Which video card for laptop.

Im checking out Dell laptops to purchase and was wondering about the
video cards in them.This machine will not be used for gaming,for the most part it will be used for internet and watching movies on and the rendering of video files,importing home movies and converting to DIVX form then exporting them to an external drive for storage.My main concern is weather or not its worth the money to get either the-----
256MB ATI MOBILITY™ RADEON® X1400 HyperMemory™ [add $99]---OR----256MB NVIDIA® GeForce® Go 7300 TurboCache* [add $129]---or saving my money and keeping the Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 950 [Included in Price]-----the machine will have 2 gigs of ram and a Intel® Core™ 2 Duo T5200 (1.6GHz, 2MB L2 Cache, 533MHz FSB) I havent picked out the external video capture device yet but it will be USB.
Thanks in advance for the help.
14 answers Last reply
More about which video card laptop
  1. If it's not for gaming, it won't matter so much.

    The radeon or Gefore will probably have better DVD playback quality, but the GMA won't be terrible.

    It's up to you if DVD playback noise rediuction, inverse telecine, etc is worth the extra cash for the Radeon or Geforce.
  2. How about I drop the Core 2 Duo processor and go with a Intel® Pentium® dual-core T2060(1MB Cache/1.6GHz/533MHz FSB) that will save me $100.00 and then opt for the 256MB ATI MOBILITY™ RADEON® X1400 HyperMemory™ [add $99 ] --(just trying to keep the price of the unit down) or would you suggest keeping the Core 2 Duo processor and going with the cheaper video.
  3. No....I would stay with the Core 2 Duo.....its actually a different architecture (Merom) than the T2060. (Yonah) This new architecture is 64 bit compatible, and has much better SSE instructions. Really, just spend the $99 for the x1400. I mean, its not all THAT much, and will allow you to play much more graphically intensive games if you are such inclined in the future.
  4. Yep, core2 duo is much more powerful.

    If you're rendering video, you'll be using the power of the CPU. More important than the videocard in this case for sure.

    If you were gaming, there would be a case for the better videocard.
  5. I agree with what's already been mentioned, go with the Core2Duo, it's worth the boost, and also nice to have the 64bit option for the future, whcih is not available to the duo core.

    The GMA will be fine for many things, I'd also pay the extra for the X1400 (not worth $40 extra for the GF7300), but it depends on whether you care much for Vista and such. This would be easier if it were the GMA965 instead of the 950.

    Also the C2D allows you to make use of 667 memory for an upgrade path while the CD will be stuck with 533.
  6. Why not look at the e1705 instead since you're all into movies and what-not. Like the previous posters said, since you're not into gaming any of those will suit you fine... but if you DO want to game, that e1705 can be equipped with a 7900 GS.

    I own an e1505 CD (not C2D... that didn't exist 1 year ago) with the ATI X1400 and I'm content... it does some basic gaming, but nothing ultra-new like Oblivion, BF2, FEAR, etc.

    It plays WoW, can dual-boot into Linux and is 100% stable... that's all I could have ever hoped for!
  7. Quote:

    Also the C2D allows you to make use of 667 memory for an upgrade path while the CD will be stuck with 533.


    Are you absolutely sure of this? I'm not questioning you on this just to be an ass... I own an e1505 and was looking at upgrading the memory to 2 GB.

    Here's what has me confused... http://www.intel.com/products/processor_number/chart/coreduo.htm

    Again, I have the Core Duo.
  8. The Great Grape Ape
    The core 2 duo processor im looking at has a FSB of 533 Mhz so the upgrade to the 667 memory wouldnt do much good or would it? Also the system would have Vista on it,so as far as Vista is concerned putting the rendering thing aside would the xtra puch of the ATI video be good for Vista?
  9. In June 2004, I bought a Dell Inspiron 8600 and I opted for several things that got the total price a tad on the high side. I have not regretted a single one of them!

