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Second-hand graphics card - which one is the best?

By milespower
Jun 18, 2012
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  1. Hi there!

    I'm about to upgrade a somewhat old machine that I used to game a lot, it had an HD2600XT card on and it had good performance but it broke, so I want another card. Budgets aside (since prices on SHM vary by country) I have a choice of four graphic cards:
    • nVidia Geforce 6800GS 256MB
    • nVidia Geforce 7600GS 256MB
    • ATI Radeon HD3650 512MB
    • ATI Radeon X1600Pro 256MB
    The 6800 has the biggest performance of the four, but is limited to DX9.0c (as all the others apart from the 3650). The other two offer performance similar to the 3650, albeit DX9.0c, but they're very cheap for what they are. While the X1600Pro and the 7600GS battle for price/performance, the main indecision goes between the 6800GS and the HD3650. The 3650 (and the other lower two to be honest) offer almost the same performance as my old 2600XT, but like the 2600XT the 3650 is DX10 enabled.

    Do I choose better performance and DX9.0c or DX10 but rather average-to-low performance?

    The computer specs are as follows:
    • CPU: Pentium D 3.46 Ghz
    • RAM: 2 GB
    • VGA: Onboard
    • PSU: 450W with 18A on the +12V rail (all the above work with this PSU, even the 6800GS)
    • MB: Asrock 775VM800 (LGA775 Non-Core, AGP 8X, DDR400
    The games I played with the 2600XT were the following: Sims 3, GTAIV, League of Legends, NFS:HP (2010), Mafia II, Vindictus, GTA:SA-MP, Live For Speed, Worms Ultimate Mayhem, Worms 4 Mayhem, TrackMania Nations Forever, Amnesia:The Dark Descent, Team Fortress 2, Left 4 Dead 2 and some others.

    I know that if I choose anything other than the HD3650 these games are out: NFS:HP, Mafia II, and Worms Ultimate Mayhem, and any that requires a DX10 card (obviously -.-). But for the remaining games (the majority really) the performance gain would be such a treat.

    Keep in mind that in a year's time, give or take, I'll lay my hands on a new computer, so this is just the workaround to keep playing.

    What do you think? If you feel like you need more information I can give it to you.

    EDIT: Now some people say the HD3650 is faster than the 6800GS. The benchmarks say otherwise (I used Game-Debate and Passmark for benchmarks). I'm confused...

    Best wishes!
  2. nismo91

    nismo91 TechSpot Guru Posts: 1,001   +11

    I would recommend the HD3650 instead of 6800GS.

    in most game titles, 3650 run faster than 6800GT, the PCIE version of 6800GS. check this link and see for yourself. also note that 3650 uses less power than 6800GS, while also supporting pixel shader 4.0. 18A on 12V for a 450W PSU isn't plenty, considering the age of the PSU, so I'll be on the safe side.
  3. milespower

    milespower TechSpot Member Topic Starter Posts: 43

    The 3650 in question is the underclocked DDR2 version, but I see where you're going. Let it be the 3650 then.

    Thanks.
  4. GeforcerFX

    GeforcerFX TechSpot Booster Posts: 325   +46

    I have a ddr2 hd3650, good card for the price I payed, it also overclocks pretty good, it will give you dx10 capabilies and should be better driver supports then the older cards from both nvdia and amd, infact the x1600 is on amd's legacy driver support, so the most recent driver for it are 10.3 (there on 12.4 atm, which the 3650 supports).
  5. milespower

    milespower TechSpot Member Topic Starter Posts: 43

    wait wait, now I am confused. Apart from DX9.0c vs. DX10.1, all the stats on the 6800GS are better than the 3650, Including power consumption (slightly) and in benchmarks it smokes the 3650 (in Passmark, around 1.5 to 2 times the 3650's marks; in Game Debate it was around 40% better). To further say that on the driver side, all sixes and sevens still update to 301.42 which got out only a month ago (and probably the most recent yet) which it's not that bad after all. (the x1600 is the misfit and will get out of my thoughts). Now some people (and you) say that the HD3650 *performs* better? I expected the 6800GS to be the competition to the likes of the X800Pro (back then) and still offer better performance than an 5450 (from ATI) or a 5500 (from Nvidia) while maintaining a 9.0c cap...like a x1950xt, but much worse ;)
  6. GeforcerFX

    GeforcerFX TechSpot Booster Posts: 325   +46

    well might I say you are in very much luck. I have a dual xeon system that can replicate your pentium d(my cpu scores will be slightly higher), I have my 3650 up and ready too go, and the video card that came with this system was a quadro fx 1400 which is based off the geforce 6800, I can try my best too get it too 6800 gs clocks and give a you comparison, I will benchmark it in 3dmark06 and passmark for you.
  7. milespower

    milespower TechSpot Member Topic Starter Posts: 43

    that would be nice ;) looking forward to it...
  8. tweakboy

    tweakboy TechSpot Maniac Posts: 518

    Go for it my friend.
  9. tweakboy

    tweakboy TechSpot Maniac Posts: 518



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