Recommendations for graphics card

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Early next year I will be building a new system to replace my 6 1/2 year old
Dell.  I'd like to include a dedicated graphics card that would have good
performance and would not need to be replaced should I find that my
computing habits change.  I do not play many games, so I do not need a
"gaming" PC with some $1,200 of dual graphics cards in a crossire setup
(whatever that means).  I might play the occasional game here or there and
would like a card that can handle graphics without strain, but it would
likely be a role-playing game, not a shoot-em-up.

I would like plenty of memory, good resolution for statistical and
mathematical graphs, ability to handle CAD, viewing Google Earth, and be
able to look through large photo albums without bogging down.  Plus there
are applications that I do not know of yet, so having additional horsepower
would be fine.  Other things being equal, I'd rather have more memory than
less and more speed than less.

Price is not a major consideration.  If I can get a fantastic card for $50,
that's fine.  If it costs $400, that's ok.  I get a new PC about every 6 to
7 years and have a budget of somewhere around $3,000 to $3,500 for the
entire system.

I'd like my new system to be quiet, so if I can get something without its
own fan, that would be preferable.  Also, I have read a little about
graphics cards and still do not understand about PCI vs AGP so I'd like some
input on that.

Finally, I realize that a component needs to be considered in light of the
entire system.  I will probably have 4GB of memory and not the absolute
speed champ in CPU, but whatever is in second place in the speed game and
hard drives in a RAID configuration.

Thanks in advance.

Re: Recommendations for graphics card

On Wed, 29 Nov 2006 13:40:29 GMT, "The poster formerly known

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Your next system should support PCI Express slots, video
card interface, not AGP or PCI.  Get a PCI Express based

Leaning towards more performance you will find you are
moving away from the heat levels allowing passive cooling
unless you get a bulky and more expensive passive cooler,
and frankly I'd avoid those on most cards because they are
not effective at cooling for longevity's sake, only
immediate stability, which may reduce the lifespan of the

In a few months there should be several DirectX10 supportive
video cards on the market and it might make sense to wait
until then to make a selection as everything available now
will be considered old technology at that point (but this is
always the case if you wait a few quarters when it comes to
video cards).

If you were still wanting to buy a current generation card
then I suggest nVidia 7600GT.  It's a little faster and more
expensive than the 7600GS which can be cooled passively, but
easily fits within the budget and seems more appropriate in
a well endowed system such as one with large enough budget
for 4GB memory.  Going any faster than a 7600GT will make it
even harder to quietly cool it, unless you find a particular
series of card with a great aftermarket cooler on it and
have forethought into a chassis and chassis cooling
subsystem design that has ample enough airflow to allow an
alternative video card cooling to work well enough over the
long term.  IOW, there are too many variables to easily
determine it at this point.

Re: Recommendations for graphics card

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I was thinking in the February to March timeframe.  I have too much going on
right now and mid-March is bonus time!  So I can wait.

It's much easier to figure out that getting lots of memory and a fast cpu
makes sense than it is to figure out how much video to get.  The sites like
ExtremeTech always talk about "ultimate gaming systems" and mention games
that I have heard of, but have never played.  Yet I have experienced the fun
of trying to use Windows Explorer to look through a few thousand thumbnail
photos and have seen the system bog down until its just not fun anymore.
How much of that is due to system memory vs graphic memory vs cpu is unknown
to me, but having extra horsepower on all three fronts seems like a good

Oh, and by the way, I will be upgrading to Vista and want to run Aero Glass
without strain.

As for heat, if I have to use a fan, then I'll get one of those after market
things that SilentPC has reviewed.  I am deaf in one ear and the other ear
is easily overloaded with noise, so a quiet pc is a must.

Thanks for the info.

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Re: Recommendations for graphics card

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I have a 7600 GT OC which was only $110 after a $30 rebate. It runs the
Aero Glass stuff fine (as does a 6600 I have in another machine) and
doesn't seem too loud. I play games at 1440 x 900 (my LCD's native
resolution) and it's great, though I'm not playing any bleeding edge

Re: Recommendations for graphics card

On Thu, 30 Nov 2006 01:06:22 GMT, "The poster formerly known

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Any reasonable DirectX9 card can run the Aeroglass mode,
your other needs will be more significant in choosing a
faster card than that needed for Aeroglass.

Re: Recommendations for graphics card

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What CAD programs do you use?  If they are ones that ATi FireGL and NVidea
Quadro FX range have specific OpenGL drivers for you might want to look at
getting one of those.  They cost a lot more, for what is basically the same
hardware as the Radeon/GeForce ranges, but you get excellent OpenGL
performance and stability.

If you have not got any of the other hardware yet, you shouldn't be thinking
of AGP at all.  I'd rather build the computer myself, but if you want to
save yourself the hassle, Dell Precision workstation range has options on
these workstation class graphics cards.


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