TechSpot

Which Video card to buy?

By death
Oct 25, 2004
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. hey guys,

    My specs:
    AMD ATHLON 2100+ @1733mhz
    512DDR ram (2X 256DDR ram)
    ATI RADEON 8500LE 64Mb video card -----> not bad, but games run slow

    I want to get a better video card, which can play "HALF-LIFE 2", "MEDAL OF HONOR: PACIFIC ASSAULT", and "STAR WARS: BATTLEFRONT", and also, "DRIVE 3 when it comes out". All these games on high graphic settings. So, I am willing to spend about $100 - $150 canadian. I want the better video card, so I don't have to upgrade CPU and RAM.

    Video cards by Sapphire companies are cheap:
    "SAPPHIRE RADEON 9600 256MB AGP8X VGA DVI TV OUT OEM VIDEO CARD"
    "SAPPHIRE ADVANTAGE RADEON 9600 PRO 256MB DDR DVI-I W/ TV OUT OEM VIDEO CARD" they are pretty cheap, about 140 dollars canadian.
    "SAPPHIRE RADEON 9600 128MB AGP8X VGA DVI TV OUT OEM VIDEO CARD". It is cheap, like $130 canadian.
    Is it any closer to ATI? This one is lot cheaper than ATI cards.

    how about these companies:
    "GAINWARD PRO 660 GEFORCE FX 5200 128MB AGP8X VGA DVI W/ TV OUT"
    about $102 cad.

    "EVGA E-GEFORCE FX5200 128M DDR AGP VGA S-VIDEO OUT VIDEO CARD".
    "eVGA E-GEFORCE MX4000 64M 64BIT DDR AGP VGA S-VIDEO OUT VIDEO CARD "
    they are pretty cheap, like about $80 - $88 canadian, which fits my budget.

    "ASUS V9520 GEFORCE FX 5200 AGP8X 128MB DDR W/ TV OUT & DVI"

    Are they any good? For now

    Is it any better company or same card as ATI/nVIDIA? Also, is anybody in here bought cards from "ebay"?............Is it worth saving money and buy used video cards from "ebay"?

    How about if I just upgrade my memory to 1.0GB, so I don't have to buy a new video card?

    Thank you guys
  2. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 3,566

    Tough one to answer really, as it all depends on your budget. If you have 200 bucks to blow, get the ATI 9800 pro. Good bang for the buck.

    Another factor is your motherboard and what kind AGP support it has. 4X? 8X? If you don't know, then post here what your motherboard make/model number is, and we can help.

    Ebay... again, tough call. You just never know what that person who owned it previously has done with it (overclocked to hell and back). But then again, if the price is right it may be worth the risk.
  3. death

    death Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 56

    My motherboard is: SOLTEK KT400-A4 ATX SOCKET A DDR400 AGP4X 5PCI ATA133 USB2.0 W/ SOUND.

    Do I need more memory? If do, I have Samsung 512mb DDR previously installed, do I need to get the same brand or I can buy little cheaper brand? Also, If I want to upgrade to 1GB of DDR memory, can I buy another 512Mb DDR memory. Previously I have 2x 256Mb DDR installed. I have one more slot to install a memory chip.

    thanks
  4. death

    death Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 56

    hey guys,

    My specs:
    AMD ATHLON 2100+ @1733mhz
    512DDR ram (2X 256DDR ram)
    ATI RADEON 8500LE 64Mb video card -----> not bad, but games run slow

    I want to get a better video card, which can play "HALF-LIFE 2", "MEDAL OF HONOR: PACIFIC ASSAULT", and "STAR WARS: BATTLEFRONT", and also, "DRIVE 3 when it comes out". All these games on high graphic settings. So, I am willing to spend about $100 - $150 canadian. I want the better video card, so I don't have to upgrade CPU and RAM.

