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Best card for under $150

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  • Graphics Cards
  • Graphics
Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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August 26, 2003 11:45:36 PM

Hi Everyone.
I have an Asus A78VX which supports AGP 8x. My big problem is I am currently running a ATI 7200 which is a very old card. I have $150 which I can use to spend on a video card, can anyone suggest what I should update my system to? Yes I have read the guide in this forum and where the author of the guide says to stay away from the 9600 , unless it is a pro, I have multiple game magazines where writers there said it is a good card.

Andy

More about : card 150

August 26, 2003 11:47:15 PM

We need to know if you are buying online, or in store to give you the correct answer. Also....which games you enjoy playing.

I help because you suck.
August 27, 2003 1:04:43 AM

Im not opposed to buying online or from a store. The games I play the most are , currently, Ghost Recon and other first person shooters. PLus I will be playing NHL 2004 once that is released.

Thanks
Andy

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by opeth_pa on 08/26/03 09:08 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
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August 27, 2003 1:18:47 AM

Well, I would recommend: from the Nvidia camp -> the geforce 4 4200
:from the ATI camp -> a 9000/9100/9200.

To help narrow the choice down, I would say either a 9100 or the geforce 4 4200. Both are good cards, and will serve you well.
August 27, 2003 1:19:54 AM

Pricewatch is showing Radeon 9600Pro's from multiple vendors for under $150 dollars. Seriously the best choice.
Others here will agree.

I help because you suck.
August 27, 2003 1:34:13 AM

Yep, as an nVidia user....if you can get the ATI 9600 Pro for <$150, take it.
-Brett
August 27, 2003 2:00:16 AM

What about the Sapphire Atlantis ATI RADEON 9600 PRO?

These seem to be the only 9600's I can find in this price range as the actual ATI cards all seem to be in the $175 range.

Also I notice the Sapphire comes in a 256mb version but the guide here said stay away from those as the extra mem does not help.

Thanks Andy
August 27, 2003 2:07:19 AM

The Atlantis Pro should be a great card IMO...As far as 128 or 256mb, I will say that games that coming soon will take advantage of 256mb of video memory. You should find out if the memory on the 256mb model has slower access time then on the 128mb model.

I help because you suck.
August 27, 2003 2:37:42 AM

This is one instance in which I might actually recommend the 256mb version, only because in most cases, the 256mb version costs only $5-$10 more, and it's worth that small amount. Anymore than that, and I'd stick with 128mb.

<b>nVidia cheated on me so I left her for ATi. ATi's hotter anyway...</b>
August 27, 2003 2:43:58 AM

Quote:
This is one instance in which I might actually recommend the 256mb version, only because in most cases, the 256mb version costs only $5-$10 more, and it's worth that small amount

Speding 3% to 5% more money for 0% more performance is not good, it's waste of money.

----------------
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August 27, 2003 3:05:36 AM

If you can get the 9600 Pro. Even though many of us at THGC are really upset with Nvidia right now, I would still say the GeForce4 Ti 4200 is the best bang for buck budget part money can buy. But if you want a high mid-range performance get the 9600 Pro.

My OS features preemptive multitasking, a fully interactive command line, & support for 640K of RAM!
August 27, 2003 4:35:12 AM

Ti 4200 will get the most bang for the buck, but if he's got $150 to spend, why not invest a few extra bucks and get the ATi 9600 Pro.
-Brett
August 27, 2003 1:21:05 PM

Agreed, spend a little extra money (offer to mow the lawn for your dad or do some extra dishes or something) for the 9600Pro. You don't need to buy a 256meg version, as you won't see any benifits, so you can save some money there. It is a nice little card, a very good overclocker, AND has full dx9 support, which is a big deal considering some recent events..........
August 27, 2003 3:06:11 PM

That's basically what I was trying to say all along. By the way, I am thinking of selling the Ti 4200 Cards I just ordered and getting some 9500 non-pros and software modding them into 9500 pros or 9700 non-pros, wouldn't this be the best value if the success rate is high. BTW, what is the success rate on softmodding?

