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$150 max single card or dual?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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June 10, 2008 11:10:01 PM

hey guys, im in the process of researching to build a new system (my first build).
I have a few questions on the video cards

So far i have my heart set on these:
intel q6700 cpu
intel dx38bt motherboard
ddr3 memory (any insight on mhz? i dont really know what the deal is for ram - especially compared with ddr2)

note: i'm going to be running 32bit winxp

so my question is about the video cards... i was wondering what i should get... a real nice single card or go crossfire with two mediocre cards - i mean arent the two mediocre cards more efficiently utilized when in crossfire, as well as because of the quadcore? any suggestions? i guess i should stick to ati since im getting a crossfire mobo but nvidia single cards are still welcome for suggestion...

my budget is around $150 for the video cards

im going to be doing light video editing, CAD, gaming, watching movies

i want dx10, hdtv support, possible dual monitors, pcie 2.0 support

which card or cards are the best for my needs?

thank you for your time.
June 10, 2008 11:30:49 PM

I don't really know if ddr3 benefits "light video editing and CAD" to any noticeable degree, but if you buy DDR2 ram you will save yourself a pile of money.

at 150$, you're better off with a single card than 2, because going a 2 card route for 150$ would be very very mediocre old tech by todays standards.

if you go with x38 intel motherboard, you are stuck with ATI only for a dual card configuration by the way. Likewise if you go with an Nvidia chipset motherboard, you are stuck with only nvidia cards for dual card configs.
June 10, 2008 11:40:26 PM

http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Products/Motherboard/Product...

This is a good DDR2 motherboard with dual ATI Graphics crossfire support and good overclocking. I've seen some decent talk about it. This is Crossfire only, you can't use dual Nvidia graphics.

http://www.evga.com/products/moreInfo.asp?pn=123-YW-E17...

For Nvidia motherboards with dual graphics capability and good overclocking, I myself use EVGA 750I SLI FTW which is a great motherboard and i'm totally happy with it - but this is SLI only, you cannot use dual ATI graphics.

Whatever you do decide on for a motherboard, just make sure you do plenty of research and make an informed purchase. As I said i've never used CAD and I don't do video editing - so you never know whether a product has an issue with tasks such as that unless you do the research yourself.

As far as 150$ video cards goes, you're limited to either Nvidia 9600 GT or ATI Radeon 3870 at current prices. Going for a dual card configuration in an older series at that price point will not be beneficial.
Related resources
June 11, 2008 1:40:43 AM

dual 7600gt, not sure about dx10 support but they're on sale at newegg for 65$ a piece XD
June 11, 2008 1:45:09 AM

hmmm right now, im looking at radeon hd 3850 single card... i've been thinking, and i dont think i can afford anything special, but i need something decent... so thats what im looking at right now.... plus later on when things get cheaper, i'll probably end up doing crossfire. i dont know if i can afford that extra bit of money to get the 3870....

any objections?

thanks for the input guys
June 11, 2008 1:48:52 AM

On only $150, you cannot get any decent dual solution. In that price range, 2 $75 cards will performe worse than a single $150 card. Not to mention autocad does not take advantage of dual gpu, so dual gives you no advantage whatsoever. It's questionable if newer versions will ever support dual gpu, as it's mostly a cpu and ram intensive program and isn't nearly as graphics heavy as recent games.
June 11, 2008 2:23:40 AM

Get a 8800GS or 9600GSO. If you are doing CAD get a Quadro FX370, or an ATI FireGL 3350.

You can do light SLOW cad on a 8800GS or 9600GSO, but the drivers aren't optimized for cad.
June 11, 2008 2:28:32 AM

millardtech said:
Get a 8800GS or 9600GSO. If you are doing CAD get a Quadro FX370, or an ATI FireGL 3350.

You can do light SLOW cad on a 8800GS or 9600GSO, but the drivers aren't optimized for cad.

Those "workstation" cards are horribly overpriced. Besides, OP wanted to run games along with cad, so workstation cards with no dx support is no go. Normal desktop cards will run cad just fine. Don't worry about it.
June 11, 2008 2:55:48 AM

you can get a diamond hd 3870 for 140 bucks at newegg.com
a c 270 U Graphics card
June 11, 2008 4:43:28 AM

Stop your heart and think a bit.

If you will do heavy multitasking, or use quad optimized software like CAD, then you are spot on looking for a quad like the Q6700. Consider, instead, the Q9300. The Q9300 has a slower clock speed, but will cost the same and perform the same. It's advantage is that it is a 45nm part, and will take less power and run cooler.

