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ATI vs NVIDIA Video Cards

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ati vs nvidia

So your getting ready to drop some money on a video card and you want to know which is better. ATI vs NVIDIA is a war that has at times been in favour of one or the other. They are both great but usually one or the other has been better at a particular time, but it goes back and fourth. The architecture of the two types of cards is completely different, there is no worth in comparing clocks, or numbers of shaders... simply they are straight up different. Think of it as ATI is an Orange to NVIDIA is an Apple. Its like comparing a muscle car to an Asian import... US got the engine displacement, and the imports have 12000 RPM... you cant look at those specs and compare them because there are just too many factors. This whole Mhz and, MB, and shaders can only be measured together, and that is the FPS you get on your screen... there is no use to wreck your brains trying to figure which is better using that data, just look at benchmarks.

Nvidia wins more often then ATI but ATI always makes a very strong show and isn't usually to far behind but are always priced better. Other differences to consider is the quality of after care you get from each of the respective partners. It's not unusual for NVIDIA partners to offer life time warranties, step up programmes or double life time warranties with their products. ATI partners until very recently gave you just the basic 1 year warranty (Nvidia has always given 2 year or 3 year depending on where you live in the world) but just recently 2 years has become more of the norm with ATI boards now

Advantages of ATI:

-Adopting newer tech faster/on time and normally before NVIDIA does (normally ATI tried harder to be more innovative with newer tech or coming up with something new)
-Normally offers decent /good performance cards at a lower price than NVIDIA (focus on best bang for buck or the sweet spot)
-Offer high-end multiple GPU solution at cheaper price than NVIDIA
-Crossfire allows different card model to be crossfire
-Normally has good marketing brand names and less confusing in respect to NVIDIA

Disadvantages of ATI:

-Normally doesn't offer fastest high end card as a single GPU card but as a multi GPU solution, thus risking to have micro-stuttering effect issue
-Normally has slightly slower single GPU card than NVIDIA

Advantages of NVIDIA:

-Supporting game developers with (TWIMTBP)
-Having good drivers support
-Normally offers the fastest single GPU card than ATI (but much more expensive than ATI)
-NVIDIA's high-end cards normally doesn't suffer from micro-stuttering effect since they are single GPU cards

Disadvantages of NVIDIA:

-Adopting the newer tech slowly
-Tends to/depended on overclocking the next-gen card instead of using new tech, thus ended up rebranding the old architecture cards (not being innovative enough)
-TWIMTBP program is sometimes for NVIDIA's political reason and could be seen as anti-competitive practice like refusing to adopt DX 10.1 in time or urging game devs to remove DX 10.1 from PC game Assassin's Creed to avoid rival ATI's DX 10.1 advantages.
-The price of some cards are sometimes too expensive and would rip your wallet or doesn't have a good price/performance offer maybe due to failing to die shrinking the GPU.
-confusing brand names that could mislead customers

So the fight is still on and there will never really be a clear winner. PCModer offers up what we think is the Best Video Card for unde $199 so you can start there if you want good performance at a cheap price.


Best Video Card for under $199

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Video Cards


There are so many options out there when you are looking for a new video card it can be mind boggling. So many manufactures, memory options, core speeds etc. etc. etc....How can you wade through it all and find out which high performance video card you can get and not have to take out a second mortgage? Well the answer is here. We have waded through them and found the best card for your dollar. In this task, as always, we wanted to get you the best performance for your dollar. That being said we wanted to find you the best card you can get for under $199. We have found that you can obviously spend a lot more than that but for that price range you can get a card that will perform well for almost all games with the settings a nice high level.

We compared all of the various features of the cards and presented them here as the summary Frames Per Second (FPS) charts so you can see for yourself which card actually performs the best. We compared the performance at the screen resolution of 1650x1050. The winner by far is the ATI Radeon HD 4870 dual card setup. It bench marked almost 4 times faster than as the slowest card but of course you have to buy two cards. We did this to show how much of an improvement adding a second card would give you. When looking at single card setups It is interesting to note that the best performer and the worst performer are in exactly the same price range, but the best single card setup was still almost three times faster. That goes to show it is not about how much you spend but about how you spend it.


With the best performer being almost twice as fast as the single card setup (you need two Radeon HD 4870 CrossFire Supported Video cards)  it is clear that you will get much better deal with the single ATI Radeon HD4870 1 GB Video Card or the  MSI Radeon 4870 1GB card. This single card setup still gives you almost three times the speed of the slowest card in this group but at the same cost.  In the past NVidia has had a lock on the market and was the way to go. ATI was good but NVidia for the most part seemed like they had the lead. But things have changed NVidia simply can’t match the explosive performance/price ratio of the Radeon card as you can see here. With the same (or below) price point this chart paints a clear picture.

So there it is. Of course with hardware changing every day this will only be valid for a few months as of the writing of this article but we will keep you up to date as things change. If you want Santa to give you something nice for Christmas maybe he will see our comparison and get a good idea what you want!

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