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Good/Best graphics card choices

Old 12-17-06, 01:18 AM
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Good/Best graphics card choices

If I want to upgrade the graphics on my computer, what would be the best choices that are going to be an improvement over what I have now, best bang for the buck, but not more than my computer can handle?

I have an HP M7664X. I have a PCI-e slot available. It's an Athlon 64 X2 4200, 2 GB DDR2. Right now it has the stock integrated GeForce 6150 LE, 256 MB.

I've run the Doom 3 demo and it looked OK. Also just played the FEAR demo, at 800x600, and it looked good too.
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Old 12-17-06, 09:42 AM
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A 7600GT is a good boost for a way cheap price.
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Old 12-17-06, 09:59 AM
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how much do you want to spend, what resolution will you play at?

http://www23.tomshardware.com/graphics.html
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Old 12-17-06, 11:45 AM
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I'd like to stay under $200. Probably PCIE, and at least 512MB, since I have 256 now.

Saw this in the CompUSA ad. Any good? - Nvidia 7600GS 512MB PCIE, $129.99.

Was just checking out the specs for FEAR, which I understand is a graphically demanding game - correct me if I'm wrong. Recommended spec is a GeForce 6600. Would that mean a 7600 (GS or GT) would handle it with ease?

I'm also keeping Vista and DX10 compatibility in mind.


*** Now this is interesting: (both PNY, PCIE)

1. 7600GS 512MB, $129.99

- OR -

2. 7600GT 256MB, $189.99

Last edited by Altimus Prime; 12-17-06 at 12:58 PM.
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Old 12-17-06, 02:11 PM
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Keep saving your money AP. Wish ease , like someone said what do you plan on playing it on and what res, I hope not 800x600 LOL. And vista maybe dx10 for $200 now you're just dreaming hehe....
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Old 12-17-06, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Altimus Prime
Saw this in the CompUSA ad. Any good? - Nvidia 7600GS 512MB PCIE, $129.99.
Unless you need that card right now, go mail-order. It's common for brick-and-mortar shops to have a 25%-100% markup on video cards when compared to a mail-order shop like NewEgg or ZipZoomFly.
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Old 12-17-06, 02:28 PM
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When it comes to cards, and memory, what matters most, amount or speed?

On 7600 GS cards, for same price, I'm seeing:

= PNY, 512MB DDR, core clock 400 Mhz, 540 Mhz memory speed.

= 3D Fuzion, 256MB DDR2, core clock 420 Mhz, 800 Mhz memory speed.

But the 3D Fuzion needs 350 watt power supply. What's standard in PCs?

At my high end is a PNY 7900 GS, 256 MB DDR, for $199.99 at CompUSA.

Need to decide on a card, then price shop.
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Old 12-17-06, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Altimus Prime
When it comes to cards, and memory, what matters most, amount or speed?
Generally memory speed is more important than memory size; but which GPU you pick almost always makes a much bigger difference.

I would avoid the GS series of video cards. They're clocked lower than their GT cousins, and aren't much cheaper.
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Old 12-17-06, 02:43 PM
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7900GS is your only real option if you ask me if you care about running quality. Its the best well or was last time I looked, which was a month or so ago. And Ghackmann is correct 256 vs 512 on it makes very little difference 5-10 fps tops. And that varies depending on whats being run.

That card would allow you to run todays games at a decent res none of this 800x600 nonsense lol. Yet be cheap enough for you to buy a better card when you want/need dx10, hdcp compliant, vista etc etc. Although Im sure the 7900GS can handle vista fine.

Again what display are you using, is it lcd whats its native res.
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Old 12-17-06, 02:58 PM
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Got a 17 inch HP LCD running at 1280 by 1024 native resolution.

A key thought in this is not to buy more than my PC can make use of.

I also need to find out the power supply I have. That may dictate what I get.

If it will work, I can fork out an extra $70 for a 7900 GS over the 7600, if it's worth it.
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Old 12-17-06, 03:07 PM
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Bah I was searching each card on newegg but I closed the damn page on accident lol. But at $200 you're so close to even getting a 1900 card I swear i seen a few there for $240ish couple with rebates.

