NVIDIA vs ATi Grahics Card Shoot-out

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NVIDIA vs ATi - Page 8

Graphic Card Roundup
A comparative look at what's out there now

By Robert Maloney
March 29th, 2004

The Conclusion

Let's recap what was covered - Card specifications, check.  General layout, check.  Comparative screenshots and benchmarks, check.  What we haven't covered is what each card is going to cost you.  Most of our frequent readers were probably not surprised but the image quality and benchmark data presented, with high-end cards beating mid-range cards, GeForces duking it out with Radeons.  Now we need to cover the cost, and see whether or not a card is a good fit for your specific needs.  When we started this review, we ran our eyes and our cursor over to Newegg.com to check out the prices for each of these cards.  The breakdown looked something like this:

Chaintech AA5700U $196
e-VGA e-GeForce 5900XT $187
e-VGA e-GeForce 5950 Ultra $409
ATi Radeon 9600XT $181
ATi Radeon 9800 Pro $254
Asus Radeon 9800XT/TVD $464



For sheer performance, the 5950 Ultra and 9800XT were the top two performers, splitting the lead amongst the various benchmarks.  Whereas the 5950 Ultra took big leads, especially in some of older DirectX 8 based games, the Radeon 9800XT usually outpaced it in the newer DX9 titles, although the two were evenly matched for the most part.  Alas, with all of this power comes the big layout of our hard earned dough.  If we had the money to spend, we would give the edge to the ATi Radeon 9800XT.  We prefer its single-slot design, and better anti-aliasing performance to the GeForce FX 5950.

For overall price-to-performance considerations, we wanted to find which card would give us the most for the money.  We started setting in around the "magic" sub-$200 range, as it's here that we feel most buyers will be budgeting their expenses.  When we went back over the benchmarks, the card that we settled on was the e-VGA GeForce FX 5900XT.  It really has the power of the 5900 series, but in the price range of a 5700 Ultra.  In fact, while checking out prices, the 5900XT was actually $10 cheaper than one of their competitor's 5700 models, the Chaintech AA5700U.  Although it should be said that the AA5700U is more of a "tricked-out" version.  One thing to watch out for, however, is the rapidly declining price of the ATi Radeon 9800 Pro.  In the course of editing this review, the price had already dropped somewhat.  Should it find its way under $200 it may be very tough to beat.

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