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Decent Graphics Card on a Budget

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Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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November 3, 2006 11:41:33 PM

Hi folks, sorry for asking a question which I am sure has been asked in one shape or form hundreds of times on here:
I currently have a P4 3.0GHZ, 1MB Ram system with a Nvidea FX5200 (8xAGP) 128mb graphics card.

I am not a hard core gamer, but do like to play from time to time, and have noticed recently that games like Oblivion and Company of Heroes run painfully slowly on my system.

As I understand it the Nvidea FX5200 is a poor card for gaming, so would like to upgrade to a better graphics card - but on a budget (obviously). The most I would like to pay is £100 (British Pounds).
Having had a look around, I have picked out a few options:
- ATI Radeon 9250 256MB for about £38
- ATI Radeon 9800XT 256MB 128bit for £83
- ATI Radeon 9800XT 256MB 256bit for £105
- Sapphire ATI Radeon X1600 512MB 128bit for £106

I suppose my question main question is - what is the difference between the 9250 and the 9800XTs? They both have the same memory - is there much of a difference in performance?

I am not looking for a cutting edge gaming system, but would like one that plays games smoothly and without slowing down.

I could stretch to £106, but obviously do not want to pay £70 more if the 9250 will do a satisfactory job. But I don't want to spend £38 and then find that actually I have brought a card that does not offer a significant improvement on my existing card.

If you were chosing - which of the above options would you go for?

Cheers
Bcfaigg

More about : decent graphics card budget

November 3, 2006 11:56:43 PM

Hah all those cards are worthless. They wont help you in anything but unnecessarily heating up your case. Oblivion is an intense game and will send those cards to oblivion, just trying to get up to 30fps. .. . .. lol

But if I were you then get the X1600pro at the BARE MINIMUM. All those other cards will just frustrate you. The thing that sux is that you have agp, nut if you had pci-e then you could get the same cards for about 75% less on average.

The 1600pro should give you good results. And a fairly smooth fps environment.
a b U Graphics card
November 4, 2006 12:10:12 AM

The R9250 is a slow DX8 card, forget it. Also forget the crippled 128-bit 9800XT as it's not a real 9800XT but rather more like a high clocked 9800 pro.

Which X1600 is it a PRO or a XT? The X1600XT would be faster than the real 256-bit 9800XT, while the X1600 pro would be equal or a bit behind. The X1600's have the advantage in feature set so even if it's a pro, I'd go for the X1600 as it's very close on performance with a win on features.

Either the 9800XT or the X1600 pro is a tremendous leap over a FX5200.
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a b U Graphics card
November 4, 2006 12:15:32 AM

hey paul what about the x800gto?
isnt that around 100$ or less.
November 4, 2006 2:42:22 AM

Wow I just did some research on Agp 8X prices and it never realized that Agp8x port is frikin expensive!

They're selling X1600 cards for over $160 :!:
You see the thing that perplexes me is that, Graphic cards that currently utilize agp8x keep up with their Pci-e counterparts in game benchmarks. The cause being, that cards never reached the max bandwidth of the agp 8x slot. So why did manufacturers Switch to Pci-e?

oh well just thinking out loud
a b U Graphics card
November 4, 2006 11:32:17 AM

Quote:
hey paul what about the x800gto?
isnt that around 100$ or less.


Yeah, X800GTO would be much better than what he listed. PCI-e they are under $100, but In AGP they are around $130 in the USA, but I have no idea what they would cost for him.
November 4, 2006 12:10:46 PM

x800pro AGP off ebay.
November 4, 2006 9:24:29 PM

Mate, first of all , as a fellow Brit ... my advice is don't listen to the others who will ask you to spend LOADS of cash or go for the Latest Graphics card.

I personally understand what it's like to be on a tight budget.

Here's my recommendations ( assuming you don't have PCI-EXPRESS slot and only AGP 8X slot for Graphics ):

ATI X1600 PRO - £75 - http://www.dabs.com/productview.aspx?Quicklinx=3YWX&Cat...

NVIDIA 7300GT - £80 - http://www.ebuyer.com/UK/product/115742

NVIDIA 7600 GS - £86 - http://www.dabs.com/productview.aspx?Quicklinx=49D8&Cat...

ATI X1650 PRO - £90 - http://www.ebuyer.com/UK/product/118281

Like shown above, the X1600 PRO is the cheapest and THE ONE for you. Go with it and you won't regret it.

If you want to bring down your budget further, PM me or post back here.

Cheers.
November 4, 2006 11:47:10 PM

Thank you all for your tips - good point Zahid - I am beginning to realise that I can spend the sky - which considering I am not a hard core gamer is excessive.

You are right that my Motherboard is AGP8x only.

In your opinion, following on from your recommendation of the ATI X1600PRO 256 mb, is it worth spending an extra 30 quid to get the 512mb version - is it going to give me that much more in terms of smoothness. I have budgeted up to £100 to improve my pc, so might stretch to one of your more pricey options.

Thanks again everyone.
Bcfaigg
November 5, 2006 2:07:36 AM

Quote:
Wow I just did some research on Agp 8X prices and it never realized that Agp8x port is frikin expensive!


