I'm looking to buy a graphics card for a new system I'm building and I'd like to know how each component contributes to the overall speed and quality of the card, such as Core Clock Speed, Memory Clock Speed, Memory Interface, Memory Size, and Pixel Pipelines.
I'm on a fairly low budget, so I'm looking for a card for under $100. I'm not asking for specific card suggestions so much as I'm asking for some general information so I can make my own educated decision, but anything will be appreciated. I'm mostly looking at higher GeForce 6 series and low to mid 7 series cards on Newegg.com and found a few that look good at first sight, but have one really hindering spec.
For example, I'm looking at one 7300GT with 256 MB of 128-bit, 533Mhz memory, but the GPU core clock is only 350MHz.
Or another card I saw (don't remember specifics) had 256 or even 512 MB of memory, high core and memory speed, but was only 64-bit.
I realize I should be looking for a happy medium in everything, but I'd like to know the pros and cons of higher-this and lower-that so to speak.
Among other things, I do plan to do some gaming. I'm currently looking forward to Unreal Tournament 2007 and Spore.
My last system had an Athlon XP and GeForce 4 4800 (until it died and I'm stuck using my laptop), so anything I get will be better than that.
I'm usually happy running stuff at 1024x768 or a little higher on medium to high settings. I don't need to push 150 FPS with all the highest settings on all the new games. Just something that will run for a couple years and look decent enough.
Since I posted last I think I've found what I'm looking, but I'm still curious about which area is worth investing in before the rest. I know just adding more memory to a low clock speed doesn't really increase performance, nor will you get anywhere with a high clock and very little memory.
And since you're asking what I plan to use it for, I assume that means that different tasks have different requirements?
It varies. The biggest thing is the Core architecture which no computer store will state which architecture is better than the other. Generally high core clock speeds are a + but that doesn't mean that a higher clock speed will be a lower clock speed card (case in point 8800GTX vs 7900GTX: 8800GTX wins).
What have you decided on? I'm sorry but $100 isn't going to go terribly far if you're going to be playing DX10 level games such as unreal tournament 2007. Not sure about spore I'm assuming that would be DX9 and a geforce 7600GS and up (or equivalent ATi card) would give you some eye candy and a decent FPS.
I guess I was a little unclear about my "new" system. I'm getting new CPU, Motherboard, RAM, Video Card, and Power Supply and reusing my optical drives and hard drives until I can upgrade those as well. I will also reuse my case, monitor, speakers, keyboard, and mouse with no plans of upgrading.
Right now my preliminary build uses an Athlon 64 and the mobos I'm looking at all have PCI-E slots for the video card.
I really haven't been following upcoming games too much, so I wasn't aware that UT2007 will be DX10. Oh well, I'll take what I can get.
I did find a 7600GT for 109.00 that I'm thinking might be the one for me. Seems to be the best card I can get within my budget.
In my original post I was more or less just trying to get some information so I could figure out for myself what to get. I looked through the first 5 pages of topics to see if anyone had already posted about the info I was looking for and found about half of them to just be "Which card is better?" or "What should I buy?" I didn't really want to just be another pestering newcomer just asking for opinions.
I did read the article about January's best cards for the money, and used that to help my search. It was when I started looking at the different cards with those GPUs that they all had different core speeds, memory clocks, interfaces, and sizes. I wasn't sure what had more influence in performance, and therefore what I should invest in or could be sacrificed.
I'm starting to get more of an idea now, so thanks to everyone who has replied so far.