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Thread: Advice on a decent video card

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* Aaron1100us's Avatar
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    Default Advice on a decent video card

    Hello, I'm trying to figure out what video card to get for my computer. There are soo many out there, I just don't know which one would be right for my setup. I don't do much gamming, but I do have some Tom Clancy Rainbow Six games, which Ghost Recon won't even play with my setup. I also like to watch movies, download music videos and stuff like that. The video sometimes gets choppy and even doing normal stuff on the internet seems choppy sometimes. I'm looking at spending $50-120, closer to $50 would be better though. My setup is this. Windows XP Home, 350w power supply, L4VX2 ECS mother board, Intell Pentium 4 2.7ghz @ 3.023 ghz, 512 DDR Ram, and an old slow NVidia Ge Force MX420 64mb video card. Not looking for something really really awsome as I don't do much gamming but I would like something that I'm not going to have to worry about having any video problems. My card now is PCI and I'm guessing AGP would be better right? Do I need 256 ram or is 128 enough? I hear that the 9600pro or 9800pro is decent. Any other cheaper cards that would be just as good or enough for what I need? Thanks
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Advice on a decent video card

    Get a 9600 Pro or 9600 XT (XT > Pro); not 9550, not 9600 SE, not plain 9600. If you can spend on anything else, go to 1GB of RAM.

    128MB v. 256MB: it won't really matter. 256MB may be a touch better, but a game that will really make use of it will generally do so at detail levels far surpassing any GPU in your budget (excepting a few PCI-e only ones, anyway).

    If you're up for the 9600 Pro or 9600 XT, get one now, before it gets even harder to find them. Newegg has a Sapphire 9600 Pro 128MB for under $55 shipped, right now, that also has a $15 MIR (hint hint).

    There are better cards, but the only ones better even remotely that cheap are PCI-e only (the HM and TC cards, which would also require more RAM).

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* Aaron1100us's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on a decent video card

    Cool,thanks. I think I might go with that one. just wondering. I have two 256mb DDR ram and one more open slot. Can I add a single 512mb or 1 GIG Ram card or do I have to keep them all the same (add another 256mb). If I could add a 512MB to my existing two 256MB cards, that would put me over 1 GIG.
    Surefire G2, M3, E1L, Inova X5 white, X5 blue, X1, AE 24w HID, RR 2XAA, 2XC, 2XAAA , RR incan/led, Dorcy Metal Gear, Brinkman 4 LED, Mini mag, Pelican Mightylite, Coleman lantern, River Rock lantern, Omega shake light, NightStar shake light, Streamlight keymate,inova LED key light, 2 river rock LED key lights, Princton Tec Apex, energizer 6 LED headlamp, RiverRock .5w Headlamp, Streamlight 4XAA Lux, Brinkmann MaxFire, Princeton Tech Rage, 3 Garrity chrome classics, Mag 85, Mag 3D, Thor platinum

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    Flashaholic* cyberhobo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on a decent video card

    ATI Radeon 9800 Pro.
    "Battle Speed Hortator"

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Advice on a decent video card

    For most of your needs, your video should not be getting choppy with your existing video card (or even on-board video from one of today's motherboards). I'd be inclined to think that you may have some applications in your Windows Startup that may be interfering with the video stream to your display or unnecessarily eating up CPU cycles. These need not (and probably aren't) trojans, worms, or viruses, but more likely applications that monitor or detect, that may have been installed with another hardware component or may be a component of a software installation.

    Insofar as internet stuff being choppy, by all means don't jump to any conclusions, the probably may be at the other end (i.e. the source).

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron1100us
    The video sometimes gets choppy and even doing normal stuff on the internet seems choppy sometimes.

    and an old slow NVidia Ge Force MX420 64mb video card.

    Thanks

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* TinderBox (UK)'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on a decent video card

    I flashed my Radeon 9800 Pro, with the Radeon 9800 XT bios, and it now runs a lot faster.

    regards.

    Quote Originally Posted by cyberhobo
    ATI Radeon 9800 Pro.
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    Flashaholic* bobisculous's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on a decent video card

    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...d.php?t=116463

    Perhaps I can suggest this? Been trying to sell that for a while now. I have no use for it. Brand New, never used. A really good card, PCI-e. Price there currently says $130, but if you buy it soon, I will lower it to $119 shipped...

