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Skipping town on NVIDIA

MyrmidonMyrmidon Baron von PuttenhamCalifornia Icrontian
edited Oct 2009 in PC Building
I've been using strictly NVIDIA products for my whole life (admittedly, only the last ten years of which were actually spent building PCs). I have never used an ATI card, and have watched my friends have substantial trouble with them.

However, I've been looking at some of the more recent tech updates, and I'm starting to feel like NVIDIA has been acting really childish and uncooperative lately - really late-90s-microsoft-ish. Now, I know the Icrontic community has been paying attention to the graphics giant a lot more than I have, and for a lot longer. Have they always been like this? Does ATI do the same sort of crap? Or am I just barking at ghosts here? I've been known to form half-assed opinions, so help me out a little here.

I'm considering boycotting NVIDIA from now on and trying out ATI instead - supporting companies that act rudely really leaves a bad taste in my mouth - but I'd like to know if I'M being fair about it or not.

Weigh in?

Comments

  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Austin, TX Icrontian
    edited Oct 2009
    Past: ATI drivers were crappy, and they manipulated their drivers to rig benchmarks. ATI cards offered superior image quality, but lower speeds. NVIDIA was fairly benign.

    Present: ATI drivers are fine, while NVIDIA's have been a bit buggy. NVIDIA is dicking with the market in terms of physics, but it's about to be a non-issue (DX11). Both cards offer equivalent IQ, but NVIDIA's R&D fucked up and their product is at least 6 months late.

    Historically speaking, it's a dead heat. My ultimate opinion on the issue is that since the advent of the Radeon 8500 vs. GeForce ti500 days, it would behoove you to check benchmarks and buy the card which is fastest in the applications you want.

    Sometimes that has been NVIDIA, sometimes that has been ATI. Physics is fucking dumb, and nobody uses it well, so I've stopped caring about it until everyone is on the same page.

    If you're into computational simulation, NVIDIA might be a better bet come January.
  • primesuspectprimesuspect HumanGarbageDisposal Detroit, MI Icrontian
    edited Oct 2009
    They go back and forth. ATI was king of the hill in the old Radeon 9800 days, then NVIDIA, then ATI, then NVIDIA, now it's back to ATI. Soon it will be NVIDIA.

    Forget politics. Just pick the fastest card you can afford right now. I've had both over the years, and both have served me just fine.
  • lordbeanlordbean Ontario, Canada
    edited Oct 2009
    Gotta agree with Primesuspect. Both companies have their ups and downs, but they keep churning out stable, usable products as a result of the competition. I've never had any major problems with a graphics card from either company (save for a failed attempt to buy a sapphire HD4850x2 - the card was DOA).
  • primesuspectprimesuspect HumanGarbageDisposal Detroit, MI Icrontian
    edited Oct 2009
    My favorite cards ever (that I've personally owned):

    Sapphire Radeon 9800pro 256 (most expensive card I ever bought)
    Geforce 6600
    Radeon 3850XT

    At the time, each of them served me admirably
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Austin, TX Icrontian
    edited Oct 2009
    My favorite video cards:
    VooDoo II 12MB SLI
    GeForce 2 GTS
    Radeon 9700 Pro
    GeForce 8800 GTS

    The rest of the cards have been minor upgrades or emergency purchase, but those four were the times when I said to myself: "Wow, this was worth every damn penny."

    There have been many interim cards I have said no such thing to.
  • l3it3rl3it3r Fairfax County
    edited Oct 2009
    I've owned both Nvidia and ATI (as well as many other companies video cards back in the 90s) and I've always found myself more impressed with the ATI 'new tech' vs the Nvidia 'new tech'. Each company puts out 'catch up' tech after the bigger release of the year, but when ATI does something new, latest card as an example, they do it big. But in the end, no matter what company you go with with, it really just depends on how badly you really need *that* card.. do you plan on playing Crysis at anything above 35fps at full graphics? Go with the new ATI.. Do you browse the internet with an occasional game of TF2? get one of the $100 cards that'll do you.
  • SnarkasmSnarkasm 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands Icrontian
    edited Oct 2009
    l3it3r said:
    get one of the $100 cards that'll do you.
    You found a card for $100 that'll do you at the same time? Holy crap, man, you're sitting on a gold mine!
  • l3it3rl3it3r Fairfax County
    edited Oct 2009
    Shit... I thought everyone knew about that one!!

