I recently ordered a computer in a bundle that fit for everything I wanted, the only issue I have with it is the video card. It's a 8600GT 512MB. I tried searching the forums as well as the benchmarks and couldn't find any information on this specific one. If anyone could help me out a bit. I'll be playing mostly on a 1440x900 resolution (sometimes play older games at 1920x1080, but I can play at lowest quality in that TV, I don't mind)... But I want to know what I can expect with my resolution.
The system has 3GB's of RAM, a Q6600 and the 8600GT 512MB.
I don't really plan on overclocking much because it's a nForce 650i motherboard and I've read that I can't overclock much.
Please don't go mentioning that I should buy a 8800 or 9600 or 9800... I plan on getting a 8800 or 9800 when I have the money, I just needed to order this computer because I need a more powerful one, and I can live fine with those specs. I'm not a hardcore gamer so I'm not rushing to get a more powerful video card but I do like playing some games casually (mostly hooked on Unreal Tournament and Valve's games), and I am looking forward to being able to play some newer games at least at native resolution (I want to try Crysis, Bioshock, Unreal Tournament 3, among others).
If it is a DDR2 model, it will be pretty bad. I had a 256 DDR3 8600GT, and it could play well on 1440x900. Bioshock on high, Source engine games on high (with 4x AA), Crisis on Medium 1280x800 (looked like ****). I had an e2200 and 2 gigs of RAM, too.
Hellgate London played fine (I tried the demo). CoD4 looked pretty good (med-high, no AA, again the demo), Oblivion ran very well, everything on medium-high, HDR, no AA, near max view distance, it was good inside, and quite playable (although noticeable slowdown) outside. BF2142 should be fine, same for Mass Effect. I doubt Assassin's Creed will run very well. You have to remember though, I had a slower processor, with 1/4 the cache per core, and less RAM, and 1440x900 and below are very much CPU controlled resolutions, so you should be able to play better. The card is definitely good enough for some gaming, but is still limited. If you can, I would at least recommend an 8800GS (was $80 shipped after rebate on Newegg last I checked), but I have seen 8800 GTS 512 MB for as low as $120, and 8800 GTs should be slightly cheaper, all of those cards will be at least twice as fast as an 8600 GT, especially if it is GDDR2. At 1440x900, the 8800GS comes close to the GT, but at 1920x1080 it would tank (in newer games). If you cannot return or resell your 8600, I would keep it until games become unplayable, by then a HD 4850 (currently best card for $200), should lower in price much.
All of those games, I played in XP. I'm not sure how much Vista would slow you down, and the 8600 won't handle true DX 10 very well, so there is no real performance benefit from Vista, but if you have no old programs or hardware you need to use, then you might as well get Vista 64. If not, stick with XP 32.
So games will be decent enough.
I'm going to try and sell this one, but if I can't I'll give it to my brother.
I had in mind a 8800GT 512MB or a 9600GT 512MB, but I wasn't too sure. And if I can play decent games with this one for a couple months I might as well wait and bit to get a better card later on (or at least cheaper).
I really don't know as much about computers, but I thought that since it's a NVIDIA chipset I could only use their video cards... I read it was illegal or something? (I may have misunderstood it.)
You can use one ATi card on nVidia chipsets, but you can't use two in Crossfire, while you can use two GeForce cards is SLI. 8800 GT is a great choice, if you can find one for $100-$120. Like I said, I saw a 512 MB 8800GTS for $120 the other day, which is a great deal. If you get an 8800, make sure you get one with 512 MB of RAM (the 8800 GT 256, and the GTS 320 or 640 are all worse). The 8800GTS comes close to the Radeon 4850, and the 8800 GT comes close to the GTS. The GTS is probably the best all-around card currently, as some are significantly cheaper than the Radeons, aern't too much more expensive than the GT, and have better cooling solutions.
Summary: Unless money is really tight, if you were to buy a card today, I would look for a deal on a 8800GTS 512 MB. You could still wait, as the more powerful HD 4850 will drop from $200 to probably ~$150 as supply increases and demand decreases.
Maybe link to this $120 8800GTS 512MB?
I thought the GTS was the best overall one but when I had seen it it was at like $200.
But if it's lower then I can work with it.
So, if you can link me to a place that ships to Puerto Rico that has a cheap 8800GTS 512MB I can get it soon or if I can't get it I should wait for a HD 4850?
EDIT: I just ordered the 8800GTS 512MB from http://fxvideocards.com at $120 (has a $40 mail in rebate). I picked cheapest shipping because I don't feel like paying $15 more just to have it 2 days quicker.