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Nvidia or ATI that is the question


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I have had different issues with ATI and OpenGL.

To be quite honest I bought the ATI 5850 because it handles directX 11 (which I haven't been able to use yet).

I've had oddities with open GL applications such as CAD, simulation software and older games such as CMBB.

I don't seem to have anything that is serious when playing CMSF but I can't say I'm completely satisfied with what the game does with brightness in the game. I'm sure there must be tweaks to get the desired effect though.

I guess if I were to buy a graphics card again that I'd switch back to Nvidia.

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I've done both (and earlier, some of the manufacturers who are now defunct or swallowed up). FWIW, I _like_ nvidia, but for your best bang/buck, ATI wins. My two main rigs are split between Intel/Nvidia and AMD/ATI (yeah, I know, AMD/AMD).

The 6xxx series from ATI are great for the cost and are low power users, low heat producers for the same framerates as Nvidia.

Having said that, a the Asus 560ti CUII is on my short list for a replacement machine for the spousal unit. :)

You really can't go wrong with either brand, as they are right now. However, neither brand is TOTALLY perfect for all games, users, or setups. It's the classic engineer's dilemma: there's no such thing as a free lunch. If you gain somewhere, you lose something. It's up to you to evaluate what YOU want to gain and what YOU can afford to lose.

Have fun!

Ken

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Thanks for your input guys - I ended up going with ATI this time round. I found a reasonable deal on a MSI 6950 with twin (quiet) fans. I'm thinking this will last me longer as it has 2gb of ram

Hi Phil , 6950 works a treat for me in CMSF. Empire Total War with best options enabled 99.99% of the time its perfect, had one incident of reduced frame rate during the largest scale siege battle possible but that's it ... graphics cards may not have been the bottleneck to be honest in this instance. Window 7 unlimate with 4Gb ram tell leaves me with a Windows Experience Index rating of 5.9 for the machine memory. Everything else punching between 7.1 - 7.9 IIRC.

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Hi Phil , 6950 works a treat for me in CMSF. Empire Total War with best options enabled 99.99% of the time its perfect, had one incident of reduced frame rate during the largest scale siege battle possible but that's it ... graphics cards may not have been the bottleneck to be honest in this instance. Window 7 unlimate with 4Gb ram tell leaves me with a Windows Experience Index rating of 5.9 for the machine memory. Everything else punching between 7.1 - 7.9 IIRC.

Quality! I play Empires too from time to time but only with the Darthmod - I believe the game suffered with a number of bugs, but the smoke bug was one which effected the frame rate the most. I was going to invest in a 60GB SSD but I convinced myself that 60GB isn't enough these days even for the system drive. So I'll stick with my 750GB main drive. Shogun II looks good by the way ;)

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Quality! I play Empires too from time to time but only with the Darthmod - I believe the game suffered with a number of bugs, but the smoke bug was one which effected the frame rate the most. I was going to invest in a 60GB SSD but I convinced myself that 60GB isn't enough these days even for the system drive. So I'll stick with my 750GB main drive. Shogun II looks good by the way ;)

Hi Phil, i have found SSDs are the way to go , windows 7 boot times down to 12 secs inc login and desktop rendering, shut down 4 secs (running AV software too). Got this one a few months back. http://www.ebuyer.com/product/225416 (50,000 IOPS , 285mb read, 275mb write) have never looked back :) ... using HDD for storage and SSD for anything than needs to be fast.

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There's an interesting tech thread over in Tomshardware (I think) about using an SSD purely as the cache drive. That indicated there would be some substantial improvements in OS responsiveness with none of the limitations of a small(ish) SSD as the prime drive.

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The best answer to waiting less for your harddrive is more RAM. That is particularly true for Vista and Windows 7 with their admittedly pretty smart prefetch of disk sectors.

If you do have a SSD putting on things that are read a lot and written a lot less such as the game itself is a good idea. I wouldn't put a paging file and in any case I'd first get enough RAM so that paging doesn't happen during regular use, before a SSD.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi guys,

I'm glad I found this thread.

I want to continue to play my old CMBB and CMAK, but am looking to get another mid-range Dell to play the new CMBN, as well.

I am looking at a Dell XPS8300 that has the following:

Processor:

Intel I5-2400 (6MB Cache,3.1 GHz)

Operating System:

Win 7 Home Premium 64Bit

Monitor:

ST2220L 21.5-inch Full HD Widescreen Monitor

Memory:

8GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz-4 DIMMS

Hard Drive:

1.5TB-SATA-II, 3Gb/s, 7,200 RPM, 32MB Cache

Optical Drive:

16X CD/DVD Burner

Video Card:

NVIDEA GT420 1GB DDR3

Sound:

Soundblaster X-Fi Xtreme audio

Etc., etc, etc.

As I know nothing of computers, and plan on having this new rig, as is, for 5-7 years...

Do you think the above system would keep up with the planned modules and upgrades that should come out for CMBN over the next few years...?

Any suggestions...? (I've had good luck with Dell so far).

