Video card upgrade ... I have questions??

Discussion in 'Computers' started by brentl, Nov 11, 2004.

  1. brentl

    brentl Cinematographer

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    I'm running a Ati Radeon 8500le 128mb. Nothing fantastic, but it did the job until I played the release of Doom 3. The frame rate was really baD, and with Half Life 2 coming out I MUST be ready.

    I'm looking for a good upgrade, but I'm not looking at more than $120u.s. + taxes about $170 Canadian after taxes.

    I will only buy a Radeon based product so give me some good ideas. OH I'd like to buy in Canada so I don't get any suprises.

    Looking at

    Sapphire Radeon™ 9600 Pro Advantage 256MB .... $132Can +taxes
    PowerColor Radeon™ 9550 256MB w/ DVI/TV-Out 8x AGP .... $115 +
    Sapphire Atlantis Radeon 9600 Pro AGP 8x .... $145 +
    PowerColor Radeon 9600 Pro AGP 8X 128M .... $127 +

    Thoughts?

    Thanks
    Brent
     
  2. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    ATI Radeon 9800 Pro. Any reason why you don't want it? It'll be the best overall at only twice the price!

    You might want to google for reviews of the cards using the Half-Life 2 Source engine (most reviewers now use Counterstrike Source as their benchmark). This will give you an accurate idea of what the performance will be like in Half-Life 2.

    Site's like Anandtech.com, Tom's Hardware, Firing Squad, etc....

    You have to be careful with some of the PowerColor and Sapphire cards - they may not advertise a 64 bit memory bus (ie. slow ass) and you may get the mistaken impression it supports 128 bits...
     
  3. Mike Fassler

    Mike Fassler Supporting Actor

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    out of those 4 cards you specified, I would get the saphirre 9600 pro. Mainly because,if you do yer research on Saphirre, you would learn they make almost every ATI branded card on the market.so why not just buy the real deal and get a nicely optimized card. the 9600 pro is a good budget card, while you cant expect good framerates at high resolutions, it is a DX9 card and should play the newer games no problem.
     
  4. brentl

    brentl Cinematographer

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    "It'll be the best overall at only twice the price!" That's the point, the money from me selling my Vespa goes to other thing too.

    What I find hard is getting specs from the dealers locally. I've been told to get the 128 bit bus, make sure you get a card that has all four pipes running.

    If I had more time I'd order a Radeon 9500 from the U.s for $120 U.s.

    Brent
    Go here and see if you can help me, but please remember the price constraints. I'd also like to pick it up locally(t.o. area).

    Thanks
     
  5. Mike Fassler

    Mike Fassler Supporting Actor

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    you wouldnt see any advantage in a 9500 series, the 9600 series has 4 pipes less but it has the same performance levels. I had a 9500 pro before I got my 9800 pro, both are great cards. all the cards in that link you provided seem higher than the budget you are allowing for. 9600 pro is 100 dollars at newegg.com not sure what that comes to in canadian.
     
  6. DaveGTP

    DaveGTP Cinematographer

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    I had an non-LE Radeon 8500 for a few years, up until about 2 months ago. I replaced it with a refurbed MSI 9800pro. For a while newegg had quite a few refurb 9800pros for $155 US$, but lately they are out of stock.

    The performance increase from an 8500 to a 9600 pro does not seem worth the $100+ investment. Especially when you could spend just a little more and be fully up to date (a 9800 pro will run pretty much everything at full settings, up to 1024x768).

    9800 pro deals have been $150-$170, lately. But I don't see any deals right now. Best Buy had it for $179 After Rebate a few months back.


    If you don't think you can spend that kind of cash, a used/refurbed 9700 pro would be a lot better than a 9600 pro at around the $120 pricepoint. And a 9500pro is indeed better than a 9600pro, most of the time, but I think a 9600pro is better than a 9500non-pro.


