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Graphics card shopping

mastriusmastrius Registered User regular
Ok. Well. As of now I have this very very shitty NVIDIA GeForce 6150SE nForce 430 that came with the computer. Basically its an awful piece of shit and ANYTHING would be an upgrade...for the most part.

What Im looking for, well, Ive been researching for a while but I just cant tell what would be good or bad. I read all these reviews saying certain things and I just cant trust these people. Basically Im looking for a good graphics card that is around 80-120 dollars. I mean, for that price I can guarantee that everything will be better than what I have. But what is ACTUALLY good and what is bad? Ive noticed some cards have nearly the exact same names and yet some suck more than others and I just dont know why. Im quite awful with cards so I come to you all for my answer.

So to sum this up.

Looking for a card that is 80-120 dollars. Im not a giant PC gamer but a card that could run whats out now with maybe medium settings or what not would be perfectly fine. Or maybe I cant get one for the money Im willing to spend. Im just trying to find a cheap card that is good for its price. If I get one I may finally get into PC gaming. Ive just never been able to thanks to shitty cards.

"You're like a kitten! A kitten who doesn't speak Japanese." ~ Juliet Starling
mastrius on

Posts

  • KhavallKhavall British ColumbiaRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Graphics cards are a tricky thing with nomenclature.

    Especially the new Nvidia ones.

    For anything in the 8x00 or 9x00 series though, for Nvidia, and all of ATIs stuff, it's still pretty easy to keep track of.

    For Nvidia, the numbers are [Series][Card]00 [modifier] So a 9200 is the low end of the 9x00 series, which will be worse than, say, an 8800 in games(8800 being the high end 8x00 series). For the most part, the x200 cards are for video playback stuff, the x600s are the lowest gaming ones, the x800s are the main gaming lines. And then there's the modifier, which for Nvidia is GTS, GT, or GTX. GTX is the main gaming line, and I'm really not sure between GTS or GT.. those you have to do some research on the individual cards.

    For ATI, you've got sort of the same setup, but it's [Series][Card][Modifier]0. And it's the same thing. 48x0 cards are better than 38x0 cards. 4870 is better than 4850.

    For the GTX and GTS 200 series of the NVidia cards, they basically just reversed things a little. [Modifier] [Series][Card]0. But those are out of your price range.

    Anyways, I'd check the connector to make sure you have it, but I'd go with http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125238 personally. $120, 4870.

    Khavall on
  • joshofalltradesjoshofalltrades Class Traitor Smoke-filled roomRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I have a 9600 and it's really nice. I can play every modern PC release with high graphics settings. Part of that is the rest of my system, though.

    joshofalltrades on
  • SatsumomoSatsumomo Rated PG! Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I second the 9600GT, it's dirt cheap, and has superb performance. Also, it doesn't require an external power connector so you most probably don't have to upgrade your power supply. The HD4850 is an even better card, I have one myself and I've been able to run all games on highest settings, including V-Sync and 4x AA, at 1680x1050 without a hitch. However, it requires an external power connector, also what I really dig about Nvidia cards right now is their ability to process Physx instructions, Mirror's Edge is so pretty to watch with that enabled.

    What PSU do you have right now?

    EDIT: My bad, I just saw that all 9600GTs do need an external power connector. :O

    Satsumomo on
  • mastriusmastrius Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Ok so quick question here. isss......

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=8719041&st=Keyword+or+Item+%23GIGABYTE+GV-R485ZL-512H+Radeon+HD+4850+512MB+256-bit+GDDR3+PCI&lp=9&type=product&cp=1&id=1200702767829

    That the 9600 you are both talking about? I know it says 9600 but Im just being cautious. Sorry if I sound dumb. I really am superbly dumb with computers.

    As for an external power connector...what exactly does this entail? (Im prepared to be shat on because of my computer ignorance...and probably just technology ignorance) Im more just afraid to buy things without fully knowing everything. I will never EVER just blindly buy something even if I have the slightest hint of not knowing nearly everything about it....especially at this price.

    Edit: just be prepared for me to ask really dumb questions for a while.

    Edit 2: and how do I check my power supply and what not? I keep reading all these reviews on cards mentioning having to get new power supplies and 400 watts and 450 watts and all that. Is there a way I can check it?

    mastrius on
    "You're like a kitten! A kitten who doesn't speak Japanese." ~ Juliet Starling
  • IcemopperIcemopper Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I have this one, and paired with my processor and such, it runs Left 4 Dead on high everything, pretty much.

