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Do non reference cards make a difference?

kersho91

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#1
Hey,

So i am contemplating a xfx5800 but some newegg reviews say that its non reference, can that make much of a different... isn't it still covered by xfx? would buying an EVGA for 'legitimacy' be a sound decision?
I am quite overwhelmed and need some help in regards to buying a new card direly needed. Usually I take my time, but I am under time pressure for work and school and need it ASAP. I am a Junior in University, so I also need to factor in cash (though both cards are only two pizzas away in price) :(

In short, either This $158.99 after rebate with $15 giftcard XFX 5800 this has a replacement only policy, so i am stuck with it if i buy

OR
this super-clocked EVGA gts 460 that is $189.99 after rebate plus free lost cause 2/mafia 2...has standard return, so i can get money back if shit happens in 30 days

My build:
Q6600 Quad Core @ 2.4
4 GB corsair gaming ram ddr2
ASUS P5B mobo (one pci express slot)
I do not over clock nor intend to, always had crashes even on the slightest OC
BFG 550 Watt PSU
Plenty of air flow, like 6 fans--so card cant easily overheat...
a Westinghouse 22inch screen, DVI, no HD 1680X1050

I also have a crappy Dynex HD TV, so I like to entertain the idea of having dual display on both tv and monitor (hdmi going in tv)...though its not crucial for my use...


Unfortunatley, a lot of the other forums I visited had many fanboys and lots of "it's just better" answers..



What I had?
An 8800GTS from 2007, that I bought for a ridiculous amount of money and has been able to play most games I have on high settings and was O.K. for my needs. It recently crapped out and there is no warranty.

What I need?
A new graphics card that is incredibly fast and of good value, firstly, for some design programs, but most importantly for my heavy gaming. New Vegas, Assassin's creed 2, CIV V, Empire:Total War (Which I ALWAYS cant play the naval battles on high in, its weird), BF bad company, all the call of duty's since COD4, Crysis, etc..(basically all the new and intense games I get and try to play) all those I have and would like to be able to play them on highest settings as before but with out disruption and plenty of memory left.

I used to always experience crashing with my old card, and would not like that to happen. I currently have a gtx 460 ($300 from best buy as a temp from a friend) and it too crashes and for some reason on every other restart--things revert to 8 bit (never had that before). I'd have to uninstall and reinstall, and then it works. I have the latest dirvers. Nonetheless, a new card is needed.

So I am torn between an XFX 5800, I never tried their products before, but I have been told that this particular one is 'better' than the 460 I dont understand why though. On new Egg its 158.99 AFTER rebate plus a 15 dollar newegg giftcard (which i prolly wont use)...it has a lifetime warranty, which i need badly, but it has bad reviews on new egg with DOA's and it been not legit....so idk

XFX HD-585X-ZAFC Radeon HD 5850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 ...

OR this superclocked but discounted 460 which I hope compensates for what the regular 460 lacks versus the xfx 5800...
This one is from EVGA, which i tried before, has life time, many numerous reviews which are good...this one comes out to be $189.99 AFTER rebate...though it has a free Mafia II (already own) and Lost cause 2 (dont own) which is apparently a 60 dollar value...though I really have enough games as is...but maybe this EVGA is more legit or something? I have no idea:

EVGA 01G-P3-1373-AR GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) Superc...

I Want to buy this like TODAY because I need to receive it before heading back to College! So please help me out!
 
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#2
you wont notice any major dif between them get the cheaper one and enjoy a couple of pizzas
 

wolf

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#3
personally I much prefer non reference cards (in general) but it really does depend specifically which ones you are looking at too.

for example I am really fond of Gigabyte non reference models, as they sport a better PCB (even if its reference they use more copper) and better components throughout the PCB (ferrite chokes, solid capacitors) and they also employ non reference cooling most of the time, which renders the card not only cooler but quieter than reference.

in short it depends which you are looking at, some will sport non reference coolers which are better but a stock PCB layout and components, some will sport non reference PCB and cooler however the aim will to be able to make it cheaper than reference, for example some palit models.

