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Thread: The NVIDIA video card thread

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    Default The NVIDIA video card thread

    Starting a new thread to talk about NVIDIA video cards, as it applies to gaming. The ATI version of this thread is here.

    Starting with the new GeForce 8 series:

    GeForce 8500 GT
    Product page: http://www.nvidia.com/object/geforce_8500.html


    GeForce 8600 GT
    Product page: http://www.nvidia.com/object/geforce_8600.html
    Review: http://www.guru3d.com/article/Videocards/426/1/
    Summary: 15% faster than a 7600 GT


    GeForce 8600 GTS
    Product page: http://www.nvidia.com/object/geforce_8600.html
    Review: http://www.guru3d.com/article/Videocards/426/1/
    Summary: Around the same speed as a X1950 Pro or 7900 GS


    GeForce 8800 GTS 320/640 MB
    Product page: http://www.nvidia.com/page/geforce_8800.html
    Review (320 MB vs 640 MB): http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/vid...00gts-640.html
    Summary: 320 MB version great value at a resolution of 1600x1200 or less, 640 MB for those who want true HD gaming


    GeForce 8800 GTX
    Product page: http://www.nvidia.com/page/geforce_8800.html
    Review (GTS vs GTX): http://www.guru3d.com/article/Videocards/391/
    Summary: 25% faster than the GTS


    GeForce 8800 Ultra
    Product page: http://www.nvidia.com/page/geforce_8800.html
    Review: http://www.guru3d.com/article/Videocards/428/
    Summary: If 1920x1400 or higher resolution gaming is your thing and money is no object, then this is the card for you


    GeForce 8800 GT
    Product page: http://www.nvidia.com/page/geforce_8800.html
    Review: http://techreport.com/articles.x/13479
    Summary: Full H.264 decoding, 3D performance equivalent to the 640 MB 8800 GTS, but at the price of the 320 MB version - this one has our full recommendation


    GeForce 8800 GTS 512 MB
    Product page: http://www.nvidia.com/page/geforce_8800.html
    Review: http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/12/...00_gts_512_mb/
    Summary: A refresh of the original 8800 GTS. Now with full H.264 decoding like the 8800 GT, 3D performance nearly equivalent to that of the 8800 GTX, but priced only a little bit more than the 8800GT - this one has our full recommendation


    New: GeForce 9600 GT
    Product page: http://www.nvidia.com/object/geforce9.html
    Review: http://www.tomshardware.com/2008/02/...force_9600_gt/
    Summary: A new card to replace the 8600 GT with similar 3D performance to a 8800 GT 256 MB, and the same set of HD acceleration features as the previous generation. PureVideo HD has been updated in software to provide better picture quality and dual video stream decoding needed for PiP interactive content


    New: GeForce 9800 GTX
    Product page: http://www.nvidia.com/object/geforce9.html
    Review: http://www.tomshardware.com/2008/04/...ew/page14.html
    Summary: A very good replacement for the 8800 GTX, even though on a technical level, it doesn't offer anything new over the 8800 GT/GTS 512 MB. HD video support is the same as the 8800 GT/GTS 512 MB in hardware terms and the same as the 9xxx series in terms of software (see above and below). But unfortunately, limited memory (768 on the 8800 versus 512 on the 9800) and a noisy fan means people might have to look elsewhere


    New: GeForce 9800 GX2
    Product page: http://www.nvidia.com/object/geforce9.html
    Review: http://www.tomshardware.com/2008/03/...00_gx2_review/
    Summary: A beast of a card, not just in size, but performance. Faster than the 3870 X2, but somewhat disappointing in high resolutions. PureVideo HD has been updated in software to provide better picture quality and dual video stream decoding needed for PiP interactive content


    New: GeForce GTX 260/280
    Product page: http://www.nvidia.com/object/geforce_gtx_260.html, http://www.nvidia.com/object/geforce_gtx_280.html
    Review: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/...-280,1953.html
    Summary: Excellent performance, but you'll have to pay for it in cost and noise levels. The GTX 260 is better value out of the two. While video decoding remains the same as previous generations, Nvidia's CUDA software acceleration looks interesting as it allows the GPU to perform tasks normally done by the CPU (such as video encoding), but then again, any 8-series or better GeForce card can support CUDA. If you're not after top gaming performance, than the Radeon 4850 is a better choice at nearly half of the price of the GTX-260, with better video decoding support and comparable 3D performance in new games that can take advantage of the Radeon's more numerous stream processors (800 vs 216).


    HDCP Support: Check the manufacturer of the card to see if it supports HDCP, and if this support extends to dual-link DVI. The GT cards do not seem to support HDCP by default and leaves it up to manufacturers, which is a shame, since the later 7 series cards and even AMD's on-board GPUs do support HDCP (and HDMI in some cases). More information about HDCP in this FAQ entry.

    PureVideo HD: Accelerated decoding (MPEG-2 and H.264) for HD content is another must have for Blu-ray and HD DVD playback - it can reduce your CPU utilization from 60% to around 20% (see http://www.guru3d.com/article/Videocards/428/5/). Please note that the 8500/8600/8800 GT/8800 GTS 512 MB features more advanced HD acceleration than the other 8800 models, to quote NVIDIA:

    The new GeForce 8500 and GeForce 8600GPUs feature a new more powerful video processor designed to offload 100% of the H.264 decode from the CPU, enabling HD DVD and Blu-ray video playback, even on modest single-core PCs. The GeForce 8800 (apart from the 8800 GT, 8800 GTS 512 MB, both now upgraded to use the same PureVideo engine as the 8500/8600) series GPUs feature PureVideo HD with the previous generationvideo engine which is capable of Blu-ray and HD DVD playback on PCs equipped with more powerful dual-core CPUs. The 9xxx series do not feature hardware upgrades to PureVideo, but does feature some software improvements in quality and dual video stream decoding (for PiP content).
    Last edited by admin; 9 Nov 2008 at 09:35 PM

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    If I were to buy a computer today, I would go for the 8800 GTS 320 MB. I don't have a large LCD monitor, so I'm limited to 1280x1024 gaming and this card if perfect for this it seems. I'm also weary of spending too much on a DX10 card when there are no DX10 games widely available, and when there isn't much competition in the DX10 video card area yet.

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    The newly released 8500/8600 features better HD acceleration than the 8800, but their 3D performances are a bit average. While most new dual core systems should handle playback with a 8800 in any case, it would probably be wise to wait until the next model so that it can combine the 3D performance of the 8800 with the HD features of the 8500/8600. Or wait and see what the Radeon HD 2400/2600 series is like (note the Radeon HD 2900 XT does not have the new ATI UVD architecture, and so it offers no improvements to HD acceleration compared to previous generation cards).

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    The new 8800 GT now adds the VP2 processing engine which gives full H.264 decoding just like on the 8600 series, and this card is our pick right now for the best overall video and 3D performance, at an excellent price too.

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    The 8800 GTS 512 MB version is more appealing if 3D gaming is important for you. Reviews have concluded that this new refresh of the original 8800 GTS has gaming performances that is comparable to the GTX (except at the highest resolutions), and it now features the same more advanced HD acceleration found in the 8800 GT. It's only a little bit more expensive than the 8800 GT.

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