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Naturalist
06-07-06, 12:28 AM
Here are the main components of my rig:

Athlon 64 3000+ 2.0ghz
Asus K8V-DE
Kingston 2x512mb DDR400
ATI Radeon 9800 pro 128mb
Enermax EG465P-VE 460W

I would like to upgrade my video card (and mobo if necessary) in order to adequately play games such as F.E.A.R., Quake 4, Doom III, Oblivion, Half-life 2, GRAW, etc. at high quality settings (or moderately high quality settings) at 1280x1024 up to 1600x1200. I'm on a budget of $450 CDN. I have contemplated getting a 7800GS or a budget PCI-E mobo and a 7600GT/7900GT.

Note: Just now I noticed the price of the EVGA E-GEFORCE 7900 GT CO dropped from $350 CDN to $336 CDN and EVGA is offering a $20 CDN mail in rebate.
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=17950&vpn=256-P2-N563-AX&manufacture=eVGA

If I get this card and the mobo below, and I receive a rebate, I'll just roughly meet my budget.

MSI K8N NEO3-F ATX S754 NFORCE4-4X DDR PCI-E16 PCI-E 3PCI SATA Sound GBLAN
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=14545&vpn=MS-7135-010&manufacture=MicroStar

The disadvantage to going with this option is that there are problems with some (more than acceptable) 7900 cards, however, with EVGA's great customer support, I should expect to eventually get a working card if I happen to receive a faulty card. If I do receive a faulty card, I won't be out any money for the card, but I won't have a properly working video card for who knows how long, and I will have to bare with the headaches that accompany such a problem.

If I luck out, I'm getting a damn fast card (and it comes with AoE III which apparently is fairly good; more so if you're not used to the previous games I hear) in the price range of the 7800GS cards (and a lot faster than them), and I'll have the opportunity to get another PCI-E video card down the road to get the last bit of life out of my S754 system.

If I get an EVGA 7800GS, I may have to deal with a faulty card and the frustration of getting it working or replaced because some (more than acceptable) EVGA 7800GS's are also problematic. One good thing is I don't have to worry about getting a mobo and installation will be less of a hassle. If I get a BFG 7800GS, the chances of me getting a faulty card are slim, because the BFG 7800GS cards don't have the problems the EVGA 7800GS cards are having. The disadvantage of both these 7800GS cards is that they are around $400 CDN and have less than 20 pipes. For around this price, I believe they should have at least 20. I think a $275-$300 CDN price range is more appropriate for these 7800GS cards.

I can think of another disadvantage to my first option that I should mention: if I get a faulty 7900GT and I decide to get a refund from EVGA and go with a BFG 7800GS, I might be stuck with a new mobo.

I didn't comment on the 7600GT, so I will briefly. It appears to be a good card and supposedly it just falls behind the 7800GS in general gaming if compared on a high-end system.

Note: like the EVGA 7800GS cards, a more than acceptable amount of EVGA 7600GT cards have problems. I haven't examined in detail any 7600GT cards from companies other than EVGA.

Well, I could go on and on. I think I've summarized my situation well enough. Any thoughtful advice will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Xion X2
06-07-06, 12:35 AM
I hate to say this, seeing as this is an Nvidia board and all, but for your budget it sounds like the best fit would be the X1800XT. If you get the 512MB version it'll play every game on that list you gave at acceptable framerates with high settings, and it's very good with Oblivion. The 256 extra MB of memory would really come in handy with future games.

newegg has it for 300$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814102697

Unless you just have something against ATi (which some people do--I've had good luck w/ them in the past) then I would give that card a serious, serious look. It's going to outperform the 7900GT across the board because of the 512MB of memory, and it's also more reliable since it's based on the dated 110nm architecture. I applaud Nvidia for making the move to 90nm, but the 7900's are just bug-infested so far.

Xion X2
06-07-06, 12:44 AM
Here's an Oblivion benchmark you might want to check out where the 1800 did quite well:

http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2746&p=5

Xion X2
06-07-06, 12:59 AM
On the other hand, this is a really good deal right now on a 7900GT on newegg. 250$ after 30$ rebate:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814127098

SLippe
06-07-06, 07:34 AM
I'd say go with the 7900 GT and whatever mobo you can get. MSI, DFI, ASUS, eVGA are some good mobo brands. Most of the 7900 problems you are referring to only happened with the GTXs, not the GTs. Oh, and make sure your mobo is Socket 939 AMD. :D

Naturalist
06-07-06, 07:43 AM
Xion X2, thanks for responding. Those two options you provided me I think are worthy of consideration. However, newegg doesn't ship to Canada, so I will need to find a place that does ship to Canada with similiar prices if those are to be viable options. I should add that I was hoping to use a money order because I don't own a credit card (I may be able to use my sister's card, but I doubt it). NCIX accepts money orders and ships to Canada, so I'm interested in ordering from them.

My thoughts on the X1800XT is that in general it's going to run direct 3D games better than a 7900GT (most of the games I'll be playing are direct 3D) and vice versa (7900GT in general will run open GL games better than the X1800XT). Additionally, it supports HDR+AA which is good as I love eye candy. The warranty of only 1 year turns me off though (I believe it's only a year, not sure). I found the card on NCIX yet it's no longer available and is priced too high.

I found the MSI 7900GT on zipzoomfly with about the same price as newegg after rebate, yet no shipping to Canada. The places that do ship to Canada don't offer the same great price. I don't know what warranty comes with this card.

Still undecided...

