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Delete this thread.. Ive made a decision

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timmahtherebel

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Hey, I am looking for a decent PCI Express 2.0 graphics card for under $200, with at least 1 gig of graphics memory.

The current specs of my computer..

AMD Phenom 9500 x4 2.2GHZ
4GB PC-5300 RAM
ATI Radeon HD 3850
500 Gigabyte Harddrive
Windows Vista Home Premium x64

So... any recommendations?

Hoping to max out GTA4, or The Sims3.
 

Grutzvalt

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My first recomendation: get more RAM! Get at least 6GB (most mobo's have at least 3 slots). Stay the fuck away from ATI. Never get ATI for gaming, because ATI for gaming is a joke. You aren't going to get 1GB of video memory for $200. I don't know about your case, so I can't really tell you a great answer. I'd personally go for the GeForce 9800 series, or the GeForce GTX series.

A little word of caution. Do NOT do SLI mode (Bridgeing between the cards), it does not act as one big card. SLI renders half of your screen per card, which is very inefficient, and a huge waste of money. Unless you plan on getting 100+ frames/sec on a game like Crysis on high settings, you don't need to get a huge card.

I ran Sims 3 on a laptop with 3GB RAM, Vista 32 bit, Intel dualcore 2GHz, with 128mb of integrated video memory. Don't overkill.
 

adaffme149

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Don't worry about the graphics memory size, within reason. A 1 GB GDDR2 graphics card with 100 SPU's is going to be slower than a 512 MB GDDR5 card with 320 SPU's and a higher clock, for example. The more important things are the SPU's, memory rating (xDDRx), and the clock speed of the GPU. Don't worry about the amount of VRAM, worry about how it performs. Hope this helps you in your search. I have a Radeon HD 3870 that I got for 90 bucks new, from Newegg, and I love it. And I personally prefer ATI/AMD to NVidia/Intel. I'm not a Nvidiot. XD (Sorry, I had to make the joke. Even if it wasn't that funny.) But yeah. I'd personally recommend you an ATI/AMD combo. And I agree, SLI is a pretty big waste.
 

timmahtherebel

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...About the RAM... My machine doesn't support more than 4GB. And frankly I don't care. If I find a good enough video card it will run great.

The computer is a prebuild. I bought it used because I got one hell of a good deal on it ( but I regret selling my Dell... )

Bryce... Great. Great. Great. I am going to buy one of those ASAP. Thanks!
 
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Bryce

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Yea, I <3 my GTX260. Though I bought it when it was like $240 or something like that lols.
 

timmahtherebel

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Hmm.... Wow decisions... Well I get my paycheck on Friday so then I will decide....

( next Friday.. )
 

Bryce

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The gtx260 and gts250 are about the same, the gtx260 being slighty more powerful though. Ask mm3 for what he thinks about the gts since he's got one.
 
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...About the RAM... My machine doesn't support more than 4GB. And frankly I don't care. If I find a good enough video card it will run great.

The computer is a prebuild. I bought it used because I got one hell of a good deal on it ( but I regret selling my Dell... )
Timmy,

32 bit operating systems generally don't support more than 4 gigs of RAM. Honestly, you won't need more anyway. The aforementioned GTA IV is one of the few games that actually works well with a quad-core processor if you have one. From what I've read, few games take full advantage of its power. Games in the future may experiment with this. I'd stick with 4GB of DDR2 and the graphics card Bryce mentioned. You run AMD, right? How do you like it? Did you overclock?

Kaishen is helping me decide on a build for my new rig. We have it narrowed down between two things: a newer build with an i7 and DDR3 board running Windows 7, or an older fast dual-core with DDR2 and 64 bit Windowns XP.

I'm excited...and poor. :biggrin:
 

Bryce

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@Falkio: If you go older dual core, get an E8400, those things OC like hell. Me and MM3 both have em and their awesome!

I've stayed away from 32bit OSes. I prefer 64bit now, even on 1gb ram computers lols. And I went and got 8gb of DDR2 1066 RAM just because it was like $80 and dirt cheap for both sets. While flying in FSX I usually am at around 3gb, 30% cpu, and the rest is free for [email protected], VMs, etc.
 
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@timmy: Dude, would it seriously kill you to do any of your own research? It's not like everyone who replied to your OP was magically "gifted" the knowledge.
@Falkio: There is no generally about it... the 32 in 32-bit describes the address space. It's like having a limited amount of house numbers to pass out. So 4GB IS the hard limit on RAM. Almost everyone will get less, due to addressing other components in the computer.
 

timmahtherebel

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It is kind of hard to do research when you have no personal experience with certain things... I have a hard time deciding...

My computer is running 64 bit and I have 4 gigabytes of RAM, I am trying to find something decent but finding it is hard when you don't know what to look for. I have had experience with the 6,7,8,9 series Nvidia Graphics cards but when they change the numbering on the cards I find it kind o fhard to differentiate between them :./
 

mm3

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I have had experience with the 6,7,8,9 series Nvidia Graphics cards but when they change the numbering on the cards I find it kind o fhard to differentiate between them :./
I recommend reading articles found on Video Card Reviews and Specifications - Welcome To GPUReview.com! - GPUReview.com about nVidia's different generations of GPU series, as well as their chips (G80, G92, G92+, GT200, etc etc etc). I know that at the moment the best price-to-performance ratio card from nVidia is the 9600GT, they're pretty golden and in the 9x00 series. At 1280x1024 you can game at a steady 100fps on CoD4 without AA, almost up there with the later 9x00 series like the 9800GT (+15fps maybe?), the 9800GTX (+30fps?), the 9800GTX+ (+35fps?), and the GTS 250 (+35-40fps?).

