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  • A big(ger) dilemma...

    Hello!

    As usual my question is AMD/ATi or nVidia?
    But, differently from many, I'm not interested in particular models, first let me introduce my case.

    I'm currently having issues with my notebook (it costed 2000 EUR in 2007 ) because when the CPU (2 cores) stays at max 2.4 GHz for more than 2 minutes (even 1 only core) Linux decides it's time to shutdown, so it gracefully performs a mandatory quick shutdown.
    The other day I was playing the beta of HoN and this happened during a game; I've used this PC to play WoW (with wine) for 1,5 years, and as it is now, I could definitely not play it.
    I don't use windows, if not in virtualized mode only when I'm working from home (my employer now supports RDC with Linux now as well...).
    Maybe I'll buy HoN, and probably (if I'll get a new pc) SC2.
    Clearly I will use wine to play these games, I'll refuse to boot in windows for whatever reason; at bad I'll play games on my PS3.
    Btw, now to play HoN I have to set processor speed to 1.6 or 2 GHz, otherwise OS will shut down.

    Usually I have a dual screen:
    1920x1200 + 1680x1050

    as now, my notebook is a nVidia 8600 GT Mobile with 512 VRam and I have to be honest with you: in 2+ years it always worked 100% and TwinView is a magic software: it works.

    Other uses I do of my videocard are to do experimental GPGPU: I've used old school OpenGL till now, but I'd like to actively switch to OpenCL asap.

    So my case is:
    Gamer+OpenCL dev+Dual screen, Linux (Ubuntu) x86-64 only (from a moral standpoint I do refuse to buy anything from MSFT).

    My target system will be or a i7 quad core, or a Phenom II 4 core with 8 of 16 GB ram, 2 disks (~0.5 TB and ~1.5 TB).
    I'm still undecided if pay a premium for i7 or save ~200 GBP and have a processor which will consume less power; anyway the target figure is around 1100~1300 GBP.
    I'd like to spend 250~325 for a videocard. What do you recommend?

    Please elaborate!

    Thanks again,
    Cheers!

  • #2
    Same problem here. It is hard to recommend. I am still waiting ATI will kick nVidia ass in driver and software support, whether it will be from Opensource or fglrx side. But that day seem to be far away.

    Good thing is, Ubuntu has some premium support from ATI, which annoys users of all other distros. I don't understand this selective approach, but it is good for you. In a GPGPU world, there is nothing comparable to CUDA, so it is hard to guess if anytime and when OpenCL will arise to the same level of support, productivity and popularity. If you won't dualboot Windows, I would rather go nVidia way, because it works today (of course support OpenCL), and it is sure thing in workstation market.

    But this could change. Even today, you can see OSS drivers has better 2D performance than binary blobs (which share the codebase with windows drivers). As i said. It is hard to guess.

    Comment


    • #3
      Any other suggestion(s)?

      Cheers,

      Comment


      • #4
        I would go for i7-860 + GTX 470.

        Comment


        • #5
          I wouldn't be afraid of buying an AMD/ATI card. I have an ati 4650 myself and use it for parallel programming via opencl and ati's stream sdk.

          Really the only issue I have is slow 2d without a patched xorg server. But as far as I know they are working on a new 2d part of the fglrx driver.

          Comment


          • #6
            I would go for i7-860 + GTX 470.
            I think I might go for that... only issue is that i7 should consume a bit more in idle and cost 200 GBP more...
            I wouldn't be afraid of buying an AMD/ATI card. I have an ati 4650 myself and use it for parallel programming via opencl and ati's stream sdk.

            Really the only issue I have is slow 2d without a patched xorg server. But as far as I know they are working on a new 2d part of the fglrx driver.
            I'd go for that, really, maybe 58xx, but what about dual screen and wine/OpenGL/OpenCL support?
            Apparently nVidia is great on this side (drivers always up to date etc etc... - but still I'd be glad to give my GBP to AMD/ATi that actively support open source)...

            Any more suggestions/replies more than welcome!

