ATI 9500-9700 Qs

I tested out a friend's FX 5200 this weekend since I've been trying to figure out what video card is best for the money, and I was very unhappy with the performance increase vs. my old GeForce2 MX400. The only game I really play much is EverQuest, but I do play the occasional UT or UT 2003 DM, and will be trying out EQ2 which looks to be a huge resource hog.

I've been trying to figure out the differences between ATI's 9500, 9500 Pro, 9600 Pro, and 9700 (non pro) as I've determined these choices to be the best in my price range. The 9700 non pro is $207 right now on Pricewatch and that's really more than I wanted to spend, but if the general opinion is it will last me much longer, then I'd be inclined to do it. On the low end, I can get a 9500 non pro for $111 (made by Sapphire), which seems like the best deal, but I don't know how to compare it to the FX 5200's performance that I don't see as a worthy upgrade from my old MX400. In the middle I can find the 9500 Pros at around $160-180.

From reading the other threads, it looks like I should rule out the 9600 series unless I just can't find a 9500. I won't be overclocking the card. I'm using a 400W power supply and an AMD XP processor (somewhere between 1.4GHz and 2.0GHz depending on price) so power shouldn't be an issue either.

I do need dual video (1 VGA and 1 DVI) and TV out, but that's really the only other requirement.

I had another question about the 3rd party ATI cards made by Sapphire and Althon, should I have any reservations about getting those if I find them cheap?

My final question, which I think has already been answered, is are the 9700 non-pros DX 9 based? I believe I've read that all the 9500s, 9600s, and 9700s, are, but I wasn't sure.

I'm down to the final stretch and need to get a card soon as my other parts will be in shortly, but I don't want to get a card that I'll be really unhappy with when I start EQ2 this fall or some of the other games coming out. Please advise me.
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  1. hey,imo the 9500np would be the best bang for your buck. Read a lot of posts in here with nothing but good marks toward that card. And, if you like to o/c, the non-pro is a "wicked" good card for that......check the boards for a ton of info!

    <font color=purple> We can't all be heros,someone has to stand on the sidewalk and clap!!<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by toester on 06/02/03 08:57 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
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