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SneaksieDave

Video Card Recommendations

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In an attempt to be brief about a frequent and rather bland topic:

 

I have a 1.4GHz machine, with a GF4 Ti4600, and 768Mb RAM. The old, slow stuff. Until recently, it did the job fine. Now the fan is failing (it's not spinning as I type this).

 

I don't think I want to bother upgrading this full system, as it and its parts are from ~2001. Old motherboard, old memory, old sound card, old everything. In fact, I think (I'll have to find the paperwork) it can only support 2.0 GHz anyway.

 

There was a time when I assembled systems and was determined to keep up with all new innovations, always being "on top of it". Well, 3dfx went under and those days are past; I'm not interested anymore. So I have to ask people who likely know better than I do. ^_^

 

1. I could buy a new fan. Why bother keeping a Ti4600 working?

2. I could buy a new card.

 

Let's go with 2. It shouldn't be top of the line, obviously, because this is an old system and I'm likely not going to bring it into the modern age. I'll probably retire it to a lesser duty within the next half to full year. So I'm looking for higher than Ti4600 (and I guess higher than 5200FX?) but definitely on the low end of where things are today, because it's only got 1.4GHz behind it. No price range in mind, but I'm not paying into the $200s+ for a previous generation card that will retire soon.

 

Suggestions? I think I'd lean toward nvidia, simply because I've never gone ATI, and because I hear some flakey things about them. Then again, I'm not looking to start a debate between the two, and nvidia's support is shit.

 

Some essential questions:

-Are the infamous nvidia lighting problems (whatever they are) still present for D3 engine games?

 

-How are the newest driver sets doing? I know that the infinite loop lockup still happens to people across all cards higher than Ti4200s, even into the 7800s or whatever. Anyone getting this? I have my suspicion (from personal experience) that it is a combination of heat (summer) + heat (fan dying) + heat (new drivers pushing the cards WAY too hard). My card is too hot to touch, dead serious. I've had numerous infinite loop bluescreen crashes, all from 3D accelerated titles (D3, Prey, Penumbra, even Google Earth).

 

-VERY important, as I don't know squat about this stuff anymore: What card can I use? I know that's a dumb question, since you don't have my mobo in front of you, and it's very old, but what I mean is, assuming this Ti4600 is an AGP (what speed, I don't know, and I'm not sure how to find out (I checked the card, didn't see anything)) card, what would happen if I bought, say, an AGP 2X, 4X, or even 8X card? Would it still work in the mobo, but just be data rate limited, or would it completely just not even work and even burn up? I don't want to order/get the card home, only to find out I can't even use it.

 

-I think there was another but it escapes me right now.

 

This situation has now officially become chronic, as my fan is not spinning at all anymore. Over the previous months, it limped along noisily, but worked. Now I can't even launch D3 safely (Google Earth locked up, inspiring me to finally stop putting this off and post this).

 

Sorry, I tried to keep it brief. :blush:

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GF 6600 if you want nvidia if you can find an agp version. I have a 6200 but the memory is only 64bit :angry: but it supports most of the latest shaders. I don't know too much about ati lately, but when I did have one I was trying to run Linux too & that didn't work too well so I went the nvidia route.

 

I hear 8x agp is backward compatible with 4x agp boards.

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Or a vanilla 6800, much better than a 6600, not much more cost. 6800 GT though is a jump in price, but much better card that can be overclocked nicely (it's what I have, runs GREAT!). I had a 6800 previously and it worked great, sold for about $90 on eBay, probably a good way for you to go.

 

Since you have a Ti4600 that worked in the slot fine, you probably don't have some ancient 1x AGP slot or anything like that. Very likely it's an 8x or almost positively at least a 4x slot, which will be fine for any AGP card you can find.


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I had a 6800 previously and it worked great, sold for about $90 on eBay, probably a good way for you to go.

Ah, damn, so I'm late. :(

 

Well, that was going to be my next (forgotten, above) question: sources. I can't just go to Circuit City or Best Buy or CompUSA, because at some point, all of these stores decided that everyone buying computer parts must be a rube, so they can get away with charging (no lie), $249.99 for a FX5200... as it sits there, behind a glass case door, collecting dust...

 

Recommended sources? Ebay? NewEgg? Bob's Online Comp Outlet? I might just end up going to a comp show and finding a local-ish retailer and picking one up there, but as this is kinda urgent, maybe I'd be inclined to order. I do so hate ordering online, especially for delicate goods. Receive something broken in the mail, and it ends up being a hassle better off not even bothering with.

 

Gotta go find my documentation...

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Leadtek 7600gt is supposedly a great card, according to several tests. I'm thinking of buying this one too, if I decide to stick with AGP.

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Recommended sources? Ebay? NewEgg? Bob's Online Comp Outlet?

 

I haven't had any problems with Tiger Direct. Have always received my merchandise in perfect condition and well packaged.

