Recommendations: What is the best card in the $45-60 range?

Infohawk

Lifer
Jan 12, 2002
17,844
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Hi,

I know that's not a lot to spend, but my gaming habit isn't that bad. Right now I'm using a 16mb ati rage 128 card.

It needs to work with AGP 1.0 and a Pentium III Dell system.

I've seen the ATI Radeon 7500 with 64mb DDR for around $60. Can I do better than that?

My friend is willing to give me his old Nvidia 32mb graphics card. Is it worth it to go to 64mb? How much noticeable difference is there between 32 and 64?

Thanks

PS If I upgrade my system later on and have a mobo with AGP 2.0, will I still be able to use my AGP 1.0 card? (The radeon 7500 for example).
 

R3solve

Member
Aug 30, 2002
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I would go for the ATI Radeon 32 sdr. Sounds bad doesn't it? It doesn't. Mine outperforms my friend's geforce4 mx440!!!
 

Rand

Lifer
Oct 11, 1999
11,071
1
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Originally posted by: R3solve
I would go for the ATI Radeon 32 sdr. Sounds bad doesn't it? It doesn't. Mine outperforms my friend's geforce4 mx440!!!
Something is seriously wrong with his system, while I have a reasonably good opinion of the Radeon VE/7000 there is absolutely no way it should be performing on-par with a GF4 MX420 let alone the MX440.




For under $60 the best your likely to find is the R7500... for any extra few $ you might be able to push into the GF4 MX440/Radeon 9000 range if you need a bit better 3D performance.

If your only a casual gamer though as it seems you are judging by your present graphics card then the R7500 will likely be an excellent choice. It's a solid all around graphics card that does quite well in most respect, gaming or otherwise.
Extremely good DVD playback, and multimedia functionality, and solid multi-monitor implementation and a respectable 3D feature set. Good 2D visual quality. 3D gaming performance isnt the greatest, but for casual gaming it should be adequate for quite some time.
If your looking for extra longevity it may be worth spending the few dollars extra on a Radeon 9000 for full DX88.1 compliancy.

How much noticeable difference is there between 32 and 64?
In current games a fair bit unless your playing at low resolutions.


PS If I upgrade my system later on and have a mobo with AGP 2.0, will I still be able to use my AGP 1.0 card? (The radeon 7500 for example).
The R7500 should be perfectly compatible with any modern AGP implementation, be it AGP 1.0, 2.0, or 3.0... albeit with AGP 3.0 you'll still be limited to AGP 4X but that's beside the point.
 

tcsenter

Lifer
Sep 7, 2001
18,001
103
106
About the Radeon 7500....

I found this Gigabyte Maya AR64DG Radeon 7500 "Pro" (not LE or VE versions) with 64MB DDR Retail Box for $58.00 delivered ($51.00 + $7.00 shipping) at FTI Computer.

Knowing that Gigabyte is one of the more higher quality ATI OEM's, I was wondering if this was a good deal or not? Anyone comment?
 

tcsenter

Lifer
Sep 7, 2001
18,001
103
106
Ok, well, whether it was a good deal or not, I just placed an order for the Maya AR 7500 Pro. We'll soon find out!
 

rogue1979

Diamond Member
Mar 14, 2001
3,062
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The Radeon 7500 is a decent card, but for only $63 shipped you can get a Radeon 9000.
 

tcsenter

Lifer
Sep 7, 2001
18,001
103
106
The Radeon 7500 is a decent card, but for only $63 shipped you can get a Radeon 9000.
Well, at least the ones I'm seeing at that price are the Powercolor, Apollo, and Sapphire ATI OEMs which I'm not particularly fond of because they're cheap and usually declocked or crippled in some way at that price.
 

spanky

Lifer
Jun 19, 2001
25,716
3
81
Originally posted by: R3solve
I would go for the ATI Radeon 32 sdr. Sounds bad doesn't it? It doesn't. Mine outperforms my friend's geforce4 mx440!!!
an sdr radeon outperforming a gf4 mx440? r u nucking futs?! maybe in solitare (if u can benchmark that). the radeon 7500 is a good choice... faster then any 32mb nvidia card (isn't the gts the fastest 32mb nv card?).
 

Infohawk

Lifer
Jan 12, 2002
17,844
1
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Thanks for all the help guys!

The Radeon 7500 is sounding good.