    -Cameron

  8. #8

    Default Re: Advice on a decent video card

    Quote Originally Posted by cyberhobo
    ATI Radeon 9800 Pro.
    Yes, if one can be found for a decent price ($80 or less--maybe look for used?). These got gobbled up very quickly, and with good reason.

    bobisculous: nice price, but it's PCI-e.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron1100us
    Cool,thanks. I think I might go with that one. just wondering. I have two 256mb DDR ram and one more open slot. Can I add a single 512mb or 1 GIG Ram card or do I have to keep them all the same (add another 256mb). If I could add a 512MB to my existing two 256MB cards, that would put me over 1 GIG.
    You should be able to.

    P.S. I didn't notice the choppy remark. Generally, Brighteyez is correct. For gaming, there's no doubt a PCI GF4MX is going to be crap, but there shouldn't be any problems in normal use (unless you multitask a good bit, and need more RAM--you can check that w/ task manager).

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Advice on a decent video card

    Be careful...you probably have to stay with 256mb ram - like your other two.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron1100us
    Cool,thanks. I think I might go with that one. just wondering. I have two 256mb DDR ram and one more open slot. Can I add a single 512mb or 1 GIG Ram card or do I have to keep them all the same (add another 256mb). If I could add a 512MB to my existing two 256MB cards, that would put me over 1 GIG.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Advice on a decent video card

    The P4X400 chipset supports only a single channel of DDR memory up to DDR333 so no matching is required, and the board supports 3GB of memory. Even a 1GB stick should work fine.

    The board has AGP, so an X800GTO card like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...2E16814102002R would be about 75% faster than a 9800 pro, for $99.

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* Aaron1100us's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on a decent video card

    I think my issues of choppy video while on the internet was from doing alot of multi tasking. I've seen some pretty good deals on Newegg.com (thats where I bought my motherboard) but what about buying open box items from there like the X800GTo that was mentioned?
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    Default Re: Advice on a decent video card

    an open box nvidia 6600gt can be had at newegg for 116.

  13. #13
    Flashaholic* Aaron1100us's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on a decent video card

    How much are those new? I'm really hoping to spend under $100 on this. The 9600 pro and 9800 pro are lookng pretty good so far. I still need to save up and upgrade my RAM also.
    Surefire G2, M3, E1L, Inova X5 white, X5 blue, X1, AE 24w HID, RR 2XAA, 2XC, 2XAAA , RR incan/led, Dorcy Metal Gear, Brinkman 4 LED, Mini mag, Pelican Mightylite, Coleman lantern, River Rock lantern, Omega shake light, NightStar shake light, Streamlight keymate,inova LED key light, 2 river rock LED key lights, Princton Tec Apex, energizer 6 LED headlamp, RiverRock .5w Headlamp, Streamlight 4XAA Lux, Brinkmann MaxFire, Princeton Tech Rage, 3 Garrity chrome classics, Mag 85, Mag 3D, Thor platinum

  14. #14

    Default Re: Advice on a decent video card

    Then get the 9600 Pro. Honestly, it will handle any game out there (albeit not at great detail). I've got a FX 5900XT, which is maybe 15-30% faster than a 9600 Pro (on DX9 games, anyway), and while I sometimes need to tweak a bit, it does the job fine; and you've got a fast enough CPU (somewhat RAM bottlenecked, but still good enough). A 9800 Pro/XT is good if you can find it, but the 9600 Pro + RAM will be much more beneficial in games than a 6600GT or better video card by itself.

    To be sure you don't have any issues, as far as general 'choppiness', open task manager when it gets bad in desktop use, and see how much RAM you're using. If it's showing 400MB or over, RAM is probably the main issue.

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    Default Re: Advice on a decent video card

    If you can swing the 6600GT, I would go for it and buy memory later. It is one of the best still available for a AGP slot, as other's mentioned now top of line are PCIe only.

    Trying to keep up to snuff for the gaming PC is an expensive, losing proposition. I have P4 2.4 ghz and 9800 Pro which barely cuts it for newer games. To upgrade, I would have to get new mb, new cpu, new mem, new power supply and of course new video card. I don't know if I could get some up to snuff for under a grand and then it would only last a couple of years tops.
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    Default Re: Advice on a decent video card

    The four pipeline (but highly clocked) 5900 and 8 pipeline (but 128-bit memory) 6600GT are only slightly faster than the old 8 pipeline 9800 pro. The 9600 pro is far slower than any of the above because it has both only four pipelines and a 128-bit memory bus.

    The fastest AGP cards in the world are the 7800GS and X850XT /PE. Just behind those are the X800XT and 6800 Ultra. Those are all more than double the speed of a 9800 pro but have a price to match. All have 16 pipelines.

