the better video card for truespace?

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the better video card for truespace? // Hardware

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Post by ivampretti // Aug 22, 2008, 10:06am

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I want know if there are any video card that you guys recomend! I was about to buy the nvidia 8400 gs, but there are many complains about their drivers. So if anyone could recomend a great video card for my computer. My configuration:


Core 2 Duo 2.2GHz

1 Gb Ram 533 677 (I'm gonna buy more Ram toghether with the video card)

motherboard foxconn DG 945GC

16gB HD Driver


Just one more question, the offboard video card realy improves the rendering to file operation?

Post by ivampretti // Aug 22, 2008, 10:07am

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*160Gb HD driver

Post by TomG // Aug 22, 2008, 10:18am

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Don't buy an NVIDIA card with a number less than X600. So an 8600 is great, but an 8400 is not. A 7600 is good, but a 7400 is not.


Once you get to X500 (9500, 8500 etc) you are looking at chipsets that are crippled, and often worse than an older generation (eg a 7600 will likely beat an 8400).


7600, 7800, 8600, 8800, 9600 and 9800 cards are very good. 8800s can be found now for around $100, making them enormously good power for the price (I use an 8800 GTS, with 312Mb, not one of the best such cards, and it still really rocks in tS).


Yes, a good video card will help real-time rendering, though the speed of your hard drive will actually have more of an effect (takes longer to save the file to disk than it takes the card to draw it - eg I get 40 or 50fps from my card, which means it could make 40 or 50 images per second - but my HD will always take 0.5 seconds to save the file, so I can't render to file faster than 2 frames per second despite the speed of the graphics card).


NVIDIA driver issues affect tS due to the fact it uses two DirectX engines in one program, but the effects have been pretty minimal for the last 6 months or so (this time last year, the effects were very bad and you had to run on old drivers). So at present the drivers are not a big issue.


HTH!

Tom

Post by Jack Edwards // Aug 22, 2008, 10:21am

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Also consider the new ATI cards, HD 4850 is a very strong performer and is less than $200.

Post by ivampretti // Aug 22, 2008, 5:42pm

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but my HD will always take 0.5 seconds to save the file, so I can't render to file faster than 2 frames per second despite the speed of the graphics card).


TomG, what rpm of your HD? the mine is 7200rpm, maybe is faster. I'm not worried about get a better and faster real time rendering, I'm just interested improves my render to file operations that with my onboard Intel graphics card render at 40s most of the time...


Then I could spend the money only to have the top speed render to file operation, because the 8800 is too expensive here in Brazil.

Post by Jack Edwards // Aug 22, 2008, 5:43pm

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8400 is definitely better than onboard video... ;)

Post by TomG // Aug 22, 2008, 6:04pm

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Don't know on the RPM, it's a SATA in RAID 0 configuration (I think RAID 0, the one for speed rather than cloning for security) so I don't know how the RPM would translate with both drives working on separate stripes of the file. I'm usually real-time rendering quite large resolutions though, usually around 1200 to 1680 pixels wide so the files will take a while to grab and save.


My other machine runs in SATA RAID 1 for cloning, can't say I see any major difference in the real-time performance - 2 to 3 frames per second is about the max I've seen. Bear in mind that this compares to offline renders that usually take 20 or 30 seconds for a frame though! That makes the real-time render about 60 times faster than even a fast offline render, and it's not impossible to see 1 or 2 minutes per frame offline. So while it won't save out at the 50 FPS the card can display, it is still a huge boost over offline!


HTH!

Tom

Post by rjeff // Aug 22, 2008, 6:09pm

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Well Tom I have a EVGA 8400 and I have had no issues with it.

Post by splinters // Aug 22, 2008, 9:23pm

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I just upgraded to a 9800GT (a souped up 8800GT but with a reduced price). I used to run a 7900GT and tS looked absolutely great so you would be alright even with something like that. I tried onboard graphics and they were indeed terrible.

The 9800 flies in tS but these really only apply to the realtime side not model side.


