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Integrated VGA & How Good Is ATi's Radeon 9100 IGP?

Conclusion, Continued

When building a PC on a tight budget, we recommend selecting a cheaper model using a SiS or ATi chipset instead of the pricier Intel model. Then you can invest the money you saved into an add-in graphics card, for example an ATi Radeon 9200 or an NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200. Make sure you don't get stuck with a sub-standard model using only a 64-bit memory bus, though. These cards are unbearably slow. Besides, cards with a 128-bit memory bus usually cost only a few dollars more and are much better performers.

The better choice for gamers: ATi Radeon 9200 or NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200

ATi's entry-level card is currently the Radeon 9200 SE with a 64-bit memory bus. The better choice would be the Radeon 9200 (without the SE). In the case of NVIDIA's FX 5200, things are a little more difficult, as the 64-bit model is not clearly marked as such. Your best bet is getting your retailer to guarantee you that you're getting the 128-bit model. Or you could just opt for a Radeon 9200 (remember, not SE!). The amount of video memory does not play a big role for cards of this class, so 64 MB are more than enough. The step up to 128 MB only makes sense on faster cards.

Getting back to the question we asked ourselves at the beginning of this article - will add-in graphics cards become extinct and be replaced by integrated graphics solutions? Judging from the poor level of performance current solutions have to offer, the answer is a clear "no". We don't believe this will change as long as PC games play a larger role in the world of personal computers.