Naturalist
06-07-06, 07:52 AM
I'd say go with the 7900 GT and whatever mobo you can get. MSI, DFI, ASUS, eVGA are some good mobo brands. Most of the 7900 problems you are referring to only happened with the GTXs, not the GTs. Oh, and make sure your mobo is Socket 939 AMD. :D
Hi SLippe, my cpu is S754. There are a few S754 PCI-E mobos available, like the one I linked to earlier.

http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=14545&vpn=MS-7135-010&manufacture=MicroStar

By the way, thanks for your advice.

Xion X2
06-07-06, 09:27 AM
However, newegg doesn't ship to Canada...


Ah, sorry about that! That's unfortunate. :(

cvearl
06-07-06, 09:58 AM
X1900GT (Connect 3D) $358 CDN and in stock at NCIX.COM

http://search.ncix.com/displayproductdetail.php?sku=18586&vpn=3058&manufacture=Connect3D

Great card at a great price.

Wins some lose some vs. 7900GT stock and some slightly overclocked 7900GT's.

Great for all the games you listed.

They also have the EVGA 7900GT KO for $379 CDN. *EDIT* I see you located a cheaper 7900GT on that site.

If you are not into the 7900GT, I would still opt for the X1900GT or if you can locate a simularly priced X1800XT. :). I personally like the 1900GT as they are quieter too now that ATI fixed the coolers on them. But then not much room left for the Mobo... Hmmm...

Actually the board you found is only $80. Sooo. I'd say that's the answer! A little over $450 after shipping and tax. But fantastic upgrade that should take you well into the future. Based on the X1900GT design with the 36 pixel shader units and 8 vertex, Graw should run silky. I know it flys in Oblivion and does a solid job of BF2, COD2 and FEAR and pretty much all the ones you listed.

However the 7900GT will be noticably faster in DOOM3. In that game and others based on it, the X1900GT is about the same performance as a 7800GT. So not really slow mind you. But that's the win some lose some world of video cards.

C.

john19055
06-07-06, 02:54 PM
If you have a 754 CPU then I would go with this motherboard for 89.90 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813123257
and this card http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814130281 for $274.99 and you get a free game HitMan Blood Money.that way if you want to do SLI latter on you can, and there is very little difference in a same clock 939 and a 754 cpu in performance.
I have had very good luck when I buy a open box from new egg and you could get a X1900XT for $349 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814102003R and then pick you up a good 754 motherboard http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813123255 for $64.99

cvearl
06-07-06, 02:59 PM
If you have a 754 CPU then I would go with this motherboard for 89.90 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813123257
and this card http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814130281 for $274.99 and you get a free game HitMan Blood Money.that way if you want to do SLI latter on you can, and there is very little difference in a same clock 939 and a 754 cpu in performance.

ok. Problem is that Newegg does not ship to CANADA. :(

In CDN funds, motherboards are under $100 but for whatever reason we get hammered on Video Cards. Like that 7900GT is $274.99. In Canadian funds it's on the shelves up here for $360 or more. In my city 7900GT's start at $389 for EVGA and at NCIX (our closest version of newegg) they start at $359. :(

But you definately have the right idea. :)

Naturalist
06-08-06, 07:07 PM
X1900GT (Connect 3D) $358 CDN and in stock at NCIX.COM

http://search.ncix.com/displayproductdetail.php?sku=18586&vpn=3058&manufacture=Connect3D

Great card at a great price.

Wins some lose some vs. 7900GT stock and some slightly overclocked 7900GT's.

Great for all the games you listed.

They also have the EVGA 7900GT KO for $379 CDN. *EDIT* I see you located a cheaper 7900GT on that site.

If you are not into the 7900GT, I would still opt for the X1900GT or if you can locate a simularly priced X1800XT. :). I personally like the 1900GT as they are quieter too now that ATI fixed the coolers on them. But then not much room left for the Mobo... Hmmm...

Actually the board you found is only $80. Sooo. I'd say that's the answer! A little over $450 after shipping and tax. But fantastic upgrade that should take you well into the future. Based on the X1900GT design with the 36 pixel shader units and 8 vertex, Graw should run silky. I know it flys in Oblivion and does a solid job of BF2, COD2 and FEAR and pretty much all the ones you listed.

However the 7900GT will be noticably faster in DOOM3. In that game and others based on it, the X1900GT is about the same performance as a 7800GT. So not really slow mind you. But that's the win some lose some world of video cards.

C.
I'm disappointed with the X1900GT considering... http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/sapphire_radeon_x1900_gt/default.asp

From the above review:
Cons

Radeon X1800 XT: The Radeon X1800 XT currently delivers better performance for a lower price tag, making it a better value for playing todayís latest games. Even in F.E.A.R. a title that the X1900 architecture has shined in previously, the X1800 XT outperforms the X1900 GT by up to 24% at 1600x1200 (where the X1800 XT has the widest advantage). Itís possible that the X1900 GTís 36 pixel shader architecture will give it the advantage in upcoming shader model 3.0 titles like Unreal Tournament 2007, but for now that remains to be seen.
Cvearl and john19055, thanks for your recommendations. You guys, along with others, have provided me some options that I didn't really consider before.

My budget is now $500 CDN for a video card and mobo, and if my brother buys the components I listed in my first post, along with a case and a 40GB hdd, my budget for a new cpu, mobo, ram, psu, gpu, and case, will be around $1000 CDN. I have more options to consider now since my brother may buy my computer if I'm willing to part with it.

Note: the EVGA E-GEFORCE 7900 GT CO keeps getting cheaper. If one purchases it before June 13th and makes use of the rebate, it comes to $296.99 CDN. Hmmm....

http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=17950&vpn=256-P2-N563-AX&manufacture=eVGA&promoid=1030

Another note: I found a Canadian site that has a Sapphire X1800XT 512mb, unfortunately though, it comes to $464.04 CDN, including tax and shipping. Ouch!