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Getting Away With a Cheap Graphics Card

timothy posted about 6 years ago | from the time-value-of-money dept.

Graphics 290

theraindog writes "High-end graphics cards get all the glory, but most folks have a difficult time justifying $300 or more for a single PC component. But what if you could get reasonable performance in all the latest games from a budget card costing as little as $70? With game developers targeting the relatively modest hardware available in current consoles and trickle-down bringing cutting-edge features down to budget price points, today's low-end graphics cards are more capable than ever. To find out which one offers the best value proposition, The Tech Report has rounded up eight graphics cards between $70 and $170, comparing their game performance, Blu-ray playback acceleration, noise levels, and power consumption, with interesting results."

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Wow.... $170 is cheap? (4, Insightful)

EVil Lawyer (947367) | about 6 years ago | (#25161139)

Um, to me at least, $170 for a graphics card is not "cheap"...

Re:Wow.... $170 is cheap? (4, Informative)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | about 6 years ago | (#25161153)

It's the high end of cheap. $170 is going to get you a midrange graphics card, which, while not cheap in an absolute sense, is cheap compared to other graphics cards out there.

Cheapness always has to be compared to other objects in its class. Would you say a $170 car is not a cheap car? Of course not, because most cars are far more expensive than that. The idea is the same here.

Re:Wow.... $170 is cheap? (4, Insightful)

c_forq (924234) | about 6 years ago | (#25161195)

Still bullshit. By using your useless relative scale a new Jaguar is cheap, because it is way less than a Ferrari, Maserati, or Bugatti. (Dang it, I used a car analogy; enter moderation limbo).

Re:Wow.... $170 is cheap? (3, Informative)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | about 6 years ago | (#25161291)

Well, it's not my fault if you don't understand how this concept works. A Ferrari, Maserati, or Bugatti is so much more expensive than a normal car that they make the price curve look exponential. Graphics cards, by contrast, tend to have a pretty damned linear price curve. Price comparisons against the most expensive member of the class fail when that member is so expensive it completely fucks up the curve.

Re:Wow.... $170 is cheap? (4, Insightful)

c_forq (924234) | about 6 years ago | (#25161427)

While Ferrari and Bugatti may be out there the Maserati entry level is comparable with the high end of Jaguar, but my point is $170 is still a hell of a lot for the budget minded consumer, substantial for the budgeting consumer, and considerable for the consumer with a flexible budget.

Re:Wow.... $170 is cheap? (-1, Flamebait)

sortius_nod (1080919) | about 6 years ago | (#25161579)

$170 is nothing.

My last graphics card cost me $400. That was cheap.

The same people who cry about the price of components are also the same people that cry about performance.

It's a choice - spend big and get great performance, or spend small and get shitty performance.

Not like it's fucking rocket science.

Re:Wow.... $170 is cheap? (2, Insightful)

SnEptUne (1264814) | about 6 years ago | (#25161637)

For people who only use computers for school works, occasional videos, audio sequencing, and 2d games like wesnoth, even a $70 graphics card is an overkill. I don't see how that would be a "shitty" performance.

Re:Wow.... $170 is cheap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25161665)

If $70 is overkill, buy something cheaper. No one's forcing you to spend more than you want.

Re:Wow.... $170 is cheap? (4, Informative)

oddfox (685475) | about 6 years ago | (#25161713)

Then don't spend 70$ on a graphics card like this when you can easily get by spending 10-25$ at Newegg for something that suits your needs.

Price:

$10 - $25 (27)

$25 - $50 (125)

These are cards that are far more than you need for the tasks you mention.

Re:Wow.... $170 is cheap? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25162229)

Exactly. For the average user, integrated graphics work just fine. It's only gamers and video professionals who need more.

Re:Wow.... $170 is cheap? (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 6 years ago | (#25162023)

I wouldn't be surprised if the HD4650 is enough for kind of all games at mid settings and 1280x1024.

Re:Wow.... $170 is cheap? (5, Funny)

commodoresloat (172735) | about 6 years ago | (#25161951)

It's a choice - spend big and get great performance, or spend small and get shitty performance.

Not like it's fucking rocket science.

Let me get this straight -- in rocket science, you can spend small and get great performance?

Re:Wow.... $170 is cheap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25162025)

Not anymore. You used to be able to buy these cool model rocket kits, or even spare parts and solid fuel, but while there's still some available, I've heard the higher end choices were cut out by safety and liability legislation.

