ok looking to get a new video card anyway...

Posted on 2009-04-14
Last Modified: 2013-11-08
now that my video is correct i still want to buy a new video card,  i have read alot of reviews and i am wondering what you all think, is it better to get a 512mb or 1gb? i am looking to spend maybe 150-175 at the most, have looked all over newegg, ebay, etc can anyone suggest anything? i am going to be purchasing this television Sony KV-32XBR450 from a friend so i would like to have it connected as well as probably buying a new HD monitor and run a 2 monitor setup with the connection to the TV for downloaded movies, any suggestions would be appreciated. (also i am not much of a Gamer but might start playing a few games like assassins creed, or WOW, once i get everything set-up)

Question by:SurrealliS
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LVL 69

Expert Comment

ID: 24144304
The price difference is fairly small and if you are planning to play 3D games, more VRAM will help.  For $150-$175, check this article:,2270-3.html - the $185 cards are much more powerful than the category underneath them.  The actual card to get may depend on the games you like - different cards perform better in different games.
LVL 70

Assisted Solution

garycase earned 75 total points
ID: 24144664
What operating system are you running?   ... and how much memory is installed?

If you have 4GB of RAM and a 32-bit OS, you'll only "see" about 3.2GB-3.6GB of memory, depending on how much of the 4GB address space needs to be assigned to system level resources (this is done before the RAM is assigned address space).   With a 512MB video card, you'll typically see about 3.2GB.   A 1GB card will reduce this by 512MB, to around 2.7GB or so.   If you only install 2GB of RAM, that won't make any difference; but if you've got more RAM you may want to consider this.

If you're using a 64-bit OS, that's not an issue [It still has to assign those system-level resources; they are assigned addresses well above what your RAM will need].

Other than that consideration, there's very little difference between the two for the kind of use you're indicated; but I agree with Callandor ... it's a modest price difference, so you may as well spring for the 1GB card, especially if you're using an x64 OS.  Personally, I stayed with a 512MB card so my x32 OS's would have more available RAM (I use both x32 and x64 OS's on my main system).
LVL 62

Accepted Solution

☠ MASQ ☠ earned 50 total points
ID: 24145763
Just to voice a contrary opinion, an extra 512MB GDDR3 will only make a difference in the really GPU demanding 3d games - neither WoW or Assassin's Creed will benefit significantly from it.  Unless you have an urge to start serious gaming I would concentrate on getting the best Home Theater/HDTV card in your budget.

It's always easier spending someone else's cash but I would try to hold out for between $150- $200 which puts in your reach (in increasing order of performance):

ATi HD Radeon's 4670, 4850 and (just - if you get a rebate!) the 4870
nVidia 9800 GTX+ or the GTX 260

In both cases I would go for the best you can afford from these add more than 512MB in if it's in the budget (with the 260 you'll get 896MB anyway!).

Three other things to remember when buying graphics cards:

1) These things are huge! Make sure there is room on your motherboard and inside your case so they don't foul other components, fans, cards or even internal case structure!  They'll have one or two large cooling fans blowing warm air at whatever card you have below them in the slots.  If your case isn't designed with a card like this in mind you might need to rethink your cooling arrangements.

2) Not all cards with the same chipset will behave the same.  To some extent this is reflected in the pricing but one manufacturer will build a GPU chipset onto their card but mess up the rest of the board resulting in poorer perfomance than another.  Currently I'd try for an XFX card if you can afford one.

3) You will get the best out of these cards with DirectX 10 and that really means Vista/Windows 7 although there is a hacked version of DX10 for XP it isn't completely reliable but you can use it (unsupported by ATi, nVidia and M$).
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Author Comment

ID: 24149219
This is my current setup:

OS:                   Windows XP home Ed. svc pk 3, 32 bit
Motherboard:   ASUS M2N68-VM , nVidia 7050p, Onboard Video, HDMI, GB LAN
Processor        AMD phenom x4 9600 Black Edition (not overclocked)
Memory:           3GB (2x1GB) PC6400 DDR2 800 Dual Channel (2x512mb) PC6400 DDR2 800
Hard Drive:      160.0GB 7200rpm SATA2 UDMA 300 8m Cache
BackUp:           Seagate 160Gb USB 2.0
DVD Recorder : Samsung LightScribe 20x SATA DVD Recorder Dual Layer +R/RW -R/RW
Sound Card     AC 97 3D Full Duplex sound card (onboard)
Display:           Samsung Syncmaster 941bw 19" LCD 1440x900 res
Network Cards: Ethernet network adapter (onboard)
Case:               Thermaltake Soprano Black, front USB
Power Supply:  Okia 500W ATX Power Supply

i think that covers everything, if i left something out let me know, i am wanting to upgrade the video card and the monitor, (also a raid setup in the future) everything is currently running through my Sony home stereo via Optical TOSLINK. i can probably go $200 on a video card as long as i know i wont need to upgrade for awhile. i have also considered upgrading to 64 bit OS, so if this would be a big advantage let me know and i will shop around and see if i can do that as well, i am not a novice by any means i know my way around a motherboard, i have done all my work myself as well as putting together some basic systems for friends etc. but at the same time there's plenty i don't know, but always eager to learn more.  just recently i have been able to actually afford some upgrades to hardware and TV  thanks for the advice so far, good stuff guys.

LVL 70

Expert Comment

ID: 24150051
As I noted above, with the usage pattern you've described, there's no advantage with a 1GB video card.   Since you're using XP x32, I'd just get a 512MB card ==> you won't notice any performance difference in the graphics (vs. the 1GB version);  you'll have your full 3GB of installed RAM available for the OS; and you'll save a few $$ in the process :-)

Author Comment

ID: 24150148
ok that sounds reasonable,  any suggestions on a good 512mb card? mainly want to connect 2 monitors (1 HD) and my HDTV...

LVL 70

Assisted Solution

garycase earned 75 total points
ID: 24150331
This is an excellent card if two DVI outputs are okay:  [Since you're happy with your current sound setup, they should be => if you need an HDMI input for the TV, just use a DVI -> HDMI cable]

... here's the same GPU with an HDMI port:

If you want higher performance, and have room for a dual-slot card, this is still within your price range:  [Note this is a LARGE card ... be sure to check the clearances in your case if you order this].


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