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The Big Change - Nvidia --> ATI

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Old 09-11-06, 12:50 PM Thread Starter   #1
Bugsmasher
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The Big Change - Nvidia --> ATI


I normally am a strict Nvidia card user when it comes to graphics card however this time I have decided to try out an ATI product - the ATI X1900XT 512mb PCI-E card. As a side note I will be replacing the stock cooling with an AC Accelero X2 cooler.

I intend on using Driver Cleaner Pro to remove all the Nvidia Forceware drivers I am currently using with my 6800 NU.

Here is where it gets confusing for me....

Driver selection

In these forums I have seen ATI's reference drivers, NGO's custom drivers, and Omega drivers referred to fairly regularly. I have checked those driver websites and they all seem decent with fair support. I used Omega drivers long long ago with an old GeForce2 card to increase performance at the cost of detail but havent used anything but the chipset manufacturers reference drivers since then.

What is the difference between the ATI, NGO, and Omega drivers? Are the NGO and Omega drivers 'performance' drivers which sacrifice detail and *may* be slightly less compatible while the ATI drivers are the standard reference drivers written for compatibility and are somewhat cumbersome?

I have read that the Catalyst Control Center that comes with ATI reference drivers is a real resource hog while the ATI Tray Tool requires Microsoft.Net to be used both of which dont thrill me to terribly much.

Any help would be appreciated. In the past problems with ATIs drivers conflicting with various software/hardware is one of the main reasons I have stuck with Nvidia. I am hoping to avoid problems if possible this time.

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Last edited by Bugsmasher; 09-11-06 at 12:55 PM.
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Old 09-11-06, 01:16 PM   #2
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NOOOO WHY DID YOU SWITCH TO THE DARK SIDE LOL!!!! naw its chill... i am mostly a nvidia guy but the ati cards i do have are quite nice.... currently i have a AIW 9800 pro in my HTPC.... produces great picture... N E ways i have no clue about the drivers i have also always waned to know... cus i would have no problem with a driver that produces better picture for my HTPC rather than performance......

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Old 09-11-06, 01:22 PM   #3
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I dont really know to much about the NGO drivers, but with the omega drivers you wont see to much difference. You could use it if you have some compatibility issues, or if you use a lower end card(9xxx) u can unlock four extra pipelines to basically upgrade it to a 9800 pro.

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Old 09-11-06, 02:10 PM Thread Starter   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nd4spdbh2
NOOOO WHY DID YOU SWITCH TO THE DARK SIDE LOL!!!!
Lol

Well, several things lead me to this monumental decision....

1. Saving almost $100. The cheapest 7900GT 512mb card I saw at the time was around $350 after rebate. The card I got will run $270 AR so....$80

2. Tomshardware benchmark comparsions in Oblivion - one of the games I want to try it out on. Admittedly its a 512mb ATI vs a 256mb Nvidia but with the ATI seeing a 35% to 50% performance benefit....

3. The 'feel' of the deal. The ATI card I bought was a $400 plus card a short while ago and with rebate costs over a 1/3 less. The Nvidia is a $400 card so costs 1/8 less than a short while ago. Bottom line I felt for near the same dollars I was getting a 'step up' ATI. In short I feel like I am getting more card....I will tell you after I have it running a while if this is a false feeling


....time to walk on the Darkside......

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Old 09-11-06, 02:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
AC Accelero X2 cooler
are some better cooling options then that.

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Old 09-11-06, 02:52 PM Thread Starter   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Guvernment
are some better cooling options then that.
I have to admit I was a bit lazy when it came to the cooling solution and maybe a little bit cheap

I used Tomshardware for the head to head comparision between after market coolers and it boiled down to two for me - the Kuformula and Accelero. Both of these had the mix of quiet and cooling performance I was hoping to get. The Accelero became my choice simply because at 100% fan speed it was still tied with the quietest coolers in the Tom's roundup and it was suggested to simply set it via ATT to 100% and leave it there. For a $20 cooler it looked pretty good. I will let ya know my thoughts after everything is up and running.

