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Barefeats did some shoot outs and the 7600 trounced the current gen on Quake and Doom :eek:

iMac Aluminum versus Others



Inferno the 7600 still outguns the new ones by a less amount.
WOW and Halo performance about the same on either.
 

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I think NVidia has always had the edge in performance, but ATI usually has the edge in 3D image quality.
 

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The ATI 2600 cards aren't getting the nod as good gaming cards with many people recommending the older X1950XT over it.

The two cards are compared on this chart (using Doom 3) with both showing up in blue

VGA Charts 2007 | Tom's Hardware

Keep in mind that this is comparing XT models and that the Pro model found in the iMac is a slower card.

The problem with the 2600 is not limited to poor drivers (though they are a problem), the cards themselves have only 120 unified pixel shaders compared to the 2900 which has 320. The 2600 also only has 128k of L2 cache compared to 256 with the 2900.

The 2400, also found in the iMac, has only 40 unified pixel shaders and no L2 cache.

While the 2900 has four render back ends, the 2600 and 2400 only have one.

The consensus I get from several reviews is that this current generation of graphics cards is missing the mid-range option. The 8800 and 2900 cards are high performance with a high price tag (with the edge going to the 8800s) and everything else is basically a budget card of vary strengths.

Take a look at the following chart based on Battlefield 2142 which was released last Christmas:

VGA Charts 2007 | Tom's Hardware

The 2600XT got 17 fps, and the 2400XT got 7.4 fps, even if new drivers managed to double those numbers, how well do you think either will handle games like Crysis, Far Cry 2, Gears of War, Bioshock, UT3 or Rage?

The answer is that they won't handle them well, probably requiring minimum settings for a decent frame rate, because they aren't gaming cards and while the 8600's did slightly better, they aren't going to be able to handle these new games very well either. Again, these are XT numbers and the iMac has the slower Pro line in it.

Looking at those charts and looking at prices at Memory Express in Calgary (typically less expensive than Best Buy or other retail outlets) I can get the following:

8800 Ultra - $670.00
8800 GTX - $650.00
7950GT (AGP) - $279.00
8800GTS - $379.00
2900XT - $500.00
X1950XT - $309.95

The card found in the iMac, the 2600 Pro is valued at $119.95 and an 8600 GT costs the same. Again, neither of these cards looks like it will be of much use to a gamer if you want to play the next batch of games coming down the pipes.

Right now, your best value per FPS is the 7950 GT, which isn't a DX10 card but has plenty of power for less than $300. The Nvidia 8800GTS is the least expensive DX10 card though it has no better performance then the 7950 and costs $100 more.

The only Mac I see that has any kind of future gaming potential is a MacPro with an ATI X1900XT card in it (which can be upgraded when necessary). Everything else isn't going to perform well with upcoming titles. It is also pretty expensive for what you get out of the box gaming wise.
 

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It's not really fair to compare a previous generation's high-end GPU against the mid-range card of his generation, but since they are closely priced - the 1950 Pro can be had for $150 or lower - the 1900 series is a far better choice for DX9 gaming, and no drivers will change this.

nVidia has had the performance edge over ATi in the mid-range for quite some time, but the ATi is actually equal or slightly superior in the high-end.
 

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Given that the XT has some improvements over the Pro and only manages 17.4 fps on a game that is almost a year old, I am not sure that I would consider either the XT or Pro as mid-range cards. What kind of performance is a Pro card going to give on this Christmas' games even with better drivers?

Again, I question if there is actually a mid-range with the current cards. Take a look at the high end HD2900XT which turns out 50 fps, the next ATI DX10 card on the list is the 2600 XT which only manages 17.4.

Shouldn't there be something in between?

On the Nvidia side of things, the 8600 GTS looks to be in striking distance of a mid-range card provided that driver optimizations can give it at least an additional 7 fps. It is certainly priced in the mid-range.
 

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The 1900s were the high-end cards. The 1950 Pro is now a mid-range card but is based on the last generation's high-end. In the same way, I don't think that it's fair to compare the 7950 GT to the 8600 GTS.

As for the 2600 XT, in time, it should be close to the 8600 GTS on Mac, as it is already comparable in DX9. Trustedreview shows that the 2600 XT handily beats the 8600 GTS when AA is disabled.
 

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The 1900s were the high-end cards. The 1950 Pro is now a mid-range card but is based on the last generation's high-end.
I know that, but my concern in my last post was what appears to be a lack of mid-range DX10 cards. Perhaps some driver optimization can bring the 8600 GTS and 2600XT up to that level, but the larger problem, and kind of more in line with this thread, is that the iMac has a 2600 Pro in it and even if driver optimization leads to a doubling of frame rates (which presently have to be less than the 17.4 offered by the XT) in Battlefield 2142, you are still looking at running many of the games coming out later this year at low settings in order to get playable frame rates on the new iMacs.

Given the increased interest in gaming on OSX and given that UT3, Gears of War and Rage are all schedule to be released for it, it seems odd that Apple wouldn't at least offer a bto option of a better graphics card for the iMac.


I don't think that it's fair to compare the 7950 GT to the 8600 GTS.
I didn't mean to compare these two cards and am not sure where I did. I compared the 7950 to the 8800 in my original post.

Clearly, from a price and performance perspective the 7950 and 8600 shouldn't be compared.

As for the 2600 XT, in time, it should be close to the 8600 GTS on Mac, as it is already comparable in DX9. Trustedreview shows that the 2600 XT handily beats the 8600 GTS when AA is disabled.
I hope so, the 2600XT certainly has a ways to go and, imo, the 8600 GTS still needs some work as well, however both cards have a decent price and if they can get drivers out that can get at least 30 fps with decent settings on the upcoming titles I will be picking one up.

Though, again, I am not sure how the iMac will fare with a 2600 Pro as far as future gaming goes.
 

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New Barefeats test under Vista for iMac

The Doom 4 tests under Vista on the iMac look very good...hopefully AMD/ATI will squeeze some more out of the OS X drivers as well to match the Vista scores.
 
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