Why not!?!?! Here's my review of both the 5500 and GTS cards

RoboTECH

Platinum Member
Jun 16, 2000
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Posted this on another forum. Met with nice response. See what you think. :)

I'm sure I'll get flamed by 3dfx fanboys for being an nvidiot, and I'll get flamed by nvidiots for being a 3dfx fanboy, but that's okay. You all can blow me. :)

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well, after having 2 different GTS's (32 and 64) and 2 V5's, here is my take on the subject:

V5 advantages:

1) Better compatibility - no driver issues, no hardware issues, no game issues. Everything plays well. Everything looks great. Plug it in, update to the latest drivers, and play every 3d game ever put out with excellent performance and visual quality

2) Better 2d - if you're a stickler for image quality and don't get to play games all the time, the 5500 demonstrated a noticeably superior image quality at higher resolutions

3) FSAA - I know you say you won't enable it, and in Q3 and UT, nor do I, but the 5500's FSAA turned a totally hardcore FPS fanatic (me) into a NFS phreak. I'm actually learning about steering wheels/pedal combos, and I might actually buy one, hehe...

4) Overclocking - a little goes a long way. A simple 10% bump in core/mem speed from 166 to 183 made a VERY large difference in fps in fill-rate limited situations. Q3 jumped a good dozen FPS. Not bad for a simple 17 MHz o/c.

5) Drivers - very stable and very tweekable - lots of visual quality settings can be adjusted. lodbias slider is especially useful. There is NO driver shuffle. Which is the best version? The latest version.

6) Glide - it may be "dead", but there are TONS of games that benefit quite a bit from glide.

7) 22-bit post filter - in most situations in most games the 22-bit post filter provides identical visual quality to 32-bit color, while offering a HUGE speed advantage. This is especially true under glide. You get great visuals and great speed. Is it as pretty as 32-bit? Nope. Is it as fast as basic 16-bit? Nope. But it looks a lot better than 16-bit, and is a lot faster than 32-bit.

5500 disadvantages:

1) OGL support is poor. their ICD is basically a Quake miniGL, everything else is an afterthought (see MDK2). However, most OGL games out that are worth a damn are based on one of the quake engines. Still much room for improvement (Which should be coming soon, i hear - heh...don't hold your breath!)

2) Longevity - if you keep your hardware for a long period of time and play the "latest/greatest" games, this may not be the card for you. Evolva and MDK2 are showing what T&L and Dot3 can do for a game. Next year, this will come more fully into prominence and will be a "bad thing" for 5500 owners who want to play games with Dot3 and T&L optimizations.

3) Big fugger - it's big. Straight up. If you have a small case, or a mobo that has RAM slots that are behind the AGP, you will have some issues fitting this beast into your system.

4) Heat - .25u is hot. Duh....

5) Lack of anisotropic filtering and trilinear filtering (While multitexturing) makes a slight difference in visual quality, but only if you are looking for it. If you don't know what it is or what to look for, you probably won't notice the difference.

GTS advantages:

1) Better OGL - every game that runs OGL will run noticeably better on the GTS in 32-bit color at high resolutions. Straight up. Zoom.

2) "Advanced features" - in MDK2 and Evolva, this makes a difference, i.e. T&L and Evolva w/Dot3 enabled

3) Memory overclock - if you get a 64MB GTS, you can expect a sizeable performance increase from clocking the memory up to 400ish. Most 32's don't go far past 365 without issues.

4) Texture filtering - anisotropic and trilinear supported in hardware - excellent image quality in 32-bit color

5) Speed - 16 bit really shows this card's speed, as it allows the GTS to flex it's fillrate muscles while being constrained by the memory throughput issues far less. This card would be downright SCARY if 256-bit QDR existed. This card could easily fill 10 GB/s throughput.

6) &quot;advanced feature set&quot; - some DX8, Dot3 and T&amp;L mean this card will play next years's games pretty well (at least most of them). A better choice if you won't be upgrading until next Christmas. I'll be amazed if I don't upgrade by *this* Christmas. <rolls eyes>

/me a spoiled beyotch.

Disadvantages :

1) Driver shuffle - updates are hit or miss. When they work, they are FAST. When they don't work (unfortunately, far too frequently for many peeps), they are a nightmare. If you don't have a problem juggling drivers or experimenting, no problem. If you want to install the drivers and then play your games without problems, you are looking at the wrong card, in too many cases.

2) Hardware issues - Via mobo's don't seem to like this card at all, it's very picky about the type of monitor it &quot;likes&quot;, KT133 mobo's are VERY unhappy with GTS's and the GTS seems to dislike IRQ sharing, which means you pretty much lose a PCI slot.

3) Game compatibility - glide (duh), older D3d games especially, and games based on the Unreal engine tend to be a bit sluggish and/or buggy on the GTS by comparison to the 5500.

4) Poor hi-res 2d. If you want 1280 or higher on your monitor, look elsewhere. It's pretty ugly on the GTS, unless you are upgrading from a TNT2 <g>. Some may think it looks just fine, but I used to like Salisbury steak TV dinners when I was a kid. Then I had prime rib one day....