    The 12-pipe 6800 or X800GTO, or low-clocked but 16-pipe 6800GT or X800XL are all fine budget choices with nearly the performance of the top cards. I wouldn't worry about Newegg refurbs because they have a fine return policy.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Advice on a decent video card

    BTW, traditionally first-person shooters tend to mostly require a powerful graphics card while simulators (flight sims) require lots of CPU. With a decent card you should have no issues playing modern games like Doom3, Half Life 2, and Far Cry with that CPU. FEAR and Oblivion will play but not as well.

    The X800GTO is about $140 and the 12-pipe 6800 about $170 new at Newegg. About half the price of the 7800GS or X850XT.

    For reference, the latest PCI-E only cards are the X1900 XTX and 7900GTX, which are roughly 50% faster than the AGP 7800GS or X850XT... and 50% more expensive. Don't forget you can double those up in SLI/Crossfire mode, too.

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    Default Re: Advice on a decent video card

    bfg900, thanks for straightening me out. For my needs, I wonder if it's worth getting one of those AGP cards and a Northwood P4 3.2 ghz (fastest cpu mb will take). I could probably do that combination for maybe $400. This would be opposed to as mentioned, pretty much upgrading the whole system. I wonder if either the ATI or Nvidia cards you mention hold an edge over the other in video playback and editing as I do that a lot.
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  19. #19

    Default Re: Advice on a decent video card

    Probably not; I only use 9700 pro AIW cards in my video editing workstations (Those AIW cards come in real handy for video use because of all the video inputs and outputs on them, and the TV tuner lets you use the PC like a Tivo). For video editing, I'd first get a fast CPU, lots of RAM and two fast hard drives (to allow reading the source from one while simultaneously writing the modified output to the other). The video card really has nothing to do with video (because it's not 3D)... unless that's HD video you're editing, in which case hardware H.264 encoding by the video card would be helpful.

    As long as it's not HD, the 9800 pro should do as well as any. So I'd recommend waiting until July 23rd when Core 2 Duo comes out and both Intel and AMD prices plummet. A cheap S939 AGP board or an i865 board with Core 2 Duo support will then accept your old DDR and AGP card, plus a newly discounted X2 3800+ for $169 or $183 E6300. Of course this is only for a workstation where you do not intend to play games.

    One thing I've found is the top video card from a previous generation is nearly always faster than a same-price midrange card from the current generation, though the newer card may have more features. The sad thing about AGP though (besides not having the latest) is the cards cost a lot more than equivalent PCI-E cards do. For example, a PCI-E X1900 AIW card is the same price as the AGP X800XT AIW card. So if you are serious about playing games, there really is no choice but to upgrade to PCI-E.

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    Default Re: Advice on a decent video card

    Downloading from the internet can be choppy, but that's just your internet connection. An AGP card should be considerably better than PCI. That's why the AGP slot is there. The only reason for PCI video is for cheap mobos that don't have an AGP slot.

    I'm not a gamer. My requirements are nice sharp displays on dual monitors, and no video hangs. I often do a fast user switch with 30 or more processes running, and I used to get a video hiccup often which would leave me with a black screen.

    I cured that problem three ways. I went from 512 MB to 1 GB of memory. I stopped installing those stupid buggy auxiliary programs that come with video cards. Things like Hydravision and PowerDesk. But the biggest improvement came when I got a Radeon 9250 AGP card for $45.

    This thing never glitches. I never installed a driver either, because XP has one built in. It has no fan, so it's quiet. At last, the perfect video card, for me at least.

    Although not a gamer's card, it has some 3D capability and will run 3DMark 2003 but it won't run test 4, and tests 2 and 3 are a bit jerky. Gamers would probably consider the 3dMark score of 1132 to be disgustingly bad, but I don't care. My computer isn't as fast as yours, a P4 2.4GHz, 533 Mhz FSB, and that may contribute to the low score. I notice Mark3D runs my CPU 100%.
    Last edited by eluminator; 06-23-2006 at 07:25 AM.

