Recommendation on Graphics Cards

On my 2.5Ghz Dell 8200 with 1GB RAM, I recently bought a Samsung 214T to use instead of my Sony 20" Trinitron.  I'm running on a 3 year old GeForce 4 420MX (64MB AGP), which I got because it has TV out.

I'd like to get a new graphics card, one that has two monitor outputs, so I can run the Sony (or a smaller Sony CRT) for color checks.  Also, the 214T "stutters" a little when I drag a complex window.

I use the system primarily for web design and software development.

Having TV out might still be nice, but doesn't seem to be that important (there are other ways to achieve that effect)

I'd like to get a fairly good card ($) , but don't foresee gaming on this box.

Any suggestions on graphics cards, or how to go about making this decision, would be appreciated.

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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
NVidia: 6800 AGP(325/700) 8 pipes...US130
           6800 GS AGP(370/1050) 12 pipes...US200
           7800 GS AGP(430/1300) 16 pipes...US270
Nice range of quite capable AGP cards:

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I agree with tmj883 on this one.
Shop at Newegg.
New graphics cards can have surprise problems (especially getting too hot or driver issues).
It's one of those items you should do some research on before you buy.
Newegg's reviews help out a great deal for that AND they usually have a pretty good price.
(Though, just because you read the reviews there doesn't mean you HAVE to buy it there.)
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
@tmj883 & PCbonez....uh...codequest is looking for dual monitor output.
Well, any of those cards has dual monitor outputs.

But I'd also recommend going for a Matrox.
The Matrox allows you to have triple monitor output.
(On some cheaper cards you can get dual monitor plus  tv out).

You might go for an Nvidia if you were into games - if you're not, Matrox still holds some advantages for "work".
Don't get a GeForce. I've had two of those things burn out on me... both were in excess of $300 too.

Now I'm running an ATI x1300 AGP... I love it. I have another ATI card in my second server that's been running like a champ for years.
Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
Nightofthecow: please don't make that kind of statements.
There are *millions* of happy users out there with GeForces. Ok, you had a bad experience with your cards. That's all.

I've have a Geforce running for over 5 years in a poorly ventilated PC and it sill works, so... is this of any point whatsoever?

Likewise for any ATI, Matrox, Trident, or whatever card. I've had had problems with all brands of cards, some time or the other. But I don't think it would be fair to say: "Don't get this card, because mine burn out!"

Most of the problems I found my customers to have was due to them overclocking the cards or trying to flash "modded" firmwares.
Other than that, graphic cards are not a likely source of problems per se.
codequestAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the inputs.
@CarlosMMartins comment (I am not disagreeing at all, just an additional point.)

People forget that their "ATI" or "nVidia" video card are often manufactured by some other company and just happens to be named for the ATI or nVidia chip on it. ~ VERY common.

Some of those companies make crappy cards and you can't blame the ATI or nVidia chip for problems with a crappy brand X card that happens to have one of them on it.
@PCBONEZ. Exactly.
codequestAuthor Commented:
Note:  accepted versus assisted answer was fairly arbitrary...thanks to all for suggestions and views.
Carlos, I haven't modded my Geforce cards. I haven't modified any of my cards regardless of brand, period. I haven't overclocked. I've been in the IT field for nearly 10 years out of that, Geforce cards are the only cards I've ever seen burn out. The only component I have seen fail on these cards are the processor itself.

So, based on my experience I am within every right of stating my opinion on the matter.

It wouldn't be fair of me to say, "Get whatever you want, who cares if I've had MANY bad experiences with a particular brand, I'm not going to share that info with you because it's not my money, plus I might offend someone."

Would you let someone you know buy a gun that is known to have a manufacture defect in it that causes the barrel to mushroom and send shrapnel into their face? I don't think so. Just because it doesn't happen on all of them doesn't mean it's perfectly safe. People come here asking for advice and inputs, and that's what I'm giving.
Nor was that my intention.
However, I'm also in the IT arena since the CP/M days running on z80 processors. My company assembles nearly 100 PCs every month, and so, I get across some "problematic" series every once in a while.
However, on graphic cards, it's not a "know problem" for any GeForce(nvidia) based cards to have problems.
So, even if you had a couple of card go bad on you, I still wouldn't consider it cause for a "Don't buy this" issue.

I also didn't imply you changed your cards - I simply said that, from my experience *most* times the problems I found with graphic cards were likely cause by mis-use. (Not implying that was your case).

Once I had a full batch of cooler master fans, fail within just weeks of use. So, would it be fair to say: Don't buy coolermasters! I had 12 fans failing on me!
(while still having thousands out there working for years)

At the moment, there is no "particular" card that is bound to cause problems. So, it's really a safe choice (providing it has the features someone needs).
Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
cool. thank you!
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