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GForce FX impression from tomshardware.com

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Simmers, In about 2 months I plan on building a new "Game Machine" and giving my old computer (1.2 Athlon) to my kids. I'm not as concerned about the amount I will spend (since my bonus from work will more than cover it) as I am the performance. Every time I've built a new system it was because my use of MS Flight Simulator required it. I'm looking at either the XP 2800+ or the P4 3.06. My biggest concern comes from my graphics card choice. I like what I've read so far about the ATI 9700 Pro and everyone I've spoken to who has it raves about it. My other concern was the amount of noise the new system will produce. My current Athlon is already noiser that I would like my computer to be. Most of the new systems I've seen with powerful processors seem to have fans galore in them and I'm assuming they sound like a 747 taking off. I just read a review on Tomshardware.com about the new Gforce FX. Although the card sounds interesting I'm very concerned about the noise that the cooler produces. Tom's Hardware described it as "vacuum cleaner" sound that could be heard in the next room. My general impression is that the slightly slower speed of the 9700 would be fine with me if the noise level was acceptable. My general impression of what I read about the GForce FX was that it was an impressive performer if you could stand the noise level. For you who own the ATI 9700 Pro do you feel that the noise level is acceptable. Also, does anyone know if someone build a computer chassis that has some sound insulation in it? Or, would the insulation retain to much heat within the case? I'm just concerned that my new computer might sound like a jet taking off, but then again, it is for Flight Simulator and that is the effect I'm looking for anyway! :-) Your impressions on the article on tomhardware about the new GForce would be appreciated.Thanks,Kerry

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""My general impression is that the slightly slower speed of the 9700 would be fine with me if the noise level was acceptable"" Where did you get that impression? You need to read some more reviews. Especially when 4xAA & 8xAF are needed for a decent IQ. http://www.extremetech.com/print_article/0...,a=36238,00.asp Pay particular attention to the last chart comparing Comanche4 Nascar2002 and IL2 with some quality turned on.Also check out the www.hardocp.com and www.anandtech.com .

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I'm pretty disappointed with the GFX's performance in these reviews. This card is going to cost 400 bucks, and it's not performing much better than the 9700 card. The 9700's MSRP will be going down to 250 bucks soon. It'll be a great value compared to this noisy, hot monstrosity. Then there are those who say that the GFX is just suffering from early drivers here. But how long until the full potential of the GFX is made available? Months? By then both companies will be releasing their next products, and wanting another 400 bucks or even more.From what I've read in this review and a couple of others, a 9700 pro is a fine purchase and you won't miss much skipping over the GFX (NV30). You'll miss a few MHz here and there, but as most of us know with AMD vs. Intel CPU's, megahertz isn't everything. I'm skipping over the NV30 series and I'll wait to see the next family of ATi and Nvidia GPU's to come out (R350 and NV35 respectively). In the ATi 9700 pro you have a fully DX9 compatible card, great efficiency, and in the Catalyst 3.0 good drivers. You won't have a PCI slot gobbled up by it, and you won't need earplugs.You can even buy a Radeon 9500 and use software to hack it into a 9700 pro, spend less than 200 bucks instead of 250. Am I going to spend 200 bucks more just to have CG quality textures capability(GFX hot feature), which won't even be utilized by any software for months? No.I've used NVidia for along time now, but I'm sorely disappointed. As far as your question with system noise, it's a necessary evil if you want a powerful system. If you're going to use air cooling, you're just going to have to suck it up and use lots of fans to keep the air circulating, or look to another type of cooling solution. The 9700 Pro is comparable to the GF4 Ti series in the noise it's fan makes (negligible in my case compared to the noise the HSF and system fans make). -AV

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The fan on the Geforce FX apparently runs at 2 speeds, running faster when the card is under load. At the higher speed, it was measured at 58dB - twice the noise level when it was running at "normal" speed.As you point out, it will certainly be noticable!!But as mgdbottled points out, the performance figures for the FX, compared to the 9700 are not good. With AA and AF turned on at higher rez, the 9700 is coming out on top.Dont forget that ATI are also hinting that the R350 has taped out and will be ready for production soon, so it may be best to wait just a little longer if you can to take advantage of the price war which may ensue!

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Hi Kerry,I wouldn't give it much of your serious attention. By the time two months rolls around, you won't be comparing the 9700 Pro and GF-FX anyway... You'll be comparing the R350 from ATI (improved version of the 9700) and most likely the NV35 (GF-FX's big brother). The GF-FX is pretty much dead on arrival if you ask me since it is near equivalent to the 9700 Pro which has been on the market now for close to six months - that means the 9700 Pro will remain near $100 cheaper than the GF-FX at the counter. Their list prices are the same, but that means nothing when the cash register sings. I have no doubt the life of this chip will be extremely short, replaced with the NV35 in no time.For once (in so! many years), ATI's drivers are much more optimized than NVidia's. Its stated in all these reviews that ATI has had a much longer time to optimize their drivers, but thats a smokescreen. Final design of NV30 has been set in stone for almost a year now - with full software emulation available for the last six months (and for the driver team, much, much longer of course). NVidia's driver guru's haven't been sitting and twiddling their fingers while the hardware slipped a full cycle, I promise you that. Indeed, NV30 simply looks like the part it was supposed to be - six months ago. I have no doubt they're release better and better drivers for the GF-FX as time progresses (they *are* NVidia after all), but I wouldn't count on a stunning reversal in benchmarks.As for the sound: good lord. 77dB at two feet (albeit, with case open)? Thats ridiculous. And this is their .13 part! They should have given up on air cooling from the start with this part and turned to water.Finally, if you're looking for a quite machine but don't want to make the jump to water cooling, look no further than . A non-GF FX with a [link:www.endpcnoise.com/cgi-bin/e/videoheatpipe.html|Zalman heatpipe (ZM80A-HP)] makes the video card perfectly silent (works great on the current 9700 Pros). Add to that a [link:www.endpcnoise.com/cgi-bin/e/nexus.html?id=jmQkW2nt|Nexus Real Silent power supply at 300 watts] along with two or three [link:www.endpcnoise.com/cgi-bin/e/ZM-F1.html]Zalman quiet case fans and you'll be in peaceful heaven. You could also opt for a Zalman flower cooler for the CPU, but its not really necessary as long as you didn't purchase a performance aftermarket CPU fan. I've built more than a few of these designs for livingroom media PC's (including my own) and today you really can build a top notch performer at a whisper quiet sound level. If, that is, you don't overclock (or do very little).I'd forget about insulating your box as that requires some specific design thinking to keep your pc stable (its too easy for an average user to build a heater box by mistake :-)). Of course, if you are an enthusiast, by all means go nuts. With a collection of quiet aftermarket addons however, there isn't much need for insulation.Take care,Elrond

