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Old 02-20-2008, 08:07 PM   #1261
Jim Sachs
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Hi, Patrick - We're in Ashland, about 60 miles inland, near the California border.
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Old 02-20-2008, 08:33 PM   #1262
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Patrick,

Let me go over a few things with you, forgive me if this is stuff you already know.

To start with, something like the 8800GTX is totally out of question for several reasons. Your system uses an AGP card. This refers to the type of card "plug in" your system needs. Several years ago AGP was top of the line, but that has since changed. They have now "upgraded" computer hardware to require a different plug in for cards called PCI express. They did this to create a newer system that can handle more info transfer than what AGP could. AGP is fast falling out of availability. Some are still producing cards because there are alot of people that haven't purchased newer systems and still want to upgrade their equipment, but over some more time it will be discarded altogether.

In some ways this is very beneficial to you right now. Since you dont really want to play games and so forth, its not totally necessary for you to pay for the best AGP card you can get your hands on, but on the other hand if you want your system to still be able to handle things like the aquarium and if you ever see a game you want to try then you will need something more than what you currently have. The good part is that AGP cards arent that expensive any more. If $200 is your limit, the good news is that you can get an AGP card in the 7xx series, which is one of the top of the line cards left in AGP for between 100 - 140. Less than what you were expecting.

Something like the 8800GTX card is $500+ depending on the version picked, but they dont make those in AGP so it wouldn't do you any good anyway. Any card in the 8xxx series will not work in your system. Something in the 6xxx or 7xxx series in an AGP card will.

Just for discussions sake look here. You can see a 7600GS card for 139.00 from newegg, and read the reviews about that card.
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Old 02-20-2008, 09:25 PM   #1263
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Michael is right. But I would stay away from PNY. I had there memery and video cards in the past and lets just say they were both ***t. But hey, that's up to you. Hey Michael, maybe he has a board that is like mine. Mine has both AGP and PCI express. You can also use either ddr or ddr2 memory but only up to only 2g.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
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Old 02-20-2008, 09:30 PM   #1264
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You should be able to get a perfectly-acceptable AGP card on Ebay for $50.

http://search.express.ebay.com/items...cardQQtrZQQruZ
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Old 02-20-2008, 10:18 PM   #1265
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Avoid any GeForce 5xxx series card. Also be leery of cards like the 6200LE, 7200GS, etc. which steal memory from the computer to do their graphics.
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Old 02-20-2008, 10:34 PM   #1266
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Well I decided to finally "relogin" after a few years of hiding in the shadows. But it's great to see Marine Aquarium finally nearing the end of development. Gives me a chance to wow my friends and party guests.

Now a part of me wonders whether my old P2 400 Machine with an old RIVA TNT2 chipset or my GeForce 5700LE will cooperate with MA3.
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Old 02-20-2008, 10:44 PM   #1267
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Originally posted by feldon31:
Avoid any GeForce 5xxx series card. Also be leery of cards like the 6200LE, 7200GS, etc. which steal memory from the computer to do their graphics.  
RAM is dirt cheap, so why does it matter if a video card uses 512MB of main RAM on a 4GB system if it will hold all of the textures and polygons etc of a complex scene? That sounds like a great feature. On cards with low VRAM the constant loading of textures reduces frame rates. So this feature can improve performance in such cases. And reduce the cost of the card.

What are you really saying?
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Old 02-20-2008, 11:00 PM   #1268
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Thanks Jav400 for the AGP reminder. I'm looking hard at both the 7900 and 7600 GT cards. You just can't take your eyes off hardware for a couple years or you becoma a fossil. I'm all set to enjoy M.A. 3.0 now.
I appreciate everyones comments.
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Old 02-21-2008, 02:13 AM   #1269
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7600 GT AGP is a nice card indeed.
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Old 02-21-2008, 05:53 AM   #1270
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Originally posted by johnblommers:
RAM is dirt cheap, so why does it matter if a video card uses 512MB of main RAM on a 4GB system if it will hold all of the textures and polygons etc of a complex scene? That sounds like a great feature. On cards with low VRAM the constant loading of textures reduces frame rates. So this feature can improve performance in such cases. And reduce the cost of the card.

What are you really saying?  
Except that pulling from system memory is way slower than using onboard memory. However slow vs not enough can still be better.

