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April 25, 2007 4:47:38 PM

Hey,

I'm not too hot with the hardware, so I've been reading up stuff on TomsHardware, especially the "Best Gaming Video Cards for the Money: March 2007" guide, and, considering my budget, narrowed down my options to 3 cards (I list the lowest prices I could find - from ncix.com - in canadian dollars)

GeForce 7900 GS - $180 (linky)

RADEON X1950 PRO - $220 (lite retail version?)

RADEON X1950 XT - $280 (linky)

From what I've read on this site, and considering my budget ($150-$300) these are the best options I could find.

My specs are as follows, and I don't plan on upgrading them any time soon (or maybe I should? Advice appreciated):
ASUS P5GD1 ATX LGA775 915P DDR PCI-E16 mobo
P4 630 3.0GHz LGA775 800FSB 2MB cache
2x Samsung PC3200 512MB DDR400 ram
Samsung LCD max resolution = 1280x1024

First of all, the 8800 cards are out of my price range. The 7900 GS is really cheap, but I get the feeling I'll have to upgrade it again in a few weeks.

I was leaning towards the X1950 XT due to the fact that I don't like to upgrade cards often, and the XT seems to give awesome fps in a lot of the games I play, although from what I see, the X1950 PRO is quite close in performance at 1280x1024 and costs $60 less. I'm also not sure how much of a bottleneck the rest of my system is, and if I should just go for a X1950 PRO instead, or just invest another $60 for a longer lasting card.

Any advice is greatly appreciated!

More about : question

April 25, 2007 5:06:38 PM

X1950XT for sure. 8)
It's far better than 7900GS.
About your system...
First of all, what is your power supply?
Warning: you should be sure that your power supply can handle a X1950XT :!:
others may said that your CPU would be a bottleneck.
Hmmm...it's true, but upgrading your CPU will force you to change your Motherboard & your memory(it needs some serious cash).You can always OC your current CPU if you like to. On the other hand it's not very important if you want to play at High Resolutions with AA/AF.
My recommendation :
get the X1950XT (if you have a good PSU), then upgrade your memory to 2GB if you still have some money left.then in the future upgrade your CPU/Mobo/Memory when you have enough money.
Good Luck!
April 25, 2007 5:15:43 PM

Thanks for the quick reply.
Forgot about the PSU, it's a Thermaltake TR2 W0070 430W ATX 12V psu w/dual 80mm fan.

Yeah I was hoping to hold off on upgrading the motherboard, CPU and ram until maybe late next year (or whenever DX10 gets big) so then I could just pimp out the hardware and get a nice DX10 card. I'm hoping the CPU doesn't cause too many slowdowns with maxed graphics on 1280x1024.
Related resources
April 25, 2007 5:21:58 PM

Go with the X1950Pro. Your CPU will bottleneck that too, so you'll get the same performance as you would with the X1950XT, except it'll cost less.
April 25, 2007 5:34:25 PM

Quote:
Go with the X1950Pro. Your CPU will bottleneck that too, so you'll get the same performance as you would with the X1950XT, except it'll cost less.

Man, he said that he want to play at max settings at 1280x1024, are you sure that at these setting both card performs similar? I know that P4 630 would be bottleneck but at those settings...Hmmm...i don't think so.Anyway i would go with the X1950XT if i were him.
April 25, 2007 5:40:31 PM

I'd say 7900GS. It's similar to the x1950Pro (see here) and cheaper.