            Cheers,

            Comment


            • #7
              I would go for the Phenom II X4 and the Radeon HD 5850. Dual screen support?!? How about hexa-screen support?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Emanem View Post
                Gamer+OpenCL dev+Dual screen, Linux (Ubuntu) x86-64 only (from a moral standpoint I do refuse to buy anything from MSFT).
                If you are Linux only, go with NVIDIA. There is strong support of the driver, you are assured to get the best experience with that HW there. As for the CPU, the current Nehalem architecture is good, but I would wait for Sandy Bridge just to play with AVX. ;-)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Emanem View Post
                  I'm currently having issues with my notebook (it costed 2000 EUR in 2007 ) because when the CPU (2 cores) stays at max 2.4 GHz for more than 2 minutes (even 1 only core) Linux decides it's time to shutdown, so it gracefully performs a mandatory quick shutdown.
                  Is this because of overheating? Maybe you should check your ventilation channels and clean them from the dust. To do it properly you might need to remove the cpu heat sink (remember to reapply the cooling compound). Most likely you need a clean up not an upgrade.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I guess your only viable option is Nvidia ... I am an ATI faithfull, but it get's harder and harder :-) The main thing are drivers. ATI HW is great, but the drivers drag it down to 50% or less compared to equivalent Nvidia card.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Well, my 2cents:
                      Ati/OpenSource: Dual-Screen with xrandr works great on the open source ATI-drivers, I don't think TwinView could be much better. I also managed to play a mission in WoW (Icecrown) on my HD4870, but it still has glitches and crashes and you don't get eye-candy. So if you want to game seriously, the OpenSource driver is not there yet, especially if you go for Evergreen (no 3D yet, but work on that is visible).
                      Ati/fglrx: worked quite well for me, but on the other hand I didn't use it much. Biggest problem is the tremendously lagging support of new X servers, so if you want to live on the edge, fglrx doesn't work.
                      Nvidia/OpenSource: Compiz works, suspend works, gaming doesn't on NV50 (that should give support up to the GTX295 afaik). I regularily use nouveau on my laptop for quite a few months now and it is definitely usable and quite stable (well, the screensaver not so much ;-) ). GTX4xx support might take a while, as there is no support from Nvidia for this driver.
                      Nvidia/Proprietary: Worked great for me. If you don't care for OpenSource and want the most features and the best 3D acceleration, this is the way to go at the moment. Also has VDPAU. Actually I bought Nvidia cards for their linux support for years, until AMD started their OpenSource initiative.

                      Hm, a word on the GTX4xx: I wouldn't want one: All reports I read say they get really hot and they need a incredible amount of power. And I just think it's not worth that and the price premium for ~10% more performance. Additionally, with temperatures above 90C, I could very well imagine that those cards don't live too long. But maybe I'm sort of biased, as I already had a Nvidia card (7800 I think) that blew up just after a few months - and the replacement 7900 had artifacts and had to be replaced again - with an rather unstable card during summer (at least I believe it was the graphics card). Also the GTX4xx might have very serious supply shortages, so you might have problems finding one in the near future.

                      So, it's really a bit of a dilemma. My personal stance is that I'd go with ATI for their support of OpenSource - but that means you have to wait at least some more months ... and maybe years. ATI has cheaper, cooler and more power-efficient cards, but it doesn't have video-acceleration, support for recent developments (in fglrx) or top performance.
                      If you don't care for power, temperature, noise, price and closed source but want top performance in 3D and want it now - go with Nvidia.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Luzipher View Post
                        ...

                        So, it's really a bit of a dilemma. My personal stance is that I'd go with ATI for their support of OpenSource - but that means you have to wait at least some more months ... and maybe years. ATI has cheaper, cooler and more power-efficient cards, but it doesn't have video-acceleration, support for recent developments (in fglrx) or top performance.
                        If you don't care for power, temperature, noise, price and closed source but want top performance in 3D and want it now - go with Nvidia.
                        I see what you mean mate.
                        Maybe I'll go for i7 + 12 GB Ram and a mid range nVidia. What would you recommend between the following:
                        GTX 260
                        GTX 285
                        ?

                        Any more suggestions?
                        Cheers,

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Uh, I don't really have experience with newer nVidia cards ... I'd say go cheaper if you plan to upgrade soon, go more expensive if you want to keep the card for a while.

                          Hm, I just checked prices, the cheapest 260 is about 150, the cheapest 285 is about 260. And it seems the 285 is about 20% faster (just checked very few benchmarks on Anandtech). That wouldn't really justify the price premium for the 285 for me.
                          By the way, the GTX470 seems to start at about 320, that makes the 285 even more unattractive, I think.

                          Another point would be DX11 / OpenGL 4 compliance, you don't get that with nVidia below a GTX4xx, but if you plan to upgrade not too far in the future anyway, this doesn't really matter.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Luzipher View Post
                            ...

                            Another point would be DX11 / OpenGL 4 compliance, you don't get that with nVidia below a GTX4xx, but if you plan to upgrade not too far in the future anyway, this doesn't really matter.
                            So basically or I get AMD now (58xx), but I have to wait at least 6 months to have it working, or I buy nVidia without OpenGL4 or nVidia with OpenGL4 but again a bad videocard?

                            What would you recommend?

                            Cheers,

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The successor of the GTX 260/275, the GTX 460 should follow the GTX 470/480 in june (in theory). GTX 470 is very expensive and needs much more power.

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