Re:Wow.... $170 is cheap? (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 6 years ago | (#25162029)

Just ask the russians! :D

Re:Wow.... $170 is cheap? (2, Informative)

nsayer (86181) | about 6 years ago | (#25162233)

Not quite. Rocketry is not unlike cars in this respect. There are three choices: price, performance and reliability. You can pick at most 2.

Re:Wow.... $170 is cheap? (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 6 years ago | (#25162017)

But then it's the best of them as well, you can still get the card which I've only seen in the article yet, the HD4670, or if $60 is to much for you something like a 7600 GT or 8600 GT or something such, maybe, or something used. HD4850 is really nice, and I guess it may be one of those more expensive cards, haven't read it thru yet as I said.

HD4870 is the same GPU but with higher clock and GDDR5, Hd4870X2 beats everything there is (?) and has two of the same GPUs on one card.

And so far from the article it looks like the 4650 is more or less the same GPU as well except with less processors (and probably lower clock rate and slower memory.)

Re:Wow.... $170 is cheap? (1)

i_liek_turtles (1110703) | about 6 years ago | (#25161359)

If you need a loan to buy your graphics card, you may be doing it wrong.

Not that you can get the loan at this point in time, anyway.

Re:Wow.... $170 is cheap? (2)

Migity (1199059) | about 6 years ago | (#25161383)

Hmmm...I wonder if he's ever heard of saving?

Re:Wow.... $170 is cheap? (3, Funny)

i_liek_turtles (1110703) | about 6 years ago | (#25161409)

That sounds like the words of a <i>terrorist</i>.<br><br>Why do you hate America?

Re:Wow.... $170 is cheap? (3, Insightful)

c_forq (924234) | about 6 years ago | (#25161477)

I have, and have used the concept to acquire many things I highly enjoy. However you still could not convince me to save up for a high-end luxury car rather than the car I drive today (bought with savings, not with financing). On the same sentiment, I was able to be convinced to buy a (refurbished) MacBook Pro rather than a Macbook; there are many times the upgrades are worth the time/convenience - I understand this but still don't see how the $170 card falls into the "cheap" category.

Re:Wow.... $170 is cheap? (0, Flamebait)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | about 6 years ago | (#25161611)

Because compared to the 'good' cards, it's less than 1/2 the price people pay to game.

Quit being an uptight prick about word usage.

I paid $340 for my 8800GTS when it was new and I paid $320 for my x800 AIW when it was new. $170 IS cheap compared to those prices.

Re:Wow.... $170 is cheap? (1)

MrMista_B (891430) | about 6 years ago | (#25162013)

How else to you expect people to compare different things, other than by comparing them to things that are... different?

Seriously, comparing two things that are identical in every way would be a waste of time.

How else do you want them to compare graphics cards? By... not comparing them?

Re:Wow.... $170 is cheap? (0, Offtopic)

MojoMagic (669271) | about 6 years ago | (#25162105)

On either scale yo' mama's still cheap. Even in the back seat of yo' Bugatti.

... It had to be said.

Re:Wow.... $170 is cheap? (2, Insightful)

MojoMagic (669271) | about 6 years ago | (#25162251)

To be honest... I would have marked *myself* down for that one. It was a cheap shot.

Re:Wow.... $170 is cheap? (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 6 years ago | (#25161237)

It's the high end of cheap. $170 is going to get you a midrange graphics card, which, while not cheap in an absolute sense, is cheap compared to other graphics cards out there.

It's also the low end of expensive. Not expensive in an absolute sense, but expensive compared to many other highly capable graphics cards out there.

Your analogy fails me... (1, Offtopic)

argent (18001) | about 6 years ago | (#25161329)

Would you say a $170 car is not a cheap car?

If a $170 graphics card can handle my 60 mile commute as well as my van, I'll order two tomorrow.

Re:Wow.... $170 is cheap? (1)

maglor_83 (856254) | about 6 years ago | (#25161629)

Would you say a $170 car is not a cheap car?

I'd say it was asking for trouble.

Re:Wow.... $170 is cheap? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about 6 years ago | (#25161189)

This is why graphics for linux is adequate, but not great: the developers think $300 is a good price for a graphics card, and get tired of them and upgrade when they age to under $200.

Re:Wow.... $170 is cheap? (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 6 years ago | (#25162111)

More likely I expect them to code the game so that it will be "playable" technology-wise for as long as possible / as many people as possible. So they try to make the low ugly settings still playable on old crap, but still make it so the highest settings can hardly or can't be used on even the newest cards. That way someone can buy and still enjoy the game one year later and think it looks nice.

