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View Full Version : Need Help choosing PCI-e Video Adapter that is compatible with Thief Deadly Shadows



ckrobins
22nd Dec 2007, 02:57
Loved playing my way through Thief, Thief Gold, and Thief 2 on an old Pentium3 machine with Windows 98 SE.

I've finally gotten my hands on a "modern" PC - and I want to set it up for Thief Deadly Shadows. I'm already planning the memory upgrade (1 GB to 4), the OS upgrade (from XP Home to XP Pro), and the video adapter.

My new machine has a PCI-e slot for the video adapter. The list of supported and unsupported graphics cards that is printed on the game's case is at least 4 years old and I suspect that most of them had either PCI or AGP interfaces. I cannot tell from looking at that list which PCI-e cards (if any) are likely to work successfully with TDS. :scratch: It looks like support for PixelShader 1.1 was a requirement - but that may be standard equipment by now.

Are there PCI-e video adapter owners out there that will share info about which cards work and what to shop for?

Thanks for your help

Peter_Smith
22nd Dec 2007, 06:38
Thief TDS will work with any modern video card from modest to expensive variety. Do yourself a favor and don't get a really cheap one. You have not stated your budget, which is important.

The main issue for me is how Thief 2 plays, in view of the fact that it is much more popular than T3 and the hundreds of Fan Misssions that are coming out on an almost daily basis. If you are interested in T2, then there are some tricky decisions and things you need to consider.

For playing T2, my advice is to try to get a 7000 series Nvidia card or a 1900 series ATI card. All the Nvidia 8000 cards and the recent ATI cards (all DX-10 based cards) have very bad color rendering with T2.

A saving grace is a patch for T2 by Timeslip that works, sort of, for Nvidia 8000 cards but not ATI DX-10 cards. The 7000 series Nvidia cards do not have to use the patch, but certain textures such as sky are improved with the patch. With a 7000 series and T2, you have the choice to use Timeslip's patch (some textures including sky improved but no fog) or not (fog but bad sky). The ATI cards, on the other hand, do not have the bad sky problem but do have lousy fog and a couple of other little problems. It is a question of preference. All things considered, if it were me, I would get the following:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814143071

I have a 7950 GT (a different model no longer made), and it works great for me. This is my personal preference because T2 FMs are more important to me than modern games.

If, on the other hand, you are more interested in modern, graphic-intensive games, then I think your best bet is to buy the best Nvidia 8000 series you can afford. Then you will have to use Timeslip's patch to play T2 or it will look absolutely terrible. That patch has the disadvantage of having no fog whatsoever in T2, but that is the price you will have to pay if you want screaming performance.

So, it really depends on what your priorities are, how much you want to spend, and whether T2 is important to you. If T2 is not important to you now, it should be. :)

Another factor is that it is usually better to have one good card than two half price cards running in SLI mode. The former will perform better and have lower heat output. I would also stay away from the two-slot "high performance" variety because they run hot and their cooling is often noisy.

The DX-10 cards (Nvidia 8000, ATI 2900, etc.) may run OK with Vista, but I would stay away from Vista. Far, far, away. I think you have made the best choice with XP Pro SP2. I like to be behind the curve a bit. Vista is a mess.

That should give you a start. Post back with your budget and any further questions.

ckrobins
27th Dec 2007, 14:24
Thanks for your post, Peter. I've had some experience with buying cutting edge (maybe bleeding edge ;) ) computer equipment where I work. Hardware/software/OS's don't sync up right away, and some things become obsolete before they get fixed right. :( Because of those experiences, I have been reluctant to buy "the next big thing" for my home machine. I plan to go with a "last year's model", because I expect that most of the kinks will have been fixed. The budget I set for this card was $100-$150 and it looks like I'll need to go shopping for a DVI monitor as well. This is the card I have in mind: http://www.evga.com/products/pdf/256-P2-N751-AR.pdf
Does this look suitable to you?

Peter_Smith
27th Dec 2007, 18:56
The 8600 GT would not satisfy me. It will definitely work, but you will have very poor rendering with Thief 2 unless you use Timeslip's patch, which is a vast improvement, but still, it has no fog and some too-sharp textures. If decent Thief 2 rendering is something you want (and you should), then I would now recommend an ATI X1950 Pro (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814131055). My reason for changing horses from Nvidia 7950 GT to ATI between two posts a week apart is that ATI has just released drivers that solve their fog problem (http://forums.eidosgames.com/showthread.php?t=74406), something I did not know last week. Anandtech reports that a ATI X1950 Pro is significantly faster than an Nvidia 8600 GT (http://www.anandtech.com/showdoc.aspx?i=2975&p=3), and the price is not much different. The only concern is lack of DX-10 support. So it is a question of your priorities. My priorities are retro, with Thief 2 at the top of the list.

ckrobins
29th Dec 2007, 01:18
Thanks again, the ATI X1950 PRO will do nicely for what I had in mind - Newegg's price was pretty good too for a 512MB card. My next question may sound absurd to those who know more about DirectX than I do. I'm curious to know if support for DirectX 10 is something that had to be built into the hardware of the card from the start or whether a future software/firmware upgrade may make this card DirectX 10 capable?

Peter_Smith
29th Dec 2007, 23:14
I think it must be built in to the hardware. I am not aware of firmware upgrades that provide new capability. Sometimes a video card BIOS upgrade will tweak interfaces and correct bugs, but I do not think they add new capabilities, AFAIK.