Thursday, July 10, 2008
So, since I bought a workstation from work and it's powerful enough to hold one of those nifty new cards, I decided to check out what the fuzz is all about with gaming cards. Now I have to say, I haven't been following the "PC gaming scene" in quite a while (probably since I finished my BS) so I was quite hesitant to buy one for: THE BEAST
So I started doing my usual reviews before I buy and had a lot of questions!
1) Will it work on my system?
2) Do PCIe 2.0 cards work (or are backward compatible) with PCIe1.0?
3) How much power do I need?
4) Do I need 6pin converters to power the video card?
1) Yes, it will work on my system.
2) Yep, they are all backward compatible
3) A LOT! hehehe Luckily my PSU is rated at 650w
4) If the motherboard doesn't have extra PCIe power connectors, YES you need converters!
After finding all of the answers, I then started looking at cards... and people, THERE ARE A LOT OF THEM OUT THERE!!!
I was between the following:
1) NVidia 9800GTX
2) ATi 4850
3) NVidia 8800GTS
and a couple more BUT another thing was $$$$... the budget!
I decided to spend only $200 and lucky for me that bought me about any of the cards I was looking for but there was a special I couldn't resist! After looking at benchmarks from other sites, I noticed that the 8800 GTS 512 (based on G92) performance wasn't that bad and it was cheaper! And on the 4th of July, I got a great deal on one!!! It was listed at $159.99 with a $40 rebate bringing it to just $119.99. So I was getting the performance of an almost $200 card for almost half the price. Good deal if you ask me. So I went ahead and ordered it!
Got a call today from FedEx, went to pick up the package. I have to give 2 thumbs up to the retailer where I bought this. Prompt delivery, great prices, what more can you ask for? Anyway, opened the box and verified that everything was in order and started stripping out my PC. Now, THE BEAST is a big case and it weighs a ton. I carefully removed the card that was installed (Nvidia Quadro FX 1400). This is a workstation card so gaming performance was really not up to stuff.
For example: (all of these were run with default settings)
3DMark 06 --> 1496
Aquamark --> 50981
3DMark 05 --> 3134
Test Drive Unlimited --> Avg: 17fps (according to FRAPS)
Bioshock --> Could not run! :-p hehehehehe
So Here was I hoping that the new card would blow this thing out of the water...
After removing the old card, I started to install the new card and noticed the extra power slot on it. Luckily my case had a PCIe 6-pin power slot available but the card comes with a converter just in case you don't!
After installing the card and drivers... it definitely shows the improvement!
These were the results after the upgrade:
FurMark --> 2848 (min: 41, max: 63, avg: 47)
Aquamark --> 80338
3dmark05 --> 7608
3dmark06 --> 6172
Test Drive Unlimited --> Avg: 88.9 (1024x768)
Bioshock --> Avg: 53.7 (1152x864)
Am I happy?
Yeah I am.
Is this the best the card can do?
OF COURSE NOT!! I'm running this card on a 4 year old system/platform! I'm getting more than I imagined! Still, I believe it was a good buy and who knows, maybe I'll buy a couple of PC games (now that Starcraft and Diablo games have been announced!!! hehehehehe)
Hope you enjoyed this mini review.
Now I'm going to sleep (it's 2:00am here :-p).