    Video cards by Sapphire companies are cheap:
    "SAPPHIRE RADEON 9600 256MB AGP8X VGA DVI TV OUT OEM VIDEO CARD"
    "SAPPHIRE ADVANTAGE RADEON 9600 PRO 256MB DDR DVI-I W/ TV OUT OEM VIDEO CARD" they are pretty cheap, about 140 dollars canadian.
    "SAPPHIRE RADEON 9600 128MB AGP8X VGA DVI TV OUT OEM VIDEO CARD". It is cheap, like $130 canadian.
    Is it any closer to ATI? This one is lot cheaper than ATI cards.

    how about these companies:
    "GAINWARD PRO 660 GEFORCE FX 5200 128MB AGP8X VGA DVI W/ TV OUT"
    about $102 cad.

    "EVGA E-GEFORCE FX5200 128M DDR AGP VGA S-VIDEO OUT VIDEO CARD".
    "eVGA E-GEFORCE MX4000 64M 64BIT DDR AGP VGA S-VIDEO OUT VIDEO CARD "
    they are pretty cheap, like about $80 - $88 canadian, which fits my budget.

    "ASUS V9520 GEFORCE FX 5200 AGP8X 128MB DDR W/ TV OUT & DVI"

    Are they any good? For now

    Is it any better company or same card as ATI/nVIDIA? Also, is anybody in here bought cards from "ebay"?............Is it worth saving money and buy used video cards from "ebay"?

    How about if I just upgrade my memory to 1.0GB, so I don't have to buy a new video card?

    Thank you guys
  5. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 5,899

  6. P1ckp0ck3t

    P1ckp0ck3t Newcomer, in training

    Sapphire, etc.. are all just resellers for ATI and nVidia..those companies do not (actually ATI might, but I know nVidia dosen't) sell cards directly to the public... Ex: Chaintech sells 256MB nVidia GeForce FX5700LE for ~$100 US - my card.
  7. Rook

    Rook Newcomer, in training

    Ok people,

    New to the board and I will jump in this thread as it pertains to my question as well. I'm picking up a whole new system. Looking at AMD's 3200+ or Intel's 3.2. If you were choosing a new video card, which would it be. I am more interested in using it for video editing but will probably be doing a little gaming.

    Thanks
  8. shadow_29

    shadow_29 Newcomer, in training Posts: 252

    rook- if you are buying a new pc,i would suggest that first you mention you're budget.but i will suggest you check out either ati radeon 9600pro,9800 pro,9800 xt or x500 or x800 depending on your budget also you might consider a all in wonder card from ati if you want to do some video editing/capturing they are usually called aiw9600 and aiw9800.from nvidia camp you might consider geforce fx5200,fx5600,fx5900 or the new line of 6600,6600 gt and of course top of the line 6800 (gt/pv).as i said you're choice depends a lot on your usage.
    if you need to do some 2d editing and animation there is a whole different line of cards available to you called firexl from ati and quadro from nvidia but they're not for gaming at all and cost a heck of a lot more.

    a word of advice though whatever system you choose dont skimp on the ram,get atleast 512mb.

    tell me what you decide
  9. Rook

    Rook Newcomer, in training

    Thanks Shadow_69. Appreciate the input. Yes for sure the 512 RAM. Not an option on any other minimum. I'm looking at about $1700 (CDN dollars) for a system,..so a mid-range desktop. As far as video editing, I will be starting with video off my digital cam so firewire seems to be the easy way to go there. I also plan to be running the latest MS flight sim. I am not a huge gamer (wish I had the time!). I really want an all around system but I also want something that will keep me on the bell curve in terms of technology.

    Given this extra info, can you narrow down your suggestions a bit more?
  10. lucutis

    lucutis Newcomer, in training

    i dunno about upgrading your ram would help any but maybe going with the sapphire 9600 (either one ) will increase your gaming enjoyment somewhat but if i were you id wait for another 2 or 3 months .... with everyone aiming to switch to pci express you may be able to score a super card for cheap like an x800
  11. shadow_29

