What one is for me (graphics cards)

Right I need your help on this one, I have now finally decided to upgrade my graphics card from this old X800 that I am using. Not only is it slow it is now getting very dusty and very loud as the fan keeps making noises. In fact last week the graphics card started overheating because the fan was not going fast enough due to being clogged up with dust.

My current system specs are as follows:

Windows Vista Ultimate
AMD64 3500+ 939
2GB’s of DDR400
SoundBlaster Audigy2 ZS Platinum Pro
Nforce3 Motherboard (AGP)
Thermaltake 430PSU (very high grade)
20.1” Widescreen 1680X1050 (DVI)

Now I know I will have to change the Motherboard but I can get an Nforce4 board with SLI for £50, which solves that problem. The real problem is what graphics card do I get. I have £300 to spend on either one so it’s a case of do I settle for a HD2900XT 1GB or do I go for an 8800GTX 768MB. With the ATi card I know it’s not as powerful but will the memory increase be better for the DX10 gaming in the future? Or will the 8800GTX just thrash that card till it cries for the rest of time?

Also what is the difference in performance? Is the NVIDIA card the better by a huge margin or is it a case where it’s only a very slight lead with it winning in half the games buy a few frames a second?

And last but not least which card would work best with my system, as it is not the latest in computing hardware but I know it will be good enough for games like crysis and the likes for at least a year or two, bottle neck or no.

Thanks for all your time and help.
23 answers Last reply
More about what graphics cards
  1. IMO the 8800 gts 320 would be the way to go at this point.I am in a somewhat similar situation with a 939 4000+ and a 7900 gt.I think until everything shakes out with Quad cores,vista,ddr3,dx10.1 etc.Iwill hold off on an upgrade except for the graphics and maybe a dual core processor.The gts320 is a fast card and will work well for you at the resolution you are using.I wouldn't worry about sli a better processor and that card will do more for you.
  2. Sorry I didn't see the AGP so I guess it is upgrade time my friend.My reccomendation still stands though with a different MB of course.
  3. u might want to see if you can get a mobo with pcie 2.0, it would give you rather more futureproofing
  4. At this point you should definitely go get a board with PCI-E. You can never get a high end card without it.
  5. I'd opt for a new mobo definately, that PSU may not do the business so with the budget you have a new PSU and 2900XT? If not then the GTX is shining right now but honestly, the 2900XT is getting better with every driver release. I've got the 2900XT 512MB and it out performs the GTX in certain games. It's not as bad as people have said and wouldn't be a terrible buy.
  6. Are you sure your RAM will fit into your NForce4 Mobo?

    ASRock makes a few motherboards that support PCI-E and DDR but not many. Even then, the ASRock would not support upcoming chips.

    Spending that much on GPU will likely not do you much good without upgrading the rest of your system. Both your RAM and CPU are rather slow and will really limit what you will see from those cards even if you do upgrade.

    I think you would be better served and putting a little more money away so you can afford an AM2+ Mobo, DDR2-RAM, X2, and a Moderate GPU. I don't know British prices so I'm not going to try and build something. However, I just don't see an 8800GTX or the like making any sense with only DDR-400 and a 3500+.

    Even your PSU would be a tight squeeze.
    While it's not a bad PSU, it's likely a few years old and will not deliver the full power that it did when new.
    The result would be a PSU running near max
  7. I'd avoid the 320 MB 8800 card now that some benchmark (I forget which) shows that card getting hammered by a newer game because whatever game it was truly utilized 512 MB of video RAM.
  8. And why is everyone so fixated on the OP getting a new mobo... he said that he was getting one in his original post.
  9. I was thinking that, did everyone actually read my post head to toe? The Nforce4 board is a 939 board and as of such uses normal DDR memory. They also done tests and because of the timing DDR400 is faster than DDR533 so the memory upgrade is not too critical either. As for the 3500+ that indeed will be a bottle neck but it will not need an upgrade for at least a year at the very least since it is more than enough for any game to date and even games like crysis will still run well with a new card.

    All I needed to know was which card is going to be better for my situation, the CPU and memory are not critical upgrades just now and can be upgraded at any point, the graphics card is. That one upgrade will get me gaming happily again, besides my memory and CPU are good overclockers if it ever came down to that. Also I don’t need a cheaper graphics card since that would just be a false economy since I am going to upgrade my system anyway as I stated I just don’t want to do the whole lot yet and to have to buy a new graphics card a year later would be silly.

    Thanks Rackers for letting me know about the 512MB version of the graphics card, that’s the info I was after. Does anyone know if the 1GB version I am planning on getting if the GTX fails to impress is much over the 512MB version or if not now will it be in the future?

    Thanks again..
  10. rodney_ws said:
    I'd avoid the 320 MB 8800 card now that some benchmark (I forget which) shows that card getting hammered by a newer game because whatever game it was truly utilized 512 MB of video RAM.