    Also, in the next month, the budget-priced Geforce 6600 (MSRP $150) will be showing up. If it shows up the same time as the 6600GT, it should be within just a few weeks. I know you asked for ATI cards, but the new budget GF line are really good bang for the buck.


    Here's some good midrange card benchmarks for Counterstrike Source

    http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/...ange/page3.asp




    Anyway, if you aren't going to catch up, your radeon 8500 should do the job for HL2, from the benchmarks. It might be best to stick with that until you can afford a 9800pro or a GF 6600GT. If you want to crank up the settings, a 9600 or 9500-era card won't benefit you much anyway. @ 1024x768 at with 2xAA/8xAF, the 9600 pro got 46.3 fps, and the 8500 had 28.7. A vanilla 9600 was only 6 frames better, at 34.2.

    $100 for 6 frames isn't worth the money.
     
  7. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Thanks for the link Dave! That is really helpful.

    I see that my Geforce 4 Ti 4400 is still good at 1024x768. Hmmmm. Maybe I can hold off upgrading to the 6800GT a little longer...

    *thinks about it for a nanosecond*

    Nah, screw that! [​IMG]
     
  8. brentl

    brentl Cinematographer

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    Dave, it looks like It would be worth it for me to get a 9600pro or preferably the 9800pro correct?

    I may grab the game and see if it looks OK and decide.

    Thanks
    Brent
     
  9. Mike Fassler

    Mike Fassler Supporting Actor

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    I play all of my games at 1600x1200 on my 9800 PRO CS:Source runs great at that resolution. helps to have an awesome monitor thou.
     
  10. DaveGTP

    DaveGTP Cinematographer

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    Yeah, it sounds like your 8500 has enough power to handle it, on the low settings, at this point. Unless you have a big ass monitor running at high rez...

    Like I said in the ending statement on my rather lengthy post, A 1024x768 and turning on the aa/af, you gain only 6 frames in your move from 8500 to 9600pro. Definitely not worth the $100. I think you'll be OK for now, but keep an eye out on a deal for a 9800 pro or a 6600GT. My 8500 served me well, but oh oh how pretty C&C Generals and UT2004 got with all the settings maxed out [​IMG] And with LOTR:Battle for Middle Earth on the way... [​IMG]

    The 8500 even plays Doom 3 (albeit at 640x480 [​IMG] ). It was an excellent purchase for the long run, just like the ti4200s turned out to be (I plan on eventually getting one for my wife's PC for her playing Sims 2).

    They are both still good
     
  11. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Did you pick up a card? I'm looking for a 9700 Pro myself.
     
  12. brentl

    brentl Cinematographer

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    Nope, I tried it with the 8500 and HL2 looked great and played well.

    Brent
     
  13. DaveGTP

    DaveGTP Cinematographer

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    Yeah, but you don't get the high rez and pretty special effects.

    Like this: here's a good page on anandtech between dx8 codepath and dx9...

    http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2281&p=2

    mouse over the image and it changes back and forth to and from dx8 and dx9

    The gun screenshot isn't much different, but check out the water screenshot....
     
  14. brentl

    brentl Cinematographer

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    WOW, the second picture is night and day.

    I do wonder how many times you'd pay attention during game play?

    I think spending the $300 doesn't make much sense for that type of improvement.

    I just played Farcry(not half as good as HL2) and it looked good.

    The only thing that really drives me nuts is the AA thing, straight lines look like crap with DX8.

    Brent
     
  15. DaveGTP

    DaveGTP Cinematographer

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    That's why I bought a refurb MSI 9800pro at the end of last year. [​IMG] 1024x768 @ Maximum detail with 4x AA (I didn't try 1280x960 yet)on the HL2 demo. I run @ 1280x960 @ Maximum detail for Battle for Middle Earth, which is my current addiction.

    6600GTs @ $200 or so are the best bang/buck right now, with 9800pros being the second best bang/buck (6600GTs weren't out yet when I got my 9800 pro).
     

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