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How much Graphics Power Does a PC Really Need?

Graphics Solutions For Home And Office Use From ATI And NVIDIA

We wanted to check out ATI's and NVIDIA's websites to see what solutions we could find for home and office use. As it turns out, a non PC-gamer with little to no prior knowledge looking for a suitable product would quickly run into some obstacles.

Assume our hypothetical customer is looking for a cheap entry-level PC for the home office and has no interest in games. He's already received several offers for such a system and now wants to inform himself about the graphics solution best suited to his needs.

ATI's Website

At first, it seemed our prospective customer would quickly find what he was looking for: ATI's website features a category called Home/Office under the Products tab. However, he is then immediately greeted by ATI's entire line of graphics cards, with the fastest and most expensive series of 3D cards, the Radeon X850, topping the list. In the short product description, the company then praises the outstanding 3D performance in games. Aside from a different picture in the upper part of the page, the Products page is identical to that for gamers. It takes some reading to find a product that actually fulfills our criteria, namely the Radeon X300 series. Its product page characterizes the card as a sensible upgrade option, with solid 3D performance.

A non-gaming office user in search of the right product: At first glimpse, the website seems to be clearly structured. ATI sorts by target group.

The first card that our Home and Office user is shown is the most expensive card ATI currently offers - because of its good gaming performance...

... Aside from the welcome screen and the title, the product page for gamers and home/office users is virtually identical!?

It takes some reading and searching to get to an fitting and relevant product, the Radeon X300. The product description confirms that the card is suitable for its intended purpose.

The ATI product page for workstation usage shows how it can be done better: A clear separation between 2D and 3D workstation usage and a detailed list of driver certifications.