Last thing that caught my eye was this
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814150202

I know your specs from other threads you're pc is fine 4200x2 is not ideal but its no POS either. And with games out and ones coming you'll need what you can get. Course there is always that line where you're pissing money away. Anyway I think that link is good solution for now. Then later when dx10 cards come down Id go there and you wont have to worry you spent an arm and leg on one now. Heck could probably sell that one for near $100 when time comes helping more on new one. Its all about timing.

And hehe I knew once you started playing some of the newer games you'd get that itch. Yes Fear is'nt really new year old or more now but it is one of those games that will make you want to update your vid card lol. I know...that damn game is why I updated my entire pc, well that and playing back high def. Little did I know id buy a damn 1900x1200 24 inch monitor and be almost back in the boat i was, least as far as the vid card goes hehe.
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Old 12-17-06, 04:48 PM
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Well, if nothing out right now will handle DX10 and/or Vista, I can sit and wait until early next year or spring to get something. I'd rather wait until then than buy something now I'll have to replace so soon.

And a ps.. I almost bought a 3800!

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Old 12-17-06, 05:04 PM
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Here look over these fps in some of the better games here

http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/09/...nge/page6.html

Then youll get the idea of a diff between the top cards. Dx10 is out but you can't afford it at that price range. Its another one of those times it not a good idea to buy a new top model card. Like I said in one of the other threads I seen you in keep on playing the year or two old games so you can enjoy and catch up and by the time you get them done hehe. Dx10 will be here ready for you and a price point we all can probably handle.

Although there is something to be said for high res high fps gaming. Right now its just not the pcs time to shine. So save your pennies play some good older games plenty to pick from and all is well.

And if you still feel the itch

Buy.com - Geforce 7900GS PCIe Graphics Card $130 after rebate
XFX Geforce 7900GS 256MB Graphics Card for $190 with free shipping, and Google Checkout gives $20 off. A $40 mail-in rebate is available. Not really a hot deal, but is $20 less than the next best deal hehe I love a good deal.
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Old 12-17-06, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Altimus Prime
Well, if nothing out right now will handle DX10 and/or Vista, I can sit and wait until early next year or spring to get something. I'd rather wait until then than buy something now I'll have to replace so soon.

And a ps.. I almost bought a 3800!
I'm in the opinion that a 7600 or a 7900 wouldn't have to be replaced anytime soon, not until towards the end of next year for most games.

Any DirectX 9 card can handle Vista. The idea that you need a good card solely for that operating system is a stretch.

DirectX 10 cards have just come out, but are limited to high end $400+ offerings. Mid-range and slightly cheaper cards are rumored to be out in the next month or two.

If your happy with current performance, wait for that. If not, i'd buy a decent card for ~150 and don't worry about it again until Fall 07.
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Old 12-17-06, 05:25 PM
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With my integrated 6150LE, I can play original Half Life, SWAT 3 and GTA III with no problems, of course. Those first two I ran on my K6-2, W98 machine!

But for me, Fear, Half Life 2, Doom 3, are all new. I can run those to a point, but would like to see them do better.

And if these 7600/7900 cards can handle Vista, then I'm not so worried about DX10. I'm not a "hard core" gamer, just casual. I'm not going to put out a ton of money for a graphics card, not now or ever.

I don't need top model, obviously, and is reflected in the PC I chose. But if a 7900GS would serve me well, I can grab one.

But I know I do want to play FEAR, and probably Doom 3, after a taste of the demos, and if I can do it at better than 800x600, then by all means, yes.

And thanks for the links and pointers. I'll check those out.


*** P.S. If anyone can help me find the power supply specs for my PC - HP M7664X - I'd be grateful. I haven't been able to locate them.

Last edited by Altimus Prime; 12-17-06 at 06:38 PM.
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Old 12-17-06, 08:30 PM
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OK, found out I have a 300W power supply.

From what I was looking at, that rules out all but the 7600GS. The others need at least 350W.

Guess I need to do some shopping in the 300W range and see what else is possible.

