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Rakeesh
11-20-04, 05:14 PM
I just got a new motherboard and am building my next computer. I have been out of the loop for a while so far as video cards are concerned. What is currently the best video card for the money right now?

I really don't want to spend anything over $200 (exceeding that price range is just insane IMO) but if you can get a hell of a lot more for maybe $220 or smth I'll possibly consider it. Modding a video card is preferred if I can save money and get a better card. I don't care if it is ATI or nVidia, but I do want it to be a dx9 (or better, dx10 if those are around?) card. Also, my new motherboard has one 16 lane PCI-express slot (as well as 4 PCI and 2 1 lane PCI-express slots) and it doesn't have an AGP slot.

Daneel Olivaw
11-20-04, 06:06 PM
there is no such thing as DX10.
Geforce 6600GT
http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=14-122-201&depa=1
ATI X700
http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=14-123-146&depa=1

Anything below you're shooting yourself in the foot.

Rakeesh
11-20-04, 06:11 PM
there is no such thing as DX10.

Like I said, I am not in the loop :D


Geforce 6600GT
http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=14-122-201&depa=1
ATI X700
http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=14-123-146&depa=1

Anything below you're shooting yourself in the foot.

Yeah those are the two I am mostly looking at so far based on the current price index. I can't see any clear indication of which one is better, whether I should go for 256MB (I have seen an indication of a 256MB version of the x700 existing, within my price range too) etc.

Daneel Olivaw
11-20-04, 06:12 PM
I'd take the 6600GT 256MB only if not much above 220$. But I would take it.

Rakeesh
11-22-04, 02:32 PM
I'd take the 6600GT 256MB only if not much above 220$. But I would take it.

I can't seem to find a GT version of the 6600 at 256MB, only the non GT version. How would a 6600GT 128 perform vs a 6600 256? How would those compare to an ati x700 w/256MB of gddr3?

Gator
11-22-04, 03:49 PM
I can't seem to find a GT version of the 6600 at 256MB, only the non GT version. How would a 6600GT 128 perform vs a 6600 256? How would those compare to an ati x700 w/256MB of gddr3?

the 128mb version is perfectly fine. The fact is a 6600GT only has 128bit memory bus, so it can't really take advantage of the 256mb texture memory anyway. I mean yes it would work and you could load higher detail textures, but then the speed at which it accesses that memory would become a problem. Long story short donot worry about the 256mb version, the 6600GT 128mb AGP video card is simply the best your gonna get for around $225us.

Rakeesh
11-22-04, 05:18 PM
Well, I have one 6600GT 128MB that I am trying in my computer right now. Doom 3 seems to have this problem where it makes long pauses every now and then while running in 800x600. Another computer I have has an FX5700 with 256MB and it doesn't seem to have this problem (although it does have lower framerates overall.) The computer I am using is superior to that one in every way, except that it has 512MB instead of 1GB of ram (this motherboard requires DDR2 memory, which is far more expensive, so I had to settle for less.) But, I don't think that is the cause of the problem, since the sound keeps playing during these pauses, and when virtual memory is shuffling around the sound usually repeats or stutters or something, whereas this kind of pausing seems more like shuffling of textures in the video memory instead, indicative of a lack of video memory.

jAkUp
11-22-04, 06:04 PM
What video setting are you playing Doom3 at? DO NOT play at Ultra Quality! You will get stuttering even on a 256mb card.... I get it on my Ultra. High Quality looks just as good, and runs oodles better.

Rakeesh
11-22-04, 06:45 PM
What video setting are you playing Doom3 at? DO NOT play at Ultra Quality! You will get stuttering even on a 256mb card.... I get it on my Ultra. High Quality looks just as good, and runs oodles better.

Not sure, but I do know that both of them are using the exact same configuration (I directly copied over the config files)

Daneel Olivaw
11-23-04, 01:51 PM
Drop to medium quality. Medium is for 128MB cards. High 256MB cards.

Doom3 is dependant a lot on mem quantity. My 128MB GF5900 runs at Medium 1024*768 with 60+ fps, but stutters like a bitch at High quality.

Most others games won't behave like that.

Mechanic
11-30-04, 05:31 PM
but stutters like a bitch at High quality.

I play Doom3 at "high quality" with my specs and still manage 34fps @1024x768 in timedemo1. There are a ton of tweaks you can do/add to the autoexec.cfg to help smooth out the game play.

Rakeesh
12-03-04, 07:13 PM
Hmm...I don't suppose there are any 6800 series (GT or non) PCI-Express cards for under $300?

jAkUp
12-03-04, 07:38 PM
A 6800NU is $299

Thats for the AGP version though... not sure if there is a PCI-eX version yet...

