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What is the best PCIe card for a NON-GAMER?

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December 14, 2005 1:41:26 AM

Putting togther a system for a friend. Nforce4 chipset, 939 mobo, PCIe x16 slot ready for graphics card.

She will play NO games what-so-ever. None.

What is the best card to pop in there?

I am thinking the nvidia 6200 is looking about right....?

More about : pcie card gamer

a b U Graphics card
December 14, 2005 1:51:04 AM

If it's for basic 2D then whatever's the cheapest.

If you're doing video work I'd recommend the x1300.

If it's just word and surfing, then even integrated would be fine, think about either the ATi or nV (heck even Via or S3) intergrated solutions.
December 14, 2005 2:06:42 AM

Won't be doing any video work, other than WATCHING videos.

The board does not have integrated graphics, and it must be aPCI-e x16 card.

As for the X1300 I have heard bad things about it, and that the 6600 outperforms it.
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December 14, 2005 2:28:24 AM

Actually, am I going in the wrong direction with this build? Should I be looking at a motherboard with integrated graphics instead? Is PCI-e graphics just a waste of cash if you are not gaming?

My thoughts in going PCIe was just to free up the CPU as much as possible.
a b U Graphics card
December 14, 2005 2:39:40 AM

PCie is fine as an expansion option (even just for reselling the board later), but integrated graphics is more than fine for surfing and watching 2D (non high def) video. For watching HD the X1300 will likely outperform the GF6600 and even the GF680 once the drivers are finalized. But sans HighDef then an X300SE or GF6200TC will be fine, but so will the latest integraed.

Only in gaming will the rest matter, since current processors are more than enough for 2D and current integrated graphics have their own discrete memory for 2D which can be supplanted for 3D and therefor the performance difference is nil for what you're talking about.

Now with Vista this will change somewhat, but that's what the empty PCIe slot is for WHEN and IF you need it. Save the money now.

Of course that's just my 2 frames' worth.
December 14, 2005 2:48:15 AM

So the next question then becomes...

What is the best socket 939 board with integrated graphics?

Anyone have any suggestions?
December 14, 2005 4:39:22 AM

Well she SAYS no games, but she might get the Sims bug or Disney Toontown or maybe watch videos on it - so built-in might not quite suffice. Then again, any cheap PCIe card for $80-$100 will solve all of the problems :) 
December 14, 2005 4:45:35 AM

But I can get a motherboard with integrated graphics, and an empty PCIe slot for future upgrades, and save her $100 by NOT buying a card she doesn't need.

But the problem I am having now, is that it seems any board that has integrated graphics and is socket 939 is microATX only. I can't find a good ATX board that has an empty PCIe slot, integrated graphics and socket 939.

I don't want a microATX board (I think) as it doesn't typically have enough pci slots. So perhaps I am stuck with having to buy a PCIe graphics card which she doesn't really need.
December 14, 2005 5:41:49 AM

So I guess the question then becomes, do I get a 6200 card or pay double for an X1300 card?

For a non-gamer, is the X1300 worth it?
December 14, 2005 1:12:54 PM

Quote:
I don't want a microATX board (I think) as it doesn't typically have enough pci slots.
What would she need a PCI slot for? Does the motherboard not come with onboard everything these days? So what PCI card could she possibly add to that? I'd say consider microATX. Possibly even consider a sexy microATX case. There's no need for a big clunky box when there's so little in it.
December 14, 2005 1:43:42 PM

Quote:
As for the X1300 I have heard bad things about it, and that the 6600 outperforms it.


For the record, the X1300 PRO is the best performing card for the dollar.

But you say on one hand the machine won't be used for *any* gaming, and on the other hand you're worried about relative gaming performance.

Integrated video is fine for writing documents. If she watches alot of DVDs there might be a slight quality increase with a discrete videocard, in which case the X1300 would be a good choice, but any discrete PCI-express card would be great for that too. X300, 6200, etc.
December 14, 2005 5:44:06 PM

Quote:
I don't want a microATX board (I think) as it doesn't typically have enough pci slots.
What would she need a PCI slot for? Does the motherboard not come with onboard everything these days? So what PCI card could she possibly add to that? I'd say consider microATX. Possibly even consider a sexy microATX case. There's no need for a big clunky box when there's so little in it.

Here in Japan, it gets so hot and humid, a case needs good circulation/cooling or you are screwed. I am mostly worried that a microATX will simply not suffice at keeping things cool enough. She leaves her computer on 24/7.

As for the PCI cards, for example I have 2 slots being used in mine. A video capture card and a PCMCIA adapter card. If it were a microATX board, I'd pretty much be at capacity already.

