Which video card do I need?

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Julian Reville, Sep 22, 2003.

  1. Julian Reville

    Julian Reville Screenwriter

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    The new video cards have me totally confused. (snivel)[​IMG]

    I thought I had built a resonably fast computer:

    Intel motherboard D845GEBV2
    P4 2.4GHz Processor
    512MB PC-2700 Crucial RAM
    Windows XP Professional

    But tonight when I loaded up Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator 3 it ran choppy as hell. I have the latest Intel video drivers, DirectX 9, and latest everything I can think of, but this sucks. Is it the onboard video that is causing this?

    I know nothing about AGP video cards, and everything I have read just confuses me more. The Intel site says this MB supports 1.5V AGP cards, and that's it. Big help.

    If it's the video card (or lack thereof) that's causing this poor performance (I'll download a 3DMark tomorrow on the cable modem), can someone please recommend a (specific)card? I can spend up to $200 without crying too much. (sniff, snivel)

    Thanks, Julian
     
  2. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    Its definitely the onboard video... Onboard video cards are good for basic surfing/word processing, but for anything 3D related, you GOTTA have a graphics card.

    AGP is fairly standard, you can buy any AGP card out there and It'll basically work (as in display video without damaging anything, however, drivers and 3D games are another issue).

    As for specific cards, I'm not too up to date with the latest cards, however the two main brands are Nvidia and ATI. I believe you can get a basic Nvidia Geforce4-Ti4200 for around $150 (refurbed? new? not sure).

    Take my advice with a grain of salt however, I'm still running a Gefoce2-GTS :b
     
  3. Tony Genovese

    Tony Genovese Supporting Actor

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    The 845G (and 865G) on board graphics are great (if you don't want to do 3-D games or anything else that requres too much video firepower). Cost to add on-board graphics is like $5. Heck a $200 video card costs more than most motherboards!! I'd investigate the Radeon 9600 pro or Nvidia FX5600 Ultra as reasonably priced ($200) video boards that do good 3D and graphics intensive stuff. Ultimatehardware.net has some good links to video card reviews.
     
  4. Chas_T

    Chas_T Supporting Actor

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    Julian,

    You also might want to try Tom's Hardware Guide. It is a zoo out there with graphic cards, but with some research, you can find a balance of cost and performance. Onboard video is generally a bottleneck in most systems and I've run into this myself in the past.

    Just be sure you have an AGP or PCI slot for a video card on your motherboard and can disable the onboard video in the BIOS before purchasing. I would assume without researching the Intel MB it has those capabilites.

    Much Luck...

    http://www.tomshardware.com/graphic/index.html

    http://www.anandtech.com/video/index.html
     
  5. Julian Reville

    Julian Reville Screenwriter

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    Thanks guys. That sure helps, although I still don't understand all of the technical details about these cards.

     
  6. GrahamJW

    GrahamJW Stunt Coordinator

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    Julian:

    Have you got a budget in mind for a newer video card? If your motherboard has an AGP slot, I would use that over any PCI graphic card (hard to even find PCI graphic cards now). A highly recommended card is the ATI 9600 Pro. It will have enough power to play new and upcoming games such as Half Life 2 and Doom 3. The 2 fastest cards (at present) are the ATI 9800 Pro and the NVIDA GeForce FX 5900 Ultra. These cards have all the texturing and programmable texture shading that will keep you going for a few years. The manufactures claim that they will do Toy Store type graphics when game programmers are ready to put out the product. Half Life 2 should be released the September and it should be the next revolution in gaming. It has a whole next graphics engine. So, if I were getting a graphics card now, I would get one that could run Half Life 2 at the highest graphic settings. This will ensure extended life of your graphics card. Hope this helps..John
     
  7. JamesHl

    JamesHl Supporting Actor

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    Radeon 9500 pro is cheaper and faster than a 9600, if you can find it.
     
  8. Christian Behrens

    Christian Behrens Supporting Actor

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    It depends on how much power you really need. I personally would always go for one that has passive cooling (don't want the noise); some of the ATI cards have that, but probably not the most powerful ones.

    -Christian
     
  9. Julian Reville

    Julian Reville Screenwriter

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    Haven't been able to find a 9500 Pro except on eBAY, and it looks like they are kind of popular there, lots of bids.

    Is there any truth to the rumor that the Nvidia cards are more stable with older games than the Radeon cards?

    At this point, since I haven't actually tried putting a separate card in this puter, I'm torn between getting a $100 card and $200 card. I guess I'm off to CompUSA to see what they have on the shelf; if nothing strikes my fancy, I will probably order from Newegg.
     
