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Buying a video card


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I'm contemplating upgrading my video card and was curious if anyone had any thoughts on best places (online or otherwise) to purchase in the US. Typically, I just go over the MicroCenter and pick them up, but thought I'd see if there were any other suggestions out there.



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Ref. you upgrading your vid card.

You might want to specificy what you currently have now and it's interface (AGP or PCI-E) so we will be in a better position on recomending something. The motherboard may also be a concern as not all boards can support (power wise) every type of card, same goes for the power supply. The newer cards will require a min. of 450watts and more is better. And it may make a difference what operating system your going to be or are running (XP or Vista) and 32 or 64 bit system.

All that being said, the choices you may be looking for, will be reflected by what you're going to be doing with the card. Multipule monitors? Running photoshop type programs? High end gaming or Sims?

Ok just some suggestions if your asking the "community" what they have tried or are using and how it is preforming.

[note here: the pci express cards are now much cheaper than the latest AGP cards, there's 512Mb PCI-E cards for $70 Canadian(NVIDIA GeForce 8500 GT)

http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=3246360&CatId=1826 [memory bandwidth 12.8GB/sec at 16x ]

And similar AGP cards for about $189 CDN (XFX GeForce 7900 GS / 256MB)

http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=2991791&CatId=935 [Although the Memory Bandwidth is much greater at 42.2GB/sec but slower passage paths.]

Later ..... 9erRed

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Thanks for the quick reply. Right now I'm using a Radeon 9550 128MB PCI card and noticed it doesn't perform that great with ProPE. I'm hoping to get PE for Christmas and want to make sure I have a card that matches the quality of the sim. ProPE and Falcon4:AF are the two sims I play that require good graphics, so that's about the level I'm looking for. As you can probably tell already, I'm not much of a computer techie type and was just going to pick one off the list provided on the forum here that wasn't too much money (under $100 if possible).

Here's my system info: Pentium 4 3GHz with 1MB RAM...not sure what else you'd need. All this meets the minimum req'ts, so it's just a matter of getting it to run better should I pick it up for Christmas.

Thanks again, I'll check out the PCI card site you mentioned in your post.

Take care,


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Greetings again,

You might want to check the current card your using as from your response you indicated that it was a PCI card. The checks I've done show that card as an AGP series card.

http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/searchtools/item-Details.asp?EdpNo=2802676&sku=V261-4034 and here


What is the model or name of your motherboard? Knowing the board type or model will narrow the list down to cards that will work in your system. (either 256Mb or 512Mb cards, since you now have a 128Mb card.)

Note here: Here's the AGP and PCI-e connections interface.

Later ..... 9erRed





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Hey 9erRed,

You're getting a little beyond my technical knowledge, but here's what I found on my system...hopefully this is what you were asking for! Looking at the actual card, it looks more like the pci one to me.

Properties (from control panel):

Visiontek Xtassy Radeon 9550

Device Type: Display adapters

Manufacturer: ATI Technologies Inc

Location: PCI bus 1, device 0, function 0

Adaptor Tab (from control panel):

Chip Set: ATI Radeon Graphics Processor AGP (0x4153) -- A little odd that this says AGP, but what do I know?

Here's the board info from the PowerSpec website:

PowerSpec® 8736

MSI MS-7082 System Board


 Supports Intel® Pentium 4

 Support 533/800MHz FSB


 SIS® 661FX Chipset

- Supports Intel Pentium 4 processors with data transfer rate up to 800MHz.

- Support Hyper-Threading technology

- Supports 64-bit high performance DDR400/DDR333/DDR266 memory controller.

- Supports High performance & high quality 3D Graphic Accelerator.

- Support AGP 8X/4X interface

- Supports bi-directional 16-bit data bus with 1GHz bandwidth MuTIOL


 Supports two memory banks using two 184-pin unbuffered DDR266/333/400 DIMM.

 Supports up to 2GB memory size without ECC.

Expansion Slots

 One AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port) 4X/8X slot.

 Three PCI 2.2 32-bit PCI bus slots (support 3.3V/5V PCI bus interface).


 4Mb Award BIOS with PnP, ACPI, SMBIOS 2.3, Green and Boot Block.

 Provides DMI2.0, WfM2.0, WOL, WOR, chassis intrusion, and SMBus forsystem management.

On-Board IDE

 Dual IDE controllers integrated in SiS® 964

 Support P/O, Bus Master, Ultra DMA66/100/133 operation

 Can connect up to four IDE devices.

 Support 2 Serial ATA 150 ports.

Thanks again,


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Ok, we've narrowed it down to the Mainboard being an AGP vid interface.


And will support up to 2 Gb of DDR266/333/400 (184-pin unbuffered DIMM, without ECC) RAM.

Look here for a 1Gb stick of your top motherboard Ram (DDR400 or Pc 3200)

for $60 Canadian, from "Ultra", a top provider with Lifetime Warranty.


Here's some suggestions for an AGP upgrade at around $100 to $150ish:

In no specific order, and the upper limit (512Mb cards) of the AGP cards won't do you any or much good as your current processor and Bus speed may bottleneck some of the extra benifits they might offer.

- EVGA GeForce 7600 GS / 256MB GDDR2 / AGP 8x / DVI / VGA / HDTV / Video Card $107

- XFX GeForce 7600 GT / 256MB GDDR3 / AGP 8x/4x / Dual DVI / HDTV / Video Card $149

- [this ones over $150 but worth it] EVGA GeForce 7800 GS CO / 256MB GDDR3 / AGP 8x / DVI / VGA / TV Out / Video Card $166

I have not included any ATI products as I have not used their cards for some time and the latest top providers are going with "Nvidia" chips and drivers.

I also used to run a 128Mb card and upgraded to a 256Mb 6800GS OC and saw considerable improvements, last option for me now is to either go to the 512Mb card or start again with a new ASUS motherboard that runs PCI-e.

Maybe this; http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=3163514&CatId=2430

"disclamer.... I am not affiliated with "tigerdirect" or any of its suppliers or providers, I just ordered for them numerious times before and NEVER had any problems and the products are here in 2-3 days via free shipping"

Hope that helps some with your decisions,

Later ..... 9erRed

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm looking at a new graphics card. I've got a pentium 4 at 3.4GHz and using an X800XT now. I'm looking at an 8800gt 512mb PCI card. Does it matter what brand I get:Asus, FXF, Evga? I'm looking for the best deal I can get and I probably won't do anything with the card other than play games with it.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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I'd look at the prices, and also at the details (video out or not, video in or not, HDMI or not, etc.) and would buy the one which has the least amount of superfluous features. On the other hand it may pay off to pay extra for a particularly silent cooling fan.

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  • 3 weeks later...


To bmzsscully, with just the Ram increase have you seen a greater difference in applications opening and running? I know I did, as any image I opened was drawn very fast (click and its there) and XP is a hog for wanting more resources to run "stuff". Any way, your welcome. That's what we do here.

To Jlh, Ref the 8800GT cards. Compare the spec's carefully as some of the same named cards have different amounts of stream processors. The cards you want will be the ones with 128, allowing for faster transfer of info.

EVGA has a very good card, but it's priced at around $400 Cdn.


And this card has a memory bandwidth of 62.1 GB/sec, very fast!

This card is a PCI-E card and will require a power supply of at least 550-600 watts (the cards specs call for 450watts) if your running numerious Hd's and fans as well as avail. upgrading of additional devices in the future.

Here's a link for a 600watt at around $55 Cdn.


Later ..... 9erRed

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