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Vid card advice - new system

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March 12, 2005 6:22:34 PM

This seems to be the best site online to ask questions. I'd appreciate some advice on the new system I'm having built. Specs so far are:

Engergy Black Case 17"
Athlon 64 3400+ 2.4 (754) 512 L2 cache
Asus mobo (unsure exact one)
Viewsonic VP 19" LCD VP 912b
1024MB DDR RAM PC3200 (512x2)
WD 160GB SATA 7200 RPMHD W/8 MB Cache
16X +/- DVD
3.5" Floppy
10/100
Intel 6 Chan Audio
Cyber speakers (for now)
Video Card?????

Will be used:

up to 1/3: video editing (home/travel using digital camera), photo editing, music CD burning.

up to 1/3: games - possibilities incl. Age of Empires III, Sentinel: Descendants of Time, MVP Baseball 2005, The Moment of Silence, Dreamfall: the Longest Journey, Still Life, The Black Mirror, and Myst types.

at least 1/3: net surfing, large Word docs (120 pgs), email, etc.

I don't intend to OC or upgrade for a good 4 yrs, (hence the 754 socket) & probably AGP is fine for this system.

The sales rep where it's being built has offered MSI GFX 5700le-TD 256 & CP ATI TV-out DVI AGP Radeon 9800 256mb DDR TV-out DVI AGP8x as possibilites. I know the 5700le is yucko, and from reading here, have also surmised that this 9800 is a 128 bit, not 256 bit version, & therefore, also not the best. I'm in Canada, so prices for the 6600GT run $300-$400. True 9800's run about $329-350. 9600XT's are even $300.

How good of a card do I really need? Is the 19" LCD screen a concern for games if I go with a 9600 Pro or something like that? The reason I've just listed "possibilities" for games is that I'm coming from a 6 yr old, nearly dead, Laptop that didn't allow me to play anything beyond Myst/Riven, so I'm not sure what games I'll actually play.

Thanks for any advice.

More about : vid card advice system

March 12, 2005 6:46:37 PM

I would actually recommend a Socket 939 3200+ with a Chaintech VNF4 motherboard, and a X800XL video card. DVD Writer I recommend either Liteon or NEC, I'm not sure what Intel 6 channel audio is so i'll just leave that be, and i'd recommend a good power supply, Enermax noisetaker 470 is a very good. For case I'd recommend the Silverstone Temjin06 if you have enough money, it's just over 100US, but it's a GREAT case!!
March 13, 2005 5:02:57 AM

I'd get an Nforce3 socket 754 mobo w/AGP...

As for the video card, for the stuff you're doing, a 9700 PRO/9800 256-bit would be great...

But you want it to last 4 years... a 9700 PRO/9800 isn't going to cut it two years from now if you want to play new game titles with 1/3 of your computer's time.

This in mind, I'd recommend a socket 939 nforce board, the best Athlon64 you can afford...

and for the videocard: a nice, cheap X800 256-meg. They're better than the 6600GT and vanilla 6800's, and they're the cheapest canadian deal you can get right now as far as I've seen... $332 Canadian dollars from NCIX.com (a reputable canadian online store). in stock!

Nifty card too, because it's completely silent! Gigabyte's heatpipe card.

<A HREF="http:// http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=111105736&vp... TECH CO" target="_new">http:// http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=111105736&vp... TECH CO</A>

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Related resources
a b U Graphics card
March 13, 2005 7:38:06 AM

Also that Gigabyte comes with a stock overclock on the memory to near XL speeds (-10mhz), which is fine it's the same XL/XT 2ns memory.

Unfortunately that direct link to NCIX doesn't seem to work, same one I have though. Maybe NCIX blocking (nope something wrong with your link, did you rtemove the % signs etc?).
<A HREF="http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=111105736&vp... TECH CO" target="_new">TEST (succesful link)</A>

As for AGP options I'd say that R9800'Pro'-128bit would probably outperform the R9600XT just based on the R9500P results. Also I have seen alot of R9600Pros for about $150 so for the prices he has that'd be a far better 'value', but still not the best choice.

I'd say, like you, go for S939 + PCIe when you have this nice fresh chance, even a GF6600plain would be a better choice than the R9800-128bit or R9600XT IMO, and even here in Canada they are cheaper than those prices, heck the GF6600GT is cheaper than the prices he has for the R9600XT. So I'd say for under $250 at NCIX he can get a GF6600GT if he's on a budget. but that Gigabyte would be worth the slight premium IMO. And with and S939 he has the possibility of a dual core future as recently benchmarked;

<A HREF="http://www.hwupgrade.it/articoli/1193/2.html" target="_new">http://www.hwupgrade.it/articoli/1193/2.html&lt;/A>

Read the top (or page 1) it's S939 compatible. So what a beautiful future for those boards!