My OS features preemptive multitasking, a fully interactive command line, & support for 640K of RAM!
August 27, 2003 3:36:08 PM

Ok so the right choice seems to be the 9600 pro in the 128mb version. Let me ask though, why not the 256mb version? Once person here said it depends on the speed of the 256mb memory.

Andy
August 27, 2003 4:05:20 PM

Because the extra 128MB is worthless currently. One wonders if the extra 128MB will even be utilized by the 9600 GPU AT ALL...but if you can get the 256 version for close to the same price...ya might as well do it eh? Who knows if future games will be able to utilize all 256MB of space right?

<font color=blue>I don't have to be careful! I have a gun!</font color=blue>
<font color=green>Homer Simpson</font color=green>

TKS
August 27, 2003 4:39:37 PM

The success rate in softmodding a 9500 is somewhere between 50% and 25%. There are no concrete numbers on that because there are no formal polls. For myself I've had two, the first didn't softmod (but overclocked like hell) and the second did softmod.

On the plus side, a 9500 non-pro that fails the softmod can still overclock very well, and when overclocked can be competitive with a 9600 PRO. Mine went from 275/275 to 360/310!

In my opinion, the 9500 non-pro is the unsung hero of budget modders, if you can find it cheap enough.

------------------
Radeon 9500 (modded to PRO w/8 pixel pipelines)
AMD AthlonXP 2000+
3dMark03: 3529
August 27, 2003 4:41:02 PM

Maybe you are right,but the truth is not here!U can see the test of the 9800pro 256mb compared to 9800pro 128mb,then u`ll find ATI seems to waste 128mb on the card!So why do u want to add 128mb to 9600pro?I donnt think there is any good for doing this.
August 27, 2003 5:07:51 PM

Simply because if you can get the extra memory for about 10-20 bucks more...why not? There is no benefit currently right? Who's to say that later on down the road when DX9 becomes mainstay in games that it won't come in handy? Have you looked into your crystal ball and watched the future unfold already? Do you know for sure that ALL video cards with 256MB of RAM will NEVER need it? If not, shut your pie hole.

The tests you speak of will not utilize any more than 128MB...but that is now...not later. Perhaps things will change. And for 20 more dollars...why not? So it doesn't matter with current tests and benchmarks and games...so what? Will it matter later? Probably! Why not have the extra room to stretch your VPU legs? It couldn't hurt squat. Now if you were going for a huge price jump (for instance, the 9800 Pro 128MB to 256MB...which is over 100 US dollars) then I'd say "don't do it." But for 20 bucks...throw caution into the wind and say, "Why not?" I know I would. Next time you post something, make sure you know what you are talking about....or change it into a post that has your opinion instead of posting things in a factual sense...that way you don't come off sounding like Billy Bob Thorton in Slingblade :smile:

<font color=blue>I've got a better idea. Let's go play "swallow the stuff under the sink." </font color=blue>
<font color=green>Stewie Griffin</font color=green> from <i>The Family Guy</i>

TKS
August 27, 2003 5:26:27 PM

Theoretically, if 1600X1200 with MAX AA and AF can tear down even the most modern of videocards at unplayable framerate, the extra memory should have already kicked in on the 256 meg monsters to compensate. But since there is not a enough GPU bandwith to take advantage of the extra memory on these ultra demanding settings now, why would it suddenly kick-in in the future?

My OS features preemptive multitasking, a fully interactive command line, & support for 640K of RAM!
August 27, 2003 5:44:34 PM

Here is a response I got from Sapphire Tech Support regarding the speed of the memory on their 256mb card.

"Dear Customer,
Our Radeon 9600 256MB is a non PRO version therefore its memory clock speed is 200."

