$150 Video Card

By cfitzarl
Oct 19, 2006
  1. As it is nearing Winter, I will have gained enough money to pick up a new graphic card (maybe some ram as well). I was looking on Newegg, and two cards caught my eye; the nVidia GeForce 7600GT, and the ATI Radeon X1650Pro. I was just wondering what people thought of these cards, and if you have any suggestions. My budget is around $150 (maybe a little higher though I won't count on it).


  2. F1N3ST

    F1N3ST TS Rookie Posts: 596

  3. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,019

    It depends on the games you will be playing, performance and setting expectations and of course power supply/cooling in your system.

    The 7600GT has 12 pixel pipelines and 12 medium speed pixel shader pipelines.
    The X1650 Pro has 4 pixel pipelines and 12 super-fast pixel shader pipelines.
    Both cards suffer from reduced memory bandwidth as they both have only 128-bit memory interface.

    In a nutshell, the X1650 Pro would be better at super shader-rich games like Oblivion or upcoming SM3.0/heavily pixel shader games.

    The 7600GT will be better at older titles with light to medium shaders, as well as superior in games that use heavy bitmapped textures vs. shaders at all.

    I've always recommended the X800GTO as it's a good compromise to the above but trades massive power for a few features.

    X800GTO - 256-bit memory interface, 12-pixel pipelines, 12 high speed pixel shader pipelines. You can usually find one of these monsters for under $130 USD.

    This is the best of both worlds, although it does NOT support Shader Model 3.0 (slightly nicer waters in Age of Empires III) nor FP16 blends for some forms of HDR (Source engines work great with HDR, but Oblivion, Splinter Cell and the latest Tomb Raider will disallow HDR without aftermarket patches/mods).

    It'll play everything out there at high resolutions, massive AA/AF due to it's 256-bit memory interface. Moreover, some Sapphire models come with 16-pipelines (16 pixel/16 pixel shader!) if you're lucky, but don't count on that as it's not guaranteed. Even at 12 pixel/12 shader, 256-bit memory interface these things are monsters for every game out there for CHEAP.

    Be aware though- they can generate a LOT of heat and suck a lot of power due to their memory controller, fat GPU and sheer speed. Make sure you have a 350-400W PSU and also good case cooling.
  4. F1N3ST

    F1N3ST TS Rookie Posts: 596

  5. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 1,975   +9

    Wow, well I think I may have found the right vid card. I do play Source games and will be buying Oblivion (when I get the card of course). You see, I am not that advanced with pixel pipelines (HELP!!), although I realize what you are saying, and will take that into further consideration along with the video card itself. I do think that is on the top of my list.

    My power supply, just to let you know, is a generic 450Watt PSU w/18A on the 12v. rail, and I do not use up much of it with my current setup (I don't have an internal CD Drive, nor any other cards/optional equipment except an ethernet controller as the integrated one was very finnicky). I do also realize that the heat output of some cards are extremely hot. I have a simple 120MM back fan, and (I think 80MM)) 80MM fan in the bay slot area right in back of the power button, and a side panel fan that blows air into the CPU's fan/heatsink, and heat, up to the moment has never been an issue with me (on this computer). Thank you for your suggestions.
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