    Got a link for that?
    I just wonder who the Dev was on that project who decided people with 320MB not to mention all those with 256MB memory on their cards were to few or wasn't profitable enough to have as customers...?
  11. rosu9801 said:
    Got a link for that?
    I just wonder who the Dev was on that project who decided people with 320MB not to mention all those with 256MB memory on their cards were to few or wasn't profitable enough to have as customers...?

    rodney_ws I got this one for yea. Pay attention to GRAW @1600x1200 or @1920x1200, the 320 is being hammered. Depending on the game your playing, there are some that like to run with bigger frame buffers.

  12. Yeah it certainly does seem the 8800GTS 320 takes a performance hit in GRAW even at 1280x1024 and even though its OC'ed it can't beat the 640.
    First game iv'e seen, as you said, that more memory is more important then a faster card, so here a 1950xt with 512MB would be better then a 8800GTS 320?

    I haven't experienced that but to be sure i need to go home and install GRAW again and look at Fraps.
    Im currently playing GRAW2 and i know the game didn't recommend max settings but its runnig perfectly smooth for me (think i got 8xAF and AA on, must check).

    But still it seems "playable" at 1600x1200 at almost 40fps (usually fixed by turning down AA 1 notch not a huge diff in IQ).
    I wouldn't recommend it if you just play GRAW but for most other games 1600x1200 is manageable for a 320.

    But 1920x1200 is kinda high for a 320 don't know why you mentioned that resolution.
    I bet a 640 will struggle if i increase resolution to what is clearly out of its league, right?

    Crysis is the game all people said that the 320 would choke on this fall, can anyone remember the reqs for that game?
    Something about 3yr old computers could still play it (or am i thinking of another game)?
    I know it would be DX9 playable, how many DX9 cards have 512MB memory on them?
    To some it sounds like playing at reduced settings is the end of the world and that people with less then 512MB will just see slideshows or nothing at all...
    To bad that the vast majority of computer owners got a lesser card then a 8800GTS 640.

    Got a little long when all i wanted to say was i will still be able to play games on my 320 for a long time.
  13. Right that does not help me at all, thanks for hijacking my thread… Besides I don’t want to just play games, I want to get immersed by them. So lets make this question simple what’s better an 8800GTX 768MB or a 2900XT 1GB, both now and in the future.

  14. I agree with Systemlord, have seen all the stats that point to OVER 512 is a smart way to go, newer games are needing 512+ now. Oh yeah, and on GRAW 1 it didn't matter what res you played at, you were barred from Hi Res textures unless you had 512+ megs Vram. Same with Quake 4, Doom 3...

    If I was to purchase a new gaming system with what I know now, with how well Catalyst drivers are working, I'd grab a 1GB Sapphire Radeon 2900XT with a crossfire MB.

    I have an 8800, and everytime I have trouble in a game, I a suspicious that my drivers still have a ways to go. This is the first time I am relying on Beta drivers to play games. I go back to non-beta, then I have the same amount of different problems.

    So yes, simple answer? 2900XT 1GB HANDS DOWN.
  15. You must be joking, just because the games utilize a Dual Core does not mean they need one. I am playing Medieval 2 Total War and that game plays very well and the funny thing is its CPU intensive. A 3500+ despite what all of you think is good enough for any game out just now and even in the future. All a bigger CPU would give me would be a lower bottleneck on the frames per second I can get, and even that’s negligible.

    The games all run fine, I just want to put nice looking graphics on them instead of having to run with out AA and AF or even having to lower the resolution.
  16. I would get the 8800GTX because its GPU is so fast that the 768mb of Vram seems like plenty. There are no games that utilise 1GB of Vram and until there is then the 8800GTX rules. It doesn't do you any good if you have a mid-end GPU (2900XT) with so much Vram, I would rather have a faster GPU with 768mb then a somewhat slower GPU with more Vram.
  17. Thanks, the 8800GTX it is then :D This will be my first Nvidia card since my old GeForce 3, wonder what it's going to be like :??:
  18. No doubt the 8800GTX is the big daddy of the graphics cards at the moment. It all depends on your budget really, my 2900XT is there to get me through till around April/May so I can see what Nvidias new card is and what ATI is bringing along.
  19. cafuddled said:
    Thanks, the 8800GTX it is then :D This will be my first Nvidia card since my old GeForce 3, wonder what it's going to be like :??:

    Your going to love it! :) I still wondering if Nvidia is coming out with the so called 8900/9800GTX in November. There not going to tell you because that would hurt 8800GTX sales.
  20. How about giving that x800xt pe a new home, I have an 8500 le in this old thing.
  21. Tell you what, if your willing to come over here to the UK and give me £30 for it, then it's yours.
  22. Couldn't I just give you 200 pounds for shipping ? lol
  23. You got your self a deal :)
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