    The only way to check your power supply is really to look at it, and you might have to open your computer to do that, but it might also be on the back.

    It is basically a big box, and it is connected to the electrical cord.

    Icemopper on
  • xzzyxzzy Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    The computer build thread is still of the opinion that the ATI4850 is the best bang for the buck.

    I own the card and am pleased with it. No real basis of comparison though.. I haven't seen any nvidia 9xxx personally to compare with.

    xzzy on
  • shadydentistshadydentist Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I would go for the 4850 at the moment. I bought a 9600 in september for like $100, and its doing great, but right now its worth it to get the 4850 instead.

    shadydentist on
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  • andkoreandkore Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    GTS 250 512MB

    Hundred bucks after rebate. Better than the HD4850 and comes with Far Cry 2 for free.

    EDIT: OK, it's not really better than the HD4850, more like dead even with.

    andkore on
    Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.
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  • mastriusmastrius Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Icemopper wrote: »
    I have this one, and paired with my processor and such, it runs Left 4 Dead on high everything, pretty much.

    The only way to check your power supply is really to look at it, and you might have to open your computer to do that, but it might also be on the back.

    It is basically a big box, and it is connected to the electrical cord.

    Thank you sir! I shall do that. (sorry Im so tech stupid).

    And actually...the one you have seems perfect. Its within my range of price and seems to kick some ass. (Left 4 Dead on high is basically perfect for me for the games...I never play on this computer)

    Andkore - But wait whats this? Damn...so many options. Which to buy?

    All the ones you guys mentioned are in my price range....hmm....The 4850 seems to be getting some great praise from everyone here. I may have to go with that one. From what Im reading its rather giant though so if it doesnt fit am I basically screwed? I mean I know they say you can make the area bigger so it fits but I have no clue how to do so. Unless its devilishly simple.

    So its looking like the 4850 in the long run.

    Edit: oh! And thank you all for your help so far! Its been a great help. Im not too good with this stuff so its nice to see some people able to help me in my time of gaming need! :)

    mastrius on
    "You're like a kitten! A kitten who doesn't speak Japanese." ~ Juliet Starling
  • andkoreandkore Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Basically the one I posted is dead even with the 4850, just from Nvidia. It's slightly cheaper than the 4850 and comes with Far Cry 2.

    andkore on
    Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.
    -Groucho Marx
  • projectmayhemprojectmayhem Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    ATI HD 4670 is what I have. I paid 80$ for it from newegg and it's handled everything I've thrown at it. The only thing it couldnt do was Crysis at Max settings. Everything else it runs at max.

    projectmayhem on
  • commathecommathe Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I also had the 4670 recommended to me, played around with one on my friends pc, its a nice card, costs $100 or less on new egg, and uses a lot less power which is a big plus for me since I'm getting a tiny cube case and dont want heat issues.

    commathe on
  • ShogunShogun Hair long; money long; me and broke wizards we don't get along Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Rumor has it that ATi is going to drop the price of the 4870 to $150. If that is the case and ATi can get all the manufacturers to go along with it that card will be the go to for value in terms of power vs. money.

    Shogun on
  • mastriusmastrius Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    That 4670 is sounding pretty nice. I dont really need a Crysis powered machine although that is indeed what all graphics cards these days are compared to. Id love to have one so I know Ill probably not ever have to upgrade again. Its cheap enough that I could even pick up a game for the same price as the 4850! Hmmm..Also the whole Power issue is definitely something Im trying to keep in mind here. And if it uses a lot less...

    Graphics cards are quite tricky to buy.

    And so I can check things (and also know which card the 4670 is) can someone send a link my way to the exact 4670 theyre talking about? I typed it in on Newegg and theres like...20 different cards that look the exact same to me. Im not sure if they are but...yeah...Im just afraid Id be picking the wrong one.

    mastrius on
    "You're like a kitten! A kitten who doesn't speak Japanese." ~ Juliet Starling
  • projectmayhemprojectmayhem Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
  • xzzyxzzy Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    ATI HD 4670 is what I have. I paid 80$ for it from newegg and it's handled everything I've thrown at it. The only thing it couldnt do was Crysis at Max settings. Everything else it runs at max.

    That seems odd. My 4850 can run Warhead at max settings, 1680x1050 resolution. It's a bit jittery but it's playable. I generally keep Crysis at one step below maximum for best performance. I would have thought the 4870 could do it no sweat.

    xzzy on
  • ObsObs __BANNED USERS regular
    edited March 2009
    Are there any Crysis killer video cards out there yet?

