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Please help make a sensible nVidia choice

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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March 2, 2009 7:03:19 AM

Hey guys!

I need to choose a video card, something high-mid-range. And I probably want an nVidia. I would be using it at 1280x1024 resolution and playing mostly third person games (not FPS's), but I may also hook it up to a HDTV from time to time (for dual screens). So, basically I am pondering either a 9800GX2 or a 260GTX. The latter seems to be better and newer, but is it worth it? Also, it has less video ram, which I don't know if is relevant. Here is the price breakdown (shown at the end of each line):

896MB XFX GeForce GTX 260 666M Black Edition DVI TVo HDMI (Core 666MHz, VRAM 1150MHz, Shaders 1440MHz) - 279.44
896MB EVGA GeForce GTX 260 Core-216 55NM SC GDDR3 Dual-DVI HDTV PCIe (Core 626MHz, VRAM 1053MHz, Shaders 1350MHz) - 278.8
896MB EVGA GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 55NM GDDR3 Dual-DVI HDTV PCIe (Core 576MHz, VRAM 1000MHz, Shaders 1242MHz) - 272.6
896MB Gigabyte GeForce GTX 260 OC 216 GDDR3 DVI PCIe (Core 576MHz, VRAM 1000MHz) - 248.7
896MB XFX GeForce GTX 260 576M 2xDVI TVo PCIe (Core 576MHz, Shaders 1440MHz) - 243.5
896MB XFX GeForce GTX 260 XT 621M 2xDVI HDMI PCIe - 240.6 (Core 621MHz, VRAM 1000MHz, Shaders 1350MHz) - 240.6
896MB Gainward GeForce GF-GTX 260 GS DVI PCIe - 236.3
896MB ZOTAC GeForce 260-2 GTX GDDR3 Dual DVI PCIe - 232.9
896MB Palit GeForce GTX260+ GDDR3 Dual-DVI Retail - 232.6
896MB Palit GeForce GTX260+ Sonic 216 SP Dual-DVI TVo HDMI PCIe (Core 625MHz, VRAM 1100MHz, Shaders 1348MHz) - 228.3
1024MB Sparkle GeForce 9800GX2 GDDR3 DVI HDMI PCIe Retail - 217.1

Quality is obviously very important, I don't want the card to overheat or go bust in a week. I'm not putting WC over it and I'm not going to overclock. I just want a good card to last me some three years. Or maybe you would suggest some completely different card? Thanks for helping me choose!

P.S. All of the names, details and prices come from an online shop from which I'm going to buy.

More about : make nvidia choice

March 2, 2009 7:29:05 AM

hd4850 is overkill for your resolution.

Personally, I'd not trust Palit, Sparkle or Gainward. OK, my irrecommendations.
March 2, 2009 8:01:58 AM

What would be you recommendation then?
Related resources
March 2, 2009 10:39:26 AM

Bump! What nVidia card should I go for? GTX260 may be an overkill indeed. Some 98xxxx series?
a c 167 U Graphics card
a b Î Nvidia
March 2, 2009 10:58:18 AM

Both XFX and EVGA have very long warranties so they should be your first choice.
As for the specific card it depends on what you`re going to do later on and the resoloution of your HDTV.
If you plan on a larger monitor or your TV is 1080 then I`d go for the overkill card now to avoid having to stump up for a double upgrade later on.
If you`re happy with 1280x1024 and your TV is 720 then a 9800GTX would still be a little too much but would leave a bit of performance in reserve for the next batch of games.
I`d avoid the 9800GX2, despite it`s obvious attractions; it`s hot, noisy and needs SLI driver optomisations to show its full potential.
March 2, 2009 12:44:41 PM

Note that the 1GB 9800GX2 does not have 1GB video memory per se, because that is split between 2 GPUs. Each GPU gets 512 MB, so that is the limit of texture memory. This won't be an issue at 1280x1024, but as coozie7 said, the resolution of your HDTV could influence this decision. To further on coozie7's recommendation for brand, go with EVGA, they have the best support, warranty, and community behind them. XFX is ok, but seem to have a higher fail rate in my experiences. The 896MB EVGA GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 55NM is beastly and will handle whatever resolution your HDTV requires while letting you run all the eye candy, and remaining future proof for a while. The best part is they're about $200 after rebate right now.

Which reminds me, what PSU/additional specs do you have?
March 2, 2009 1:35:59 PM

scrumhalf said:
Note that the 1GB 9800GX2 does not have 1GB video memory per se, because that is split between 2 GPUs. Each GPU gets 512 MB, so that is the limit of texture memory. This won't be an issue at 1280x1024, but as coozie7 said, the resolution of your HDTV could influence this decision. To further on coozie7's recommendation for brand, go with EVGA, they have the best support, warranty, and community behind them. XFX is ok, but seem to have a higher fail rate in my experiences. The 896MB EVGA GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 55NM is beastly and will handle whatever resolution your HDTV requires while letting you run all the eye candy, and remaining future proof for a while. The best part is they're about $200 after rebate right now.

Which reminds me, what PSU/additional specs do you have?



My old PC broke down, it was quite good but it's 4.5 years old and I suspect it's beyond repairs (

I want to assemble a good new PC without going overboard.
- Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 (or Q9400)
- Mainboard pending (there are so many to choose from)
- DRAM pending, but I want at least 6GB of it, and the faster the better
- Graphics card - EVGA GTX 260 sounds as a very solid option
- PSU: PC Power and Cooling Silencer 610W ATX 2.2

That's about it, I'll use the case, fans, DVD-ROM and hard drives from my old PC
March 2, 2009 2:01:04 PM

Sounds good, that's a quality PSU so you won't have any problems there. As far as RAM goes, C2Q mobos don't do triple channel RAM (only the Core i7's atm), so 6GB would be out (they don't make 3GB sticks), go with 4 or 8GB.
March 7, 2009 6:19:46 PM

erm dual channel 6gb is possible: would be 2x2GB DIMMS + 2x1GB DIMMS, I run that config with my Q9550 in dual channel, and works perfectly
I'd definately recommend a 55nm GTX 260 if u want that 3 year odd future proofing, and are already planning on running on an HDTV, even if its only sometimes
!