If the highest settings was designed for old crap the hard core gamers and future consumers would diss the game because it looked so bad. (Screenshots and hype from them is probably a huuuge selling point for many of the more popular titles.)

Re:Wow.... $170 is cheap? (1)

Z34107 (925136) | about 6 years ago | (#25162385)

The other problem is that games can easily take upwards of 4 years to develop. (Studios have been seeking venture capital to start writing a game, for cryin' out loud.)

But... do you want your game to have 4-year-old graphics? To look dated before it's even released?

There's not really a good solution to that. People I've talked to (many years ago) and the internets say that you can A) design your game to kick the shit out of everything available today, because that will be "midrange" by the time your game is actually released and B) try to push the graphics engine and art assets as far down the development line as possible. Get basic stuff together, make your levels and your story, and at the very end use all of the shiny technology available at once!

Not sure how things have changed, or if any of those actually work. Maybe someone living the dream can chime in.

Re:Wow.... $170 is cheap? (4, Interesting)

FuturePastNow (836765) | about 6 years ago | (#25161305)

Luckily, for people like you and me, there are cards closer to $70 than $170.

I actually read that Tech Report article earlier today, and I've read a couple of other reviews of the 4670. It looks really good, especially considering that it's a small card with no extra power connector.

Of course, my needs aren't very high- the #1 game I'm looking forward to is Starcraft 2- but I'd still like to be able to play at the native res of my 24" monitor.

Re:Wow.... $170 is cheap? (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 6 years ago | (#25162137)

Warcraft III have scaled very well, I could play it on my GF2 Pro in low 800x600 or something such (and it would lag in tower defence or maybe when there was lots of casters) and now I have a 8800m GT and play in OS X so I still have to run it at medium 1280x1024 or something such to make sure it don't get to slow in bigger fights. In Windows I could probably run it at high and 1440x900.

I expect starcraft 2 to be similar, so if you want 1920x1200 with everything at high and be able to handle 200 units fights maybe you need something quite good.

$70 is cheap? (1)

j1m+5n0w (749199) | about 6 years ago | (#25161323)

I don't thing $70 is cheap for a graphics card, but I'm a tightwad and don't play a lot of games. (I do a bit of graphics programming, but it's all ray tracing and the GPU doesn't help for that.)

Re:$70 is cheap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25161499)

At this point I wouldn't pay $70 for a computer. I've also never needed anything beyond onboard video.

Re:$70 is cheap? (1)

SnEptUne (1264814) | about 6 years ago | (#25161667)

Ray tracing can use a lot of help using GPU accelerations, such as the GPU' vextex shader etc... Whether it is worth the trouble, I don't know.

Re:$70 is cheap? (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 6 years ago | (#25162151)

A normal new game cost what? $50? More maybe? Things like warhammer and such is subscription based. If you really do spend some time playing games which would require a half-decent card how can you NOT afford $70?

13 months of warhammer over here would cost $300, it's not worth it to pay $70 for decent graphics in the game then?

Re:Wow.... $170 is cheap? (2, Interesting)

purpledinoz (573045) | about 6 years ago | (#25162271)

$170 used to be cheap, when all other components were quite a lot more expensive. But today $170 would probably make it the most expensive component (maybe next to the CPU).

Re:Wow.... $170 is cheap? (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 6 years ago | (#25162563)

Nah, you can get CPUs for around $100 easily.

The OS would be the next most expensive component, if you used Windows.

Re:Wow.... $170 is cheap? (1)

spotter (5662) | about 6 years ago | (#25162409)

eh, there were deals at amazon a month ago for the 8800 GT for $80. That's considered a relatively high mid range card.

http://forums.slickdeals.net/showthread.php?t=907667 [slickdeals.net]

who gauges what acceptable performance is? (3, Informative)

DragonTHC (208439) | about 6 years ago | (#25161157)

It's subjective, and I can't really justify spending $500 on a video card, but I still want to.

I have bought high end cards for over a decade. I've been happy with all of the except the first. I originally bought an ATI Rage128 card before they came out from buy.com. The product didn't ship on time, and so I waited six months (buy.com was happy to take my $160), and I got an obsolete product. After that I got my first geforce 2 card. And the rest is history. I'm an nVidia fanboy and I'm not ashamed of it.

