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Advice on choosing between ATI Radeon 9800SE 128DDR 128bit or 256bit

Posted on 2004-07-31
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Last Modified: 2013-11-08
Dear all experts,

I need you guys' experience on these things. Thanks in advance.

I'm planning to buy a new graphics card, choosing btw either of the 2 above. I have the following questions:

1. Do both of them vary tremendously in terms of performance? (My concern is that I can play the upcoming HL2 and Doom3 smoothly:)
2. Are chances of successfully softmodding better for the 256bit version?
3. What are the endpoint results difference (3dmark etc) btw the two after being overclocked?

Thank you so much for your time. Much appreciated!
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Question by:skma
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26 Comments
 

Expert Comment

by:Xtry
ID: 11684971
get ATI X800 XT PE :) its about $499 but the price is worth it.
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Expert Comment

by:JRaster
ID: 11685056
9800SE is a value edition, I would spring for the PRO of 9800XT.  
Sorry, no idea about over clocking it.  Never could bring myself to overclock my video card i just dropped $400 on. =)
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Expert Comment

by:acseven
ID: 11685159
Hi, maybe this thread will be helpful:
http://forums.thetechguys.com/archive/index.php/t-4466.html
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Expert Comment

by:acseven
ID: 11685245
and about softmodding the SE:
http://forums.extremeoverclocking.com/showthread.php?t=112979&highlight=9800se

I have to say that I agree that a 9800pro would be better as it can be flashed to a XT (this *NOT* my personal experience it's just reading at forums.extremeoverclocking.com
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Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 11686398
If you care about performance, the SE versions are crippled.  See the comparison at http://graphics.tomshardware.com/graphic/20031229/vga-charts-03.html, and not how much faster the Pro version is.  If you can get it, the 9800 Pro is a much better card.
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Author Comment

by:skma
ID: 11686567
Dear all experts,

Thank you for your prompt replies.

While most of you all recommends 9800Pro, my current budget is just running a bit short of it. For my local currency, the SE would cost somewhere around 600 bucks. And the 9800Pro? A definite over 1000 bucks deal.

Big difference huh... well basically different geological concern...

Dear acseven, I've seen your links and the opinions are really helpful;) TQ!

Dear Callandor, yes I agree 9800Pro would definitely be faster than 9800SE in any aspects (basically just look at the price difference!) Nontheless, my concern is that a successfully softmodded SE could gain a bit of performance boost, not in par with the Pro but somewhere in the middle.

Basically I'm looking at value-to-money ratio;) Thanks for the advice!
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Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 11686576
Trying something like this?  http://www.rojakpot.com/default.aspx?location=3&var1=113&var2=0
That would be a very impressive modification - outdo an FX5950!
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Author Comment

by:skma
ID: 11686621
Wow thanks Callandor, an article written by my locals. Couldn't find it from google though;(
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Expert Comment

by:Dynamic1
ID: 11686712
http://service.futuremark.com/compare?2k3=2582717 03 7519 3DMARK 03
Here is my 9800 Non Pro modded to pro then XT its been running this way for a year. Let me know if you need bioses and instructions on how.
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Expert Comment

by:Dynamic1
ID: 11686713
BTW if you can afford it get the zalman pipe I use it also absolutely awsome mod.
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Expert Comment

by:Dynamic1
ID: 11686718
LOL one more thing 256Bit memory interface and look for samsung memory chips on 9800. The cheeper 128Bit cards With the Hynix chips do not do very well.
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Expert Comment

by:Fnarg
ID: 11687100
I would stay away from any "SE" model, they are poor quality versions of the real thing.  A Radeon SE is a Pro chip with certain manufacturing defects, or perhaps it runs too hot, so it isn't up to 100% spec but is still usable, so they slap on some slower ram chips and sell them cheaper.  It is a way for companies to liquidate B-stock.

This marketing strategy goes both ways, an XT is just a very excellent 9800 chip with faster ram.  It came off the same production line, but semi-random factors caused it to turn out better than the rest.

If you can't afford a high end card, it might be best to go with a cheaper card for now such as a 9600 Pro, then upgrade in a few months, then you can resell the 'old' card for a good price.
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Author Comment

by:skma
ID: 11693640
Thanks all experts!

Really appreciate your help!

Dear Dynamic1, what's a zalman pipe? Hardware or software? So you're saying that a 256bit really does better than a 128? Ok thanks:)

How about the chances of succesfully softmodding the card? Any difference btw the 2? One more thing buddy... how to verify that the memory is a samsung?

Dear Fnarg, thanks for your advice. I've considered 9600 before but since it doesn't have pixel shader support, my primary aim of playing HL2 and Doom3 won't realise...

