I'm looking to build a new PC and could use some input on the choice of gfx card. My current gfx card is 7/8 years old (no joke!) so I'm really out of touch on the market and could use any pointers.
These are my requirements:
Good desktop performance (on Vista64/Aero)
Run great at 1920x1200 (probably going to get a new widescreen monitor)
Smooth playback of HD media.
Very quiet operation
I've not played a 3D game in many years. It would be nice to think one would be 'playable' with cut-down eye candy but at the same time it's not a deal-breaker.
I've seen cards based on ATI Radeon HD3450/3470/3650 with passive cooling and lots of support for media playback (the HD bit?). Is something like that basically going to cut it for me? Or should I look elsewhere. They all look fairly cheap but at the same time I don't want to buy 'too much card' that's going to needlessly use a lot of power.
They seem to come with 256MB and 512MB ram. I was initially looking at 256MB but a friend said that Vista/Aero was demanding and I should go with 512MB. Would you agree?
Is there any reason to choose a HDMI over DVI assuming the monitor supports both?
Also - lots of different manufacturers seem to be selling cards based on the same chipset. Is there anything I should be looking to differentiate them? Concrete suggestions on cards welcome.
I would personally go for the 8600, cheap and quite effective. However, if you want great performance, then it may be worth looking into a 9600...If I were you id rule out the 3450 and 3470, theyre old and theres better cards for the same price. Whats your budget?
I would personally go for the 8600, cheap and quite effective. However, if you want great performance, then it may be worth looking into a 9600...If I were you id rule out the 3450 and 3470, theyre old and theres better cards for the same price.
Thanks - I'll take a closer look at those.
Whats your budget?
I suppose up to £100 or so. But at the same time that's not a target I'm just after something that's going to do the job well without lots of bleeding edge, power-hungry stuff i won't use!
Is there much to choose between them (given the requirements I originally posted). Like I say - I'm not really up on what the technology but I'm aware that they're probably competing products and don't want to start any holy wars.
I'd say that either card is a good choice, though I'd note that the Radeon HD 2600XT is roughly comparable to the Radeon HD 3650 you mention as well. though cooled with a fan, I saw some rather inexpensive 2600XTs in the past; since you're not gaming, you won't need to worry with these cards to look for the GDDR3 versions; the weaker DDR2 versions are slightly cheaper, and will be perfectly fine for running Aero, playing Hi-Def media, and driving a couple of high-resolution monitors.
vista is not demanding. My laptop's 945gm intel integrated chipset gpu (945gm chipset with a gpu smashed in it) runs it perfectly. It has 8mb memory (able to borrow/use 128mb maximum memory from the normal system ddr2, and has 2 pixel shaders.)
If you're thinking about some light gaming, such as counter-strike: source, or hl2, then take an 8500gt. amazingly cheap (around 50 bucks on newegg?). for 100euros, i think you can get something close to a 9800gtx, but if you're strict about your budget, go with an 8800gt (STILL better than the 9600).
You said you're also going to be purchasing a new motherboard. I'm a HUGE fan of the 780G chipset by AMD. It has inegrated video that is fully capable of handling HD media (has an HDMI output or DVI + optical audio). Also, it has a PCI x16 2.0 expansion slot so if you suddenly feel the urge to start gaming, you can just buy a decent graphics card and be good to go. I recommend this one.