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Topic # 30184 31-Jan-2009 17:54
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Hi all, been researching a little into what's the optimal poor man's video card. and it says it's the ati hd 3850 or hd 3870. unfortunately the 3870 has skyrocketted in price (or was it my imagination thought it was $170 a couple of weeks ago now pricespy says $220). but there is still a 3850 at old price of $150. but i wonder if there's any card for 100 bucks that'll play games at 1280x1024 very comfortably.

currently have a very old ati xt1300 (says 600mhz gpu and 500mhz ram 256mb)


another silly question -
my dell says its psu is 300W. does that mean i have no hope in installing a high end card like the ati hd 48xx series for bluray/hdmi?
currently has 4 1gb ram slots used, 2 hard drives, a dvd burner drive ...

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  Reply # 193110 31-Jan-2009 18:02
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another thing - my mobo apparently has nvidia 6600 built in if that helps. can i get an nvidia card and get significant gain with its SLI technology? (i dont know if my mobo supports this though - shouldnt it?)

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  Reply # 193158 1-Feb-2009 03:17
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What sort of games are you planning to play?  New games like Fallout 3, Call of Duty 4 and so on or older less demanding games?

You simply won't be able to get 50-60fps in new games at 1280x1024 med-high game settings with a $100 video card.  I would also say 300w is too low to power anything decent enough to play most new games.

However if you only play older games you should be fine with a cheap card and your current PSU.



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  Reply # 193175 1-Feb-2009 09:51
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erm ... i'd like to play newer games with the card. also how do i know what fps my games are running at? currently playing serious sam 2 but unable to play rainbow six vegas 2 on any decent settings.

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  Reply # 193223 1-Feb-2009 15:20
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LCD monitors typically operate at 50 or 60hz refresh rate, for games to appear smooth and non jerky your fps (frames per second) typically needs to be higher than the refresh rate.  Games usually have an option or command you can enter so you can view the FPS.

Serious Sam 2 is a very old game released 8 years ago! 

If the game doesn't have an option to show the fps you can use a program like Fraps

Have a read of this:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-graphics-card,2118.html

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  Reply # 193263 1-Feb-2009 18:01
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I suggest something like a 9600GT, anything cheap like a 9500GT imo won't cut it in terms of gaming, a 9600 is much faster. Alternatively a 4670/4650 but again all of these blow your budget.

Now is not a nice time to buy :(

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  Reply # 193321 2-Feb-2009 01:22
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Yeah the weak NZ dollar has made computer parts pretty expensive at the moment. 

ATI Radeon HD 4830 512MB (~$220) or Nvidia 9600 GT 512MB (~$170) probably best suit your requirements but both are way out of our budget.

I forgot to say also, check your motherboard and make sure it has PCI-E slot not an AGP slot.


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  Reply # 193547 2-Feb-2009 22:56
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As Ragnor said, first make sure your motherboard has a PCI-E slot (16x), if this is not the case it's most likely not worth it to upgrade it.
If it does support PCI-E I would go for a 8600GT (512MB), if you can source one.
They have been discontinued but play most games quite well.
Have a look on pricespy.co.nz
Last time I checked they were around $100.

As for SLI, do you mean SLI with the built in graphics in your motherboard? Because that isn't possible regardless.
Also, considering your motherboard has built in graphics memory, I doubt it will support SLI.

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