I have a gigabyte GTX460 at the moment which I can't praise enough, it overclocks like a monster, and runs cool and quiet while overvolted, and the same can be said about the gigabyte HD4850 I had a year ago.
 
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#4
Non reference is just the manufacturers redesign of the PCB.

In some cases it can be better, in some cases it can be worse though.

A good non reference, has better cooling and better voltage regulation.
Shorter PCB, better cooling all round the card (not just the core).

A bad non reference will have things like vrms without cooling when necessary, VGA cooling which is used to reduce the fan noise level while keeping core temperatures at the same level as the stock reference cooler.
No fan control.

I personally do not go for non reference cards due to bad experience.
I bought a XFX8800GT XxX extreme edition which I thought should be better than the reference version which turned out to be less.

It was indeed cheaper, it had no fan control, the fan was not that quiet, took up two PCI slots and cooled exactly the same temps as the reference version.
Had a shorter PCB though.

Also noticed frame lag after about half an hour of gameplay so there may have been some sort of overheating due to the cooler primarily cooling the core.

So personally I would compare the referenced and non reference cards and see which has better cooling rather than being shorter and cheaper.

Waiting for reviews is usually the best way.
 

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#5
these days, non reference is a bad thing.



In times gone by, non reference meant superior cooling, better PCB design and often better OCing potential.

These days non reference means they cheaped out on the PCB design (often higher power consumption, especially at idle), cheaped out on the cooling (simple slab of aluminium with fancy plastic cover) and added 25Mhz OC's.

The real problems come in later - if you need a BIOS update that your manuf never released, you cant crossflash to another brand to solve the problem. Also if they modified the PCB at all, you're screwed for finding replacement 3rd party coolers.
 

kersho91

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#6
thanks for the replies!

So in the case of the xfx here and the geforce, is there any obvious performance difference..also, nvidia likes to boast about CUDA Technology...does the XFX lack it, and also does it affect gaming performance in any major way, if any?
 

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#7
thanks for the replies!

So in the case of the xfx here and the geforce, is there any obvious performance difference..also, nvidia likes to boast about CUDA Technology...does the XFX lack it, and also does it affect gaming performance in any major way, if any?
CUDA is an nvidia only technology, that does the same thing as ATI's stream technology.

They're just translation languages to let programs that arent games, run on the GPU's
 

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#8
these days, non reference is a bad thing.
I still think it depends on which specific card you are looking at, again to reference the Gigabyte GTX460, the PCB is better, the cooling is better, yes the OC is mild but its like 10$ more than a reference card.
 
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#9
Can not comment on which one is better.
One has more video ram than the other but that can mean nothing.

Looking at reviews vs comparisons is you best bet.

If you are into overclocking I have heard the non reference 5850s do not clock as well as the reference models so maybe a hit or miss.

As for the 460 there has been talk on the forums about low GPU usage.
So there maybe an issue when you purchase the card but there have been people trying to resolve the issue.
 

kersho91

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#10
well, I have a 460 right now. straight from nvidia. And it has serious issues. Again, resets to 8 bit. And crashes too, I was playing Lionheart cursade, not a very heavy game, and after a 2 or so hour battle, it crashed right before it went back to the main screen....

the most worrying thing is that, I didn't change any of the settings on my games after i took out the 8800GTS, but I simply can't feel or see a difference what so ever between my performance...i know i might be crazy, but I kept checking and changing settings and the only thing I notice with this card is its low temp..other than that, the quality of my games are still the same....

I just bought the xfx 5850, hopefully ATI will be a better fit for me and I can see better performance.
 

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#11
well, I have a 460 right now. straight from nvidia. And it has serious issues. Again, resets to 8 bit. And crashes too, I was playing Lionheart cursade, not a very heavy game, and after a 2 or so hour battle, it crashed right before it went back to the main screen....

the most worrying thing is that, I didn't change any of the settings on my games after i took out the 8800GTS, but I simply can't feel or see a difference what so ever between my performance...i know i might be crazy, but I kept checking and changing settings and the only thing I notice with this card is its low temp..other than that, the quality of my games are still the same....

