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100 dollar gift certificate from newegg: What video card?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 27, 2005 6:04:11 AM

hi

for christmas i got a 100 dollar gift certificate to newegg and I really want a new graphics card

i really only want to spend like 70 bucks

my current card is a geforce III ti550 (gainward)

i was reading these forms and it was suggested that i try for a 9600 ATI
however, i'm confused because in newegg they keep saying all the cards marked 256 MB are really either 128 MB or 64 MB

Am I going to get something at least midrange with a 70 dollar card?
I'm not looking for the most awesome card out there.. I'm just feeling the pinch from my geforce III and i want an upgrade.

what do you guys suggest?
a b U Graphics card
December 27, 2005 6:33:30 AM

No, they're not saying these cards only have 128MB or 64MB, they're saying the memory uses a 128-bit or 64-bit interface.

LISTEN UP BECAUSE THIS IS IMPORTANT! A 128-bit memory interface has 128 data wires connecting the RAM to the graphics core. A 64-bit memory interface has only 64 data wires doing the same job.

A 128-bit memory interface is TWICE AS FAST as a 64-bit, in terms of megabytes per second. So it's a lot better.

You want the 128-bit cards.
December 27, 2005 4:29:26 PM

Quote:
No, they're not saying these cards only have 128MB or 64MB, they're saying the memory uses a 128-bit or 64-bit interface.

LISTEN UP BECAUSE THIS IS IMPORTANT! A 128-bit memory interface has 128 data wires connecting the RAM to the graphics core. A 64-bit memory interface has only 64 data wires doing the same job.

A 128-bit memory interface is TWICE AS FAST as a 64-bit, in terms of megabytes per second. So it's a lot better.

You want the 128-bit cards.


OOooooooooooooooh..

that makes alot more sense
heh

do you still recommend the 9600XT?
would i get a vastly better card if i went ahead and dumped 100 bucks into it?
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December 27, 2005 5:03:04 PM

I say scrape together $115 and get a GeForce 6600GT. I have this card and can play HL2, Painkiller, etc with pretty good settings. The 6600GTs are good cards for the money and more mid range than anything else for that money. I consider the $200 price range more midrange...although that's still expensive I know!
a b U Graphics card
December 27, 2005 5:22:29 PM

As another posted suggested I'm assuming you have an agp slot in your PC so if I was you I would try to scrape together another 20-30 and pick up a 6600 geforce they run abou 115-130 they all have 8 pipes (9600 has 4 I believe been awhile) and have a 128bit memory.

Another option maybe a refurbished 9800pro if they honor full warrentee, since those are better than 9600xt and still in AGP form.
December 27, 2005 6:14:40 PM

It depends on what games you plan on playing or what you are doing with your graphics. I have a 9600SE which I believe is 64bit that I've had for a few years now. It works ...ok for Unreal Tournament 2004, but I've been considering an upgrade because it's just barely "good enough". I'm sure the 9600XT is a much better card than mine, especially if it's the 128bit edition. Just wanted to give you a reference point, if you plan to play newer games than UT2k4 you might want to look at the 6600GT that was suggested earlier.
a b U Graphics card
December 27, 2005 7:44:16 PM

The nice thing about 9600XT's is that honest companies maintain the memory speed regardless of memory size.

OK, so here's the deal: The factory specification for 9600 Pros is DDR600 on the 128MB card, DDR400 on the 256MB card. The 128MB card was generally faster because it used faster memory. Some dishonest companies put the slower RAM on their 128MB cards however.

The 9600XT is specified to have DDR600 for both 128MB and 256MB cards. So as long as the company isn't cheating, you'll get full speed.

But you might find an old 9700 Pro for a similar price, and that's a better card. Or you might find an 6600GT for a few dollars more.
December 27, 2005 8:34:14 PM

the very cheapest 6600GT on newegg is still 130

that's way outside of my price range

:( 
a b U Graphics card
December 27, 2005 9:31:21 PM

They have some 9800 Pro's for $100 refurbished.
December 27, 2005 10:02:45 PM

what's wrong with ATI's SE lines?

there is a 9800SE for like 69 bucks
a b U Graphics card
December 27, 2005 10:31:27 PM

The 9800SE isn't even a 9800, it's a 9500 non-pro. The SE means everything is cut in half with this card, that means half the pipelines, half the memory bus width, etc. So don't be confused about the "9800" in 9800SE, it's not really a 9800 at all.
December 28, 2005 6:54:44 PM

are 9600XT's better than 9600PRO's??

i'm compiling a list of cards that i think will be good.. it'd be great if you guys helped me pick one from my list..

I'll post it later
a b U Graphics card
December 28, 2005 7:35:32 PM

Sure, the 9600XT is a newer version, it's clocked higher. The original card was the 9600 Pro, 400MHz core 300MHz RAM (DDR600). The 256MB 9600 Pro got slower RAM (DDR400) so it would be closer in price to the 128MB version. Then the 9600XT came out, with a 500MHz core and 300MHz RAM (DDR600) for both 128MB and 256MB versions.

The 9800 Pro has twice as many pixel pipelines as the 9600 series, but is clocked slower. Having twice as many pixel pipelines, it's still a better performer.

The 9800SE uses a 9800 Pro chip with half the pipelines disabled. This is the same thing that was done to make a 9700 into a 9500 non-pro.

Then there's memory variations for the 9800 series too: The 9800 Pro originally had a 256-bit memory interface, but a cheaper version was introduced with a 128-bit memory interface. This was done intentionally, to trick people into buying lower-performance cards.
December 28, 2005 7:35:36 PM

Yes, the 9600 XT is notably better than the 9600 PRO.

If you can't afford over $100, look for a plain 6600 non-GT or X700 non-PRO.

These "vanilla" versions of the cards aren't quite as powerful, but they'll need less power and deliver better performance than the 9600 XT.
!