Why is it that usually after you hurriedly buy something because you thought it is a good deal you will find a better deal somewhere else only a short while later? That has been the case for my previous 3 hoots as far as I can remember correctly - x800GT (too hot and no SM3.0 and not yet powerful enough), X-mini capsule speaker (because other places sell it for $35, just 2-3 bucks more, there are probably other slightly bigger ones that sound nicer, a stereo version is available soon, and I didn't use it enough), and the most recent and going to blog about, x1950pro (right after I closed the deal I found another guy selling the 512MB version for 10 bucks more (or 10% more). This extra ram will come in handy in newer, more ram intensive situations where the performance difference can be more than 20%)
The third one is easy to swallow when I simply tell myself that if something is too good it's probably been taken. Or it's just too good (to be true), get what I mean?
But lets talk about whether getting the x1950pro is a right choice when the new 9600GT and 8800GT that's owning the entire industry as the highest end gaming cards with obviously superior performance are only selling for $240-$210 lowest, new and 2nd-hand respectively. Plus, their performance in certain newer games that is more than 3x as fast really don't justify their cheap price.
And yes, in a whole majority lot of situations, the 8800GT is almost twice as fast as the x1950pro.
Actually, that kind of makes the x1950pro worth the buy.
Why is it so?
Firstly, we all know that graphics card performance increases so greatly between generations such that the newer gen cards are always more worth the money. Even more so for the 9600GT and 8800GT which are probably the best in modern graphics card history.
However, to get this benifit, that means you will have to pay the extra 2x price to get this "economy of scale". If you can do that with a $100 card, why not? It's the same case with HDDs also.
Secondly, current gfx situation is that, even if you have just a 7900GT or 8600GT or certain x1000 series and above, you'll still be able to play many games at max settings without being unplayable, just not so smooth framerates and low res./AA/AF. Seriously, I see no point with 1600x1200 and above resolutions, simply because my monitor isn't that big and it never will be. Anything above 2x AA yields considerably less benefit and anything above 4x is almost indistinguishable.
And so why get a card that can play UT3 at 80fps when I'm already fragging people at 30?
Thirdly, and rather important, it has the AC cooler. I mean, that saves me from some assembling of the Zalman fanless. And this is definitely way stronger if I were to use my own 80mm fan on it.
And finally, lets look at the alternatives - a 7600GT and a new HD3850, now price lowered to $200 with a better cooler.
The HD3850 is still not worth the price even with the better cooler, its performance at $209 just sux so much to the 9600GT one shouldn't even be considering.
The 7600GT, while it would've been the card of choice not long ago, just couldn't cut it for the newer games that are more intensive on shaders. In certain situations you see it losing to the 8600GT and x1950pro by a factor of half (meaning half as fast if my maths/grammar isn't good). That really doesn't make it worth buying.
So after some thoughts, the winner is still the x1950pro. Plus, the extra heat doesn't really matter, since with that cooler and that it only runs 7W hotter idling makes little of a difference. But, the big problem is still the lack of ICM/ICC profiles in overlay mode for games/videos, and I don't think it will ever be implemented. Guess I'll have to live with it.
Enough talking, lets fire up my x1950pro. :P
W A R N I N G !
W A R N I N G !
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