This has been a very exciting year for computing hardware. The introduction of the Intel 915/925 chipset motherboard ushered in new technologies that promise better future performance
. The main two technologies I speak of are DDR2 memory and PCI-Express. When talking of PCI-Express most readers will immediately identify this standard as the new interface for graphics cards, meant to replace AGP. While this is true, PCI-Express is also a standard that is mean to replace the aging PCI bus of old and the limitations inherent within that older standard. We here at Madshrimps plan to cover DDR2 in greater depth over the coming year. However, immediately we wished to provide some comparison data for PCI-Express cards for our readers.
While about 3 sample Ultra high performance PCI Express cards (X800XT and 6800Ultra) are in existence somewhere, shuffled amongst the larger hardware review sites I suspect; mainstream cards are left to pickup the slack in the relative dearth of better performing, but more expensive graphics cards. I am kidding to a point, certainly there are more than 3 cards, but it seems as if the supply of high end PCI express cards is woefully inadequate to meet demand, and hence prices for these cards have been held hostage by suppliers wishing to make extra money by price jacking the cards that do indeed exist.
This leaves early adopters of platforms that utilize PCI express products in somewhat of a pickle. While they might like to have an NVIDIA 6800 series, or ATI x800 series graphics card, spending $600+ for a graphics card that averages $400-500 in AGP flavor seems obtuse. Hope rests with mainstream offerings from both NVIDIA and ATI. Initially, each company offered Geforce 5900 and Radeon 600 series GPU’s respectively, with modest prices and performance. Since that time though, both companies have introduced newer and better performing mainstream cards: Nvidia the very popular 6600 series GPUs in standard and GT flavors, and ATI their X700 series GPUs. These new cards are offering increases in performance that are rivaling some of the "lower end" High performance/high priced cards. Wow! There's an oxymoron if I've ever written one, oh well you should get the point.
So today in our crustacean liars we are seeking to answer a question I'm sure is keeping all our readers up at night! Well ok, maybe just a few of our caffeine injected readers that would be up anyway! The question being, "what performance and at what price?"
With my computer induced schizophrenia in full effect, I heard a voice saying "your mission, should you choose to accept; is to find several PCI Express cards and benchmark them to determine gaming effectiveness with price being a consideration."
Thus the challenge was set! To rid the world of laggy/choppy frames per second and inject joy and happiness into our gaming consciousness coming in at budget of under $200.