BTW, even older AGP cards like the Geforce4 TI series would be awesome for running MA3. All you need is DX8.1 support and they've got it (I don't think Geforce3s did 8.1, just 8). Heck, you could go all the way back to the Radeon 8500 and still be fine (it was out at the same time as the Geforce3). As Morgan said though, the FX 5200 and all the MX anythings are to be avoided as marketing is the only thing that made then better than Geforce2s.
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Old 02-21-2008, 06:47 AM   #1271
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In an AGP card the best you might find anymore is a 7600. They made some 7900's for awhile, but I haven't seen one of those listed anywhere for a long time. I checked ebay and couldn't even find one there. People that have those probably aren't going to let go of them at any price.
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Old 02-21-2008, 07:51 AM   #1272
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Why are people only mentioning Nvidia cards (not that I have anything against them)? I have an ATI X1950 Pro which will give stellar performance with the aquarium and are probably around the $160 mark (bit of a guess based on UK prices), so their baby brothers should be very affordable... I know nothing about Best Buy or VisionTek, but they have 2600 AGP cards for sub $130:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage....=1188558965302
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Old 02-21-2008, 08:19 AM   #1273
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One more important thing to consider when getting a new video card, is the output connections. - You will see from my screen shot that mine is a GF 6800 GS/XT. - My only reason for choosing that particular card, at the time, was because it had dual DVI outputs. - As far as I know, most cards will now have one DVI 'out', in addition to a 15 pin D-sub analog output, (for CRTs). But if you have, or may have in the future, two monitors, then dual DVI will give better pictures on LCD flat panels, than you will get with analog connections. And it is beneficial to have the same type of connection to both monitors. - That 6800 may not now be available, but I found a 6600GT for £47, and a 7300GT for £38, both AGP and both said to have dual DVI. (But do check first!) - Don't worry if you have a CRT, there is usually a DVI to D-sub adaptor provided!

A dual DVI card should look like the top two of these .... http://techreport.com/articles.x/7920/1

.... Not like this .... http://images.tigerdirect.com/skuima...-9036-main.jpg
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Old 02-21-2008, 08:21 AM   #1274
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Originally posted by Falz:
7600 GT AGP is a nice card indeed.  
Yes they are. That is what I have now. But I am getting a new card very soon. I'll be getting the 8800 with atleast 512mb of gddr3.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
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Old 02-21-2008, 08:51 AM   #1275
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John,

Generally speaking for several reasons:

Nvidia owns about 80% of the video card market probably, so finding one in a local store is generally easier.

Historically speaking ATI drivers are much more problematic than nvidia drivers. I have no idea if they have gotten better in recent times, but overall I feel that nvidia is a much more stable card that generally gives better results. Mostly because of the poor ATI drivers, again historically speaking.

In this case it doesn't matter, but nvidia with the 8800 series has the strongest card on the market currently. So if someone has the $$$ and wants it, any card in that series; Ultra, whatever should outperform any ATI card.
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Old 02-21-2008, 10:30 AM   #1276
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I was going to say something like that too. On every forum I belong to like games and other programs I see that most of the complaints for a problem with the video are from ATI owners.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
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Old 02-21-2008, 11:57 AM   #1277
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Originally posted by ESHIREY:
I was going to say something like that too. On every forum I belong to like games and other programs I see that most of the complaints for a problem with the video are from ATI owners.  
I have an ATI Radeon 2900 XT and I hate it. It doesn't run with Linuix, it always errors out with Vista and the drivers really suck compared to Nvidia. I didn't ever want to buy another ATI card, but I got a great deal on it so I did. Buy an Nvidia if you can.
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Old 02-21-2008, 12:30 PM   #1278
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I've designed boards with both ATi and Nvidia chips and the drivers are largely a case of finding a good one. Nvidia tend to have a lot more beta versions around, which can be a good thing, if you have the time to play with them.

I've mostly had Nvidia's at home, but the X1950 Pro is an excellent card and I'd highly recommend it.

Intel owns the 3D market with its chipset graphics (around 40% market share). Of the discreet market players ATi and Nvidia tend to be neck-and-neck in the 20-30 percent market share, depending on who's launched what lately. ATi used to be a little bit ahead, as the 7xxx Nvidia chips weren't as good as their offerings, with the 8xxx Nvidia seem to be on top and gaining share. The last figures I've seen have Intel on 38%, Nvidia on 33% (the highest share they've had for many many years) and ATi on 20%.

Handy graph:
http://www.xbitlabs.com/images/news/...007_trends.png

I've only seen MA issues on an old Nvidia card, but really haven't done enough testing for it to be relevant.

Handy-Dandy (you yanks are rubbing off on me) video card comparator:
http://www.gpureview.com/show_cards....=511&card2=550

Performance charts:
http://www23.tomshardware.com/graphi...=706&chart=313
Although there's a lot of cheating (in drivers) for 3DMark...

John
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Old 02-21-2008, 12:41 PM   #1279
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Ya got me thinking, and I checked my settings but got to read about it
somewhere. There are all kinds of weird options..


Originally posted by Jav400:
Basically what he is refering too are your video card settings like Antialiasing and Anisotropic filtering. You can go to your settings screen for your video card and adjust those manually. These can take a large hit on your frame rate depending on how strong your card is, so start with the least setting, usually 2x and go from there according to your preferences.  
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Old 02-21-2008, 01:34 PM   #1280
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Where it says 'Global driver settings', change 'Advanced settings' in that drop-down box, to 'Basic settings', then try those setting I use.

Forget those other settings!
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