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Old 01-16-2008, 12:50 PM   #1
hgnoel1980
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8500 vs 8500LE


I'm looking to replace the elderly nVidia card in my PC - I'm not looking for a brand new card as I don't play many 3D heavy games and no reecent ones.

I've decided on a Radeon 8500 based card as it appears to be well supported under linux.

I've located a ATI Radeon 8500 64MB card and a Hercules 3D Prophet Radeon 8500LE 128MB card.

Am I better getting the higher clocked 64MB card or the lower clocked 128MB card to get the best 3D performance in games like Morrowind?

Thanks for your help.

Harry
 
Old 01-17-2008, 06:09 AM   #2
Simon Bridge
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The two cards should not give noticeably different performance... if you have a lot of fast RAM, go for the high clock card, otherwise go for the cheapest one.
 
Old 01-17-2008, 06:11 AM   #3
Mega Man X
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I'd highly recommend you to stay away from ATI cards. They are pretty much worthless when it comes down to gaming in Linux with them. I've an old ATI card in a Linux box, a X800 and it pretty much sucked. None of the games that I could manage to run in Wine with Nvidia worked. The few that did, gave me a lot of headaches too.

The ATI "support" for Linux is really not what you think it will be. Go with Nvidia everyday of the week . And yes, you should get a faster card, ratter than one with more memory. Go with Nvidia 7300LE or better yet, 7600 and you will have a good card for the money...
 
Old 01-18-2008, 12:41 PM   #4
hgnoel1980
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The 8500/8500LE is old and based on the ATI R200 chipset - it's supported in 2D & 3D by open source drivers from xorg.

Mega Man - your X800 is alot newer than the card I'm looking at and is not yet fully supported - only by the unstable radeonhd driver as I understand.

I've got plenty of RAM so I'll go for the higher clocked card I think, thanks for the help.

Harry
 
Old 01-18-2008, 07:52 PM   #5
Simon Bridge
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X800 card is one that needs fglrx.

You should be aware that nvidia cards universally suck in GNU/Linux - you are forced to use the non-free drivers or do without 3D and thus without gaming.

ATI have a history of releasing the HW specs for their older cards to the FOSS community, so that free drivers have been developed for 3D accel. on almost all of them. In fact, the free driver has supported AIGLX for years before the non-free driver caught up.

This has been a tad patchy however, and the X800 is one of those with less that ideal support. You must use the non-free fglrx driver and configure the card properly to get useable DRI.

OTOH: newer games cannot be expected to play well on older cards, period.

So the questions for Mega Man run like this:

Which nvidia card did you use for comparison?
Which drivers did you use in each case?
Which options?
Which version of Wine?
Which games?

There are dangers in generalizing from personal experience, so being specific is useful.

In general, when buying an old video card for linux, you are best to obtain an ATI (all other things being equal) for the free driver support. (For a given old nvidia card, one can find an old ATI card as good at the same price. Hence, brand choice goes to things other than raw performance.) If you want to optimize your gaming experience, do not buy an old card.

In which case, if you must buy a card supported only by non-free drivers, then nvidia is the way to go hands down.

Having decided to buy an old card, it is reasonable to choose one that works well for gaming if that's what you want to do. In this case, it is a matter of choosing the right ATI card. Obviously the X800 is not that card.

If, however, one must choose between two old cards, then the brand doesn't enter into it. Choose the one that provides the most of what you need for the price. The existence of free driver support is a factor as this means that it is likely that drivers will continue to remain available where proprietary drivers will be dropped.
 
Old 01-18-2008, 08:09 PM   #6
v00d00101
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Go for a Geforce 8500GT or 8600GT, you can pick them up fairly cheaply, and the performance will be far beyond any ATI card you install (in the same range). If not a GF 7300GS is a decent enough performer, and retail on newegg for around $45 including shipping.

Ignore the whole proprietary driver hate argument that certain users on here spew. Whether a driver is proprietary or not is irrelevant. Whether it works or not is the only relevant thing. The time it takes to set up is something else relevant.

Buy an ATI card and be disappointed. They are brilliant if you have an intention of gaming on windows, well the newer ones are (X1950XTX and above). If you are gaming on Linux, then expect problems. You should pencil in a few hours to set it up and get it running. Once its running all should be fine.

Nvidia driver on the other hand requires kernel source, and about 40 secs to make it work.

The choice is yours. But dont come back and whine about it, if you have a bad experience. You make the choice and live with the consequences, whatever they might be.

Last edited by v00d00101; 01-18-2008 at 08:12 PM.
 
Old 01-19-2008, 04:54 AM   #7
hgnoel1980
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Blimey - I didn't expect this much debate over ATI or nVidia.

As I said having bleeding edge gaming performance isn't really what I'm after hence getting such an old card. I was more interested in having open source drivers available for the card and that they supported both 2D and 3D acceleration.

ATI's older cards have support (through the radeon xorg driver) up to rv280 (Radeon 9200) for both 2D/3D, and rv3xx/4xx have 2D support but patchy 3D support.

r5xx/6xx cards have no 2D core and are not supported by the radeon driver. There is a driver in development called radeonhd which is open source for these cards.

As I wanted open source drivers it made no sense for me to go for a nVidia card, as there are only proprietary 3D drivers available for these and to opt for a ATI board instead.

Harry

http://dri.freedesktop.org/wiki/ATIRadeon
 
Old 01-19-2008, 06:28 AM   #8
Simon Bridge
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Quote:
Blimey - I didn't expect this much debate over ATI or nVidia.
Now we just have to make sure you use the "right" text editor

<southern drawl>We have both kinds of editors here: VI and VIM.</southern drawl>
<dons asbestos underpants>

Quote:
As I wanted open source drivers it made no sense for me to go for a nVidia card, as there are only proprietary 3D drivers available for these and to opt for a ATI board instead.
Exactly

I stand by what I said earlier: all other things being equal, free driver support is desirable over proprietary-only. How can this possibly not be the case?
 
  


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