Remember, I'm not a hard-core gamer, and this is not a hard-core gaming machine. I'm not looking to go to the top of the line, just want to see a noticeable improvement over what I have now.

So, from a 6150 LE integrated to a 7600 GS PCI-E, at $130 - a worth-it upgrade?

Should I shop ATI? What would the equivalent be?

Last edited by Altimus Prime; 12-17-06 at 09:02 PM.
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Old 12-17-06, 09:09 PM
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you have a dual core 4200 athlon and only a 300w PS?
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Old 12-17-06, 10:33 PM
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That's what HP told me in an online tech chat. Why? (... fearful of the answer...)

I got this "off the shelf" at Circuit City.
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Old 12-17-06, 11:00 PM
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this deal still looks active

7600gs for $50 (about 35 watts)

http://www.buy.com/prod/PV_T73P_UDJ3...tml?adid=17662


I think this is about all you are going to add to that power supply - SAFELY - and it will be an increase over what you have.

Remember that in the games, they all have tweaks that will allow you to run lower level video cards. Some people say it defeats the purpose of the game, I say in many cases it makes the game more playable.

Don't worry about what people think of a 300W power supply - total watts is not the end all beat all spec to define a power supply. Some of the Dell 300 watt models put out more useable power than many 400 watts supplies out there.

all the DX10 cards would be beyond what your PS can feed.

I would say that you could even run a 7600 GT (about 60 watts) and be ok.
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Old 12-17-06, 11:38 PM
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Yep I agree with 4KRG although I also think 300W psu in that rig is almost criminal. No wonder they make it so hard to find the actual power rating of it. Which I did try and find but as you noticed , its not mentioned ANYWHERE at all. So in the end youll need a new one or new pc one day.
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Old 12-17-06, 11:41 PM
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Originally Posted by al_bundy
you have a dual core 4200 athlon and only a 300w PS?
Normal for vendors like HP or Dell.

The Dell 9200 systems that I work with regularly have 350 or 375 watt power supplies, and generally handle video cards that require 400 or 450 watts without an issue.
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Old 12-17-06, 11:43 PM
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Thanks for that buy.com link. Is XFX a reliable/good brand?

I narrowed my looking to something with DDR2, which rules out that 129.99 CompUSA deal; it has 512, but it's not DDR2.

While power supplies don't seem to be expensive, it's just not something I'd really want to do. The PC is less than a month old! I'm not up on what all needs to be considered in replacing a power supply. Trying to avoid the "slippery slope."

When you say "35 watts," is that what the card needs to run? Is there a way to gauge how much free wattage is available in a system? If it helps to know, I'm on an AM2 board, Asus A8M2N-LA.
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Old 12-17-06, 11:46 PM
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Originally Posted by fumanstan
Normal for vendors like HP or Dell.

The Dell 9200 systems that I work with regularly have 350 or 375 watt power supplies, and generally handle video cards that require 400 or 450 watts without an issue.
So should I stick to within a 300W spec, or can I stretch it to 350 safely? How can I tell/find out?


And to ask just for shiggles... a PCI Radeon 9250 256 MB, 128 bit - don't even bother? (It's in my old PC.)

... and I got a 64 MB GeForce 2 MX400 around here...

Last edited by Altimus Prime; 12-17-06 at 11:57 PM.
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Old 12-17-06, 11:54 PM
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I have a punky 250 (maybe 300 watt, but I think 250) power supply on a 7600 GS that says it requires a 350 watt power supply. No problems so far but I don't push it hard at all.
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Old 12-17-06, 11:58 PM
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How's that 7600GS work for you, X? What do you run on it?


OK, I've got guys - two at Best Buy and one at C City - telling me that I should be able to run a card - say, a 7900GS, that says it needs 350W with my 300W power supply. I want to believe that. They insisted it should be OK, and seemed to know what they were talking about. That also jives with what some of you guys have said.

So, what to do? 7900GS or 7600GS?

They also said that if I ever went and added a hard drive or another optical drive, I'd need a new power supply, but I don't envision that happening in the foreseeable future.

Last edited by Altimus Prime; 12-18-06 at 11:32 AM.
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