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Video card help!

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I'm considering upgrading my ATI X300 which came with my computer a couple of years ago.

I'm not too much into games, but whenever I do play, I do like it to look moderately pretty and run smoothly. So I have decided on the Nvidia 8600GT. I am trying to choose out of the two following models:


1) Palit 8600GT 256mb GDDR3

2) Sparkle 8600GT 512mb GDDR2


Both are around the same price. Which one do I go for?? 512mb vs 256mb. GDDR3 vs GDDR2. Both are about the same price.

Any help appreciated.
post #2 of 11
Bigburger,

I'd recommend the GDDR3 version of the 8600GT over the DDR2 version of that card. This is because although the DDR2 version of the card has more memory (512MB, versus 256MB for the GDDR3 version), DDR2 memory is simply too slow and bandwidth-restricted for those games which take much (if any) advantage of the extra memory. (Of course, spending a little extra money for the 512MB GDDR3 version of the card would make better sense if you often play games which make use of the extra local graphics memory.)
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Someone told me something about "reference boards". What does that mean?? Do either of the models I mentioned in the original post use reference boards? Does it really matter in terms of performance?
post #4 of 11
A reference board is one that hasn't been altered from the chip-maker's generic board and is typically stock-clocked. I'd advise against the 8600s their price-performance ratio is terrible. If you can find an 8800GT for close to Nvidia's rrp that's a much better buy. Might be tough though as everyone's still gaga over them. I can't blame them either. If you run your monitor is 24" or less a GT will brutalise pretty much any game. Well other than crysis... but that was way overhyped anyway.
post #5 of 11
a ATI 3850 is also quite nice for the price, if spending a bit more isnt a problem, but they range around 170 bucks, and from what you´re showing, your price point is around 100 dollars, well
Newegg.com - HIS Hightech H260XTF512DDN-R Radeon HD 2600XT 512MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail

its decent, its faster then a 8600GT, 512MB DDR3,
post #6 of 11
If you can wait until February/March then new Nvidia cards will drive down the price. One last thing, is noise an issue for you? If so you may want to ignore generic 8800GT cards and look for one with dual fans like on the g92 GTS revisions.
post #7 of 11
I recently bought an ATI 3850 and bang for buck it's great - very quiet too.
post #8 of 11
Yes, either get an ATi 3850, or Nvidia 8800GT w/ Thermaltake DuOrb (and of course Arctic Silver 5 thermal paste).
post #9 of 11
This is a bit of an odd time to buy a video card because there are a lot of unusually relevant transitions going on right now.

I'm curious, what price were you quoted for these cards? newegg has a one day sale on the 8800GTS/G92 revision (512MB GDDR3 / PCI-E 2.0) at $284 shipped that I would probably jump on if I needed a gaming card right now.

EDIT : Missed the not much into games part, ignore this post.
post #10 of 11
Oops... I missed the not much into games thing as well.

The single rule with any computer hardware is get the latest, biggest, and fastest that you can afford (in budget) at the time.

So, applying that rule you should get DDR3 memory. As to how much memory, it has been a common misconception for a long time that more video memory is a better thing - I recently did some research before buying my new video card and found that very few games actually used over 256Mb (and typically at very high resolutions), but it is expected that 512Mb will become the norm over the new year or so.
post #11 of 11
To simplify horribly, when it comes to video cards right now there is no real line between "I'm a hardcore gamer" and "I'm a casual gamer" in getting the next generation (and some current gen) titles running well. This is a direct result of the fact Consoles are winning the war (i.e. most games right now essentially can get away with an "XBox 360" being your minimum hardware requirement, which for some reason is turning ported engines into monsters) and the fact the latest gen engines which are specifically targeted towards PCs seem to have completely overshot the hardware out there now.

Further complicating this is we're just at the very beginning of a trend to exploit GPUs for what they really are -- massively parallel processing engines -- which has implications far past gaming. Hardware accelerated decoding is just the beginning.

All in all though, if you want to do any gaming at all, I would really forget about the 8600GT and expand your budget $65 or so to get a HD3850. It's the best price/performance ratio out there right now, and hopefully keep you happy.

Newegg.com - Computer Parts, PC Components, Laptop Computers, Digital Cameras and more!
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