I see you changed your sig, anyone who lies about their computer hardware cant be trusted to take advice from, so why dont you go find another forum to post on?
November 5, 2006 6:06:23 AM

Quote:
In your opinion, following on from your recommendation of the ATI X1600PRO 256 mb, is it worth spending an extra 30 quid to get the 512mb version - is it going to give me that much more in terms of smoothness.


Absolutely not. If you put the settings high enough to actually use that much memory, it's going to be beyond the capabilities of an x1600 Pro anyway. You should consider stretching your budget just a bit more and getting something along the lines of a 7600gt or an x800xl, both of which destroy the x1600 Pro for often comparable prices. It might take some searching to find something at your price, however, and I don't know anything about prices in the UK. I saw a used x800xl on eBay the other day for $75...I think it even had an Arctic cooler. The x800gto is pretty solid too, you'd notice a giant upgrade. I upgraded from a 5500 to an x800xl and the difference was INSANE. 8O I would absolutely not drop that kind of cash on a Radeon 9xxx series card- they used to be a value, but now they're mostly a rip.
November 5, 2006 6:56:37 PM

Well, Bcfaigg , the thing about PC upgrading is like this:

Spending on a PC never returns a profit when you eventually sell it. e.g. I bought a 128 MB FX 5200 for my shit DELL PCI slots only PC for £50. Sold this year for £30. And bought a 128 MB 6200 for £45
Loss = £ 65 8O

Anyway, back to your Graphics card....
--------------------------------------------------

Don't go for a X800XL. Just cause it's XL doesn't mean it can beat a X1600 PRO. [ X800 > X850 > X1300 > X1600 ]

Here's the price of some 512 MB AGP 8X GFX Cards
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

ATI X1300 XT - £95 - http://www.ebuyer.com/UK/product/118284

ATI X1600 PRO - £93 - http://www.dabs.com/productview.aspx?Quicklinx=3ZX3&Sea...

NVIDIA 7600 GS - £102 - http://www.savastore.com/productinfo/product.aspx?catal...

NVIDIA 7600 GS - £95 - http://www.microdirect.co.uk/ProductInfo.aspx?ProductID...

----------------------------------------------------------------------
That's all I could find.


Next question, you want to ask me is should I choose the X1600 or the 7600? Hmm... these two cards roughly perform the same. Many of the guys who posted ( OEM-NIB-OBO, Pauldh , fullerms ) and me recommend the X1600 PRO.

But, A review by LEGION HARDWARE recommends 7600 GS. They pitted the X1650 PRO vs 7600GS and 7600GS peformed better in 3 out of 5 games. ( X1650 PRO = Slightly overclocked X1600XT)

[ http://www.legionhardware.com/document.php?id=588&p=0 ]

A very tough choice. :?
The RAM and Clock speed for X1600 is 10 MHz slower.
But, the cooling provided by Sapphire is going to be more silent than the 7600 ones above. You don't want to spend HUGE amount on a gfx card and then find out that it sounds like a jet!

And the verdict is....

X1600 PRO WINS! AT EXTRA £18 i.e. £93 , GO FOR THE X1600PRO 512 MB one!


:lol:  8) Hope this helps mate.
a b U Graphics card
November 5, 2006 11:22:24 PM

Quote:
Don't go for a X800XL. Just cause it's XL doesn't mean it can beat a X1600 PRO. [ X800 > X850 > X1300 > X1600 ]

What are you talking about? A X800XL will creme a X1600 pro. Shoot, it would take a X1650XT or X1800GTO to beat it in a newer generation card.

Take a look. The 12-pipe X800GTO (slower than the X800XL) destroys a X1600 pro.
http://www.digit-life.com/articles2/digest3d/0806/itogi...

And it's X850>x800>X1600>X1300 (depending on exact model...suffix).


ANyway, of the 4 cards he originally listed, yes I would buy the X1600 pro.
November 6, 2006 9:20:36 PM

I must admit you are right about the X800XL partly.

Through googling and thus spending some hours ... :x ...

X800 doesn't have Shader 3 and is DX 9b.
X1600 has and offers better looking graphics and is also DX 9c.

X800 is faster due to frame rates than X1600.

BUT... so far in the UK incl. ebay, I haven't found a AGP X800XL. So, it's X1600 PRO for Bcfaigg.
November 6, 2006 9:24:28 PM

Hi folks, once again thanks to all who have taken the time to respond to my initial query - it is quite astounding how much variety there is out there.

I guess ultimately, from what I have read on here, that both the X800XL and the X1600PRO are decent cards for their price range, and will meet my purpose, however has zahid says, the X800XL doesn't seem to be readily available in the UK, so I will probably end up going for the X1600PRO in the next day or so.

Thanks again folks, and happy gaming.
Bcfaigg
November 6, 2006 9:28:28 PM

True, the X800XL doesn't support sm3.0, but the X1600pro isn't powerful enough to fully utilize it. Anything less than a 7600GT IMO isn't worth buying JUST for sm3.0 (that includes the X1600pro).
!