I hope some of you with DCC (digital content creation) background can answer my question(s). A little bit of background first...
I am planning on learning (beyond the basics) 3D (DCC) software especially Softimage XSI 2.0 (I have the Experience CD), MAYA (Learning Package), and I have an official copy of MAX which I would like to concentrate on. I am a beginner and I intend to use my current game/internet surfing system to learn everything I can regarding 3d, and eventually within 2 years create a demo reel and work in the industry. I would like to get a video card that will last me as I get experience and make it easier to create my demo.
Currently I am using a P3 1.0 GHz running on an Abit SE6R 815 board with 512MB of RAM. (in a few months I will go up to a p4 2.4 or whatever the next fastest AMD offering will be, when my skills justify the expense). Currently I am using a GFORCE MX 200 which is crap but so far has been sufficient to play all my games and perform web design.
My system also consists of 6 SCSI 36GB Drives set up in a RAID 1 and 0 configurations ruinning of a 2100S RAID controller, and 2 striped 27GB IDE Drives running of the MBs on board IDE raid. Good enough for a beginning. All I need now is a better video card.
My Question: What card do you reccomend? What is my best option for getting a video card that is the most inexpensive solution but best for my needs to purely learn all the software, and do no profesional work. (my budget is aprox $250). I figure in a year I can get a wildcat or something Ideas I have so far come up with:
Choice #1. GF 4 4400TI Maybe gainward with the vivo, or a chaintek ($250) so I can play with video in.
Choice #2 Quadro 550 XGL found it on pricewatch for $235 (based of the GF 4 MX core).
Choice #3 Quadro 2 Elsa (around $300) or a Quadro DCC (is DCC a good card...how does it ocmpare to a Quadro 4 700?)
Choice #4 Buy a Gforce based card and modify it up to a DCC. ($90 to $200)
Choice #5 shell out the money on a Quadro 4 700 or 750 (do I really need this now?) (499-600$)
There is alot of info on the net regarding the modification of Gforce based cards into Quadro cards. Is this a viable option? For example turning a GF2 GTS into a Quadro 2 pro, or a Gforce 3TI 200+ into a Quadro DCC. Someone has posted that this can even be done to a Gforce 4 and the result is a Quadro 4 700/7500/900 depending on which Gforce flavor you start with. But the Quadro 4 has a different physical part The GL chip which adds a stronger line anti-aliasing engine. I wonder how that modification would work in real life. Is this something worth considering in my position and if yes which card is a good choice? Usually I take information I read about modifying anything with a grain of salt.
So what would you reccomend?
Thank you in advance.