I still am considering doing the microATX, but not convinced that it is the BEST route to go.
December 14, 2005 5:46:33 PM

Quote:


But you say on one hand the machine won't be used for *any* gaming, and on the other hand you're worried about relative gaming performance.


Did I say I am worried about GAMING performance anywhere? I don't think I did, but if I did it is a mistake. She only needs a video card for watching movies, writing documents, internet etc. No 3d games will be played.
a b U Graphics card
December 14, 2005 7:25:51 PM

Best not to get worked up, everyone's expectations or experiences are different. Really he's one of the people you want to listen to, the reason he mentions stuff you haven't specifically is to be sure you cover all the bases. Cleeve's just trying to help, cut him some slack, or else you might lose the rest of our help. Just an FYI.

I disagree with just about everyone's assesment of integrated graphics for your/her needs here. The Xpress200/RS480 and GF6150 chips are competent enough, and some have their own 16MB of memory not shared.

Here's a review that has the 2 best integrated candidates for AMD;
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/chipsets/display/gf6150-gf6100.html

And for video content they are ok;
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/chipsets/display/gf6150-gf6100_15.html
December 14, 2005 8:12:24 PM

I just bought the GA-K8N51GMF-9 from Gigabyte and I love it. It is used primarily as a server but I do video encoding and even some 3D gaming with it (My gaming rig is a little under the weather right now). It has the Gforce 6100 integrated graphics. I would say a very good choice. It is microATX though. Here is the link http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813128315
December 14, 2005 9:29:53 PM

Hello,

Visit Newegg.com. Visit their Vvidoe cards section. You can mix and match and fur sure you will come up with a great card that suits both your needs w/o breaking the bank.

My suggestions would be 6600 GT, 6800LE/ GS, or X800 regular/ XL.
December 14, 2005 10:45:22 PM

Quote:
Best not to get worked up, everyone's expectations or experiences are different. Really he's one of the people you want to listen to, the reason he mentions stuff you haven't specifically is to be sure you cover all the bases. Cleeve's just trying to help, cut him some slack, or else you might lose the rest of our help. Just an FYI.


Me? Worked up? What gave you that impression? And you think I have insulted someone enough to warrant the warning you are giving me???? What I wrote above was for clarification, and I don't think there was any venom attached to it. A simple statement of fact. Was it the capitolization that triggered you into your disiplinary mode?

Anyways.......

I really appreciate all the feedback from everyone so far. If anyone (for whatever reason) has felt insulted by my words somewhere (????) then I appologize whole-heartedly.
December 14, 2005 11:01:51 PM

You know...I find the other posts on this subject truly facinating. I have to tell you, I was so distraut with what I read that I registered to this forum JUST TO REPLY TO THIS ONE QUESTION. First of all...I PLAY NO GAMES WHATSOEVER ON MY COMPUTER. So the following statements come from an ACTUAL non-gamer. NOT a gamer giving advice to non-gamers.... (Gee thanks, but no thanks).

As you have probably already learned, if one should have the audacity to use a computer for applications rather than games, God help you finding advice on the internet regarding video cards. It is MORE than apparent that the computer hardware corporations are sucking the "toes" of the Gamers. Everything is WAY biased towards gamers, which is why one receives (from gamers) ridiculous advice like going with any 'ol cheap card. Way wrong!

After four months of comparing reviews from all the best websites on the net (zdnet...sharkeyex, etc) and emailing companies for specs and information, I finally went with (...drum roll...) MATROX.

Try and find any reviews on the internet about them....good luck!

I just built a new system and I'm using the MATROX Millenium 650 PCIe AND I'M ABSOLUTELY DELIGHTED WITH IT!

Why the f- would you install a cheap card on a top of the line mainboard? Ridiculous!

The Matrox Millenium 650 has a palette of over a BILLION colors. (Personally, I don't use them, but they're there if you need them). It will handle ANY 2D chore you throw at it. But the most important reason to go with it is that MATROX'S 2D ABILITIES ARE UNRIVELED. Plus you're buying a board that can grow with you. 8)

If anyone gives you "advice" on the best 2D PCIe card and they don't AT LEAST MENTION Matrox...you're listening to a puffed up Gamer who thinks that just because they know a little something about gaming...they MUST be experts on EVERYTHING in the entire universe.

The Millenium 650 also comes in a PCI version so you have to watch for that. I don't know anything about that card.

I have a Samsung LCD monitor and my Millenium PCIe offers any resolution that my monitor can handle. The card has its own memory and my screen is lightening fast. So fast that it took some getting used to.

Matrox is a company that specializes in corporate visual displays, so if your client ever wants to expand their vision and use two screens simultaneously for whatever, the Millenium will do that. Plus there's a lot more it can do. Also the Power Desk software that comes with it has an additional range of features.

I don't work for Matrox and since I'm not getting paid for this I'll stop here... go to their site and check it out for yourself.

