Need help picking the right video card

jilliew

Member
Jul 5, 2002
34
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I am building a new system.

ASUS P4T533 Motherboard (just released)
Intel Pentium 2.4 CPU
Directron Alum SF201 Case
2 gig PC 1600 RDRAM (rambus)
Enermax 550w PS
Fans Fans Fans
2-Maxtor 7200rmp 80meg HDs
Teac 40x12x48 CD RW
Mitsumi A drive
ASUS DVD ROM
56k V92 modem
SB Audigy Platinum

I like to play games, but I'm not a fanatic (yet) I guess you might call me a middle of the road gamer. I also do graphic design and desktop publishing using Photoshop, PSP, Photo Impact, Pagermaker, etc. I want a video card that will do it all and not give me any grief. Do they make one of those??? LOL!!! I have probably read every review posted in the last 6 mos and I start liking one and then read something bad about it. I couldn't even guess how many hours I've spent doing this. I have always used ATI in the past, but wanted to try an nVidia card. I'm starting to have nightmares about video cards. Please help.

Thanks in advance. Jill
 

spanky

Lifer
Jun 19, 2001
25,716
3
81
how much r u looking to spend? judging by ur projected specs... money doesn't seem like an issue :p how about a ti4600? too much? ok ok... how about a 128mb radeon 8500 :)
 

jilliew

Member
Jul 5, 2002
34
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Well, the nVidia GeForce cards seem to be faster than the ATI and get better reviews. I was all set to get a Ti4600 card from ASUS and then I read a review/comparison on several of the top ones and it said that they were all NOISEY so I sort of backed off. Money is always an issue. :( LOL! This is a long awaited splurge. I'm pissing away some of the money I made on selling my house. I've bought everything except the motherboard, case, and video card. I'm waiting on the MB which should be at the resellers anyday now. I'm going back and forth on it. I know which case I want but cant decide on the already modded one, or mod myself. Today I want the do it yourself one. Tomorrow...? Just like a woman, eh?

So how about those video cards? :)
 

spanky

Lifer
Jun 19, 2001
25,716
3
81
it shouldn't be that loud as long as ur case cover is closed :)

or just bust out some mp3's :D
 

joe678

Platinum Member
Jun 12, 2001
2,407
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71
nvidia also has better driver support and seem to release them much more often...u might want to take that into account too...
 

AnAndAustin

Platinum Member
Apr 15, 2002
2,112
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:D Providing you're in the US or Canada the ATI cards are excellent for the money. If you've only got $100 to spend then the Radeon8500LE card is an excellent buy. Better image quality and VIVO than GF3 cards PLUS it's faster, even when o/c. However, with that P4 2.4 etc you really want to get the maximum from all of your high quality components and as such the GF4TI4400 or GF4TI4600 are the only sensible choices. Excellent perf, image quality, drivers. Now if you don't want to splash out too much, the GF4TI4200 can be had for around $140 (64MB) or $160 (128MB) and is only about 10-20% slower than GF4TI4400.

;) When it comes to o/c the GF4TI4200 & 4400 are by far the best cards, 4600 is just too near the limit of the technology. 4200 o/c to 4400 levels and 4400 o/c to 4600 levels (or better). In terms of noise, I believe differences are minimal so long as you steer clear of the pointless and noisy double fan designs, but with most noise coming from the PSU and case fans you are very unlikely to notice any difference anyway. How fast a GF4TI card can o/c is based 99% upon the type of RAM used, the lower ns the faster it can go. Whatever you decide, go for 128MB cards as games will really be taking advantage of that very soon (some do already). I would suggest you buy based on price more than anything else but 4400 or 4600 seem the best solutions for such a fast PC.
 

AnAndAustin

Platinum Member
Apr 15, 2002
2,112
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:D As a guide here's a search based upon 3Dmark2001, ALL results with a P4 2.4ghz where possible.

1024x768x32:
R8500: 10000, 60, 86, 74, 55
4400: 12000, 63, 120, 81, 54
4600: 12500, 63, 124, 78, 71

1024x768x32xAA:
R8500: 5000, 42, 44, 40, 22 (only 1 result submitted)
4400: 8700, 54, 86, 61, 32 (top result from a P4 2.2ghz)
4600: 9300, 59, 91, 65, 40 (only 1 result submitted)

1600x1200x32:
R8500: 5900, 49, 48, 45, 22 (only result from a P4 2.6ghz)
4400: 8200, 62, 78, 57, 32 (only result from a P4 2.6ghz)
4600: 8400, 63, 80, 60, 32 (more results but used P4 2.6ghz)

;) Of course the exact differences vary depending upon which game is used, but these results are still a very good indicator although Radeon cards seem to work very well with 3Dmark2001 which may not be completely accurate for games. It is important to note that the results submitted to 3Dmark by users are from o/c systems. The Radeon8500 gives a slower but sharper AA (AntiAliasing) than the GF4 cards, GF4 cards are far better than R8500 when using Aniso with Quincux AA which can all be done with very little perf loss. Another important note is the Radeon8500 stated is a little faster than the Radeon8500LE, in any case it seems clear to me that the GF4TI4400 card makes most sense, although the 4600 is still very good and may be worth the extra cash if you can afford it for the best.
 

