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Video card upgrade question

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Hi guys,PMDG staff - I apologize I'm posting this here but there are so many well informed folks in this forum I thought I would get good information.. (btw I do own your fantastic 737NG ;-) )I currently have a P4 2.4 gig running @533mHz, 512 RAM, NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4200 64 meg video.There seem to be alot of ATI fans here. Would any of their cards in the $200 range bring me an appreciable image quality and performance improvement over my GForce card? I see the 9800 pro 128 meg card is $200. Am I better off waiting for the price on the 9800 pro 256 meg card to come down? How much of a factor is the video RAM on performance or quality?Thanks for any information.

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I have a 128MB version. Runs fine :)You will notice a marked improvement going from the Ti4200 to the 9800 Pro.. I did! :-hah

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Go for the 9800 Pro just upgrade my G4TI4200 128 mb to a Sapphire 9800 Pro 128 MB... for 199 eurie...For me a huge improvement in frames regarding clouds and other stuff almost no frame drops in heavy clouds environments....So gained a few frames but in clouds it's a huge difference also AA and AF settings...For me the best investment in a long time hmm... almost the PMDG comes first lol...Succes with your choice and have fun... Andr

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It's really not an ATI vs nVidia thing. It's an FS9 thing ...ATI does things differently with textures then nVidia. It just so happens that when it comes to things like Clouds, the ATI way is MUCH better then the nVidia way in this particular version of MSFS.Now, to be truthful, ATI's way is cheating, making the nVidia cards look bad when they are actually doing a lot more processing, but in our world of FS9, who really cares? All we care about is FS9 speed.When FS10 comes out, we could have the situation completely reversed and suddenly all the ATI guys will be screaming and the nVidia guys will be laughing and saying "I told you ATI sucks!". :-lolIt's the world we live in. You buy for what you want now, and hope that the next version will not make you live to regret it.As far as waiting for the *extra* 128 meg version to come down in price, do not delude yourself. I very much doubt that even the 128 meg versions get fully utilized within FS9 because of the way it handles textures. If on the other hand we were talking Fly!2 where you could hand tune the texture slots available, the memory would be worth it's weight in gold.Ray

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Hmmm, going to have to disagree here. It depends on what you want from your system. If you're not too bothered about texture quality and are after out and out speed then the ATI would be the best choice. If, like me you're after quality of textures and maximum visual realism then Nvidia are the way to go. I have a GeForce FX5950 Ultra 256Mb DDR card and its set to always operate at 8x Anti-Aliasing and 4x Anisotrophic filtering regardless of the FS9 setting. The visuals are out of this world and it still gives me 25fps which is what I have FS9 locked to anyway. Horses for courses ladies and gentlemen!

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I'll agree here Ray but isn't a ATI vs. nVidia thing (I'm to old for that kind of debates) but just for me in the same price range the best personal choice...Regarding quality and performance a huge step forward regarding my old G4TI4200...Compared three cards in the same PC and this time it's the ATI one(FX5900 etc... and 9800 Pro) Choice was easy regarding quality and performance...Lucky me as an IT guy could with ease compare this stuff in new PC situations and software :-roll ...I don't care if it's nVidia or ATI or SIS or Matrox or the old one Diamond or etc... I care for quality and performance... As for the Next FS10 version (FS2006) maybe I'll need a new processor or a new system or etc... We will see when the time comes maybe then my oldest son has to trade the old Geforce with his daddy for an ATI for now I have fun in the beautiful sky of that FS thing :-lolJust have fun with whatever brand Card you own :-lolGoing ATI all the way hehehe just kidding... :-eekBelieve me that new 800/900 thing will be displayed beautiful in FS9 :-lolHave fun...Andr

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>Hmmm, going to have to disagree here. It depends on what you>want from your system. If you're not too bothered about>texture quality and are after out and out speed then the ATI>would be the best choice. >>If, like me you're after quality of textures and maximum>visual realism then Nvidia are the way to go. I have a>GeForce FX5950 Ultra 256Mb DDR card and its set to always>operate at 8x Anti-Aliasing and 4x Anisotrophic filtering>regardless of the FS9 setting. The visuals are out of this>world and it still gives me 25fps which is what I have FS9>locked to anyway. >>Horses for courses ladies and gentlemen!You would seem to have things a little bit backwards there with your Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering.Ray :-wavePs: If you want to point out any of these so called imperfections in my 1600x1200 6x AA 16x Aniso, feel free, I'll send you a nice uncompressed BMP file screen shot. Every video card ever built had driver issues causing problems with image quality at one version or another. I would rather debate your performance numbers ;) People always make claims about their card looking better then the other guys card ... perhaps we can compare them and let everyone make up their minds. Pick a spot and mail me your fs9.cfg & save file. Easier to show then debate these things.

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Sorry Ray,Due to my 15 inch TFT monitor, I can only go up to 1024x768.However, if you want to talk screenshots, just go over to the Simflight screenshots forum and you can see some of my pics there. As far as I'm concerned ATI are the cheap relations of Nvidia. Purely based on the video card and no other part of the system, I've always found Nvidia to be streets ahead.

