Any guides out there for PCI Express VGA bottom-feeders?

I suppose this thread will die a quick death, but, heck, it's still worth a try. The subject is something which anyone who posts here probably has absolutely no interest in: finding a, uh, "best" :?: lowest cost PCIe video card.

And by "low cost" I am not talking about a card for just under a $100. I'm thinking $20-$30 tops so it's probably a used video card from eBay.

I've currently got an AGP system with a 128MB 64-bit FX5200. (I've already been told that it sucks. What a shock! :roll:) In the near future I expect to upgrade to a PCIe motherboard and so I'll need to get either
(1) a motherboard with integrated video.
(2) a very low-end PCIe video card.

So .... what to choose? I just need basic video, preferably passively cooled. However, being human, I also want to get the most for my money. If I'm given the choice between a POS card and a card that's a real POS, I'd like to know enough to go with the card that's just a POS. :wink:

I have no idea how to rank the various video sources out there. I'm trying to hunt down info to inform my choice. But so far all the guides and reviews are, not surprisingly, targeted at the other end of the performance spectrum from where I'm looking. About the only thing I've got to go on at the moment is the rough "rule of thumb" that even the worst video card probably :?: performs better than any integrated video solution.

Sooooo ... does anyone have any other pointers or advice for a VGA bottom-feeder? Frankly, I can't believe I'm the only one out there in this situation. The dearth of info is probably because the others are just too embarrassed to talk about it. :oops: :wink:

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  1. I can't find any PCIe video cards for under $30. You're better off with integrated graphics.

    I just wonder why you need a PCIe mobo. Any card that's that low end needs nowhere near the bandwidth that PCIe provides. If you're looking to upgrade to a better CPU, tell us what kind, and we'll point you to a decent integrated graphics mobo.
  2. I'm thinking of getting a Core 2 Duo, of course. Leaning at the moment towards an E6400. But I could also possibly go with a dual core AM2 solution if AMD makes it really cheap for me in comparison. (Given that AMD can't keep supply up with demand at the moment, that path doesn't seem too likely to be taken).

    I suppose it's naturally that people who consistently feel bottlenecked by their video card would assume that anyone who wants to go with a fast CPU would also be willing to pay more to get better video performance. I just don't see it that way though.

    I don't game and so I don't need the features most people are paying extra for in their video card. I want CPU processing power so that I don't have to go away and come back in an hour or so when I'm trying to WinRAR your basic 8GB ISO image (and such). I also don't want to sit twiddling my thumbs while doing audio encoding/transcoding. And video? At the moment I can't even attempt to play around with anything in terms of video editing. The only thing I can do with video is play it back. I don't have the horsepower for anything else.

    Naturally I have no desire to go back to the days of an S3 card with 8MB of RAM. I'm not insane! But I also definitely don't need extra video horsepower. I'd be perfectly happy to continue using my FX 5200 in a Core 2 Duo system. Not an option though.

    I've already looked at the 1 or 2 AGP motherboards I could find that also support C2D and I've decided I don't want to go that way. What I'm thinking I'd like to have is a Nvidia 650i Ultra based motherboard ... that is any of the mobo makers deigns to sink low enough to make one available before I commit to upgrading. :roll: But when 650i base mobos finally do arrive, I don't expect to see one that supports AGP.

    Initially, I was thinking of buying sometime during November. But the more I look, the more hesitant I become. :? So I may wait until December or even January. When I upgrade really depends on what happens with CPU and memory prices as well as what's available in motherboards.

    In the meantime, I'd really like to get a better handle on what the choices are at the bottom of the video food-chain. I'd like to know what the trade-offs are.

  3. Quote:
    I can't find any PCIe video cards for under $30.

    Like I said, a strong contender in my current thinking is to go with something from eBay. Hence my confusion.

    There seem to be "billions and billions" of video cards up for sale on eBay. It ain't easy for a basically uninformed guy like me to wade through all those model numbers and have an idea just what I'm bidding on. :oops:

  4. Hey,John. If you just want graphics,and was considering onboard,maybe this is an option:

    Onboard graphics usually comes on mATX boards,so i guess it´s because you want a full size ATX mb.
  5. Personally I dont trust ebay AT ALL for computer hardware, been stung too many times.

    Added to that, for gaming a C2D is pointless combined with a POS gfx card, as the gfx card has **far** more influence on gaming performance than the CPU.

    TBH you would probably be best served putting the $20-30 towards a better integrated mobo with aPCIe slot and adding a decent gfx card later. For games you'd be much better served keeping your current CPU and upgrading the gfx.
  6. You won't get much better than an FX5200 for $30.
  7. Quote:
    For games you'd be much better served keeping your current CPU and upgrading the gfx.