  10. Ken Chui

    Ken Chui Supporting Actor

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    Julian:

    If you have a set budget of ~$200, I would recommend an ATI Radeon 9600 Pro 128MB, which can be found online for ~$140 (+ S/H). The Radeon 9500 was a precursor to the 9600; it performed better than its current successor, but as James mentioned, are increasingly difficult to find. Either ATI- or Sapphire-produced Radeon cards will do just fine; avoid Powercolor (slower memory chips).

    I would strongly advise against the nVidia FX5600, or anything from the FX line as they are not full-fledged DX9-compliant cards. Game developers are slowly making the transition from DX8 to DX9 games, so while the FX line may have a slight edge over the Radeon in some DX8 benchmarks, upcoming titles such as "Half-Life 2", built with DX9, are showcase items for the Radeon 9x00 line of cards, especially with anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering enabled.
     
  11. Ken Chui

    Ken Chui Supporting Actor

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  12. Julian Reville

    Julian Reville Screenwriter

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    Thanks again.

    I just came home for lunch and loaded 3DMark03 on this computer, using the onboard Intel video and got 78 3DMarks, which I am assuming is abysmal. [​IMG]

    Then, to test he functionality of adding another AGP card, I removed a cheap SIS 16MB AGP card from my DOS computerand put it in this one. It booted to Windows just fine, but it won't run 3DMark03 or 3DMark2001 SE (missing DirectX 8.1?)

    So I will go shopping this afternoon.....
     
  13. JamesHl

    JamesHl Supporting Actor

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    heh... 78.

    3dmark03 is really only good as a possible benchmark for how your system will do with dx9 games, anyway. If you're more interested in older games as you indicate with the driver question, 3dmark01 or whatever would probably be a better test.
     
  14. Julian Reville

    Julian Reville Screenwriter

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  15. Julian Reville

    Julian Reville Screenwriter

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    OK. The ATI card installed pretty easily; now I'm up to 3268 3DMarks. I guess that's about as good as I'm going to get with this motherboard.

    European Air War runs great with full detail. Combat Flight Simulator runs much better, but at a fairly low detail. This game's a bitch to fly, though.

    Thanks for everyone's help.
     
  16. Marvin Richardson

    Marvin Richardson Supporting Actor

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    Yeesh, the last time I ran 3dMark2001 I got 11656.

    Score: 11656

    Date: 2002-12-24
    CPU: AMD Athlon(tm) XP/MP/4 1737 MHz
    GPU: ATI RADEON 9700 PRO
    OS: Microsoft Windows XP
    Res: 1024x768 32bit

    Since then I've upgraded to a Gigabyte GA-7N400 Pro2 nForce 2 Ultra 400 Motherboard with an Athlon XP 2400+ running at 333MHz FSB. I should probably rerun it to see if it does any better.

    BTW, you don't wanna know how much I spent on the ATI All-in-Wonder Radeon 9700 Pro. But I love it to death. Never buying nVidia videocards again.
     
  17. Julian Reville

    Julian Reville Screenwriter

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    Sorry, I should have been more explicit. The 3268 3DMarks was running 3DMark03.

    Whenever I try to run 3DMark2001 SE I get an error message about DirectX8.1 not being correctly installed.

    I'm still not sure I have everything on this computer installed and confugured correctly. It's all fairly new hardware, but I don't think I'm getting full performance. Maybe my BIOS isn't configured well (I'm using defaults).
     
  18. Marvin Richardson

    Marvin Richardson Supporting Actor

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    Sorry Julian...I wasn't really trying to compare the two scores, I was just surprised at how low a score you got with onboard video. I knew onboard video was bad for 3D, but I didn't know it was that bad.
    I don't even know if 3DMark2001 SE scores are comparable to 3DMark2003 actually.
     
  19. Julian Reville

    Julian Reville Screenwriter

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    No problem, Marvin. I wish I had known better than to buy this MB, cause I didn't know the onboard video was that bad either. [​IMG]

    If I had the money I would buy a different one. I might anyway. Anyone recommend a good MB that supports the stuff I listed in the first post and 8X AGP?
     
  20. Marvin Richardson

    Marvin Richardson Supporting Actor

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    Just for giggles I downloaded 3DMark03 last night (thank goodness for broadband!) and ran the test. Here's my results:

    Score: 4925

    Date: 2003-09-24
    CPU: AMD Athlon(tm) XP/MP/4 2004 MHz
    GPU: ATI RADEON 9700 PRO
    324 MHz / 311 MHz
    OS: Microsoft Windows XP
    Res: [email protected] bit

    Memory: 1 GB of Corsair XMS PC2700 in Dual Channel mode
    FSB Speed of 333 MHz

    I guess that score is pretty good, but I can't seem to run the compare on the online results browser without buying 3DMark03 (not going to do that!) so I'm not sure.
     

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