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Cantousent

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Yes, I have to ask the computer wonks among us a question about video cards.

 

I'm building myself a system right now. Newegg is the way I'm going to go. Not only are their prices competetive, but their shipping is faster than hell, so I'll probably disregard comments about where I purchase. I'm not a complete novice. This is the fifth system I'll have put together. I'm going to put all of the system specs down right now just in case it bears on the video card. Nevertheless, I'll probably ignore comments about Intel sucking or getting AMD just because I know what I'm getting from Intel and I don't care about saving $15-30 on a processor. If I know something works well, I'm sticking with it unless the price differential is substantial. I'd like to come in under $1000 on this system, and the only real question is the video card.

 

Okay, here's the system so far:

 

Intel LGA 775 Pentium 4 530 3.0 GHz, 800MHz FSB, 1MB L2 Cache, Hyper Threading Technology - Retail

 

GIGABYTE "GA-8I915P Duo-A" 915P Chipset Motherboard for Intel LGA775 CPU -RETAIL

 

Geil Dual Channel 184 Pin 1GB(512MBx2) DDR PC-3200 - Retail

 

Microsoft Optical Wheel Mouse Version 1.1a PS/2 /USB -OEM

 

Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition with Service Pack SP1a - OEM

 

I'm keeping my old hard drive (7200rpm 80gigs), my old dvd write/rewrite, old dvd, old speakers, old monitor (I know, it's only a 19inch, but I can't fit anything larger on my desk and I'm not getting another desk), and the onboard sound will suffice for me.

 

Here's the deal, though, the motherboard supports PCIX16. For that Reason, I decided to go with:

 

MSI ATI RADEON X600 XT Video Card, 128MB DDR, 128-Bit, DVI/TV-Out, PCI Express, Model "RX600XT-TD128" -RETAIL

 

There are a few things that strike me:

 

1. It doesn't draw from the power supply. I'd figure that it would require it's own power plug.

 

2. It's only $190 and I thought these things (at least according to another thread in this forum) are supposed to be $400 and higher.

 

3. The motherboard only has a PCIx16 for video. So, would I be stuck buying this or something like it? If I decided to go AGP, what will that mean for upgrades in the future?

 

You know, I'm not really a computer wonk. I'm just a yutz who likes being able to play some games, do some work, and read email on his computer. What am I to think about this video situation?

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I have a MX420 GeForce and it's enough for me :rolleyes:

I'm happy about it and don't need anything better... :blink:

 

The best thing is that everything actually works :p

 

Of course I love ATI, but I don't think I need one for ~200-300 bucks

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You still won't be able to play Doom 3 with all the graphical goodness turned on (with any respectible frame rate, that is).

"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."

 

- Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials

 

"I have also been slowly coming to the realisation that knowledge and happiness are not necessarily coincident, and quite often mutually exclusive" - meta

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We'll find out when I get DOOM III :rolleyes:

I was referring to Eldar :blink:

"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."

 

- Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials

 

"I have also been slowly coming to the realisation that knowledge and happiness are not necessarily coincident, and quite often mutually exclusive" - meta

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Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition with Service Pack SP1a - OEM

I just wanted to tell you that if you get the OEM version, you will NOT be able to use it if you ever replace your motherboard (with anything other than the same model). Most how-to sites usually don't mention this. But you're getting a newer mobo anyway, so it shouldn't be a problem.

 

1. It doesn't draw from the power supply. I'd figure that it would require it's own power plug.

The PCIx16 interface allows a card to draw 75W of power (as opposed to 25W/42W for AGP8x slots) so you don't need a direct connection to the psu.

 

2. It's only $190 and I thought these things (at least according to another thread in this forum) are supposed to be $400 and higher.

I think you might be confusing the x600 line with the x800 line.

 

3. The motherboard only has a PCIx16 for video. So, would I be stuck buying this or something like it? If I decided to go AGP, what will that mean for upgrades in the future?

It means you'll only be looking at PCIx16 cards for upgrades.

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Ah, thanks, chemchok. So this card will be repectable but won't break the bank. I might consider paying more for the X800, but I was unsure if that would be entirely necessary. To be honest, I'm using a Geforce 3 right now. It's showing it's age, but I haven't really had any problems. Some of the games I play require me to turn down settings. So, I don't need bleeding edge, but I don't want to end up replacing the card within the year, either.

 

Doom 3 is a must buy for me. What card, out of curiosity, will handle that particular title? I wouldn't mind spending a bit extra, but I'm not much keen on spending $400 on the video card (almost twice as much as the processor, btw) unless there's a really compelling reason.

