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Apple Desktops Discussion of Apple's desktop machines including Mac Pro, iMac, Power Mac, and mini

Power Mac - Nvidia & ATi

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Member Since: Feb 24, 2006
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How does Nvidia GeForce 5200 shape up to the ATi 9800?

The 9800 I have is too much soldering / flash chipping / taping of pins to be worth it. Same price. Looks like the 5200 will slot in and work.

Anyone know?
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What would you be using it for? Both cards are 4 years old now.
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From a recent switcher, my money is always on Nvidia for the better hardware and drivers.
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The 5200 is a fairly old part, but there are still NEW circuit packs being sold based on it. The 89xx series is the latest, I think. There are huge performance differentials.

Just as an example, I dual boot Linux and Windows on an older machine that I used to have a 5200 based card in. In Linux, there is a fairly widely accepted 3D performance measuring tool called glxgears. Without going into what glxgears does and how it does it, my glxgears score for the 5200 based card was around 1100.

I recently upgraded that 5200 to a 7800 based card. Otherwise the machine is the same, so the relative score is illuminating. With the 7800 based card, the glxgears score was 12,900 - more than an order of magnitude better.

The moral of this story is that if you can slot a better card into the machine, you should. The 6800 series was excellent and the 7800 series even better. I can't comment on the 88xx and 89xx series, since I don't have one, but I presume that they would be faster still.

BTW, the price differential between a 5200 based card and a 7800 based card is not as much as you might think, based on the above results. My 5200 based card cost about $60.00 a year and a half ago. The 7800 card cost $129.99 a few weeks ago ($159.99 retail, and I got a $30.00 rebate from In my view, the extra $70.00 is well worth it.

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