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Upgrading My Graphics Card And I Have Some Questions Please

marcbkk

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#1
I am running an ASUS P4S800D-X motherboard with a Pentium IV 3Ghz CPU and 2GB of ram. I currently have an Asus A9550 AGP graphics card with 128MB of RAM and which has one DVI port and on VGA port.

I had been running a single Apple Widescreen 20” cinema display on the DVI port for a year or so.

Now I just added a second monitor which is a Dell 24” Widescreen Ultrasharp display to make it a dual monitor setup. The Dell is capable of running on both a VGA or DVI signal, but since my graphics card only has one DVI port, I have the Dell running on the VGA port and the moment.

I use the computer mainly for Photoshop and working on 50-150MB image files.

I found that images look sharper on the Apple, even though it is almost 2 years old already. My guess is that the Dell would be much sharper if I had it running also on a DVI port.

I have been looking at AGP cards that I can upgrade to, although there are not many to choose from. There is one by ASUS I have been looking at with 512MB of RAM which is the Asus HD2600. I am also looking at a Sapphire X1950 Pro also with 512MB of RAM.

Before I make a new video card purchase I want to make sure I am going to get the right thing.

If anyone could answer the following questions it would be much appreciated:

1 – If I put the Dell monitor also on a DVI port will I see a noticeable difference in sharpness over the VGA signal it is running on now?

2 – Will a graphics card with 512MB of RAM versus 256MB of RAM make a noticeable difference in performance for the type of work I am doing which as I said is primarily Photoshop with large photo files?

3 – I had heard that the Sapphire X1950 Pro is one of the fastest graphics cards. For the work I am doing do I need something as fast as this?

4 – I also heard that the Sapphire card requires lots of power and could be a problem in some machines. Is this something to be concerned about?

5 – If I upgraded to say a graphics card with 256MB of RAM and 2 DVI ports, would this be enough of an upgrade to increase the sharpness on the Dell and overall increase in performance I am looking for?

6 – Are there any other graphics cards available that would offer to DVI ports with an AGP slot with either 256MB or 512MB of RAM worth considering instead of the ones I mentioned above?

Thank you for your time and hoping to get some good guidance on this.
 
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#2
Well firstly I'm not a scientist on everything about graphic cards but I'll see if I can help.

Firstly if photoshopping is all you plan to do then anything above 128MB is not real necessary as the graphics card does not have to render 3D content like when gaming.
Secondly, DVI output is preferrable but you may not notice too much difference for what you require.

AGP is still around but not in abundance compared to PCI Express cards.
Here's a few cards with dual DVI that may suit your requirments though:

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=2743727&CatId=935
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=3477296&CatId=2234
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=2918625&CatId=935

I really need to know your system specs to identify your power requirements. These cards are somewhat at the higher end also for AGP, had trouble finding cards with dual DVI. You could use a DVI to VGA adapter also.
 
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marcbkk

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#3
Thank you. I have a 450W Enermax Power Supply.

So it sounds like if I just go up to 256MB of RAM then that should be enough of an increase. I also imagine the faster bus and clock speeds on newer graphics cards should make a difference for me since my existing card is rather old in terms of specs.

In regards to the other cards you suggested, a friend said to be careful as some of them may either have compatibility problems with my main board or apparently some, even though they have very high resolution display limits, cannot display monitors at certain specific resolutions.

In my case I would need the first DVI port to be able to display at 1680x1050 for the Apple monitor and the second DVI port to be able to display the Dell monitor at 1200x1920. I am not sure though if there is any way to check those specs on a card first before buying it.


P.S. There is no reason for me to want to convert a DVI signal to VGA since that would only reduce a digital signal to analog and resduce signal quality. Since both of my monitors are DVI capable it isn't a problem anyway and why I want to upgrade to a graphcis card with 2 DVI ports.
 
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#4
My gut feel is that 512mb would be preferable, as it would take a little of the load off your system ram.

Of those cards recommended, I would suggest either the 7600GT or the X1950 Pro.

I don't see your psu having a problem with either.

And yes, dual DVI is the way to go.
 
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#5
I'd say wait for the 3850 to hit AGP.

You can get a 2600XT for 110$ after MiR...

Mind you, people are crying cause they don't know how to install drivers, and they're expecting dx10 to work... This card isn't good enough for dx10, but should run everything above 1950pro levels. Strap a spare 80mm fan to it and cooling should be just fine...
 
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#6
3850 would be nice. (I'm using 1):respect:

I don't know if the rest of the system justifies it though, as if you are going to pay out for a 3850 or equivalent, it would be more logical to get something that can upgrade to a faster machine.

Besides, minimum recommended psu for a 3850 is 500W.

This is all my opinion of course.;)
 

marcbkk

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#7
Thank you for all those good card suggestions guys. I am thinking though that I don’t want to buy a card that is going to over spec my machine or possibly cause power supply problems. Since my machine is relatively old, I see no point buying a graphics card that is beyond my needs for doing work with photos. In case I did not mention, I don't do any gaming at all.

