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VGA Brands?

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January 20, 2011 6:02:30 PM

Was browsing Newegg, checking prices on graphics cards and there are so many more brands than there used to be, with brands I used to associate only with motherboards (MSI, Asus, Gigabyte...) offering VGA cards, and brands like Zotac and Galaxy offering "Super OC" version of cards for sometimes $30 to $50 less than similarly clocked versions from brands I'm familiar with like EVGA... My problem is that I'm having a very hard time finding reviews on the actual manufacturers of the cards rather than a specific card's performance. Obviously a superclocked version of a card is going to perform better than a standard clocked version but I'm more concerned with the support the manufacturer provides and their track record of reliability...so I'm turning to the Tom's community...what do you guys think?

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a b U Graphics card
January 20, 2011 6:16:57 PM

When it comes to Video cards, I tend to stick with the known brands(XFX, EVGA, ASUS,Gigabyte). I think you will have less trouble with them in the warranty department. As far as performance goes, most cards are what they call "reference cards". This means that they meet the specifications set by the GPU maker(Nvidia, AMD) and perform as nearly equal as can be expected. XFX HD6850 = HIS HD6850, as long as they are not overclocked.
January 20, 2011 6:26:55 PM

If you're concerned about warranty, stick with the ones that offer lifetime warranties: XFX for radeon cards and eVGA for nvidia cards. I believe Asus offers 3-year warranties on video cards, and I'm not sure about Gigabyte.

Personally, I would only get video cards backed by a lifetime warranty because in the past, I've had bad experiences with overheating cards. Some might be more expensive from the more reputable companies, but to me it's worth it if I know there's a no-hassle warranty procedure.
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a b U Graphics card
January 20, 2011 6:29:35 PM

commandermuffin said:
If you're concerned about warranty, stick with the ones that offer lifetime warranties: XFX for radeon cards and eVGA for nvidia cards. I believe Asus offers 3-year warranties on video cards, and I'm not sure about Gigabyte.

Personally, I would only get video cards backed by a lifetime warranty because in the past, I've had bad experiences with overheating cards. Some might be more expensive from the more reputable companies, but to me it's worth it if I know there's a no-hassle warranty procedure.


Yep...That's exactly why I got my BFG 6800GT back in 2005 :D 
January 20, 2011 6:35:01 PM

@clarkjd: Yeah, I'm familiar w/ reference vs "superclocked" but these days with so many different OC versions I usually end up needing to visit nvidia or AMD's website to get the factory clocks.

@commandermuffin: Hmmm...I hadn't thought of comparing them by their warranty...it seems I hardly ever keep a graphics card longer than a year and half but it does demonstrate their confidence in their cards...
January 20, 2011 6:36:50 PM

Gainward and Palit brands have models that are cheap and have best factory oc's. Asus, Gigabyte and MSI as you mentioned are famous for their reliability or durability. But i also know people who are disappointed in every brand i mentioned...

Everything is relative. And what brand have a best reliability track record, is a million dollars question... :/ 

I hope that your post become solved, because i also want to hear a concrete answer on this subject.
January 20, 2011 7:13:10 PM

So...I went on Newegg and looked at a BUNCH of warranties, and this is what I found...
Companies w/ Lifetime Warranties: EVGA, PNY, Sparkle, Visiontek, XFX, and Zotac
Companies w/ 3 yr Warranties: ASUS, ECS, Gigabyte, and MSI

But there's also some weirdness:
- ECS and MSI both have 3 year warranties for parts but only 2 years for Labor...not sure what that means...

- Only Sparkle and Visiontek (and almost XFX...read on...) offer Lifetime warranties on everything, the rest have smaller warranties on lower priced items but Lifetime warranties on the higher priced items (again, w/ the exception of XFX)

- PNY, XFX, and Zotac do NOT offer Lifetime warranties on their most expensive items but DO offer lifetime warranties on like 2nd most expensive items...usually it's just their most obscenely top of the line items that don't have the lifetime warranty.

- XFX has the added weirdness in that it's JUST the most expensive item ($920 HD 5970 Black Edition) that doesn't have the lifetime warranty...everything else, including the $34 GeForce 8400 GS, has a lifetime warranty
January 20, 2011 10:07:02 PM

bikeracer4487 said:
@clarkjd: Yeah, I'm familiar w/ reference vs "superclocked" but these days with so many different OC versions I usually end up needing to visit nvidia or AMD's website to get the factory clocks.

@commandermuffin: Hmmm...I hadn't thought of comparing them by their warranty...it seems I hardly ever keep a graphics card longer than a year and half but it does demonstrate their confidence in their cards...


If you plan on upgrading every year or 1.5 years, then I would just go with whatever is cheapest. I don't upgrade that often, so I like longer warranties. Three years isn't that bad actually, and that seems about the right timeframe to upgrade for gamers. I personally wait a bit longer to upgrade because I like buying one card first and a second one to SLI a few years later, so the lifetime warranty works for me.

I guess it just comes down to upgrade frequency and/or personal preference with brand.
January 20, 2011 10:17:10 PM

Yeah, from a pure warranty vs. actual ownership time, 2-3 years would be enough...it's more that a lifetime warranty indicates a greater confidence in their product...it also makes it easier to sell on ebay later on...
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