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Need QUICK Graphics Card buying help

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
October 24, 2003 12:32:48 PM

Long story short, sister's computer died, took what I could from her machine, put it into my machine, took those parts out of my machine and put them into a new box.

She had a PNY GeForce4 MX440 that does not work well AT ALL with either the hardware and/or XP. I need to ship this computer out to her early next week so I'm going to put my old video card back in it, Leadtek GeForce2 Ultra 64mb...has worked fine in that machine for a couple of years. I love the card to be honest.

That leaves me in the position of needing a new video card (lucky me) and fast.. hopefully ordered today.

Any suggestions? My budget is around $200 and I want the best card I can get for that money. I've always been kind of a nVidia camper, but after reading some recent things, I'm really leaning towards my first ATI card.

I'm hoping the new card will be able to run HL2 flawlessly.
The box is a P4 2.4 800mhz FSB (Asus P4P800 Deluxe mobo).
1gb Geil PC3200.

I mainly use Newegg for components.. I was considering a few of them-

Powercolor ATI Radeon 9600 Pro 256mb for $169

I had read in the FAQ here on this board to avoid Powercolor. I would buy leadtek again because I loved my last card but that puts me back using nvidia.

Thanks in advance for any help provided.
October 24, 2003 1:51:34 PM

9600 PRO is the best price/performance under $200 right now, but if you can afford the $200 - $240 range you might be able to find a 9700 non-pro or 9800 non-pro, which would be even better.

Just make sure you don't get anything that says "SE" on it! And watch out for "lite" versions, too, sometimes they use inferior memory.

And pay attention to what Ion has to say in the following post!

Radeon 9500 (hardmodded to PRO, o/c to 322/322)
AMD AthlonXP 2400+ (o/c to 2600+ with 143 fsb)
3dMark03: 4055<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Cleeve on 10/24/03 10:10 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
October 24, 2003 2:08:22 PM

Get the 128mb version of 9600pro because 256mb is useless for 9600pro and most likely the 256mb version has inferior memory.
Related resources
October 24, 2003 2:20:03 PM

but should I really avoid the powercolor brand?
I was kind of interested in the 256mb card..

I can also get the Sapphire Atlantis Radeon 9600 Pro 128mb for $156 from newegg (retail).
They also carry Sapphire Atlantis Radeon 9600 Pro ULTIMATE 128mb (slightly different heat sync with no fan?) for $188

Sapphire is a trusted brand? Like I said, I've been in the nvidia world for so long I don't really have a clue about how the other half lives.

does anyone know when the 9600XT's are due to arrive?
October 24, 2003 2:28:45 PM

Sapphire is a trusted brand, in fact theiy make Ati's cards.

Powercolor isn't the best, but their not horrible or anything. Some people here have had bad RMA experiences with them though. But they were good to me.

Radeon 9500 (hardmodded to PRO, o/c to 322/322)
AMD AthlonXP 2400+ (o/c to 2600+ with 143 fsb)
3dMark03: 4055
October 24, 2003 2:34:27 PM

ok, so then a n00b question.

Why would less memory be better...I've always been under the impression get as much memory as you can afford because you'll eventually need it.

Thanks Cleeve and Ion for your help
October 24, 2003 2:51:08 PM

Most benchmarks show almost no benefit from having 256 vs 128 MB Ram. I might consider it if I were buying the top end card (9800 xt or 5950 Ultra). But realistically, the midrange cards, by the time games start to utilize this much ram, will probably not run the game very well anyway for reasons other than RAM limitations. YOu would be betting on a scenario that is not likely to occur. Its mostly marketing...

It's all Bush's fault...all of it...
October 24, 2003 2:54:24 PM

That works for Ram. For Vid Cards no big differance to go to 256MB over 128. It's a waste of money. Buy 128 9600Pro. 9600XT prices are $230-$250. So far.
October 24, 2003 2:57:57 PM

Are the 9600XT's on sale anywhere?

I can't find them..

will a 128 9600 Pro do me right for HL2?

Also, what's the difference between the 9600 Pro and 9600 Pro Ultimate with the odd heatsync?

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by jugghead23 on 10/24/03 11:05 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
October 24, 2003 3:03:54 PM

Price correction $183.10 at Ecost. Have not checked New Egg yet.
October 24, 2003 3:04:22 PM

Hoe soon do you need it?
October 24, 2003 3:07:24 PM

I want to order within the next couple of hours or so. I'd like to have the card here early next week.

I'm supposed to ship my old computer to my sister some time next week which means I'll need to rip that GeForce2 Ultra out of my current machine so I can get hers up and running.
October 24, 2003 3:48:37 PM

9600xt's were just released, so only a selected few retailers will have them. For Half-Life 2 this card will do fine. It will actually do better than any Nvidia card out there right now.

I agree with the others, get a 9600Pro 128 MB

Is there anything really more to say?
October 24, 2003 4:12:32 PM

That soon. Buy the 9600Pro.
October 24, 2003 4:52:05 PM

I actually found the Asus version of the 9600XT in stock for $229.

Is there any reasons I would want to avoid an asus video card?

I have used their mobo's in the past and present but never thought of buying a graphics card from them
October 24, 2003 7:16:13 PM

Well if you're going to play HL2, then you might as well get the 9600XT as it comes bundled with a coupon for a free copy of the game. Plus you'll get the extra bit of performance.

It's all Bush's fault...all of it...
October 24, 2003 8:12:35 PM

ASUS is new on the ATI card side of things they are no longer held down to just nVedia :lol:  , their cards are very new here now so their track record isn't much(as far as i know) I also know that in the past ATI used to have problems on ASUS MoBo's but that problem seems have gone now. I have that combo anyhow.

Asus is a very respectable company, but you might find getting feedback on there cards a little difficult for now.

I would suggest you go with the Saphire 9600Pro. the XT is a better card in almost every test but only marginally for most. it depends on you budget.

If you can find a 9500pro, go for that. its about on par with the 9600XT but costs less.

Good luck hunting

ASUS P4S8X - P4 2.4B - 2 x 512M DDR333 - ATI 9500 Pro(Sapphire) - WD 80G HD (8M Buffer) - SAMSUNG SV0844D 8G HD - LG 16X DVD - Yamaha F1 CDRW - Iomega Zip 250 int.