Video Cards – Understanding ATI Card Names
|June 18, 2011||Posted by alex under Hardware|
The biggest challenge that people have to overcome is understanding the numbers. Something that often seems to trump is that larger numbers do not necessarily mean a better video card. It sounds a little counter intuitive, but there is a method to this madness.
Take ATI video cards, for example. On the one hand you have an HD 6250 and on the other an HD 3850. People will see the 6200 and think “hmm that is clearly a larger number than 3850, so it must be a better card”.
With ATI cards, the first number (x000) is the generation. In this case, it is the 6th generation of cards. The next three numbers (0xxx) are far more important as they denote what kind of card it is.
- Anything that ends with 250-350 means that it is an integrated card. Yes the 6 in front makes it look impressive, but believe me, it is just a more recent model of a near worthless card, performance wise.
- Everything from 450–550 can be considered casual cards, such as for family computers, or for people who want performance, but not necessarily for gaming purposes.
- Cards in the 650-770 range are mid level cards, which can easily run high def videos, some video editing, minor graphics heavy programs and even most games. These cards are usually fairly cost effective as well, being that they are jacks of all trades, useful to do a bit of everything, but excelling at nothing. Also, from first hand experience, while they are decent when you get them, they really start to show their age in a year or two.
- 780-870 and above are heavy duty video cards. These bad boys are the ones designed for gaming and video editing. If you are hoping to run the latest Call of Duty on maximum graphics, you owe it to yourself to look for one of these (if you are shopping for ATI, that is). Even older generation cards of the top series handle fairly well today. For instance, a 4850 can handle a heck of a lot more gaming than a newer 6470.
If you are looking for top notch ATI video cards, the 5870 and the 6850 are some of the meanest of the mean. Not exactly inexpensive, but you will likely never have to buy another video card again (or 4 years from now like everyone does).
So what are your computing needs looking like these days? Do you need all that graphical horsepower, either for utility or just for show, or do you just use your laptop for business and only want something light and portable?