What Vid Card Should I get?

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Vince Maskeeper, Mar 1, 2005.

  1. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    I am setting up my 1024x768 DLP projector in my bedroom as a video and pc media center. I have never been much of a gamer- but have enjoyed Castle Wolfenstein and the like in the past.

    Since the PJ is limited to 1024x768 resolution @ 60 or 72hz, I'm wondering if getting the "top of the line" unit is worthwhile. I'd love to play some of the newer games people are into (Halflife 2, Splinter Cell, Sims2, Farcry, Doom3, etc)-- and would like to get the absolute highest quality possible out of these types of games at this resolution and frame rate.

    Any suggestions on what card I should look into? I figured I'd get an ATI (note, I need VGA since th PJ has no DVI) and set up a dual boot Xp system- one for media like DVD and whatnot... and one for Gaming. Again, just didn't think it was worth the time to just buy the top 9800 if I didn't need it.

    -V
     
  2. Diallo B

    Diallo B Screenwriter

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    i am not sure what your budget is but a 9800pro for 200 bux is a good deal. you would put yourself in the "above average" group performance wise. the 9800pro is not a budget card but it is also not performing like a x800pro ($350-500) either.

    i just picked up a 9800pro and it is treating me right with World of Warcraft and Doom 3. (no slow frames/no choppiness). I have a dual monitor setup and can even watch television on windvr through an ati tv wonder pro on my second monitor as i play my games. (still with no slow frames/no choppiness) Like you plan to do i have a dual boot xp setup with one just for gaming and the other for work.

    I think that the 9800pro is a good value for the money and i would not look at anything less performance wise considering the games that you have mentioned. If you have the bux to burn though get the x800pro.
     
  3. Tom Jr

    Tom Jr Extra

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    I can't speak for all cards, but I can tell you what I've recently purchased.

    I recently built a new PC, and put in a Radeon 9550. I got it at Best Buy for about $120 (I was in a hurry), but you can likely get it for less on line.

    It has VGA and DVI outputs, as well as SVGA. You can do a dual monitor setup with these options. With WinXP it was a no-brainer to set up, and the quality is great, as far as I can see. I played a few scenes from 'The Matrix - Reloaded', and the picture looked great on my 19" VGA desktop monitor. I had to get really close (inches) to notice any pixelization or artifacts.

    Also of note, though I haven't played with it yet, is the setup software / driver. It seems to have a lot of control over picture (color, gamma, etc), so it may work well for a HT.

    It's not top-o-the-line, but I didn't need that, and it doesn't sound like you do either. I imagine that a step or two down may suit your needs as well.

    EDIT: OK, Diallo B got in before me, with some good advice. My reply does not contradict his, but only offers, possibly, another option for a bit less money. In a world of $400 and $500 video cards, $200 is not bad if you go with the 9800.

    Hope this helps.
    Tom
     
  4. Tim Markley

    Tim Markley Screenwriter

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    The 9800 Pro used to be the best "bang for the buck" card but it's not any more. I would say that the honor now goes to the Nvidia 6600 GT cards. Much better performance for about the same price as a 9800 Pro.

    Vince - If you don't mind used, I've got an ATI 9600XT that I recently replaced in my system with an Nvidia 6800 OC that I'd be willing to sell. It's an actual ATI card and I still have the original box and docs. It should have plenty of power for what you're looking for. Let me know if you're interested.
     
  5. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    But isn't there some issue with Nvidia cards not being able to run the DX9 needed for the best looking materials in new games... or is this just NV3x class cards?

    All the benchmarks I have found, none of them mention the 6600. I just really want to be able to run as high quality AA/AF/Shading settings on new games @ 1024x768 with decent smooth frame rates. It looks like the 9800 pro will do that- but again I'm not sure if the 128 vs 256 versions, which benchmark I am seeing, lol.
     
