Thursday, October 16, 2014

My Favorite GPU of all time

The first GPU I got was...

Nvidia Vanta!

I have fond memory of getting this card for my very first computer build: Pentium III 933MHZ. The very first game I fired up to test this beauty was the game I was addicted to like hell and still is one of my favorite games of all time: Need For Speed: Porsche Unleashed / NFS: 2000.

My favorite GPU of all time is...

ATI Radeon 9800 PRO - 128MB (1st party)

Leading up to the day when I finally got the card, I remember going online every few hours and reading everything about this card. The fiery red PCB weren't just for the looks, it had the power to match: Besting Nvidia GPUs of it's era by a longshot in terms of performance, but also another area which mattered a lot during that time: Visual Quality.

ATI Radeon 9800 pro outputted better color and cleaner image compared to their Nvidia counterparts. Not only that, it was an exciting time all around because Half-Life 2 was all at buzz  and was about to hit the store shelves.The ATI cards performed not only faster, but I also got a coupon post launch for a free Steam copy of Half-Life 2; making it the first game I digitally downloaded to my computer.Took me a week to finish it because of the poor internet infrastructure we used to have back in the day (even still today being left in the dust here compared to the others). 

We didn't have top of the line GPUs in Bangladesh back in the day. My uncle would come and visit us regularly from the States so I asked him to snag me this card straight from ATI. 

The packaging was beautiful, I could feel the power just by holding it! The red PCB was extraordinary to look at, especially back in the day when everything was mostly a shade of bottlegreen. I was expecting this card will require a direct connection to the PSU, and so I was not surprised when
I saw the power connector bundled with it. I won't lie though, I was a bit nervous as I never had a GPU or any PCI/AGP card which warranted a direct PSU connection as opposed to just slot it into the PCI slot; but I was able to install into my computer without any problems whatsoever.

Even before I started any game, I immediately noticed the difference. My computer desktop looked much nicer, it had much higher depth of color compared to my Vanta card: everything just popped out right in front of me with the color grading being exquisite with no noticeable inconsistency between the ranges of color, it was just..perfect. 

The first game I booted up to test this monster was the game which gave my computer Hell: Far Cry. I loved that game, but I had to play it at low with all the good stuff like vegetation, advanced lighting and especially..water reflections turned off. I flipped on every single setting to the max and booted it

I went from here

To here

It was hard for me to find proper screenshots for comparison as it an old game and I don't have the game with me at the moment. Hope to buy this game from Steam and update this with proper comparison between the graphical settings in the future.

So, I will leave it at that for now. After getting the GPU, I started to read more and more about video games and tech reviews. I got more and more knowledge about the gaming and hardware industry as time flew by. I soon started to build my own computers from scratch, from there I went on to help my friends and family with it. My interest only grew by the time I finished high school. It only felt natural that I seal the deal and choose Computer Science and Engineering as my major at college.

At least for me, it won't just be just a tongue-in-cheek way of saying that the ATI Radeon 9800 pro was a Catalyst of my life.

Hope you guys enjoyed it and I would love to read about your stories as well!

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