The x1950XT would soundly outperform it, of course, but it's a lot more expensive. If you're going to shell $280 for the XT, I'd say you'd be better off going up to the GTS 320. I don't know what it is at NCIX, but it's $340 at directcanada.com. Directcanada is usually a little cheaper than NCIX.

edit: the link I listed usually shows the GS winning, which doesn't agree with the Anandtech benchmarks which use newer drivers. In the Anandtech ones the Pro usually wins, albeit by a small enough margin that generally the increased clockspeed of the GS KO would make the difference negligible.
April 25, 2007 5:50:28 PM

get the x1950xt, you might find it for less on newegg then $280, but regardless I have it and it hasn't given me any problems (other then the loud fan), and it runs everything I have thrown at it so far.
April 25, 2007 5:51:26 PM

Quote:
Go with the X1950Pro. Your CPU will bottleneck that too, so you'll get the same performance as you would with the X1950XT, except it'll cost less.

Man, he said that he want to play at max settings at 1280x1024, are you sure that at these setting both card performs similar? I know that P4 630 would be bottleneck but at those settings...Hmmm...i don't think so.Anyway i would go with the X1950XT if i were him.
The cards don't perform similar, but they'll both hit a performance wall because of the CPU bottleneck. With a much faster CPU, the X1950XT would be much faster than the pro, but the CPU he has will bottleneck the X1950Pro, hence an X1950XT won't be any better. My P4 3.0E isn't much slower than a 630 and my X1950Pro is bottlenecked by it.
a c 147 U Graphics card
April 25, 2007 6:22:03 PM

Everyone is right. The XT is better than the Pro by a good chuck, but your CPU is going to slow it all down not to mention your PC3200 memory. My thoughts are your system is pretty dated as far as games go, which is what I take it you are using it for since you are looking at video cards. Most newer games are asking as a minimum what you have and alot are recommending e6400 chips or the AMD x2 4600+ which I have seen a few times on newer games like STALKER and what not. Supreme Commander is very Memory and CPU intensive as well with similar requiretment, not to mention video.

My thoughts.... Right now is not a good time to buy a graphics card. ATI is F__ing around with bringing out their new cards and as soon as they do the 8800's will lower in price and so will everything else. So if y ou buy a $280 card now in a month it might be $180.

HOWEVER, it IS a good time to buy a CPU. Intel just lowered its price on its current chips and released some new ones as well. Even an e4300 Core 2 will blow your CPU out of the water at stock speed. And these things overclock VERY VERY VERY well. You will need a good 2 GB for current games at DDR2 800 memory which on the low end of G.Skill can be had for $110 for the higher latency sticks and even for $140 you can have a decent set. Motherboards are around $100 for a good one as well.

To add to it all a 430W power supple is NOT going to be enough to run any of these cards anyways. I have a 400w power supply that popped while playing on my AGP 6800 on my last system so there is no way it will hold up to an XT or equivilent.

My suggestion is if you want to game you need to upgrade your system. Either start with a MB, CPU and Memory. THen add the PSU and Video later. But you need to upgrade more than the graphics card in this not so bad boy.
April 25, 2007 6:23:19 PM

Quote:
Thanks for the quick reply.
Forgot about the PSU, it's a Thermaltake TR2 W0070 430W ATX 12V psu w/dual 80mm fan.

Yeah I was hoping to hold off on upgrading the motherboard, CPU and ram until maybe late next year (or whenever DX10 gets big) so then I could just pimp out the hardware and get a nice DX10 card. I'm hoping the CPU doesn't cause too many slowdowns with maxed graphics on 1280x1024.


That PSU will not be enough for ANY of those cards. It only has 18amps on a single 12v rail. I know I had the same psu, was fine for running a 7600gt but for the 7900gs you need at least 22 amps on the 12v rail. And I can't say for sure but I think that the ATI cards you mentioned require even more. You will definitely have to change psu in order to upgrade to any of these cards.
April 25, 2007 6:30:46 PM

Are you sure it's 22A for the GS? On Newegg the GS KO is listed as 20A. Still more than the 18A on the PSU but I believe the card itself only uses about 8-10A and the rest is used for other parts. So if he's only got one hard drive and optical drive I think it's likely the Thermaltake would do it, but a beefier PSU would be reassuring.
April 25, 2007 6:34:54 PM

Sorry my error it's my Asus card that require 22a and the evga 20a ... sorry. If it was my system I wouldn't risk putting a card like those listed in my system with the thermaltake though. That's why I got a much robust psu, not that much more watts but much more reliable since it has dual 12v rails with 32a combined.