Thanks in advance,

Ken

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I should *think* your setup would cope okay with future combat mission titles, providing you run medium graphical settings. But without looking in a crystal ball it's very hard to tell :D

As it stands your 420 will hold you back a tad in graphic heavy games like Crysis 2 if you play those, although on the plus side that monitor will keep resolution down, which will help improve framerates. But it's a good setup.

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Just to update this thread, I eventually ended up with an Nvidia card - (long story but I sold the 6950) and boy, is it an improvement over the 6950! Just a heads up for the guys in the same boat as me. Scottie, if you are reading this, there's nothing wrong with the 6950 generally, but the Nvidia cards are much better with Shock Force, and probably Normandy.

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...As it stands your 420 will hold you back a tad in graphic heavy games like Crysis 2 if you play those, although on the plus side that monitor will keep resolution down, which will help improve framerates. But it's a good setup.

Thanks Phil,

I don't play the heavy-duty first person shooters, But I do want something that can make the old CM scream, and still keep up with CMBN and future add-ons...

Best regards,

Ken

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I'm getting a new Sandybridge based rig myself quite soon. Almost certainly going with Nvidia. From what I've researched to date the minimum gpu spec (for an Nvidia card) to give any kind of future proof performance would be GeForce GTX460.

Anything lower than that is likely to stutter at the first or second hurdle (i.e. probably just about okay for CMNormandy but struggles with huge maps/multiple units/highest settings).

GTX460 and above, coupled with good CPU and minimum 4Gig RAM, ought to handle anything Battlefront can throw at us for the next few releases, as well as the vast majority of blockbusting games out there. At least, that's what I'm hoping as I gather my last few hard-earned pennies together in anticipation of this long-lusted after purchase. :)

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...GTX460 and above, coupled with good CPU and minimum 4Gig RAM, ought to handle anything Battlefront can throw at us for the next few release...

Thanks Handihoc. I do play larger battles with lots of units on big maps, so it's good to have an idea of what should work for the next few years.

Sincerely,

Ken

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I went a bit mad when I built my last PC back in January - it's not top of the line by any means, but it's up there and so hopefully will be good for a couple of years before needing any upgrading (plus there's the option of overclocking both the cpu and gpu when it starts struggling with future games).

Anyway, I have an i5 2600K, 8Gbs RAM and a gtx 570 - CMSF runs like a dream, and I'm certain that CMBN will too regardless of the map size (well, up to a point).

My personal preference having played CMSF with both ATI and NVIDIA is that currently NVIDIA has the edge in terms of the 'quality' of the shadows and 'smoothness' of the images when the game is running. But this is entirely subjective obviously - the last ATI card I had in my old PC was an HD5850 which was a great card, but the gtx 260 I had previous to this was 'better' for CMSF in my opinion.

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Hi guys,

I'm glad I found this thread.

I want to continue to play my old CMBB and CMAK, but am looking to get another mid-range Dell to play the new CMBN, as well.

I am looking at a Dell XPS8300 that has the following:

Processor:

Intel I5-2400 (6MB Cache,3.1 GHz)

That is "mid-range"?

When it come to per-core speed a 3.1 GHz i7 is right up there on top, and CM games only use one code.

Operating System:

Win 7 Home Premium 64Bit

Oh. Well.

Monitor:

ST2220L 21.5-inch Full HD Widescreen Monitor

Useless technical data but probably a bad idea. You need to look at the actual resolution. This one probably has something x 1080 pixels. Bad idea for CMx1. If you don't have 1200 pixels vertical the game will not offer you the 1600x1200 resolution and you are stuck with 1280x1024.

That is a major issue for CMx1 playing, don't do it.

Memory:

8GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz-4 DIMMS

Hard Drive:

1.5TB-SATA-II, 3Gb/s, 7,200 RPM, 32MB Cache

Optical Drive:

16X CD/DVD Burner

Video Card:

NVIDEA GT420 1GB DDR3

That's a lame duck. And see below at PSU.

Sound:

Soundblaster X-Fi Xtreme audio

Bad idea. Anything creative labs will give you years of trouble with their lousy drivers.

Etc., etc, etc.

As I know nothing of computers, and plan on having this new rig, as is, for 5-7 years...

Do you think the above system would keep up with the planned modules and upgrades that should come out for CMBN over the next few years...?

No, this won't work most likely.

The problem here is the power supply. The video card in there is a joke and the PSU they put in will only power a joke. So you can't put in a better graphics card later without upgrading the PSU. But this computer doesn't specify it's format. Most of the cheapish Dell computers are not regular ATX, they are half-height units and you can't put in a normal PSU.

If you want a computer that lasts you a while get a perfectly normal ATX mid-tower with a regular power supply and get a quality and powerful PSU right now. It protects your computer and your data.

Also, I wouldn't use a desktop that doesn't at least have RAID1 these days. In particular not if you play games like CMBN which will permanently lose a license on a HD crash.

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Having built my own since 1993 I can say that both have their good and bad points. I am currently using a 460 Nvidia card but most likely will go back to AMD with the change to Sandy Bridge I have planned. The one thing I can't stand is a noisy card that could heat a small apartment. Right now AMD, other than their ridiculous 6990, is the best bang-for-the-buck with minimum power usage and noise levels. There are some Nvidia aftermarket models that stress noise level reduction, but the choices are kinda slim IMO.