I just bought the xfx 5850, hopefully ATI will be a better fit for me and I can see better performance.
to be honest, your CPU would limit you in many games today.

the amount of cores you have is of secondary concern to the clock speed - most games rely on the performance of one single core for graphics, and your 2.4Ghz clockspeed may not be sufficient.


the 8 bit and crashing definitely sounds like a faulty card, or something causing the card to go faulty (PSU is common, but not likely since your 8800 worked fine)
 
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#12
You may have luck with the 5850.
Might just be like me,.
Had bad luck with a certain card from the manufacturer.

Bad batches happen :/
 

kersho91

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#13
I see what you are saying Mussels..but I always thought that my quad core should be able to match these games, i used to OC but now don't...so, hypothetically, if I OC my cpu then it may boost?

And I don't understand the whole PSU bit...I only understand two instances of bad PSU, either its not turning on, or turns on then promptly quit...I guess I can't get it through my head how if everything else runs fine then my PSU is bad..and also why it would only crash in games but runs okay when turned on for days...i am guessing the card sucks up more power when a game is running and it overwhelms the PSU?
 

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#14
I see what you are saying Mussels..but I always thought that my quad core should be able to match these games, i used to OC but now don't...so, hypothetically, if I OC my cpu then it may boost?

And I don't understand the whole PSU bit...I only understand two instances of bad PSU, either its not turning on, or turns on then promptly quit...I guess I can't get it through my head how if everything else runs fine then my PSU is bad..and also why it would only crash in games but runs okay when turned on for days...i am guessing the card sucks up more power when a game is running and it overwhelms the PSU?
yes, an OC will definitely boost your speeds. 3.2GHz is quite easily achieved without raising temps or power consumption much on Q6600's, set that as your goal.


PSU's are not like a battery - they're convering AC power into DC power and trying to maintain stable levels while doing so across multiple rails (3.3V, 5V, 12V - sometimes more than one 12V)


to use a car analogy, the battery/electrics may run the headlights fine, but as soon as you turn the air con on, it all goes to shit. or maybe it only goes to shit when its too cold, or too warm.


I dont think the PSU is your problem in this case, but it doesnt hurt to keep in mind other potential causes for your problems, instead of wasting your time when you're sure you know what the problem is - and finding out you were wrong after spending lots of money on the wrong things.
 
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#15
I see what you are saying Mussels..but I always thought that my quad core should be able to match these games, i used to OC but now don't...so, hypothetically, if I OC my cpu then it may boost?

And I don't understand the whole PSU bit...I only understand two instances of bad PSU, either its not turning on, or turns on then promptly quit...I guess I can't get it through my head how if everything else runs fine then my PSU is bad..and also why it would only crash in games but runs okay when turned on for days...i am guessing the card sucks up more power when a game is running and it overwhelms the PSU?
Yes it does need more power when running a 3D app like a game.
Since it takes time to crash there is the high possibility it may be over heating.

I do not know if you have ever ran your current card under a stress test an monitored the temperatures.

As for the CPU being an issue, I am not certain about that,.
I am still running my old 2.4Ghz toledo and games are running fine.
Today I ran Mafia II with all settings on high with my res at 1440X900.

I also saw an article on atomic PC about CPU performance gains.

In F1 2010 the difference between a dual core and triple/quad is about 4 frames.
 

Mussels

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#16
I am still running my old 2.4Ghz toledo and games are running fine.
Today I ran Mafia II with all settings on high with my res at 1440X900.

I also saw an article on atomic PC about CPU performance gains.

In F1 2010 the difference between a dual core and triple/quad is about 4 frames.
yes, but you could upgrade to a GTX580 and you'd notice no real difference. add in a faster CPU and suddenly things would change, drastically.


the difference between a dual and a quad is not the same as the difference between a 2.4GHz quad and a 3.2Ghz quad