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new video card

what to look for?

     
7:35 am on Aug 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I came home from vacation to find the video on the CRT on my favorite old desktop appeared to be shot. The color is all washed out and distorted. Everything is kind of blurry. My first thought was...oh no the monitor is dead.

I went through all the steps I could think of...updated the drivers, tried different resolutions, restored a known working drive image of the system from a clean install of Windows. Then I pulled a monitor off of another PC and tried it as well...with the same results. My conclusion is the video card is shot.

This machine is used for web development, photo and image editing, some video editing, and light gaming. It had been using the stock video card (nVidia?) for several years without problems. Now when I go look at the vast array of video cards available I'm at a loss. What types of things should I be looking for in a video card?

8:30 am on Aug 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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color is all washed out and distorted.

Have you tried cleaning monitor? :p

But seriously - it all depends on you budget, if you are not a hardcore 3D games player then there is no need to buy latest and greatest cards, which can cost a fair whack of money.

Consider picking a bargain and going for last good NVIDIA card - GeForce 4600 (128Mb). I have it and I was able to play Doom3, Far Cry, Unreal 2004 just fine!

I would not recommend getting any card with less than 128Mb of RAM (unless you don't want to play current generation games that need lots of texture storage). And stay away from NVIDIA 52xx series - these were poor!

8:14 pm on Aug 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Well your hardware in a computer is very important because it affects pretty much everything else in the computer and how it runs etc. etc. Right now you don't use this machine much and when you do, you want it to work. Well I would have to say that it depends on your Mobo. If you don't have AGP then I would almost suit you to go with a G-Force 2 or 3. They are both fairly cheap and work well. if you do have AGP I would almost point you in the ATI direction. not that ATI is better on the AGP bus but because is sounds like you do alot of imaging quality applications and ATI has better imaging engines such as True form. If this is not your main beast I would almost point you in the ATI Radeon 9600 area. It doesn't have a fan on it and the Heat sink wont fall off....like NVidia's TNT2. It is quiet and without a fan it can't go bad so you never have to worry about it. Plus you can play alot of the latest games on it. Hope that helps
8:19 pm on Aug 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I really like my Matrox G550. Fast, cheap, and dual-head capable!
2:56 am on Aug 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

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This is an old Gateway tower with a 933mhz processor in it. It's not a high performance machine to begin with, but it's got everything plugged in and working the way I like it. I wouldn't be looking for a high performance card, but a capable one. I'm going to have to take a look and see what type of MoBo it has...
5:15 am on Aug 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

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You should be able to get a 64mb card for around $30. A 933 should use the second generation AGP card (2x 4x) which means that unless a card is specifically noted as AGP1 anything you order should work. Check a site like pricewatch.com or the like. For business apps a 64 mb card will do you just fine and there is really no point in spending over $30 for the situation you describe. Don't worry too much about chipset, if you are not gaming or trying to do 3D rendering or video editing there just isn't a reason to go nuts.

BTW, I run an 8mb SIS card on a 1.2 Duron with 512 Ram and keep at any given time 6 or 7 windows open on WIN XP Pro, no problems or waites ever. (I run a seperate machine for gaming)

8:25 pm on Aug 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

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"Cheap knock off" no name cards and even some low end brand name cards often have poor quality DACs that significantly impact the image quality and sharpness of what's ultimalely rendered on screen. Matrox and Gainward cards are pretty consistent about not skimping in this area. There are probably others.

Before buying a cheapie, you'd be wise to compare what it displays to a more costly card. If possible, use identical hardware except for the video card.

9:15 pm on Sept 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Also be sure to check out what kind of cooling system the card uses. I bought an ATI Radeon card a couple of months ago, the fan that cools the chip sounds like a Boeing running around my computer.

Good Luck!