As pathetic as it may sound, my target is to look for a card that's able to do shader at the minimum!
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Expert Comment

by:acseven
ID: 11693683
I must say that this topic is of much interest to me, as I currently have to buy a new video card, and my doubts are between the 9800 pro (which is more expensive) and the XFX 5900XT (cheaper, but great quality over price...).

I haven't decided yet, but I too want to be able to play Doom3 and Half-life 2 without hassles...

so I'll wait to see further comments of other experts

ps: about the 9800SE, I wouldn't buy it, I rather buy the XFX 5900XT..
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Author Comment

by:skma
ID: 11693909
By the way, dear buddy dynamic1, I'll need the bios and the instruction on how to sofmodding it into an XT.

XT?!!! No joke?
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Author Comment

by:skma
ID: 11693935
Dear acseven, any reason for that (not buying the 9800SE)? Interested to know as well...

Lemme guess, you're a NVidia fans, rite?
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Expert Comment

by:acseven
ID: 11694001
no... in one of the threads I gave u, it reads that you have to be lucky to buy a OC'able card, because there are different chipsets... and because of other comments at other forums...

here's a benchmark for some of the models we're discussing (though this may differ when talking about doom3 & half-life2):
http://www.nordichardware.com/reviews/graphiccard/2004/Mid-End/index.php?ez=5



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Author Comment

by:skma
ID: 11694658
Dear acseven, any preference over a particular chipsets?
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Expert Comment

by:acseven
ID: 11694741
Well, that's why I wanted to read other comments on this... I'm not very good at these matters ... Anyway, here's what I'm thinking:

// about the SE (to softmod to PRO), I don't know that info exactly... from what I read here, the r350 chips can be different...
    http://forums.extremeoverclocking.com/showthread.php?t=112979&highlight=9800se

// about the PRO (to softmod to XT), I think it has to be an r360 to be modded.
    http://forums.extremeoverclocking.com/showthread.php?t=106152

--------------------offtopic
By the way, been reading this new bench on Doom3 (9800 pro is the only one mentioned):
http://www.vr-zone.com/?i=1051
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Author Comment

by:skma
ID: 11695217
Thanks acseven for your links.

Read through and gave me some ideas:)

In your opinion, any preference over brands ie Sapphire/ Powercolor/ others etc...?

To Dynamic1:
Saw the forum quotes given by acseven mentioning that it'll need an R360 core to perform like an XT. An R350 core (9800Pro) flashed with an R360 (XT) BIOS will give artefacts and checkboards eventually. What's your opinion?

http://forums.extremeoverclocking.com/showthread.php?t=106152
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Expert Comment

by:acseven
ID: 11695238
Buying a 9800 pro, I am thinking of buying a Sapphire (bulk), because of the price here... But the brand is not a main issue for me... only if the price difference isn't too accentuated..
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Expert Comment

by:Dynamic1
ID: 11697753
Hi all skma I do have a r350 core cause my card is about a year old. The new ones ship with r360 :) But funny thing is I only get artifacts and very slight in 3dmark 03 GT2. So far I have finished FarCry and got none mabye different for doom 3 comming out though. Some optmisations are just not there in the r350 but it performs the same provided you can keep it cool and you can get XT speeds on your memory before you flash. But I think its time for a X-800 XT though soon as I can find someone who has it in stock well for me anyway also the new nvidia cards look good mabye the finally cleaned up there act 6800 GT also not in stock or severly overpriced. Also even with my system maxed out getting 7500+ on 3dmark 03 at 1600 by 1200 FarCry Ghosts looks a little laggy maxed out. Battlefield with DC Mod is Awsome though. Seems FarCry is the most Demanding game out so far.
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Expert Comment

by:acseven
ID: 11699557
well... I'm going on vacation right now... so I'll postpone the video card buying... I am willing to wait until december... here's the thing: the minimum these days is a 9800 pro, but it is still too expensive, so I guess me buying one would be a waste of money. I think I can play Doom3 and Half-life2 in a row ...

good luck w/ your choice ;)
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Accepted Solution

by:
Dynamic1 earned 85 total points
ID: 11701114
SKMA no problem on the bios and instructions you can backflash if you do not like it just make sure to save your original 9800 or PRO Bios. Also Make sure you have the right bios for your card ATI,Sapphire ETC... And memory they are all listed.  http://discuss.futuremark.com/forum/showflat.pl?Cat=&Board=techdisplayadapters&Number=2712704
Also download rivatuner and make sure your card does Stock XT speeds before the flash.
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Author Comment

by:skma
ID: 11704108
Okay guys thanks a lot for your advice. Been really helpful:D

Think I've made up my mind now after some readings:)

Dear acseven, good luck in your new graphics card hunt as well:)
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Expert Comment

by:acseven
ID: 11704127
thks ;) let us know how it went after you bought it (the modding and stuff) ;)
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