View Full Version : ok you pros, i need advice

14th Dec 2003, 04:17
next weekend ill be buying a new video card. heres the deal: my computer i bought in may has intergrated graphics. i dont know much about how to disable this. anyway....i need some opinions. first i need to know what you guys think i should get. i want something affordable(250 or under) and it is also imperative that it displays the fog in thief. im sick of not knowing what the game looks like with fog! my intergrated graphics does fine now but i need something that should run thief3. it plays any thief mission now fine except for the messed up lighting(which has gotten on my last nerve) it only does that for thief2. gold runs without any lighting issues. weird.

anyway, any ideas what card i should get? i checked out the raedons they are really expensive(500! for the top one) id like to have that but i cant afford it. i also need help understanding how to install this thing once i get it(i have never installed a video or audio card before) i know you guys know alot about these things i hope someone helps me out with some advice, before i go blindly into buying something i shouldnt have :)

14th Dec 2003, 05:59
You didn't say what your other components are. Is a good idea to have "balance" in your system. Unless you have the latest CPU, motherboard, and memory, there is no need to have the latest video card. I usually step back a notch anyway, because the latest stuff is just too pricey, and its price comes down rapidly in a year or so. For your price point, you might consider an ATI Radeon 9700 Pro. About a year ago, they were the hot ticket at $400. Now they can be obtained for as low as $230 at on-line stores. Or maybe this more recent card. (http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=14-240-006&catalog=48&depa=1&section=3)

Look in the BIOS settings and figure out how to disable the on-board video before you make the plunge.

Mr. Perfect
14th Dec 2003, 07:41
Depending on your mother board maker, the on-board can either be disabled in the BIOS like Peter said, or it will be a jumper on the motherboard. If you have the manual for your motherboard, that should tell you.

As far as video cards go, I'd recremend a Radeon 9800 Non-Pro. I picked one up myself for $270 back in August, so by now they ought to be down a little more. The 9700 Pro was a good chip, but ATI immediatly stopped making them as soon as they released the 9800 core, so they're very hard to find. Also, the 9800 core has some new features in it that vastly improves its performance when rendering Anti-ailising and Antiostrophic(however thats spelled :o ) filtering. A 9800 NP should have the kick to stick around for a few years, and it's around your price point. Ones built by ATI or Sapphire are prefereble. stay away from the 9800SE. It's a cheap version of the 9800 with half of it's pixel pipes disabled, esentially turning it into a lowwer-range card.

If that doesn't fit your budget, look at the Radeon 9600 Pro or the Nvidia 5700 Ultra(the 5600 is considerably slower then the 5700. Stay away from them). Of course those cards won't have the same sticking power as the 9800 NP.

BTW, to install them, you literally just plug it into the mother board. :) Make sure your motherboard has a AGP slot, if it doesnt your selection will be limited to the few PCI cards available.

14th Dec 2003, 18:20
i have a amd 2400 processer it said when i bought it it had agp slot available for upgrade. 256 ram( will upgrade to 512? soon) burner/dvd 60gig hard drive. anyway i looked into that bios thing once before but dont know squat about messing with that. ill check in on the raedon 9800 np, and first ill try looking at this bios thing again:)

14th Dec 2003, 19:13
it says s3graphics 32mb adapter...i have an option at the bottom of the window where it says two things: use this device(enable) and do not use this device(disable) is this how you would disable the s3graphics?

9th Jan 2004, 04:18
I concur with Mr. Perfect's opinion about the 9800 Non-Pro. There is information on www.rage3d.com that details how to load the 9800 Pro bios into a non-pro card. It runs stable and does not overheat. Some have taken the 9800NP, upgraded it to the "Pro" version and then OC'ed it as well with no problems. I personally do not recommend OC'ing or doing any modifications unless you are well informed.

With that said, the 9800 NP or 9700 Pro are very good cards. At this time I would avoid NVIDIA since the ATI has better bang for the buck cards right now.


Mr. Perfect
9th Jan 2004, 04:50
Yes, most 9800NP's can be upgraded like that. Unfortunatly I got one with some rather lame 3.0 Infineon memory(most people can't even get it to do 3.0). If you get one with any kind of Samsung memory on it, overclocking is usually succesfull.

9th Jan 2004, 11:20
If one of your requirements is to see fog (not fog objects but foggy environment), don't get an ATI video card. I've had 3 ATI video cards across 3 systems and all lost the foggy environment, like in T2 Life of the Party.

Way back when I had a Creative Riva128 TNT2 (nVidia) video card, fogging worked. Then I moved to an ATI (don't remember the model). Lost fogging. Next system had an ATI Radeon 64MB DDR (equivilent to their 7200). Still no fog. I just built another new system but didn't want to waste money of a top-line model since I know I'll be replacing it in a year, so I got the ATI 9600. Still no fog.