Bottom line:

1) The GTS is faster, but the 5500 is fast enough in every case.
2) The GTS is faster in 32-bit high-res. Whether either of them is fast enough is up to you. For me, neither is fast enough in 32-bit. But again, I'm a spoiled beyotch.
3) The GTS has slightly better 32-bit, the 5500 has noticeably better 16-bit (see previous about &quot;fast enough&quot;)
4) The 5500 has much better 2d
5) The 5500 is as good for playing today's games and much better for playing older games. The GTS will most probably be better playing tomorrow's games.
6) The GTS is a better &quot;bragging&quot; card. You may find yourself running benchmarks almost as often as you play games. If you spend more than 5 minutes/daily @ the Mad Onion website, consider yourself a victim. heh...
7) Both cards kick ass. If you buy one, you &quot;win&quot;.

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Okay. That was my take. Had extensive experience with both a 32MB and 64MB GTS, and 2 V5-5500's. No personal experience with a Radeon, but my bro has one. Darn good card! Since I won't be playing on it, I won't be reviewing it. :)

Hope you liked the review. If not, bl0w m3. :eek:
 

BFG10K

Lifer
Aug 14, 2000
22,706
2,939
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RoboTECH, that was very nicely done.

I have something to add to the GTS review. There is an article here that explains why the texture compression in Quake 3 looks bad. In short nVidia's hardware is not faulty.
 

BFG10K

Lifer
Aug 14, 2000
22,706
2,939
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Here is another article which shows how well nVidia's GPUs offload the work from CPUs by showing low-end CPU benchmarks. Look what a boost the MX provides to a Celeron 450. This is good news to Celeron 500 owner like myself!

Looking at the results, the Voodoo 5 can't be a GPU at all, given it doesn't boost perfomance in CPU limited situations. Yet another reason to pick the MX over the Voodoo 4.

Low end CPU benchmarks.
 

jpprod

Platinum Member
Nov 18, 1999
2,373
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KT133 mobo's are VERY unhappy with GTS's

That's a half true, and only applies to 6.18 drivers. MY KT133/GeForce combo works absolutely flawless, better than BX/GeForce. Sorry to sound harsh, but that's FUD you're spilling here.
 

oldfart

Lifer
Dec 2, 1999
10,207
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Nice, honest eval. Good job. How about spending a little time with your bro, and adding the Radeon in?
 

han888

Golden Member
Apr 7, 2000
1,586
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i am agree with robo statement about the 2d quality of geforce2! my G400 perform better in 2d quality than geforce :)
 

Sunner

Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
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Just a little note regarding the 2D quality of the GTS, it seems like this is very manufacturer dependant, while some have very bad quality at high res, some others have very quality, one that seems to be pretty bad is Hercules card, and one that's supposedly very good is Asus' card(if this has been true for previous cards maybe thats why I've allways liked the 2D quality of my nVidia cards, Ive allways been an Asus monkey :)).
 

RoboTECH

Platinum Member
Jun 16, 2000
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BFG - good point re: CPU limitations. My tests were done on a P3-700@966. Re: TC &amp; Q3, I have read the article and understand. My main point is that ATi and 3dfx must have better real-time compression schemes, otherwise the Radeon and 5500 would look as bad as the GeForces in Q3 w/TC enabled. It's a moot point to me, however, as the GTS has enough balls to simply disable TC, and still be fast as blazes.

jpprod - the comment re: KT133 mobo's was garnered from the GeForce FAQ and the nvidia newsgroup. Horror stories. and yes, they are limited to Det3. My bust.

oldfart - Unfortunately, my review was done because I owned both cards. There are things that website reviewers miss entirely because you have to &quot;live with the hardware&quot; to get a true picture of how the hardware really performs overall.

Unfortunately, my bro is a LAN buddy, and we don't see each other until then, usually. not enough time to do the card justice. I will say that he is VERY impressed with both the image quality and the speed of the card. He also is having no issues in Win2k with the newer drivers, so perhaps they have &quot;fixed&quot; that issue.

sunner - re: 2d issues, you may be right. I've never used an Asus GeForce card. However, if it does have good 2d, it is the exception, rather than the rule, because the Creative, Guillemot, Elsa, Gainward, and Leadtek owners I know all think the hi-res 2d is poor. I do know an Asus owner, I'll ask him about it and report back to this thread.
 

classy

Lifer
Oct 12, 1999
15,219
1
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This was very nicely done. Good job. And your right RoboTECH, I have always felt that it is impossible to have a card 2-3 days and really get a good assessment as to how good the card really is. :)
 

Wingznut

Elite Member
Dec 28, 1999
16,968
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... or to simply read a few benchmarks, and consider yourself an expert.

Well done, RoboTECH.

Nice to have a non-biased opinion, done by someone with experience, based on more than just benchmarks.

I've always said, that you wouldn't be unhappy with either card. And you reiterated that.
 

slacker2

Member
May 8, 2000
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An excellent review that lists many factors to consider when buying a new video card. It's unfortunate that most hardware sites &quot;review&quot; hardware by running a few Quake 3 benchmarks, without even touching upon the subjects of stability and ease of use.
 

Wingznut

Elite Member
Dec 28, 1999
16,968
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The problem with the FiringSquad comparison, is that (again) it's all based on Q3, MDK2, and 3dMark benchmarks.

How many of these do we really need to see?