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upgrading graphics card. Help!

By chivEd · 33 replies
Jan 23, 2006
  1. Hi, I bought a computer a few months a go, it is a hp a1350n

    amd X2 processor 4200+
    1 GB memory
    integrated Ati Radeon xpress 200

    I'm not an intense gamer but I want to get a graphics card to play some pretty good 3D games, which PCI express graphics card would you guys recommend my budget is about $250 but if there is a cheaper one that would to the job, a lot better. Thanks
  2. spartanslayer

    spartanslayer TS Rookie Posts: 377

    Do you want to play the games in full graphics, or normal graphics? Also, what is your motherboard. Thanks.
  3. iss

    iss TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,994

    one of the Nvidia 6800GT series cards would be in that price range.
  4. chivEd

    chivEd TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Manufacturer: Asus
    Motherboard Name: A8AE-LE
    HP/Compaq motherboard name: AmberineM-GL6E

    Well I would like to play in with all the settings on high, as I metioned, I'm not really into intense gaming, normal settings would be ok. but if there is a very good card that would let me play with full graphics within my budget, great.
  5. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,382

  6. spartanslayer

    spartanslayer TS Rookie Posts: 377

    I vote for the 6800GT also. Wish I had one.
  7. LipsOfVenom

    LipsOfVenom TS Rookie Posts: 160

  8. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,360


    SCHUMIinSA TS Rookie Posts: 134

    I would say go with a nVidia GeForce 6800GS. It's a good mid to high range card and is the replacement of the 6800GT. It would leave you with a good card and some cash to spare.
    Or if you already have some extra spare cash then go for a 7800GT like everyone else said.
  10. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,382

    I'm curious as to why you would put the X850XT above the 6800GT. Isn't it hard to compare that X850XT to the nvidia cards, as it does not support pixelshader 3.0? Sure, it's framerates are great but that is partly because it doesn't have to work so hard to produce the amazing graphics that a pixelshader 3.0 card (6800GT for example) does.

    I am curious because I know you already know what I have said above, and for graphics you are one of the people who's advice I tend to read just to learn something.
  11. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,360

    I thought about the ps 3.0 when I posted, but I'm no expert in shaders, and saw that the x850xt is nearly as fast as a 7800gt, and is fairly cheap, so I thought it'd be a good choice. I'm not sure how much you'd lose by not having ps3.0 though. A 6800gt/gs is a good choice though, and I do tend to recommend nvidia...

    Well thanks for the vote of confidence, but I'm no expert. You likely know as much as I do in this area.
  12. chivEd

    chivEd TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for all the feedback
    So it is between the 7800GT and the 6800GS. eventhoug the 7800 is more expensive would the results be a lot better than the 6800GS or would I be allright with the 6800GS?

    If you have a diffenent graphics card or another suggestion or opinion, please let me know. Thanks
  13. JMag034

    JMag034 TS Rookie Posts: 25

    If you arent a hardcore gamer..or even if you are...you should be fine with the 6800GS...its a real bang for the buck
  14. compres

    compres TS Rookie Posts: 30

    Currently all effects that are done with ps3.0 can be done with ps2.0. ps3.0 is more about getting speed out of the same algorithms.

    I would choose the x850. With the 850 you get better image quality(AA and aniso) than any of the GTs.

    IMO Image quality is king, cant go wrong with ATI in that regard. If you care about raw performance, then the 850 is also king in that price range in direct3d performance. Gotta admit the 6800s are nice, but I would not choose it based on the 3.0 support.

    The only reason to get the 6800 over the 850 is the doom3 performance and openGL in general(but man doom 3 was sad...).

    The 7800 GT is the best choice anyway.

    All this of course IMO.

  15. AtK SpAdE

    AtK SpAdE TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,341


    Do you have any good reads on p.s.3? I really know very little about it, or what it has over p.s.2....

  16. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,382

    That has been true, but slowly this has been changing. Today's newer games are using pixel shader 3.0 and making some beautiful graphics.


    Nvidia 6 and 7 series support pixel shader 3.0 but you have to go to the X1X00 series of ATI in order to get it. The X800 series can't. I choose an nvidia card over ATI for this reason alone. The picture just looks that much better.
  17. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,360

    Interesting article. The ps3.0 does look nicer in the pics, and I can imagine that looking nicer requires more power from a card to get similar framerates compared to without ps3.0. My vote goes for the 6800gt/gs now, in light of the new info.
  18. compres

    compres TS Rookie Posts: 30

    Well it all comes to the developer's decision to which features to support on which shaders. In my case I would choose image quality over some shader effects on a couple of games. The 7800 series is better than both the 6800 and x850 anyway.
  19. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,382

    That link I gave above showing the difference between shader pixel 2 and 3 shows that pixel shader 3 support makes a big difference. It shows the game the way the programers WANTED the game to be shown, with all the effects.

