GFX card recommendation

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Many questions around AGP graphics:

Do you still get new AGP graphics cards?

What is the most powerful graphics card I can buy (for 3d games performance)
for an AGP slot. It has to be either a silent fan, or passively cooled. I
have plent of case cooling, but want no noise.

If you can still buy the latest, expensive, new cards, what is the best I
could buy for around 50.

What is more important - power of the card or amount of onboard RAM?

Athlon 2500+ with 1.5GB RAM on a Soltek SL75-DRV5. Currently using a Radeon
8500 64MB.

Over to the experts...

Re: GFX card recommendation

On Tue, 17 Oct 2006 10:05:30 +0100, "GT"

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Yes, if/when warranted, or unavoidable due to there being no
justification or budget to upgrade the rest of a system but
that system needs better graphics capabilities.

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It's not silent or passively cooled.  Do you really mean
"most powerful", considering that your Athlon XP2500 isn't
fast enough, will be a bottleneck that wastes some of the
cost of a high-end video card unless you are only using it
to exploit high resolutions on a fixed pixel screen (LCD)
and/or with very high levels of detail and eyecandy?

If you have to spend enough to get a top-performance AGP
card, I recommend not doing it, upgrading the system to PCI
Express based platform instead.  You can get a basic PCI
Express board for about $50, and a skt. 939 Athlon 64 for
about $55 and up, if the budget doesn't stretch enough for a
faster CPU yet and then at least when you are ready to do
the next substantial upgrade you have a video card that is
still usable, as a higher end card may not be impressive on
benchmarks with all eye candy turned up in 2 years, but
it'll still be able to play most games excepting a few that
tried to force DirectX10 on customers.

There's another issue, that by waiting a few more months
there will be DirectX10 options in the market, though
possibly still fairly expensive at that point in time
relative to their current gaming performane (at that point
in time)  because they're the newest technology.

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That limits you a LOT.  Some Geforce 7600GS cards are
passive, or Radeon X1600.  7600GS is a lot faster than
X1600.  I don't know about any X1800 or 1900 passively
cooled, and ideally I wouldn't get a passively cooled X1600
or 7600GS either, because a very slow fan still beats no
fan, and a very slow fan can be pretty quiet.

On the other hand, if you can fit a fan bracket in the
system, a separately mounted very low RPM fan will do a lot
to cool a passive card better.  Often this isn't necessary
but if your system is already quiet enough you feel you need
a passively cooled card, we can't know how you have it set
up and many of the aforementioned card manufacturers did
choose to use fanned, active heatsinks to cool them better.

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You're kidding, right?  
50 doesn't even come close to the latest and greatest or
AGP anything that will perform reasonably well in games.
The Radeon X1600 is less expensive than the 7600GS by a fair
amount so you might see what they're selling for in your
country, local market.

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Generally in your price range, cards will have more memory
than they need before they have too fast a GPU, but it'll be
slow memory.  In other words, forget the amount of memory
and look at the other factors like which GPU family, how
many pixel pipelines, the memory bus width, speed of the

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You can get an improvement over the Radeon 8500, but it's
not going to be impressive.  You might find an older
generation of Radeon X700 or an nVidia 7300(xx), maybe a
Geforce 6600GT used or Radeon 9800 Pro but these latter two
aren't going to be passively cooled unless you spend even
more on a large aftermarket heatsink.  This is the path that
many gamers end up taking if they want lowest noise from a
card still powerful enough to game.

Possibly the best way to go is head over the Tom's Hardware
and look at their older VGA guides, see which cards you can
buy semi-locally (I mean online still, presumably online
pricing is still the cheapest way to go) and how they

Unfortunately, it seems that the newer generation of AGP
cards is being benchmarked against the higher-end cards as
if the user was going to crank up all the eyecandy until
they'd caused the framerates to be unbearably low, so to a
certain extent the older the benchmark the more reasonable
the scores will be towards gaming, so long as the benchmark
is new enough to even cover the newer cards available.

It might be easier if you just posted what you can find
available for your stated budget and what games, and types
of games you intend to play then possibly someone will know
which of those you list is fastest per the application.

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