I haven't seen much info about 9500GT yet, isn't it suposed to be out this month? The thing is, I need a new graphic card and I really don't know if I should buy an ati hd3650 right away or wait for the 9500gt.
Also, is the difference between the 512mb hd3650 to the 256mb one worth the extra money?
I read about the 9500GT in an article, and was thinking of upgrading my setup a bit. I'm currently on an Athlon X2 4000+ on an MSI nForce430 board, 2GB DDR-667 with a Geforce 7300GT 256M from XFX. The HDD is a SATA2 unit from Samsung. I don't play many games, and the last time I upgraded my graphics card was to play GTA San Andreas, which works just fine.
So, basically, I need a card that will run the upcoming GTA 4 at a resolution of at least 1024x768, with some effects and a decent frame-rate.
I looked up the Xbox 360 page on Wikipedia, to get an idea of what kind of hardware I might need to run GTA4. The Xenos GPU has 48 shaders, and runs at 550Mhz. Both the HD3650 and the 9500GT seem to fit the bill.
So, which one should I go for?
Is there any other component that I should upgrade to play GTA 4?
The 9500 GT should be able to get you to roughly match the Xbox 360's capabilities, though I'd warn that it doesn't actually do GTA 4 at 1280x720, rather reducing the resolution to, if memory serves, 1024x576. The console's resolution might be a bit higher than that, though; I'm not entirely positive on the resolution, other than it's less than true 720p.
The rest of your system seems fine to me. And the 9500GT would be a pretty solid upgrade. It's definitely more potent than the 3650, which is weaker than the 8600 GT GDDR3, let alone the 8600 GTS and 9500 GT.
The 9500GT I had in mind had 512MB, and there's also a 1GB version that won't stretch my budget too much. I've read that the 9600GSO is actually the older 8800GS. Is it still better than a 9500GT, even with the lower VRAM? Does having extra VRAM really make a difference?
Yes, the 9600 GSO is superior to the 9500 GT in terms of performance; the 9600 GSO is a cut-down version of the 9600 GT, which is vastly above the 9500GT, and not all that far below the 8800 GT.
And to be honest, no, having less than 512MB really won't hurt you with a card that has only a 128-bit memory interface, and likewise, you wouldn't miss that extra 128MB with the 192-bit 9600 GSO. Just be warned to stay AWAY from 512MB 9600 GSO cards; those actually have a 128-bit memory interface, and hence are actually crippled and perform WORSE than the seemingly inferior 384MB cards.
I went shopping for a 9600GSO, and couldn't find one in any store here. Same goes for the 9500GT too. The dealers were giving me blank looks when I asked for these cards. Apparently, they're still trying to clear their inventory of 8-series cards before shipping the new ones. The 8600GT is dirt cheap now. Should I even consider going for one, or should I wait a couple more weeks? Also, the 8800GT and the 8800GS are available, if I stretch my budget a bit.
The GeForce 8800 GS, if memory serves, happens to be a 9600 GSO, but under its old name. If you can stretch your budget a little, though, I would agree that you should go for the 8800 GT, which will be markedly more powerful.
Also, if possible, (I don't know what country you live in) have you considered shopping online? Often enough, even when you figure in shipping costs, (which are sometimes made free for some promotions for particular items) buying computer hardware online will wind up being cheaper than buying it in a physical store.
The thing is, online shopping is not as trouble-free an experience over here in India. Even on reputed sites like ebay, the buyer isn't totally safe from being scammed. And, the prices quoted are always higher than store prices. Plus, you can bargain at stores, and almost always get a significant discount. With the tax, excise duty etc, every component is more expensive here. An 8600GT with 512MB DDR2 costs roughly $100 here, which I'm sure isn't cheap by any standards. On ebay, it's listed at $100-125, because they can't evade taxes like they do in retail stores.
The motto for buying anything computer-related in India is Caveat Emptor. If you don't know everything about the market, you'll be stuck with what they have in stock. I have an XFX 7300GT 256M DDR3 model, and I had to pester the sales guy for an hour before he'd admit that he had one in stock. He kept trying to sell me a 7300GS - 512M, assuring me that there was no real difference, and that the extra RAM would make up for it.
Today, when I went to ask about the 9500GT, they tried really hard to sell me the 8600GT. The one they have in stock is DDR2 though, and I don't wanna be stuck with something that won't play GTA4. I've been looking at the DX10 charts, and its obvious that the 9 series has a definite advantage.