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#1 NeverFade

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 05:04 PM

I am very ignornat when it comes to video cards.  I know I have an ATI 9600 64 on board, and I would like to increase that.  I just checked out macmall.com and there were some questions that arose.  For instance, these two cards that I have listed here - both are 128, it says, but one is more than $100 cheaper than the other.  I thought, Hey I can get a 128, for $128, but then I saw the other one and now I'm a littel confussed.  Would they both be a lot better than my 64, or just the Pro Mac Edition?

Name
Radeon 9800 Pro Mac Edition 128MB DDR AGP Video Card
RADEON 9000 Pro Mac Edition


Price
$249.99
$128.00


Description
The RADEON™ 9800 Pro Mac Edition is the ultimate accelerator of the most demanding next-generation 3D titles, scenes and environments. (DVI connection only)
128MB DDR memory AGP video card with ADC and DVI inputs

@refresh rate 
85Hz 
85Hz 

Interface type 
AGP 
AGP 

Labor Warranty 
3 years 
3 years 

Video, maximum resolution 
2048 x 1536 
2048 x 1536 

Manufacturer Part # 
100-435050 
100-433022 

OS type 
Apple MacOS 
Apple MacOS 

Parts Warranty 
3 years 
3 years 

Processor 



RAM Maximum 
128MB 
128MB 

RAM Standard 
128MB 
128MB 

RAM Type 
DDR RAM 
DDR RAM 

Weight, lbs. 



Thanks!

#2 lordofgain

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 05:21 PM

NeverFade, on March 10th 2005, 04:04 PM, said:

I am very ignornat when it comes to video cards.  I know I have an ATI 9600 64 on board, and I would like to increase that.  I just checked out macmall.com and there were some questions that arose.  For instance, these two cards that I have listed here - both are 128, it says, but one is more than $100 cheaper than the other.  I thought, Hey I can get a 128, for $128, but then I saw the other one and now I'm a littel confussed.  Would they both be a lot better than my 64, or just the Pro Mac Edition?

Name
Radeon 9800 Pro Mac Edition 128MB DDR AGP Video Card
RADEON 9000 Pro Mac Edition
Price
$249.99
$128.00
Description
The RADEON™ 9800 Pro Mac Edition is the ultimate accelerator of the most demanding next-generation 3D titles, scenes and environments. (DVI connection only)
128MB DDR memory AGP video card with ADC and DVI inputs

@refresh rate 
85Hz 
85Hz 

Interface type 
AGP 
AGP 

Labor Warranty 
3 years 
3 years 

Video, maximum resolution 
2048 x 1536 
2048 x 1536 

Manufacturer Part # 
100-435050 
100-433022 

OS type 
Apple MacOS 
Apple MacOS 

Parts Warranty 
3 years 
3 years 

Processor 



RAM Maximum 
128MB 
128MB 

RAM Standard 
128MB 
128MB 

RAM Type 
DDR RAM 
DDR RAM 

Weight, lbs. 



Thanks!

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The 9800 has a better vertex and pixel shader engine in it thereby giving you better anti aliasing capabilities i.e. less jaggies than the 9000 will.

#3 NeverFade

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 05:29 PM

thanks for the response, lordofgain,

Now you say that the one for 249.99 is better, an d that was the 128.  So I went back to check and the ATI Radeon 9800 Pro Mac (Special Edition) 256 is only $38 more dollars than that....

Man, they gotta fix their pricing scheme...  you'd think there should be an incremental jump inbetween a 128 and a 256 besides $38...

#4 MightySlugMan

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 06:20 PM

you haven't mentioned what kinda of computer you have :o
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#5 Quicksilver

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 06:39 PM

Neverfade, you need to learn your units.  If you say 64, 128, or 256 at best people are going to think you're confused and and you might screw other people up that are trying to help.  It's like saying that car has 300--people will ask you, "300 what?  Miles?  Horsepower?  Bullet holes?"  Those numbers (in this case) refer to the number of megabytes of VRAM (video RAM) on the video card.  So, when you see Radeon 9800 Pro and then see 128MB, you know that it has 128MB of VRAM.

You were talking about the  Radeon 9800 Pro SE, which is 256MB--if you have a fast computer that card might help you out, so (like MightySlugMan already said)--what system do you have?
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#6 Eric5h5

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 06:43 PM

NeverFade, on March 10th 2005, 06:29 PM, said:

Now you say that the one for 249.99 is better, an d that was the 128.  So I went back to check and the ATI Radeon 9800 Pro Mac (Special Edition) 256 is only $38 more dollars than that....

Man, they gotta fix their pricing scheme...  you'd think there should be an incremental jump inbetween a 128 and a 256 besides $38...