Those who spend that much money on a single component are usually going to spend a lot more on the rest. There's nothing worse than a yugo with a chevy 350 big block in it (to use a car analogy).

If you don't want to sped that much, you will get far less performance than me. And that makes a lot of difference to the experience of gaming.

Re:who gauges what acceptable performance is? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25161327)

There's nothing worse than a yugo with a chevy 350 big block in it (to use a car analogy).

1) A 350 is a small block.
2) Built correctly, such a combination would scream, but very little of it would be from the former Yugoslsavia.

Re:who gauges what acceptable performance is? (2, Informative)

kimvette (919543) | about 6 years ago | (#25161509)

a 350 can also be a 32 valve Lotus-designed mercury Marine-built engine whose outside dimensions is as large as a rat motor, that found its way into 9,939 production Corvettes. =)

A Yugo w a screaming smallblock Chevy is awesome. (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 6 years ago | (#25161437)

Vacuum cleaner...Mouse.

Garbage disposal...Mouse.

Golf cart...Mouse.

Lawn mower...Mouse.

Go Cart...Mouse.

350SL gull wing...Mouse.

Mini cooper...Mouse.

Real Car or truck...Rat.

Granted your going to replace the whole drive train.

It will wind up with RWD like God intended it to be.

Re:who gauges what acceptable performance is? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25162555)

There's nothing worse than a yugo with a chevy 350 big block in it (to use a car analogy).

How about chevy with yugo engine?

Do a little more price checking first! (5, Informative)

GlobalColding (1239712) | about 6 years ago | (#25161161)

Prices on graphic cards have been plummeting, both due to the overall memory prices dropping fast and because of the huge saturation of inventories in the market. Cards that few months ago were going for $300+ have been getting blown up for under $100. So before you compromise, make sure you do your due dilligence and check price engines like google shopping or pricewatch, you will be surprised how far your buck travels these days. Also, don't bother with brick and mortar retailers, they turn their inventory slower and their best deals are still month or so behind and usually involve some mail in rebates.

Re:Do a little more price checking first! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25161519)

Truth! There are a ton of great video card deals [dealmein.net] running.

Hmmm (3, Informative)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about 6 years ago | (#25161179)

My Radeon X1650 has no trouble playing 1920x1080 movies, and it cost around $50.

Re:Hmmm (4, Funny)

jd (1658) | about 6 years ago | (#25161205)

Well, not many movies came out in 1920. Even fewer in 1080 - the Norman cameramen could never grasp the fact they needed to hold the camera straight.

Re:Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25162503)

They held their bows steady enough and for $50 you could feed an army for a month.

Re:Hmmm (1)

failedlogic (627314) | about 6 years ago | (#25161575)

I bought an AGP Powercolor ATI 3650 card two months ago. It cost me $90. I can play most modern games at 1280x1024 at good detail w/ 2x AA. As a really casual gamer, this is more than adequate. I can't tell much of the difference anyways. HD video is pretty good but some of it is CPU/memory bound - which is my problem 2.4 Xeon, 1 GB Ram. Still not bad when you consider an AGP card can still run most modern games.

Re:Hmmm (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 6 years ago | (#25162225)

With 2 GB of vram low bus bandwidth isn't as much of a factor as it was back when you had 4 or 8 MB ...

Re:Hmmm (1)

justinlee37 (993373) | about 6 years ago | (#25161899)

no trouble playing 1920x1080 movies

There isn't a video card on the market today that can't play high-res movies. "Movies" are very, very basic tasks for a video output device.

In summary, tell us something about your video card that means something.

P.S. Now, if you said that your monitor had a native resolution of 1920x1080 or higher, I'd be impressed. Mine's native res is 1680x1050, and it's big. Real big.

Re:Hmmm (1)

Petrushka (815171) | about 6 years ago | (#25162131)

The GP was commenting on the second paragraph of TFA --

What if, through the magic of technological progress, dropping 80 bucks on a video card could get you a GPU that will slice through the latest games with relative ease? What if it could help decode HD video streams perfectly, even on a slow CPU? If such a beast existed,...

-- and was pointing out exactly the same thing that you did: that it is difficult to walk five steps without falling over as many such beasts.

Not everyone feels a deep-seated emotional need to boast of the power of their video card, or the size of their monitor, you know.

Re:Hmmm (1)

Datamonstar (845886) | about 6 years ago | (#25162135)

CRT, my friend.

