Best quality display?

Magicthyse

Golden Member
Aug 15, 2001
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Hi. I need some advice from experienced video card users / reviewers...

What are my options regarding video cards which offer fairly good 3D performance (I play older games like Ghost Recon) but most importantly, best image clarity? Due to the Kyro II 64MB utterly sucking with Ghost Recon on this PC I'm using right now, I've stuck in a Geforce 2MX - and it offers noticeably bad image quality. I didn't notice it so much when it was attached to one of my lower-powered PC's with an LCD panel, but in comparison to the Kyro, the GF2MX really sucks in terms of image fuzziness onscreen (1280 x 960, 16 bit, 85hz+).

I think this card will go back to my other PC but I guess in that case the Kyro needs replacing. I want something that offers at least as good as a display quality as the Kyro II, but is better than the GF2MX in terms of general performance.

Oh, and since this PC is just used for typing stuff most of the time, no $150+ cards! Recommendations please...
 

cmdrdredd

Lifer
Dec 12, 2001
27,039
344
126
ATI radeon 8500LE would be your absolute best bet. Great 2D image and 3D gaming that rivals the GF3.

If you are strictly 2D I say Matrox would be best.
 

rhand

Junior Member
Aug 11, 2002
15
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0
I have wondered about the best 2D cards myself. My mother needs a great 2D card. She's got a good quality Hitachi 19" monitor that runs at 1024 x 768 resolution. Currently, the system has a Diamond Stealth S540 Extreme video card with 300 RAMDAC.

I know Matrox has traditionally been the king of 2D cards. I've tried to read about specs and have a few questions that fit in with this overall thread:

1) Most Matrox cards (from the G400 on) have 360 RAMDAC. I think the Parhelia is around 400 RAMDAC. Do you only appreciate the difference between cards at 300 RAMDAC and 360-400 RAMDAC at high resolutions (greater than the 1024 x 768)?

2) If Matrox is superior at the resolution we are using, do we go with the G550 or up to the Parhelia? Mom mostly surfs, reads email and uses Quicken. I just want to make sure as her eyes age, she has the best video card to keep from straining her eyes. Her current card/monitor combo support 85 mHz refresh rate, so that isn't an issue. Her system would meet the specs for the Parhelia if that is the best choice.

Thanks for any comments or suggestions.

Robin
 

MidiGuy

Senior member
Jan 14, 2001
416
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I'd like to add another question, if I may. :-D

If we're looking only for 2D, can we get an older, less expensive Matrox and have 2D performance just as good as the G550?

Thanks!

-Midi
 

rhand

Junior Member
Aug 11, 2002
15
0
0
I'm about to answer part of my own questions. I bought a Matrox Millenium II 8 MB and put in my sister's old HP. Hooked it up just now to my 19" to see if I could tell a difference in quality. The Millenium II has 250 RAMDAC. We were running a Diamond Card with 300 RAMDAC. The MII is better quality. I was shocked.

The G400 runs SDRAM and the G450 runs DDR. So, the speeds should be similar---but the G450 will run cooler in your machine. I think it comes with a big heatsink and doesn't require a fan. I'm thinking the G450 might be the best bargain right now if I'm looking for the best 2D quality. I could pay more for the G550, but don't think I could tell a difference for our uses. I could pay LOTS more for the Parhelia with probably the best 2D, but I think the G450 might be fine.

Then I have to decide whether I need 16mb or 32 mb. I don't game, and we don't use high resolutions---so I think the G450 might be what we need.

The next thing I need to investigate is something I read that said the Matrox cards might have some compatibility issues with VIA chipsets. This system is an AMD with a VIA chip on the mobo. Also, I read Matrox doesn't update it's drivers. So will go try and scope that out too.

I'm basing this post on my unscientific comparison of the two cards I have. Maybe somebody that actually knows something more about this will post.

 

MidiGuy

Senior member
Jan 14, 2001
416
0
0
Would I be missing any software that I can't download or equipment that I might want (like a video out adapter cable) if I get an OEM G450 instead of a retail version? OEM seems to be all there is (at least on pricewatch.com) as far as the G450 is concerned. What about if I get an OEM G550?

The other thing still affecting my decsision (other than that VIA compatibility thing that I also would like to hear about) is a possible image quality issue with the G550 that I've started another thread about here.

-Midi
 

Magicthyse

Golden Member
Aug 15, 2001
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I believe the OEMversions of the Matrox cards are 'de-tuned' as well. Not lacking any features as such, but clocked down a bit.
 

Magicthyse

Golden Member
Aug 15, 2001
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I think I've changed my mind - I'm now leaning towards the Parhelia or any other high-end card.

(Funny how looking at video card prices, you then browse to the motherboard prices, then to the processor prices, case, etc, etc... And say "Hey, maybe I do need to build another PC after all" :D )

And if I'm going to drop the same amount as a PS2 on a card I would like to be assured that it does indeed have eye-popping quality... Anyone?
 

MidiGuy

Senior member
Jan 14, 2001
416
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0
Originally posted by: Magicthyse
I believe the OEMversions of the Matrox cards are 'de-tuned' as well. Not lacking any features as such, but clocked down a bit.
Why do you think that? And how could we tell if this is true about a card before we buy?
 

Cadaver

Senior member
Feb 19, 2002
344
0
0
Can't comment on Matrox cards, but the 2D output on my Radeon 8500 is fantastic. I'm running a 17" LCD via the DVI output and Windows XP Pro's ClearType. I've never seen better text on any other machine.
I understand ClearType works best on LCD displays, so those with CRTs may not like the results, but through a DVI display is gorgeous. And I spend most of my day staring at Word, EndNote, Excel, and PowerPoint.
Not sure how much the 2D speed has to do with the processor vs. the video card, but even with ClearType enabled, text apps are as zippy as I could want.
 

OneOfTheseDays

Diamond Member
Jan 15, 2000
7,052
0
0
i highly suggest you don't get a radeon card. If its for basic stuff and light gaming get a gf3 for $80. Much better drivers and same performance. Solid card.
 

MidiGuy

Senior member
Jan 14, 2001
416
0
0
Originally posted by: MidiGuy
Originally posted by: Magicthyse I believe the OEMversions of the Matrox cards are 'de-tuned' as well. Not lacking any features as such, but clocked down a bit.
Why do you think that? And how could we tell if this is true about a card before we buy?
Does anyone have an answer to this? :D
 
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