    shadow_29 Newcomer, in training Posts: 252

    your last post might help you narrow in on what you want.first decide on which sort of monitor you want good ol crt or a sleek lcd.since you said that you plan to run ms flight simulator or any other simulator.you would need atleast 2 monitors or maybe 3 to make a good simulator.if you decide to go with an lcd which are relatively expensive than your crt's you should consider a card with dvi out or maybe dual dvi out.coming back to the main topic it all depends on what you want,if you decide to wait for a while you can get your hands on the new intel/nvidia chipset with pci express and a pci express card which are much faster than this generation of cards and agp slot.but the difference between the pci express and agp slot card would be negligible right now since there arent games available to use there full power.for say a 200$ budget you might consider a ati radeon 9800 pro anything less than that would not be worth it except maybe a radeon 9600 pro depending on your budget which might be 100$ or less.consider either 128/256 mb:giddy: vram(video ram).a for nvidia cards well ther is 6600 line(agp version) available, the only problem is tracking one down which would take some effort.you can easily get a nvidia geforce 6600 or 6600 gt for about the same price as a 9800 pro plus the geforce card would last longer than the ati since it has shader(3.0)which would come under use in the games coming out next year.so it will have a longer life.wow this post is getting too long.feel free to post any questions that you might have.

    hope this might be more helpful to you
     
  12. Rook

    Rook Newcomer, in training

    Well,.... again thanks. I knew this would be the place to get less biased information. You can never tell the sales person's perspective for sure. After checking various posts, I have seen a lot about the ATI 9800(pro) and Nvidia's 6600(GT).

    My understanding is my new motherboard will be PCI Express. You infer none of the video manufacturers are putting out PCI Express? I suppose I just assumed that the new cards coming out were up to speed already.

    How about a question about monitors since you headed that way? Of course I like the LCD's but I seem to recall something about CRT's rendering more true color when photo editing. I will be using photoshop and I believe there was a time when you could only sync your CRT monitor with your printer. Perhaps this should be for another thread.
  13. shadow_29

    shadow_29 Newcomer, in training Posts: 252

    well rook ..... good to hear that my post might have helped you.as for your decision ati 9800(pro) used to be the cream of the crop about an year ago while its closest competition was geforce fx 5900(5950..later)but it was the only choice for gamers.then nvidia hit back with geforce 6800 and took the lead with quite a margin-the 6600(gt)is a cheaper slightly slower version of that 6800 but for around half its price.
    as for pci express in general...well that is a different story the take off for the new technology has been faster in comparison to the other as almost all manufacturer starting from intel,nvidia,ati and now amd are pushing for it.now with nvidia getting a license to manufacture nforce chipset for INTEL it would give even a bigger push.hopefully at around next year a lot of other oem and consumers would embrace this technology.but untill then you can find an agp and a pci express version of geforce 6800/6600.
    monitors well the trouble with lcd monitors is that one they are relatively twice or thrice as expensive as a crt monitor.the color reproduction and colorometery is well a little bland compared to a crt but it depends on which model and company you choose.also if you are a gamer there is the issue of response time to consider usually any higher than a 14-16ms lcd response time would leave you witha serious LAG.as for the contrast ration which you might here about from the retailers might not be such a big issue however its reflective surface and viewing angle might be.so the bottom line is yes lcd's are pretty and slick and all that but nothing really beats the good ol crt because they are much cheaper half or even less than half the cost of an lcd.
    then again to each his own.for your budget i would recommend a crt 17" or 19" at least.if you want u can also consider lcd's from sony(with xbrite),and the new shuttle-but as i said cost would be a critical issue here.

    as for your video card.i just heard about the new chaintech geforce 6600 gt 128 mb agp version going for around 150-160$from tigerdirect.com.this is a great price if you want an agp card,it almost doubles the performance of a 9800 and you can easily overclock it.check out the entire review here-

    http://www.techniz.co.uk/modules.phpname=Reviews&rop=showcontent&id=174

    feel free to post any other questions you have...

    good luck
  14. Rook

    Rook Newcomer, in training

    Shadow_69

    I spotted the other thread (6800 vx 98000 you posted on. That info helped as well. I will sleep on it and try to soak it up. Lots of decisions, the biggest I think is budget.

    The shop seems to be providing options for a semi-custom system:

    Radeon 9200SE 128MB
    GeForce FX5700LE 128MB
    Radeon 9250 256MB

    These three are a $80-100 CDN option.

    A fourth option is the GeForce 6800GT 128MB ( a $369 option - WOW!).