    MVC Gift card.
  • UPSLynxUPSLynx The Dean of Computer Graphics Redwood City, CA Icrontian
    edited Oct 2009
    What everyone else said. There isn't really a gold standard for 'bestest card maker evar'. ATI is getting it done right now, that's for certain. I'm holding out until NVIDIA release their next volley though. Things should get bloody.

    Certainly get the fastest card you can, no matter who the manufacturer is. If you're wanting to upgrade real soon, I recommend waiting for NVIDIA to drop the goods first so we know who wins this round.

    And since it was mentioned, my top GPUs of my PC gaming lifetime:

    ATI 9700 Pro (this thing was SWEET when it came out)
    NVIDIA 8800 GTX (Current GPU, love it to death)
  • edited Oct 2009
    primesuspect said:


    Sapphire Radeon 9800pro 256

    Thrax said:


    Radeon 9800 Pro

    THIS. I loved that card; served me well for four years. But after flashing it up toa 9800XT and overclocking it, it kind of burned up...

    I'm also a big proponent of going with the best card for the money at the time of purchase regardless of brand.
  • l3it3rl3it3r Fairfax County
    edited Oct 2009
    I still use my 9800 actually.. I haven't turned on my desktop in about 2 or 3 months, but still
  • ardichokeardichoke Buttes Master B Lansing, MI Icrontian
    edited Oct 2009
    I love how basically no one is addressing the core of what Myrm was ranting about. That being that Nvidia is being very dickish with their PR and whatnot. I agree with you Myrmidon, I've owned nothing but Nvidia cards since starting to build PCs but their shens of late have made me decide to throw in the towel on them unless they shape up. Release less buggy drivers, stop doing things like sending out loaded questions that journalists "should" be asking about their competitors products and stop trying to keep everyone else out of the physics acceleration. If they get back to just releasing good products without all the shens (and tighten their drivers back up) then I'll consider coming back.
  • lordbeanlordbean Ontario, Canada
    edited Oct 2009
    ardichoke said:
    I love how basically no one is addressing the core of what Myrm was ranting about. That being that Nvidia is being very dickish with their PR and whatnot. I agree with you Myrmidon, I've owned nothing but Nvidia cards since starting to build PCs but their shens of late have made me decide to throw in the towel on them unless they shape up. Release less buggy drivers, stop doing things like sending out loaded questions that journalists "should" be asking about their competitors products and stop trying to keep everyone else out of the physics acceleration. If they get back to just releasing good products without all the shens (and tighten their drivers back up) then I'll consider coming back.
    From this perspective, these are fairly good points. AMD is trying to push open source standards, nvidia is trying to keep them as proprietary as possible. It's pretty clear which company is currently looking at the big picture, and which one is only looking in the mirror.
  • LeonardoLeonardo Eagle River, Alaska Icrontian
    edited Oct 2009
    Although I'm using Nvidia cards exclusively now, reason being Folding@Home production, Nvidia really irks me as of the last year or so. Prime example is the deliberate confusing name scheme, designed to obfuscate the general lack of technical progress. Witness: 8800 - 9800 - 250/260 -- essentially the same cards with only minor changes. It's amazing that more consumers haven't caught on. But then, that's what Nvidia marketing types were betting. Their bet was pretty accurate.
  • MyrmidonMyrmidon Baron von Puttenham California Icrontian
    edited Oct 2009
    <3 ardichoke!

    I was getting the feeling I was the only person who cared about useless things like company politics.

    And yeah, I CAN'T STAND their new freaking naming scheme. But where do you go after you run out of numbers, right?

    Was ATI ever a massive D-bag? And I'm not talking about the quality of their merchandise (there's really good information about that in the posts above), I'm talking about them acting uncooperative and unfriendly toward journalists, gamers, other companies, whatever. Thrax mentioned they used to manipulate drivers to mess with benchmarks, but anything else?
  • edited Oct 2009
    DirectX and D3D are proprietary standards of MS. Both ATI and Nvidia bank on these proprietary standards to make profit. There are two main "open" standards that I know concerning GPUs which are OpenGL and OpenCL originally developed by SGI and Apple respectively. And neither AMD nor Nvidia has any significant contributions in either of them other than being the members of Khronos group. PhysX is a proprietary library of Nvidia, just like Havok to AMD. The difference is that Nvidia did a much better job with PhysX development using its CUDA platform. Nvidia even gave CUDA OpenCL interface for standards compliance. I do not see the same level of development effort of AMD with FireStream. All this standards talk from both sides is just PR drama to me.