Depends on how you justify the price (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25161181)

My 8800 GTS (512MB G92) was $330 almost a year ago. This card can run pretty much anything out there on max or near-max settings and should be good for 3 or 4 years minimum. You're going to be buying at least three of those $100 cards to keep usable performance over that period as new games come out that that's just "usable" performance. With a card like mine at least I get to enjoy a couple years playing with high-end settings before newer stuff starts crushing it. With $100 cards you never get to do that (at least not with new games).

Failing the spork test? (1)

argent (18001) | about 6 years ago | (#25161213)

I guess, technically, I should say it's a "512 MiB" card, but I'd rather claw my eye out with a fork.

Wow, MiB is failing the spork test.

Re:Failing the spork test? (1, Insightful)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | about 6 years ago | (#25161351)

512 MiB would be an awe-inspiring sight. They look so damn bad-ass in those black suits!

And yeah, MiB is a fucking retarded term for storage capacity. The old way has worked beautifully for forever, and I'm not about to change my habits because some metric purists got upset about it.

Re:Failing the spork test? (1)

Zorque (894011) | about 6 years ago | (#25161733)

That, or hard drive company apologists who are trying to make it okay that we buy 200 gigabytes and get sold 200000000 bytes.

Either way, I hate the MiB.

Re:Failing the spork test? (4, Insightful)

Cochonou (576531) | about 6 years ago | (#25162129)

Be careful, MB might have worked good in retail space as "everyone except hard drives manufacturers" knew what it was supposed to mean, but it didn't work as well in engineering space as soon as you mixed storage space (power 2) with data transfert rates (power 10). A MP3 encoded at 128 Kb/s is encoded at 128000 b/s, not 131072 b/s.
So, regardless of the fact they were coined rather abruptly, I find the whole Ki / Mi / etc prefixes to be a rather good move forward.

Re:Failing the spork test? (2, Insightful)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | about 6 years ago | (#25162277)

I find the whole Ki / Mi / etc prefixes to be a rather good move forward.

I disagree. If we have a problem with the units of measurement being disparate, we should reconcile them, not split them into two. Not to mention that the Ki/Mi/etc prefixes sound like baby talk, which makes me want to smack whoever came up with them upside the head.

Blu Ray acceleration? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25161407)

Who's going to be shopping for budget graphic cards on any system with a Blu Ray player?

Fir*st post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25161431)

are the imporTant

What is this bullshit? (5, Funny)

Seriman (775126) | about 6 years ago | (#25161491)

The 8600GT 512 has been available for a while now, I have one myself, and it was ~$120. They're even cheaper these days. That card can handle about anything you care to throw at it, unless you're running Vista, at which point you shouldn't care about the cost, because you're already paying Mistress Xanthia hundreds per month to kick you in the beans.

Re:What is this bullshit? (1)

HeronBlademaster (1079477) | about 6 years ago | (#25161561)

I've been buying GeForce 9500 GT 512s at work for ~$70 each, before rebates. Those things pack a great punch for the price...

Re:What is this bullshit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25161615)

I have one of those, and it's positively the absolute very worst video card I've EVER owned. No more nvidia trash for me, I've been burned one too many times by them.

Garbage unstable drivers causing tons of various issues, deceiving 3D performance, non-working H.264 hardware decoding, etc. Not counting all the stories lately about their GPU chips failing in large quantities.

Those 8800GTs (3, Interesting)

iteyoidar (972700) | about 6 years ago | (#25161503)

I don't really keep up with video cards except when I'm trying to buy one ever 3 or 4 years, but those 8800GTs are like $100 and can run just about anything. $100 isn't cheap but for a card that will let you play every game out right isn't bad, especially when getting that last 10-20% performance increase bumps your price up a few hundred dollars

Re:Those 8800GTs (4, Interesting)

Kargan (250092) | about 6 years ago | (#25162257)

Yep, I just bought a factory overclocked 8800GT (ZOTAC Amp! Edition, to be specific) for $117 a couple of weeks ago. It does indeed run Crysis, COD4, Assassin's Creed, etc. at very high quality and framerates. And NVIDIA just released driver update 178.13 today, with the following changes:

# WHQL-certified driver for GeForce 6-series, 7-series, 8-series, 9-series, and 200-series GPUs, including the newly released GeForce 9800 GTX+, 9800 GT, 9500 GT, and 9400 GT GPUs.
# Adds support for NVIDIA PhysX acceleration on all GeForce 8-series, 9-series and 200-series GPUs with a minimum of 256MB dedicated graphics memory (this driver package installs NVIDIA PhysX System Software v8.09.04).
# Experience GPU PhysX acceleration in several full games and demos today by downloading the GeForce Power Pack.
# Adds support for 2-way NVIDIA SLI technology with GeForce GTX 200-series GPUs on Intel® D5400XS motherboards.
# Supports single GPU and NVIDIA SLI(TM) technology* on DirectX 9 and OpenGL.
# Supports CUDA(TM).
# Supports Folding@home distributing computing application. Download the high performance client for NVIDIA GPUs here and join the NVIDIA team: #131015.
# Supports GPU overclocking and temperature monitoring by installing NVIDIA System Tools software.
# Includes several 3D application performance improvements. The following are examples of improvements measured with v178.13 WHQL versus v175.19 WHQL driver:

        * Single GPU increases up to 11% in 3DMark Vantage (performance preset)
        * Single GPU increases up to 11% in Assassin's Creed DX10
        * Single GPU increases up to 15% in Bioshock DX10
        * Single GPU increases up to 15% in Call of Duty 4
        * Single GPU increases up to 8% in Enemy Territory: Quake Wars
        * 2-way SLI increases up to 7% in Bioshock DX10
        * 2-way SLI increases up to 10% in Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts DX10
        * 2-way SLI increases up to 12% in Enemy Territory: Quake Wars
        * 2-way SLI increases up to 10% in World in Conflict DX10

# Includes numerous 3D application compatibility fixes. Please read the release notes for more information on product support, features, driver fixes and known compatibility issues.

Lucid's GPU-agnostic load balancer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25162387)

It's not out yet, but Lucid's GPU-agnostic load balancer [techreport.com] should work wonderfully with a couple of 8800GT cards, better than SLI in many cases since it extracts much more parallelism.

I never spend more than (4, Funny)

mandark1967 (630856) | about 6 years ago | (#25161551)

$700 for a video card solution. Unless I'm going SLI, then it's like $1200 or so for two cards because you gotta get 'em the day they're released...NOT after the inevitable price drop. Of course, you gotta throw in extra for the water blocks and pump, and tubes, and reservoir and such, so in reality I never spend more than like $850 each...Unless I am buying for my Tri-SLI capable board...then it's like $2450, and add like $250 for a 1200watt PSU and like $550 for three water blocks and stuff, so it's like close to, but under $3000 for video cards...wait...why is there only Raman Noodles in the cupboard?

Re:I never spend more than (1)

Soulshift (1044432) | about 6 years ago | (#25162215)

why is there only Raman Noodles in the cupboard?

Because the store was out of Ramen? :)

Re:I never spend more than (1)

justleavealonemmmkay (1207142) | about 6 years ago | (#25162255)

Why is there only Raman Noodles in the cupboard?

Because your budget was inelastically scattered towards buying video cards.

Re:I never spend more than (1)

Molochi (555357) | about 6 years ago | (#25162319)

LOL, I hear ya.

I recently picked up an Ati4850 because...

It's a single slot card.
It works on a 500W PSU
It's quiet.
It'll probably run every game well for at least 2 years.
I like eating Ribeyes and drinking good Scotch.

Re:I never spend more than (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | about 6 years ago | (#25162485)

Of course, you gotta throw in extra for the water blocks and pump, and tubes, and reservoir and such,

does it need tubes so you can get the internet on it?

&bit3h (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25161567)

Preferrably with an 'Yes' to any A losing baatle; [tux.org]? Are you

maybe we wait? (1)

floatingrunner (621481) | about 6 years ago | (#25161573)

that is perhaps one luxury of not caring about gaming graphics. you KNOW that companies will try to crank things up to the highest and it WILL continue to do so. so why bother with some hardware that will eventually go obsolete within the 3 months just to enjoy some game that will wow you for a short period of time? if the game has its appleal. it will stay.. i still play some of the old games because it's well designed; and by now, i am able to crank the graphics up (i have to as a matter of fact).

IXBT roundup (1)

igny (716218) | about 6 years ago | (#25161577)

For those who can read Russian IXBT [ixbt.com] has graphic card roundups updated quite regularly.Among other things it compares performance/price and potential longevity of the cards. To understand the comparison tables you do not even need Russian.

appropriate timing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25161647)

appropriate timing to be thinking about cheap graphics cards... as the entire world economy swirls down the toilet because of bad mortgages...

