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Help picking a graphics card.

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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May 21, 2008 10:15:24 PM

Hello to every one on toms hardware forums. I would really appreciate
some help selecting a new graphics card for my dads' computer. We have recently been having some trouble running Bioshock. His computer is currently using a Radeon X800 which unfortunately doesn't support pixel shader 3.0 making it impossible to run bioshock. Here is a run down of his computers current specs.

Processor: Athlon 64 3500+ 2.2 GHz

Motherboard: ASUS A8AE-LE

Memory: 1.5 gigabytes of RAM

Hard drive: 200 GB SATA 7200 rpm

Graphics: ATI Radeon X800

My dad is also an engineer so he needs to be able to run solid works smoothly. I don't know if that will affect what kind of card we should get but I just want to be on the safe side. Thank you for any help you give me in advance.

More about : picking graphics card

May 21, 2008 10:35:24 PM

what's your budget? also is the mobo pcie or agp? i can't quickly find the info.
May 21, 2008 10:39:10 PM

I reccomend the GEForce 8800GS, 9600GT, RAdeon HD 3850 for your needs. Anything better and your CPU will limit too much.
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May 21, 2008 11:02:40 PM

Well a quick google on your dad's motherboard suggests it has a 16x PCIe slot which opens up the possibilities. How much money are you looking to spend? What resolution do you want to play Bioshock on? Are you looking for a card that will play Bioshock on max settings?
May 22, 2008 11:44:16 PM

Thank you godless, DarthPiggie and skywalker9952 for the help. I would like to keep the cost of this card $200 or less if possible. The highest resolution my dads' monitor is capable of is 1280 x 1024 so we won't be needing anything crazy powerful here just something that will run Bioshock smoothly at 1280 x 1024 with medium graphics. Thanks again for your help!
May 23, 2008 4:33:57 AM

You can get the 8800GT 512mb for about $175....

That should be plenty for what you need... The GTS runs about $220, and you almost certainly wouldn't notice a difference with your PC and at 1280x1024 res.

And for $150ish, you could get the 9600GT or the ATI Radeon 3870 - If you use AntiAliasing, get the nvidia card, if not, go for the ATI.
May 23, 2008 5:02:11 PM

Well @ the $200 or less price point I would recommend getting an ATI 3850. It can be found for as little as $100 after rebates, and won't be as affected by your processor.

This ASUS card is $110 after rebates plus $7.92 S&H.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Powercooler for $99 + $7 S&H:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

For another $30 the 9600GT is your card:
MSI: $130 after rebates
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
ASUS: $130 after rebates
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The 3850s rebates are $30 and the 9600GT rebates are $20 so your cost before rebate is very close. The MSI card is a little bigger then the others, it provides better cooling, but may not fit in your case properly.

The 8800GT and GTS along with the 3870 are all probably too fast for the rest of your platform. You would probably see an increase in performance over the 9600GT and 3850, but your CPU would hold them back from their true potential (and value). If you are planning to upgrade the rest of your system in the not to distant future and want to get a video card for it now then maybe the 8800GT(S) is not such a bad option. Whatever you do stay away from the 320MB and 640MB GTS, these are old power hungry HOT cards, the good version is the 512 MB one.
May 24, 2008 5:57:02 AM

Thank you again frodbonzi and skywalker9952 for your help. I just talked to my dad and we will probably go with the POWERCOLOR AX3850 since it seems to be a good card in general and should last us a while.
!