If your looking for extra longevity it may be worth spending the few dollars extra on a Radeon 9000 for full DX88.1 compliancy.
Hmmm.... so will the radeon 7500 will not work with future games that have DX9 or whatever future versions are? Or will it just not be able to take advantage of the newest features? :confused:

I'd like it to allow me to play games for a while. I don't mind playing them with low res and details, but I wanna' be able to play 'em. :eek:
 

Infohawk

Lifer
Jan 12, 2002
17,844
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On compusa's website, it lists the radeon 7500's requirements as


AGP Version: Pentium® 4/III/II/Celeron?, AMD® K6/Athlon® or compatible with AGP 2.0 Compliant BUS- AGP 2X (3.3V), AGP 4X (1.5V), or AGP2X/4X based systems
How can I know if my bus is AGP compliant? The manual only talks about AGP 1.0.

Am I going to be able to use this card?

 

Rand

Lifer
Oct 11, 1999
11,071
1
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Originally posted by: spankyOO7
Originally posted by: R3solve
I would go for the ATI Radeon 32 sdr. Sounds bad doesn't it? It doesn't. Mine outperforms my friend's geforce4 mx440!!!
an sdr radeon outperforming a gf4 mx440? r u nucking futs?! maybe in solitare (if u can benchmark that). the radeon 7500 is a good choice... faster then any 32mb nvidia card (isn't the gts the fastest 32mb nv card?).
Their are a few 32MB GF2 Ti's around.


Sapphire ATI OEMs which I'm not particularly fond of because they're cheap and usually declocked or crippled in some way at that price.
Ironically Saphire makes about 90% of ATi's graphics cards, and 100% of ATi's non-AIW "Built by ATi" boards.
I do agree their inconsistent with clockspeeds though.... at least with the 7/8XXX series.


Hmmm.... so will the radeon 7500 will not work with future games that have DX9 or whatever future versions are? Or will it just not be able to take advantage of the newest features?
It will definitely run the games, it just won't have full hardware support for all of DX8/9 feature set. It can use a DX software path to emulate most of DX8/9's effects albeit at a performance disadvantage.
The R9000 on the other hand has full DX8.1 compliancy whereas the R7500 is only DirectX7 compliant. As a forward looking card the R9000 is slightly more preferable as it at least has the basic hardware pixel/vertex shading abilities.


I'd like it to allow me to play games for a while. I don't mind playing them with low res and details, but I wanna' be able to play 'em.
Well the R7500 will most certainly provide you that, as it's still a reasonably capable graphics card even in the newest games.
If you don't mind cutting down resolution details it should last you a good 18mnths at least and perhaps longer depending upon your requirements. The R9000 may stretch that out another 3-9mnths.


How can I know if my bus is AGP compliant? The manual only talks about AGP 1.0.
It's fully backwards compatible with AGP 1.0
It will merely be limited to operating at 3.3V AGP 2X maximum while in an AGP 1.0 compliant motherboard.
In a more modern motherboard it will be able to scale to AGP 4X, 1.5V.

The only current mainstream specification it's not fully complaint with is AGP 3.0, 0.8V AGP 8X. On AGP 3.0 motherboards it will scale back to AGP 4X operating at 1.5V, which is fully compatible with the AGP 3.0 spec.
 

Infohawk

Lifer
Jan 12, 2002
17,844
1
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It's fully backwards compatible with AGP 1.0
Before I go and buy this card, may I ask how you know the card is backward compatible? :)

It says AGP 2.0 Compliant BUS. Are agp 1.0 systems compliant with agp 2.0?

Thanks again for all the info
 

tcsenter

Lifer
Sep 7, 2001
18,001
103
106
Ironically Saphire makes about 90% of ATi's graphics cards, and 100% of ATi's non-AIW "Built by ATi" boards.
But they don't necessarily adhere to ATI's reference board design specs in their own line of cards, it is often a cheaper PCB and SMC use.
I do agree their inconsistent with clockspeeds though.... at least with the 7/8XXX series.
Yeah! They don't always disclose freely that the memory interface may have been halved or that the core/mem clocks have been decreased by 25%. So what Powercolor may call "Radeon 7500", may actually be "7500LE". Its hard to know until you get the card home.
 

spanky

Lifer
Jun 19, 2001
25,716
3
81
They don't always disclose freely that the memory interface may have been halved or that the core/mem clocks have been decreased by 25%

not cool. note to self: never buy powercolor crap.
 

rogue1979

Diamond Member
Mar 14, 2001
3,062
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Just to clear things up, I have three Radeon 9000's made by Sapphire bought at a cheap price. They all run flawlessly at 290/240 and have superior 2D quality. While not the fastest video card around, they handle Unreal 2003 at 1024 x 768 x 32 16-tap anisotropic filtering smoothly. In Unreal Tournament at 1280 x 960 x 32 they average 80fps, more than adequate. I am pretty sure this is faster than the Radeon 7500 is capable of overclocked or not. I also had a Radeon 8500LE and I noticed the 2D of the 9000 was slightly better, so I am certain the same goes for a 7500. Don't get me wrong, the Radeon 7500 is a fine video card, but the 9000 is not a piece of junk as many people make it out to be. There are many video cards that blow the 9000 away, but not anything that can compete in the $63 range.
 