And to the op the 7900gs is an excellent overclocker mine goes from 450/630 stock to 575/800 with aftermaket cooling.
April 25, 2007 7:03:20 PM

lol great. So to summarize, the PSU, motherboard, CPU, ram and video card are all in need of renovation :?

I don't suppose there's a one-stop place/guide for configuring a good PC with good value high performance parts? As limited as my GPU knowledge is, it's probably 10 times better than my general computer hardware knowledge :lol: 

Anyways, thanks for the help.
April 25, 2007 7:06:18 PM

Quote:
lol great. So to summarize, the PSU, motherboard, CPU, ram and video card are all in need of renovation :?

I don't suppose there's a one-stop place/guide for configuring a good PC with good value high performance parts? As limited as my GPU knowledge is, it's probably 10 times better than my general computer hardware knowledge :lol: 

Anyways, thanks for the help.

My best advice would be to keep asking questions around here. Go to the appropriate sections and ask questions. That's one of the best ways to learn. General Homebuilt would be a good place to start.
April 25, 2007 7:29:23 PM

I'm Canadian, I wrote the 'best cards for the money' list, and IMHO you can';t go wrong with any of these cards. Good price spread that corresponds with their performance difference.

The 7900 GS will last at least a year or two at 1280x1024, although with the new games coming out you ight have to lower some detail in the future.

The X1950 XT is the most future proof and will play at 1280x1024 for some time to come, but you're paying an extra $100 for it...

For Canadian prices though, all these cards are pretty decent.
April 25, 2007 10:17:43 PM

Yeah, I actually think I'm gonna go with the 7900GS for now and stay with my current system, then in a year or so buy a brand new system (my PC is a little under 2 years old).

How certain are you guys that my PSU won't have enough juice to run the 7900? I've got a DVD/RW, a floppy drive and a 200GB IDE ATA133 7200RPM 8MB 8.9MS FDB hard drive, that's about it.
April 25, 2007 10:34:22 PM

Quote:
Yeah, I actually think I'm gonna go with the 7900GS for now and stay with my current system, then in a year or so buy a brand new system (my PC is a little under 2 years old).


While the x1950 xt is a better card, the 7900gs will keep you gaming until you get a new pc. As for the psu, I would recommend a 500W power supply for a 7900gs. You can get some good deals at newegg.
a b U Graphics card
April 25, 2007 11:00:00 PM

The psu should be something like say 18 amps per rail maybe 28 to 30 combined. Enermax is a great , solid brand
April 26, 2007 12:56:14 PM

Quote:
Most newer games are asking as a minimum what you have and a lot are recommending e6400 chips or the AMD x2 4600+ which I have seen a few times on newer games like STALKER and what not. Supreme Commander is very Memory and CPU intensive as well with similar requiretment, not to mention video.

you are 100% wrong!
P4 630 2MB cache is the minimum?
that the most pathetic thing that i have ever heard in years.
ONLY S.T.A.L.K.E.R & Supreme Commander recommended a great CPU like E6400. still some other RTS games (Dark Crusade, Tiberium Wars) runs very nice on his CPU.even the S.T.A.L.K.E.R runs awesome on my system & as you can see i have 2~3 year old single core Athlon64 socket939(everyone in this forum (except some real PC master like Cleeve,GreatApe,StrangeStranger,Prozac,....) said that my 3 year old cpu will bottleneck my current graphic card & i shouldn't buy the 8800GTS! but guess what? finished S.T.A.L.K.E.R @ 1600x1200, Tiberium wars @ 1600x1200+16xAA+16xAF, ....
he should get the X1950XT and he will see much better result than upgrading his CPU/Memory/Mobo!
all he needs is a good PSU & then the X1950XT.
April 26, 2007 1:02:21 PM

Quote:
Yeah, I actually think I'm gonna go with the 7900GS for now and stay with my current system, then in a year or so buy a brand new system (my PC is a little under 2 years old).