- You need a licence to buy a gun, but they'll sell anyone a stamp <i>(or internet account)</i> ! - <font color=green>RED </font color=green> <font color=red> GREEN</font color=red> GA to SK :evil: 
<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by TheGreatGrapeApe on 03/13/05 02:39 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
March 14, 2005 1:34:58 AM

Thanks guys. Lot's to think about. That x800 does sound sweet. Almost makes me forget that I was hoping to keep the price down around 200-maybe 250 cdn....definitely under 300!

Initially, I had decided on the newcastle 3400+ because I thought the extra 200 Mhz would be good for video/photo editing. Also liked the lower cost. However, I know the 3500+ (my original choice) performs better in games & has more of a future, so I'm back to see-sawing between the two again. The higher cost of AGP cards ie 6600GT, also has me oscilating between PCI-E & AGP again. Further dilemna, is ATI better than Nvida in terms of picture quality for video work/games?

I had thought that in 4 yrs time or so, it might be best to upgrade the mobo & graphics card along with the processor, given the speed of tech. advancement. At that time I thought I'd go PCI-E & probably dual core. If I go nforce4 & PCI-E now, have those mobo's been out long enough to be stable? Some people suggest waiting a yr before shifting to them so the bugs can get worked out first.

Also, is the 3500+ fast enough for video editing? Would there be much difference between it and the 3400+? At 2.0 the winchester 3200+ might be too slow or I'd go with that since it's the cheapest.

As for the card, it looks like the 6600GT or x800 at a real stretch, maybe cutting back on other components, or a 6600, or 9700 PRO/9800 256 bit, if I did stay with AGP.

Thx for your help again.
March 14, 2005 1:42:31 AM

Theres some $120 - $130 cards in the clearence section.

READ THE STICKY AND WIN A PRIZE! ALL PRIZES CAN BE CLAIMED IN THE SECTION TITLED "THE OTHER"
a b U Graphics card
March 14, 2005 2:22:29 AM

For $250 the GF6600GT is a solid choice, if you're looking to save some coin. The X800 will outperform is, but if you are pressed for cash and only occasionaly play games, best to invest the extra $100 in CPU and RAM, IMO. And if really pressed I'd say go with the plain GF6600 for PCIe and the R9800Pro (if you can find it for cheap) for AGP (cause often the premium on the GF6600AGP makes it less of a value).

Quote:
Further dilemna, is ATI better than Nvidia in terms of picture quality for video work/games?

Close to same quality with only minor differences.

Going with an AMD64+PCIe is a far better choice than AMD64+AGP IMO. nForce3 doesn't have significantly less issues than nForce4, but the nForce3 definitely has less of a future. The only hitch is the recent revelation that <A HREF="http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=21780" target="_new">many of the two of them will have issues with the AMD64E</A>.

In any case, I'd say S939+PCIe is the wisest choice for anyone building a new rig today.

As for performance, every little bit helps in the video editing department, except the video card (beyond the basic level you've chosen). For previewing it may be helpful, but for the actual editing and composition you're mainly going to notice the CPU/memory performance.

How willing are you to overclock?

I'd definitely say go for any kind of Winchester over Newcastle for the thermal and power characteristics as well as OC-ability.


- You need a licence to buy a gun, but they'll sell anyone a stamp <i>(or internet account)</i> ! - <font color=green>RED </font color=green> <font color=red> GREEN</font color=red> GA to SK :evil: 
March 14, 2005 12:42:28 PM

As far as games go, your system will be MUCH faster with an Athlon64 3000+ and a Radeon X800 XL than it would with an Athlon 3500+ and a Radeon 9800 PRO.

MUCH, MUCH faster. As a matter of fact, unless you're doing a lot of encoding, you won't notice the difference in processors that much at all.

3000+ and better videocard is the way to go, if games are a priority.

________________
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a b U Graphics card
March 14, 2005 6:20:48 PM

I'm wondering if for the types of games he plays (don't see many FPS) whether you'd see that big benifit.

I mean sure he'll see a huge benifit of the X800XL over R9800Pro for D3/HL2/FarCry but I'm not sure with MVP baseball or Myst-like titles he'll get as much benifit from it. But I don't know.


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Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
March 15, 2005 6:17:45 AM

He? Named Andrea?? Anywho, that compatability issue from the inquirer is kind of scary :frown: I'm just days away from buying my new system, so I hope I don't have an issue with the DFI nf4 ultra-d mobo and winchester 3200 cpu.