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I've bought and sold tons of electronics/computer parts on eBay. The mainest thing is to only buy from someone with at least 100 feedbacks, and at least a 98% feedback rating (over 99% is preferable, and not hard to maintain if you're a good honest seller).

 

Check their recent auctions to make sure they've sold other electronics/computer parts in the past, rather than having all feedbacks from selling books or from their own purchases or something. Basically, they need a lot of SELLING feedbacks, from selling similar type items that you're looking at.

 

If you just follow those basic buyer-savvy guidelines, you'll pretty much have no problems ever.

 

It may sound a bit daunting or risky, but it's really not, and eBay nearly always has the best prices possible so it's can really be worth it. Getting a card for $60 or $90 versus $100 or $150 is a nice thing.


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Okay guys, addendum:

 

I found the old paperwork (turns out this system really is from fall of 2001!). There is a note scribbled on it (it's the best I have to go on at the moment) which says "max processor 1.6". I don't know for sure, but I'm assuming that means this mobo is limited to 1.6GHz - I think 1.7 was top of the line at the time. It currently has a 1.4. So, the CPU will not be getting upgraded. If I was going to go so far as getting a new mobo, I might as well do the whole thing. That's for next year.

 

So now, knowing that whatever card I get will be held back by a struggling 1.4GHz CPU, any changes to the recommendations? The 6600 would probably be way overpowered, as I read one review that even said the Ti4600 is too powerful for anything less than 1.5GHz and just sits there waiting. I don't know if that's so true - this thing gets hot.

 

What exactly is an FX5200? IIRC, this is the one you were talking to me about, New Horizon. Is it a crippleware version, like the old MX440's (the infamous "GF4" which was actually a repackaged GF2 and thus couldn't do things like run TDS)? Is it missing anything, like vital instructions or hardware, or is it basically just a slower 6600, complete with all bells and whistles? I see some on ebay and amazon for <$30, and for that price, I'd almost not care if it didn't work. Almost. To be honest, I don't really care about the price, and if I didn't absolutely hate doing so, I'd just go with a whole new system now. But for now, I just want to get a new hold-me-over for this one, and there's no point buying a $200 card, if the system can only make use of a $40 one.

 

Hey Dram, where are ya? Surprised you haven't jumped in. Although, I do know your recommendation.. ;)

 

 

Edit: wtf, why does this have no fan? http://cgi.ebay.com/Nvidia-GeForce-FX-5200...1QQcmdZViewItem

Even my Ti4600 has a (broken) fan... :huh:

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What exactly is an FX5200? IIRC, this is the one you were talking to me about, New Horizon. Is it a crippleware version, like the old MX440's (the infamous "GF4" which was actually a repackaged GF2 and thus couldn't do things like run TDS)? Is it missing anything, like vital instructions or hardware, or is it basically just a slower 6600, complete with all bells and whistles? I see some on ebay and amazon for <$30, and for that price, I'd almost not care if it didn't work. Almost. To be honest, I don't really care about the price, and if I didn't absolutely hate doing so, I'd just go with a whole new system now. But for now, I just want to get a new hold-me-over for this one, and there's no point buying a $200 card, if the system can only make use of a $40 one.

 

It's just a slower card really. I can run TDS, Far Cry, Doom 3, FEAR..etc...but often at lower settings. It might be alright as a stepping stone, until you get a new system, but it's not going to be a very good card for doing Dark Mod stuff...especially now that things are starting to eat into the system resources. I'm only running a 1.6ghz AMD, with 1gig of ram and I'm noticing the hit. My board will handle a 3ghz processor + 3Gigs of ram , so I still have some life in this old girl...just as long as I can find a new AGP video card.

 

The FX 5200 doesn't come with a fan. I actually bolted an old K62 processor fan right onto the heatsink with wood screws. :laugh: Works like a charm.

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That is really bizarre. How can that not need a fan while a 4600 needs this one so bad it locks up the PC without it? I guess they were trying to keep prices down, but sheesh...

 

I may have asked you this before, but I'm not sure: do you get water/glass/heat distortion effects with that card? The 4600 does not. I don't know what that requires or is termed as, but I think it's ARB2 or something(?). :wacko:

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That is really bizarre. How can that not need a fan while a 4600 needs this one so bad it locks up the PC without it? I guess they were trying to keep prices down, but sheesh...

 

I may have asked you this before, but I'm not sure: do you get water/glass/heat distortion effects with that card? The 4600 does not. I don't know what that requires or is termed as, but I think it's ARB2 or something(?). :wacko:

 

Yup, this card will do everything the more expensive cards will do...only slower. Bleh. I used to notice that the card would chug a lot more on intense games without the fan. With the fan on it, I'm even able to over clock the card for a little boost. :) When I get my new card, I should attempt some serious overclocking with it..currently, I only punch it up by around 20mhz before it starts to lock up. I imagine I would need to be able to adjust the core voltage to seriously overclock it.