So that would answer the quesiton on the Sapphire card I guess. The 9600Pro 128 is the way to go. Unless.

What about the other brands that show 256mb pro's like Powercolor or Gigacube?

Thanks for all the help.

andy
August 27, 2003 5:56:50 PM

I have no idea about Gigacube, but don't go with Powercoler. THe only brands that are good for ATi that I know of are sapphire, Hercules, and boards made by good ol' ATi itself.

My OS features preemptive multitasking, a fully interactive command line, & support for 640K of RAM!
August 27, 2003 6:32:07 PM

AGP 8X has theoretically 2.1 Gigs per second bandwidth. Perhaps there is still some software/driver development that will utilize more of this while efficiently using the current clock of the VPU. Dunno, but for 20 bucks...with no adverse effects..I'd do it.

<font color=blue>I've got a better idea. Let's go play "swallow the stuff under the sink." </font color=blue>
<font color=green>Stewie Griffin</font color=green> from <i>The Family Guy</i>

TKS
August 28, 2003 4:42:20 PM

Xtasy cards are identical to the ATI ones. They don't OC as well as any other cards but they use all the identical hardware. I've found that their boards are a bit thicker than ATI's though...which is weird but it makes for better thermal insulation. Not that it needs it since I wasn't able to get a huge OC on it at all. But Xtasy is a good brand as well. Don't take my word for it, go out and buy the August Issue of Computer Power User (CPU) since they review both of the 9800 Pro's from ATI and Xtasy.

<font color=blue>I've got a better idea. Let's go play "swallow the stuff under the sink." </font color=blue>
<font color=green>Stewie Griffin</font color=green> from <i>The Family Guy</i>

TKS
August 28, 2003 4:53:37 PM

I totally agree with UFO_WARVIPER on this issue.

In fact TKS, I'm just the opposite of you (kinda), I would recommend a 256 9800 Pro (see another thread for why) but not a 256mb 9600 Pro.

The 9600 Pro is even LESS likely to take advantage of it, and its not faster/better memory:) 
Spend that extra 20 bux on a Volcano 10 and overclock it like a bitch.

"Mice eat cheese." - Modest Mouse

"Every Day is the Right Day." -Pink Floyd
August 28, 2003 4:59:56 PM

You guys are forgetting something.

In a year or so, game developers may well be using over 128 megs of textures in games. If that is the case, the 256 megs would come in handy.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think it's a major issue. but for a measley $10? Come on, I usually keep my video cards for over a year, I don't think it's a bad investment.

256 megs is only really stupid when a n00b chooses a 256 meg 5200 ULTRA over a 128 meg 9600 PRO because it seems so much more powerful...
But I'd pay the $10 to get the extra 128 megs on a decent GPU. Why not?

------------------
Radeon 9500 (modded to PRO w/8 pixel pipelines)
AMD AthlonXP 2000+
3dMark03: 3529
August 28, 2003 7:59:27 PM

Without doubt you should try a VisionTek Extasy ATI 9100 for $59 at Comp Usa before you spend a penny more.
You will be amazed.
If you like the speed and don't care about DX 9 support UNTIL NEXT YEAR WHEN IT WILL REALLY MATTER,
then take it from my 9009 points on 3d2001.
This card cooks for the money.
By the way I was running an ATI 7200 AIW before the big change,and The score there was 4462. You will better than double your score with the 9100!
PS download the newest drivers cuz the disc comes w/ uncertified ones.

AM37 2200+XP Thoro
WD 40.00 54
256mb Kingston
Xtacy ATI Radeon 9100 64mb
August 28, 2003 8:12:13 PM

That Radeon 9100 is a great value. Also consider the GeForce 4 Ti 4200 64 meg for $80 bucks if your really budget conscious like me, but my previous reccomendations on the 9600 Pro still remain probably the best option if you can afford it.

My OS features preemptive multitasking, a fully interactive command line, & support for 640K of RAM!
!