Um, why?  It's just memory.

I wish people would ignore the memory, and focus on the card model.  Really, that's WAY WAY more important than worrying about "64" or "128" or "256".  Put it another way: what's faster, a 300MHz G3 with 512MB, or a 2.5GHz G5 with 256MB?  Yep, the G5, and it's the same thing with graphics cards: the technology behind the cards is far more important than the memory.  If you could bolt 256MB onto a Voodoo3 card, would that magically make it better than your 64MB 9600?  No, it would not.

Anyway, the Radeon 9000 is significantly worse than your 9600.  That's why it's less expensive than the Radeon 9800, which is better, even if the 9000 and 9800 have the same amount of memory.  Forget about the memory.  In most cases, I doubt most people would be able to tell the difference between a Radeon 9800 with 128MB and a Radeon 9800 with 256MB, assuming the two cards are clocked the same speed and whatnot.

--Eric

#7 NeverFade

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 08:39 PM

Let me again quote my first sentence in this thread:

"I am very ignornat when it comes to video cards."

This is why I am asking these questions...

To answer the question about my machine:  I have a dual 2 G5 which works great for what I need it to do, but on the side, I play the occasional game and I thought Doom 3 wouldn't run so well with my card, so I thought about upgrading....  that's why I am asking.

I thought I'd only get a 128 as opposed to spending $500 for the lastest card avail...   I thought that might let Doom play well enough, that's all.

#8 Quicksilver

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 10:28 PM

Oyyy . . . don't say 128!  There are a million 128MB cards out there, and they all perform differently.  After all--your Dual 2.0 G5 probably has 512MB of RAM, but that doesn't mean that it's the same speed as a 500 MHz G3 with 512MB of RAM.  All graphics cards have their own processors that are almost as complex as the twin G5s you have in your Mac--that's the other thing that determines a graphic card's speed.

Anyway, your Dual 2.0 GHz G5 will definitely make good use of the Radeon 9800 Pro SE (the 256MB card).  As you can tell from my signature, I've got a Radeon X800XT, which is even faster than the R9800 Pro SE.  If you're going to be playing Doom 3, you'll definitely see an improvement with the R9800 Pro SE because it has twice the memory as the standard R9800 Pro (256MB vs. 128MB).  The memory is important in Doom 3 because Doom 3 has very high resolution textures (ie, what you see on the floor, wall, etc), and if you've got a digital camera, you know that high resolution photos require more space.
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#9 NeverFade

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 10:51 PM

Okay - Thanks for giving me a little bit of a lesson in video cards...

I understand a little bit clearly now.  I was just trying to update my video card a little bit better andnot spend all too much...

#10 zapranoth

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 11:30 PM

NeverFade, on March 10th 2005, 09:51 PM, said:

Okay - Thanks for giving me a little bit of a lesson in video cards...

I understand a little bit clearly now.  I was just trying to update my video card a little bit better andnot spend all too much...

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I managed to snag a Radeon 9800XT on eBay for near $200 the other day, to upgrade my brother's machine.  That's not a bad place to look, if you make SURE you're buying a legit and Mac-compatible card.
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Floor it.  That's technical talk."   - SRV

#11 Eric5h5

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Posted 11 March 2005 - 02:22 AM

NeverFade, on March 10th 2005, 09:39 PM, said:

To answer the question about my machine:  I have a dual 2 G5 which works great for what I need it to do, but on the side, I play the occasional game and I thought Doom 3 wouldn't run so well with my card, so I thought about upgrading....  that's why I am asking.

Well, if you've read the requirements for Doom 3, you'll know it says that a 9600 is the minimum for ATI cards.  You've already got a 9600, so if you're staying with ATI (which is a good idea, at least for Mac gamers), the only two choices you have for upgrading your machine are a 9800 or a X800.  And X800s are apparently hard to come by, judging from another topic here.  (But I'm willing to sell mine for the low, low price of only one million dollars!)

--Eric

#12 a2daj

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Posted 11 March 2005 - 10:08 AM

lordofgain, on March 10th 2005, 03:21 PM, said:

The 9800 has a better vertex and pixel shader engine in it thereby giving you better anti aliasing capabilities i.e. less jaggies than the 9000 will.

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The vertex and pixel shader engine doesn't affect the anti-aliasing capabilities.  The card's raw horsepower, bandwidth, and VRAM (particularly at higher resolutions) help determine FSAA performance while the FSAA technique and number of samples helps determine the visual quality.  The 9800 is capable of two types of anti-aliasing, Super Sample Anti-Aliasing and Multisample Anti-Aliasing.  The 9000 can only do SSAA.

