This is not meant to hate on anyone.
I have never understood the statements that some of you make about this company having solid drivers and this company having ****ty drivers. How long have you been building and troubleshooting computers? Have you ever seen a new release of computer technology that someone didn't have a problem with?
Say you buy "brand name" GPU, install it and it works just fine. Now another person buys the same gpu they install it and have terrible crashing issues and horrible bugs. Or the situation is reversed and you are the one with the issues. Does that immediately mean that the drivers are crap and this company sucks at releasing drivers. Admittedly there have been times when a driver release just causes massive failures with a majority of users. But 9 times out of 10 the problems are caused by something else in your system that the designers and coders of the driver hadn't managed to test.
How many millions of combination's of different kind of computer hardware is there? X gpu works on my computer that has an (intel motherboard, intel cpu, corsair ram, creative sound card antec psu, and lg dvd rom) but x gpu doesn't work on your computer config which is exactly like mine but you used ocz ram instead. Is this the company's fault because they did not test your exact configuration? How were they to know that 3 x ocz ddr3 2gb pc 1333 sticks of ram @ 7-7-7-7-20 would cause a conflict when the corsair ram of the same size and timings work? Or maybe they did determine that the ocz ram works, but they didn't take into account the fact that your running an off brand pci-E sata raid card that causes a conflict with your gpu. How are they to know that when they release the drivers? I'm sure they test as many different kinds of configs as they can but they can't get em all.
The 5870 works for the vast majority of people with no problems. I'd prolly say that 20% of all cards sold have the gray screen issue. I just ordered one myself, and hopefully i won;t have a problem, I did extensive research before purchasing my new system to ensure as much as I could that there won;t be any compatibility conflicts. If there is a problem it will suck, but hey that's the chance we take and the price we pay for the extensive customization we can do.
This goes for both ati and nvidia, and for any company that manufactures parts. Both companies have had releases where there drivers are ****ty just do a search of the forum. Or if you've been doing it long enough and actually read and learn about the hardware then you already know that both are equally susceptible. There are times of course when one company or the other have a short streak of flawless releases while the other company is struggling but eventually the fall and the other rises.
Rememeber 3dfx and nvidia back in the day? The voodoo 2 12mb single and in sli, smoked the pants off of the riva TNT which had major driver issues at the time. But while 3dfx went with speed nvidia focused on image quality and the combining of a 2d/3d part instead of a 3d only accelerator. Then they released the tnt 2 and caught up a bit, while 3dfx released the fiasco that was the voodoo 5000 and 6000. Then the geforce came along and finished them off.
All the while ati was in the back ground as well, with their ati rage 3d, rage 3d pro, ati all in wonder etc. at this point nvidia was in a hot streak with a great performing part and hardly any competition on the top end. This was the era of the Geforce 2, 3, 4 and the big geforce 4 ti4800. Ati was struggling to over come shoddy driver releases and improve their competitiveness, out comes the radeon 9700 series. Blazingly fast and stole the performance crown from nivida, with solid driver releases and a series of fast cards (9700 pro, 9800 pro, x800, x 800 pro, x850) they kept the crown.
What was nvidia's answer during this time The calamity that was the geforce FX! Don't tell me you guys don't remember this card and the horrible performance issues and driver troubles that came with it. With their next releases the geforce 5 and 6 series they started to gain ground back on ati and over took them with the 7 series. They have held it until the release of the 5000 series just recently from ati.
But that is not to say that they didn't have issues with there drivers and cards during that time. I remember a bad time with the release of the 8800's( I still bought one anyway and had no problems with it) and also the recent problem of drivers causing the cards to overheat and get micro-fractured. The repair solution? Put it in the oven.
So where does that leave us? As you can see both companies had their issues and the only real thing to argue about is which chip is faster or will be faster. Because any release of brand new tech will cause issues with somebody.
In my personal experience with the companies, I have only really had problems with my:
Ati 3d pci it was an pci card and i couldn't figure out why it wouldn't fit in a vesa bus slot lol. 3
dfx voodoo 3 blue screened when running any games could never fix it.
ati all in wonder pro 32mb (horrible crashes).
A geforce 2 gts that would lock up for no reason that I could determine.
A 7800 gs that no matter what I did, would crash if i hit to many buttons at once on the keyboard.
All of the other cards I've used both top of the line and low end from either company I have never had any major errors with though I know that there were numerous cards I had that others had "driver issues" or "x company sucks at making gpu's" problems with.
And it's probably in one ear and out the other.