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Old 09-12-2005, 10:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Tough dilemma! (upgrading GFX+Sound cards)

Hello everyone!

Recently I received a 75 USD gift card for Best Buy. Gleefully I ran to the store in hopes of finding a video card and a sound card upgrade. I handed the associate my current PC specs (listed below) and listened to his recommendation. He recommended:

Video Card: ATI RadeonX 700 (or 850) PRO (AGP Slot) - 200 & 250 USD respectively

Sound Card: Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi - 130 USD

I went home and tried to gather some word-of-mouth. My acquittance immediately started ragging on ATI's bad drivers and configuration software as well as lack of support. They also busted on Creative for their lack of significantly updated chips. Perhaps those folks are fools, but they presented the following similarly priced and similarly powerful alternatives:

Video Card: GeForce 6600 (or 6800) GT

Sound Card: Audigy 2ZS

------------------------------

Here in are my dilemmas two. The first is that I don't know if Best Buy carries the aforementioned GeForce and Audigy cards (and I really want to spend the free 75 USD). The second is that, while the superiority of GeForce drivers and Audigy technology was touted to me, I have no way to compare the products for what is best for me. The numbers, just as the goggles, do nothing! What exactly do I do on my PC? The usual bit of gaming. I play MMOs (WoW/GW) and am looking forward to Half Life 2 and Brothers in Arms. I don't do any video editing - I only watch DVDs.

If any of you fine gents or ladies would care to advise me on which video card and which sound card I should settle on, I will... well... I'd be very happy and grateful. Below are my current PC specs as taken from Belarc. If I missed something, please tell me!
  • Dell Computer Corporation DIM4400
  • Board: Intel Corporation D845PT AAA67834-304
  • 1.70 gigahertz Intel Pentium 4
  • 768 Megabytes Installed Memory
  • NVIDIA GeForce3 Ti 200 [Display adapter]
  • Creative SB Live! series

Well, hopefully that covers it. Apologies for the long post and I look forward to reading your replies!

Edit: Forgot to mention - my budget is (roughly)325 USD cash and 75 USD gift card for a 400 USD total on PC upgrades.
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Old 09-12-2005, 11:11 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Nope. Neither of the ATI cards will be able to sufficently hack those games. Creative, I have no problems with, but I'm far from well educated on that matter. Your friend is right; the 6600 or 6800 would be a better choice.

BTW, being that this is a DELL , have you ensured that it actually has an AGP or PCI-E slot to expand with for a video card.
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Old 09-13-2005, 12:01 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Alright, that goes along with what I was considering earlier - e.g. leaning towards a GeForce card. If anyone would like to provide more information on the cards (I understand there are the GX and NU variants of the 6600/6800?) I'd greatly appreciate it.

As for the Dell, I haven't cracked the case to check exclusively, but I'm guessing that there's an AGP slot that is being used for the existing video card?
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Old 09-13-2005, 01:40 AM   #4 (permalink)
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How old is your PC, with that low a clock speed i'm guessing it is most likely agp port. Give the ATI's a miss, go for a geforce 6 series, like a 6600gt ignore the NX or anything else like that they are just experimentations in the cards. When Nvidia releases the 3 main cores _ normal, Gt, GTX or Ultra stick with those three, they are the best gauges for performance.

Just one thing you do need to check is the Power Supply, your computer wasn't probably built with the intentions of housing video cards demanding heaps of electricity to run. Just check that out.... BIG ISSUE, if your power supply cannot handle the video card, you can damage your computer, the recommended wattage according to Nvidia and ATI is that they need 300 watts (BS!!! They don't know jack) realistically you need a 350 or even 400 watt supply.

Don't buy from best buy. get your sound card from bestbuy with some cash and the voucher but instead see if you can your video card from another source like newegg. WHen buying a sound card, check if you want THX support (they make you pay big time for that) because you need THX speakers specifically to support THX sound (ANd they cost a packet!!!) If you want quality sound either check this outhttp://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage....=1118841165481
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Old 09-13-2005, 01:57 AM   #5 (permalink)
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You can buy an audigy 2ZS but what you save you can spend on a topnotch videocard. THat will really increase gaming potential, sound is part of the expeirence but your computer won't come crashing to halts if you don't have the latest sound cards, it will with video cards though. Check out this at newegg... http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814150102

Bang! there you go 291. Videocard+ 80 sound card= 370 or so.... and that will last you...

If you wanna go down the 6600gt look at the http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814127150
The reason i recommend this is because unlike the others you get a decent Software package inlcuding Prince of Persia and some decent otherstuff. Plus a $30 rebate it brings it back to 150, which is the same as the other cards. Value! , that comes to 180+80=260 (maybe then you could buy an audigy2zs if you want to.

THe best performance would be the 6800GT by far, but it just depends on how much you want to spend on each, even look at a 6800 card like thishttp://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814150106
which with the rebate is even cheaper than the 6600Gt just without the neat little applications and game bundle, though....

Good luck and i hope this helps you out, if you need more help just give me a PM.... Bye (Stick with the NewEgg for your card, you canadians and americans have it so lucky with newegg. Australia is crap for PC Parts!!!!!)
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Old 09-13-2005, 02:01 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Plus Best Buy is charging 359 for a 6800GT. which is completely outta hand just look at the website www.bestbuy.com
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Old 09-13-2005, 07:40 AM   #7 (permalink)
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BTW the x700 costs me less than 100$ CDN to get up here, and you Americans should also be able to find it under 100$ USD

The Creative X-FI is the newer version of the audigy as well...
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Old 09-30-2005, 08:54 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks for all the help guys!

To answer some previous questions - my computer is about three years old. I don't know what kinf of power supply I have and I'm not sure how to really find out. I will try peeking into the case later tonight to see if there are any markings. Since it's a Dell power supply it's covered by that green plastic, e.t.c. :P

As for my choices, I want to be as careful as I can. I noted down the prices for the newegg.com Geforce cards and will comparison shop a bit. Most likely, however, I will buy the sound card from Best Buy (either the Audigy 4 or the Audigy 2ZS) without THX support. Then I will do a bit more research and select the appropriate gfx card. My choice will have to depend on available power supply (I'm not sure if I will be able to replace it) and budget. Also I'm really curious - what's the difference between these two cards?

XFX PVT40AUDF3 Geforce 6800GT 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 AGP 4X/8X Video Card

XFX PVT40KNDD3 Geforce 6800 128MB 256-bit DDR AGP 4X/8X Video Card

The price of the first is about 300 and the second is about 160. Whoa :P
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Old 10-02-2005, 01:04 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Well, I guess I have some even better news. I recently received another Best Buy gift card, this one worth $150.00 for a total of $225.00 I can spend there. It will definetly be a tough choice, picking between the Audigy 4 or Audigy 2ZS, considering I still have the 2.1 speakers that shipped with my Dell PC.

Been browsing through newegg as well, trying to find the best match for a graphics card. Are software bundles really that important? I mean, if it's just the card, will it still come with the necessery equipment (drivers, wires) to set it up?
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Old 10-03-2005, 06:18 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Eugi
I mean, if it's just the card, will it still come with the necessery equipment (drivers, wires) to set it up?
yep
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