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Video card purchase questions and opinions

by dddienst / May 13, 2005 12:22 AM PDT

My video card recently died (Fan stopped and the GPU overheated) So I need to pick a new one and have some questions.

Is brand name important? I ask this because when I first built my PC I bought an Albatron card which died in a few months and replaced it with a BFG card (geforce fx 5600)which lasted about 2 years. I see TigerDirect has a GeForce 6800 card very cheep but it is from a company that is unheard of.

My BFG card had 256 meg of RAM, what would the differance be or what effect does having more ram on the video card have VS more motherboard ram? I use my pc for video editing and run programs such as Vegas, Poser, and Shade7. I am also looking to keep my video card costs under 200.

My pc has an MSI motherboard with 1Gig ram and an AGP slot 4X I think.

I guess my choice is name brand 6600 or noname 6800 and if it is worth spending more to find a 256meg card vs a 128.

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Vide card purchase.
by John Robie / May 13, 2005 6:10 AM PDT

Re: ''I see TigerDirect has a GeForce 6800 card very cheep but it is from a company that is unheard of.''

The cheapest GF 6800 card I see at TigerDirect is the XFX for $194.97 after a $30 rebate. The next cheapest 6800 is the eVGA at $214.99 after a $30 rebate. If worried about XFX then go to Newegg and get the eVGA 6800 for $4 more, $199 after the $30 rebate. NewEgg also has the GF 6800 in Apollo $209, and Leadtek $215 amoung others.

XFX is a division of Pine which was founded in 1989.

http://www.xfxforce.com/about_us.php

About eVGA.com
Founded in 1999, eVGA.com is privately held, and located in Brea, California. eVGA.com, a recognized leader in board level graphics card solutions available for system integrators, gaming enthusiasts, and workstations for businesses, government, education or healthcare institutions. eVGA.com sets itself apart from the other add-in board makers with its unprecedented customer service, quality control and assurance; resulting in one of the highest customer loyalty ratings in the industry. eVGA.com?s GeForce based graphics cards can be found at Best Buy, Office Depot, Micro Center, and many online e-tailors or purchased on the eVGA.com website. For more information, please visit http://www.eVGA.com.

Difference between 128MB and 256MB video cards:

http://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial_s&hl=en&q=Difference+between+128MB+and+256MB+Video+Cards&btnG=Google+Search
or
http://tinyurl.com/begzd

As for me, I don't see spending another $100 for 256MB, but make your own decision after checking out above.

Oh, BTW, these GF6800 & 6600 in the AGP mode require a small cable internal hook up to the power supply, usually a 4 pin molex which some video cards do not supply in their box. The PCI-Express x-16 slots do not require as they have sufficient power.

Also, depending...the power supply needs to be a minimum of 300W or 350W..depending on who's ad specs you read. For instance the XFX factory on AGP GF6800 reads 300W minimum. The TigerDirect ad specs reads 350W minimum. I see the same difference in the GF 6600GT series amound different cards...ie..300W or 350W minimum.

Myself, I like the GF6600GT, 128MB, AGP, at Newegg with 4 choices for $159, but the 6800 is tempting for $30 more.

Regards,

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Thank you
by dddienst / May 16, 2005 4:28 AM PDT
In reply to: Vide card purchase.

The unknown name brand at tiger was actually a Diablo Tek 6600 card which had 256 meg ram for about 160.

But I ultimatly went with an evga GF 6600 GT from zipzoomfly which after rebate and with free 2day shipping put me in the 150's. But only 128 meg.

I still dont know what the preformance difference would have been between 128 meg and 256 meg. Would it have been noticable at all?

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not really...and i'm guessing you didn't click the link
by ozos / May 16, 2005 11:29 AM PDT
In reply to: Thank you

don't worry, neither do i
the larger RAM adds texture buffer, and frame buffer

i'll try to explain this in a nutshell
ok
the graphics card needs to load the textures and the information for all of it's calculations
if it used the system RAM it'd be horribly slow (as 3dfx's Voodoo5 5500 and 6000 proved, basically they didn't have enough RAM (even at 128MB...but 4 GPU's sorta um, eat up RAM) so they'd rely on the AGP to allow them to use the system's RAM, and they only ran AGP 2x, i think you can figure out that they'd run slow when pushed...rather odd to see them benched, but that lecture/article is for another day)

ok
back to the topic at hand
you only need roughly 32MB of RAM to display the highest res 2D image possible (2048x1536)
i can't give you exact MB needs off the top of my head
but each pixel takes up a bit of space
and the higher res, the more RAM it needs

but performance video cards need more RAM to hold textures, and other data, because AGP and PCIE aren't fully fast enough to let them share system RAM (yet...and it would bog the system down anyways (constant IRQ's, constant drain on system RAM...you get the idea)) so the card has more RAM to allow it to do these things
128MB is enough for about 90% of all games to play at good settings (all games will play at some level on a 64MB card, assuming you can find a 64MB card with a decent GPU)

the only game which actually has the ablity to tax over 256MB of RAM, and fully load AGP 8x is Doom III (nope, HL2 can't afaik, Doom III fully uses AGP 8x (why it gets about a 5-10 FPS bump on PCIE)) and Doom III can use up to 512MB of VRAM (in Ultra quality it uses no texture compression, the image is supposed to look amazing, but i'll get back to you on that)

128MB vs 256MB on a card spec'd for 128MB won't really make a difference
the extra RAM is a marketing ploy, what they do is use twice the RAM, but running below stock speed (GeForce FX 5200 stock speeds are 250MHZ core and 400MHZ RAM, the 256MB versions run 250/333, the RAM is cheaper but they can say the card is more poweful (it costs the same at retail, and most novice users buy the 256MB on theory that more is better)

a 256MB 6600GT vs a 128MB 6600GT wouldn't be much of a fight, they'd be basically identical

the thing the 6600GT will run into before it'll run out of RAM, is that it's only got 128-bit memory interface
which will hinder it at high res (1280x1024 and above)

while cards like the 6800GT use 256MB, they also have 256-bit, are designed to be the tops, AND are designed to crank out the high res images (What most people buy them for, the memory only aids resolution/fill rate)

the 6800GT has a wider memory interface, twice the pixel pipelines, and twice the RAM, all to achive high FPS at high resolution, with high image quality settings (basically it's for eye candy)
and you pay through the nose for it

the 6600GT is a slimed down version of the 6800 series of cards, with half the pixel pipes and half the memory bus width, with half the RAM, it'll pump out the FPS, and at 800x600 and 1024x768 i bet the different would be unnoticeable (except to a program like FRAPS, but both would easily achive 50FPS + in basically any game)

make that 1600x1200 and the 6600GT will have hiccups, due to the smaller memory interface and only having 8 pixel pipelines
the 6800GT with it's wider memory bus and 16 pixel pipes

the RAM only helps fill rate
and fill rate is what determines performance
the more pixels you can pump out
the faster the images can be done
the more FPS you get
the better the game plays
the more gamers flock to your product
the more money you make

and yeah, that was long (hopefully not so long it puts you out...) but that is basically it in a nutshell...well, maybe more like a few nutshells
or the whole tree

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