Best fitting video card: NVIDIA (which brand?) or ATI (Sapphire)?


Andrea Sansottera

Hi all, I have the following system:

2 x Pentium III 866 MHz
1 GB of RDRAM PC600 with ECC
1 x 18.2 GB SCSI hard drive spinning at 10,000 rpm
4X (AGP 2.0) slot
375W PSU

I'd like to play Guild Wars, watching videos and doing photo editing.

Right now, I have a 3DLabs Oxygen GVX1 video card (nearly $ 1000 dollars
back in 1999 or 2000). It's an high quality card and offers an excellent
video quality and color fidelity. Anyway, it's an old card and not compliant
even with DirectX 8.0.

On the other hand I've a GeForce MX 440 with 64 MB of RAM, Sparkle branded.
It's noticeably better for games, but has a terrible output quality. For
example: even the Windows XP colors looks a bit odd compared to the output I
get with other computer (or the 3DLabs card) and font seems out of focus (I
don't have antialiasing enabled). I don't know if it's by design or if the
card is degradated.

Due to the problems with card by Sparkle and the age of the one by 3DLabs,
I've good reasons to buy a faster video card. Since the processing power of
the two CPU isn't that impressive (and neither the amount of money in my
pocket, for that matter) I'm watching to low budget card for the AGP market

GeForce 6200A (NV44A) has native support for AGP wich reduces cost (no need
for AGP-PCIE signals converter) and the memory bus stripped down to 64 bit.
The amount of memory is 128 MB or 256 MB, usually running at a clock speed
of 400 MHz. I could get a card with this GPU for:
- ? 42 by XFX (128 MB, 400 MHz)
- ? 52 by XFX (256 MB, 400 MHz)
- ? 57 by Sparkle (256 MB, 400 MHz... but since the card by Sparkle I have
gives me that problem I simply don't trust the brand)
- ? 64 by PNY (128 MB, the only card with memory running at 500 MHz, 2 x DVI
instead of DVI + VGA)
- ? 67 by PNY (256 MB, but running at only 400 MHz, 2 x DVI instead of DVI +

Other brands are hard to find here in Italy (from sellers I trust). EVGA
offers a 6200LE card, which has two pixel pipelines instead of four so I
don't consider it. Since I don't trust Sparkle, I've to choose between XFX
and PNY. Are they reliable? Which one is better? PNY supports AGP 2.0 as
stated on their site, XFX doesn't say anything about it: is it obvious? Or
should I worry the XFX card won't work on AGP 4x (2.0)?

If it's worth, I could spend some extra money, I could get an ATI X1300 PRO
AGP (256 MB) for
- 89 ? by Sapphire
It has 128 bit memory bus, faster memory, same number of shaders (but
probably more efficient) and maybe better video support. The package also
includes PowerDVD. Since the problem with the NVidia card, I'm attracted by
the idea of trying an ATI one (I had an old ATI 3D Rage Pro which worked
great buck in the '90). I can afford the money but... Well... The 40 / 20 ?
different is noticeable and I want to know if it would be worth it. I wasn't
unable to find this GPU on AGP boards by other brands...

I think any of these cards (XFX, PNY, Sapphore) would work great for the
Windows Vista Aero stuff, when it comes out.

What do you suggest? Quality and brand reliability (please don't compare
quality of this card with the > 150 ? ones :) ) is what matter most.

Moreover, do you think Guild Wars will take advantage of the two CPUs? If
not maybe the processor would be the bottleneck...

Thanks in advance, Andrea



Andrea Sansottera

Sorry, ? == euro. I guess I've the wrong codepage. Just another question.

What about power consumption? Is the 375 W PSU enough?

Thanks to anyone who wants to help.

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