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Thread: Sticky: Video card buying advice

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    Veteran Member AJLynn's Avatar
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    Default Sticky: Video card buying advice

    EDIT (9/3/2011): It's been pointed out to me that this information is quite out of date, seeing as how I wrote it in 2008, so I'll be posting a new reply to update. This will show up on page 6.

    Buying a video card for your PC can be frustrating and expensive (and the subject of a heck of a lot of threads here). Here's some hopefully helpful info.


    First off, two things that apply to all applications:

    -For professional use a video card from the Intel GMA line or anything that uses "Shared Memory", "HyperMemory" or "TurboCache" is not appropriate. Even though Turbo and Hyper sound fast, here they are used as euphemisms for "slow".

    -Choice of video card does not in any way affect the speed of rendering in any of the software popular among architecture CG people. This includes mental ray, Vray, Maxwell, Fry, Cinema4D, "scanline", Lightscape, Kray, Fprime, Kerkythea and others - if you want to render faster, what you don't want is a new video card. The video card runs the on-screen display and for our purposes, that's all.


    Now the more detailed info:

    -The choice of video card depends a lot on what you want it for. Since you're here, let's assume it's to run a CAD or pro 3D app, but you still need to know which one and what display technology it uses.


    -Direct3D apps, including but not limited to:

    Recent versions of AutoCAD
    Recent versions of 3DSMax and Viz
    (and most games)

    will run just fine on a consumer card meant for video game enthusiasts, such as a GeForce or Radeon. A lot of people prefer GeForce cards because of preference for nVidia's drivers. These cards will also run most OpenGL software just fine, though at a speed disadvantage, though if you want to run Revit, read the Revit section below.

    Look here for a list of video cards available as of the end of 2007, ranked by frag rate.

    UPDATE (MAY 2009): Here is a more up to date list of consumer level video card benchmarks.


    -OpenGL apps, including but not limited to:

    SketchUp
    Maya
    Cinema4D
    Revit

    will gain a large advantage from running on a "pro" video card: an nVidia QuadroFX or an ATI FireGL. Pro cards are not usually necessary, and Cinema4D in particular can perform very well on a GeForce or Radeon card, but they improve performance enough that many users will pay the additional cost.

    This might be useful.

    UPDATE (MAY 2009): Here is a more current list of workstation video card benchmarks.


    -Apps that use special OpenGL features. The only one I can think of is Alias Studio - it has a high end hardware render feature that only works on QuadroFX and FireGL cards. This isn't going to apply to most people here, but if you're looking to use this software, you want this feature.


    -Revit. Ahh, Revit. Revit is special because it's the only software where you really want to stay away from Geforce cards. As of the 2008 version, it runs OpenGL or software mode, and the OpenGL mode is very unstable with most GeForces. After much discussion, the folks on the AUGI forums have come up with this list, in order of preference, of video cards to consider for Revit:

    FireGL v3xxx series
    FireGL v5xxx series
    QuadroFX
    Radeon
    GeForce

    This is unfortunate, as a GeForce 8800GT is currently the clear and obvious 3DSMax price/performance winner. Perhaps this is one of the many areas where Revit users have to wait for the next version.

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    Senior Member CVC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sticky: Video card buying advice

    Thanks for topic .We are architectural visualization studio , what's the best VGA for our PC to drawing in 3ds max, CAD, PS with 300$ budget ? quadro fx1500 or Ati X3850?
    Best Regards,
    -Cao Viet Cuong-
    E5 design&construction.,JSC
    Website: http://www.e5-jsc.vn
    CGportfolio: http://cvc.cgsociety.org

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    Veteran Member AJLynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sticky: Video card buying advice

    See above. If you want an "approved" card you want a Quadro or FireGL (from the recent hardware list, it looks like FireGL actually tests a bit better in Autodesk apps) but if you want more value in something that is almost as good, you want a Geforce 8800GT.

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    Default Re: Sticky: Video card buying advice

    any recomended brand? PNY, MSI, EVGA,XFX, BFG?

    thks

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    Veteran Member AJLynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sticky: Video card buying advice

    Those are all good brands. The technical differences are that some companies add a different cooling system, or overclock the GPU and memory, but they all run the same drivers and the rest is personal preference and what you can get a deal on.

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    Default Re: Sticky: Video card buying advice

    I had problems before with MSI (3 MOBOS and 1 GC, expensive ones) and I have never use the other brandd, I wonder wich one is more stable wich ones local useres recomend.

    thks again.

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    Veteran Member AJLynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sticky: Video card buying advice

    FWIW I have an XFX and it's been fine, but you're not really going to find much difference between manufacturers. With few exceptions they're using the same parts and the manufacturing standards are the same. Some companies get better ratings on customer service than others.

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    Default Re: Sticky: Video card buying advice

    Quote Originally Posted by litleboy View Post
    any recomended brand? PNY, MSI, EVGA,XFX, BFG?

    thks
    PNY is the only one out of your list that sell the Quadro line.

    Here's a list of authorized e-tailers from nvidias website

    http://www.nvidia.com/object/worksta...b_channel.html


    As for a regular gaming card like the 8800gt, I recommend eVGA

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    Default Re: Sticky: Video card buying advice

    Stay away from ATI. Probably the best of the mid-range design cards has to be NVIDEA 8800. Again, ATI for gaming only!!!

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    Default Re: Sticky: Video card buying advice

    Don't misinform in my thread. I've done the research on this, and seen the bugs myself. Revit users should stay far away from Geforce cards. Radeon cards have bugs of their own, which is why Max users usually shouldn't buy them, but FireGL cards are solid.

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