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I've heard the ATI R350 will hit the shelves on or about March 9th. That would fit the usual time frame between the announcement and available for ATI. Best to wait for the reviews on that one as it's a refresh of the R300 so drivers should be good to go. I also read in one of the many threads that the FX was having trouble with the 8xAGP motherboards. Where have I heard that before???

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Hi Kerry,Welcome!!My perspective is that it's a matter of timing in your case. You plan on building a new computer at about the same time that the GFX comes out. Which means that you may very well encounter the problems that a new piece of hardware usually brings with it. nVidia driver support is really very good, so any problems will certainly be resolved quickly.I would recommend the ATI card. It's been out for several months, and has pretty much gone through its teething process. As has been stated, it will be a very good card for some time to come.With regard to noise... I recently started using 80mm fans on the CPU heatsinks of both computers at home. Most 60mm fans must turn at too high an RPM to move adequate air over the heatsink. The 80mm fans I'm now using move the same amount of air as the 60mm's I was using (35.5CFM), but they do it at 2700 RPM versus the 7000 RPM of the smaller fans. This has made a HUGE difference. Both boxes are very quiet.And I believe the choice of case is important, too. I recommend a high end aluminum (one of mine is a Lian-Li, the other a Coolermaster ATC). These top quality cases are designed to move air better than the standard case. CompUSA sells a foam pad package that can be fitted to most case inside surfaces to help dampen noise further. Costs about $20.00. I've not used it... both our boxes are quiet enough for us.Don't forget a high quality PSU. Whether you choose the Radeon or GFX card, both will require alot of good, clean power. I'd recommend a minimum of 400 Watts. More if you can afford it.Finally, if this build is indeed a couple months away I would recommend taking a close look at AMD's new Barton CPU. The next generation from AMD...Hope this helps,

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I just read the entire FX review at Tom's.Without a doubt...I'm going to upgrade when I do to a Radeon 9700 PRO (the latest and greatest they have at the time) model. The All-In-Wonder card is looking REAL GOOD, right now! *** REAL GOOD *** Who the H*LL needs a suck-o-lux on the back of the computer box...as well as the loss of a PCI port? Not me. Maybe another reader..but not me. I'm out.......Oh yeah.....oh yeah.....Mitch R.

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Im not happy with the results of the new fx card, nvidia gave it way to much hype. If your runing either a 9700, 9500, or a geforce 4, i dont think you will wana spend that much to upgrade.Id see what happens with the price of the radeon 9700 when the GF4 comes out, might be worth saving some money and going for the radeon.About the noise in your future machine. I have seen people put this stuff called dynamat into their computers, its a sound deadaning material(sorda heavy like lead). You could also just watercool both the cpu and the graphics card.

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As a laugh and for reference when thinking about the noise level of the GF-FX, here's a list of different sound pressure levels:28 dBA - A quiet room37 dBA - A noisy hard drive40 dBA - A quiet office60 dBA - An air conditioner, normal speech70 dBA - Noisy restaurant, freeway traffic, noisy office80 dBA - Level hearing protection is recommended85 dBA - Lawn mower on grass90 dBA - Heavy truck in traffic110 dBA - Rock concert120 dBA - Auto horn at 3 ft, maximal vocal effort (opera singer)130 dBA - A thunderclap140 dBA - Jet air ops on a US Navy carrier deckSo, think of the GF-FX in an open case sitting on your desk two feet away as freeway traffic - and close to the level hearing protection is recommended. I'm *sure* final boards will be better than these review units, but it can't get drastically lower... The heat this (.13!) chip generates is bizarre. Just think about the *other side of the board* where there *is* no fan... And it radiates its heat right at your CPU!Good heavens.Elrond

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Thanks for mentioning that dynamat stuff Slim, you reminded me of some sound deadening foam that my local computer store sells. They cut it in shapes that will fit your chase, and with a little double sided tape you can sound proof your case like a studio room. Definitely need to pick some up this weekend.-AVCheckout my MD-11 at http://www.thescorned.homestead.com/md11.html

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So, what you're saying is I should be able to just turn the sound off when flying jets??? What to do when the wife yells to turn the sound down after I've already turned it off???

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Absolutely. :-)Or even better, you'll just have to train your wife to wear her ear-plugs whenever you want to surf the net or take a flight.Yeah... That'll work. :-lolElrond

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