a guy who plays no more than two or three times aweek? That's how often I thought casual was, someone who occaisionallyplayed games each week. So lets see if this chart clears things up. yes they are a very sterotypical, but we'll improve the list.

1. Unfrequent Gamer - plays 2-3 times amonth
2. Occaisional Gamer - plays 2-3 times (2 to 6 Hrs/week), increeases when the find a good game, but playing tme dramatically decreases once they beat games.
3. Casual Gamer - Usually plays at least 30 minutes per day, but sometimes frequently when more spare time is available & probably spends other spare time researching computers.
4. Hardcoregamer - Almost always plays every day for several hours. This typ invests nearly every moment of their spare time into gaming, and perhaps even neglect responisbilites, like my EQ addict cousin. He plays so much, he doesn't even know about the hardware he plays on.

I would fall in maybe the 3rd category. Sometimes I fall in the 2nd & 4th categories depending on spare time. I tend to fall in the 2nd categore more times than I do the 4th, but the 3rd category seems to be dominate in my life.

Before I got interested in hardware several years back, I was strictly a gamer. I got interested in hardware because I was a gamer and wanted to make the right choices for my systems. But now I find myself seeking more enjoyment from learning about the hardware that people play on then I do derive from actual gameplay. Now that I participate at Tom's hardware Community, I generally find myself heading back to games only when the community becomes inactive.

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FAIRESTOFTHEMALL

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Feel like jumpin in on this on since I'm in a similar situation- scroll down endy, you've heard it before. ;p

I also want a good radeon card, but I'm in the AIW market (and don't want a perf hit b/c of it). Endy said the 9700 AIW was the first to run as fast as non-AIW units, so I guess I'm goin for 9700 pro AIW or 9800 pro AIW. Also heard that 256mb units are a waste of money, i.e same perf as 128mb units, what's up with that? :/ Anyway is there any huge huge advantage in buying a 9800 pro AIW over the 9700 pro AIW? I'm willing to spend extra money if there is, just wanna know.

My sys:
MOBO: Asus A7N8X Deluxe rev2
CPU: AMD Athlon XP 2500+ (Barton)
HD: WD Raptor
MEM: Mushkin Black Level2 PC3200 2x256
PSU: Fortron FSP400-60PFN

In case it matters at all, I plan on OC'ing my Athlon into the 400mhz bus range so it'll run in snyc with my mem. If this will affect which card I should get in any way, please let me know.

Thx in advance!
 

Willamette_sucks

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WATCH IT GRAPE! I am a Hardcore-Gamer, but I do not worry MORE about FPS than IQ. Both are hugely important.

If I only cared about FPS I woulda bought a damn 5900!! (well cept for Tomb Raider, and well see about other stuff in the future:)

UT p'zone? Like the Pizza Hut p'zone pizza or something? I don't get it.

If you're talking about my ownage, then, well, yes, I DO own... hardcore.

"Mice eat cheese." - Modest Mouse

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SPAM

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Can you wait a month? I think your choices may be even greater.
If HL2 is still on stream, there is talk (see T.H. forums re this) that it will be bundled with ATI cards-the top of the line card is my guess, but it might help lower prices on the non pro models. They may also introduce 9800 XT by then and that could help with your price.
 

lhgpoobaa

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hey JM.
Bit of a problem you have there.
You can either be a casual gamer or get creamy smooth performance. Kinda mutually exclusive.

For your needs something around a R9600pro is probably what you are looking for, but you will inevitably have to sacrifice some detail level, screen resolution or aa/ansio level in order to get those creamy smooth framerates you desire.
(compared to the R9700/9800 line)


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ufo_warviper

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Most gamers don't even touch the AA or AF on games anyways, so if he doesn't want the bonus feature I think a Radeon 9600 Pro would be more than adequate. However, if he can't live w/o Ansio and AA, a Radeon 9700 non-pro would make a fine choic, just watch your brand choices, and especially the specs on the boards, and compare them to the factory stock speeds of memory of the "built by ATi" boards to make sure you aren't getting cheated with slow memory, or a smaller memory bus either.

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ufo_warviper

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Williamette, what is your definition of a "Hard Core gamer" Do you base this on the graphics card owned, or the amount of time spent playing games? How much time do you spend on games by the way on average?