I am just glad there are two large firms that have to compete with one another.

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...If you want a computer that lasts you a while get a perfectly normal ATX mid-tower with a regular power supply and get a quality and powerful PSU right now. It protects your computer and your data.

Also, I wouldn't use a desktop that doesn't at least have RAID1 these days. In particular not if you play games like CMBN which will permanently lose a license on a HD crash.

Hi Redwolf,

Thanks for the advice on the monitor, Gpu, PSU, etc.

Is there any chance you could offer specific "off-the-shelf" examples that would work well with CMX1 and play CM:BN, as well, or would I be looking for an outfit here in Michigan, USA that can custom build a PC...?

Am I looking in the wrong place when I look for an "off-the-shelf" solution...?

Thanks in advance to all,

Ken

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I would recommend a custom built PC.

The thing about PCs is that there are so many different options that an off the self model is unlikely to a perfect fit for anything except "general" use. If you are buying a PC for a specific purpose my advice is to find a computer store run by tech geeks, explain what you intend to do with it and let them build it for you.

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Ken -

I remember a big jump in CMx1 smoothness when upgrading my Nvidia GPU from a 7900GT to a 9800GT - I was running 1650x1080 at the time. There were many threads discussing how modern GPU's wouldn't help CMx1 that much, as it didn't employ any fancy DX9 or DX10 calls... then I realized that it was the increase from 256 to 512 MB of video RAM that was helping me in larger battles.

I stuck with Nvidia for all my builds, as it continued to have older fog-table support for CMx1. I never played any modern-warfare CMx2; I switched over to ATI (5770) a year ago. At first, as the AMD drivers were maturing, I thought I had made a mistake. But now everything runs quite well.

Along with the other excellent suggestions listed here (esp. the high-quality PSU - cheap ones die frequently, so unless the smell of ozone in the morning turns you on...) I recommend your motherboard be either SLI (Nvidia) or CrossFire (AMD) capable. This allows you to run two video cards in conjunction with one another, greatly increasing your graphic abilities.

For instance - I now run 1920 x 1080 via HDMI on a 28" screen. If I find that larger battles seem kinda choppy when CMBN arrives, I'll purchase another ATI 5770 (for about $100) and plop it in my CrossFire-capable motherboard to tackle the workload (as opposed to ponying up for a high-end 6000 series card for $350 or whatnot).

Secondly - and I could be wrong on this - I'm not sure how much CMx1 you're gonna play after sinking your chops into CMBN. I never played the original CMBO after CMBB and then CMAK came out - I simply lost interest compared its more evolved brethren. I wouldn't be custom-building anything just for CMx1 at this point - but that's just me.

Oh, yes, avoid Dell at all cost. My mother-in-law's top-of-the-line XPS tower has been a disaster from the moment it graced her house (One cooling fan DOA, etc). Good thing she got the extended warranty - it's been put to good use.

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Oh, yes, avoid Dell at all cost. My mother-in-law's top-of-the-line XPS tower has been a disaster from the moment it graced her house (One cooling fan DOA, etc). Good thing she got the extended warranty - it's been put to good use.

I agree in regard to Dell Computers, but their U3011 monitor is quite fantastic.

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Hi Redwolf,

Thanks for the advice on the monitor, Gpu, PSU, etc.

Is there any chance you could offer specific "off-the-shelf" examples that would work well with CMX1 and play CM:BN, as well, or would I be looking for an outfit here in Michigan, USA that can custom build a PC...?

Am I looking in the wrong place when I look for an "off-the-shelf" solution...?

Thanks in advance to all,

Ken

The last time I bought off the shelf was in 1987. Tandon 8088 or 8086. Quite good. I can recommend that one :)

It would be a big improvement to just make sure you get a case that takes a regular size PSU.

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I remember a big jump in CMx1 smoothness when upgrading my Nvidia GPU from a 7900GT to a 9800GT - I was running 1650x1080 at the time. There were many threads discussing how modern GPU's wouldn't help CMx1 that much, as it didn't employ any fancy DX9 or DX10 calls... then I realized that it was the increase from 256 to 512 MB of video RAM that was helping me in larger battles.

How did you verify this (the bold part)?

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The last time I bought off the shelf was in 1987. Tandon 8088 or 8086. Quite good. I can recommend that one :)

It would be a big improvement to just make sure you get a case that takes a regular size PSU.

My only off the shelf desktop computers were:

- IBM PC with PC DOS 1.0 (1981)

- Amiga 1000 with AmigaDOS 1.0 (1985)

Otherwise, all my desktops were custom built.

I tend to find that NVidia is better for OpenGL gaming.

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Redwolf -

The old-fashioned way - saved turns in a CMAK large battle. I swapped out the 7900GT (256 MB) and 9800GT (512 MB) cards several times (same drivers), always recalling the discussions concerning more advanced DX9 or 10 not really helping older titles (such as CMx1). It wasn't small potatoes - the ability of the 512 MB 9800GT to retain graphic info (esp. all our modded stuff) made a clear difference. No FRAPS test to submit, apologies.

Does this not scale with your own experience, sir?

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