Hardware for next upgrade? Video, water cooling?

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I'm starting research on my next system upgrade.  Since I'm upgrading
the mobo and haven't done any upgrades in a while, this'll include
video, memory, cpu, cpu cooling... pretty much everything besides the
optical and hard drives.

The system will be built around a dual-core AMD of some flavor, but I've
not completed my research on motherboards yet.  I pretty much know what
I need there, though I may come back later if I end up looking at brands
I'm not as familiar with - I've been going with ASUS the last few upgrades.

I'm wondering what the best video card would be for my needs?  I need
something that is extremely capable in 2D - I do a lot of large photo
and video editing.  Gaming isn't as important, though I'd like it to be
capable enough if I decide to try MMORGs (something I'm thinking about
but havent' done yet).  Not interested in SLI, though I don't mind an
SLI-capable card, as long as it'll run by itself as well.

I'm also considering trying water cooling for the first time.  I'd like
a kit.  I think perhaps I'll cool only the CPU and maybe the GPU, but
I'd like a kit that's easily expandable if I decide later I want to cool
my hard drives or whatever else would benefit.  I think it'll have to be
an external kit, I'm not sure if there'll be room for one inside my
mid-tower case.

I'm not into bleeding edge anymore, so I'm looking for solid, proven
performers.  I've just not been keeping up with the newest in hardware
lately, so I need someplace to start.  Thanks for any suggestions!

jmc

Re: Hardware for next upgrade? Video, water cooling?

jmc wrote:
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Based on the description of your needs, you may find that the processor
and video card draw such low wattage, that water cooling simply doesn't
make sense. Virtually all cards have the same kind of 2D capabilities
(at least, no manufacturer has indicated any innovation in 2D for years).
A video card with a max 30 watt consumption will do a great job for
photo or video editing (that is because, with PCI Express, there is a
4GB/sec path to the frame buffer, plus the usual DMA capability). A dual
core Intel processor with a 65W consumption, will do a great job of
computing. AMD dual cores are also available at that same power level.
The overall consumption of your new machine, may be lower than
the Pentium4 generation.

Since you are interested in an AMD dual core, they come in two power
ranges. Check the part numbers before you buy, to get a cooler one.
The info needed is in the desktop section of www.amdcompare.com .
Expect the lower powered ones (65W versus 89W) to command a small
price differential.

Xbitlabs has had a number of articles where they measure video card
power consumption. This page is an example.

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/display/power-noise_6.html

Parameters for video cards can be found in this chart:

http://www.techpowerup.com/gpudb /

Video card benchmarks are here, so you can compare gaming strength:

http://www23.tomshardware.com/graphics.html

In terms of desirable parameter, you want PCI Express (to match your
new motherboard), a high core clock is good with an Nvidia card, as
the core clock is used by the video decoding engine (for assisting
in movie playback), advanced DirectX, Pixel Shader, Vertex Shader
support. The number of "ROPs/Pixel/Vertex Shaders" is not important,
except for 3D gaming purposes. Increasing the number of
"ROPs/Pixel/Vertex Shaders" increases the power consumption in 3D
and the performance level, but may tend to waste power when not
being used.

A 7300GS meets all your non-gaming needs, but would be a poor gamer.
A 7600GT would be a more mainstream gaming card.

In the Techpowerup listing, the 8800 cards near the bottom of the
table, are the first DirectX 10 cards. Expect more DirectX 10 cards
in the next year, suitable for all the latest (to be delivered)
DirectX 10 games on Vista. If you are upgrading today, it is
going to be difficult to get "tick box" support for DirectX 10
in your new purchase. This is how the industry hopes to continue
its revenue stream :-(

If I was buying an 8800 card today, I'd seriously consider water
cooling for that. And I'd try and buy a card with a water block
already fitted. Because a card like that needs it. But not for
the other ~30 watt video cards mentioned above.

This is an example of a fanless 7600GT (GIGABYTE GV-NX76T256D-RH).
It still needs cooling, but you can mount an 80mm card next to
a video card like this, to keep it cool under all conditions.
If the 80mm fan ever wears out, it is easier to replace a separate
fan like that, then try to find a replacement fan for a video
card. The fan is only really needed, when you are gaming or using
the 3D functions.

http://images10.newegg.com/NeweggImage/productimage/14-125-025-03.jpg

    Paul

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