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lhgpoobaa

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LoL i guess.
though most gamers dont ahave a R9800pro.
Having used AA and ansio i know i will never go back :)
i love em


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ufo_warviper

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Having used AA & Ansio I will go back even though I really don't want to :( :frown: . Framereate at bargain prices is more important to me. Actually clear quality AF is FAR more valuable to me than Anti-Aliasing will EVER be. The "jaggies" that some people complain about immensely don't really bother me much at resolutions 800x600 or above. Super Sampling is the best, but is a bandwidth hog. The others end up blurring up textures in the rendering process. Textures are probably more clear without all that stuff than having Quincunx plus 4x Ansiotropic filtering.

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lhgpoobaa

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Framerates yes. Definately THE most important factor.
As for the bargain basement bit i got sick of crappy graphics on my Gesuck2pro.
800x600 with zilch quality settings wasnt fun.

Now that i have an excess of framerates i DO appreciate the finer things in life. AA just makes things look all over nicer... not all my 3d games are fast paced shootemups.
And a 8x or 16x level of ansio sharpens up things in the distance quite nicely.

I can see amazinly long distances in games now... the main issue being fine mouse control to get the crosshair over the opponent. :smile:

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lhgpoobaa

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Serious sam 1 & 2, willrock, bit of old UT2000, freelancer wizardry8.
i need to update my modern games collection at some point.

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ufo_warviper

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I noticed in some of your really early posts that your name was "lhgpoobaa" instead of "LHGpoobaa". Why did you change the name? I do like the LHG in all CAPS myself thoggh :smile:

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lhgpoobaa

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LOL you can actually change that when logging on...
Just type your name in caps or not.
lhgpoobaa is when im at home
LHGPooBaa comes out when im at work usually.

occasionally i also do lhgpOObAA just for fun :smile:

<b>My Car comes with Hyper Threading enabled:
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Mr no integrity coward.</b>
 
WS, you get all worked up. Somehow I knew that you would.
No I'm not saying you ONLY care about FPS, but MATROX's superior IQ wouldn't do anything for you because it would likely mean you would die a thousand Fraggy deaths in the name of IQ. I still put you in that category, but when all things are relatively CLOSE to equal you will of course go with the IQ just like most. But if you die VERY beautifully I don't think you'd be as happy about that. Take offense if you want, I don't think it's warranted though.

And yes the P'zone was in reference to your comments about being the Master of Your Domain, UT. You were more drawn as an illustration of someone who obviously plays alot, not really so much the first reference, just unfortunate wording when I'm tryinng to be brief before heading home from work.

Anywhoo, 'so be it'.


- You need a licence to buy a gun, but they'll sell anyone a stamp <i>(or internet account)</i> ! <A HREF="http://www.redgreen.com" target="_new"><font color=green>RED</font color=green> <font color=red>GREEN</font color=red></A> GA to SK :evil:
 
Well I'd say there isn't much reason to get an R9800Pro over the R9700Pro if you can save alota bling. However money no object then sure go the more powerful route. The 256mb cards usually don't show much advantage now, but in the R9800Pro's case they show a MINOR advantage especially in memory intensive tasks like AA+AF, usually they are less than 1% better than their 128mb counterpartsd. That gap may widen when games really push the envelope. But for now it's usually not worth the extra coin unless you just want the very best, and if some people's here's experience is any guage you might get burned (literally) by the 256mb as the DDRII has a tendancy to run a little hotter and sometimes causes issues.

All in all for the gamer looking for Great performance and they are willing to pay for it the R300/350s - R9700/9800 are a good choice. The thing is shop for the best price. Unless you really have to likely an AIWR9700Pro will suit you fine. If the difference is minute, then go for the better card (R9800). I just don't see it being a ~$100 gulf.
Think of it as a less than 10% advantage (like 5%), is that worth it?

Personally alot of people would do better with an R9700 or R9800 or R9700Pro and then a separate tuner/capture card. It just depends on the price of the pieces in your area. The AIW is a nice compact all-in-one package though, and yes they perform equally well as their non-AIW counterparts.

That's my take on it.


- You need a licence to buy a gun, but they'll sell anyone a stamp <i>(or internet account)</i> ! <A HREF="http://www.redgreen.com" target="_new"><font color=green>RED</font color=green> <font color=red>GREEN</font color=red></A> GA to SK :evil:
 
Also check out this recent review of the <A HREF="http://www.piratesoftware.org/showarticle.asp?intArticleID=33&page=1" target="_new">AIW R9700Pro</A> @ Pirate Software it addresses that very same issue. They don't go head-to-head but they do draw some parallels. And the end result should mean a similar card at a price savings.




- You need a licence to buy a gun, but they'll sell anyone a stamp <i>(or internet account)</i> ! <A HREF="http://www.redgreen.com" target="_new"><font color=green>RED</font color=green> <font color=red>GREEN</font color=red></A> GA to SK :evil: