good time to buy Radeon 8500 128mb?

max105

Golden Member
Nov 10, 2000
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with the 9700 coming out in a month or so, I was wondering if it would be wise to buy an 8500 128mb right now. They're about $135 from the hotdeals right now. since I don't know much about the video and video game market, I was wondering if prices will drop further for the 8500 since I don't want to be losing alot of money if prices drop within a month. Also, how long will the 8500 last me with the new upcoming games? I hope it won't be obsolete any time soon with the high demands from new video games.
 

joecool

Platinum Member
Apr 2, 2001
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max,

good question, i just struggled with this myself as newegg was selling the hercules version of this card for $129. seemed pretty sweet, cool blue board & hsf, plus full powerDVD included. looking at a lot of reviews it looks like it the 8500 beats the old geforce3's AND the new 9000 hands down, plus comes darn close to or beats geforce4 ti4200's. all this at stock clock rates & i hear it oc's pretty well too. anyway, $130 for a ti4200 equivalent with possibilities of going higher sounded pretty good so i took the dive. what the heck, if i don't like it i can always ebay it for close to what i paid ... !

good luck,

joe
 

AnAndAustin

Platinum Member
Apr 15, 2002
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:D The Rad8500 cards are very sweet, but you should find a 128MB Rad8500LE will serve you better and be under $100. If you are spending around $130-150 then the 4200 cards are better in every department (okay, TVout is still better on the Radeon cards). The Rad8500LE is much better than the Rad9000pro, it is just that the Rad9000 cards are cheaper for ATI to make and only designed to compete with GF4MX cards whereas the Rad8500 cards were designed to compete with the GF3 cards (much better than GF4MX cards). Since ATI have no real need, expect Rad8500 cards to slowly disappear, now is certainly a great time to buy one, but do consider:

1. GF4TI4200 are much better, and even the cheapest ones o/c to above GF4TI4400 levels, with the next nVidia release NOT being called GF5 the GF4TI cards should age much better than Rad8500 cards which have already been hurt by the Rad9000 named cards.

2. OEM versions (as opposed to retail) of Radeons use lower clocks, cheaper RAM and o/c very poorly ... this is unlikely to make a huge diff (10%ish) but is certainly worth noting.

3. non-ATI Radeons denoted by 'powered by ATI' (as opposed to true ATI Radeons which are 'built by ATI') also use lower clocks, cheaper RAM, o/c very poorly and also tend to suffer more with general build and '2D' image quality. Again we're probably talking 10% speed loss, so it really does depend upon the price of these cards.

4. 128MB is definitely the best buy for any new gfx card, 64MB is already limiting in some current games, and this will certainly become more apparent in future games. 128MB versions cost only a little more than the 64MB ones, and when you do come to sell on your nre card 128MB will certainly sell much better than 64MB, much like trying to sell a 32MB card is currently. A Rad8500LE 128MB is a much better buy than a Rad8500 64MB, a GF3TI200 128MB better than GF3TI500 64MB and also note that a GF4TI4200-64MB o/c'ed to 285/600 runs slower in some games than a GF4TI4200-128MB left at the default of 250/444.

Firing Squad 4200 review showing 4200-64 at 285/600 SLOWER than 4200-128 at default 250/444[/L]

AnAndTech GF4TI4200 roundup, really illustrates the importance of having 128MB[/L]

ExHW showing 4200 4400 4600 3TI200 3TI500 2TI R7500 R8500 MX440
 

max105

Golden Member
Nov 10, 2000
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wow thanks AnandAustin...that was a very informative post. I was about to ask some more stupid questions, but I guess you just answered almost all of them. :)

I've been running on my integrated video for awhile now and can't play games, so I've been trying to figure out what the best way to go is right now. Also, a friend of mine (running a p3-700) needs a new video card too. would you recommend these same video cards? Or do you think the CPU would be too much of a bottleneck?
 

AnAndAustin

Platinum Member
Apr 15, 2002
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:( 700mhz is a bit slow, really a GF3TI200 or Rad8500LE for around $90 are his best bets, the 4200 is worth it if he plans to upgrade in the near future. If on a very tight budget then GF2TI, GF4MX or Rad7500 are still decent matches for his 700mhz CPU and start from around $60. He could consider upgrading his CPU, but with entry level hw being so cheap he'd prob be better off getting CPU, mobo and RAM, depending upon what country you are in and what budget may be available depends upon what is best to do.
 

BFG10K

Lifer
Aug 14, 2000
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Wait until the 9700 arrives. If nothing else it should cause prices to drop.
 

max105

Golden Member
Nov 10, 2000
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Hmm...if his p3-700 is that much of a bottleneck, how bad is my p3-1ghz then?
 

AnAndAustin

Platinum Member
Apr 15, 2002
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;) Although the numbers sound quite close, 1ghz is able to pull out a distinct advantage with a 4200 that a 700mhz CPU cannot. Of course the 1ghz won't show the full potential of the 4200 but it is enough to warrant the purchase and will still give excellent perf by enabling AA & Aniso and poss upping the res.

:D Of course the 4200 will use every single mhz you can throw at it right up to P4's 2.53ghz, very good news when it comes time to upgrade. It isn't that a 700mhz CPU won't run well with a 4200, but that you won't find much improvement over a GF3 or Rad8500. The way a gfx card benefits from CPU increases is known as CPU scaling and see the links below for how the diff gfx cards compare. What you really want is a card which shows a marked gain for you CPU speed but which will also benefit from a faster CPU when ever you come to upgrade. Another factor is that some gfx cards require a faster CPU before they begin to kick in the perf, best egs of this are KyroII (GF2MX perf on a 1ghz BUT GF2TI/GF4MX perf on a 2ghz CPU) and from what I hear Rad9700 (you should really have an XP1800+ or P4 1.8ghz to maximise its potential).

:( If you play the waiting game you will always be waiting (the next best/cheaper thing is never far away), and the gfx market moves at a very fast pace. If you can wait for a few months it could pay dividends at the moment because the Rad9700 is significantly faster than the GF4TI4600 and double the perf of the Parhelia512! This should bring prices down when it is available in about a month, but then a cheaper $200 version of the Rad9700 (Rad9500?) is expected to do battle in the mid-range market. But then the new nVidia cards are due Nov/Dec but you'll prob be waiting into 2003 for prices to begin coming down, availablity to go up and reviews and concrete info to come out! So it really depends upon whether or not you want perf now or are happy to wait about 6 months.

RivaStation GF2, GF3, Rad & KyroII and CPU scaling with P4-1800, Ath1200 & P3-800

AnAndTech CPU Scaling Article1 using many games & gfx cards and AthlonXP from 800mhz to 1.8ghz

AnAndTech CPU Scaling Article2 using upcoming UT2003 Engine with many gfx cards and AthlonXP from 800mhz to 1.8ghz

;) For the 2 AnAndTech articles bear in mind that they use an AthlonXP2000+ 266FSB & DDR and as such is a good 10% faster than the equivilent Duron or PIII at the same mhz.
 

joecool

Platinum Member
Apr 2, 2001
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gents,

i have to disagree somewhat with the statement that the ti4200 beats the r8500 hands down. in fact, in many benchmarks it's quite close, and the r8500 actually beats the ti4200 in some tests in higher resolutions. this is all with standard clocking & it sounds like the r8500 oc's every bit as well as the ti4200. also, where the ti4200 beats the r8500 it's at a level that no one will really notice when playing games (ie, 100fps vs. 95fps)! and as far as price goes, sure you can get a ti4200 for cheap from a no-name oem, but you can get the r8500 for $130 from a reputable oem with a great rep.

the choice is yours ....

joe
 

ceZium

Member
Jun 29, 2002
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The Radeon 8500 is a good card, but I personally would go with the Ti4200. Why you ask? Just because I have both and prefer the 4200 for gaming, but for 2D, the Radeon wins.
 

AnAndAustin

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Apr 15, 2002
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;) The 4200 is definitely much better than a Rad8500, there really is no question of that. However I do agree that Rad8500 is still an excellent card, better, albeit slight, than a GF3. The Rad8500 cards are let down mostly by very poor AA and poor quality (but fast) Aniso. Of course the Rad8500 have excellent '2D' image quality and was always something it did much better than GF3, but GF4TI have certainly caught up in that respect. The Rad8500 is still very fast and very capable, but even when factoring in o/c'ing and using the cheapest 4200 and the most expensive 8500 (retail & true ATI) the 4200 wins by an even bigger margin. The Rad8500LE are very good value for money, but to choose one over a 4200 really makes very little sense.
 

max105

Golden Member
Nov 10, 2000
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I've always picked ATI for its overall tv-out and 2D quality. Since I haven't really worked on any nvidia's since the geforce3, I was wondering how large of a margin the quality between the nvidia and ATI cards are nowadays.
 

budgieboo

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Jun 24, 2002
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man all this talk of p3 1 ghz being slow scares me. I got a p3 533 right now and a 32mb diamond s3. Well I can't seem to play any new games, i guess your not surprised. I think i may get the raedon 8500 for my next system, i am thinking p4 or athlon around 1.4 ghz. Would that be pretty decent and last for a gameing pc?
 

AnAndAustin

Platinum Member
Apr 15, 2002
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;) max105, check out the threads on the video forum, for '2D' image quality (clarity, stability etc of image in both 2D and 3D) GF4TI truely are right up there with Rad8500LE and both are a lot closer to the Matrox Parhelia512 that you might think. See the last paragraph for more info on gfx cards.

:) budgieboo the whole industry speeds up year by year so unless you spend a bit of cash on your PC every 6-12months then you will find your kit devalues and dates REALLY quick. Essentially when thinking of a new PC you need to think of its likely uses, budget and longevity. It is the last point which is often the most difficult to cater for, but essentially you want to buy near the top of the line, ebough so your compnents will last but don't devalue too quickly, and of course you need to ensure the interface/standard will still work with the newer componenets when the time comes to upgrade. So to put it simply, you can upgrade to a Duron1.3ghz (very fast for how much it costs) as this is effectively a DuronXP1500+ (that's before you o/c), the advantage of this is cost effectiveness and the ability to add at least an AthlonXP2200+ (double check the SktA mnobo can take one) at a later date, should be very cheap in 12 months. Another option is to buy an AthlonXP1800+ (best price/perf at the mo) and again you will be able to put at least an XP2200+ in there (again double check mobo) at a later date. However Skt478 is very new, whereas SktA is nearing (only nearing) the end of its road, so you could get a Celeron1.7ghz which gives perf about even to a Duron1.3ghz (yes it's true) but will enable the later addition of at least a P4B 2.53ghz and anything up to that in 12 months or so when the prices have fallen dramaticly (always check the mobo can take these CPUs before purchase). So then your final option is to buy a P4A or P4B on Skt478, P4A 1.8ghz are excellent value for money if you o/c, they often easily reach the 533FSB and 2.4ghz CPU giving IDENTICAL perf to a true P4B 2.4ghz on a 533FSB. If you go P4 be sure to get the Skt478 512k P4A/B CPUs which use the new Northwood core. So that's just considering the CPU!

:D As for the gfx card, GF4TI4200-128MB is definitely the best price (and longevity) per pound at the moment. The Rad8500LE is very good for its price, but the AA perf sucks, the '2D' image quality is no longer exceptional so all you really get is good 3D perf and very good TVout. Matters are made worse by the oem (vs retail) and non-ATI 'powered' (vs true ATI 'built') which are clocked lower, use cheaper RAM AND often lose '2D' image quality, not only that but with the introduction of the inferior Rad9000 & 9000pro the Rad8500 cards sound even worse to the average consumer, not good when you come to sell it on at a later date. The new nVidia cards are due Nov/Dec but since they will NOT use the GF5 name it helps the GF4 cards to be an even better long term buy. If you only have $90 to spend the GF3 and particularly Rad8500 (rem retail, true ATI and 128MB versions) cards are excellent value and still kick it in 3D perf, but for around $150 the GF4TI4200-128MB offers pretty much the best of everything at the moment and that's before you factor in it's massive o/c'ing potential, 4200 cards either reach 4400 (275/550) or 4600 (300/650) speeds!
 

hasu

Senior member
Apr 5, 2001
993
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I just returned one 8500LE to newegg, as it kept crashing my Epox-8k7a. Later I suspected the mobo and replaced it with KR7A-133R, and all my old AGP cards work much better in it than in 8k7a. I am now trying to decide on which new display card to go for ... 8500LE or Ti4200. Text rendering and 2D image quality is of utmost importance to me. After reading all comments I am leaning towards Ti4200. Now the question is to select an appropriate make.... I may even choose to wait a little more till the price of Gainward Ti4200/128MB come down to $150 :)

Thanks AnAndAustin, for all your informative posts.
 

AnAndAustin

Platinum Member
Apr 15, 2002
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;) Thanks hasu, I try my best and it is nice to know I've helped. I am one of very few people who give unbiased advice, most people just tell you to buy what they have to make themselves feel better LOL!

:) If you check the other threads you'll find lots of info on how GF4TI have really caught right up with ATI now for '2D' quality, GF3 cards were great perf and are now great deals for the price they go for, but they varied tremendously in '2D' quality from brand to brand and even the best ones weren't really up to Rad8500 standards. Now it certainly seems that '2D' image quality on GF4TI cards is easily equal to Rad8500, I still believe there are certain brands which offer slightly better (and slightly worse) '2D' image quality than others, IIRC from what I hear MSI/PNY are among the poorer (but still good) while Leadtek, Visiontek, Gainward and Abit are among the best, mine is an Inno3D and seems pretty damned good, but I am limited to 1024x768x32@75hz so those with better monitors will be able to give the best advice based upon experience. The most interesting article relating to how GF4 compare to Rad8500 is thie following PDF document which is a study carried out by Matrox to show how great the Parhelia's '2D' image quality is, notice how the GF4 is closer to the Parhelia than the Radeon, that's not to say the Rad8500 doesn't have good '2D' image quality, it does, but the GF3 days are well and truly over.

Matrox.com Parhelia vs GF4TI vs Rad8500 for '2D' IQ
 

Cydewayz

Junior Member
Jul 1, 2002
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I dont know where mr. joecool gets his info, but at high resolutions is precisely where the ti4200 stomps the radeon 8500/le. My advice: Don't by the radeon, or else youll be kicking yourself a couple months down the road.
 

joecool

Platinum Member
Apr 2, 2001
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Originally posted by: Cydewayz
I dont know where mr. joecool gets his info, but at high resolutions is precisely where the ti4200 stomps the radeon 8500/le. My advice: Don't by the radeon, or else youll be kicking yourself a couple months down the road.

ok, sorry, now i have to defend my honor ... ;)

if you look at this review of the new catalyst drivers HardOCP Catalyst Review you'll see that the radeon 8500 actually does beat the ti4200 at higher resolutions in some tests (the ti4200 also beats the 8500 in some tests). overall, tho, the cards are very close. given that the radeon is cheaper by a fair amount it seems like a toss-up to me.

btw, i got mine in the mail last night and am amazed by how much better it looks than my old geforce3 ti200 (old - ha!). even at the same resolution the radeon looks tons better! i played several games at 1600x1200 and was really impressed with the visual quality and smooth display - no jerkiness, no artifacts, & beautiful images!

(of course, i'm sure i'll be lusting after a ti4600 soon ... !)
 

AnAndAustin

Platinum Member
Apr 15, 2002
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:eek: The Rad8500 cards are very good for their money providing you can live without AA and top notch Aniso. The 4200 is clearly better, the Rad8500 is close, but you pay a fair sum for the decent true ATI ('built by ATI') and retail versions, both perf and quality tend to suffer otherwise and then you factor in the price premium of the retail ATI Rad8500 128MB cards. So really all things considered the 4200 is a much better buy, but the Rad8500 cards are very good for the money they cost. 4200's are clocked far below their potential in order to keep sales of the 4400 and 4600 cards, since almost every 4200-128MB can go from 250/444 to 300/550 (4400=275/550) and 4200-64MB go from 250/500 to 300/620 there is currently no competition for these cards.
 

Cadaver

Senior member
Feb 19, 2002
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The GeForce 4 Ti 4200 may be a bit faster for games, agreed (especially if overclocked), but I must say I'm very happy with my ATI Radeon 8500 128MB (standard, not LE).

2D is crystal clear and fast. Document scrolling in WinXP, even with ClearType turned on, is blazing fast. The DVI output is gorgeous. DVD video appearance on ATI cards is far better than on nvidia cards, has adaptive de-interlacing for video-sourced material, and requires less help from the CPU. I can have many other things happening in the background and never miss a frame on a DVD.

I paid $146 for the card from buy.com about 2 months ago (when GF4's were at least $199), and I've been very happy. Does a perfectly acceptible job on all current games at 1280x1024 @ 32 bit and 2x AA. Even games like MOH:AA and JK II are smooth with all eye candy on.
 

AnAndAustin

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Apr 15, 2002
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;) Fair enough, in many respects anyway. The Rad8500 and Rad8500LE are very fine cards, esp the 128MB versions. As said people really need to be aware of the shortcomings of non-ATI or oem versions but generally they are very good indeed for the money the cost (in US & Canada). Sure the DVD playback is very good, and low CPU usage, esp compared to GF3, but it isn't the mid-90s anymore and even entry level CPUs can easily handle MPEG2 AND MPEG4 (where's your hw support for that). '2D' should eb clear and fast, the GF4TI cards are every bit as good but again, the days of GF2 '2D' quality is gone, but even they had no probs with 2D speed.

:D DVI output should be pretty, if you can forgive LCD's lack of brightness, contrast, clarity out ofnative resolution, poor ability of motion (DVD playback anyone) etc. Of course DVI is nice, it is modern and overcomes many of the pitfalls and probs associated with all of the digtial <-> analogue conversions and distortions. Regarding CPU offloading in DVD playback, as already mentioned it isn't a huge point any longer, plus all GF4MX cards have hw MPEG2, and I believe some GF4TI do too. Exactly how much do you have going on in the background when you watch a DVD movie? I know plenty of people who have no problem running things in the background while their Duron 900 sw decodes the DVD movie without ever dropping a frame, as said it isn't the mid-90s.

:) Your Rad8500 is still very nice, you have to admit 2 months ago wasn't a great time to buy one, but I do rec to anybody with a GF3TI200 or Rad8500LE or better to wait a few months before upgrading, GF4 aren't significantly better (except AA really) and Rad9700 is very expensive. When nVidia's new card(s) comes out prices will get much better and we may even see budget (well $200) versions of these new DX9 AGP8x cards. You should be very happy with your Rad8500 128MB, it is a great card, but lets keep it in perspective a bit.
 

nardvark

Member
Jul 3, 2002
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AnandAustin-I think it's worth noting that although I truly believe you're attempting to provide unbiased advice, your posts sometimes come off sounding pro-nvidia.
You're very quick to note that ATI's OEM and Powered by ATI products are inferior to the retail, and note the price premium they carry, but then you generally compare the ATI retail prices to the lowest NVIDIA prices in the market. This seems to be somewhat of a skewed way to present pricing information, as I've seen prices for 128MB ti4200's differ by over $50 between brands. If you're going to warn about the low prices of ATI OEM products being indicative of poor 2D quality, etc... then you should warn of the poor 2D quality that corresponds to the NVIDIA manufacturers you are quoting prices from.
I'm not trying to rip on you, just thought I'd share an opinion of how your posts sounded.
 

SIDEARMS

Member
Jul 29, 2002
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I'm looking at buying the AIW 8500DV from Newegg.com. Should I go with the OEM for $180 or the RETAIL for $200? Thanks.
 

AnAndAustin

Platinum Member
Apr 15, 2002
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;) Point taken nardvark, I understand what you mean. However I was accused many times of sounding pro-ATI 6 months ago when the Rad8500LE was way better than the GF3 cards. It is all swings and roundabouts and I'm sure if ATI get a $200 lower clocked version of the Rad9700 out pronto that they'll clean up with all of their current Radeon line, providing of course they get their pricing right outside of US & Canada.

:) The reason I point out about the Radeons which are oem or non-ATI is that many users and purchasers didn't realise at the time of purchase that there was a quality and clock difference between the Radeon cards, something which isn't present on nVidia cards. Buying the cheapest GF4TI4200-64MB for example is just as good as almost any other 4200-64MB regardless of whether it is an oem and also regardless of brand. The only exceptions are the 'Special Edition' or 'Extreme' versions of the 4200 which use 4400 board design and BGA and are far more GF4TI4300 than GF4TI4200. But in any case comparing the cheapest GF4TI4200 cards with the mid-range and even most expensive 'true' GF4TI4200 shows that the perf and quality of these cards vary very little and that both oem and brand matter very little for these cards, very unlike the situation with the Radeon cards. So if you buy an oem or non-ATI Radeon the diffs even just in pure speed can be 10%+ and 20%+ once o/c'ing is taken into account, not only this but with non-ATI Radeons many users have also described significantly poorer '2D' image quality, all things to bear in mind when making a purchase. Of course '2D' image quality does vary with nVidia cards by different manus, but things are now FAR closer than the GF3 days and I doubt many users would be able to tell these diffs apart. If I came off as pro-nVidia at any point then please forgive me as this was and is NOT my intention but is more connected to responding to pro-ATI comments which are often made. If you're in for a budget card (well sub $100) then Rad8500 & Rad8500LE are the best cards with GF3 close behind, if you are in for a mid-range card then GF4TI4200 is truly great (esp when o/c'ed) and if you are interested in top end cards then Rad9700 wins by a mile, but of course Parhelia offers excellent image quality for those needing 1600x1200 and higher resolutions or of course 3 monitor support.

:D SIDEARMS, I would quite safely assume the DV versions come with the same lower clocks as the other Radeon versions if they are oem, plus you should find the retail version should also come with a better bundle, IMHO get the retail for the extra $20, if it was $50 difference then I would look much closer, but at $20 the retail version seems clearly a better choice.