FACT: THE BEST CARDS FOR 2D USERS ARE MADE BY MATROX.
I know because I'm ACTUALLY RUNNING ONE.

Now, I must tell you that my new system is housed in a Lian Li case with the "Plus" (air) package. The CPU is cooled by a Thermal Right copper heatsink. And I have 2GBs of OCZ dual channel low latency memory.

So buying a top of the line 2D graphics card seemed appropriate.

On the other hand, if the rest of your system is cheesy, then perhaps a cheesy low-priced 2D card is more in line.

I'm of the notion that if I'm gonna go thru the hassle of building a system and hassling with compatibility issues and small details like the proper way to apply Arctic Silver thermal paste to the CPU, etc...then I want to install parts that aren't going to become outdated a mere six months later.

I wish you success with your build.
Just be aware that there is a paucity of good advice about 2D.
The internet is way overbalanced in favor of 3D gamers.
So the majority of advice you receive will be WRONG.
And given to you by people you have NO ACTUAL EXPERIENCE with what they are saying.

Explore the Matrox website first.
It's not very user-friendly compared to the major 3D companies.
But if you press all the wrong links, you'll finally come to the right ones and once you read the specs I'm confident you'll realize that Matrox has FAR MORE to offer "non-gamers" than anything you've heard about from gamers.

Good Luck :) 
December 14, 2005 11:05:43 PM

The past three video cards I have had run dual displays and am willing to bet my X800XT-PE blows that matrox out of the water!
December 14, 2005 11:29:05 PM

BTW, your comments sound more worked up for someone who just needs a simple straight answer.
December 14, 2005 11:30:30 PM

shazer322, THANK YOU. I will look up that card right away, and it just may be a PERFECT fit for the type of system that she is looking for.

Cheers!!
December 14, 2005 11:45:33 PM

Pricegrabber says the Matrox PCI-e card is $188. At that price I can easily pick up X800 XL and similar used-to-be high end cards. Perfect for non-gaming and ideal when you watch videos or play some games.
December 15, 2005 12:20:28 AM

I say a nvidia 6600 or maybe fx5200 there like 40$ lol but dont think its gona game.. Just as i warning i know you said you dont want too but the most you will get outa that card is Starcraft, and like Cs 1.6
December 15, 2005 12:43:33 AM

Hmmm. I am having a hard time finding the Millenium 650 PCIe version. The AGP version is $150 and up, which I must say doesn't sound like the best choice on a cost/performance basis.

I am leaning back towards an X1300 card. Tough call actually as the 6600 is about the same price. Overkill perhaps, but for an extra $50 (vs the 550 or 6200 cards) the x1300 seems like the way to go.

I appreciate everyone's help on this VERY much.
December 15, 2005 12:39:42 PM

Quote:
Here in Japan, it gets so hot and humid, a case needs good circulation/cooling or you are screwed. I am mostly worried that a microATX will simply not suffice at keeping things cool enough. She leaves her computer on 24/7.
I hear that. It sounds like you need to concentrate on a lower-end processor and video then, if you want to avoid a lot of heat in the case. There are some pretty cool looking small cases out there too that should have good cooling for you, especially if you get a full-sized ATX desktop case.

Some relatively small cases that still have good airflow are the Antec Overture II, or the Thermaltake Tenor.

Quote:
As for the PCI cards, for example I have 2 slots being used in mine. A video capture card and a PCMCIA adapter card. If it were a microATX board, I'd pretty much be at capacity already.
I can find a few microATX boards with a PCIe 16x slot for graphics and 3 PCI slots. But it's your call of course. I'm just offering a suggestion. Besides, if you go with something more like a full-sized ATX desktop case for it's better cooling, then you can use a full-sized ATX motherboard with all of it's PCI slots. No worries there.

Quote:
I still am considering doing the microATX, but not convinced that it is the BEST route to go.
I think if you're looking to save money, especially if you go for onboard video, then you're looking at microATX. And you're right that it has limited PCI slots, but honestly, do you think she'll use even three PCI cards? With so many things onboard these days, it's not nearly the worry that it used to be. Plus microATX is smaller, which a lot of people like.

But if you're looking for good airflow in your case, then you'll probably want more like a full-sized ATX desktop case. Good luck finding onboard video in a full-sized ATX motherboard though. You'll probably need an actual video card for that. And now you're looking at a much more expensive build. (Though at least there are still some rather attractive cases for that.)

Well, whichever route you decide to take, I wish you luck.
December 15, 2005 2:08:30 PM

Quote:
Did I say I am worried about GAMING performance anywhere? I don't think I did, but if I did it is a mistake. She only needs a video card for watching movies, writing documents, internet etc. No 3d games will be played.