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    Flashaholic* Aaron1100us's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on a decent video card

    My PF uage usually stays below 270mb. My CPU usually stays within 40% and 70% while multitasking with occasional jump to 100%. So it sounds like for what I'm doing, CPU speed is more important. If thats the case, then my CPU should be decent and all I would probably need for a video card would be a good AGP like the 9600 or 9800. I'd sure love to get one of those kick ass high end graphics cards but I'm on somewhat of a budget and now I'm going to need to buy more RAM too. The X800GTO was looking pretty sweet at $99, 9600 Pro for $72 and didn't find any 9800 Pro. If I was to go with the X800GTO, I'd have to download all the drivers but that wouldn't be a big deal. The 9600 Pro is closer to what I'm wanting to spend but there is only a $27 difference and I'm guessing the X800GTO would be alot faster. But, with the X800GTO, I'll have to wait to buy more RAM.
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    *Flashaholic* carrot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on a decent video card

    For people who are casual gamers who don't need the very best, I would tend to suggest the latest low-end card from Nvidia, which is currently the Geforce 7200. Getting the latest card ensures you have support for the most current DirectX and pixel shaders. 128MB onboard video RAM should suffice for most people.
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  23. #23

    Default Re: Advice on a decent video card

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron1100us
    9600 Pro for $72
    That's too high, unless it's one of Sapphire's passive versions. ZZF has one for $60 shipped, Newegg for a fair bit less (but Newegg appears to be *gasp* down!). At $70-something, a X700 or 6600LE starts looking good.

    My CPU usually stays within 40% and 70% while multitasking with occasional jump to 100%.
    Are you doing sound, photo, or video editing? If not something that demanding, even 40% should be a spike, rather than constant reading--you don't have McAffee AV, or Norton ISS installed and running, do you?

  24. #24
    Flashaholic* Aaron1100us's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on a decent video card

    The only thing in my task bar that is running is NVIDIA, creative labs sound card program and Norton Antivirus. Under Start Up, it says I have NvCpl, nwiz, SNDMon, ccRegvfy, ccApp, NvNcTray, CTSysVol, Rundll32 P17. And MS Messanger keeps comming back even though I uncheck it all the time. It does seem like my CPU runs harder than it should. At 3.023 Ghz, it shouldn't be bogged down much but it is.
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    Flashaholic* John N's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on a decent video card

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron1100us
    My card now is PCI and I'm guessing AGP would be better right?
    You are correct AGP would be better, but if you currently have a PCI video card, make sure your system can accomidate an AGP card. Would be a bummer ot buy a new card and find out you can't plug it in.

    (I only quickly scanned this thread, so sorry if this was already covered)

    -john

  26. #26
    Flashaholic* Aaron1100us's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on a decent video card

    Yes, I do have an open AGP slot.
    Surefire G2, M3, E1L, Inova X5 white, X5 blue, X1, AE 24w HID, RR 2XAA, 2XC, 2XAAA , RR incan/led, Dorcy Metal Gear, Brinkman 4 LED, Mini mag, Pelican Mightylite, Coleman lantern, River Rock lantern, Omega shake light, NightStar shake light, Streamlight keymate,inova LED key light, 2 river rock LED key lights, Princton Tec Apex, energizer 6 LED headlamp, RiverRock .5w Headlamp, Streamlight 4XAA Lux, Brinkmann MaxFire, Princeton Tech Rage, 3 Garrity chrome classics, Mag 85, Mag 3D, Thor platinum

  27. #27
    Flashaholic* 3rd_shift's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on a decent video card

    Maybe this?
    www.tomshardware.com
    This should give a pretty good clue as to what kind of Video card to look for.
    I ended up with a Leadtek px 7600 gs.

  28. #28
    Flashaholic* Aaron1100us's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on a decent video card

    $172.99, thats a little too pricey for me. I did check out that site and they had some information but it seems most was for $200 + video cards. I'd sure love to get something cool like that but I probably don't need it as I don't do much gamming. I sure wish local stores had good prices like what you see online as I don't really like buying over the internet, oh well. Also trying to decide if I should just get one 512mb ram card or a 1 gig, $38 vs $82. I'd rather be spending money on Flashlights
    Surefire G2, M3, E1L, Inova X5 white, X5 blue, X1, AE 24w HID, RR 2XAA, 2XC, 2XAAA , RR incan/led, Dorcy Metal Gear, Brinkman 4 LED, Mini mag, Pelican Mightylite, Coleman lantern, River Rock lantern, Omega shake light, NightStar shake light, Streamlight keymate,inova LED key light, 2 river rock LED key lights, Princton Tec Apex, energizer 6 LED headlamp, RiverRock .5w Headlamp, Streamlight 4XAA Lux, Brinkmann MaxFire, Princeton Tech Rage, 3 Garrity chrome classics, Mag 85, Mag 3D, Thor platinum

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