Hopefully one of you much more knowledgable people can help me.
I currently have a GeForce3 Ti500 and am looking to upgrade my card. I am not going to spend 400 dollars on a card so that leaves out the 9800 Pro/XT line.
Compusa is having a special on the 9600 PRO for 129 bucks after rebates which is a great price. They are also selling the XT version for 199 dollars, which comes with a free Half Life 2, which I will eventually buy.
Now my main concern is that the 9600 line of cards have been out for a while, and I am concerned that I am buying an old and dated technology. Will this card be able to perform for me with the new games coming out in the next couple of years?
If you feel that the 9600 is still a good performer and should be able to hold its weight over the next few years, is it worth it for me to get the XT version instead? Is there any major difference in performance?
The way I look at it, as I will buy HL2, there is only a 30 dollar price difference between the XT and the Pro.
Normally I tell people to go ahead and buy. You're considering an upgrade for a reason, that being your current card isn't quite good enough.
Honestly though, this time, I'd say to wait. Don't go out and buy a new card for a game that "will" be coming out. Go get your new card when it comes out. Your GF3 is good enough for most games today, so you might as well get all your money out of it.
The R9600 Pro/XT is a great card for sure, and a bargain at $129. It will run HL2 just fine for you but by the time HL2 comes out, it might be $99, or maybe the next gen will be out and a 9800 Pro will be $250.
Either way, you won't be going wrong. Saving money is always a good thing, but the R9600 series is a great performer for a good price.
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Capitano Obvioso and others do have some good info there.
Big issue is we can't really see the future so who knows for sure what is the best choice just yet.
I would just add this though. If your budget is $400. Here's my personal view on it. Buy the R9600 for $129. Then you have $271 left over, put that in the bank of Alcoholfund.. err I mean trust fund . When the RV380 comes out (replacement for the R9600XT) then you can get a NEW technology card (which is suppoed to be on par with or above the R9800s [but below the R42X that will be the top end card])for likely around the $200-250 mark. Now that gives you a good card now, and then a next technology card when they come out. And you can sell the R9600Pro for a little coin (at least the price of HL2? Probably).
Now that's using the $400 formula. If you buy an R9800non-pro for ~$250 then you get into different equations, and your future is just as uncertain as waiting for the next technology cards. The question is whether you want a REALLY good card now, or just a good card now and then a better card later. Either way I think you will be relatively prepared for the future (as much as one can be without looking into it), you will just be able to run at larger resolutions with the R9800 non-pro.
Anywho, as always, that's just my two frames worth.
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