Also, it could be your ram causing the stuttering. I tried Doom3 on a 512mb machine with a 6800GT.. and it stuttered pretty badly, try taking a look at your hard drive light, is it flashing when it stutters? That usually means its hitting the swap file.

Edge
12-03-04, 07:44 PM
Hmm...I don't suppose there are any 6800 series (GT or non) PCI-Express cards for under $300?

Not really, though this 256 meg 6800 isn't too bad:
http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=14-127-149&depa=0

Otherwise the 6600gt is definatly your best bet, since it fits in exactly to your $200 budget (for the PCI-E version). For the 128 meg vs. 256 meg issue...hmm, hard to really say. At high resolution (1600x1200) or in a game using a large amount of textures, the extra ram can help GREATLY, especially when coupled with AA/Aniso. A 256 meg version of almost any 6x00 card will last for a very long time, even a 256 meg 6600gt would probably be able to handle UE3 games (though at reduced resolution). But, the 256 meg 6800 I linked to is a pretty damn good card, I'm not sure if you'd be able to unlock the extra pipes, but even at stock speeds it should be able to handle pretty much anything without much trouble, and it should be good for a long while (and maybe you can even eventually get a dual-PCIE mobo and PCI two of them ;) ). But for $140 more than the 6600gt...hmm...hard to call...

Rakeesh
12-03-04, 07:49 PM
Well, I managed to save all kinds of money on every other part I have purchased ($225 for both a d915pbl mobo and a p4 3.4ghz cpu, $200 for 1GB PC4200 DDR2, $26 for a 160GB 7200RPM 8mb cache HDD) I have decided to relaxe my normal video card price ceiling to $300 just this once. I need a PCI-Express card though.

EDIT: Why do they bundle all of these games with these damn things?

EDIT2: The biggest question for me though, is this card proportionally faster than the 6600 with the extra cost? (this one costs almost twice as much, so I would hope it is twice as fast)

EDIT3: I actually managed to find a way to buy that card for $330 (through buy.com (http://www.buy.com/retail/product_jump.asp?sku=10389967&SearchEngine=Froogle&SearchTerm=10389967&Type=PE&Category=Comp&dcaid=17379), plus a promotional code (http://www.buy.com/retail/coupon.asp?prid=88301879&dcaid=1688)) I might get this one...I'll have to find some benchmarks first.

Edge
12-03-04, 08:15 PM
Well, if it's an option to go a little over your budget, I would recommend the 256 meg 6800. It sounds like you won't want to upgrade your card for a while, and I really can't think of anything in that price range that would be future-proof enough that you wouldn't have to worry about upgrading for a few years. Unless you can get a 256 meg PCI-E 6600gt, there probably isn't much else that would be worth it (*possibly* the x700 256meg, but only if it's cheap enough).

The 6800 is only a little bit faster than the 6600gt at stock speeds, but there's the possibility that you'll be able to unlock the 4 extra pipelines and vertex shader on it, so you could possibly get another 25% performance out of it (don't count on it, though). The extra RAM will probably be the biggest help for it in the long run though, since future games will use more and more textures. So I'd say in games like Doom 3 using Ultra quality textures, you'll see a 256meg 6800 coming in around twice as fast as a 128meg 6600gt, and without the studdering. So the price difference is a little hard to justify, but if you can get a 256meg 6600gt I'd say go for it, otherwise get the 6800.

Oh, and usually they just bundle games with them because they get them for OEM cheapness from the developer, and they figure adding a game that cost them $10 onto a $300 card is worth it for the additional return (after all, if you had a choice between a version of the card with a game and a version without it, which would you choose?). Besides, if you don't want the game, you can always sell it to get some of your money back ;)

Edit: I can try to dig up some 6800 benchmarks for you if you want, let me see if there's any that review a 256 meg 6800 to a 6600...

Rakeesh
12-04-04, 06:47 PM
Hmm...am I safe in assuming that all 6600GT 128MB boards are created equal?

I just found an e-vga GF6600GT 128MB for $179 (plus tax) at a local store. If the brand makes no difference, and the 6800 256MB isn't *that* much better, I will go for this one.

Rakeesh
12-05-04, 07:14 PM
Just a little update, with the same video card (only a different brand) and using dual channel DDR2 memory, Doom 3 works perfectly in Ultra quality.(!) I haven't gone throughout the whole game, but playing the first few levels results in no pauses and the FPS never drops below fifty something (I can't tell the exact number because the dips last less than a milisecond.)

It's either because the increased memory capacity I have, or because the memory is now running in dual channel instead of single channel. Combined with the fact that it is DDR2 is probably why others can't do this. It's possible that when the texture swapping occurs, the system memory is so fast that theres no slowdown.

Then again though, this is generic memory, whereas the last memory module I had was corsair 5400 (and more expensive.) *shrug* who knows, it just works.