So if you want to see fog, stay with the nVidia chipsets. I don't know why ATI can't manage to support whatever fog effect is incorporated into Thief, but once I went with ATI then fog was never to be seen again in this game nor in any of the FMs.

9th Jan 2004, 13:09
With all due respect, that probably will not be applicable at this time. The Radeon 9800 NP and Pro are DX9 compatible and will show everything that T3 will throw at it.

I know the 9800NP shows fog on my system - but maybe the older cards were FUBAR. The models you mentioned are fairly old. It is also possible that T2 had a thing for NVIDIA and ATI just did not mix well. Wasn't ATI have driver problems for those cards?

My apologies for making an appearance of an ATI vs NVIDIA post. I just don't want anyone discounting a possible better buy without hearing multiple opinions. Your post indiciated that fog would not show up with an ATI card, and I do not believe that to be true in this case.


11th Jan 2004, 03:48
Many consumers need computers that do lots of varied tasks, of which one might be gaming. Unless Amievel is building a dedicated computer just for gaming (which would be a low value on return dollarwise), he would do the same as the rest of us: buy a video card that handles the current needs, perhaps some of the projected needs, and doesn't end up at the high end of the spectrum for cost. Tis easy enough to tell someone to get the highest end video card available regardless of cost.

You can always go mid-level performer and overclock it. In fact, some of the ATI overclocker utilities will let you define profiles so the card only gets overclocked when needed, like within a game, so you don't end up overclocking and heating it all the time.

9 months qualifies a video card as old? Well, that would also apply to the ATI 9800. ATI made its announcement in March 5, 2003 regarding the release of the 9800, 9600, and 9200 models (see http://www.ati.com/companyinfo/press/2003/4615.html). Yes, these were actually some other models that got re-slotted into other models. Also, the 9600 *IS* DirectX9 compliant -- which has nothing to do with support of fogging on a game developed 3 years ago under DirectX6. I haven't found ATI's drivers to be any more unstable than those for any other brand. They all encounter problems now and then, so sometimes going with an older version of the driver will help. It hasn't with the ATI cards. I've seen more posts in newsgroups recommending reverting to an old version of nVidia's drivers than for ATI. Maybe the 9800 now supports whatever antiquated fog effect that T2 used (which would be by accident) but that's not likely to promote lots of old games users to spend top-of-the-line high bucks on a promise.

Unless you have a friend that can show you that the ATI video card that you are interested in (and is *WITHIN* your budget) does truly support fogging in the game of your choice, and the rest of the hardware is similar, then make sure you can return the ATI card if it dissapoints you in not showing fogging. I've given ATI 3 chances over a period of 3 years through dozens of versions of their drivers and have yet to get fogging to work. My next video card will NOT be an ATI. Maybe Ceyko could give you more detailed specs on his computer so you can see if yours will be a near match -- provided you're can afford spending at the top end of the spectrum of video cards in that brand.

$300 for a video card is way too expensive for me but, hey, if you like getting raped for a high-end [consumer grade] video card per requirements for a game that you don't even have yet, go for it. That's why I said that I got a video card that more than surpassed my current needs and probably my needs within the next year. When T3 comes out, or whenever I have even higher requirements, then I can look at getting another video card, but by then the high-end cards have become the mid-level cards and won't cost as much. It's not a question of continually waiting for prices to drop until you can afford it. It's a question of what are your needs now, what might be they be within a reasonably projected time period forward (like 9 months), and if your requirements go way up at that time then spend the money then instead of now on a solution that might not end up being a solution.

11th Jan 2004, 04:24
Hi amievil

Hope I can help a little - most of the advice above is good!

First thing, yes, it sounds like you've found the correct setting in the BIOS to disable the onboard (s3) graphics, so be ready to do that once the new card is installed.

As to physically installing the card, the AGP slot looks different to all of the other expansion slots on the motherboard, and won't already have a card in it, so it should be easy to find. You need to remove one of the little 'slabs' that covers the holes in the back of the computer, and gently but firmly slide the card into the slot. Then screw it to the back of the case, and close the case. The card should come with a driver CD and some instructions.

I've used a number of different generation cards, and am lucky enough to have a Radeon 9800 Pro now...

Have fun with it - and while fog would be very cool, it may be less important in the longer run than other considerations...


Edit: There's also just no substitute for research: pcik one or more of the ones above, and google for its name and 'reviews' - there'll be lots, well written, clear and not over-technical, and even comparisons between comparable nVidia and ATI cards. Educating yourself is crucial.