How certain are you guys that my PSU won't have enough juice to run the 7900? I've got a DVD/RW, a floppy drive and a 200GB IDE ATA133 7200RPM 8MB 8.9MS FDB hard drive, that's about it.


Good idea. I disagree with the fellow who said you have to get new CPU, RAM, and board. Sure yours are outdated but they're still okay and it's not totally necessary to upgrade yet. You'd definitely see a performance boost if you did, though.

As for your PSU, how old is it? It's a little below the minimum spec for the 7900gs but I still think it'd probably work if it isn't too old.

edit: by the way farhang, there's a big difference between a 2.7GHz Athlon 64 and a 3GHz P4.
April 26, 2007 1:10:51 PM

i know my friend, but honestly witch game do you know that said the P4 630 3GHz 2MB cache is the minimum??
man, games are Much Much Much Much ... Much depended on the Graphic Card than the CPU.even the RTS games except Supreme Commander.(i know that you know it better than me!)
so why the hell Jay2tall said that his system is the minimum for new games?
Quote:
REQUIRED SYSTEM SPECIFICATIONS:
CPU (Single Core): Intel P4 2.0 GHz or AMD Athlon 2000+ for Windows XP / Intel P4 2.2 GHz or AMD Athlon 2200+ for Windows
Vista
April 26, 2007 1:15:33 PM

Oh I totally agree with you that a P4 3.0 isn't quite the minimum but it's getting close enough that it should definitely be the next thing to go after this graphics upgrade. Your 2.7GHz Athlon though is pretty good, except for being single core.

Now is an excellent time to buy any computer parts, you can get the basic AMD X2 board, cpu and 2GB RAM for a bit over $200 and the basic Intel C2D with 2GB RAM for a bit over $250. They're similar in price/performance at stock, if you'll overclock the Intel is a great buy.
April 26, 2007 1:22:26 PM

Quote:
oh I totally agree with you that a P4 3.0 isn't quite the minimum but it's getting close enough that it should definitely be the next thing to go after this graphics upgrade.

100% agree. 8)
damn...i wish i had your CPU :tongue: :mrgreen: then i could finally play Supreme Commander well. :(  [/quote]
April 26, 2007 1:28:16 PM

I'm somewhat ashamed to say I've never played Supreme Commander. Or CNC3, or any new games... I just occasionally play CS:S and game boy advance emus. I'm getting a 8800GTS to replace the aging 7600GT so then I think I'll force myself to play a bit more games to justify the purchase.
April 26, 2007 1:33:15 PM

Those benchmarks comparing the 1950 pro and 7900gs are a bit suss. The 1950 pro is a clear winner by Tom's benchmarks. And, being an owner of a 7900gt, I wouldn't recommend a 79** to anyone.
April 26, 2007 1:44:00 PM

Yeah, it may be because they were using older drivers. The Anandtech ones like here and here are more legit, it shows the x1950Pro winning by a smallish margin in nearly everything. The increased clockspeed of the EVGA KO version would cut that lead a little more. A few FPS isn't worth the extra $40 IMO.
April 26, 2007 2:45:26 PM

An 8800 is most DEFINITELY not out of your price range... they can be had for $279 with a $20 rebate pushing the price down to $259. Of course this is the 320 MB version, but still... might want to double check your facts before you give up on an 8800.
April 26, 2007 2:48:54 PM

We're in Canada, cheapest price for a GTS 320 is $330 after a MIR, nearly double the 7900GS. Plus then he'd for sure need a new PSU, although should get one anyway if it's at all possible.
April 26, 2007 3:05:49 PM

Drat. Nevermind.
!