Hey guys I am looking for a new card and there are a few questions I have before making the purchase decision.
My system spec is as follows:
1. AMD Athlon 64 x2 5200+ Brisbane running at 2.7 GHz
2. Asus M2NE-SLI motherboard(AM2 CPU Socket/2x PCI-E x16/DDR2 DIMM)
3. 2x 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 800(PC2-6400), soon to be 4GB(2x 2GB)
4. Geforce 8600 GT with 512 MB of GDDR2 memory
I am currently running Windows XP 32-bit at 1680x1050 resolution and I play only few games, mainly World of Warcraft and couple console-ported games like Devil May Cry. I find my Geforce 8600 GT to be very disappointing, it can't play any of the ported games at 1680x1050 resolution smoothly and it becomes unplayable if I turn AA on. I usually get 15-20 FPS in World of Warcraft, which is more disappointing because World of Warcraft isn't a game that requires good hardware.
So I am looking for a new video card that allows me to run Windows Vista and play games at 1680x1050 smoothly, it will be even better if I can finally get to use AA features of some games and see what it looks like with AA on. Based on the current opinions around here, it seems like ATI Radeon HD 4850 is the card for me but I have few concerns about this card.
As you can see, my motherboard supports PCI-E x16 and DDR2 memory, and 4850 cards are PCI-E 2.0 with GDDR3 memory. It means I can use PCI-E 2.0 cards but it will run at PCI-E x16 speed right? Also the GDDR3 memory that comes with the card, will it run at its full speed or will it be watered down to DDR2 speed?
Lastly, I'm sure that if I buy the 4850 it will be bottlenecked by my current computer, but by how much? Is it a significant bottleneck?
Because of your motherboard supporting SLI if i were you i'd go with a 9800GT graphic card, just one would fit what you wanted, and if you added another one later in SLI it would spank the 4850. They're available now for $100 after rebate to $130 after rebate.
EVGA 9800GTdual slot cooler $105 after rebate http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Games is 90 percent graphics card dependent. The HD 4850 is a great card for that resolution so you can clock your pc abit higher if you see a dramatic increase then consider upgrading your pc if you not happy.
eVGA 8800 GT 512MB - runs 90-120 fps on Counterstrike Source at 1900x1200 - best value for money in Toms latest review. Don't get and overclocked version that costs more - standard versions can be overclocked easily using Riva Tuner
Check out these benchmarks from Anantech, google for more benchmarks from other sources. You can see straight out comparisons and benchmarks of the 8800GT (9800GT), HD4850, HD4870 and the 8800GT in SLI. I stand by my recommendation for a single 9800GT and a future possibility of SLIed 9800GT with your SLI motherboard.