    Obs on
  • DarmakDarmak RAGE vympyvvhyc vyctyvyRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    xzzy wrote: »
    ATI HD 4670 is what I have. I paid 80$ for it from newegg and it's handled everything I've thrown at it. The only thing it couldnt do was Crysis at Max settings. Everything else it runs at max.

    That seems odd. My 4850 can run Warhead at max settings, 1680x1050 resolution. It's a bit jittery but it's playable. I generally keep Crysis at one step below maximum for best performance. I would have thought the 4870 could do it no sweat.

    He said 4670, not 4870. :P

    Darmak on
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  • Donovan PuppyfuckerDonovan Puppyfucker A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Obs wrote: »
    Are there any Crysis killer video cards out there yet?

    Why, yes! Yes there are...

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814133253



    Naw j/k.

    Try this one instead: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125255

    Much cheaper, and will (should, if the rest of your system is up to it) run pretty much any game currently available all maxed out, and on a decent res & framerate (no more 20fps at 1280x1024!)

    Donovan Puppyfucker on
  • mastriusmastrius Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Obs wrote: »
    Are there any Crysis killer video cards out there yet?

    Why, yes! Yes there are...

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814133253



    Naw j/k.

    Try this one instead: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125255

    Much cheaper, and will (should, if the rest of your system is up to it) run pretty much any game currently available all maxed out, and on a decent res & framerate (no more 20fps at 1280x1024!)

    Holy fucking christ. What in gods name? Would anyone in their right mind actually BUY that?! What the hell IS it to cost 3000 friggin dollars?

    And ya know what. I think the 4670 is looking freakin excellent right now. Very VERY cheap compared to anything I was expecting and it seems to run great for what I want to do. And will most likely be a fine card to still have down the road. I mean its even 10 dollars cheaper than what I was expecting to spend and does everything I want! So I could even get a game as well to test it out! :)

    mastrius on
    "You're like a kitten! A kitten who doesn't speak Japanese." ~ Juliet Starling
  • ObsObs __BANNED USERS regular
    edited March 2009
    mastrius wrote: »
    Obs wrote: »
    Are there any Crysis killer video cards out there yet?

    Why, yes! Yes there are...

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814133253



    Naw j/k.

    Try this one instead: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125255

    Much cheaper, and will (should, if the rest of your system is up to it) run pretty much any game currently available all maxed out, and on a decent res & framerate (no more 20fps at 1280x1024!)

    Holy fucking christ. What in gods name? Would anyone in their right mind actually BUY that?! What the hell IS it to cost 3000 friggin dollars?

    And ya know what. I think the 4670 is looking freakin excellent right now. Very VERY cheap compared to anything I was expecting and it seems to run great for what I want to do. And will most likely be a fine card to still have down the road. I mean its even 10 dollars cheaper than what I was expecting to spend and does everything I want! So I could even get a game as well to test it out! :)

    It's for people who do scientific visualization or medical imaging and stuff.

    Obs on
  • mastriusmastrius Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Obs wrote: »
    mastrius wrote: »
    Obs wrote: »
    Are there any Crysis killer video cards out there yet?

    Why, yes! Yes there are...

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814133253



    Naw j/k.

    Try this one instead: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125255

    Much cheaper, and will (should, if the rest of your system is up to it) run pretty much any game currently available all maxed out, and on a decent res & framerate (no more 20fps at 1280x1024!)

    Holy fucking christ. What in gods name? Would anyone in their right mind actually BUY that?! What the hell IS it to cost 3000 friggin dollars?

    And ya know what. I think the 4670 is looking freakin excellent right now. Very VERY cheap compared to anything I was expecting and it seems to run great for what I want to do. And will most likely be a fine card to still have down the road. I mean its even 10 dollars cheaper than what I was expecting to spend and does everything I want! So I could even get a game as well to test it out! :)

    It's for people who do scientific visualization or medical imaging and stuff.

    Pretty amazing they actually sell that to everyone. Thats just some crazy shit right there. Computers would probably explode if that thing went inside.

    mastrius on
    "You're like a kitten! A kitten who doesn't speak Japanese." ~ Juliet Starling
  • tsmvengytsmvengy Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    In order of cost and performance from lowest/worst to highest/best:

    Spend around $70 on: Radeon HD 4670
    Spend around $80 on: GeForce 9600 GT
    Spend around $100 on: Radeon HD 4830 OR GeForce 9800 GT
    Spend around $130 on: Radeon HD 4850 OR GeForce 9800 GTX+ or GeForce GTS 250

    Pick your price range and then pick one of the ones I listed in there.

    tsmvengy on
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  • StormwatcherStormwatcher Blegh BlughRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I love my 4850.