Crysis looks pretty good on it too...:D

Post by ivampretti // Aug 23, 2008, 9:32am

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Well, I just finished to instal my new graphics card, the geforce 8600, the real time is amaaaaaaaaaaaaaazing! reeeaaaaly cool, the rendering to file is about a hundred percent faster, but I confess that I expect more from the rendering to file, because I usualy work with realy complicated scenes, in scenes that I before spended 40 seconds to render, now spend about 20 seconds! anybody now any configuration that can improve this render to file operation?

Post by Jack Edwards // Aug 23, 2008, 5:38pm

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Good choice on the video card. Make sure you upgrade to the latest drivers. (177.83 from the link Splinters posted in the other thread.)

About the slow saving time, that's likely an issue with OS, Harddrive speed, or motherboard, or motherboard drivers. You could try defragging your harddrive though.

Post by trueBlue // Aug 23, 2008, 6:50pm

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You might want to read the details about those drivers before you download them. More importantly read/download them seperately instead of the whole package. I think I'll wait as I do not have the PhysX.

Post by TomG // Aug 25, 2008, 1:32am

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I have an EVGA 8400 too, I bought it as a backup while my EVGA 8800 was being repaired. While it works, I can tell you the performance of such a card is well below what you could get, by a long way. I paid about $35 for the 8400, and could now buy a whole new 8800 for $110, getting about 10 times the performance or better.


Not only that, but memory tells me my 7600 performed better than my 8400 (I couldnt use it as a replacement as it was an AGP card, from before I swapped to a PCI-E motherboard).


So I still stand by saying that the x500 cards and below are best avoided, they will work, but their performance will be below what you can expect especially in terms of price / performance ratio.


HTH!

Tom

Post by splinters // Sep 4, 2008, 7:26am

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Just a reminder that the PhysX drivers work with 8xxx and 9xxx series cards.


Also, the latest Beta 177.92 are pretty reliable and bode well for the next big release. No problems in Vista or tS7.6...:D

Post by Dragneye // Nov 25, 2008, 10:38pm

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Since the title fit, I thought I'd post here to keep as much info on this as possible.

Went through Tom'sHardware, and a few other sites.

My search has so far given me this out of Newegg:

Core 2 Quad Q9550(2.83Ghz) 4gbDDR3 GeForce 9800GTX+

Core 2 Quad Q9550(2.83Ghz) 8GB DDR2 RadeonHD 4850


Que 1: Nvidia or ATI for animation (the only 'title' I can find is 'Gaming') for tS? And of the two which is your first choice and (please) why.


Que 2: I noticed a bunch of comments on their forums about overheating. One better than the other?


Que 3: Twice as much DDR2 than 3? Better? And why.

Post by Dragneye // Nov 30, 2008, 3:29pm

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Wow, no reply? I could really use the input since my knowledge of this is very limited, but will need to make a decision within a few days (ok, actually tomorrow as I Really need a new puter)


Ok, so...


-------- Radeon HD 4850 ------ GeForce 9800 GX2

process ----------- 55mm------- 65mm

Universal Shaders ----- 800 -------- 256

Texture Units --------- 40 ---------- 128

Memory Bus -------- 256 bit -------- 256 bit

Core speed MHz -------- 750 --------- 600

Memory Speed MHz --- 900 -------- 1500

---------------- (3600 effective)-------- (3000 eff)


Here's my questions:

1. Which is more important; universal shaders (and what do they mean anyway?) or texture units... for 3D animation?


2. Should I pick one or the other, just considering memory speed?


Oh, and is GX2 roughly the same as GTX+?


Any insight to these and the past questions would be Very appreciated. :)

Post by TomG // Dec 1, 2008, 3:18am

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No advice here as I've never compared NVIDIA and ATI cards, as I always use NVIDIA. I'd recommend looking at various benchmarking scores, there should be sites to compare things like frame rate in Crysis, 3DMark scores, etc, and that should give a clue as to the actual final performance of each card. Better that than try to decide on things like 2x the DDR2 versus 1/2 the DDR3 - compare the final performance from each card.


eg this part of Tom's Hardware

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/gaming-graphics-charts-q3-2008/3DMark06-v1-1-0-3DMark-Score,794.html


(you can go back a level and choose what benchmark test you want to view).