790gx and 780g with side port ram are good for bas (2, Informative)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | about 6 years ago | (#25161653)

790gx and 780g with side port ram are good for basic video work / vista and you can add $50 card for a boost as well. Also they cost less then Intel board that cost more and are slower with poor divers that use system ram.

Vista Runs Well Using Anything! (1)

mrSteveBallmer (1345863) | about 6 years ago | (#25161655)

Those who say otherwise are liars! http://fakesteveballmer.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

Re:Vista Runs Well Using Anything! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25162101)

And you're a cheap knock off spammer asshole. The fake Steve Jobs was kinda clever, you are just a scum sucking asshole. Get a real job. You fucking wannabe chair slinger.

This has worked for me all the time in fact... (2, Interesting)

holywarrior21c (933929) | about 6 years ago | (#25161671)

Before i switched to ppc-mac/xbox 360 few years ago, i owned a self-built PC with cheapest functional hardware. what i did was getting a used parts from ebay. i got new graphics card for $30 in order to play WOW because the old one couldn't render 3D graphics so WOW looked like a mozaic slush. I was never fond of spending too much money on gaming so i looked for alternative; XBOX 360. Cheap. no upgrade required. no installation. being a busy university student and having number of part time jobs going on , i barely find time to play games and money to buy new titles. Yet, this has made me to be the best player around me because i play one title for long time. so, even if i suck at most of the games, i have name among my friends. being a fan of game doesn't mean that you need latest $4000ailienware pc. and i have tone of things to make up for and brand new pc comes least priority on my list. in fact, i didn't have that in my list.

Noise (1)

seeker_1us (1203072) | about 6 years ago | (#25161813)

I very much like that they looked at noise in this article.

Quite simply, most of the cards didn't register above the ~40 dB volume threshold of our sound level meter

One of the things that makes me shy away from the new top of the line graphics cards is the very loud cooling systems they put on them. Lower performance is actually more attractive if it means my computer doesn't sound like a hairdrier.

Built in graphics w/1080p HDMI performs great (1)

viking80 (697716) | about 6 years ago | (#25161837)

I just bought a GIGABYTE GA-EG45M-DS2H motherboard with built in Intel G45 graphics with the 45nm Intel Core 2 Duo E7200 Wolfdale @ 2.53GHz.

The price is about $120 each and the system overclocks easily to 3.5GHz.

It has an HDMI 1080p output and digital surround.

Works just fine for gaming and HD movies. And best of all, with the money saved, I can buy a new computer every 6 month, rather than building an expensive computer and upgrade in 2 years.

This setup also works great with no HD receiver and other external boxes except the speakers and amp.

PS: Get at least DDR2 1066 memory so this part will not hamper your overclocking effort

Re:Built in graphics w/1080p HDMI performs great (1)

Lulfas (1140109) | about 6 years ago | (#25162153)

You're not playing any games at any resolution that matters with any settings that matter with that integrated piece of crap. Movies are easy to run for a decent GPU, so that's really nothing special.

Craigslist much? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25161867)

A friend and I have been scouring our local craigslists for 8800gt's. They pop up more often than not for ~$80-100 and almost match the performance of the new 'high end' GTX260. So they wont play Crysis @ 1920x1200? No big deal.

They still beat the heck out of most anything else you can get for that price. The little niche they have may not last more than the next year or so, but for the time being, if you dont mind buying used hardware, it's a great deal that can hardly be matched by the deals they have listed in TFA

Hardware outpacing software (1)

rastoboy29 (807168) | about 6 years ago | (#25161961)

When it comes to games, hardware has been outpacing the ability of software to actually ustilize it for several years.  That's why when I started my game, I decided to actually use everything I had; and sure enough, I've overheated a few cpu's and graphics cards of unsuspecting players (not permanently, of course!).

It's very high poly and is a "big room" game, which takes lotsa gpu and cpu both.  And one day, when it's finished (in a decade?) it'll be playable on a modest machine :-)

Re:Hardware outpacing software (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25162413)

I think after you discover binary space partitioning, and automatic variable detail, your performance "problems" will go away.

Cooling (4, Insightful)

Detritus (11846) | about 6 years ago | (#25161997)

I'd like to see more graphics cards with passive cooling. Every time I see one of these cards with a big honking fan on it, I wonder how long it will last and whether it is even possible to replace the fan if it fails.