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I used to agree with you 100%, I was probably one of the first people in Canada with a nVidia GeForce 3 card (at the shocking price of $728!!!). Since then, I have mellowed out a bit and basically stick both in my machine and crank them up to maximums.When I built my new machine which was aimed at FS9 from the ground up (P4 3.2GHz, 1 Gig of ram, 2x SATA Raid 0 Hard Drives), I had the chance to put BOTH a FX5950 and a 9800XT in the machine and crank the crap out of it. At the time, the 5950 was quite a bit cheaper then the 9800 so I could have saved a couple of hundred bucks.At 1856 x 1392 (which is the best I could smoke the monitor at in the store), with every single FS setting maximized including extending the terrain radius, and maximum AA & Aniso that could be set directly on the cards, I decided which looked better. I left the store with an ATI card. No bias, no prefs, it was a simple choice between the two cards. As I only build a machine from scratch every few years, I purely wanted the best that could be done and price was not an issue at all to me.The ATI would do about 9 fps (no frame rate limiter) under that load with the Microsoft Thunderstorm weather option. The nVidia simply died under the load. Now many versions of drivers have come and gone that have tweaked this and that with both cards, so I can't compare them as of these current drivers, but unless something major has changed in the method used, I would not expect the results to reverse themselves suddenly.I maintain I don't give a "rat's behind" as to who sticks their name on the front of the box anymore ... I just want it to work flawlessly for what I paid a mega-premium price for to have the bleeding edge card.The 9800 Pro 128 that the user was asking about is exactly the same as my 9800xt, just half the ram and a slower clock, so I know he'll be happy with it for a fraction of what I paid for mine. Had I walked out of the store with the 9850 instead, I'd be swinging that way in my posts, but it just could not handle weather, and FS9 is pretty boring without clouds in the sky.Now, obviously scaling back to a much lower resolution will make a huge change in performance. It's the old apples to apples game. Dropping down to 1024x768 takes the 7.39 MB screen shot and makes it just 2.25 MB. I would certainly hope that the top of nVidia's line can deal with things at that level. It is certainly a lot simpler to toss that level of data around ;) I'd almost say your card is grossly overpowered for your monitor and sitting there sleeping.Ray

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There is quite a difference in price of the Radeon 9800 Pro compared to the FX5950. IMO its not worth shelling out the extra $$ for it.There are plenty of happy Radeon users here :) Its sort of like Ford vs Holden (GMC), really comes down to personal preference because the difference in specs isn't that great.

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Thanks everybody for the replies! Wow, quite a NVidea vs ATI debate got started because of me... sorry if that bothered anyone ;-)Will the ATI increase my FPS as well as the quality? When I try to run the 737NG on my current setting with any kind of traffic the frames dip to the low teens. Will the 9800 Pro help that?Thanks again.

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Sure it will. I am not a Nvidia fan but like I said, I also use it for OpenGL and that

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Craig -Yes, it will. I noticed a marked increase in frames as well as image quality when I upgraded.

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Re Ford Vs Holden,I saw a great Bumper Sticker in surfers,Holdens were invented to keep Di!@#$%@s out of Fords!And I agree as well - I dont care what sticker it has on the front (side or back) as long as it performs. I have a Ti4400 and are looking to upgrade so this is a good thread for me.Scott

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In my case Graig it did and improved frame rates :-) and it will handle all the cloud stuff in FS9 with ease :-)Succes with your choice...Andr

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O Graig when you decide to go for the 9800 Pro I can share some links and interesting reading stuff regarding the memory and clock speeds...Because there are different versions with different memory and clock speeds... from the same manufactures and model ;-)Did my research and have the correct one :-)http://www.rage3d.com/board/showthread.php...lantis+9800+prohttp://www.rage3d.com/board/showthread.php...lantis+9800+proSucces...Andr

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Sure, but its common knowledge that a holden beats a ford every time ;-)

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Saying that the current Nvidia cards beat the current ATI cards in image quality simply is NOT true.Take a look:http://www.hardocp.com/article.html?art=NTgwLDQ=Scroll down to the bottom where they do an image quality comparison in FS9 between the 9800XT and the 5950U. Nvidia reduces the quality of their texture filtering to get higher FPS. Look at the difference in the distance blurring there. This exact thing has happened with every one of these card shootouts HardOCP has done too - the 9600XT vs. the 5700U etc...It is my firm belief that anyone who says that the current generation of ATI cards (9600, 9700, 9800) aren't good cards is saying so because of past experience with bad ATI cards/drivers, (early Radeons like the 7500 or 8500 or older cards like the Rage series, and drivers that were pre-Catalyst) and not from actual experience with the new cards. The 9800 Pro is hands down the best video card I've ever owned and I've had everything from the 3dfx Voodoo Graphics onward.I work part time at a computer parts store here in town and I've seen a $200 5700 Ultra get absolutely taken to its knees and destroyed by the 9800 Pro in new games like Far Cry or Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow. There really is no contest in my opinion.

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"ATI does things differently with textures then nVidia. It just so happens that when it comes to things like Clouds, the ATI way is MUCH better then the nVidia way in this particular version of MSFS.Now, to be truthful, ATI's way is cheating, making the nVidia cards look bad when they are actually doing a lot more processing, but in our world of FS9, who really cares? All we care about is FS9 speed."What are you talking about here? If you're talking the way Nvidia's cards attempt to antialias the clouds then no, that's Nvidia's problem - it shouldn't be trying to antialias sprites that don't even have sharp edges to begin with! ATI is not "cheating," the Nvidia cards are needlessly trying to antialias things that don't need antialiasing. If this was only an MSFS issue, then why does the GFFX constistently get bested by the 9800 in almost every benchmark?

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