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Best GPU for UNDER $50... help please

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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June 22, 2007 1:36:37 PM

Hi there, I'm looking for an inexpensive PCI-E x16 video card to put in my girlfriend's computer (not upgrading, building new) but we're on a really tight budget. She plays the Sims2, and various roller coaster tycoon games and zoo tycoon and such like that.

What would be the best option for under $50?

I had chosen the 7300LE but was later reading that it was barely better than onboard... so now I'm at a loss.

Please help :D 

Thanks in advance.

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June 22, 2007 2:02:01 PM

Quote:
She plays the Sims2, and various roller coaster tycoon games and zoo tycoon and such like that.

Simple pleasures for simple minds eh?
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June 22, 2007 2:47:18 PM

Quote:
She plays the Sims2, and various roller coaster tycoon games and zoo tycoon and such like that.

Simple pleasures for simple minds eh?

Indeed. She wouldn't really touch video games when I first met her 19 months ago... but after being together so long I guess they caught on... she's got her own PS2 now and has beat Kingdom Hearts (working on KH2) and plays other games like FFX, GRAW, Shadow of Colossus, Gun, and GTA.

Quote:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Either that or, honestly, I'd go with an AMD processor and get onboard video from AMD or NVidia... both will be acceptable for Sims style gaming at 1024x768.

The best bang for your buck I found on Newegg is probably this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

A Radeon X800GT with 256mb and 256bit bus, is AWESOME for $65 shipped.


Awesome thanks, just a couple questions:
1. What does it mean "Open Box"
2. Both are 256MB, how much of a difference will there be in performance?

As for the onboard idea.. I thought of that, but I've never had a good experience with onboard so I wouldn't know what to get. It is an AMD based build for her, so that should work?

Here's the CPU I picked out and here's the motherboard. I'm not sure what I can do to find a better one for the cost, we're trying to stick as close as possible to the $300 mark. Already with the $50 cap on video card we were at $310.90... the extra $15 wouldn't be a killer, but at some point a line needs to be drawn.

Anyway, thanks for the help.
June 22, 2007 3:18:14 PM

1- open box generally means its been used/refurbished
2- The x800 will be a fair bit more powerful than the other one
June 22, 2007 3:21:52 PM

Onboard video from ATI/AMD and NVidia are totally different experiences than onboard video from Intel.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

However, I understand your fears...

Open Box from Newegg means it's a customer return, so YMMV. Odds are someone bought it and decided to return it. If you have issues, you can always return it to newegg.

The amount of RAM in a video card doesn't matter nearly as much as the chip powering the card, combined with the bus width to that RAM. X800 was ATI's top card a couple of years ago, and will be AWESOME in older games, but doesn't do DirectX 9 or 10 in hardware. The 7300 will also be acceptable, depending on what resolution you want to play games, but you're right it's not much better than onboard. The reason I'd get onboard is that the cost difference is minimal, and if you decide you do need a bump in performance, you can buy an add-in card.
June 22, 2007 3:30:33 PM

Quote:
X800 was ATI's top card a couple of years ago, and will be AWESOME in older games, but doesn't do DirectX 9 or 10 in hardware.


well the x850xt was the top card, not the x800. and the x800 can do directx9.0. just not shader model 3.0
June 22, 2007 3:35:57 PM

Correct, I was oversimplifying...

It does not handle all the features of the latest DirectX 9.

A solid buy either way.
June 22, 2007 4:19:48 PM

This card will spank the 7300 even with DDR2 and 128 bit and it's only 67.99 after 10$ rebate. The ATI 800 would do the job quite well too.
June 22, 2007 5:07:34 PM

I think you need to sack up and spend just a little north of $50... the performance difference in the cards selling for $50 and $100 will be pretty dramatic to say the least.
a b U Graphics card
June 22, 2007 5:36:00 PM

I would get the x800. a steal at $65 shipped. at 1024x768 it will even play oblivion and bf2, should she want to take her rpg/fps off console.
June 22, 2007 9:22:31 PM

I'd start by changing your mobo choice as the AMD 690G chipset boards are newer and come with better onboard graphics (x1250 with avivo hd) for around the same price ($68.99 on newegg for the ASUS M2A-VM Socket AM2 AMD 690G) and will give decent frame rates in the games you mention while giving u the option to upgrade later. See here:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131172

With the saved $30 you could then get a MUCH better dual core cpu, namely the AMD Athlon 64 X2 3600+ which is currently going for $59 here:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103036

Let us know what you go with.
June 22, 2007 9:46:47 PM

Quote:
Onboard video from ATI/AMD and NVidia are totally different experiences than onboard video from Intel.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

However, I understand your fears...

