Best Video Card for your current system

By codeseven ยท 12 replies
Jul 23, 2002
  1. After reading thread after thread about the ongoing debate over which graphics card is #1,it seems to me that when it comes time to purchase a card it all boils down to what YOUR current system consists of.If you dont plan on changing your systems OS or upgrading the mobo or any other components, then getting the most powerful card known to man may be a huge waste of money.For example cramming a GeForce 4 TI4600 card into an old and slow puter will not allow that card to even come close to its potential because of the bottleneck between the CPU and GPU.You're much better off looking at what your computer consists of first of all, and then match it up with a card that can perform at 100% while operating with your computers components that it will then be dependent on.Why buy anything more demanding on your system than what it can handle.So,assuming I'm not too far off base,I would really appreciate this forums opinion on what you think the most up to date graphics card I should purchase for my computer.I play mainly Medal of Honor and flight sims.I was leaning toward an ATI 8500 or GeForce 4 TI4200 but it might be overkill,maybe a GeForce 3 TI500 would be able to operate at 100% with what little my computer has to offer.Thanx in advance for your time and opinions.

    My System:
    Gateway Performance 933
    Pentium 3 933mhz
    Windows ME
    40 Gb HD
    512 SDRAM

    GeForce 2 MX
  2. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    You want to consider what this thread had to offer:

    While it is generally true you shouldn't "overkill", a high performance graphics card can still be worthwhile.

    First of all, if you pay peanuts for an awesome video card, then there's no harm in getting someting above and beyond your system.

    Secondly, if you like playing games at high resolutions and with lots of textures, these things are not very CPU dependant. An over-your-head video card might not make a game run better 3D polygon wise, but you can turn the eye candy up and the difference will show.

    Yeah, it might not run at 300fps, but it will look good. :)

    But I think most people will agree that paying 400 bucks for a video card that way overshoots your system specs really is a waste of money (unless you plan on upgrading your system shortly afterward).
  3. JAV

    JAV TS Rookie Posts: 210


    You purdy well nutshelled some big threads into your post & I think ya got it right. :grinthumb

    I got a 'thing' for the P3 933. I think it is a fine CPU with plenty of potential for excellent results w/compatible hardware & good software 'enhancements'. ;)

    Depending on your motherboard, you may be able get more out of what you presently have than you may think. :D Rick makes some valid points on having a card that is a little above system 'specs': but the price is right, too. Quality over speed.

    Since you are wanting to match your system potential, I'd like some mobo info 1st. Do you know the mfg & the model#? Handy utility for that info: "Fresh Diagnose".

    I will venture that the Ti 4200 or the 8500 are both excellent choices, IMO. The drop in 8500 prices makes them very desirable, but there is the driver issues. The 'new' cards use different drivers & support for 8500's ... :confused:

  4. Cucumber

    Cucumber TS Rookie Posts: 154

    Yer i think mine is a poor example of a well balanced PC :dead:, as im sure if i had a 4400, or even a 4200 i wouldnt notice the difference except for maybe 500points on my 3DMark score
    Getting new CPU/Mobo/RAM in September though..Woo Hoo:D
  5. codeseven

    codeseven TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 32

    Thanx Rick and Jay for your reply,excellent points.Some specs I left out....Soundblaster Live Value..stock power supply and Jay I know I have an Intel "solano" 82815 chip,processor version Level 6 Rev.8.6(from Fresh Diagnose),but I dont know the manufacturer of the board itself.Thanx
  6. codeseven

    codeseven TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 32

    Sorry,I meant Jav!
  7. JAV

    JAV TS Rookie Posts: 210


    No problem, I oopsed too! :blush:

    FD doesn't tell ya the board & that is the 2nd time I've referred it as doing so. :blackeye:

    This will: I suggest the 5.1 dl. It'll tell us the mfg, BIOS, chipset, etc. The info you got tells me it is an Intel 815 based board anyway. :grinthumb

    Hope you enjoy FD anyway, it is a handy little utility, IMO. :cool:

  8. codeseven

    codeseven TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 32

    Sorry for the delay in responding back,THANX! for your help and advise everyone,I really appreciate it and all of it is useful to me!....JAV,thanx for your continued interest ....if you dont mind I will look into the new thread and post my mobo specs for you to check out,THANX!
  9. codeseven

    codeseven TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 32

    JAV, Powerleap works great for system spec's! Here's some more info it provided. [Motherboard] Vender:Intel Model:D815EEA Revision:AAA19243-403 [Chipset] Vender:Intel Model:i815/E/EP Revision:A-2 ...Maybe more info than you needed,THANX again for your help.
  10. codeseven

    codeseven TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 32

    ....I'm also a little concerned about power supply with some of the higher end cards.I've read that the minimum for G4's is 350watts,maybe less for G3's.Anyway,if my system can fully support an upper end card then upgrading my power supply will be worth it.
  11. JAV

    JAV TS Rookie Posts: 210


    Glad all is working out well & you like FD & PLCPU utilities. :)

    I wanted to know if it was an Asus, or Abit or another mfg that allows you to access BIOS for tweeks. It being a true Intel board, I don't *think* BIOS is accessable. No biggee, it just means that improving the performance of the board will require software tweeks.

    I will suggest that you go to Intel's website & dl all the upgrades available for your board.*+Me&submit=Go! &*+Me&submit=Go! & then*+Me&submit=Go!

    Those will update the board to compatibility w/the latest components & should improve system performance too. There are also other software programs that will help speed things up if you need to when you get the card you decide on. :cool:

    I've done some comparisons @ Mad Onion & GLExcess (benchmark programs) & the 933's that are running 8500's, TI4200's & Ti4400's are holding their own against processors @ 1-1.5gig. :D

    The i815 is dated but Intel is still supporting it & continuing to supply updates to keep it in the game. [Gotta love Intel for their support!] The only downfall, IMO, is it only supports 133mhz RAM.

    My opinion: If you get a good card now, it will run fine. When the time comes to upgrade the mobo to 266mhz RAM (prices are dropping due to the 400/533mhz FSB & AGP8x boards) you'll have a card that will be compatible & will run that much better too. :grinthumb

    HTH & make sure you have an AGP slot for an AGP card. What are you using now for a vid card, btw?

    Good point on the power supply. It had slipped my mind. :blush:
  12. codeseven

    codeseven TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 32


    My current card is a GeForce2 MX 32mb.It's been a decent card but falls short when running my flight sim(CFS2)unless the graphics are turned down too much for my taste and I'm sure any newer sims/agmes will be even more demanding.

    Good point about perhaps getting an upper end card with maybe later updating my mobo in mind.

    Thanx for pointing me toward the Intel site,I will give it a go.Though I do download updated drivers often I've been skiddish about messing around with mobo/bios/chipset stuff.I did notice that the updates seem to be for the model D815EEA2 board,Powerleap shows mine is designated D815EEA without the #2,is there a difference?

    Thanx again for your help!
  13. JAV

    JAV TS Rookie Posts: 210

    I noticed PL said the chipset is Revision A-2, so I'm thinking *that* is the A-2 at the end. Intel is very helpful & has been quick to respond to my emails on various downloads, check w/them on that particular dl for precise compatibility.

    I have a 810E, but since it is in a Compaq > I have to use Compaq BIOS updates. The last one was in 2000. :rolleyes:

    I have installed the Application Accelerator & the inf. utility recently tho'. The 'monitor' won't work on my board tho'.

    HTH & you're welcome. :D
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