    OK, I should clarify again that I do not game. I should probably also mention that my current system uses dual 800mHz Pentium 3 processors. Also can't have more than 512MB of memory with my current motherboard. (Good old Intel i815 chipset!)

    Still think I'd be able to start playing games if I kept my current CPU and just got a better graphics card? :wink:
    (Sorry. I couldn't resist saying it. I'm a baaaaaaaaad poster. :oops:)

    I suppose that there is a small part of me that is interested in keeping my options open and wouldn't mind have the capability to play low-end games. But it's really a low priority, back-burner type of consideration.

  8. For low-end games, an X300 should be fine. Hell, my radeon 9250 could run Oblivion with Oldblivion installed (albeit, quite badly.)
  9. I guess that X300 sneaked by me. Those with mail-in rebates whisk right under the <$30 Newegg filter's radar. I would get it for your purposes. Plenty cheap, and will certainly outdo a card that's 2 (actually 3 now) generations old.
  10. I want to thank you folks for all the responses you've given me so far. I have gotten a lot more help than I believe I had any right to expect given the nature of what I'm asking about.

    However, the discussion still isn't going in quite the direction I'd hoped for. And for that I've got only myself to blame. In hindsight, my OP was just not clear enough about what sort of advice I'm looking for. I apologize for that. Unfortunately most of the time I don't realize what I want to ask until well after I've done the OP. :oops:

    So, I'll give it another try.

    Yes, as I said in the OP, I'm looking for an inexpensive PCIe video card. Maybe I'll go integrated video, but most integrated video boards are uATX . I want a board with 4 DDR2 slots and, preferably, 3 PCI slots. This probably means ATX, not uATX.

    But while my preliminary goal is to not spend a lot, that's not all I'm thinking about.

    I would also like to have some ... not a lot, but some ... insight into what the relative differences are among the video cards out there. (And by "out there" I guess I mean "on ebay" :wink:)

    Below is an attempt to provide some context. It's a list of the model numbers I saw offered for auction or purchase the last time I ran my ebay search string for PCIe video cards. I've tried to rank them in what I assumed was the order of increasing capabilities, but it's only a guess. I truly have no idea how these cards compare relative to one another. Heck, I'm not even sure I've them sorted as "Radeon" versus "Nvidia" correctly.

    X300, X550, X600, X700 Pro, X800, X850XT, X1600 Pro, X1950 Pro

    Quadro NVS 280, Quadro NVS 285
    Quadro FX 1500, Quadro FX 3450
    GeForce 6200, (Asus N6500??), GeForce 6600GT, 6600GS, GeForce 6800XT
    GeForce 7300GS

    Now I certainly can't expect anyone to do a card by card comparison. That would be a just plain stupid thing to ask. But I was hoping I might get some broad "rule of thumb" type observations that might help me do a rough mental sort.

    Maybe I might also be able to find out approximately when new processors showed up in the model lines and some thoughts on if the new stuff was actually much better than the old stuff.

    In the end, I'm trying to get a handle on whether buying an X300 is about the same as buying a GeForce 6200? Or if it might actually be worth it in the long run to spend $10 more and get an X550 instead of an X300. (NOT claiming I could do that. Just trying to come up with a "what if" example. Remember, I don't know how to rank these cards).

    While I can't realistically expect anyone to spend the time trying to answer this, I figured it couldn't hurt to ask. Often a lot can be learned just from partial answers even when a general answer is impossible.

  11. Check out the Nvidia 6200TC cards as well. They perform better than the x300 in most games, and sell for next to nothing on ebay (you can easily snag one for $15-$20). The best kind of 6200TC to get is the one with 128MB of on-board memory (they come in levels of 16, 32, 64 and 128MB of dedicated memory), but if a 16MB one is out there in ebay land for $5, might as well buy it. :wink:
  12. You essentially listed the Radeon cards in order of increasing performance, just make the X850XT and X1600 Pro switch places.

    Don't bother with Quadros, they're for graphics design and don't suit your needs. You did good with the GeForces too, just switch 6800XT and 7300GS.

    GeForce with 7's in front and Radeons with 1's behind the X are the newest generation. They have newer technology to run newer games. However, high end previous generation cards are routinely much faster than low end current generation cards (i.e. X800XT>X1300)

    Generally with graphics cards, you get what you pay for. Price and performance tend to stay directly proportional. Get what you can afford, simple as that, and you won't be disappointed.

    Finally, never be afraid to ask questions. Sure, make an effort to see if it's already been answered before posting (check stickies, etc.), but never hesitate out of intimidation.
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