Open Box from Newegg means it's a customer return, so YMMV. Odds are someone bought it and decided to return it. If you have issues, you can always return it to newegg.

The amount of RAM in a video card doesn't matter nearly as much as the chip powering the card, combined with the bus width to that RAM. X800 was ATI's top card a couple of years ago, and will be AWESOME in older games, but doesn't do DirectX 9 or 10 in hardware. The 7300 will also be acceptable, depending on what resolution you want to play games, but you're right it's not much better than onboard. The reason I'd get onboard is that the cost difference is minimal, and if you decide you do need a bump in performance, you can buy an add-in card.


Will either of those onboard set-ups be enough to play the Sims 2? That'd save me a decent amount of money up front.

There were so many other suggestions I don't really know what to pick...

7300GT
7600GT
6600GT
and that x800 or x850 ATI card...

This is such a hard decision to make ^_^

I think I'd go with the on-board if you guys are sure it'll work for those games, and then later on we can just upgrade to a "real" card.

Thanks again for all the advice, let me know what you think for sure about those on-board setups.
June 22, 2007 9:54:55 PM

I don't know how well onboard will work since I haven't used it for a long time but for gaming a discrete card is better.The 7300 is junk IMO and not much better than onboard.
June 22, 2007 10:14:26 PM

Quote:
She plays the Sims2, and various roller coaster tycoon games and zoo tycoon and such like that.

Simple pleasures for simple minds eh?

dude thats rude, sims2 and RC Tycoon are complex games, if she plays sims2 then buy her a 7600gs for 50 bucks more or a 6600gt.
June 23, 2007 12:04:22 AM

Quote:
She plays the Sims2, and various roller coaster tycoon games and zoo tycoon and such like that.

Simple pleasures for simple minds eh?

dude thats rude, sims2 and RC Tycoon are complex games, if she plays sims2 then buy her a 7600gs for 50 bucks more or a 6600gt.

Only problem being, we don't really have the extra $50.. I could list all the parts I'm fixing to use in the build and maybe you guys could help me shave cost in other areas?

Thanks again for all the help.
June 23, 2007 12:16:05 AM

Those ATI1600 cards aren't bad for 70 bucks.Didn't see any good choices in the 50 range.Only other thing I can say is at least 1 gig of ram will help also.
June 25, 2007 2:49:31 PM

Quote:
Hi there, I'm looking for an inexpensive PCI-E x16 video card to put in my girlfriend's computer (not upgrading, building new) but we're on a really tight budget. She plays the Sims2, and various roller coaster tycoon games and zoo tycoon and such like that.

What would be the best option for under $50?

I had chosen the 7300LE but was later reading that it was barely better than onboard... so now I'm at a loss.

Please help :D 

Thanks in advance.



Am I blind or did this gentleman say he only wanted to spend $50.00 ---- WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE YOU TELLING HIM TO BUY A WHOLE NEW motherboard and cpu for ??????? DUUUUHHH -Goto ebay and get a ati 800 and download the newest drivers .... it'll scream compared to what she's using now .
June 25, 2007 5:34:24 PM

The dual core cpu and better mobo is a good option. Just so you know the x800 is the best performer there and the intergrated x1250 is acually based on a x700. :D  I would go for that.
a b U Graphics card
June 25, 2007 9:10:56 PM

My suggestion is don't buy new stuff. Buy used. If you're near a Fry's or have someone who might be nice enough to ship to you, you can get a motherboard and proc roughly equivalent to what you're spec'ing for less than $90. There are used X850XTs out there for less than $100 if you look.
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