AnAndAustin

Platinum Member
Apr 15, 2002
2,112
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;) Sorry, the numbers quoted relate to the card used, then total number of marks, followed by each individual benchmark's high detail frames per second. So R8500: 8000, 10, 15, 13, 20 relates to 8000 marks rating, 10fps in game1, 15fps in game2 etc. Of course 1024x768x32xAA denotes the resolution 1024x768 pixels, the colour depth (32bit = 17 Million colours) and AntiAliasing, a technique used to smooth out rough edges and the stair-step effect. I think everything else speaks for itself really.
 

AnAndAustin

Platinum Member
Apr 15, 2002
2,112
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:D Here's a bunch of links to help you to get an idea of what to expect from different cards spread across different games and detail resolutions:

AnAndTech
Axp2100+ & 4200/4400/4600, GF3Ti200/500, GF4MX460, inc o/c.

TomsHW
Axp2000+ & lots of 4400 & 4600 cards, also inc are 4200, GF3TI500, Radeon8500.

Tweak3D
P4 2.2ghz & o/c to 2.9ghz. GF4MX440, GF3TI500, 4200, 4400, 4600.

Tech Report
P4 2.2ghz. Radeon7500, Rad8500, Rad8500LE, GF3TI200, GF3TI500, GF4MX440, GF4TI4200, GF4TI4400, GF4TI4600.

Firing Squad
P4 2.2ghz. Rad7500, Rad8500LE, Rad8500, GF3TI200, GF3TI500, 4200.

AnAndTech a look in to 4200 64MB vs 128MB
GF4TI4200 roundup, note that any card regardless of amount of memory o/c acording to the RAM speed, eg 4.0ns=550mhz, 3.6ns=600mhz+.

;) The last 2 links also help to illustrate the long term importance of 128MB over 64MB. Note that the FiringSquad example shows an o/c 4200-64MB at 285mhz+600mhz is slower in Commanche than the 4200-128MB without o/c at 250mhz+444mhz. More and more games will take advantage of 128MB, but since you should be in the market for a 4400 or 4600 that isn't really a factor.
 

niggles

Senior member
Jan 10, 2002
797
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Now if you don't want to splash out too much, the GF4TI4200 can be had for around $140 (64MB) or $160 (128MB) and is only about 10-20% slower than GF4TI4400.
I just have to reply to Anand Ausin's remarks above saying that the 4200 is 10 to 20% slower than the 4400. I agree with most of what he's saying including this. I just think that it's not as high as 20%. It's more like 7% to 15% slower and that's based on the 128MB scores the gap is even smaller on the 64 meg scores. Of course there'll be an even smaller gap on Doom III.

High Detail settings
800x600
4200 = 110.4
4400 = 127.4
13.4% dif

Medium Detail
800x600
4200 = 161.5
4400 = 173.4
6.9% dif

High Detail settings
1024x768
4200 = 70.9
4400 = 83.6
15.2% dif

Medium Detail settings
1024x768
4200 = 110.4
4400 = 124.3
11.1% dif


 

jilliew

Member
Jul 5, 2002
34
0
0
:D I want to thank each and everyone of you that answered my plea for help on my video card purchase. I just joined the forums but have always counted on this site for their advice and reviews, as well as Tom Hardware and Gideon Tech in that order. After reading all day, I picked out four favorites. Abit, Asus, Gainward and Visiontek and then read some more. I then went on PriceWatch and did a search on all 4 of them. The price difference between the 4400 and 4600 ranged from $106 highest (Visiontek) to $76 lowest (Asus) As for looks, I like the Abit and Asus best. The Abit has a heatsink which I had wanted to avoid. So, I will probably order the ASUS 4600 over the weekend. Now to concentrate on my case mods. The ASUS P4T533 MB did not appear on PriceWatch today, so hopefully Monday. It's been about 8 days since the board was released to the distributors. Anyway all your help got me closer to getting started with this project. Thanks again. Jill
 

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