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clayman
7th Jan 2004, 23:48
Based on what you all know or assume about Thief 3's requirements, and assuming all I want to do is upgrade my current video card and do nothing else with the system (for now), what would be the best video card to get for the money ?

I have a Gateway P4 1.4 ghtz with 512 RAM, running Windows ME. My current video card is a nVIDIA GeForce 2 GTS 32mb.

Thanks in advance. :)

Peter_Smith
8th Jan 2004, 02:42
T3 will be a performance hog. You can count on it based on discussions of Deus Ex IW. If it is possible to upgrade your CPU to 2 GHz or more, I would suggest doing that in addition to getting a new video card. How far you can go depends on your motherboard. A Pentium 4 2.4 GHz with 400 MHz bus can be bought for around $175.

As for video cards, ATI beats Nvidia now in price / performacne as well as being overall best performance king. With your present CPU, I would get an ATI Radeon 9700 Pro 128 MB, which would be around $250. You should see a huge difference between that and a Geforce 2 GTS. Regardless of what you get, make sure it has all the latest pixel / vertex shading capabilities and is compatible with DX-8.

With a much stronger CPU, I would get an ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 256MB. This is close to top of the line, but not quite. The 9800 Pro can be had for around $350.

Last but not least, I would wait until the last possible minute for price drops and maybe even read some reviews of the game from actual players (not magazines) before plunking down the cash.

I myself am planning to upgrade to an Athlon 64 with 9800 Pro if and when I decide to do it. :)

Mr. Perfect
8th Jan 2004, 03:23
http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=320747&ps=ho7 :D

I'm using a 9800 Non-Pro with Deus Ex: IW, and while nobody on the planet is setting any speed records in the game, I'm happily playing 800x600 without any trouble. To be fair to ION, Edios really rushed out DE in time for Christmas. It's still running like it's the Xbox version, using only 32 MB of ram. Hopefully in the extra year that the Thief team has before release, they should be able to get the engine humming along on PCs.

Arkane6966696
9th Jan 2004, 01:29
Well Nvidia Recommends Geforce FX graphics card if you go nvidia which I highly recommend then go with the newest FX ;)!

I won't start a ATI vs Nvidia arguement since most of them go no where and each time both parties end up being wrong so therefore like the old saying says, "To Each is Own"...

Peter_Smith
9th Jan 2004, 01:48
The very newest FX's are good. Some older and lower cost FX's, which look like they are in the same series, were built from another chip and were disappointing to reviewers. Another example of Nvidia cards that performed badly but sounded good were the Geforce 4 MX series. ATI has had their share of dogs, too. So, the bottom line is that you need to be careful and study the enhusiast sites like www.anandtech.com and look at their forums to avoid mistakes. I myself have never had any brand other than Nvidia, and I have always been happy with them. That doesn't mean I will continue.

clayman
9th Jan 2004, 23:42
I have had both nVidia and ATI, and never have never met a video card I didn't like. ;)

Thanks for the advice. I will wait a little closer to release date to act, and will consult Gateway and see what mobo upgrade they "support". Ha, probably none, as I have a local Gateway store that has patently refused to do anything like that for me in the past, they just want to give me $100 trade in and sell me another $1500 system. ;) :(

Will take Peter's advice to heart on the mobo. I also may buy a flat screen monitor. or, I may just hand down my entire sytem to my 9 year old for homework/gaming, and start afresh. :)

Peter_Smith
10th Jan 2004, 02:26
Originally posted by clayman
I also may buy a flat screen monitor. Be careful with flat screens, Clayman. Flat screens use long persistance phosphors and usually refresh at 60 Hz. Only a few are rated fast enough (in terms of refresh without blurring) for gaming. Also, flat screens look good only in their single native resolution. Most gaming sites still recommend the good old CRT, which is faster and cheaper.

Vanguard
11th Jan 2004, 04:24
Hopefully within the next 3 years the non-CRT flat screens will support refresh rates up to 120Hz and be less grainy. Hopefully the contrast will also go up so you can actually use them outside without having to drape a towel between your head and the screen so you don't end up with too much ambient light washing out the screen. From what I've read, it looks like the few remaining manufacturers will cease CRT production in 3 years (since those articles were read last year then maybe it's 2 years now).

Also remember not to compare apples to oranges. Most of the LCD sales figures do mislead about what CRTs they are actually replacing. While the sale of LCDs has about matched CRTs in 2003 and will be about 70 to 80 percent LCDs in 2004, they're comparing the most popular sizes of monitors within each type (15" for LCD and 19" for CRT, so you lose screen size in the replacement). A 21-inch CRT costs about $400-$450. A 21-inch LCD costs about $1200 and up. A he<i></i>ll of a price difference!

Also, I haven't seen an LCD screen yet that when sitting in front of it that doesn't look more grainy than a CRT (except maybe a cheapie CRT at a horrific dot pitch of .42). It's almost like you can see the minimal imaging objects (pixels). To me, LCDs are harder on the eyes than CRTs.

bravus
11th Jan 2004, 04:31
I'd chime in with Peter and Vanguard - LCDs are really not yet ready for primetime gaming use, IMO. The main reason is the 'native resolution' problem: they look great at the resolution for which there are that number of LCD pixels, but any higher or lower ones are extrapolating or interpolating across pixels, and are quite blurry. A whole lot of other factors, from the game itself to the vid card, mean I want to play games at a variety of resolutions, and CRT is just better for that. I just bought a new 21" flat screen CRT (/me thinks to himself - maybe that's what clayman meant, and he has an old curvy CRT (thinks 'curves are good almost anywhere else but on the front of monitors!) - if that's the case, ignore all this!) and am super-satisfied with it.

Bravus

Mr. Perfect
11th Jan 2004, 04:41
Originally posted by clayman
I will wait a little closer to release date to act, and will consult Gateway and see what mobo upgrade they "support". Ha, probably none, as I have a local Gateway store that has patently refused to do anything like that for me in the past, they just want to give me $100 trade in and sell me another $1500 system. ;) :(

An excelent reason to build your own, or get a local shop to build one to your specs. :)

clayman
12th Jan 2004, 23:45
Good and unexpected advice on the monitor. I have a 17" flat panel at work, and for work applications, like its look and slim economical profile. Have never played a game on it (work PC security sniffer-phobia!), so its good I asked here first. Will save the $$$ and buy a 21" flat CRT (have a 19" now). Thanks ! :)