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November 10th, 2003, 05:52 AM
I know we don't have a hardware section as such and some people don't really want one, but as I can't be bothered to register with a "geek 'n' tech stuff" site, I figured I'd ask our little community here as I know there are some knowledgable members about such things here.

Basically I'm looking at a budget of about 150 (about $250 US at current rates) and want a nice powerful card that will last a good while before becoming totally obsolete.

I've been looking at the ATI Radeon series and the 9500 caught my eye, although they seem to be very rare cards and are difficult to find.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be welcome. :)

November 10th, 2003, 11:55 AM
Here's an example (http://www1.dealtime.com/xPF-ATI_RADEON_9800) of a 9800 that you could get for under $300. You should be able to shop around and find more 9800's under the $300 mark, though it all depends on who can ship to the 'ole UK.

November 10th, 2003, 12:45 PM
Here's a selction of Budget cards that were recommended in a PC game mag;

VisionTek Geforce 4 440 Mx - 110

Excalibur Radeon 9000 Pro - 75

Verto Geforce Fx 5200 - 85

And there all bloody cheap as well as being powerfull cards.

November 10th, 2003, 11:54 PM
9500 is too old, go for the 9600 Pro. Or even better, 9600XT (Half-Life 2 included). A 9600 (the minimum or it's a waste upgrading) clocked at 9700 speeds (and featuing the new ATI Auto overclocker) and a free game. Best budget card ever. You have to buy the Half-Life 2/9600XT bundle.

November 11th, 2003, 04:17 AM
The funny thing about the 9500 is that it's actually faster and out performs the 9600 series by a fair way even thought the 9600's are newer.
The benchmark tests for the 9500 showed that it was comparable to the 9800 (which is still retailing for around 300 over here) and it also out performed the GeForce4 5600 even after it have been overclocked.

November 11th, 2003, 08:51 AM
What sort od system are you running, by this I mean who made your motehrboard etc. You will find that some of the budget cards out there will run beautifully on one sytem, while on another there will be more drag than the Gay mardi gras.

November 11th, 2003, 09:05 AM
Well mate, I'm basically doing a new computer from scratch.

Got a gigabyte motherboard called a GA7VA that runs at a max of 400mhz FSB. It has onboard 5.1 surround sound, with 256 meg 333FSB DDR ram and an athlon 2500XP or 2600XP processor (yet to buy).

The board also support 8x AGP so I wanted a nice card to get the most from the system.

November 11th, 2003, 11:21 PM
I think you hit the nail on the head with your choice of the ATI 9500. Go the 2500 CPU as it is easier to overclock, works just as well as the 2600 adn should save you a couple of dollars. The only other thing I would do would be to double up on your ram. A lot of games today are noticably slower on 256 meg adn tend to drop out at important times. Having said that though, going over 512 meg is almost pointless and in some situations also tends to slow your system down.

Update your drivers and bios on your motherboard too. I have issues with them about what they package with the board and am sure they just find some driver they had lying on the virtual floor to go with them.

November 12th, 2003, 04:04 AM
Cheers Keg, I'll get another 256meg stick of ram then. :)

November 12th, 2003, 09:21 PM
I'm afraid that system would be let down by a 9500. Even a 9600 will only get you by for one year before it starts chugging in new games. If you were planning on buying Half-life then a 9600XT actually works out pretty cheap. 9600 is the best of middle-end gaming and unless you're loaded with cash, the video card is the last component you want to be stingy on in the long run.

Just my opinion though, and I read all the benchmarks I can find because a good friend is in the similar position of wanting to bring his 3D card up to scratch with his new system.