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Best non-2.0 PCI Express x16 video card currently available?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 3, 2008 7:13:57 PM

Holidays approaching and I'll be home alone for 2-3 weeks = it's finally time for some gaming - Call of Duty 5 and GTA IV are waiting.

I rarely game, and I haven't got the time to read up on what's hot and not - graphics wise.
I currently have GeForce 8600 GTS (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...).

Question is: Is this enough? I can upgrade, but since I don't feeli like building an entire new system right now, it has to be PCI Express x16 (not 2.0).
Further more I have the criteria it MUST be passive cooled (fanless) and would prefer nVidia.

Any recommendations? I could put it this way - what would my best option be, given the following requirements?:
- PCI Express x16
- Passive/Fanless cooling
- nVidia chipset
December 3, 2008 7:30:52 PM

just to get this straight, pcie 2.0 cards are COMPLETELY compatible with ANY pcie slot. so just look for any card thats passively cooled that is an advancement from the 8600gts
December 3, 2008 7:31:29 PM

a pcie 2.0 card will work with your motherboard
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a b U Graphics card
December 3, 2008 7:32:47 PM

+1 for above posters. PCIe 2.0 IS backward compatible.
a c 171 U Graphics card
December 3, 2008 7:43:12 PM

Its like SATA, not like DDR.

For a small jump in performance,

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

9600GT for $116 shipped. Does come with a copy of "Frontlines Fuel of War".

Midrange upgrade,

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

9800GT for $169. Does come with a free copy of Rainbox Six Vegas 2.

Highest I saw on newegg that fits,

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

4850 for $209. Does have a $20MIR that if you get back, drops the price to $189. I'd go for either the 9800GT or the 4850. The 4850 is the faster card, but it comes with a rebate and doesn't come with the free shooter, so I might take the 9800GT instead.
December 3, 2008 8:04:12 PM

+1 +1 go for any 2.0card
a b U Graphics card
December 3, 2008 8:06:10 PM

@OP: Why do you NEED passive cooling on the GPU? To reduce noise? Not enough space?
December 3, 2008 8:28:25 PM

Sorry for late responding.
I wasn't aware of 2.0 backwards compability but that is great news because it leaves so many options open now.

I need passive cooling to keep it quiet. There is no chance anyone could persuade me to go with a fan cooled card. Really - when I game I don't care about the noise but I rarely do game and 99.5% of the time it will act as a regular office PC sitting in my bedroom, often on while I sleep!

One question - someone said choose any card above 8600GTS and I will improve - is that really the case?
I saw a performance comparisson somewhere here on THG where 8800-something was faster than 9600GT. Maybe I am wrong. Was just wondering if it will always be better just because of the higher number or if the GT, GTS and what not also have significance...

Thank you all for taking the time to reply.
December 3, 2008 8:46:24 PM

The Sapphire HD 4850 Dual slot is right now in newegg going for $150, it can't be beat at that price.

With that said, let me warn you that if you're expecting COD4 quality (Infinity Ward) out of COD WaW (Treyarch), you'll be sorely disappointed. And apparently GTA4 needs a Quad Core (or nicely overclocked dual core) to run at 30-40fps in medium settings due to horrible optimization work (This is what I've gathered from multiple reports in forums over the internet).
a b U Graphics card
December 3, 2008 8:50:32 PM

^emp the OP needs a passive cooled card. Also isn't the

Yes. The 9600GT and the 8800GT are better cards than the 8600GTS. The 8800GTX and 8800 Ultra are better than the 9600GT. What you have is a 8600.

@OP: Have you consider getting a aftermarket cooler for the cards? Here is one that will work on the 4850/9800:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
December 3, 2008 9:01:30 PM

Basicly, the 8600 SUCKS, so anything numbered higher (8800, 9600, 9800 and up, 9500 and below in 9xxx series dont count) will be a good improvement for you.
December 3, 2008 9:23:44 PM

>> Shadow703793 >> I'm fully aware that it's the 8600 I have currently. I was referring to a 8800 vs 9600 review to question if a higher number necessarily means a better card.

Thanks for all your input. I'll be taking a look at 88/96/9800 cards in the 100-150 bucks range, whatever I can get.
Thanks!
a c 171 U Graphics card
December 3, 2008 9:38:44 PM

The only 8800 series card I know of that the 9600GT can beat is the 8800GS. The 9600GT comes very close to the 8800GT, but the 8800GT is faster. For the most part, 8800 > 9600, except for the GS.
a b U Graphics card
December 3, 2008 9:57:10 PM

^+1. Also note there is/were 9600GSO and 8800GS cards. They are phased out now but can still be bought. 9600GSO = 8800GS
December 4, 2008 12:55:58 AM

wait, so you can also put a pcie x16 card into a pcie 2.0 x16 slot right?
a c 171 U Graphics card
December 4, 2008 1:15:50 AM

Yup. PCIe 2 doubles the bandwidth per lane to 500Mb, and provides twice as much 12V power from the slot. (150 vs 75W) Other then that, there is no difference. To prevent card death, it is backwards compatible with PCIe 1 cards, it just moves at the slower speeds. Not an issue really with current cards.
a c 130 U Graphics card
December 4, 2008 3:04:53 AM

Yes you need to be carefull with these things, the 9600 is ni fact a weaker card than some 8 series cards. I beleive from things i have read that the 9600GSO is basically a 8800GS or at least very similar. Just remarketed.

Mactronix

a c 171 U Graphics card
December 4, 2008 11:24:01 AM

The 9 series is a joke. The only gaming cards that are new are the 9600GT, and the 9800GT (kind of). The 9500GT is nothing more then the 8600GT. (identical specs) The 9600GSO is nothing more then the 8800GS. (Identical specs) The 9600GT is new. The 9800GT is nothing more then the 8800GT, but with a different PCB to allow 3 way SLI. (Identical specs.) The 9800GTX is nothing more then an 8800GTS, but with higher clocks. (and the reworked PCB for 3 way SLI) They basically just took 8 series cards and sold them under new names.

Even worse is their use of the same name for different cards. There are currently THREE different 9600GSOs. The first is the rebadged 8800GS. The next is a 128bit model thats crippled with slow DDR2 memory. This makes it poor for gaming. The last is a newest, and possibly only available outside the US. (last I checked, newegg doesn't sell it.) Listed on Zotac's website is a 256bit card, but it is crippled with only 40 stream processors instead of the 96 it should have. Both of these "other" GSOs are bad for gaming and should be avoided.

Seeing as the OP has given the budget of $150, I stick by the 9800GT. Its a bit overbudget, I hope he can find the money. (I also hope Nvidia learns how to name a card.)
December 4, 2008 2:21:18 PM

Thank you all for your input. I knew this wasn't a clear cut case, GPU naming convention I guess STILL sucks. (Seriously, wouldn't any normal human being assume the higher number is better, regardless? Also, the GT vs GTX vs GSO and what not has always confused me when the time came to look at GPUs...)

I'm going for this one I think:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Only 9800GT on Newegg with passive cooling, and the price is fair. My only concern is the brand, never heard of it, but what the heck. I also looked for the 8800GT since, as I understand it, it is more or less the same as the 9800GT. But Newegg doesn't have any 8800GT, weird.

Again, thank you all!
December 7, 2009 1:49:26 PM

I read that 2.0 is only backwards compatible with 1.1 but not 1.0 or 1.0a. My mobo has 1.0a and I've had a heck of a time trying to find a videocard to replace the one that died. I need an ATI chipset. (mobo is the KA3 MVP by ECS, but their customer support is worthless)
http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=100806
-D
!