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March 15, 2005 10:46:41 AM

Yeah, I am a she. The compatability issue scares me, too. I was leaning back towards the 939's (3200+ or 3500+), although the lower mhz still bothers me regarding photo/video editing, but now am hesitant. I wonder if the non-SLI PCI-E Asus board would be a safer bet. I do like the 939's option of not having to upgrade cpu, mobo, & graphics card all at the same time down the road, which is something I would have to do with the 754 system.

Grape: OC-ing spooks me so I'd rather not. and

Cleeve: I want the ability to play more demanding games than those I've listed, but not at the expense of cpu power for editing. Since I've done little gaming or editing owing to my present laptop's limitations, I can't say which activity I'll acually end up spending more time on. Guess I'm trying to cover all bases - a difficult task at this point.

I'm thinking if I could get away with the 3200+ for editing, I'd get the x800 card. If I can't, then I'd settle for the 6600GT. But if compatability is going to be a problem, I'll go back to the 754 with an Asus board. Just don't like the AGP options for the long term.
March 15, 2005 12:30:03 PM

Well, like I said, as a human being you would be hard pressed to notice the difference in CPU speeds, from a 3000+ to a 3200+, or a 3200+ to a 3500+.

The only time it might be noticable is during a long video render *after* you're done editing; might take an hour and ten minutes instead of an hour, with the slower CPU.

While doing the actual editing, and when editing images, there wouldn't be a percievable difference.

But when you're playing demanding games, you will most definitely notice the difference between the X800 XL and 6600GT. Most definitely.

Plus, CPU's drop in price like crazy, you could sell your 3000+ in a year for $100 and buy a new 3600+ for $200... $100 net.

That's my advice anyhoo...

________________
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Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
March 15, 2005 4:05:44 PM

I agree about the compatability thing, so that't why I'm goin socket 939 with this build. I basically am building a whole new machine, so I figured I might as well go for the longest lasting tech that I can. If you do choose the 6600gt I think it will be ok for now, but I wonder for how long. I suppose it really depends on what titles you play and the amount of eye candy you like. That x800xl was a perfect fit for me, right price, great performance, and the right features for me. I just don't see SLI as a viable option simply because of the cost. And if the ASUS price scares you, there are other non sli pci-e boards available. DFI's Lanparty UT nf4 Ultra-D is great, and I have also heard good things about the new MSI k8n neo4 board. Just depends on budget :smile:

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March 15, 2005 5:00:52 PM

Ah, I get you Cleeve....I can still get the 3400+'s 2.4 Mhz, or maybe even higher, just a little down the road, while availing myself of PCI-E & 939 right now. Sounds like a plan. One that appeals to me, in fact. Didn't think I'd want to upgrade very often, but this may well be the best way to go. In a yr I'll have a better idea of my gaming vs editing needs, too.

Since I don't live near a Compusmart, think I'll pass on the x800 xl deal. The x800 is probably plenty for me anyway, or even the 6600GT to start with. I understand there's quite a difference between the x800 xl & the 6600GT, but is the x800 worth the additional $80.cdn approx. to go from the 6600GT to it?

I really appreciate all the help.
March 15, 2005 6:00:46 PM

SLI is out for me, too, price-wise. The DFI board at $189. cdn (NCIX) & the Asus K8T890 at $181. look good though, & aren't much more than the $174. Asus K8T Deluxe I was first going to get for AGP. The more I think about it the more I agree it's a good time to go PCI-E. AI'm also leaning towards the 3200+ over the 3500+.

BTW I do like eye candy, just hope I can find some games with lots of it that aren't so shooter oriented. I'm assuming that if the place where I'm having the system built can't match NCIX's graphics card price, they'll agree to install the NCIX card along with the other components.

Getting excited!
March 15, 2005 6:24:53 PM

Quote:
but is the x800 worth the additional $80.cdn approx. to go from the 6600GT to it?


Oh god, yes.

The 6600GT is comperable to the last-generation 9800 PRO.

The X800 XL is an undercloclocked version of the top-of-the-line X850 XT.

In real-life terms, it's the difference between playing at full detail with Antialiassing at superhigh resolution, or playing at full detail with no antialiassing at medium resolution.

Having said that, the 6600GT will certainly allow you to play the newest titles for a year or two. You'll just have to start lowering the detail is all.

________________
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a b U Graphics card
March 16, 2005 3:19:38 AM

Quote:
He? Named Andrea??

Just natural response, do you really think I care enough to read all of your 'imaginative' names. :tongue:

Actually I'm usually posting while doing something else (work/tv/sleeping one eye at a time :wink: ).

