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What graphics card should I buy if I dont play games?

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January 25, 2009 7:37:07 PM

I am working on my first build and I am trying to decide what graphics card to use. I was originally going to spend 200+ for a newer ATI, but I dont play that many games or other things that require that kind of power. All I really want to do is be able to possibly use my 42 inch hdtv as a monitor. So question #1 is what type of card should I buy, I would like to stay with ATI and can spend a decent amount as long as the value is there. Also, my tv is plasma, does that make any difference?
a c 358 U Graphics card
January 25, 2009 10:13:44 PM

Watching movies or simply surfing?

If you are gonna watch movies then get a Radeon HD 4650 (roughly 40w) or GeForce 9600GT (roughly 60w). Anandtech.com did a subjective review of output quality of various video cards geared towards media. Both of these cards tied for 1st place.

If you're gonna simply surf, then any video card will do; you can get any Radeon HD 4xxxx or any GeForce 9xxx card.
January 25, 2009 10:37:06 PM

I will definitely watch movies. Looking at those cards, how much will the 512 vs 1tb and the ddr2 vs ddr3? If I plan to use ddr3 in the computer does it have to match that of the card?
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a b U Graphics card
January 25, 2009 10:48:56 PM

Just grab the 4670 for a little more. A little better than the 4650, and if you want to play some games, it's also a budget gamer card to.
a b U Graphics card
January 25, 2009 10:53:26 PM

Also, no the ddr3 vs the computer does not effect the card. Like right now I'm running a 9600gt, which the 4670 might be almost that good, but I've got a 512 mb card running on a 22 inch lcd monitor, works fine. I actually watch tvland.com episodes on it. How much memory you need on the card depends on resolution, but remember with cards lower on the totem pole like your looking at, the card may not be quite fast enough to even effectively use all that memory. Just grab a 512 mb card. Mainly when you would need the 1 gb card would be if you have a faster card and are gaming at high resolution.
a b U Graphics card
January 25, 2009 11:00:46 PM

I'd say 4650, 4670 max with 512MB should do nicely. You really don't need much power at all, even the integrated ATI 3200/3300 can do movies and light gaming.
January 25, 2009 11:32:20 PM

Thanks for all the replies. What about the integrated hdmi port instead of through a dvi converter. Does this matter at all?
a c 358 U Graphics card
January 26, 2009 12:22:24 AM

Integrated HDMI will carry both audio and video signals to an HDTV (if it also has HDMI).

Only Radeons will carry both audio and video. GeForce cards with HDMI will only do video so you will need to hook up the sound card to the TV with separate cables.
a c 358 U Graphics card
January 26, 2009 1:05:11 AM

For watching movies the amount and type of RAM will not really matter. There is no reason to choose 1GB over 512MB or DDR3 over DDR2 unless gaming is important and/or if the higher spec'ed card is on sale and cheaper.

The HD 4670 will be better than the HD 4650 if gaming is your only concern. Both cards will output the same video quality for movies.
a b U Graphics card
January 26, 2009 2:04:04 AM

I can agree with Jaguar definitely, to the OP, I guess what I'm saying is that 4650 and 4670 are both going to be good. If you know for a fact you will not play games, grab the 4650. However, if you think there is any possibility you may want to try games later, spend a little bit more for the 4670 and that way you have a little more oommpph. But if you plan to do 0 games, and you know you will not have that interest at all, then the 4670 might be a waste of money for your needs.
January 26, 2009 4:58:46 AM

If you don't want to game the 4650 is good enough. It maybe to much money for not gaming. If you might game I would just get a 4830 and be done with it. Were not talking about a huge price difference.


4830 are around $100 Fastest
9600gt are around $90 Second Fastest
4670 are around $80 Third Fastest
4650 are around $70

January 26, 2009 7:20:18 AM

If he might want to try games later, I'd recommend the 4830. It's not really all that much more than a 4670 and will make the world of difference in casual gaming.

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

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

Then again, even an integrated HD3200 plays LOTRO and similar MMO's so if he's not going to give graphics intensive games a try, then a 4670 is perfect. ATI really needs to put out an All in Wonder version (used them exclusively in the AGP days).

Can't wait to finally get a working 3870x2 back from Newegg. Dratted (originally) $450 card died on me in 3D after 10 months and I went through all the tech support hoops for two months. Finally RMA'd it a week before Newegg's one year replacement warranty ended.

January 26, 2009 8:07:31 AM

I agree with the above poster, I would go minimally with the 4670 or if budget allows the 4830 is a very nice budget gaming card. The 4830 allows for more leeway and it's always frustrating to have to buy another GPU or any other part for that matter because you went too low on your first pick.
a b U Graphics card
January 26, 2009 12:09:31 PM

Another +1 for the 4670. That's a fine card for what it sounds like you will use.
January 26, 2009 12:53:24 PM

+1 4670

Watch for burn in on your Plasma.
January 26, 2009 3:53:55 PM

go with HD 4830 this will be good card if you would play games later on with resolution beyond 1280 X 1024
January 26, 2009 3:55:20 PM

at newegg powercolor HD4830 is going for $125 around
January 26, 2009 11:19:25 PM

The type of ram doesn't matter between your system and the video card, as a previous poster suggested. Further, GDDR3 and DDR3 are not even the same type of ram anyway.

GDDR2 and DDR2 are, but past that the memory family tree "splits."

Other than that, I can't offer a graphics card recommendation. My MB requires me to only look at Nvidia cards, and ATI is much better in the mainstream market right now. (Further, ATI is really better in the high end as well.)
January 27, 2009 12:02:24 AM

No gaming planned or very little? Why not go with integrated graphics with Hybrid SLI should you change your mind eventually?

Just a thought but really if no gaming is to be done on this specific machine, go integrated : cheaper, more efficient and save the extra $$$ for an extra drive (backup solution) or more ram as it never kills to have too much Ram.

Hope you enjoy your new build ;) 
January 27, 2009 2:21:16 AM

IMO, integrated is the best choice for quality, simplicity, and energy efficiency. If you want to go AMD then the best bet is a 790GX mobo/chipset. If you like intel then the Asus GF9300 and 9400 types are the way to go. These boards are made just for your application and perform beautifully. They are microatx form factor so case size and power useage is minimal. Look for some reviews to get a good idea of the advantages of each.
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