    It's fucking great.

    Stormwatcher on
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  • psychotixpsychotix __BANNED USERS regular
    edited March 2009
    andkore wrote: »
    GTS 250 512MB

    Hundred bucks after rebate. Better than the HD4850 and comes with Far Cry 2 for free.

    EDIT: OK, it's not really better than the HD4850, more like dead even with.

    Funny part about the GTS 250 is that it's a G92 core and a rebranded 9800GTX which is the same G92core, which in turn was the 8800GTS 512mb G92core.

    All they did was die shrink it and change the name o_O
    Pretty amazing they actually sell that to everyone. Thats just some crazy shit right there. Computers would probably explode if that thing went inside.

    Not really the Quadro cards are basically Geforce cards. WIth a different BIOS and some tricks. They offer features in OGL applications, CAD/CAM applications that the Geforce cards do not. But they are slowering then their gaming counter parts built on the same core for everything else.

    The extra $$$ in the price tag is really just for a lot better drivers. A while back you could just flash a geforce card into it's quadro version load up the drivers and be off with it, though I think they put some effort into stopping that.

    psychotix on
  • mastriusmastrius Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I have to thank you all again. Youve all been very helpful in my PC needs. So. Again. Thank you all very much. It will be a bit before I make my purchase but I wanted to know beforehand. Ill let you know what it is if all goes well and am able to get it like Im expecting!

    mastrius on
    "You're like a kitten! A kitten who doesn't speak Japanese." ~ Juliet Starling
  • DrijenDrijen Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    mastrius, I hope you don't mind me throwing in another question.

    Right now I have a 8800gt 512 that was pretty much the bang for buck card when I put my rig together. I've noticed that some more recent games are being held back (ie f03) and I'd love to stretch it out and avoid needing to get to i7 for a year or two.

    Given a 300 dollar state tax return what should I be looking for in terms of power? The 4870 seems like a strong contender as well as whatever the comparable nvidia card is, and I have another 4 gigs of ram earmarked for when I switch to win7 (and delicious 64 bit fun).

    Any upcoming products that look like blockbusters? Rumored price drops that would be worthy of holding out for?

    Drijen on
  • mastriusmastrius Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Drijen wrote: »
    mastrius, I hope you don't mind me throwing in another question.

    Right now I have a 8800gt 512 that was pretty much the bang for buck card when I put my rig together. I've noticed that some more recent games are being held back (ie f03) and I'd love to stretch it out and avoid needing to get to i7 for a year or two.

    Given a 300 dollar state tax return what should I be looking for in terms of power? The 4870 seems like a strong contender as well as whatever the comparable nvidia card is, and I have another 4 gigs of ram earmarked for when I switch to win7 (and delicious 64 bit fun).

    Any upcoming products that look like blockbusters? Rumored price drops that would be worthy of holding out for?

    Not at all. Feel free to ask away.

    And yeah the 4870 seems to be what everyone is recommending here. I dont know anything about the cards beyond how good they are so sorry I cant help ya :(

    mastrius on
    "You're like a kitten! A kitten who doesn't speak Japanese." ~ Juliet Starling
  • SatsumomoSatsumomo Rated PG! Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Regarding external connectors, your powersupply should have this:

    pcie6.jpg

    (The one on the left)

    Some newer cards require it to be an 8-pin connector. If your powersupply came with your computer case, it most probably doesn't have this connector.

    Also, even if you have the connector, you have to make sure your PSU puts out enough power for the card.
    All PSU's have a label like this one:

    ocz600_label.jpg

    ...however some manufacturers lie about the output. What you're looking for is the amperage for the 12V "rail". This PSU has 2 rails with a rating of 20 amps each, and combined they can output a total of 35A. You need something that puts out at least 26A, that's somewhat like the bare minimum for videocards today (The 9600GT and 4670 require less, maybe 20A-22A) and for a more powerful card like the HD4870 you should aim for something with at least 33A.

    Here is a cheap and excellent buy
    , it has a 30A rating for the 12V and Corsair makes some of the best PSU's out there. Free shipping too!

    Satsumomo on
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