    I may have to shop around a bit more unless I decide to build my own, although I don't have the expertise nor the time.
  15. shadow_29

    shadow_29 Newcomer, in training Posts: 252

    hey rook

    you posted quite a range there fromthe absolute bottom of the barrel with 9200se to a 6800gt probably the fastest and expensive card available.theres also the middle line up to consider try to look for a 6600 (gt/non gt).

    well whatever you decide to get dont EVER get an le version like geforcefx5700le or a se from ati like ati9200se these are slower cards.they have a slower clock speed and a slower memory interface than there actual models like fx5700 or radeon 9200.well sorry that i forgot you were canadian so its probably gonna cost you more...well i saw a post somewhere in audio video section that said that there is a radeon 9600 pro with 128/256 mb ram available from hercules in canada and it was for less than a 100 $ canadian .
    so look around for that......that would be a sweet deal.dont ever get a card that says le or se version they are much weaker than there counterparts.


    good luck
  16. swker98

    swker98 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,348

    i would gt the ati redoin 9600 pro or regular, 128-bit 256 memory ddr

    thatsmy appion

    and the card i will be ording toda 12-25-04
    or tommrow 12-26-04

    and happy leerdays and a happy new year
  17. Rook

    Rook Newcomer, in training

    Shadow_29

    Well, I've been surfing for prices and checking how the cost will affect my total purchase. I have a good feel for what I want and what the cost will be. Looks like anywhere from ATI's 9600 and up or Nvidia's 6600 and up. I'm sure I cannot justify anymore expense over the 9800pro or certainly no higher than the 6800GT (very tempted to splurge on this one). I also saw a decent price on the 9800pro all-in-wonder card.

    This brings me back to my other thought of a good card in terms of video editing (TV in, ect.). Will the above cards work well with editing or should I be looking in a totally different direction? Perhaps just throw in a cheap TV-in card in addition to my primary video card?

    Cheers and hope you had a Happy Holiday!
  18. shadow_29

    shadow_29 Newcomer, in training Posts: 252

    hey rook


    well you certainely got a good taste.both the 9800 pro and geforce 6600 gt will serve you well.but as always i would advise to check different manufacturers and look around a bit to get the best deal you can.if you do decide to go for a geforce 6600 gt or non gt version check to see that you are geting the right version for your mobo i.e pci express if you decide to go with intel new lga 775 or agp if you decide on intel 845/856 or any other model.also make sure you get a good psu that wont start giving you trouble in a while.these are just some last minute reminders so kkep them in mind.

    well the question you asked about video editing...here's the skinny on that.
    2 types of card available the encode you local cable signal into mpg2 or mpg4 depending on your choice.one is the software encoder and the other hardware encoder.software encoders are fine and you get this version if you decide to get a cheap tuner.hardware encoder which cost slightly more tend to do all the encoding via a chip on the card itself so thereis very little strain on your cpu so you could for eg record a show all the while burning a cd and fragging on ut2004.if this is what you want because it has an outstanding value for money and a very good video output.you'll have to consider cards from hauppage(any blackbird design)they are also sold under win-tv pvr brand here ther are 2 basic candidates one is hauppage pvr 250 the other is the new cheaper pvr 150.250 goes for about80-100$ us and 150 for 40$-50$.these cards have a huge loyal following who swear by them.you can read about them at http://www.htpcnews.com or any other video enthusaist site.the 150 is a much better choice than a generic videocapture card with tons of compatibility with a lot of program(windows mce 2005,meedio,sage tv,snapstream)

    p.s. i would advise you to go with the old intel mobo and chipset rather than the new flashy pci express chipset calles lga775(inter9xx series or granstdale) and an agp verison of 6600(not pci expres)because a lot of people complain that ther are bugs and compatibilty issue with the newer version of the intel chipset.so get the older chipset any 8XX series to be safe.

    good luck!
  19. Rook

    Rook Newcomer, in training

    Interesting Shadow_29

    I was dead set on a PCIe mobo so I would at least be in on the bottom of that market. I had not thought about the fact that the newest is not necessarily debugged yet. I'll have to put some more thought into that.

    Sounds like the video edit type cards are pretty cheap. I presume those cards you have suggested are not game compatible at all. Reading between the lines I am picking up that I should go with my game card choices and throw in the (much cheaper) video edit type card as well. Correct me if I am wrong.

