Heirarchy of video cards

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I am going to swap out an MSI K8N neo platinum with and AMD 64 2800 ( 2x512
Micron Ram) and my 9800Pro( 128) AGP video card.
I want to go to a core 2 duo based board.

Anyway, the spot that I am stuck is which direction to go with video...I
have no clue on what beats what these days and I need to go the PCI-e route.
Can someone point me to or give me a general rundown on the hierarchy of
video cards and kind of where this 9800 would stand in the midst of pci-e
(is the worst pci-e better than the 9800?)
I don't want or need to go way out on a limb with video, but I also don't
want to get bottlenecked if I do want to do some fairly  intensive graphic
work at times.
I am starting to mess around with Photoshop, but most of what I do is within
dreamweaver and FrontPage.

Any suggestions?


Re: Heirarchy of video cards

your name wrote:
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Anything is suitable for Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and FrontPage. The
"graphics hierarchy", from $50 to $800, is primarily for gaming, or
maybe some OpenGL CAD work. What people spend money for, is so they
can game with all the "eye candy" turned on.

http://www23.tomshardware.com/graphics.html (graphics benchmarks)
http://www23.tomshardware.com/cpu.html (cpu benchmarks)

This table has some info, but I believe the DirectX info is flawed. As
I recollect, the 9800Pro is DirectX 8.1 in hardware. I don't think
it is DirectX 9.

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

This chart is no longer updated, which is why I use the archived version.
For its time, the 9800 had pretty good memory bandwidth figures
(one entry shows 21.3GB/sec). But at least on my computer here, I
find the 9800 is a "bit of a slug", and I really don't know why it
behaves that way. It should work better. So I've retired mine.


Naturally, with every generation of video cards, there is some
overlap between generations. People have "bought cards using
the model numbers", only to find their new card is slower than
their old card. So you are right to be skeptical, and ask questions.
Finding benchmarks is the best way to distinguish the gaming
capabilities of the cards. Preferably, you want a benchmark for
your exact game, to remove all doubt. Some cards run 3DMark like
crazy, then bog down on certain games. And that is why a game
specific benchmark is best.

I would say the place to draw the line, is any video card that is
rated as "noisy". If you buy "too good" a video card, you may end
up listening to a turbine all day long (from the video card fan).
Some cards seem to have functional fan speed controls, where the
fan only ramps when gaming. Others, for whatever reason, have
fixed speed fans. There seems to be no logic to some of it. In
some cases, people even buy products, and immediately replace the
cooler with an aftermarket one. Just a bit crazy...

Newegg has customer reviews for a lot of their products. For video
cards, there are usually a few comments about noise levels.

One way to buy video cards, is just by target price. You could,
for example, aim for a $200 card, as a starting point. Then
see what the cards at that level are like.

This site is a good source of power consumption numbers for video


This chart (with incorrect title text BTW) is an example of some good
gaming cards. The X1950Pro is a recent addition. But note, when
comparing the power numbers, versus the noise figures in the
other charts, that at least one of the power consuming cards,
had a good noise figure. This is because, for some of the lower
power cards, they're really cheaping-out on the cooler design.
A shame really, as if they used a beefier heatsink, the fan could
almost be run slow enough to be silent.


You could spend many evenings comparing all the alternatives.
And it would be time well spent.


Re: Heirarchy of video cards

Pardon the top post...
Thanks much, very useful.

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Re: Heirarchy of video cards

On Mon, 1 Jan 2007 23:15:04 -0700, "your name"

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The worst PCI Express card(s) is not as good as a 9800, but
you don't mention any gaming... for what you have mentioned,
w/o gaming,  even the 9800 was overkill.  Even so, a nice
low-to-midrange passively cooled (many with fan bearing
heatsinks are somewhat loud) Geforce 7600GS might be ideal.

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