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Advice for buying a new graphics card.

Discussion in 'Graphics Cards' started by penguin666, Jul 30, 2006.

  1. penguin666 New Member

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    Hello, I seem to be getting loads of messages from games now telling me I need a new graphics card which supports pixel shader 3.0 or other stuff like that (damn Championsheep Rally needing this new fangled technology :) ). Currently I have a Geforce 4 MX420, which I think desperately needs replacing.

    I am having trouble figuring out which range of graphics cards I should be looking at. I don't want to spend too much, around £100 (about $180) at the most, but I have been reading on some websites that budget cards like the geforce 7300 aren't cut out for gaming and don't display resolutions over 1024x768. Are the higher spec 6 series cards better than the budget 7 series ones, if so what would be the reason for putting the new technology into a card that doesn't require it?

    I primarily want a new card for gaming, and my motherboard is only AGP 4x, ive seen some very reasonably priced quite high spec 7 series cards but they are all PCI-E which I don't have. So would a 6800, or a 6600 probably be the type of card I'm looking for? And are all 8x AGP cards still backwards compatible?

    I would also want the card to last as long as possible and be as compatible as possible, so is there any new type of pixel shader/ shader model thing coming out which will mean i'd need another card to play the latest games?

    Thanks for any help or guidance.

    :) :) :)
     
  2. _33

    _33 New Member

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    I read Nvidia still makes some good performing AGP cards, newer models too. Maybe you could put your hand on a 6800 AGP? Good luck!
     
  3. x800professor

    x800professor New Member

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    The mx cards have pixel shader 0.0. They have no pixel shaders! I used to have one. That's the reason it doesn't want to work with anything. Older games could run with pixel shaders enabled or disabled because not all cards had pixel shaders. Newer games require some sort of shaders to run. They are all fine with a pixel shader 2.0 card and really don't look much different. It will be a LONG time before games won't even run on a PS2.0 card. Before I make a suggestion, what kind of CPU and ram do you have? I would actually say go with ATI and get a x800GTO because they eat 7300s, 6600s and the 6800s you can get right now for lunch, but they might be overkill for your system.
     
  4. x800professor

    x800professor New Member

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    Oh yeah, and I had an x800GTO running in an AGP4x motherboard for a while and it ran just fine.
     
  5. penguin666 New Member

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    Thanks for all the help!!!

    I have an Athlon XP 2200+ and 512mb of ram, but i might upgrade to 1G soon.

    Cheers!
     
  6. penguin666 New Member

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  7. TXcharger

    TXcharger New Member

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    definately get the X800, because faster memory and 12 more pipelines, the X1600 is a great card but pretty much a rip off, the good thing with the X1600 is it has all the latest technology but none of the brawn of the X800
     
  8. x800professor

    x800professor New Member

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    Yep, the X800 is MUCH more powerful than an X1600. SM 3.0 cannot save it.
     
  9. noneed4me2 New Member

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    Being agp at the end of its run the GTO makes more sense as even though it only has sm2.0 it has more muscle than the x1600, and the AGP x1600 only has 128bit ringbus while the x800 gto has 256bit (this is not how much ram but how fast it communicates). Alot of the agp x800 gto's are rebadged pro cards and its a decent investment considering your other specs. You won't run any sm3 games at high level detail on your system anyway. If you can find one that already has 16 pipes (some gto's have 16p out of the box) that would be your best bet, and like others said any sm3 games will revert to sm2 and run just fine. The ram upgrade will help also.
     
  10. Cybie1111 New Member

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    Ringbus is an archetecture (spelling?) which the last gen cards lack for transfering info from memory chips. The X1600 series has a 128bit memory interface with a 256bit ringbus.
    I also agree that you should get an X800 series GPU for AGP. I consider an X1600 a budget card.
     
  11. Sq7 New Member

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    I found when I had to do a major upgrade a while ago that its just not worth sticking with AGP. It turned out one hell of a costly upgrade. Around R2400 (+-$330). My supplier even gave me a good trade in for my old hardware and it was still that expensive. It was worth it though for me. At that time I upgraded from AGP 9600pro to an PCI-E x700pro. I went 939
    64bit on my mobo and my CPU and I upgraded my RAM from 512 to a 1024.

    I hated the whole changeover period coz in a few months the standard graphics bus and the standard motherboard and CPU architectures had changed. It was quite unfair really. But more in a cosmic sense I guess... lol I'm glad for it now that it's over. Soon I'm upgrading to a x1900 card because I can.

    I should say. I don't envy your position. May sound like a step sideways, but you should actually be thinking of getting a new 64bit chip and a motherboard that supports both AGP and PCI-E so you can keep your old GFX-card for now. And you should get the extra RAM. I say all this coz you'll just stay at a disadvantage if you stick with the platform you are on now. The AGP versions of the newer cards are much more expensive than their PCI-E counterparts. So if you want to start to get bang for you buck again you should get your system up first. And see how much you can sell your old parts for first. It might be only a couple of bucks, but anything that helps.

    That's what I think. Then you can upgrade to a cheapo ATI-x or NVidia-7 series card and you'll still get much better performance than your getting now. I play Olblivion at high settings on my x700pro. Given at a low resolution, but it does not really matter coz of the AA and ASF it looks great. And it runs very smooth. Doom, everything works just great. I just force AA and ASF in catalyst and then turn it off in my games. For some reason it seems to work much faster. I used to do that when I still had a MX440 as well and I could play X2 with AA and ASF enabled. Doesn't solve your shader problem, but it's a good tip. Doesn't allways improve, but mostly it does and for the rest you just set up different configurations in your card's control panel.
     
  12. penguin666 New Member

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    Thanks for all the advice. Looks like the X800 GTO is probably my best bet, although I was considering upgrading to a 64 bit processor and PCI-E to get a cheaper card but i'd have to find some money first :) :) :)

    It sounds interesting that you get better performance turning on AA and AF in your drivers but not the game, i'll have to give that a go.

    Cheerss for all the help :) :) :)
     
  13. SomeRandomGuy New Member

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    Alright, a couple of things to keep in mind.
    1. Ringbus is NOT as good as it sounds (256-Bit RAM still kicks the crap outa 128-bit w/ 256 ringbus)
    2. What you do w/ the card (for gaming, get something powerful even if it doesn't have all the features)
    3. When will you upgrade next (if you have an upgrade coming up pretty quick, stick w/ AGP and use the savings for upgrade, if its gonna be a while, consider coming over to PCI-express)

    Keeping this in mind, I have a couple of card I recommend, the X800 is a great card that has been recommended to you. Also, the 6800. Many of the AGP cards unlock to the 6800 Ultra specs, in addition, the 6800 supports HDR while the X800 does not. Both run on SM2.0 which will keep you going for years to come. 256mb's of GRAM is all you need, 512 won't see common use for quite some time and is rather costly. Other than that, you've been given a lot of other good info. Good luck and let us know what you get and how you like it.

    Edit: Also, buy from EVGA (if going nvidia) or HIS (if going ATI). Best companies and you'll be happy w/ their cards and support. Just my advice though.
     

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