Looking for Video card
February 8, 2005 9:37 AM   Subscribe

What was the hot video card a year or two ago? I'm looking for something cheap to go with a slightly old system I've acquired. [specs inside]

To the best of my knowledge the following slots are open:
--One AGP 4x slot
--Three PCI 2.2 32-bit PCI bus slots (support 3.3 V / 5 V PCI bus interface)
--One CNR slot

I believe the system board is: MSI MS-6533G-L, but this is an older PowerSpec and I'm not at home so I had to guess at the model number.

CPU: craptacular Celeron 1.8ghz (I think)

I'd also like a decent sound card.

Features I most want in a video card are:
ability to play last years games
speed

Features I'd like:
video capture and maybe a tv tuner

What should I get?
posted by Grod to Computers & Internet (18 answers total)
 
How much do you want to spend? The ATI 9600xt is a good affordable card. Probably get one for around $160 or so nowadays.
posted by eas98 at 9:50 AM on February 8, 2005


I want to spend about $100, $125 -- not much more than that.
posted by Grod at 9:56 AM on February 8, 2005


My ATI 9700 pro played Doom 3 and Half-Life 2 pretty well, and they go for $160 now.
posted by agropyron at 9:59 AM on February 8, 2005


Re: Sound card, go for Turtle Beach Santa Cruz.
posted by Gyan at 10:17 AM on February 8, 2005


Make sure you have at least 384 MB of ram before you upgrade anything else.
posted by bobo123 at 10:24 AM on February 8, 2005


I've got 768mb and I'm going to upgrade to 1gb
posted by Grod at 11:15 AM on February 8, 2005


The card I put in my game machine 2 years ago is a GeForce4 Ti4200, with 64MB of RAM. It plays most games fairly well. It choked on FarCry and I haven't tried Q3. I play Call of Duty on it all the time, and only occasionally the FPS goes down to 30 or so. This tends to happen on big, open maps. The expansion, United Offensive, is all about big maps and doesn't play so well on my PC (AMD 2600+, 512MB RAM).

Looks like they haven't come down much in price. I paid about $120 for it, and I'm seeing similar cards going for about $80 now. I think we're starting to run into a wall with computers now... CPUs and video cards are not getting faster and cheaper at the rate they were a few years ago...
posted by knave at 11:41 AM on February 8, 2005


If you want a tuner, you're going to have to cut back on your performance requirements. The 9200 ATI All-in-Wonder's are pretty good. ATI has a bad rep for driver support in Linux, though I believe their latest updated driver (this year) finally addresses Linux users. nVidia is really the way to go if you want to be absolutely sure, but their Personal Cinema series is not in the same league as the AIW.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:44 AM on February 8, 2005


DO NOT buy an ATI product! You might not be sorry right away, but you are all too likely to become sorry before very long. Their drivers suck, their products don't always work well with 3rd party software, and their own software is garbage. I rue the day I bought an All-in-wonder radeon.

Sure, maybe they've improved. But note, they didn't continue those improvements on to older product updates, so you have to wonder if you should trust them in the future.
posted by Goofyy at 11:44 AM on February 8, 2005


I don't know about games, but the video card I'm absolutely in love with is the Matrox G450. It's a dual-head card, which is a nice little feature, but the second head can also be a TV screen (using the included adapter). It doesn't do anything fancy, but it's fully supported in Linux, and of course it works in Windows.

As for games, it's probably not the greatest, but I can play Black & White, Age of Empires, and other games with no particular problems.
posted by odinsdream at 11:45 AM on February 8, 2005


I love my Matrox (G400 dual-head) for all the same reasons odinsdream mentioned but it really isn't up to the task for recent action games. It's phenomenal for 2D-only work though.
posted by TimeFactor at 12:14 PM on February 8, 2005


Whatever you do, make sure to get a DirectX 9 part, as a lot of games released last year make use of it; this requirement rules out candidates like the GeForce4 Ti4200. Also make sure to get something with at least 128MB of RAM.

DO NOT buy an ATI product! You might not be sorry right away, but you are all too likely to become sorry before very long. Their drivers suck, their products don't always work well with 3rd party software, and their own software is garbage. I rue the day I bought an All-in-wonder radeon.

Your experience doesn't match my own, and I'd suggest that Grod ignore your advice in light of the financial constraints (s)he's under, as the best candidate I can think of for the role is the Radeon 9600 Pro, which Pricewatch is listing for as little as $80 for the 128MB version. The 9600XT is faster, but not so much faster as to justify the 25% or more price premium over the Pro version.

Nvidia's GeForce 5XXX series of cards can't be recommended, as they have crap picture quality when antialising comes into the picture.
posted by Goedel at 1:31 PM on February 8, 2005


DO NOT buy an ATI product! You might not be sorry right away, but you are all too likely to become sorry before very long. Their drivers suck, their products don't always work well with 3rd party software, and their own software is garbage. I rue the day I bought an All-in-wonder radeon.

Your experience doesn't match my own, and I'd suggest that Grod ignore your advice in light of the financial constraints (s)he's under, as the best candidate I can think of for the role is the Radeon 9600 Pro, which Pricewatch is listing for as little as $80 for the 128MB version.


The Radeon 9600 Pro is almost certainly the best candidate for Grod's purposes. Gooffy, ATI stopped sucking both in terms of hardware and drivers upon the release of the 9700 (slightly after, actually, in the drivers department) and hasn't made a bad move since except in the realm of Linux support.
posted by Ryvar at 2:33 PM on February 8, 2005


'Nother vote of confidence for the ATI 9600. A buddy of mine has a X300 and has been very happy with it; one of those might also fit the bill. I've seen them online for ~$140
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 4:13 PM on February 8, 2005


I also strongly recommend against ATI.

I would say that any of the GeForce4 ti range match what you're asking for.

However, there's some nice GeForce 5200 FX cards that are passive -- just a heatsink, no fan. They run okay, about the same as the mid-range GeForce4, and they're nice and quiet.
posted by krisjohn at 5:20 PM on February 8, 2005


wow, I was a little off in my remembering. The system is actually this antique, still close enough that the recommendations made here should work fine. Any other suggestions will be considered, but at the moment I'm leaning towards the ATI 9600
Thanks!
posted by Grod at 5:29 PM on February 8, 2005


Ha! There are ATI/NVidia fanboys on metafilter. Hilarious.

The 9600 should serve you well, although with a little hunting around you might be able to latch on to the exponentially better 9800pro, Grod.
posted by kavasa at 7:12 PM on February 8, 2005


FYI:

Up-to-minute hot deals on all things computer (including video cards) here: Anandtech Hot Deals.

The two best online electronic stores:
1. NewEgg
2. Outpost

That's not a subjective list, by the way. It's the absolute truth.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:13 PM on February 8, 2005


« Older Romantic Movies   |   How bad is it to (temporarily) keep using a... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.