HTH!

Tom


EDIT - actually this link should give you the comparison on the benchmarks for the two cards in question:

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/gaming-graphics-charts-q3-2008/compare,794.html?prod%5B2115%5D=on&prod%5B2063%5D=on


Still no clear cut winner for sure - the NVIDIA wins on all the sums of FPS benchmarks, up to the 1920x1200 AA size where the ATI card gets ahead. The 3DMark scores show the ATI consistenly ahead. The differences don't seem to be anything to sweat about either way, so I'd go for the cheapest perhaps, the one you can get the best deal on, the one with less waiting time on the order, or other deciding factor :) Perhaps if you are using the very large resolutions, the ATI might be out in front though.


HTH!

Tom

Post by Dragneye // Dec 1, 2008, 7:56pm

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Thank You Tom for the effort. The side by side one I hadn't seen. I have pored over Tomshardware info for graphics cards and processors, and then computer choices on Newegg (checked one other one also). A few days going blind on all the info, decided on two or three models....

Their out of stock! Yes... on ALL my choices!LOL


Have to look at more choices now. There's a bunch of machines and good values, but I have a feeling that the higher the processor speed the better (read somewhere that with these hi-power cards better to stick to anything above 2.66 GHz. High processor speed being a prime requisite for a good setup). Any input on that?

Post by frootee // Dec 2, 2008, 2:32am

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Hey Dragneye. I've been out of the loop on computer tech too; so I don't know too much about the video cards but, make sure your power supply is also up to par. The video card info may suggest a minimum power supply rating; probably around 400 Watts. It depends on what else you are connecting.

I got your call; I'm sorry I didn't have a chance yet to reply. Been neck deep in efforts, etc.

Froo

Post by TomG // Dec 2, 2008, 2:33am

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Dont know - a good fast processor is good for offline rendering of course, since all the work there happens in the CPU, so certainly getting a fast processor is beneficial. My system is aging somewhat, with an 8800, but that runs happily with a 1.86GHz core 2 duo, so not sure that you need a fast processor to work alongside the card for realtime stuff, I think the card is fine on its own with any type of processor.


As ever though, the fastest you can afford is the best :) Whether you emphasise the GPU or CPU depends on whether the real-time or offline is the most important - will you be rendering movies using Lightworks or V-Ray? Then maybe CPU is more important. Just still images, and playing lots of games? Maybe the GPU is more important. It's always a balance of compromise on one component over another.


HTH!

Tom

Post by noko // Dec 2, 2008, 8:20am

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Wow, no reply? I could really use the input since my knowledge of this is very limited, but will need to make a decision within a few days (ok, actually tomorrow as I Really need a new puter)


Ok, so...


-------- Radeon HD 4850 ------ GeForce 9800 GX2

process ----------- 55mm------- 65mm

Universal Shaders ----- 800 -------- 256

Texture Units --------- 40 ---------- 128

Memory Bus -------- 256 bit -------- 256 bit

Core speed MHz -------- 750 --------- 600

Memory Speed MHz --- 900 -------- 1500

---------------- (3600 effective)-------- (3000 eff)


Here's my questions:

1. Which is more important; universal shaders (and what do they mean anyway?) or texture units... for 3D animation?


2. Should I pick one or the other, just considering memory speed?


Oh, and is GX2 roughly the same as GTX+?


Any insight to these and the past questions would be Very appreciated. :)


The GX2 is a dual GPU design card, actually it is two cards slapped together. It uses coined term SLI in how it renders using both GPU's for a full screen. Clevit, for windowed operations it can only use one GPU, so in tS case it would use only one GPU and the 4850 in tS would be much faster.