    Display: Wide Ultra XGA 15.4 inch (best avail at time)
    Video: 128 MB ATI (best avail at time)
    Bluetooth: integrated
    Wireless: built-in A/B/G dual band
    Hard Drive: 60 GB Hitachi 7200 rpm
    Battery: 9 cell optional battery but no extra battery (you won't need it)
    Firewire: 1394a at the time
    DVD ROM/CD-RW: I didn't bother with a DVD burner as I already had a USB/Firewire model from LG that I liked. I did think being able to watch DVD without cords dangling was a good thing.

    The only thing I didn't go all out on was processor. I got the 1.6 GHz Pentium M. If I had it to do over, I might have kicked that up another notch.

    BUT, here's the bottom line: You only get one chance with a laptop. If you have to wait, then wait. If you have to borrow a few bucks to make up the difference, borrow it --- or wait. But, get the following things:

    Wide Ultra XGA display -- you won't look back on that decision

    Best video adapter you can include -- likewise

    7200 rpm hard drive --- believe me, it is worth the money. I'd take a 60 GB Hitachi TravelStar (7200 rpm) or an 80 GB or a 100 GB and if you want to save money by making that small instead of big, that's OK. But don't save money by getting 5400 rpm; you won't regret it because you'll never know the difference. But if you get the 7200 rpm; you'll know you did the right thing.

    Bluetooth -- bluetooth has been slow to catch on, but when you decide to get a Bluetooth headset for you Skype or a Bluetooth mouse or whatever, you'll be glad you don't have to use up your card slot or one of your USB ports. I have a Microsoft Bluetooth keyboard and mouse -- I don't use the keyboard much because I'm pretty good with Dell's nice keyboard. But, I do like the mouse when I am working on a table with papers and I can put the computer farther away and have papers and mouse close at hand.

    So, why would I love to be in your shoes?

    Because, there is no way in hell I can justify buying a new laptop because my three year old Inspiron 8600 is so nice and still just clicks along wonderfully. Maybe if I'd saved a thousand on the Inspiron, I could justify looking at a new one now. My advice is to step up to the plate and plan to enjoy the result for a long, long time.

    In closing, here's a side story: Not too long after I bought my Inspiron, my sister asked me to help her to buy a computer. She wanted a laptop. I told her I would spec. one out for her and we could discuss it. The total came to just over $2,000 for an Inspiron 6000. The spec.s were pretty much the same as for mine, but the 8600 had been discontinued or maybe the Hitachi drive was not available in the 8600 at that time. I know the choice of Inspiron 6000 was based on availability in that model at that time of the Hitachi drive and the Wide Ultra XGA 15.4" screen.

    She told me she just didn't want to spend that much money. I told her to just do what her big brother said and that she could keep it for six months and if she wanted to get rid of it, I'd give her what she paid for it as long as there was no peanut butter on the display.

    That was in September of 2005. She got a 1.73 GHz Pentium M and Bluetooth and dual band wireless etc.

    I have lost track of how many times she and her husband have thanked me for "making her buy" that computer. Most recently when she broke her leg and sprained her ankle, she was able to use it as a "bed-top" computer.

    Laptops are unlike other computers. When you buy or build a desktop computer, as long as you get the right processor and chipset, you can make mistakes on some of your other components. If your video really doesn't suit you or if a newer better model comes out, you can probably make a change. You can even replace the processor within reason. You can opt for some new fast hard drive. You can change your network card or your wireless. You can add Bluetooth and you can add Firewire and serial and parallel and so on.

    With the laptop, you'd better get it right the first time.

    Step up the the plate and get the best or back up from the plate and get cheap --- both are legitimate choices. It's the middle of the road that sucks, so don't be there.

    My advice! What more could you want?
  10. I 2nd the advice for the 7200 rpm drive. I have a 5400 rpm and it's tolerable, but that's as far as I would take it... my boss had a Thinkpad with a 4200 rpm drive (his laptop was newer than mine!) and it was an absolute dog.

