Video Cards from 1999-2003 and Choices for 1Q04

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Video at Digit-Life.com. A good overall review site. Every month, they test various video cards from top to bottom. Good to get a perspective. They just did a 4 year test from 1999-2003. Amazing the progress that’s been made. Good to check every month. “Overview”:http://www.digit-life.com/articles2/over2003/index.html of the last four years of video development. To sum it up, let’s just take Unreal Tournament 2003. Here are some sample frame rates. Amazing how a Riva TNT2 Ultra, the fast card 4 years ago is 20x slower than the fastest card today! Also looking at the street prices, its pretty clear why ATI is outselling nVidia right now.
Here are my recommendations for buying cards right now:
* As usual, if you can wait, in March or so, both nVidia will launch their new NV40 (NV35 is the current GeForce 5900/5700) and ATI will launch their new R420 (R360 is the current 9800/9600XT family). In 2H04, you’ll see new cards taking advantage of the upcoming PCI Express bus, so that’s the big change.
* High end cards. The Radeon 9800 Pro looks like a very nice price performance at $272, nearly $150 less than the 9800XT and 1% lower performance. 122fps
* Midrange cards, The big winner is the nVidia GeForce FX 5900 SE. This card is $185 does 111.7fps so is 10% slower at $100 less than the Radeon 9800 Pro.
* Budget cards. Radeon 9600 Pro at $145, you get about 2/3 the performance of the fastest cards. 87 fps, but I think the best price performance is in the mid range
| Board | fps | Specifications (engine width, clock/memory clock) | Pricegrabber 1/11/04 |
| Radeon 9800XT 256MB | 124.4 | DDR 256 bit, 412/730MHz | $435 |
| Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB | 122.4 | DDR 256 bit, 380/580MHz | $272 |
| GeForce FX 5900 Ultra 256MB | 118.5 | DDR 256 bit, 450/850MHz | $364 |
| GeForce FX 5900 128MB | 116.4 | DDR 256 bit, 400/850MHz | $215 |
| Radeon 9800 128MB | 115.7 | DDR 256 bit, 325/590MHz | $298 |
| GeForce FX 5900 SE 128MB | 111.7 | DDR 256bit, 400/700MHz | $185 |
| GeForce FX 5700 Ultra 128MB | 100.4 | DDR2 128bit, 475/900MHz | $184 |
| Radeon 9600XT 128MB | 94.1 | DDR, 128bit, 500/600MHz | $185 |
| Radeon 9600 Pro 128MB | 86.6 | DDR, 128bit, 400/600MHz | $150 |
| Radeon 9800 SE 128MB | 84.5 | DDR, 256bit, 380/680MHz | $176 |
| GeForce FX 5700 128MB | 72.2 | DDR, 128bit, 400/800MHz | $166 |
| Radeon 9800 SE 128MB | 67.6 | DDR, 128bit, 325/540MHz | $167 |
| Radeon 9600 128MB | 68.5 | DDR, 128bit, 325/400Mhz | $118 |
| Radeon 9600SE 128MB | 36.5 | DDR, 64bit, 325/400MHz | $99 |
| Radeon 9200 64MB | 30.0 | DDR, 64 bit, 250/400Mhz | $59 |
| GeForce MX 400 32MB | 16.1 | SDR, 128bit, 200/166MHz | $33 |
| Riva TNT2 Ultra 32MB | 8.1 | SDR, 128bit, 150/183MHz | $18 |
| Rage 128 Pro 32MB | 1.8 | SR, 128bit, 118/143Mhz | N/A |

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