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Author Topic: Recommend Me a Cheap Video Card  (Read 768 times)
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kronovan
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« on: December 02, 2009, 10:48:28 PM »

My family and I are getting my son a new PC for Xmas. His primary use for it will be gaming and music/sound editing. His gaming needs aren't anywhere near bleeding edge and most of the games he will run are 3-5 years old. His #1 game consideration is DDO - which is already almost 4 years old. Any new games he runs in the next 2 years are likely to be RTS's, a few freebie MMO's and some casual games like World of Goo, Plants vs Zombies, etc.

One of my goals is to avoid using the onboard sound or video cards. I already have a good Soundblaster card for his sound editing needs, but I'm looking for a low cost video card. My preference is Nvidia based cards, since I'm very familiar with the config software. I've had good experiences with the eVGA and BFG brands, but I'm interested in other inexpensive and reliable brands. The low cost cards I've noticed are based on the 9400, 9500, GT210 and GT220 series, but other than a bit of benchmark gazing at Toms' I'm not sure of them. What I want to avoid is getting a modern day equivalent of a MX4400. I'm not opposed to ATI based cards either, but I'm not that familiar with them either. I'm hoping to find something that's $75 or less CDN.

Can anyone recommend a card that's cheap, but also reliable with decent performance?
« Last Edit: December 02, 2009, 10:51:19 PM by kronovan » Logged
Daehawk
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« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2009, 12:48:45 AM »

I dont think I'd get anthing lower than a 8800GTS or a 9800 GTX. If you really want cheap and still fast for older games then a 6800 GT
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kronovan
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« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2009, 12:56:52 AM »

Quote from: Daehawk on December 03, 2009, 12:48:45 AM

I dont think I'd get anthing lower than a 8800GTS or a 9800 GTX. If you really want cheap and still fast for older games then a 6800 GT

I know the series numbers don't always jive -i.e higher model number can sometimes be behind a lower in performance- but isn't the 6800 GT even a bit behind the 9400 GT or 9500 GT? I know my 7600 GT is still getting surprising good mileage, but I was under the impression that even it was behind the 2, 9x series cards I listed.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2009, 02:42:07 AM by kronovan » Logged
Ragnarok
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« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2009, 01:22:15 AM »

Quote from: kronovan on December 03, 2009, 12:56:52 AM

Quote from: Daehawk on December 03, 2009, 12:48:45 AM

I dont think I'd get anthing lower than a 8800GTS or a 9800 GTX. If you really want cheap and still fast for older games then a 6800 GT

I know the series numbers don't always jive -i.e higher model number can sometimes be behind a lower in performance- but isn't the 6800 GT even a bit behind the 9400 GT or 9500 GT? I know my 7600 GT is still getting surprising good mileage, but I was under the impression that even it was behind the 2, 9x series cards I listed.

The 9400GT has a smaller bus, slower texture/pixel fill rate and slower memory speeds than a 6800GT.  The 9500GT is better if you go for the faster memory option.  I think when it comes to nVidia though for older cards, any number with either X600 or X800 is good for gaming whereas X400 and X500 should be used only for things like video editing/playback/recording whatever.  I you looking for a decent cheap card, the 7800's can be found for around $80-$90.


EDIT: Your kid shouldn't have a better video card than you though.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2009, 01:26:47 AM by Ragnarok » Logged
Daehawk
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« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2009, 01:40:07 AM »

I think my last card was a 7800GS. It was a very very good card.
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Zero
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« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2009, 06:42:28 PM »

I bought a 9500GT from newegg a few months back for $20 (after rebate). I think I was also looking at the ATI 4650 -but that was around $40.  It plays those games you mentioned without a problem.
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kronovan
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« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2009, 07:27:53 PM »

Quote from: Ragnarok on December 04, 2009, 01:22:15 AM

Quote from: kronovan on December 03, 2009, 12:56:52 AM

Quote from: Daehawk on December 03, 2009, 12:48:45 AM

I dont think I'd get anthing lower than a 8800GTS or a 9800 GTX. If you really want cheap and still fast for older games then a 6800 GT

I know the series numbers don't always jive -i.e higher model number can sometimes be behind a lower in performance- but isn't the 6800 GT even a bit behind the 9400 GT or 9500 GT? I know my 7600 GT is still getting surprising good mileage, but I was under the impression that even it was behind the 2, 9x series cards I listed.

 I you looking for a decent cheap card, the 7800's can be found for around $80-$90.

EDIT: Your kid shouldn't have a better video card than you though

Hehe...I'm not to worried about him having a better video card - I can use the 360 in the den whenever I want, which of course isn't true for him. slywink

I hear you and Daehawk about the 7800, I have a 7600GT and I've been pleasantly surprised at how well it's held it's own. I was lucky to go with eVGA's version of that GPU and I've read reviews where it's benchmark rivaled some 7800's. Unfortunately the 6800's and 7800's are no longer available in my area. The GeForce based card progression at local retailers goes 9400GT ($40-60) -> 9500GT  ($60-85) -> GT210 ($70-95) -> GT220 ($80-110)  -> 8600GT (110-130) -> 9600/9800GT ($120+). Those are CDN prices based on the BFG and eVGA brands.

I think I've decided I'm not going to go lower than a 9500GT and I'm trying to justify a GT220 - the 48 processing cores vs 32 processor streams seems to make some difference. Of course the 100+ cores in the 9600 & 9800 make it the sweet point in the local market, but we have a bit too tight a budget to go there.  I'm also looking to get it at the same local shop as the main system, because they'll often apply the extended warranty for the system to add-in components - so no online sources.

What I'm struggling with now is whether to spend the extra $20-30 to go with a 220 over a 9500. If anyone has any idea of what the expected difference in performance should be, I'd love to hear about it. Also, are PNY, ASUS, MSI and XFX brands worth considering?
« Last Edit: December 04, 2009, 10:20:34 PM by kronovan » Logged
Ragnarok
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« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2009, 09:49:30 PM »

With regards to ASUS, I can say that my ASUS 7800GTX (TOP) has been trooping along for almost five years now and has never given me a problem while giving great performance in games like Fallout 3 and Empire:TW.
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kronovan
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« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2009, 10:16:30 PM »

Quote from: Ragnarok on December 04, 2009, 09:49:30 PM

With regards to ASUS, I can say that my ASUS 7800GTX (TOP) has been trooping along for almost five years now and has never given me a problem while giving great performance in games like Fallout 3 and Empire:TW.

Cool, thanks for the feedback. I did some talking with a number of local shops and some additional reading and it confirms what you're saying. In fact most favor ASUS and eVGA over BFG Tech, which I've personally had good experiences with. It's down to me deciding between an eVGA or ASUS GT220 vs a 8600GT. The other consideration is my son for now will be using an older LCD with 1280x1024x32 max. From what I'm reading and hearing, even a GT220 will run most current games nicely at that rez. I think I'm too old school - I think of a rez in that range as mid resolution, but I keep being told it's low. Heck, it's better than what my current PC can display on my HDTV.  icon_confused
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« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2009, 11:29:14 PM »

I've had perfect luck with XFX-brand Nvidia cards.
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kronovan
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« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2009, 01:49:35 AM »

Well a bit of an about face in the end - I went with an ASUS EAH4670. It's a real departure for me, because I haven't bought an ATI Radeon based GPU for over a decade. The benchmarks were just that much better than a GT 220, yet even less costly. In fact some of the game benchmarks I saw had it better than a 8600GT and even close to the 9600GT. Besides, the fact that it's a company that employs a lot of fellow Canadians has to count for something. slywink
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