For multitasking, you will want 4gb, at a minimum. That will cost you about $200 for DDR3, and $75 for DDR2. If you measure the difference in application speeds, it wil amount to 1-3%. DDR3 is not worth it today, in my opinion.

The mobo you picked is DDR3 and has a X38 chipset, costing $about $230. It will not perform significantly better than the Gigabyte P35-DS3L for $75.
By significantly, the difference will be perhaps 1 or 2%.

At less than the highest levels, SLI/crossfire is not worth it. A single good card will generally be better for the same price. Look at this article, and pick the best card you can afford. It is the most important performance factor in gaming. Check Tom's vga charts to see how they do with the games you play.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/graphics-cards,1942... If you save some on the motherboard and memory, then you can spend a bit more on the vga card or cpu.
virtually all modern cards have dual outputs and dx10. They are all backwards compatible with pci-e-1.0. Pcie-2.0 does not improve performance on any of todays cards that you would notice, so it should be a non-issue. The 880GTS-512(G92) at about $210 would be a fine choice.

For a new build, look at 64 bit vista home premium. 64 bit will let you use all 4gb, and leave you the option to go to 8gb. The early lack of drivers is well past us, and it is mainly old 16 bit dos programs that won't run.

1) Do you qualify for an academic license?
If so, you can get Vista at a discounted price.
2) Look for an upgrade version of home premium instead of OEM.
Upgrade is a retail version which gives you support from microsoft, unlike OEM,
and allows a more hassel-free ability to transfer the os to a different pc(motherboard).
For $10, microsoft will send you the 64 bit DVD.
I saw Vista home premium upgrade recently at Costco for $85, amazon for $89.
There is a legitimate two step instalation process to install an upgrade version
You install vista from the cd, but do not initially enter the product code.

just tell the install which version you bought, and do not activate.
After it installs, you have a fully functional vista for 30 days.
Step 2 is to insert the cd again, while running vista and then do an upgrade.
This time, enter your product code, and activate.
After activation. you may delete the initial version which is named windows.old.

---good luck---




June 15, 2008 5:30:08 PM

sorry for getting a lil off topic .. i swear i thought i did my research... but apparently not enough...

geofelt said:

If you will do heavy multitasking, or use quad optimized software like CAD, then you are spot on looking for a quad like the Q6700. Consider, instead, the Q9300. The Q9300 has a slower clock speed, but will cost the same and perform the same. It's advantage is that it is a 45nm part, and will take less power and run cooler.


i dont get it.... well i know the 45nm compared to the 65nm is a better architecture hence more efficient... but thats all i know about it...
the 6700 has a 8mb l2, while the 9300 has a lower 6mb l2... 1066mhz fsb (q6700) vs the 1333mhz fsb (q9300)... 2.66ghz (q6700) vs 2.5ghz (q9300)
isnt the 9300 slower? or is it cuz the new architecture that it's being compensated - and that it'll perform the same?

sorry for the noobness... :hello: 

hmmm i am now lookin into p35 boards....


June 15, 2008 5:35:26 PM

ironsung said:
sorry for getting a lil off topic .. i swear i thought i did my research... but apparently not enough...



i dont get it.... well i know the 45nm compared to the 65nm is a better architecture hence more efficient... but thats all i know about it...
the 6700 has a 8mb l2, while the 9300 has a lower 6mb l2... 1066mhz fsb (q6700) vs the 1333mhz fsb (q9300)... 2.66ghz (q6700) vs 2.5ghz (q9300)
isnt the 9300 slower? or is it cuz the new architecture that it's being compensated - and that it'll perform the same?

sorry for the noobness... :hello: 

hmmm i am now lookin into p35 boards....

No, q9300 does not perform the same. Smaller cache is only part of it. It uses low 7.5x multiplier, compared to q6700's 10x. This is a crippling difference for overclocking. If you want real performance gain, skip q9300 for q9450. Q6600, at $189.99, is the best bang for the buck right now. Q9450 offers enough performance gain to be considered a real upgrade, for a price.
June 15, 2008 7:05:14 PM

geofelt said:
Google Q6600 Q9300, and you can get some comparisons. Here is an example:
http://lly316.blogspot.com/2008/02/core-2-quad-q9300-vs...

They look very comparable to me.

Q6600 oc easily to 3.6ghz. Q9300 is crippled by low multiplier and overclocks badly. Lower cache also hold back performance on heavier multitasking and some applications that depend on it. It cost more, for less performance.
!