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Low end video card questions.

Old 12-12-05, 12:14 PM
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Low end video card questions.

I'm in need of a new vid card as I'm currently using a Radeon 9000 Pro 64mb and could use a little help. I'm looking in the ~$75 or less price range. I don't want to spend more on a card until I upgrade my motherboard to one with a PCI Express slot. I don't game a too much, but when I do it's more along the lines of Diablo 2, a RTS game, or a RPG. No FPS, so Doom 3 and the like are no worries. So the questions I have are:

What would be a better card to get between a Radeon 9550/9600 or a GeForce 6200? I can find both cards around the same price point, but don't know which is better as most reviews focus on more powerful cards.

Is either card good enough to run Age of Empires 3 or Civ IV? I don't need to run it at high settings or anything, but would prefer to limit any choppiness if possible.

Finally, could I run the above games on my current card (on a Athlon XP 1700 system with 512mb ram)? That would save the trouble of getting a graphics card at all until I overhaul the system.
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Old 12-12-05, 12:25 PM
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i used to play DiabloII on my 1800XP system, with 512mb, and a 9200se vid card.
Considering you want to upgrade the videocard, I suggest getting a 9500.

I played AOE III on my comp, and I had to run it at the lowest settings. I've upgraded to 1 gig ram, so that might have helped, but my video card is seriously dated now. A 9500 should play AOEIII at a decent setting.

The point is not to spend too much now, since you'll be upgrading soon. Maybe you can look for a used video card.
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Old 12-12-05, 12:37 PM
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For 9550/9600 vs 6200, it depends on exactly what card you get, A 9550 with 64-bit memory isn't half the card of a 9600XT. For your buget you can probably swing a 9600 Pro, which will be better than a stock 6200. The big selling point of the 6200 is that they can sometimes be unlocked to be 6600. However it's far from a sure thing.

I just picked up a couple of Crucial refurbished cards around your price point. Link

I grabbed a 9800 Pro for $81, but I see they are gone now. The 9700 for $69 is probably the best deal there now. I also got a 9600XT for $71 because the computer I was looking to put it into doesn't have a very good power supply. Both cards have work flawlessly, but if you go this route beware Crucial only offers exchange or store credit on refurb returns.
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Old 12-12-05, 02:50 PM
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Yep, I grabbed a 9600Pro for one of my secondary computers for around $70 from newegg. It handles The Sims 2 at almost max settings so that's pretty good in my book. Even had an HDTV dongle.
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Old 12-12-05, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by nomaan
I played AOE III on my comp, and I had to run it at the lowest settings. I've upgraded to 1 gig ram, so that might have helped, but my video card is seriously dated now. A 9500 should play AOEIII at a decent setting.
I was contemplating getting another stick of ram to boost it to 1 gig as well. Might have to do that too.

Originally Posted by wmansir
For 9550/9600 vs 6200, it depends on exactly what card you get, A 9550 with 64-bit memory isn't half the card of a 9600XT. For your buget you can probably swing a 9600 Pro, which will be better than a stock 6200. The big selling point of the 6200 is that they can sometimes be unlocked to be 6600. However it's far from a sure thing.

I just picked up a couple of Crucial refurbished cards around your price point. Link

I grabbed a 9800 Pro for $81, but I see they are gone now. The 9700 for $69 is probably the best deal there now. I also got a 9600XT for $71 because the computer I was looking to put it into doesn't have a very good power supply. Both cards have work flawlessly, but if you go this route beware Crucial only offers exchange or store credit on refurb returns.
I was looking more at a new card mainly from poor previous experiences with getting refurbished/used items. These were the cards I was looking at:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814102320
Newegg has another Sapphire 9600 with 128mb for the same price for whatever reason. I couldn't find any differences between them.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814125141
This is the 9550. For the 9600 & 9550 I was looking at cards with only a heatsink as I'm trying to lower the noise from it's current A/C like levels. Plus free shipping.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814102408
This is a 9600pro I found. The fan looks a bit cheap (more in the "it's going to go bad and get loud" meaning than it not doing it's job).

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814133149
This is the 6200 I was looking at. It's on sale at Best Buy right now. Add a 10% off coupon and that was why I was considering it. But it is 64bit whereas the ATI's are 128.
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Old 12-12-05, 03:57 PM
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Stay away from the 64-bits if you'll be gaming. That passively cooled Sapphire 9600 you linked is like the one I got, but it was a PRO when I got it a few months ago. That should probably still serve your needs pretty well.
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Old 12-12-05, 07:43 PM
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I can't really comment on the 6200, but I would stay clear of 64-bit cards. This site compares the 64-bit 6200 to a 128-bit 9550, the 6200 usually wins, but not by much. If a 9600, or 9600 pro were thrown into the mix, then it would probably be closer to the 6200 128-bit tested.

If you're looking for a card that will just get you by, play the games you mentioned, and has no fan, then the Gigabyte 9550 will probably do fine. You could probably OC it to near regular 9600 levels with the stock heatsink too, if you're into that.

I was looking at that 9600 "Pro" before I went with the refurbed XT. The only thing I don't like is that it is that it's not really a Pro. The Pro should have 600 mhz memory, but that card only has 446mhz. Still, it's probably the fastest card at newegg under $70.

The regular 9600 will be slower, the extra memory won't make much of a difference, but it is passively cooled, so that's a plus. Also, the only difference I could see between the Saphire 9600's was that one was retail and one was OEM, the model #s were the same.
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Old 12-14-05, 12:45 AM
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Cool, thanks for the info guys. I think I'll pick up the 9550 for the fanless aspect of it and the price if I go that route. Just debating whether or not to just give in and do the overhaul.
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