OK, so I'm getting a new video card (just want to make my PC better really) for "Hellgate London". I currently have a overclocked Geforce 6200. I want to spend about ~$150 in total for any and all upgrades.
My current system is:
AMD 64 3500+ Venice
1 GB Corsair Value-Pack AMD (512x2 in Dual Channel)
Geforce 6200 SOC (almost to 6600GT - I unlocked the other 4 pipelines)
Socket 939 MSI Neo NForce 4 Motherboard with PCI-E 16x slot
10k Raptor 75gb Western Digital HD
7.2k 200gb Seagate HD
7.2k 300gb Seagate HD
350W crap PSU (my other one died...my friend gave me his crap one for free)
I don't plan on upgrading my CPU, since I would have to buy a new AM2 Motherboard as well, so I'll looking at graphic cards and PSU combo for improvements. Which do you think is best for me (read everything below before posting opinion - take performance, warranty, memory size, heatsink, and cost into account.):
I know that when it comes to pure performance: 1950xt > 7950gt > 1950pro.
However, here are the issues: I care about warranty...Powercolor and eVGA have lifetime....Sapphire has 1 year. However, x1950xt is the most powerful card by a very good amount. Also, people say 512mb isn't worth it if you don't play on super high resolution (i play on 1280x1024) - but even so, for new games coming out, isn't 512mb worth it for all that texture stuff ESPECIALLY if you only have 1 GB ram? What about CPU bottleneck on the AMD 3500+? I was thinking about Geforce 8600GT but it doesn't perform so well at its price range and, I hear even though it is DX10 - its really not powerful enough to use it well. But i <3 the Geforce warranties (my x800xl died on me a while back and I bought a $20 Geforce 6200 to replace it)...compared to most ATI companies. Lastly, Hellgate London and some future games I am thinking about were made on/for Geforce graphic cards....I general, I like Geforce card/companies more, but at this price range I feel Radeon might be better, I don't know. =/
- POWERCOLOR X1950PRO 512MB - weakest of the 3 cards, 512mb, lifetime warranty (rare for Radeon), amazing heatsink
- EVGA GeForce 7950 GT 256MB - middle in performance, 256mb, lifetime warranty, no special heatsink
- Sapphire Radeon X1950XT 256MB - most powerful, 256mb, 1 year warranty, no special heatsink
So, as you can see all 3 cards have pros and cons...which would you pick?
Also, I'll be needing a new PSU..here is what I have come up with - suggestions? find one you think is better for ~$50?:
Other than those it's not worth it in my eyes, when the X1950XT was at $170 there was no other choice but to admit it was the best deal though. The 7900GS is the best choice (Especially at $100 after rebate) even though it's stock performance is slightly below the Pro, because it's known to be an incredible OC'er which will make up for it.
EDIT: Along with the great deals on the 7900GS I posted above, I found yet another great deal for your CPU if you're interested, an X2 4200+ for $63 (Which sounds like a killer deal to me):
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ Manchester 2.2GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket 939 Processor - OEM
The X1950XT is the clear performance winner of your three, but not all that far off in price from a 8800GTS 320MB. And the cards coming out in the next month are bound to trump the X1950XT for $200. It's Hard to recommend a X1950Xt right now (and I own one).
The 7900GS is the best choice (Especially at $100 after rebate) even though it's stock performance is slightly below the Pro, because it's known to be an incredible OC'er which will make up for it.
You know, it's a good price for sure, but other cards have also been down in that price range. (X1950 pro $100-110 AR and X1900GT $90 no rebate) Also, I'm not too keen on the 7900GS right now. I have recommended them myself may times here and to friends, and have even purchased a couple myself. Their power consumption can make them a good choice, but I fear them dropping off in future games. The X1950's 3:1 architecture seems to shine in some games to where it really seperates them from the GF79's and even X1800XT's. Look at Oblivion Foliage, NFS:Carbon, and now UT3, COD4, etc. What's next on the list, Crysis? It's just in alot of new TWIMTBP games and demos even, the GF79xx's are not doing well. X1950 pro beating 7900GTX in UT3? 7900GS unplayable and half the framerates of the X1950 pro? Ouch, shouldn't be drivers it's TWIMTBP.
And Seeing how early Crysis demos were run on the X1950XTX I'd be shocked if it isn't better than a 7900GTX and a X1950 pro better than a 7900GS. COuld have been driver issues, but I lean toward performance as the reason pre-GF8800 Crysis demos were X1950 runs. Anyway, we have to wait and see, but just something to be aware of when thinking of buying the GF7's now. Personally, I'd now go 8600GTS or X1950 pro over 7900GS.
While I don't expect the 8800GT to beat the current GTS 640 like some rumors suggest, I do expect it to beat a X1950XT never mind the pro. The X1950XT hands it to the pro if you look at some of those links above. And the 8600GTS keeps up pretty well with the X1950 pro, so the 8800GT will have to be a big step up from that.
After all the hype, I'll be dissapointed in both ATI and NV if by end of November we don't see a new $179 card beating the X1950XT and a $229 card >= 8800GTS 320MB. The X1950XT has been as low as $165 for the 256MB and thew 8800GTS 320 under $250 AR, so anything less than what I said above would be lousy IMO.