You said you heard the 6600 performs "better" than the X1300, that's the only reason I mentioned it.

The area it performs better in would be gaming, so I thought you knew what capacity it was "better" in.

But if you didn't, no problem.
December 15, 2005 2:15:11 PM

Quote:
I wish you success with your build.
Just be aware that there is a paucity of good advice about 2D.
The internet is way overbalanced in favor of 3D gamers.
So the majority of advice you receive will be WRONG.
And given to you by people you have NO ACTUAL EXPERIENCE with what they are saying.


I take a good measure of offense to this assumption.

When this fellow said he's not interested in gaming, we were all quick to let him know that a high end 3d card would be completely useless to him.

And, frankly, a Matrox card is too expensive to be the answer for the computer user who is simply writing text documents and watching DVDs.

Integrated video, or a low end X300 or 6200, would be better suited to that task. The RAMDACs on low-end Radeons and Geforces are better than they used to be, and the visual quality delta between the Matrox cards isn't so large that I'd advocate spending the extra scratch for someone who isn't working with images professionally - unless they're specifically interested in it.
December 15, 2005 7:13:38 PM

Well, I sat down with her and explained her options. Nice small case that will PROBABLY be OK for cooling (antec aria) or a big case that will be an OVERKILL in cooling (antec sonataII or P180).

She fell in love with the P180 case. I guess that's what it all comes down to right? Personal preference.

She is not really on a budget constraint at all. She wants a SOLID computer that will be stable, and cool.

So now that I know what case she wants that makes things pretty straightforward. I know I am going to put an Athlon 64 in there, so I think I will go with the 3500 venice.

And I think I will end up sticking with a socket 939 Asus nforce4 PCIe motherboard.

And at this moment, judging on price/performance I am looking at sticking a 6600 128mb in there. The 6200 are half the price, but still, for under $100, a 6600 doesn't seem like a bad choice to me.

Thanks again to everyone, you've all been a huge help!
November 24, 2007 12:25:10 AM

I am totaly confused. I am a non gamer and need a descent graphics card. When you say the x1300, are you speaking of the Radeon and what manufactureer are you talking about. HP, ATI, ETC.
a b U Graphics card
November 24, 2007 1:01:01 AM

Why has nobody mentioned that you can build a system on newer parts and be cheaper?

I built my friend an AM2 system with an X2 and he spent $300 total.
November 24, 2007 1:17:05 AM

heck even integrated graphics arnt that bad with 3d.
My GMA950 could handle farcry, quakeIII, battlefront II (although not the space battles) and vista's aero interface.

Integrated graphics are the way to go.
November 24, 2007 1:55:11 AM

asus A8N-VM/CSM was a great little video integrated board when I had it.
November 24, 2007 2:18:08 AM

I'd say that the 8400GS or HD 2400 Pro would be an awesome choice for a non-gamer that plays videos on their PCs, after all, those cards were geared towards them not gamers and are only $45.
November 24, 2007 3:11:07 AM

Has anyone realized that this thread was pulled up from 2k5? lol
November 24, 2007 3:43:46 AM

curnel _d nice wits there, so much effort into something that does not even matter, but for the record:
BILLION colors=BS
Integrated graphics are fine

MOST monitor show no more than 16.4 million
a c 1362 U Graphics card
November 24, 2007 11:05:29 AM

Nice! people recommending on a build built in 2005 already outdated.
December 1, 2008 8:20:14 AM

Shazer 322 I have to completely agree with what you have said. I've been researching this for a while myself, and I am so frustrated with these young kids who are only gamers and don't know didly squat about video cards for 2D trying to give us advice about what a good video card is. Unfortunately the entire industry (except for Matrox) is trying to appeal to them. But what about the rest of us who only want good picture and text quality and couldn't care less about gaming?

Here's what I know so far.

1. My integrated video that came with my Asus P5GC/MX1333 motherboard was not very good.

2. Although the nVidia GeForce 8500 I installed was better is still is way inferior to an old Diamond G640 that is installed in an Pent II machine made in 1997. It displayed a crystal clear picture.

So, my advice to folks who only want good 2D is to NEVER install a nVidia PCI-Express card like the GeForce 8500, 8600 or 8800. They are garbage for 2D and only designed for gamers.

I've read that the Matrox G550 is very good, but not quite as good as the G450. Unfortunately the G450 only comes as an AGP board. I don't know about the Matrox G650, but if you are pleased with it, then I trust your opinion, but it is kind of pricey.

I have considered the Diamond ATI Radeon X800XL, but I hate to take advice from a gamer about that board.

That's my 2 cents. I still haven't decided on a card yet except that my current nVidia GeForce 8500 that paid almost 100 USD for has to go.
December 1, 2008 8:42:17 AM

well that was a bit random.
!