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The biggest advice, from one noob to another, is make sure the motherboard, processor, and memory are all compatible with one another. I've never made the mistake of buying an incompatible motherboard and processor, but I know folks who have.

 

Also, I tend to go for something respectable, far better than what I have, without going all out. One thing I've done in the past is get something for a bit less with a timeline mapped out for components I'll be upgrading in the future. For instance, I didn't have time to build my current system. I was in the middle of exams and such, so I just bought it from Gateway. When I bought it, I knew the video card wasn't the best, so I planned on a schedule of replacing the video card the next year. It cost a tad more money overall, but it cost about $100 less at the time. I planned on expanding the memory within the next two years. Once again, that didn't save me money overall, but it spread out the timeline for the expense. Also, I got to choose the memory manufacturer. The difference in price was hefty at the time of purchase but minimal when I replaced those parts.

 

My rule of thumb is, I want my computer to handle the games I like to play at the time. I don't want to spend an extra $400+ on components just to claim bleeding edge technology. The plan is any system I buy or build has to last at least 3 years before I'm forced into something newer. That might entail a small outlay for ugrades, but it won't entail purchases over $200 during that time. That's the whole dilemma with the video card. I don't want to pay for a video card that I have to replace soon. In fact, I'm planning on the opposite for this system than the past. I'd rather have something that will last for over two years before I'm forced to replace it and I'm willing to pay more for it at this time.

 

Damn, I forgot to put the case in the initial specs. I'm getting a Raidmax case with a 420W power supply. In fact, I'd probably just upgrade what I have now except for Gateway's pathetic power supply. The case doesn't have enough fans and the power is just plain weak. I have folks tell me that I don't need a power supply over 400W, but I just have to laugh and remember when I had someone tell me, "what use would you have for 64kb of system memory?" Or, "Why would you need a pentium processor? Just get a good 486 and it'll last for a long time." "I have a 300 baud modem and it works just fine!"

 

Scavenge stuff from your old computer that works just fine. I've got a 7,200rpm 80gig hard-drive that has never even been half full. I don't see a need to buy a new one now and, when I do, I'll probably buy a 10,000 rpm seagate or some such.

 

So, make sure everything will work together. Scavenge. Plan ahead. Be sure it will handle everything you need it to do.

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IMO, you'd get similar performance from a Radeon 9600XT 128MB DDR, which I believe is cheaper by now.

 

 

 

Really is a crappy time to do upgrades right now though. I'm gonna be purchasing a Wildcat and a AMD Athlon 2500 Mobile in the near future, which I'll be overclocking to Athlon 64 speeds to try and hold onto my baby without doing a major overhaul until next year when BTX form factor based MOBOs come out.

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I don't want to spend an extra $400+ on components just to claim bleeding edge technology.

 

Very very wrong... in that case you might be unable to upgrade it next time...

What do you mean? If it's all going to PCIx in the future, then that's the sort of thing for which I will spend the extra cash. ...But I'm not sure if that's what you were saying.

 

I guess, to be a little clearer, I won't spend an extra $400 on something I don't need just to brag about it. I will, however, spend an extra $400 if I think it will extend the life of my system by a considerable time.

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I don't want to spend an extra $400+ on components just to claim bleeding edge technology.

 

Very very wrong... in that case you might be unable to upgrade it next time...

I disagree, buying a high-end pci16 graphics card today is a waste of money. You'll just end up smacking yourself in the head in a year and a half when the $400 card costs $150. As long as you don't mind every graphic setting not being maxed out in your games, buy a mid-ranged card.

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I don't want to spend an extra $400+ on components just to claim bleeding edge technology.

 

Very very wrong... in that case you might be unable to upgrade it next time...

I disagree, buying a high-end pci16 graphics card today is a waste of money. You'll just end up smacking yourself in the head in a year and a half when the $400 card costs $150. As long as you don't mind every graphic setting not being maxed out in your games, buy a mid-ranged card.

This is exactly what I was wondering. I think I'm pretty much set. I really appreciate everyone chiming in to give me advice. It's good to hear the arguments around on this one. ...Well, the arguments that aren't coming from the voices in my head. It looks like PCIX is a reasonable investment, but not necessarily the high end PCIX cards.

 

Thanks again, all.

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Well, while you might think PCI Express is a reasonable investment right now, for $500 you can get a non PCI Express GFX card that will knock the bloody socks off of all the PCI Express cards out right now. Don't remember the exact name right now, but it's by 3D Labs, it's one of their Wildcat series, and it has 512 MB onboard DDR RAM. I haven't actually seen a review on it yet, but it's fully Direct X 9.0 and Open GL compatible, and so long as it's coupled with a decent GPU, more onboard RAM means almost universally better performance. That's what I'll be buying along with the above mentioned upgrade to keep my PC up to snuff until next year when BTX Form Factor comes out, and this year's tech prices have gone down. :unsure:

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I meant that some things that you don't need at the moment, can quickly become necessary.

