Just how worse is the IQ of the FX compared to the Radeon cards?

My friend is in a dilemma which I'm trying to help out. He needs to upgrade his video card to play Doom 3. Here's the catch... He is low on budget.

I suggested him three choices:
Radeon 9800 Pro (which I have right now and recommended)
Geforce FX 5900 XT
Radeon 9600 XT

He said he does not have the budget for the 9800 Pro. The price difference between 9800 Pro and 5900 XT here is a bit more significant than it is in the US. So I suggested the other two.

Now, I know that the 5900 XT is a faster card and will run games running on open gl even faster. What stopped me from completely recommending that card was the poorer image quality I keep hearing about in reviews. I haven't used the FX card before, so I don't know just how bad it is.

If it is noticeably worse, could the open gl possibly make the image quality better on the FX? Is there a driver release to improve the image quality of the FX cards? If not, I might just tell him to go for the 9600 XT. Besides, there are other games that run on DirectX such as Half-Life 2 and Farcry.

The dude will be going abroad in half a year, leaving his computer behind, so the upgrade don't require a "1 ~ 2 year future-proofing" concerns. Unless he gives the computer to me... :D (but i think he is selling it... damn!)

In addition to your recommendation, any insight on this will be much appreciated. Thanks alot.


OSNN Veteran Addict
I doubt the 9600 XT is going to cut it for playing Doom 3 with all the fancy features turned ON.

The FX 5900 had ok performance but there was a lot of image quality complaints early on. Nvidia might have finally gotten the drivers right though since I haven't heard that much complaining lately. Nvidia does shine when it comes to OpenGL.

The FX 5600-5800 series were disappointing on noise, performance and heat.

The 9700 Pro card can still be had and will significantly outperform the 9600 XT.

If I were in cost conscious mode (and I always am) I would go for the 9800 PRO. If I was short on cash I'd wait until I could afford it or buy the 9700 PRO (possibly a used one).
I don't know about other things but when it comes to buying hardware, it sucks NOT to be in the US. The prices are so much more expensive. If it was the same price as in the states, my friend would certainly be able to grab a 9800 Pro with his current budget, and I could've gotten one of the GF 6800 cards instead of the 9800 Pro. From this, you get the rough idea on the pricing over here.

If anyone can confirm on the IQ of the FX cards, and whether they have fixed this IQ issue, it'd clear things up abit. Anyone?

Even better, any comments of the 5900 XT from the users using them?
I'm going to sleep now. G'night world~


F@H - Is it in you?
Staff member
Political User
what is your friends budget?

many of the r3xx cards (radeon 9700/9800 series) cards are going cheap right now as people upgrade to the next level...

as far as IQ is concerned the IQ on the r3xx cards wrt anti-aliasing is far superior to that of the NV cards but nvidia's AF is better in many respects to ati's...

I doubt your friend is going to be playing doom3 with one of these cards with much if any degree of AA or AF...

art marchitecture the r4xx series from ati is an extension of the r3xx cards but still feature new and improved memory controllers and what not... basically all the flaws form the r3xx series were tweaked out and this is the better incarnation of it... and they do run fast...

nvidia's nv4x series is looking good as well and the 6800GT is the current darling of the video card purchasers... ati should have a competing product out called the x800GT (tit-for-tat for NV using their XT nominer lol) soon which competes as well/better...

anyways... for now you have the option of getting a 9800 series card (pro or XT) for around $200-250 in most sites...

I know a guy selling an AIW 9800pro for $250-ish on www.nvnews.net if you want to check out the trade section there... also check out www.rage3d.com for sales deals as people seek to upgrade...

will be a lot cheaper than buying off the shelf...


wrt doom3... carmack had an arb2 path (straight up/no tweaks) for all cards and an NV path for the nvidia cards coz they ran arb2 slower than the ati cards.. he has scrapped that now and all cards will run the arb2 path... he says nvidia has managed to catch up to ati (perhaps exceed????) using the arb2 path for the previous generation cards... IQ differences should be minimal at best...
Excellent detailed reply, Sazar. Thanks. While reading I was thinking, you'd make a competent writer for a hardware column or something. :)

Unfortunately, the cheapest Radeon 9800 Pro one can find here in Korea is $256 US. The 5900XT costs $180. My friend has the budget for both, actually. However, he wants to buy surround sound as well. I told him Doom 3 ain't only graphics and that the sound will make almost as much, if not as much, difference in improving the experience. So including the sound system, he can't get the Radeon 9800 Pro.

That's why I've asked how good or bad is the 5900XT. He does not need any "future proof"ing with the video card upgrade due to him leaving the computer when he goes abroad in half a year. Therefore, it just has to be good enough for the time being. So if there ain't much of a difference playing Doom 3, while considering the price I mentioned as well, I'd tell him to get the 5900XT with the sound system. Everyone think I'm giving him a good advice?

Sorry for the long posts. :p


F@H - Is it in you?
Staff member
Political User
I still think he should wait... the nextgen cards prices are gonna start droping... specially if ati pulls out a GT competiting 16 pipe card clocked slower than their PE model coz that will drop the PRO's price a fair deal...

currently the PRO and the GT are priced almost the same but the GT is a better option coz of more pipes/higher oc-ability == 6800ULTRA... the pro is a 12 pipe card...

if your friend can wait for a little longer tell him to do so... it'd be better for him to get a decent card @ a decent price than over-pay for a last gen card that will cost the same as a next-gen card in about a month or so...

wrt sound... I dunno :)

i use headphones mostly and they work good enough for me in most every game and brilliantly in games like CS and ET (when I used to play... )

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