For realtime rendering GPU ram is king for render to file. More ram the higher resolution and increase hardware anti aliasing you will be able to use. Once again the GX2 has 1gb of memory but since a two GPU design it is really 512mb of ram used for each GPU and not shared. In this case, for tS use I would highly recommend the 4850 1gb version. The 9800 GTX is ok too but is limited to 512mb.


The other problem is Nvidia driver support for the GX2 has some folks complaining. Here is good link to check out Nvidia mostly but others as well user experience.

http://www.nvnews.net/


If you decide to go Nvidia, I recommend a GeForce 260 (first version) with 896mb of ram, the first version with 192 streaming processors for less then $200 at Newegg.com.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127361


This card performs better then the 9800 series significantly. I have a slightly newer version the 260 (216) which just increase the number of streaming processors and runs great but is over $200, I paid $239.


For less then $200 I highly recommend either a Radeon 4850 1mb or a GeForce 260 (original)

Post by Délé // Dec 2, 2008, 9:11am

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I have the ATI HD 4850. It is a good card. Crysis, Bioshock, and Far Cry 2 all run smooth as silk and look great. The thing I really like is that I have not had one single problem with the drivers. I had many problems with Nvidia drivers. So all in all, the card runs great and is rock solid.


Some things to keep in mind though. You'll want good cooling as the card does run hot. Also, Nvidia cards are the only ones that use hardware shadow filtering. This does affect tS if you like the realtime rendering. With the ATI card, I have to increase the shadow map sizes by two to four times to get the same results as the Nvidia card. It still looks and runs smooth, but something to keep in mind if you use tS realtime rendering. Some online shared spaces may have ugly striped shadows if the creator used an Nvidia card to create the scene.

Post by noko // Dec 2, 2008, 5:43pm

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Total Posts: 684
How true about drivers for Nvidia and tS, now the current whql drivers are great and was one of the reasons why I upgraded from 8800GTX to GeForce 260. hmmmm maybe I should sell my 8800GTX. . .

Post by Dragneye // Dec 4, 2008, 12:15pm

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Thanx Noko and Dele - it's lil details and insights like this that I need.

Well, the deed is done.
Core 2 Quad Q9550(2.83GHz) 8GB DDR2 1000GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260

Wish me luck folks. 1, I hate to buy online (there's no refund policy at Newegg. VERY scary concept) - and 2, I hope this stops my crashing so I can let loose my mind. We'll see.

Post by TomG // Dec 4, 2008, 12:25pm

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Total Posts: 3397
No refund, but you'll get a replacement if there is a problem. I've been buying at NewEgg exclusively for years, and service has been great. Once the postal folks put a HUGE dent in the case I had ordered, and it was no problem getting help from NewEgg on getting that fixed, even though it wasnt them to blame.


Sounds like a pretty awesome machine you have there :) Much better than the one I work on, so it should really fly on tS!


Tom

Post by Dragneye // Dec 4, 2008, 5:12pm

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Thank you Tom for the help also. Glad to hear abt your happiness with them. Heard good words from some folks here, so went with it. Checked out other sites, but they had some cool set ups (they won't help you mix and match)


Went as fast as I could with processors (2.83 as opposed to 2.66) as I think the 'core' should be very fast for all other things to work best. 9550 seemed a good choice.

I went with the most processor cache ( 12MB L2 cache), 8GB of memory as opposed to 4 (Still think it's important to have someone tell us here "what is the difference between DDR2 - DDR3" in relation to 3D artist's work), because I think that's where the biggest problem with my crashing was coming from (I have 1GB), and it would happen while rendering scenes.

The 260 video card had good stats ( my feeling is the Nvidia 260 & 280 have great stats. My first choice was the ATI 4850 because it had more Universal shaders than Any other brand. Now I don't know what exactly they are for, but felt important for digtal art and animation (260 has 192 shaders). I don't feel too bad cuz the 260 has a 448-bit memory bus whereas the 260 is the normal 256 bus. I think that's 'the size of the highway' for info to travel on. Bigger is better.

Please add or correct me on ANY of this as the reason I am bothering to write this is to help the next guy hopefully.


So... that's my 2 cents. Really hope this helped someone.
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