The Best Video Card (for PCs)

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by Topper, Apr 16, 2009.

  1. Topper macrumors 65816


    Jun 17, 2007
    I made the following chart for PCs.
    It may be applicable to Macs with Windows.
    Or it may interest a Mac person with extra space and money who wants to buy a PC rig for gaming.

    My objective was to find the most powerful video cards for running X-Plane.
    X-Plane is the only game I play.
    I scanned the tech/gaming sites for benchmarks.
    X-Plane is OpenGL.
    I could only find one big name game that is OpenGL and is being used for benchtests; Enemy Territory; Quake Wars.
    I took 35 benchtests of tech/gaming web sites using ET:QW to get my results.
    I started out with a benchtest from ComputerPowerUser which had 6 video cards.
    That benchtest was very close to the average results I was seeing in the other benchtests.
    I then compared card to card.
    For example, I calculated that the GTX 285 was on the average 4.8 fps faster than the GTX 280.
    I would plug that into my chart and I would adjust it if necessary.
    I am confident that the first 10 video cards are pretty much in the correct order because they are very consistent with the results of most benchtests.
    One caveat: the GTX 295 was inconsistent. Four web sites believe the GTX 295 driver has to be improved.
    Xbitlabs said that the GTX 295 failed when they enabled extremely high levels of antialiasing.
    I only used single video cards for my results, no sli or cf.
    The HD 4890 overclocks well and will rival the GTX 285 when OC'd.
    As you can see "bandwidth" is not necessarily indicative of the results.

    For Macs it is a lot easier. The HD 4870 is the best card followed by the HD 3870 and the 8800 GT comes in third place.
    I am still talking about X-Plane. For other games the 8800 GT will probably beat the HD 3870.
    My hope is the HD 4890 will become available for Macs.
  2. Dagless macrumors Core


    Jan 18, 2005
    Fighting to stay in the EU
    Then I guess I'll be buying the 295, I did have my eyes set on a single 4870x2.

    Wonder where my current x1600 would fit on that list :eek:
  3. Topper thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jun 17, 2007
    I am a little worried about the GTX 295 driver.
    But it's a new card. If the driver needs to be improved (operable word being "if"), I'm sure it will be shortly.
    If it was for a Mac, we would be waiting forever. I am making reference to the 8800 GT.

    I know you are joking.
    The 1600 would be at the bottom of the list of course.
    I found a benchtest using ET:QW that shows the HD 3850 with 41.1 fps and the 1600 with 10.2 fps, but that is at 1920 x 1200 resolution.
    To plug the 1600 into my chart, I would give it 6 fps.
    So, yes, I think you may want to consider upgrading.
  4. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
  5. Topper thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jun 17, 2007
    I use Tom's Hardware. But my biggest problem with them is they only use DX9 and DX10 games for benchtesting new video cards.
    I need OpenGL tests because X-Plane is OpenGL.

    I did use Tom's Hardware's "Gaming Graphics Charts Q3/2008" for determining the benchmarks of some of the older video cards.
  6. Dagless macrumors Core


    Jan 18, 2005
    Fighting to stay in the EU
    Oh I intend on doing so. I'd upgrade the graphics card alone of my iMac, the rest of it is more than adequate for what I need. My next system is going to be a homebuild; 295, Core2Quad, 4-8gb ram (I had no idea Ram was so cheap now!), 1tb or so, bluray and all that nonsense. It'll be a studio machine so I fully plan on going to town with it, but not needlessly so with the CPU.
  7. Topper thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jun 17, 2007
    That's sounds like a winner.
    I've heard very good things about the Core i7 920 and Core i7 965.
    One guy thinks he can overclock the 920 to 3.6 GHz.
    IT OC Taiwan OC'd a 965 to 4.2 GHz.
  8. Macole macrumors member


    Jan 28, 2008
    Athens,Hellas (Greece)
    I overclocked my i7 920 at 3.88 Ghz ..
    Nice hardware , bad software (windows :rolleyes:)
  9. cathyy macrumors 6502a

    Apr 12, 2008
    Gee. If you're complaining about it, don't use it then?
  10. Topper thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jun 17, 2007
    Wow, that's a lot of bang for the buck.
    That's a whole lot cheaper than buying a 965!

    I have Mac friends who have PCs just for gaming.
    PC video cards are so much better.
    Most games don't make use of multiple processors which means a PC 3.88 GHz processor will run a game faster than a Mac 3.2 GHz processor.
    The Mac Pro is adequate for gaming but most people don't want to spend that kind of money on a computer just for gaming.
    The iMac, imo, is just too underpowered for most games.
    There are a lot of Mac users who wish Apple would make a tower for gaming but there is no indication that is ever going to happen.

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