SSAA is, IMO, a better looking AA method, but requires a lot of horsepwer and bandwidth.  There are different algorithms for SSAA but I won't go into that.  It can get confusing.  Plus a Google search would term up a lot of information.  SSAA affects the entire screen and does a good job of cutting down on Moire effect on textures in the distance.  This is very noticeable in racing games and flight simulators.  In a game like Halo, the leaf edges on trees get smoothed out.

With ATI cards, SSAA only runs up to certain resolutions due to the amount of bandwidth, depending on the number of samples you use (the 2x or 4x you typically see) will determine the max resolution.  With 2xSSAA, you get a max resolution of 1280x1024.  With 4xSSAA the max is 1024x768.  You can see this when running benchmarks.  If you run a benchmark at 4xSSAA and 1024x768,  you'll usually see a noticeable performance increase at resolutions above.

MSAA usually only affects the edges of polygons (which is what most people want anyway) and thus decreases the amount of bandwidth necessary to use the technique.  I can run certain games at 2x, 4x, or even 6x FSAA at 1600x1200 and still maintain a good framerate.

I'd recommend going for the 9800 Pro Mac Special Edition and another 1 GB of RAM.  You can take care of two bottlenecks at once :)
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#13 Quicksilver

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Posted 11 March 2005 - 05:15 PM

Thanks a2daj!  I didn't know about SSAA/MSAA, where MSAA only does edges.  I can't believe I never figured that out after all of the articles I've read.  

On similar note, MSAA makes everything a bit blurry, which another reason why SSAA (which doesn't have that unfortunate effect) looks better.
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#14 lordofgain

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Posted 11 March 2005 - 05:31 PM

a2daj, on March 11th 2005, 09:08 AM, said:

The vertex and pixel shader engine doesn't affect the anti-aliasing capabilities.  The card's raw horsepower, bandwidth, and VRAM (particularly at higher resolutions) help determine FSAA performance while the FSAA technique and number of samples helps determine the visual quality.  The 9800 is capable of two types of anti-aliasing, Super Sample Anti-Aliasing and Multisample Anti-Aliasing.  The 9000 can only do SSAA.

SSAA is, IMO, a better looking AA method, but requires a lot of horsepwer and bandwidth.  There are different algorithms for SSAA but I won't go into that.  It can get confusing.  Plus a Google search would term up a lot of information.  SSAA affects the entire screen and does a good job of cutting down on Moire effect on textures in the distance.  This is very noticeable in racing games and flight simulators.  In a game like Halo, the leaf edges on trees get smoothed out.

With ATI cards, SSAA only runs up to certain resolutions due to the amount of bandwidth, depending on the number of samples you use (the 2x or 4x you typically see) will determine the max resolution.  With 2xSSAA, you get a max resolution of 1280x1024.  With 4xSSAA the max is 1024x768.  You can see this when running benchmarks.  If you run a benchmark at 4xSSAA and 1024x768,  you'll usually see a noticeable performance increase at resolutions above.

MSAA usually only affects the edges of polygons (which is what most people want anyway) and thus decreases the amount of bandwidth necessary to use the technique.  I can run certain games at 2x, 4x, or even 6x FSAA at 1600x1200 and still maintain a good framerate.

I'd recommend going for the 9800 Pro Mac Special Edition and another 1 GB of RAM.  You can take care of two bottlenecks at once :)

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Thanks for explaining it alot better than I could a2daj! :D

#15 a2daj

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Posted 11 March 2005 - 10:13 PM

QuicksilverG5, on March 11th 2005, 03:15 PM, said:

Thanks a2daj!  I didn't know about SSAA/MSAA, where MSAA only does edges.  I can't believe I never figured that out after all of the articles I've read. 

On similar note, MSAA makes everything a bit blurry, which another reason why SSAA (which doesn't have that unfortunate effect) looks better.

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Actually, since MSAA only affects edges, it doesn't make everything blurry.  SSAA does, but that can improve graphic quality, particularly the moire effect I mentioned before.  So basically, MSAA-edges only, SSAA-everything including textures.

I took a bunch of screenshots when I first got my Radeon 9800 Pro with different FSAAs:
http://homepage.mac....otoAlbum14.html

If you compare the Ghost Recon 4xSSAA and 6x MSAA pictures, you can see the difference edges vs everything makes.  It can be quite dramatic.  Some games work better than others.  But a combination of MSAA and Anisotropic filtering can work out almost as well with the moire effect as 4xSSAA without making everything blurry.  But you'd still get pixelated leaves in Halo, or pixelated fences in a game like Total Immersion Racing.
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