    Have not had a good chance to look at mobo's. Are you an intel or AMD fan? I am considering the P4 540 3.2GHz or AMD 3200+.
  20. shadow_29

    shadow_29 Newcomer, in training Posts: 252

    well rook...you finally got it.your deicision to go for a good video card and a cheap tv tuner would work great for you/if that cheap tuner is a hauppauge pvr 150(sold as win tv pvr).it would serve you well,its a favourite in the new htpc market.its compatible with windows media center edition 2005,sage tv meedio and a bunch of other pvr programs.if you choose this the mpeg2 encoding would be handeled by its own hardware encoder chip and not your processor so it wont be under any strain and can do other things.bottom line its a great card(ask around anyone in the htpc forum or site and they would swear by a pvr 250 and the newer 150).

    as far as processors go,well it completely depends upon your taste you've got intel with its 800 mhz fsb's and hyper threading and hot as hell presscott core denoted by a "e".amd with its 64 bit promise for a better tomorrow in computing and tons of onboard feature via the new nvidia nforce chipset.both are a matter of taste intel has currently 2 different chip cores(ruling out the extreme edition which is 1000$us)which are northwood and presscott.only problem lies with presscott with its unbelievably hot running temprature has becoming a joke for the enthusiast community,while northwood doesnt seem to be plagued by its counterparts issues by the way northwood is denoted by a "c".
    amd on the other hand have never had it so good with 64 bit amd 64 and expensive 64 fx line up.intel 64 bit solution is not yet on par with them,amd has released a 64 bit core which is also compatible with 32 bit computing but offers a great performance boost and a lead to the new tachnology.the only problem is windows xp 64 bit edition is not yet available that easily and has some bugs(hope they clear it up soon)but as soon as these issues are cleared up 64 bit computing would offer an unbelievable increase in every thing that we do especially these gains would be more noticeable in video,audio and other demanding tasks like editing ;) etc.they also have something that prevents buffer overflow to counter any virus attacks but that would only work after you install windows xp service pack 2.

    so ther you go a round up of the current processor available at a shop near you.my guess would be you would round off your hoice down to 2 an intelnorthwood 2.8ghz or a 3.0 ghz and an amd 64 2800+ and 3000+ because they are more or less in the same price range.so it depends upon your taste.

    DISCLAIMER:i am not an amd or an intel fan boy.i believe they both bring something to the table.it just depends on what you want from that table.

    you can check out http://www.tomshardware.com they are currently doing a stress test for 6 days to see which one the procesor would outlast the other by not rebooting the longest for a continuos 6 days of torturous futuremark benchmak running on them.

    good luck
  21. Rook

    Rook Newcomer, in training

    Thanks Shadow_29

    Sorry for the delay. Lost in work the past few long days and nights.

    Seems great video card with cheap edit type card is the best compromise.

    Appreciate your candid and non-biased overview. I had the same overall impression regarding the two platforms from reading the various forums. I am really undecided at this point: mainstream intel or progressive forward thinking AMD (ie: 64 bit)..................

    talk more later..........
  22. [B.D.S] Zero

    [B.D.S] Zero Newcomer, in training

    My Choice in video

    Hey All, Happy New Year,
    I recently had the unfortunate bad luck of totalling my car. It was nothing great, insurance gave me 2500 dollars to replace. Well, I had a spare, somewhat ugly vehicle, but it ran good. So, of coarse, I did the smart thing and decided to go all out on a new pc. As far as video, I honestly could not tell you anything about ati's line of cards, as I have never purchased one. I can , however, tell you that I am extremely happy with the 6800 i purchased. I got the bfg tech 6800oc 128, and paid 300. Although it is the basic version of the 6800 family, I'm am still pleased with its performance, as i am running half life 2 on best graphics and 8x antailiasing, or however it is spelled. I am not noticing any low fps or any skipping or freezing. Of coarse my amd 64 3000+ and ocz pc3200 400mhz 1 gig of ram help too. Overall I spent about 1200 on my pc, in oct. Unfortunately, I believe in order to get optimal graphics and performance, you have too shell out the doe. So save up, or reck your car, and hopefully you might get it.
    Safe new year to you all.
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