If you have any other suggestions please feel free to post em.

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Old 09-14-06, 08:41 AM   #7
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Your best bet would be to try out all the drivers yourself.

ATI are the official drivers, and the only Futuremark approved drivers for benchmarking (for official crap).

NGO and Omega are modified/hacked drivers to improve performance, they do a bunch of different stuff.

Like I said, play with um! ATI first, then try NGO and Omega.

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Old 09-14-06, 08:58 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bugsmasher
I normally am a strict Nvidia card user when it comes to graphics card however this time I have decided to try out an ATI product - the ATI X1900XT 512mb PCI-E card. As a side note I will be replacing the stock cooling with an AC Accelero X2 cooler.
You could also try out the Zalman offerings.

Quote:
I intend on using Driver Cleaner Pro to remove all the Nvidia Forceware drivers I am currently using with my 6800 NU.
You could do that after you have performed a regular uninstallation using the uninstall utility provided.

Quote:
Here is where it gets confusing for me....

Driver selection

In these forums I have seen ATI's reference drivers, NGO's custom drivers, and Omega drivers referred to fairly regularly. I have checked those driver websites and they all seem decent with fair support. I used Omega drivers long long ago with an old GeForce2 card to increase performance at the cost of detail but havent used anything but the chipset manufacturers reference drivers since then.

What is the difference between the ATI, NGO, and Omega drivers? Are the NGO and Omega drivers 'performance' drivers which sacrifice detail and *may* be slightly less compatible while the ATI drivers are the standard reference drivers written for compatibility and are somewhat cumbersome?
To put it simply, all drivers are based on trade off's with regards to quality or raw fps speed. There is only so much you can optimize the drivers. The third party modders, may manage to sqeak an extra fps or two, but that is about it. What they can do, however, is to shift the balance between IQ and speed. So, it is a matter of personal taste.

Quote:
I have read that the Catalyst Control Center that comes with ATI reference drivers is a real resource hog while the ATI Tray Tool requires Microsoft.Net to be used both of which dont thrill me to terribly much.

Any help would be appreciated. In the past problems with ATIs drivers conflicting with various software/hardware is one of the main reasons I have stuck with Nvidia. I am hoping to avoid problems if possible this time.
CCC requires the .NET framework and is indeed a resource hog. The earlier versions were notoriously unstable, spewing out unhandled exceptions, left right and center. If you plan on overclocking, you have to disable the CCC and atixxx services anyway. I have not experienced any hardware conflicts with graphics drivers. These drivers seem to be well contained in that regard. However, with Linux, you are just out of luck. ATI's driver support is pathetic at best. I have chewed my fingers to bloody stumps trying to get fglrx to work on my machine(s).

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Old 09-14-06, 09:35 AM Thread Starter   #9
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On the drivers- My initial intent is to give the ATI drivers/software a run for a week or two to get a feel for the card performance. Then I intend on using the overclocking guides in these forums to shutdown services and try some mild overclocking. I will probably then test the NGO and Omega drivers. Like I said this is my first ATI run in a long long long time so I want to go step by step and avoid piling different issues together and then try to solve them.


On the cooler- The Zalman VF900 CU was another one I was looking into but the combination of it coming in at a higher price (nearly double delivered), being louder under load (avid gamer here so 'load' is more the norm for me), and the load temps being higher I decided to give the Accelero X2 a run. I do intend on setting the Accelero's fan at 100% at all times since this apparently has virtually no impact on sound levels.

Thanks for the help and suggestions one and all, its appreciated

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System - AMD Opteron 165, ATI X1900XT, 2G (1Gx2) G-Skill PC3200, Asrock 939 DualSATA2, Raptor 74G Sata 16meg 10k drive, SB Audigy2 ZS

Watercooling Setup - MCP600, T-Line, Home-made Monster Reservoir, MCW6002, Fedco 2-199 w/home-made shrouds in a push/pull config, 4 Sanyo Denki 120mm beasts (undervolted to 7), 7/16"ID-5/8"OD MasterKleer tubing
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