    Leo, you are right about 8800, 9800, GTS250 relabeling. But GTX260 is not a relabeled card; it is really newer generation. Not that such a typo is important but to feel better since I have a GTX260 :)
  • SnarkasmSnarkasm 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands Icrontian
    edited Oct 2009
    Havok was not developed by AMD, nor does it own it. Havok is owned and maintained by Intel.

    I honestly just don't give two shits about either company. I want to know what will let me game the best at the time of purchase. If they're close in performance, I go NVIDIA for CUDA and Folding reasons, and previously because NV's Linux support was superior. The only time a company will lose my business is for nerdy reasons like throttling my network connection or using DRM on my files.

    Who cares what they say? Unless they're making GT300s by killing babies (and they're telling that to me), their hardware isn't affected by their words. Bickering between companies just isn't interesting to me.
  • edited Oct 2009
    Thanks for correction. I always thought Havok was AMD's.
  • ardichokeardichoke Buttes Master B Lansing, MI Icrontian
    edited Oct 2009
    mirage said:
    DirectX and D3D are proprietary standards of MS. Both ATI and Nvidia bank on these proprietary standards to make profit.
    Right, but the point is while DirectX and D3D are proprietary, they don't restrict what cards can use them. Anyone can implement games, hardware, etc. that uses the standard. Would I prefer it was open source? Sure, but Microsoft needs to make money so I'll settle for being a closed source but open standard. Meanwhile, NVidia makes this PhysX engine, makes it so only they can implement hardware to take advantage of PhysX then makes it so you can't use PhysX if you have a non-Nvidia card in your system even if you also have an Nvidia card in there. That would be like Microsoft making DirectX or D3D stop working if you have Linux installed on a second partition.
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Austin, TX Icrontian
    edited Oct 2009
  • edited Oct 2009
    Good point, Ardichoke. But there is one difference between Nvidia and Microsoft. One is a hardware company, the other is software. While MS wants to have their software running in every compatible PC, Nvidia and ATI need to give their own parts a distinction to sell; PhysX is that distinction for Nvidia. You are right that from consumer and developer point of view a single standard is better. Both OpenGL and OpenCL became open standards after being developed as proprietary libraries by a single company. Following this model, I think there is a chance that Nvidia could make PhysX an open library when they see that PhysX might become irrelevant by waiting too long to open up. Then, there is Havok with another hardware company. IMO, one of them will be the open standard before ATI's suggestion will be developed. And, there is another (and undesirable for me) probability that, MS could extend DX to include hardware accelerated Physics library before someone opens up their library.
  • SnarkasmSnarkasm 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands Icrontian
    edited Oct 2009
    Isn't that what DX11 is doing? It's providing a single set of APIs to handle physics calculations.
  • Cliff_ForsterCliff_Forster Baltimore, MD Icrontian
    edited Oct 2009
    This is all headed to a much larger discussion.

    Is it too late for Open GL to get back into the game?
  • edited Oct 2009
    Snarkasm said:
    Isn't that what DX11 is doing? It's providing a single set of APIs to handle physics calculations.
    Seems to me that DX11's new compute shader technology is an answer to OpenCL, at least in the gaming field. There needs to be a higher level library that will actually do the physics calculations, like Cry Engine on top of D3D.
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Austin, TX Icrontian
    edited Oct 2009
    mirage said:
    Seems to me that DX11's new compute shader technology is an answer to OpenCL, at least in the gaming field. There needs to be a higher level library that will actually do the physics calculations, like Cry Engine on top of D3D.
    With OpenCL and DirectCompute, it doesn't matter what library actually does the calculation, because the result is the same: Any DX10+ GPU will run it.

    It's just like graphics: Thousands of game engines use DirectX. Some of them are better than others, but every video card can run all of them. Now it's the same for physics: There will soon be dozens of physics implementations. Some will be better than others, but every video card can run them.
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