A sub-$300 gaming upgrade?

Hey everyone,

This is my very first post, but it surely isn't my first time here on THG or on its forums. Here's my quest:

I seek to buy, and build, and good gaming computer for under $300.

Yes I know, that's impossible. But all I really need is a new motherboard and a new graphics card (I have an old 5700LE).

Now, I've been browsing through Tom's VGA Charts, the forums and everything, and I had decided to buy the X1800XT 256MB along with this motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813130534

The thing is, I can't find the X1800XT anywhere on newegg anymore! The only one there is the 512MB, but it's overpriced for my taste.

Now, I'm divided into several graphics card :

1. MSI GeForce 7900GT ($275)
2. Sapphire X1900GT
3. ATI X1900XT 256MB (when it comes out)

My budget is limited to $300, and buying that mobo is possible with the 7900GT, thanks to its rebate.

But which card is really worth it? The X1900XT is coming out at $280, or so I heard, and the X1900GT is single slot, and not very expensive compared to the others. Even if the X1800XT does come back on newegg, I prefer benefiting of the latest cores, the X1900 or 7900 series.

I'm a good gamer (not a hardcore one, I do have my priorities ) but I'm mostly looking for a card that:

1. Has good / superior clock speeds
2. Has good / latest technology
3. Will last me (on the high/mid end side) for at least a year
4. Will help me go from rendering a scene in 30mn (in 3DS Max 8 with my 5700LE) to at least 1/5th that time.
5. Is under $280 ( under $300 if we push it or I wait a bit.)

As far as number 4 is concerned, it's really my top priority, and I know the FireGL and Quadro cards are the best for the job, but remember, limited budget!

Help me guys!


P.S. My budget is currently limited to $300, but I took a summer job of distributing ads, which should pay around $20 - $30 for what I've done so far. So we can push the budget to $320 if we really have to.
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  1. Thanks for the reply,

    that mobo is not good since my case in a micro atx case.

    And could you please explain why you chose the X1900GT over the others?

  2. Didnt even realize it had to be MATX.

    Why I choose the X1900GT?

    Well, it trades blows with the 7900GT, however it is a little less costly, and in your situation...thats important.

    I mean, you can wait for the 256mb X1900XT's...I'm sure they'll be sweet little cards. So if you have the patience, I'd get one. I was just throwing that out as an instant gratification type of deal.
  3. Quote:

    Well, it trades blows with the 7900GT, however it is a little less costly, and in your situation...thats important.

    Hmmm.. Good point. I checked Tom's VGA Charts, and the 7900GT is better than the X1900GT in 3d mark 06. In games however, the difference isn't really noticeable. Besides, my CRT supports only up to 1280*1024, so I don't care about 1600*1200 resolutions.

    And anyways, THG used the fastest 7900GT, which is priced at $300. So take out 3fps of these results for the cheaper ones I'd get, and you get an x1900gt.

    The difference between the x1900gt and the 7900gt isn't that important in games (up to 8fps difference). The X1900 AiW however performs slightly better than the x1900gt, would it be a better buy?

    Thanks for the reply btw
  4. AIW? --Nah

    You can pick up that GT or wait for 256mb X1800XT's to come in stock -OR- wait for the X1900XT 256.

    You can't really use synthetic marks to compare different systems.
    There only good for person tweaking really.
  5. Well, might as well pick up that x1900gt :D

    I'm graduating this year so I'm sure to get a little something, (who knows, maybe a X2K card?) and this time my parents pay ;)

    Thanks for all the help,

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