Also, I didn't see anyone refer to the 2 cards I mentioned. I guess neither of them are recommended in general?
 
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#8
Thank you for all those good card suggestions guys. I am thinking though that I don’t want to buy a card that is going to over spec my machine or possibly cause power supply problems. Since my machine is relatively old, I see no point buying a graphics card that is beyond my needs for doing work with photos. In case I did not mention, I don't do any gaming at all.

Also, I didn't see anyone refer to the 2 cards I mentioned. I guess neither of them are recommended in general?
Given what you just stated, the Sapphire X1950 Pro would probably suit your needs as you stated you're not a gamer. No need for overkill or additional expense if you don't need it. Just my two cents....
 
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#9
If you don't do much gaming and don't mind playing some of the newer games on low settings to get decent fps without bursting the budget I'd go for the 7600GT.

If you want a card for decent gaming go for either a X1950pro, 7900GS or when it comes out HD3850.

Of course with the ATi's you may have to get a more powerful PSU.
 

marcbkk

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#10
The X1950 did sound like a fast gamers’ card though and might also pose power consumption problems with the PSU. Plus it is generally in the $200 range. This is only my understanding and maybe I am wrong.

I think from reading all the discussions here so far it seems, since I don't do any gaming, like I can get away with a 256MB card, although 512MB might be better. I think I should stick to low power consumption ones though. And ideally I would like to stay in the $100 range.

Is there an AGP card in the $100 range with a dual DVI port and with either 256MB or 512MB with lower power consumption. Again, I don't do any gaming at all so that is not an issue.
 
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#11
Those cards are a lot more than you will need.

I would get like a 2600pro, 512mb of ram is useless with a 128bit card, so 256 is fine, if the 512 is only available it wont hurt...

Really you should have a bit more just because of the screen size, but a 2600pro is plenty more than enough power, photoshop and such doesn't use processing power, it just uses some ram.
 
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#12
Those cards are a lot more than you will need.

I would get like a 2600pro, 512mb of ram is useless with a 128bit card, so 256 is fine, if the 512 is only available it wont hurt...

Really you should have a bit more just because of the screen size, but a 2600pro is plenty more than enough power, photoshop and such doesn't use processing power, it just uses some ram.
+1

reason i recommended that 2600xt was the price, cheaper than many of the 2600pro models. they all take a 6-pin connector though..
 
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#13
+1

reason i recommended that 2600xt was the price, cheaper than many of the 2600pro models. they all take a 6-pin connector though..
The 2600pro by sapphire at least uses a standard old floppy 4 pin, the 2600xt does use a pci-e 6 pin but most come with an adapter, they don't use much power though either way good nice cards.
 

marcbkk

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#14
Thanks. I looked at the 2600 models before, but the problem is they all comes with only one DVI port and the other is VGA. I am trying to get a card with 2 DVI ports and one of the main reasons for replacing the one I have now.
 
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#15
The one I linked to is dual DVI.
 

candle_86

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#16
I'd say wait for the 3850 to hit AGP.

You can get a 2600XT for 110$ after MiR...

Mind you, people are crying cause they don't know how to install drivers, and they're expecting dx10 to work... This card isn't good enough for dx10, but should run everything above 1950pro levels. Strap a spare 80mm fan to it and cooling should be just fine...
yes dont use ATI drivers, only use manufactures or the omega drivers, ATI has stopped drive support for the AGP bus
 
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#17
Quite frankly, for your needs, go for the best price options with the cards mentioned.

I was saying the 7600GT or 1950 pro as they should give you good "bang for the buck".

Nothing wrong with the 2600, just look at the pricing.
 

marcbkk

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#18
Thank you everyone. Originally I was going to buy either a Sapphire 2600XT or 2600Pro 512MB card on eBay, but some showed pictures of the card with having only single DVI ports. On the specs on the Sapphire site it does say they are both dual DVI port cards, but if you click on the following link for a 2600Pro card being sold on eBay and scroll down to the bottom where there is a question from a buyer, then the seller even confirms the card is a single DVI port card: http://cgi.ebay.com/ATI-Radeon-HD-2...ryZ80190QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

So I am confused. Do either the Sapphire 2600XT or the 2600Pro cards offer dual DVI ports? If so, then they seem like the way to go since they are easily available on eBay and at good prices.

The 2600XT linked to above though by Silverel is a HIS brand card and does for sure have Dual DVI ports as he said. Generally though that is a more expensive card say then the HD2600Pro AGP card offered by ASUS which also has 512MB of RAM and Dual DVI ports. So the one by ASUS would seem like a better value with the same specs.

Then I saw there is also a HIS 2600Pro on NewEGG for $99 which is 512MB and Dual DVI. Seems like the best card for the money for what I need and, if I am not mistaken, wont cause any power consumption problems on my machine: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161210

More feedback and clarification on these cards would be much appreciated. Many Thanks.
 
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