    I personally wouldn't want to downgrade to a shader 2.0 card and I am curious about the quote of yours I have above. What exactly do you mean when you say the image quality is better. In my link above showing the 2 vs 3 shader graphics, I don't care how much higher quality the picture of the 2.0 shader screenshot is, it isn't going to look as good as the 3.0 shader. It is missing a part of the picture.

    And the claim that ATI produces better image quality... well, even if it IS true, it isn't by much. Nvidia also make great cards, and their picture quality is AT LEAST competive to ATI (if not superior). So even if it is a LITTLE better, it isn't going to be so much better that it would be worth sacrificing by going down to pixel shader 2.0.

    Just my opinion of course.
  20. iss

    iss TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,994

    ATI cards have in the past alway had bettwer image quality than Nvidia cards. but with the advent of the 6XXX series of cards Nvidia has taken steps to remedy that situation and currenetly thier image quality is on par with ATI.

    That said pixel shader 3.0 is overhyped not only do very few games even have that support but the difference between 3.0 and 2.0b are fairly minor as far as it is being implemented at this point by Game developers.
  21. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,382

    I thought this article was fairly well done, discussing whether or not pixel shader 3.0 is overhyped or really worth it:


    From what I understood in that article, programmers want to use pixel shader 3.0 as it DOES allow them to render better looking games, but not a high enough percentage of users have GPUs that support the technology so they have to wait. Since all NEWEST cards out today are supporting 3.0 (even the new ATI cards on on board), my guess is we are going to see it used more and more, as the programmers (at least the ones in that article) tend to feel that it is a step up in graphics.

    If you are buying a new high end grahics card, (and I still consider the 6800/X850 cards high end) why by one that doesn't support pixel shader 3.0 (I.e, X850 series)? More and more games will be making use of the technology over the next few months it seems.
  22. iss

    iss TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,994

    if you read the article you posted the link to you can see that the statemnet is made: Rowan: I can not think of any effects that can be done in PS 3.0 that can't be done in PS 2.0. Under PS 2.0 they might take some extra passes, or maybe a few more instructions, but the final result should exactly match the equiv PS 3.0 Shader.

    I can tell you why it isnt a deal maker for me. I use ATI cards because they are calable and becuase they will fit in my full tower case without me having to remove my drive cages. and the same cannot be said about Nvidia's absurdly over long cards.
  23. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,382

    OUCH!! :unch:

    pulling out the stoppers and going for the kill!!! Yeesh.

    That was one (of many) responders answers. Was his the only one worth reading? I found the numerous other responses that were postive for pixel shader 3.0 to at least be worth reading.

    For example:
    or this one:
    or this one:
    "If I read it"??? Is that your impression of what I do in this forum, is post things I have not read? Nice. Anyways, you are one of the posters here who's opinions and contributions I have found INVALUABLE many times.

    But today, I'll let this thread go on without me for a while. It is starting to take the flavor of a punching match, and well.... sometimes those are fun, but not today.
  24. iss

    iss TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,994

    I think you missed the point of what all of the developers had to say about the differences between PS2.0 and 3.0 they all admitted that there is nothing that can be done with PS3.0 that cant be done in PS2.0. it is simply EASIER and more cost effective in to do it in PS3.0. that is not an unimportant factor is developing games. BUT... if the same effects and identical graphics can be done with PS2.0 as can be done with PS3.0 then it cant be said that better lookings games are only possible with PS3.0

    The real reason developers want to move to 3.0 is because it will allow them to create the SAME graphics quicker and easier than doing it with 2.0. not becuase they cant make better looking games with 2.0
  25. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,382

    OK then, if they CAN make the same level of graphics using 2.0, then why is it that games that are utilizing 3.0 shaders look so much better? The far cry team had a LOT to say about the advantages of 3.0 vs 2.0, and it was NOT simply that it makes it easier to program as you are saying above.

    Another example (from this link http://www.tomshardware.com/2005/12/02/vga_charts_viii/page2.html ) is Age of Empires3. Why are those 3.0 screenshots so much better than 2.0? If 2.0 CAN do the same, then why aren't they?

    I think your point that for most games 3.0 is not utilized is accurate, but to say that 3.0 is not a step up (graphics wise).....

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