 

This has actually inspired me to look into upgrading my computer too. It's looking like it's going to be tough to find an Athlon XP 3000+ with the Barton core. That's the highest processor I can handle on my board. So far, I can only find one on Ebay...and I'm not really comfortable buying it online. Gah. Hope I didn't screw myself by waiting so long.

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Well, "soon" we'll have those laser processors, right? ;)

 

I just found out something kind've interesting. Since I can't run Doom3 at all at this stage, I tried it on my test machine for work. It's a 3GHz Intel with an onboard Intel video card (puke). It may suck, but it apparently has all the newest DX9 features, because I get heat haze/water distortion, surprisingly.

 

Anyway, here's the interesting part: My 1.4GHz + Ti4600 beats the hell out of this 3GHz + onboard P.O.S. Intel 82915G/GV/910GL Express (whatever the hell that is) for framerate.

 

Double the CPU, probably half the framerate. Suggesting that not only is the video card crucial (duh, we all know that), but it's almost of singular importance. Now I'm swinging back toward 6600 again. :wacko:

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Edit: wtf, why does this have no fan? http://cgi.ebay.com/Nvidia-GeForce-FX-5200...1QQcmdZViewItem

Even my Ti4600 has a (broken) fan... :huh:

My old 6600GT had no fan. It was nice to have a silent one, but unfortunately it was broken so it overheated. At one point it was reaching temperatures of 115 degrees C under heavy load - hot enough to boil water!

 

Thankfully it was under warranty so I got it replaced with a model that does have a fan. :) Sadly, my computer is now noisier. :(


My games | Public Service Announcement: TDM is not set in the Thief universe. The city in which it takes place is not the City from Thief. The player character is not called Garrett. Any person who contradicts these facts will be subjected to disapproving stares.

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The FX5200 is MUCH worse performing than your Ti4600. It just has some newer shaders. If you want an upgrade, the logical step is a 6600, a 6600 GT, or a 6800. It will definitely help a lot, even with a 1.6 processor.


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I second the advice not to get a 5200, it is a 64-bit crippleware card that PC manufacturers used to put in their "non-gaming" PCs, and as Komag pointed out, is in fact slower than a Ti4600.

 

Don't get anything with a 64-bit memory interface - ideally you want 256-bit but 128 is OK if you are on a budget (although I haven't kept up with progress much, maybe you can't get 128-bit cards any more).

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Wow, gone for a day and come back to a bunch of good info. Thanks, glad I didn't order yet. I guess I'll steer away from the 5200 afterall. I've wondered about seeing PCI everywhere anymore... I was thinking they were old or for-people-in-transition models, but you're saying they're the new thing now? So, quick recap, ISA -> PCI -> AGP -> PCI-E(??) :huh: History repeating?

 

Damn, I'm really out of it. This is why I ask. ^_^

 

I'll have to read that link in the morning.

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Buy a cheap dell system with Core 2 Duo for ~500 bucks with a 15-17 inch lcd screen off of ebay, then save up for a good video card.

 

EDIT: Yes PCI-E (PCI Express) or PEG for short when talking about the bus, don't say PCI. :)


I always assumed I'd taste like boot leather.

 

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Eep. Hope I can find an AGP version then. :mellow:

 

Buy a cheap dell system with Core 2 Duo for ~500 bucks with a 15-17 inch lcd screen off of ebay, then save up for a good video card.

Neither money, nor needing a system are a concern, really. The only question is to buy the "right" option to keep this machine pleasantly usable until (and after) I do upgrade next year or so, probably when there's another big push, off of this ~3GHz rock everyone's been sitting on for way too long.

 

The 'E' stands for express? I can't think of when was the last time "express" meant something good in computer terms... :laugh:

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The 'E' stands for express? I can't think of when was the last time "express" meant something good in computer terms... :laugh:

 

Yeah, all the boards use it these days. I'm going to have to get a move on and buy a new card soon, or else I doubt I'll be able to find an AGP replacement. Same for my processor, I can't find a Barton core Athlon XP 3000+ anywhere. Eeek. I had hoped to squeeze some more life out of this system.

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Don't go with Dell or Gateway :wacko: Western Oregon University has Dell computers & components & I've never had good experiences with those.

 

I, my sister, and my dad had Gateway computers & those things are the cheapest and most poorly made pieces of crap I ever came across. My dad's Gateway ate a few hard drives but was given to my mom & it now it no longer runs properly, which was why my dad ordered a G3 b&w mac for my mom.

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To date, I've never bought a brand name computer. Always built my own. :) It's a lot easier than it might seem. I've had really good luck with Soyo brand motherboards. My first Soyo board was for a k62, the 5EHM. It's still here actually, happily running as a print server. :) My second Soyo board was the first run of the Dragon Plus line, I took what I needed from it and then sold it to a friend of mine who is still using it. My current board is the KT400 Dragon Ultra and it can handle 3gigs of ram and the previously mentioned 3Ghz processor. Plenty of life left in it for what I need it to do. :) If I can get an AGP card and find the 3000+ processor, I'm pretty sure I can get another 2 years out of it.

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