 

But actually, you have a point. I think that all these 'Extreme Edition', 'Gamer's Pro' are unnecessary, and you can play anything you want without them.

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The problem with the waiting game is that over time, you can almost always make the same predictions. What's $500 now is simply more than I'm willing to pay. Will it be less in the future? Sure. Whatever is hot then will be less a few months down the line also. I'm not playing the whole waiting game. I've had this computer for over 3 years now. It's starting to show it's age and so I'm going to build another system. Even if I went with the x800, the whole system would only cost $1200 and I'm willing to pay for that. I'm not willing to pay $1500 and I'd rather keep it under $1000. ...And 512MB of video memory will still carry a hefty chunk even a few months down the road. It's that simple.

 

Still, I think I will stick with the 600. My current card, a geforce 3, still handles the games I play. Sure, not as well as my wife's radeon 9800xt, but well enough that I'm reasonably sure, with the responses I've seen, I won't need to ditch it in 3 months because the games I like to play are unplayable on my system. If I need to replace my video card in a couple of years, about the point when the performance issue will become noticable, that's fine.

 

To be honest, I was swayed more by ILs argument to get a better PCIX card. I respect your view. Nevertheless, I still believe PCIX is a reasonable investment and, frankly, it fits with the processor and motherboard configuration better also.

 

Another question: can I use an AGP card in a PCIX slot? I didn't think so, but I've been reading some confusing stuff of late. I mean, the slots look different for one thing.

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The problem with the waiting game is that over time, you can almost always make the same predictions. What's $500 now is simply more than I'm willing to pay. Will it be less in the future? Sure. Whatever is hot then will be less a few months down the line also. I'm not playing the whole waiting game. I've had this computer for over 3 years now. It's starting to show it's age and so I'm going to build another system. Even if I went with the x800, the whole system would only cost $1200 and I'm willing to pay for that. I'm not willing to pay $1500 and I'd rather keep it under $1000. ...And 512MB of video memory will still carry a hefty chunk even a few months down the road. It's that simple.

 

Still, I think I will stick with the 600. My current card, a geforce 3, still handles the games I play. Sure, not as well as my wife's radeon 9800xt, but well enough that I'm reasonably sure, with the responses I've seen, I won't need to ditch it in 3 months because the games I like to play are unplayable on my system. If I need to replace my video card in a couple of years, about the point when the performance issue will become noticable, that's fine.

 

To be honest, I was swayed more by ILs argument to get a better PCIX card. I respect your view. Nevertheless, I still believe PCIX is a reasonable investment and, frankly, it fits with the processor and motherboard configuration better also.

 

Another question: can I use an AGP card in a PCIX slot? I didn't think so, but I've been reading some confusing stuff of late. I mean, the slots look different for one thing.

I don't think you got what I was saying. What I was trying to say, is why spend $400 more on a motherboard that is going to be practically obsolete when BTX Form Factor comes out, and $190 on a GFX card that isn't all that good, when you can buy a $500 video card, and get similar performance? ;)

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Oh, I see. The motherboard is only $136. That's probably why I was confused. The processor is only $238. The video card isn't all that great, but the video card and processor cost less together than the other video card.

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I disagree, buying a high-end pci16 graphics card today

 

Bying graphic cards is a waste of money - YES!

However, bying motherboards is not.

 

You can always buy a good graphic card, you just need a motherboard that will support it :lol:

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Your proposed system seems very reasonable. My concern is the memory. I personally think that you should always stick with big name brands on memory. I've seen too many horror stories.

 

Does you board support SATA? If so, the 73 gig SATA Western Digital HDD's are very nice and won't break the bank.

 

You're buying a copy of Windows? Do people actually do this?

 

I'm not really sure about this new PCI-Express video card affair. I'm buying a Radeon 9600 Pro pretty cheap ($90) with 256 megs of memory on it.

 

It's not bleeding-edge, but it does have support for Direct X9, and AGP 8x with 256 megs of DDR. Can you beat that for $90? Do I really need to spend $400 on a video card that will sell for $150 in a year?

 

I may not even pick up Doom 3 or Half-Life 2 immediately. I may wait until I can get the game cheap (legally) and have a system that won't blow up trying to run it.

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Yeah, I always buy my software. If it's on my machine I have registered versions of it. In the minute I was born, I was the sucker.

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Remembering tarna, Phosphor, Metadigital, and Visceris.  Drink mead heartily in the halls of Valhalla, my friends!

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