Hey everyone I'm building a new system for gaming on a tight budget and looking for a graphics card around $200.
I was thinking about getting the Visiontek hd3850 512mb. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Right now I play HaloPC, TF2 and other source games, and Battlefield 2142 on a pitiful x600. I want to play Cod4, crysis, and other new games on 1680x1050.
So my question is should I get the 3850 now or wait a while for new cards like the 9600gt and others? I really don't want to regret this purchase in just a few weeks. THanks for any and all replies!
So.... wait or buy?
I think with EVGA's 512MB 8800GT selling for $239 on newegg you would almost have to go for that.
However if you want to go budget and stick with a 3850 I would wait until Nvidia's 9600GT comes out. Because when the 9600GT comes out ATI's partners will likely drop their prices of the 3850 cards. I think then you could realistically get a 512MB 3850 card for $20 to $30 less than you can right now.
Either way, don't buy the 3850 when I gave you that link for the 3870 for just as much. The 3870 has a nice cooler, low power consumption, and very nice IQ. It's also a great overclocker, and at $40 less than the 8800GT for slightly less performance, it's definitely the way to go for the money you wanted to spend.
OK, I'm going to butt in on this thread and ask how much of an advantage the 512M model has over the 256M model 3850.
More RAM allows for larger textures. The minimum amount of RAM has gone up over the years. When Morrowind came out, the average card had 64 megabytes, but higher end cards had 128. Then it went to 128 for mainstream and 256 at the upper end. Now, it's 256 and 512.
I'm ordering the Gigabyte GV-RX387512H this Friday. It's a 3870 but with DDR3, though some reviews at Newegg claim it's just an overclocked 3850 (close enough).
I'd never get a 256 card today, or a 512 card a few years from now. A gigabyte wouldn't help all that much but not having enough memory does hurt textures in games and in graphics.
One thing where more RAM does not help is at the very low end. You'll often find 64 bit cards with256 megs of RAM or 128 bit cards with 512 megs of RAM. That's marketing, because the cards at the low end do not benefit from the extra RAM. It takes an apples to apples comparison of RAM between cards of similar performance and width.
Compare the following:
The Gigabyte 3870 I'm getting
Memory Size 512MB
Memory Interface 256-bit
Memory Type GDDR3
A Gigabyte X2600 Pro:
Memory Size 512MB
Memory Interface 128-bit
Memory Type GDDR2
The 2600's extra memory won't benefit much in games, but it will benefit in video editing.
Now, the X1300 from Sapphire only has 128 megs of 64 bit RAM, it can use up to 512 and if a customer isn't careful, they may think it has more RAM onboard because it promises 512 megs by using system RAM:
The generation of RAM, DDR, DDR2, DDR3 and DDR4 matters. The width of the RAM matters and the amount of RAM sometimes matters. It depends upon application. When faced with a 3850 with 256 or 512, go for the extra. The same is true of the 8800gt 256, it performs worse than a 3850 512 in many games. If you want Nvidia, go for the 8800gt 512 over the 256.
So far, I don't think that the DDR3 will hamper my 3870 all that much, but I'm getting inexpensive with good components now, because I'm waiting for R770, otherwise, I'd just spend more on a 3870x2. I'm still tempted, it all depends if my wife says yes and if I can't resist clicking on the better card come Friday -- we can hold off buying a new couch until the 15th, LOL. Still should I pay that much now and then the same amount when R770 arrives in 6 months or so?.
My wife mods for Morrowind, she's a gamer but she does think we need new furniture. So, she doesn't mind me getting the best we can afford, and she wants a quad core build with a good ATI card too, but she also thinks more about what we need around the house, whereas I'm happy if we have three desks, three upgraded PC's and some hippie style beanbag chairs and pillows in front of the HDTV.