    If you're gonna load down your laptop with power sucking devices (7200 rpm drives, high end video, etc) you can count on a shorter battery life or a more expensive battery... take your pick.

    My Dell E1505 w/ a Core Duo 1.66 and the ATI X1400 can squeeze out just over 3 hours on the standard battery with the screen brightness turned down... 2.5 hours is more realistic... and I know that under heavy use I can push that a bit below 2 hours. My laptop spends 95% of its life running on AC power so that's not a huge issue for me. Just some food for thought.
  11. It also depends on the software you are using for your video editing and how complex you get. The Liquid series from avid can use the GPU for realtime preview and rendering of effects and if thats a big part of your editing, than a better GPU will increase your workflow. I have the M1210 because I needed a small, very portable laptop but it has the Core2Duo 7400, 2 GB 667 ram, 7200 SATA drive and the Geforce 7400. I don't have a single regret about getting any of those aditions, and like people said, with a laptop sometimes you only have 1 shot with the components. I also just you a 19" crt hooked up to it along a usb keyboard and mouse when I don't need the portabilty and it's better than my desktops. hehehe.
  12. Quote:

    Are you absolutely sure of this? I'm not questioning you on this just to be an ass... I own an e1505 and was looking at upgrading the memory to 2 GB.


    Pretty sure, but it's based on his description. The NAPA platform will suppor Asynchronous memory, but if he's talking about the Core Duo platform with 1MB L2, then it's running on the 915 which support 533mhz memory with a 533mhz FSB, not the 945 which supports asynchronous memory and would be 667MHZ FSB.

    Quote:
    Here's what has me confused... http://www.intel.com/products/processor_number/chart/coreduo.htm

    Again, I have the Core Duo.


    Yes, but that list shows them on the 667FSB which is the Napa platform, any CD on a 533 is likely the 915.

    This is just based on my experience shopping for a replacement, and not a hardset rule where the 533=915 and the 667=945, the memory support is limited to that breakdown for those chipsets. Technically the Napa can support 800mhz FSB with the correct BIOS and 667mhz memory, but there isn't wide support on many laptops. The annoying thing is SantaRosa will be opening up the 800mhz memory support as well as the FSB, and also be the platform for faster FSBs (can't rememebr how far off til 1066).

    Anywhoo like I said, not hard set fast rule, but based on his description I'm thinking it's an older CD and older chipset. Of course, that's an assumption on my part.
  13. Quote:
    The Great Grape Ape
    The core 2 duo processor im looking at has a FSB of 533 Mhz so the upgrade to the 667 memory wouldnt do much good or would it?


    Well unfortunately it is a DELL, so I don't know WTF they do, hated how locked up mine was, but if it's a C2D it has to be a Napa 945 platform, and most of them if not locked up by DELL BIOS should support asynchronous memory, so a T5xxx series running 533FSB should still support 667memory. Check and see if they give you that as a step-up upgrade option, if so that will confirm it for your model.

    Quote:
    Also the system would have Vista on it,so as far as Vista is concerned putting the rendering thing aside would the xtra puch of the ATI video be good for Vista?


    Yes, I would say for Vista you HAVE TO do the GMA 965 or better, the 950 is weak, and I would say the X1400 or GF7300 would be the best choices, and considering how equal those two are (each winning and losing something) I would save the $40 and go with the X1400.
  14. I have read on various sites that my E1505 Core Duo system is 100% compatible with a C2D processor... I'm not going to go that route, but it is my understanding that I would be able to physical remove my Core Duo processor (and void my warranty!) and then just drop in a C2D processor. Assuming the thermal characteristics were the same (or better) I'd be good to go.

    But I think you did answer my question... 945 chipset = 667 capable... 915 chipset = 533 capable... thanks!

    Now I'll just check that when I get home... I'd be eying two 1 GB DDR2-667 modules and I'm sure they'd work either way... it'd just be an added bonus if I went from 1 GB of DDR2-533 up to 2 GB of DDR2-667.
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