I need a new graphics card.

My System:
Biostar P4M900-M4
Intel Pentium 4 3.0E OC'ed to 3.30ghz
Windows XP Pro SP2

What is the best graphics card I could get without the CPU bottlenecking for ~$100? I can get another gigabyte of RAM if needed. I am not upgrapding the CPU and motherboard anytime soon, so please don't suggest that.
19 answers Last reply
More about graphics card
  1. Cheap: 9600 GT
    Medium: 8800 GTS
    High: 3870 X2
  2. And those won't bottleneck because of my CPU and be a waste of money?
  3. The 3870 X2 will most likely, but is still cheap. You will need to overclock that CPU to the max to get your moneys worth. The 9600 GT will most likely be the best with bottlenecking in the equation, but if you can squeeze a few more ghz out of that Pentium I think you will get a decent amount of performance out of the 8800 GTS G92. If you plan on upgrading motherboard/CPU with in a year, it will be cheaper than buying a new card, then the 3870 X2 is the best. All depends, by the way you can get a good $50 motherboard, a 5000+ BE for under $100 and a decent cooler, you can most likely double the performance you get out of any of those cards. You said you did not want to upgrade, I must ask why? If price, case, PSU, anything is a problem I am sure it can be fixed for a reasonable amount of money. If not then the 9600 GT will be your best bet.
  4. I don't want to upgrade because I am 15 so I can't afford it.

    My PSU is fine. It's and Antec Earthwatts 380, but it has 34 amps on the 12v rails and I have heard of people running 8800 GT's on it, so it should be fine. The 9600GT uses less power.

    I was planning on upgrading the graphics card and maybe the ram, and then calling it good. When I have enough money, I will build a new PC with all good components.

    I was hoping for something cheaper than that. I don't need a card that can run max settings at 16 million x 9 million resolution on Cyrsis. I want something around $100.
  5. ^ PSU might not cut it. Exactly what games do you plan on playing?
  6. I already used a PSU calculator, and it has plenty on watts. And I know 34 amps is enough. In the reviews people with more powerful systems than me had 8800 GTs on it.

    I am going to be playing mostly source games.
  7. If playing CSS even a OCed 8400GS will be able to play it at 1280*720 with most settings at max. I know this because I play CSS/HalfLife Death Match at these settings with my E2180 + 8400GS based rig. (Check http://valid.x86-secret.com/show_oc.php?id=314696 under GPU info). I use my main rig for other games (ie Crysis) and let my friends use the 8400GS based one when they come over to play (mostly CS/HL2D.)
  8. ATI Radeon HD2600XT or 8600GT for $100, although don't expect to play modern games at high resolutions with them. If you save a bit more you may be able to get the Radeon HD3850, which is a big step up.


    Anything higher may start to be bottlenecked by your CPU.
  9. My monitor is only 1440x900, so I won't be playing high resolutions.

    Which one of these is better?

    XFX GeForce 8600GT XXX 256MB 128-bit GDDR3

    SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 2600XT 512MB 128-bit GDDR3
  10. i think the 9600GT will be your best bet!because all the rest in the high end is will be hungry for data(from CPU).and the price.performance ratio is still the best of all.

    but games and graphics subsystem today is mostly depend on the GPU to do the rendering.but if you dont want to upgrade the graphics card for the nect year or so the 3870x2 will be better.(if the driver support gets better than what it always been even now)
  11. go for an 8800gs...no one mentioned that yet, and its the best choice for your system. if you look around, i'm sure you can find it for ~$100. i've seen $110. 86xx and 26xx are wastes for gaming..
  12. I was just looking at the 8800gs. It is probably the best thing I have considered so far.
  13. Another vote for the 8800GS
    110 after rebate for the over clocked one.
  14. I have heard of problems running nVidia PCI-e 2.0 cards on PCI-e1.0a motherboards with Via chipsets. I am not sure if this has been fixed yet (I would think so) but it would be best to contact the manufacturer before you buy to make sure.
  15. I wish I didn't have to deal with the rebate, but I will anyways if I find out PCI-e 2.0 will work.
  16. well the 8800gs is just a transition product that nvidia put up to get the consumer buying before they release teh 9600GT.

    the 8800gs is bandwidth limited again with less than 256bit.so when the resolution goes up in the future for you(if you buying bigger monitor) the 8800gs will be insufficient!

    but if money is problem then go for the 8800gs.but i will still recommend the 9600gt as its not for much more and more performance for your money anyway!
  17. I have decided to not go with the 9600 GT or 8800 GS. I don't want to sink too much more money into this system, I want it to be good enough until can build a new PC.

    Which one is better? 8600GT XXX or 2600XT?
  18. The 8600GT will be on average a better then the 2600XT, but there are a few games where the 2600XT would win. They are quite similar and I would honestly go for whatever is cheaper and save up for a real system overhaul.
  19. the 8800 gs or the ati 3850 is going to give you the max performance that cpu will give you. The bottleneck will not be that great and you will be getting much better performance over the 8600gt xxx or 2600xt. Trust me you will be a lot happier the extra 40 bucks even before the rebate is more than worth it price for performance in this case is very cheap.
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