Yeah that's what I thhought, I'm waiting for the list of compatable boards first, cause if it can't do E series, it's definitely not gonna do Dual Core IMO!


- You need a licence to buy a gun, but they'll sell anyone a stamp <i>(or internet account)</i> ! - <font color=green>RED </font color=green> <font color=red> GREEN</font color=red> GA to SK :evil: 
a b U Graphics card
March 16, 2005 3:30:15 AM

Sorry about the gender bender, don't notice newer names, no offence. Could've been Andy-Reaz, shortened. :eek: 

Yeah if you want to upgrade later you'll still be better off with S939 IMO just based on CURRENT options. Also power consumption numbers are nice for the Winchester.

Editing wasn't my concern, but more of any effect (disolves, overlays, etc) you might want to use, and then the CPU makes it 14 minutes instead of 17, but for the basics like Cleeve says, it won't be as noticeable. Just foor enciding we're talking minor differences;

<A HREF="http://www6.tomshardware.com/cpu/20041221/cpu_charts-18..." target="_new">http://www6.tomshardware.com/cpu/20041221/cpu_charts-18...;/A>

I think you'll be fine with the X800 and a 3000+ or greater S939-AMD64.


- You need a licence to buy a gun, but they'll sell anyone a stamp <i>(or internet account)</i> ! - <font color=green>RED </font color=green> <font color=red> GREEN</font color=red> GA to SK :evil: 
March 16, 2005 4:32:15 PM

No problem. I'm more interested in getting good info than you getting my gender right. In fact, I thought it was kinda funny!

I do plan to add some dissolves and such. From the benchmarks, the 3500+ looks good--splits the diff between the 3400+ newcastle & 3200+ winnie.

What concerns me more now tho is how long before we see a board compatibility list? I read somewhere, maybe just something posted rather than in an article, that the Asus E (not SLI) board has some kind of problem, too. Can't recall what it is, just noted the fact while flying by doing research.

As my upgrade path could well lead me into dual core, I hope this isn't going to be a lengthy solve.

That X800 is 343.44 now. For me, the price needs to go lower not higher.
Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
March 17, 2005 6:10:58 AM

Quote:
Actually I'm usually posting while doing something else (work/tv/sleeping one eye at a time).

Damn, you need to slow down a bit, enjoy life some. Sounds like your pc is bottlenecking <b> You </b> :smile:

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March 19, 2005 3:10:10 AM

Well, I'm definitely getting the X800. I want to play Halo & Half Life2 at 1280x1024 on the 19" LCD. Thanks for the links Cleeve & GreatGrape.

Now if AMD could just take care of that compatability issue I could get my nf4 board for the 3200+ 939, (or 3500+ if I have to wait a while & prices come down).
a b U Graphics card
March 19, 2005 9:31:21 AM

The Inquirer did a follow-up;

<A HREF="http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=21901" target="_new">http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=21901&lt;/A>

It appears that the DFI boards are ok according to DFI (trust the board maker over the chipset maker since you'll be RMAing to the boardmaker if you have problems not nV). DFI's statement is like an implicite warranty that it will work so that should be reassuring. I'm still waiting for Gigabyte to make a peep, but DFI's words are comforting that there's hope.

Good luck with the new build.


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a b U Graphics card
March 20, 2005 4:58:03 AM

Thanks for the update, and now go to the CPU forum and answer my dang question! :lol: 


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March 20, 2005 5:26:12 AM

"We also got the confirmation that the problem comes from AMD's side of the table, and that it changed thermal regulation stuff inside of those new CPUs. We've asked AMD to comment on this matter as well."

It says there it wasn't Nvidia's fault but AMD's.
a b U Graphics card
March 20, 2005 5:48:06 AM

It doesn't say it was AMD's fault it says AMD changed thermal regulation within the chip. Whose fault it is depends on what was said to whom about those changes and what the response was. nVidia still covered their a$$es saying, 'what problem? there's no problem' (whispers to engineers 'get someone to fix this problem'). Reminds me of the HW acceleration issue in the NV40 chips.

The question will be how well informed were the chipset and board makers of those changes.


- You need a licence to buy a gun, but they'll sell anyone a stamp <i>(or internet account)</i> ! - <font color=green>RED </font color=green> <font color=red> GREEN</font color=red> GA to SK :evil: 
March 21, 2005 7:47:21 PM

Well, you know, the right hand never seems to know what the left hand is doing.....

Thx for the updates people.

The gist I'm getting is that this isn't a stupendous problem to fix, but it might not be a bad idea for me to hang back on my purchase till the boards actually begin shipping with the fix in place. As I'm having a local shop do the build, I'd like things to proceed as smoothly as possible.
!