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Trying to Decide on a Card, Going Crazy!

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 19, 2007 11:54:12 PM

I am having a lot of trouble choosing a card. I have been looking for about 2 weeks and just cannot decide on what I want. All the crap that goes on between GeForce addicts and Radeon kiddies is insane and skews the facts.

Basically, my budget is 150-250$. I would of course want to spend less than my max if possible, but would really like to get a card that will keep me going for a while, with some damned good settings. I know this is about the middle of the market, and prices are a bit inflated right now.

The cards I have been looking at are the 3850, 3870, and 8800GT 256mb mainly. Right now I have a Radeon x1900GT and it is fine, except for the fact I didn't check its temperature for the first 8 months I had it, and it was running around 70-80 degrees most of the time. Now I keep it around 43-47 degrees at idle and 60 or so on load, but it is cooking itself, and sometimes it will make crap go nuts on my screen (stretched out textures and what not).

Anyways, I would really like to know what you guys think the best is for my price range. Right now I have a Sapphire, but maybe some ideas on actual brands as they seem to make a lot of difference, and what card. Also, if someone could explain to me some of the big stuff I need to look for. My friend told me that the MB really don't make a difference and to get the 159$ 3850 256mb over the 199$ 3850 that was 512mb, but I see so many people saying they wished they had picked up the higher MB card.

Thanks very much in advance!

More about : decide card crazy

December 20, 2007 12:03:00 AM

If you wait patiently and look around, you will find an 8800gt for $250 +shipping.

I paid $260 for mine, and it was worth every penny.

The 8800GT will last you awhile. I have a 120mm fan on the side of my case blowing on it with the crappy original cooler, and do not get higher than 60C load while playing crysis or oblivion. That is with rivatuner forcing the fan speed to 60%, which is not loud compared to the rest of the system.

I was considering the 3870, but it was almost the same price as an 8800GT.

I got mine from clubIT.

I highly recommend an 8800GT as it will last you awhile.
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December 20, 2007 12:06:34 AM

In your price range i would say a 3870 is at the maximum end but is a great card(I own 2 and other than drivers i've no complaints). However the 3850 is a great cheap little beasty at the lower end of the spectrum with very good performance for the cash (drivers for this are fine if you are getting one of them). The 256MB GT is ok but honestly why waste that much money for the 256 when you could get the 512 (brilliant card/very expensive), but thats out of your price range.

Really it is up to you, but if your happy to part with all of your money go for the 3870. If you want to save for the next upgrade but still have very good gfx get the 3850. I can't really justify getting a 256 8800 GT maybe someone else can.

What size monitor do you have?
December 20, 2007 1:42:00 AM

You can't go wrong with the 8800 GT, but the 256 mb is more within your range. Do not dismiss the 256. Personally I have not seen benchmarks comparing the 256 to the 512's performance.

I myself would like to see how the 256 stacks up against its "big" brother. Perhaps someone here has links to some benchmarks. Folks who bad mouth the 256 likely own the 512 and just like to look down on it. So be careful what you listen to and just follow the performance marks.
December 20, 2007 2:07:45 AM

I have a 17" CRT monitor. So it is looking like 8800GT is the way to go. I will try and find one of these at the best deal I can and probably go with that then. I saw a GTS for 278$ or something from PNY. Would that be better? (I will fork out the extra 28$ for a card thats much better)
December 20, 2007 3:52:33 AM

Cough cough gasp cough, have you been living under a rock, never heard of gigabyte!! :pfff:  Anyway looks good to me. I'd go for it.
a b U Graphics card
December 20, 2007 10:50:55 AM

partialsum said:
You can't go wrong with the 8800 GT, but the 256 mb is more within your range. Do not dismiss the 256. Personally I have not seen benchmarks comparing the 256 to the 512's performance.

I myself would like to see how the 256 stacks up against its "big" brother. Perhaps someone here has links to some benchmarks. Folks who bad mouth the 256 likely own the 512 and just like to look down on it. So be careful what you listen to and just follow the performance marks.

The 256MB GT often gets left in the dust by it's 512MB big brother. Depends on the game, but with fsaa Firingsquads review shows it falling behind at fairly low res even. Examples below:

http://firingsquad.com/hardware/xfx_geforce_8800_gt_256...
http://firingsquad.com/hardware/xfx_geforce_8800_gt_256...
http://firingsquad.com/hardware/xfx_geforce_8800_gt_256...
http://firingsquad.com/hardware/xfx_geforce_8800_gt_256...

If the 256MB 8800GT is $40+ more than the HD3850 256MB, I myself would take the Radeon for sure.
a c 196 U Graphics card
December 20, 2007 11:45:46 AM

I got my HD3870 for $220 before the price got jacked. I'm beginning to wish I'd gotten an 8800GT instead, although perhaps it is only the Diamond brand that will go on my poop list. The card runs well enough, but various tools won't load for it, including Diamond's own. Rivatuner is only partially functional, but at least I can prevent the card from cooking itself.
December 20, 2007 12:26:44 PM

First of all i know it's from Anandtech but it's is a comparision between the 3870 and 3850:

http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3151&p=7

With the 3850 you'd have more than playable frame rates with your 17" monitor with no waste of money. 30+ is playable 60+ is ideal 100+ is a waste.
December 20, 2007 8:19:51 PM

So is the one I picked up a pretty good purchase?

EVGA GeForce Superclocked 8800GT 512MB 256 bit card for those of you that missed the link. I ordered it last night and am about to cry I am so excited for it to get here. From what I have seen on all the benchmarks it is one of the top 3 cards around its price range, and the 2 above it are fairly more expensive.
a b U Graphics card
December 20, 2007 8:45:52 PM

Yeah, the 8800GT 512MB is a great choice and none better than evga IMO (because of their warranty and trade up option). evga was my first choice, just got the BFG because it was a great price at the time. My only complaint is I am not a fan of single slot coolers, especially with small diameter fans. The thing gets loud and quite hot, and doesn't vent the hot GPU air out of the case liek the dual slot G80 8800's.
December 20, 2007 9:29:39 PM

OK, good luck with you 8800GT. It is a good card and evga is a good company. I wouldnt buy any nvidia card from any1 else except them
December 20, 2007 9:45:10 PM

You made a good purchase but I don't really know if it was necessary to get a 8800GT but have fun with it.
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