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Replacing Nvidia GeForce 9600 GT/ $200 Budget / Advice please

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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April 19, 2011 9:14:22 PM

Hello :)  I have an issue that I could really use some advice on. I am in the process of researching which graphic card to buy and I am not too familiar with the technical details. I want to make sure I purchase the right card for my computer/budget.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: week of April 17 - 23rd
BUDGET RANGE: $150 - $200 USD before rebate
USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, (Crysis 2, Battlefield BCB2, RIFT, SWTOR) Movies, work
CURRENT GPU AND POWER SUPPLY: Nvidia GeForce 9600 GT, 550 Watt Power Supply
OTHER RELEVANT SYSTEM SPECS:

Operating System: Windows Vista™ 32bit Home Premium
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo Processor E6850 (2x 3.0GHz/4MB L2 Cache/1333FSB)
Memory: 3582MB RAM
Motherboard: Asus P5KPL-VM Intel G31 Chipset w/6-channels, Gb LAN, S-ATA 3Gb/s, USB 2.0, Single PCI-E MB
Case: Eagletech Dragon Aluminium Gaming Tower Case (it would be considered mid size I guess? Not sure:) 

PREFERRED WEBSITE FOR PARTS: newegg.com
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
PARTS PREFERENCES: I have always had EVGA Nvidia cards. I had a 8800 GT that started constantly freezing and artifacting. This would happen with games almost instantly and occasionally on websites. I then replaced it with a 9600 GT. I was good to go for about a year and then randomly one evening while playing Left for Dead 2, it started doing the same thing, constantly freezing and artifacting. It happens frequently on websites as well. Usually flash intensive websites but I have had it happen even on my desktop. Interestingly enough, it never freezes when logged into my SRD (Secure remote device, I work for XBOX customer support at home and I have to log in via this USB flash drive device that allows me access to my work tools/desktop) I am not sure why it does not freeze when logged on the SRD, I am assuming because it uses a Windows XP emulator and is probably using the default graphic accelerator? I don't know for sure, just guessing. I was always happy with the performance of the cards but am kinda worried if I purchase another card from them, I might have this issue again.

OVERCLOCKING: No
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No
MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1680x1050

I use a a set of Tritton AX 720 headphones for gaming which connects via a Optical/Digital input on my XBOX. I would love to be able to use these on my computer. Currently I can but I am connecting them via stereo inputs and it's not quite the same. Do graphic cards come with Optical inputs? If they do, a card with that feature (if budget feasible) would be awesome.

I have been trying to figure out which card is the right fit for me and honestly, I just don't know. I would appreciate any thoughts/advice you might have. I am not worried about having "the best" or super maxed out graphics. I am more interested in having a good dependable card that can handle my needs and will be fairly easy to install since I have never done it before. Thanks in advance!
a c 106 U Graphics card
April 19, 2011 9:34:51 PM

Sounds like a dying card. Two in a row even, ouch. It might just be overheating though. Make sure to use some compressed air to clean out your case and the GPU heatsink (with the PC off of course). When you turn on your computer, make sure that the GPU fan is spinning. If it seems o.k test it out with 3dmark to see if it can complete the benchmark without producing artificats. You could also try running furmark while watching the temps (don't let it get too hot) to see if there is anything wrong with the heatsink.

If you're going to get a new card and must go with nVidia then go with a GTX 460 1GB. A Radeon 6870 would be a better buy though ^_^. It's your money though so it's up to you. Either card would generally be slightly limited by your CPU so you may want to consider overclocking your CPU (get a good aftermarket cooler) to get the most out of your new GPU.

Win 7s XP mode does not have graphic acceleration, so it basically operates in 2-D mode. Other VM players, like Virtual Box, do allow for 3d acceleration, but of course also need a separate copy of XP to install ^_^.
!