Keep in mind the GTS 250 is a re-branded 9800GTX+, only with a shorter PCB, and the 512MB versions only need *one* PCI-e 6-pin adapter for power (1GB versions like mine need 2x). The G92+ chip is a 55nm version of the G92, and based on it's performance and success they decided to take the highest-end G92-based card and turn it into the low-end GT200 card to go hand-in-hand with cards like the GTX 260, GTX 275, etc. But given the completely different chips, you can't SLI with a GTS 250 and any other GT200-brand card, of course.

Just because the GTS 250 is still on G92, don't count it out ;), for aformentioned reasons. SLI two of these bitches and you're competeing with performance similar to a GTX 285. Tri-SLI? Forget about it!! You'd wipe the floor with a GTX 295. Also; the G92 chip clocks higher than the GT200 chip, you'll notice that G92+'s generally come stock at around 738MHz, maybe a little more depending on the manufacturer. Cards like the GTX 260 come stock at around 580MHz - 650MHz. The G92s also overclock higher (keep in mind that 65nm GT200s are still on the market! 55nm > 65nm), but in return don't have the same memory bandwidth (256-bit of GDDR3 on G92s vs 448-bit of GDDR3 on most of the GT200s, some have 512-bit and the GTX 295 has 896-bit IIRC because of 2x 448-bit) or amount of SPs as the GT200s, which makes up for the clock difference plus a little extra.

One thing I'd point out about the G92 that advantages over the GT200 is that with the higher clock speed and higher ability to overclock, given the right CPU overhead you're not going to get as much micro-stutter when SLI-ing than you would with say a GTX 260. Most GT200s that people own today are more than likely 65nm versions, which means that with the G92 you'll have a higher clock, but lower power consumptions and lower heat output.

In the end, it's all a matter of preference. There's a reason that nVidia decided to keep the G92+ around!

4GB of RAM is probably about right for gamers. You probably will never use any more than that anyway, at least for the next couple of years. I know that with what I do, especially while gaming, I'll max out at *maybe* 3GB in use. Also; don't get all crazed about fast RAM, because RAM is only as good as the CPU you pair it with. Hell, for a 1:1 ratio with my CPU @ 4.05GHz I was only needing 900MHz of RAM rated speed. At 3GHz stock @ 1333MHz FSB? Only need 667MHz. With the lower rated speed I can get 3-4-3-12 timings, and a 1T command rate. Tighter timings and a lower ratio will get you a lot better performance -- but people don't know this. They see 1066MHz RAM and go "OMG IT'S FASTAR I MUZT HAVE IT".

AND There you have it, my /walloftext
 
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Bryce

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Let me load up the game again and make a video then. You're right, not maxxed out while running through trees and all that, but still, pretty good I think. Let me get in again and see what I had it set at.
 

Bryce

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I've had it going at the VERY HIGH settings in fullscreen at 1680x1050. Looked perfect to me. Then I tried to capture it on video and of course the quality went way down. Granted, I wasn't that far in the game, just in the beginning heavy tree areas.
 

mm3

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you're not "maxed out" until you can go above 60fps steady.
 

ZombifiedKitty

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I have the GTS 250 and its been doing pretty damned well for me, 1680x1050 dual screen (bad for gaming I know) and I can run L4D at max settings (more or less) until the temp starts to rise a bit then I get some stutter but still playable (kinda, damned hunters). It also has a gig of ram on it and is in an older system with only a PCIe 1.0 slot. I only have an X2 4800 (2.5Ghz) socket AM2 with DDR2 800 ram, although I decided to get 4 gigs in 4 slots with 2 dual channel kits.

I have yet to totally max out the processing power to date, same with the ram, graphics does a lot of work with dualies. Oh and the system is 2 years old, no reinstalls, just periodic cleaning. Back when I built it yes you could do better, I paid $800 for everything however the next step up was around $1200 for only a small gain.

Fast computers is one thing but its really up to programmers and OS designers to do a better job so we don't NEED the kind of hardware we have now. The specs you guys throw around like its nothing is rather shocking to me since I was a happy little boy with a 486DX2 80Mhz CPU made by Advanced Micro Devices. 1MB of SIMM ram and maybe an 860MB IDE 100 hard drive, plus a "Hex Speed" cd-rom. Maybe even an ATI rage128 AGP card later in years. Oh yes it runs Win95 very smoothly (still have it but its in disrepair).

Learn to build matched systems not just crazy fast. Hell the xbox was only a Pentium 3 but it worked soo well because of matched systems. I used to have to design from the FSB on up and verify with manufacturers that one brand of ram would actually work in the other mobo even though it was a standard socket and speed!

Optimized, matched, balanced NOT money, money, speed. The real key with the computer builders around here (all of them HS friends) we aim for a budget first, then focus where we need speed based on the work load. Storage OR chip/ram (workhorse/server) OR video (gamer). Also think about how prices in the market will change over time and what things are easiest to upgrade or most important to upgrade over the lifespan of a computer. This computer will probably retire around 2012-2013 which is 6-7 YEARS of service, I typically do 5 for everything.

PS: YOU ALL ARE SPOILED!!!!!!
 
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