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If you had the choice...ATI v. NVidia

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ThePikesI need some input/opinions/feedback/uninformed hunches on a video card. Tonight I am going to be buying a Dell Inspiron 8600 notebook with the Pentium 1.7 Centrino processor, 512 RAM, 80 G HD, etc. and I have somewhat of a choice between a 32MG ATI 9000 card, 64 MG NVidia 4200 card and a 128 MG NVidia 6500 card. I have seen passionate stories about the pros and cons of the ATI vs. the NVidia with FS9. With the system I'm buying, should I go with the biggest memory for eye-candy effect or should I go with ATI that many say accepts FS9 better? I'll hang up and listen... Larry

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Larry,You will probably get much more meaningful replies than mine but I couldn't resist commenting on the purchase. Are you getting this sytem to play FS9 ? A notebook is less than optimum platform to play a demanding software like FS9 and it will probably show first in the quality of the image on your monitor (eye-candy factor). Pentium 1.7 is by now a fairly dated CPU too.I use laptops at work, some fairly high-end and I would be a sorry simmer if I had to play FS9 on them.Michael J.http://www.reality-xp.com/community/nr/rsc/rxp-higher.jpg

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Well, if those are what you have to choose from, I would go with the Nvidia 4200 card. If the model of the ATI card was higher than a 9000 32MB then I would recommendgoing with ATI... but if those are your choices.Jim

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I'm sorry, but I have to tend to agree with Michael's assement of the situation/system.Jim

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>Larry,>>You will probably get much more meaningful replies than mine>but I couldn't resist commenting on the purchase. Are you>getting this sytem to play FS9 ? A notebook is less than>optimum platform to play a demanding software like FS9 and it>will probably show first in the quality of the image on your>monitor (eye-candy factor). Pentium 1.7 is by now a fairly>dated CPU too.>>I use laptops at work, some fairly high-end and I would be a>sorry simmer if I had to play FS9 on them.>Michael,Actually, I've been running FS2K2 on a Dell Inspiron 8100 for two years now (P4 1.0, 512 RAM, 32 M NVidia) with great results. I travel a lot for business (navy training/simulation), so I actually get much more dream time flying with my laptop than if I had to be tied down to my big Dell desktop at home (which I can never use because of my four kids). So a laptop works very well, especially if it means I actually get to use it (cause the kids don't mess with Dad's laptop!). The Centrino processor is very new and compares to a P4 2.7 system, only it takes less battery power and requires a lot less cooling. Thanks for the words. BlueGhost

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Oh! Well, that sounds good. :) I still stand by my recommendation for choice of video card if those are all you can select from. The 9000 is pretty old, no chance a of a newer ATI model for it than that?Jim

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Those are the only choices that Dell gives me for this system. I'm inclined toward the 128 MG NVidia since my older one did so well. Yet I see what folks are saying and it makes me pause to think. That's a lot of money to spend on a flying...er, work computer. :)BlueGhost

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Given those choices, I'd opt for the 4200. BTW, whomever told you the Centrino 1.7 was the equivalent of a 2.7 didn't know what they were talking about. It's the equivalent of a 1.7 . You can bet that FS9 doesn't care what the marketing guys say when it comes to available CPU cycles :-) .Doug

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If I were you I would get the Inspiron 8500 instead of the 8600. You would get a much faster processor for about the same amount of money.Rob

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My choice the 4200.Nvidia anytime for me- I believe NVidia supporters may possibly be in the minority these days but I've had several NVidia cards of various types and they've always done well-by comparison the only ATI card I ever had was endless trouble.Not conclusive I know ,but just my opinion.Dave

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> Given those choices, I'd opt for the 4200. BTW, whomever>told you the Centrino 1.7 was the equivalent of a 2.7 didn't>know what they were talking about. It's the equivalent of a>1.7 . You can bet that FS9 doesn't care what the marketing>guys say when it comes to available CPU cycles :-) .>>DougDoug,Thanks for the words. Your comments made me go to several sites to check out the claims of the Intel Centrino. The first thing I realized is that I pretty much have to take their word for it since I am not a geek. having said that, the tests they ran (which for laptops puts application performance/speed up against power (battery) useage, rated the Centrino 1.6G higher than the P4 2.6G and P3M 1.2G when it came to its ability to accomplish complex tasks faster in Powerpoint, Flash, Photoshop, Excel, etc. (you get the idea). Anyway, it would appear that this processor represents the first real attempt at a mobile processor from the ground up (rather than adapting desktop technology for the smaller box). There. I've already told you more than I know. Anyway, my experience from 15 years of simming is that it comes down to "Do you feel like you are flying?" Will I get the Centrino? I'll check out the 8500 with the std P4 and see how they compare. Thanks for the time and words. BlueGhost

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>My choice the 4200.Nvidia anytime for me- I believe NVidia>supporters may possibly be in the minority these days but>I've had several NVidia cards of various types and they've>always done well-by comparison the only ATI card I ever had>was endless trouble.Not conclusive I know ,but just my>opinion.>>DaveDave,I know what you mean. When I was shopping for my Dell 8100 2 years ago, the ATI folks were awash with strange blue lines across their screens (as I recall), so I backed off quick and went with the NVidia. Yet FS9 seems to be a new game as I listen to the forums. Now ATI folks are happy as clams and the NVidia folks tend to be a little more concerned. My concern is that, with a laptop, I can't just run out and change the card. I live with what I get. Makes you think before putting serious $$ on the table.BlueGhost

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>Photoshop, Excel, etc. (you get the idea). Anyway, it would>appear that this processor represents the first real attempt>at a mobile processor from the ground up (rather than adapting>desktop technology for the smaller box). It sounds a bit bizarre.Beacuse if this was true it would mean they developed some new architecture that makes up for lost CPU cycles. Then they could apply this new architecture to desktop and blow competition out of the water (icluding its own upcoming Prescot). I am far from expert but it just sounds too good to be true. There must be a very fine print somewhere ...Michael J.

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I think I have the NVidia 4200 in my Dell Inspiron, not 100% sure. I'm quite pleased with it. While I would go with an ATI for a desktop system, the memory advantage was the deciding bonus in favour of the Nvidia card. AFAIK, the NVidia 6500 card also supports DirectX9 / OpenGL 2.0 features (pixel shaders is the bonus here), while the NVidia 4200 and ATI 9000 don't (double-check, I'm not 100% sure). Not that FS9 is using any of this, but the next generation of games will. Plus, the 128MB should help performance along, since FS9 is very texture memory hungry with all the ground textures.On a side note, if you can afford it, get the widescreen version. It's quite a bit heavier, but really a blast visually.The statement that a laptop is worse than a desktop system is rubbish. My laptop outperforms my desktop by a bit although performance isn't that different (2.0Ghz vs 2.4Ghz). Laptops really have come a long way and I'm really impressed with my Dell Inspiron.Cheers, Christian

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