Graphics card - Advice needed

  georgemac 08:40 21 Jan 2004

I have been asked by a friend to fit an AGP graphics card to their pc (MSI 6340 motherboard with prosavge 4 onboard graphics)to allow their son to play a new game he has bought - the onboard graphics cannot handle it. It has to be a budget card. I don't game so don't have a clue.

Have looked at ebuyer at the following cards

click here geforce 4 mx 440 64 mb ddr - £35

click here similar product for the same price

click here a radeon 9200 se with 64 mb ddr for £32

or would I be better off trying to find a radeon 8500 le or a geforce 3 or 4 ti on ebay for around the same price?

I may also upgrade my son's at the same time, he has a hercules prohet 3d kyro 4500 with 64 mb (mainly plays championshiop manager - he has a ps2), which I would then put in my own pc to replace my geforce 2 with 32 mb ram.

Grateful for any advice, machines are xp1700's with 512 mb ram.

  xania 08:59 21 Jan 2004

A word of warning - not all AGP cards fit all motherboards. You need to know what speed you mobo supports and get a card which fits. For example, your MSI 6340 motherboard supports 4X so you need a 4X or better AGP card to fit. I think all your choices will fit. Next consider memory - DDR is faster so better, but frankly, I would prefer to spend a little bit more for 128 MB. Ebay can come up with some bargains, if you're prepared to wait a bit. Don't forget to disable the on-board graphics, or your new card won't be seen.

So far as your son'e and your PC's are concerned, can't comment as you don't mention your mobos.

  georgemac 10:32 21 Jan 2004

thanks, was aware the mobo was AGP4, and am assuming AGP8 cards are backwards compatible. I have looked at disabling onboard graphics on the MSI, but there is nowhere to do this, and in the mobo manual I downloaded it says the graphics drivers are loaded along with the via 4 in 1 drivers. I am assuming (maybe wrongly) once I fit the new card and load the new drivers this will stop the onboard graphics from working.

Because of this I was thinking of trying ebay for a board for my son, and trying it in the MSI mobo before getting my mates to splash out on a new card?

My son has an a7a266 xp1700 and I have an asus a7v333 with xp2000, both AGP 4 I think.

  georgemac 10:46 21 Jan 2004

redeon 9200se with 128 mb ddr £40 delivered
click here

or the same card for £37 delivered

are the 9200se OK or would I be better going for a geforce 3 or 4 ti or one of the ebuyer geforce cards above? I agree these would be better than the ebuyer 9200se becuase they have twice the ddr ram.

  georgemac 10:55 21 Jan 2004

now to complicate things I have just read a review of a 9200se which says it is not directx 9.0 compatible. The game he wants to play, command & conquer generals I think installs direct x 9.0 on the PC, and it is not causing any problems with the onboard graphics.

I also have direct x 9.0 on both our machines with older graphics cards.

Does anyone know where to find a list of dirextx 9.0 compatible cards? I'm off to google again!

  Chegs ® 11:04 21 Jan 2004

I had a Ti4600(AGP x4)that I purchased thru Ebay for £200.A few mths later,I was idly wandering round Ebay again,and spotted a Ti4800 (AGP x8)for £90.This I bought,and it really does fly! I tried 3D-Mark on the Ti4600,it could only muster 8000 ish points,same test on the Ti4800 gets 12,000+ If I was after another GC,I would be inclined towards "just superceded" by the newer models as (NVidia GPU's)they usually add bits to make them look fancy,but the GPU's are the same.My Ti4600 has a GPU termed NV25,my Ti4800 also has an NV25 GPU,both cards have 128Mbs DDR,they look the same,the only real difference in spec is the Ti4800 has AGP x8."Budget" brands of card often perform no better than much lower spec cards(I also have a GF2,with GPU NV17)and its a "Hercules" brand,it can almost match my Ti4600,which is an "unbranded" card in 3D-Mark test.

  georgemac 11:54 21 Jan 2004

I just watched a ti4600 titanium with 128 mb ddr sell on ebay for £40, but I have read it is not compatible with dx9?

I imagine all video cards will work with directx9 but not all will support dx9 which means the new features of dx9 will not be available? I am confused now!

  Chegs ® 13:07 21 Jan 2004

Its a nightmare trying to sort out which cards do what and work with DX-9.This was why I read up on exactly what GPU is used in NVidia cards,and thought I would be "safe" if I bought an NVidia NV25 GPU,DDR card as the NV25 was the fastest GPU that was available.I had already fallen foul of GC pricing,as I paid £130 for the Hercules GF2,(top card in its day)but shortly after its purchase the Ti3's appeared.Reading up on them,they also had the GF2 GPU(NV17)so I didn't think it was going to be worth the expense.Then M$ jumped in with DX-9,again,I waited and read up on GC's and DX-9.Then NVidia upped the anti with its release of the NV25,more reading! Then AGP x8 appeared,so I started looking round to replace my GF2,but some of the GC's were upto £400 and "er indoors" refused to let me buy one at this price.I hunted thru auction after auction until I spotted a Ti4600 at £200(half the price of similar Ti4600's)so I sulked around until "er indoors" let me buy it.When it arrived,I installed it and instantly fired up a few of my fav games,to find there was bogall difference(to the eye)between it and GF2.In testing,I could actually OC my GF2 to get a higher score further than the Ti4600!

Then I got the Winfast Ti4800,it does support DX-9,AGP x8,etc and it cost me £90.This was where things got really screwy,my TV card started crashing the pc whenever I used DX-9(but I searched the web and there is actually DX-9/DX-9a and DX-9b)which meant,little bit trial and error I could still use TV card but had to use DX-9(a).Main prob now is,some of my old games dont work with DX-9,but I have to use it as some of my new games wont load without it.

I wont be upgrading my Ti4800 until at least 2010,regardless of what comes out gameswise as I am under strict instructions to reduce my spending on PC gear. :-)

  georgemac 13:53 21 Jan 2004

have bought an geforce 4 fx 5200 oem with 128 mb ddr from ebay, dx9 compatible, budget card butgot it at a good price so will try it and see how I get on.

  georgemac 12:11 24 Jan 2004

games playing OK, did not have to disable onboard graphics, board must detect if an agp card is present and use it, just loaded nvidea drivers nad away it went.

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