AGP Card? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25162097)

I just got myself an ATI HD 3850 AGP card from Sapphire and I daresay that this card is the best AGP card ever made. It costs 125-130$ on newegg.com. I upgraded from an X1950Pro and the frame rate bump is noticeable in many games.

Back when the 6800gt came out, I paid 325$ for the card. I'd call what I paid for the 3850 cheap. Considering it will be the last midrange-highend AGP card that will ever be made, yes there are cards that are cheap and you can get away with.

No, there's cheaper ones. (2, Informative)

MostAwesomeDude (980382) | about 6 years ago | (#25162133)

I feel like I'm plugging myself, but the Radeon X1950 is a massively capable card, and is available for as little as $60-70. It's also fully accelerated with the open-source driver stack as of Mesa 7.1. (I'm currently on one, running Compiz Fusion with Xserver 1.5. It's good times.)

These kids these days... (1)

snikulin (889460) | about 6 years ago | (#25162157)

Zork achieves 18.425 +/-0.500 fps on my Hercules!

"Trickle-down?" (2, Insightful)

hdon (1104251) | about 6 years ago | (#25162235)

Am I the only person who found this to be a *really* strange turn of phrase?

With game developers targeting the relatively modest hardware available in current consoles and trickle-down bringing cutting-edge features down to budget price points, today's low-end graphics cards are more capable than ever.

Dual head (1)

tqft (619476) | about 6 years ago | (#25162239)

I want to run 2 monitors.

I currently just use the onboard (intel) graphics chip & no I don't play games and yes I run linux.

Options a) a dual head video card
                b) can I cheap out and use a cheap ass card to drive the 2nd monitor & still use the onboard chip?

If $170 is cheap... (2, Interesting)

Judinous (1093945) | about 6 years ago | (#25162283)

I managed to pick up an HD4870 from Newegg this week for $200 with a combo deal on a motherboard that I was going to get anyway. If the high end is only $200, I think that they'd be hard-pressed to call $170 a budget card. Then again, maybe it was just a really good deal.

Getting Away With a Cheap Graphics Card ? (1, Troll)

goose-incarnated (1145029) | about 6 years ago | (#25162295)

Shoplift it.

MSI return policy worked great for me (2, Informative)

Simpsoid (1087767) | about 6 years ago | (#25162307)

July last year saw me splurge out on a new box. At the time I got an MSI GeForce 768MB O/Clocked 8800GTX. It cost me a decent chuck of the final PC price ($820 AUD).
This card was beautiful. It just ate up every game I threw at it smoothly and perfectly. Running at 1920 resolution on my 26 inch Acer.
A year later my PC died whilst playing HL2. Turns out that between my GFX card and Sound card was a small little firewire chip that controlled the 1 firewire port at the back (that I had an external HDD plugged to with all my mp3s).
The poor little chip got so worked up after 6 or so hours of gaming and simultaneously listening to music that it burnt out.
Needless to say it fried a few components in my system. Graphics card, RAM and motherboard.
It took many months for Asus to replace my board (as they didn't sell them anymore).
However MSI quickly replaced my video card. Upon handing in the card I learnt that it was old stock and no longer produced.
I was quite anxious to learn what I would get back. However 4 weeks later (ok so that part wasn't great) they returned to me a brand new 1GB MSI GeForce 9800 GX2 (SLI on the one board).
I was extremely happy as I got a great, more powerful, newer generation of card replaced for my faulty card for free.

What's your time worth? (1, Redundant)

syousef (465911) | about 6 years ago | (#25162323)

I'm out of the house 13 hours a day 5 days a week. I get home and I have chores and a new born to deal with.

When I get to play a game, I don't want to play the crap games at 640x480. Also my game genre of choice flight simulation. Sure you can get away with a cheap crappy video card...if you like stick figures.

If you buy a cheaper car, it usually still gets you from A to B. However you don't buy a cheaper car if you're planning o haul a large boat. Its not suitable. Likewise light weight graphics cards aren't suitable for some tasks. Cheap graphics cards are fine if you're not into games or high end CAD/Photo/Video editing.

Not a single word about Overclocking ... (1)

citizenr (871508) | about 6 years ago | (#25162339)

Overclocking is the Key to successful gameplay on a cheap. Overclocked 9600GSO beats the crap out of 9600GT for example, but you cant see that in this crappy "test" :(.

Comparison to older cards? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25162421)

I wish these reviews would give comparisons to older cards so people thinking about upgrading could tell how much of a performance increase they're getting for their money. As it is these data are pretty meaningless to me.

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