  6. Diallo B

    Diallo B Screenwriter

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    vince, afaik ati has stopped making the 256mb version of the 9800pro. i wanted to get one but could not find one anywhere. i wanted to go with a card that was actually manufactured by ati so i got the 128mb 9800pro.

    also, afaik the benchmarks that you are seeing are for the 128mb version. the 256mb has always been in limited runs and anytime anyone has one they usually state that they have the 256mb version.

    as far as nvidia vs. ati goes, pick your poison. benchmarks are benchmarks are real life is real life. as you stated it is hard to find stats on the 6600gt.
     
  7. Mike_J_Potter

    Mike_J_Potter Second Unit

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    Here you go

    Benchmarks for 6600gt pci express

    http://www20.graphics.tomshardware.c...907/index.html


    http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2295

    Benchmarks 6600gt agp

    http://www20.graphics.tomshardware.c...119/index.html

    http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2277

    HL2 numbers

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


    As for real numbers on my AMD64 3400+ 1 gig of ram + PNY vertigo Geforce 6600GT I get about 74 fps at 1024x768 high detail and 59 fps at 1280x1024 in Doom 3 1.1(running timedemo demo1). Very happy with ths card.
     
  8. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    Nope. Must be the nv3x cards. No problem here with my 6800GTOC from BFG.

    Their HDTV software they released lately for the 6XXX class cards has been a huge hit for HTPC's last I looked.
     
  9. Tim Markley

    Tim Markley Screenwriter

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    Yep, that's the same card that I have and it works great.

    The reason you're not finding as many benchmarks on the 6600 GT is that it's a pretty new card. From everything that I've seen, it smokes the 9800 Pro. It's available in both AGP and PCI-Express although the AGP version is slightly more expensive.
     
  10. DaveGTP

    DaveGTP Cinematographer

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    Vince, you are talking about the 256-bit version (not MB). 128MB or 256MB doesn't matter AT ALL. However, what you are thinking of is that powercolor makes a 128-bit version of the 9800 pro (it shouldn't even really be called a 9800 pro IMO). "Real" 9800pros are 256-bit.

    I would recommend a 9800 pro as well. 6600GTs are better bang for buck but for HTPC I think ATI is better IMO from what I have gathered. Anyway, you can find deals on 9800pros whereas deals on 6600GTs are hard to come by.

    I would recommend
    http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduc...02-268R&depa=0

    Refurbed ATI OEM Sapphire 9800pro @ $130. An awesome deal on a refurbed 9800 pro, refurbs have been going for $150-170.

    Best price you are going to find on a 6600GT is around $200. But the new 6600GTs do have WM9 hardware acceleration - so if you think you might need that a 6600GT might be worth the extra $.
     
  11. WayneO

    WayneO Supporting Actor

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    Well mother brother recently upgraded to a 6600GT from a 9700 Pro and it really hasn't brought about a real world improvement from a casual gaming aspect. He doesn't buy the newest games where the 6600GT may separate itself some more but framerates didn't improve much in the ones he has. Anyways, I put it in my PC(AMD XP Mobile @2.4ghz, 1 Gig of Corsair RAM) to benchmark against my 9800 Pro which scores about 6500 in 3DMark03 benchmark. The 6600GT scored 6900. The benchmark sorta showed what we felt wasn't much improvement.
    Since you don't have a 9700, 9800 Pro caliber card to "upgrade" to the 6600GT, I'd get the 6600GT. I also hear the newest drivers are really great for tweaking the resolution output so a program like PowerStrip isn't needed as most ATi users do.
     
  12. DaveGTP

    DaveGTP Cinematographer

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    Agreed. Sometimes the 9800pro is even better.

    The 6600 really shines compared to the 9800pro at higher resolutions w/ AA/AF IIRC. At lower res a 9800pro is fine. And at certain games it does better than others. Kind of a mixed bag. That's why, to me, a refurbed 9800pro @$130-$150 is a better deal than trying to find a 6600GT @ $200 or so. 9800pro prices are starting to drop at least on the secondary market. 6600GT AGP prices are high because they are in demand and there aren't a lot of them.
     

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