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I3 integrated graphics vs. something around $100 vs. old card

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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August 21, 2010 9:19:45 PM

Hey! Just completed my first PC build and is running great. My hardware is as follows:

Processor: Intel i3 540
MB: Intel DH55TC
Ram: 4 GB Crucial 1333 DDR3
Case: Antec 300
Power: Cooler Master 400W

I eventually want to purchase a higher end graphics card within the next year or so.

In the meantime I have 3 options I'm considering of which I'm looking for some advice.

1) Continue to run the integrated i3 graphics. Not blown away, but definitely not disappointed. DVD and BluRay playback seems to be pretty solid.

2) Have a budget of around $100 to purchase an interim card. Looking at something like a nVidia GT 240 or 9800 with more memory. Any input or suggestions are highly appreciated.

3) And I'm not even sure this is a option. I have a old ATI FireGL v 3100 graphics card that I could use in the meantime. Will this card even work with my system? Can't find any drivers for it for Windows 7, but it did fine on my older Pentium 4 System running 7. In fact, I believe it had a higher Windows Index for Graphics then I'm getting with my current setup. It also has OpenGL.

What is my best option of the 3?

Couple of things to consider when answering. I'm not a huge gamer, but I definitely want some more performance. My 3d requirements are much more geared towards CAD/Modeling then gaming. I'm missing a lot of the features of the FireGL when it comes to photoshop, flash, AutoCad, etc........I believe this is because I don't have OpenGL or any type of acceleration in my current configuration.

Thanks for the help!

Josh
a b U Graphics card
August 21, 2010 9:42:46 PM

For CAD stuff, the integrated i3 video is going to suck. :)  That's really only meant for a typical workstation or an email/web browsing PC.

I'm not very knowledgeable with workstation GPUs, but I know they're better for CAD stuff than a gaming GPU would be. But they tend to cost more money.

If the CAD/Modeling thing is a "hobby" then I'd say find a decent GPU. If it's a professional thing, I'd say start doing some research and start saving $.
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a c 153 U Graphics card
August 21, 2010 10:10:55 PM

jerreece said:
For CAD stuff, the integrated i3 video is going to suck. :)  That's really only meant for a typical workstation or an email/web browsing PC.

I'm not very knowledgeable with workstation GPUs, but I know they're better for CAD stuff than a gaming GPU would be. But they tend to cost more money.

If the CAD/Modeling thing is a "hobby" then I'd say find a decent GPU. If it's a professional thing, I'd say start doing some research and start saving $.


This.

If the CAD is for small work or something you just do for fun then a gaming GPU will be fine.

If its for work where you need it you need to save your money.
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August 21, 2010 10:54:13 PM

Thanks for the posts!

I'm definitely not looking to building a full fledged Cad Workstation with this build. In fact, 90% of any Cad work will be 2D and anything 3d will be very basic......ie. simple textures, minimal lighting, wire frame, etc.

I've been running the FireGL card for the past couple of years so that's kind of the basis of what I'm used to and why I included Cad/Modeling in my first post..........I've prob been using it more as a high end multiple display solution rather than pushing it's 3d/graphics potential.

From you guys answers and a little more research, I've come to the conclusion that:

1. Need to upgrade from the integrated graphics
2. A good gaming CPU that has OpenGL, like most of the nVidia chipsets, will more then handle any of my Cad requirements.

Should of said my that my gpu requirement is: 2d CAD, very minimal/basic 3d CAD, solid multiple display multi-tasking performance, and be able to get some decent fps gaming.

3. And even with my budge requirements at this time, with my current setup, I'll see big improvements with even an entry level gaming GPU.

As far as I'm concerned, it's time to go shopping for a cheap gpu!!!! Any suggestions?? I like the look of something from the nvidia 200 series.

Def, let me know If my thinking is not correct. Thanks again.
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a c 153 U Graphics card
August 21, 2010 11:30:08 PM

My 260's run CAD very well if it helps you in your decision making.

You are right I would deffinitely get a Nvidia card for your need, you might be able to get a GTX 260 cheap some where.

If your very strict on your 100 dollar limit this is probably the best you will do,

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

also this is very cheap and could get you by till you get enough for an even better in the future..

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

If you don't care about a 200 dollar card for the future (GTX 460) just get the GTS250 though, its significantly better then the GT240.
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August 22, 2010 5:39:17 PM

Well, I was going to order the GTS250 from NewEgg, but found a good deal locally on a PNY GT 240 1 GB.

Will work fine, very fine, in the meantime!

No problems running AutoCad 2008, more then handle all of Photoshop's OpenGL features, NetFlix and Hulu look great, and Battlefield: Bad company 2 looks and plays great!

Not to mention, the system is using much less memory and the CPU is running cooler.

Great upgrade for the money. Thanks for the advice
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September 8, 2010 3:45:53 PM

Best answer selected by jww187.
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a c 271 U Graphics card
September 8, 2010 3:54:54 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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