Rand

Lifer
Oct 11, 1999
11,071
1
81
Originally posted by: Infohawk
It's fully backwards compatible with AGP 1.0
Before I go and buy this card, may I ask how you know the card is backward compatible? :)

It says AGP 2.0 Compliant BUS. Are agp 1.0 systems compliant with agp 2.0?

Thanks again for all the info
AGP 2.0 itself is fully backwards compliant with AGP 1.0 specifications, therefore the graphics card itself is.
Indeed, even the latest AGP 3.0 compliant boards are fully backwards compatible with AGP 1.0

Graphics card compatibility is almost entirely dependent upon the motherboard more-so then the specific graphics card,
 

Infohawk

Lifer
Jan 12, 2002
17,844
1
0
Rogue, where did you find the 9000 in the $63 range?

:-/

I've seen OEM cards on newegg. They're usually cheaper. Is there any reason not to go with an OEM?
 

Rand

Lifer
Oct 11, 1999
11,071
1
81
Originally posted by: tcsenter
But they don't necessarily adhere to ATI's reference board design specs in their own line of cards, it is often a cheaper PCB and SMC use.
Saphire designed ATi's reference board specifications, ATi's own "Built by ATi" boards are little more then re-labeled Saphire boards.... as are the overwhelming majority of ATi based graphics cards.
Outside of Hercules, Tyan, and ATi themselves for the AIW series all other ATi graphics card manufacturers are using boards produced by Saphire.

While I'd agree Saphire is very unreliable with the clockspeeds they've marketed their own products under... hell, they have no less then 4 seperate R7500 boards all at differing clockspeeds... I certainly do not agree the PCB/caps/resistors/discretes quality is lacking in the least. They use the very same PCB design specifications they do for ATi's much lauded "Built by ATi" products.
Indeed, personally I'd say Saphire's board design is extremely high quality... considerably better then nVidia or Matrox reference specifications IMHO.
 

rogue1979

Diamond Member
Mar 14, 2001
3,062
0
0
Pricewatch has the exact same Atlantis Sapphire Radeon 9000 with TV-out as mine for $63 shipped.
 

rogue1979

Diamond Member
Mar 14, 2001
3,062
0
0
Originally posted by: Rand

While I'd agree Saphire is very unreliable with the clockspeeds they've marketed their own products under... hell, they have no less then 4 seperate R7500 boards all at differing clockspeeds... I certainly do not agree the PCB/caps/resistors/discretes quality is lacking in the least. They use the very same PCB design specifications they do for ATi's much lauded "Built by ATi" products.
Indeed, personally I'd say Saphire's board design is extremely high quality... considerably better then nVidia or Matrox reference specifications IMHO.


Thank you!
 

tcsenter

Lifer
Sep 7, 2001
18,001
103
106
While I'd agree Saphire is very unreliable with the clockspeeds they've marketed their own products under... hell, they have no less then 4 seperate R7500 boards all at differing clockspeeds... I certainly do not agree the PCB/caps/resistors/discretes quality is lacking in the least. They use the very same PCB design specifications they do for ATi's much lauded "Built by ATi" products.
It sounds as though you have more knowledge here than I. My opinion is based on an admittedly small sample of two Sapphire brand cards and three retail ATI cards. Based on my observations, I developed a sense that the Sapphire boards were 'cheaper', they are certainly slower (core/mem clock wise), but I wasn't exactly comparing them card for card model for model, either. ;)
 

Infohawk

Lifer
Jan 12, 2002
17,844
1
0
Thanks for the posts everyone.

Here's my next question. I have a p3 700mhz. Is it worth it to choose the 64mb card over a 32mb card (which I can get for free) in my case? My friend says the radeon 7500 won't make a big difference considering the processor will be the bottleneck.

Any thoughts?
 

spanky

Lifer
Jun 19, 2001
25,716
3
81
if its free... just take it and come to ur own comclusion about its performance :D
 

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