Author Topic: Is this a good graphics card?  (Read 1374 times)

tmoore

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Is this a good graphics card?
« on: August 17, 2008, 06:08:01 pm »
Hi,

I've been looking for graphics cards for my new hybrid system today, and have come across the EVGA 256-P2-N549-T2 which sells on newegg.com for $70.99.

There are a few reasons why I think this card is a good candidate.  I would be grateful for any comments on my reasoning.

The card uses the nVidia GeForce 7600GS chipset.  First, everyone seems to recommend nVidia.  Second, it seems that XvMC support would be a good idea, to shift MPEG 2 decoding to the card (even though I'm going to get a AMD Phenom quad core processor).  From what I have read, the driver does not currently support anything higher than the GeForce 7000 series.  So, I looked for a card that supports the highest 7000 series chip set.

Next, I want to be able to use UI2 with alpha blending.  The wiki says that the 7000 series will support this, with at least 128MB.  This card has 256MB RAM.

I want to output 1080p over HDMI.  Unfortunately, I can't find any cards that have a HDMI interface and meet my other requirements.  No problem though, as the card has a DVI interface so I can use an inexpensive DVI->HDMI adapter which should not affect quality.

Last, and I'm not sure what real difference this makes, this card is a 128 bit card rather than 64 bit.  It uses the PCI Express x16 bus, and has a 400MHz clock.

What do you think?

Thanks!

totallymaxed

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Re: Is this a good graphics card?
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2008, 06:33:33 pm »
Hi,

I've been looking for graphics cards for my new hybrid system today, and have come across the EVGA 256-P2-N549-T2 which sells on newegg.com for $70.99.

There are a few reasons why I think this card is a good candidate.  I would be grateful for any comments on my reasoning.

The card uses the nVidia GeForce 7600GS chipset.  First, everyone seems to recommend nVidia.  Second, it seems that XvMC support would be a good idea, to shift MPEG 2 decoding to the card (even though I'm going to get a AMD Phenom quad core processor).  From what I have read, the driver does not currently support anything higher than the GeForce 7000 series.  So, I looked for a card that supports the highest 7000 series chip set.

Next, I want to be able to use UI2 with alpha blending.  The wiki says that the 7000 series will support this, with at least 128MB.  This card has 256MB RAM.

I want to output 1080p over HDMI.  Unfortunately, I can't find any cards that have a HDMI interface and meet my other requirements.  No problem though, as the card has a DVI interface so I can use an inexpensive DVI->HDMI adapter which should not affect quality.

Last, and I'm not sure what real difference this makes, this card is a 128 bit card rather than 64 bit.  It uses the PCI Express x16 bus, and has a 400MHz clock.

What do you think?

Thanks!

Well a quick search of the forums will tell you that 7600 cards are not plug-n-play currently. They seems to get mis-identified by the AVwizard and this causes some problems and will mean some manual configuration will be needed.

I would suggest that you just avoid that problem and get yourself a 7300GT or GS (I use one of these personally on my home Core and we build them into some of our commercial systems too) - there is really no advantage in buying a better card than that currently. Here in the UK we can buy these for less than 20 UKP currently so I would guess that you will be able to significantly beat that being in the US ;-)

The 7300 class cards will perform as well as any other suitable nVidia card if you are set on UI2 + Alpha blending... which means you will experience some tearing on horizontal panning when playing video content.

Hope this helps

Andrew
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tmoore

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Re: Is this a good graphics card?
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2008, 07:02:21 pm »
Andrew,

Great advice, thanks.  I wasn't aware of the tearing problem with UI2 and alpha blending (I've spent weeks reasearching hardware but there is so much to learn!).  Is this a problem no matter what graphics card is used?

Video quality is the most important thing for me.  Is there any real benefit of getting XvMC support if I have a quad core processor?  If not, then that opens up the possibility of getting a higher end nVidia - or is that a waste of money too?  Will a GeForce 7300 be just as good as a GeForce 9000 series for video?  I won't be doning any gaming on this system.

Thanks.

totallymaxed

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Re: Is this a good graphics card?
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2008, 07:10:33 pm »
Andrew,

Great advice, thanks.  I wasn't aware of the tearing problem with UI2 and alpha blending (I've spent weeks reasearching hardware but there is so much to learn!).  Is this a problem no matter what graphics card is used?

Video quality is the most important thing for me.  Is there any real benefit of getting XvMC support if I have a quad core processor?  If not, then that opens up the possibility of getting a higher end nVidia - or is that a waste of money too?  Will a GeForce 7300 be just as good as a GeForce 9000 series for video?  I won't be doning any gaming on this system.

Thanks.

I would suggest setting your Core/MD's up with UI2 + Overlay as that will give you the best UI2 video performance currently. In our experience there is no adavantage in using a 'high end' card currently... its a waste of money. In terms of LinusMCE a 7300 will perform every bit as well as a 9000 series card... in fact better ins some respects as the 9000 cards will need some hand config to get them working.

All the best

Andrew
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tmoore

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Re: Is this a good graphics card?
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2008, 07:17:54 pm »
Most helpful!  That frees up some budget for the other components then.  Considering your advice, my preferred card is now:

ASUS EN7300GT SILENT/HTD/512M GeForce 7300GT 512MB 128-bit GDDR2 PCI Express x16 SLI Supported

$47.99 at newegg.com

Any thoughts?  I'll do a trawl of the forum, and if I can't find anything bad then I'll give it a go.

totallymaxed

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Re: Is this a good graphics card?
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2008, 07:55:32 pm »
Most helpful!  That frees up some budget for the other components then.  Considering your advice, my preferred card is now:

ASUS EN7300GT SILENT/HTD/512M GeForce 7300GT 512MB 128-bit GDDR2 PCI Express x16 SLI Supported

$47.99 at newegg.com

Any thoughts?  I'll do a trawl of the forum, and if I can't find anything bad then I'll give it a go.

That card should be fine ;-)
Andy Herron,
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royw

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Re: Is this a good graphics card?
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2008, 12:20:03 am »
This is what recently happened to my eVGA 7600GS 256MB P/N 256-P2-N541-T2 card:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/royw2/2745659538/

It is a no-name generic cheap card made in China.  eVGA didn't even bother to put their name on a sticker much less the board...

The original fan on it was a screamer that I had replaced with a Zalman passive cooler.

Prior to the caps blowing, the issue I had was with the framerate slowing down after a few movies.  Plenty of threads where this is being discussed.  The current work-around is to quick reload the dcerouter.

Currently using a 9800GT which has a quiet stock fan.  I manually updated the drivers using the how to on the wiki.  The only issue is that the AVWizard gives a black screen and is suppose to beep (but my media case does not have a speaker) as a prompt.  Follow the directions on the wiki and blindly, deafly press the appropriate key.  Note, if it appears that AVWizard is not working, try pluging the video into the other connector on the board.  My 7600GS used the top connector while my 9800GT defaults to the bottom connector.

Note, there are known issues with nVidia drivers for 8xxx and 9xxx series boards.  In a nutshell, 2d is no longer supported in hardware and the drivers are remapping 2d operations to 3d, which does not mix well with how KDE4/QT is using 2d.  For details and and lots of complaints, see  http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=115916

Good Luck,
Roy

tmoore

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Re: Is this a good graphics card?
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2008, 03:12:52 pm »
Wow, it seems the decision to go for the 7000 series is a good one then.  I hope nVidia sorts out the driver problems on the 8000 and 9000 series.

I'm going to get the ASUS board, as it is a well known brand and I also intend to get an ASUS motherboard.  Hopefully your capacitor problems were due to poor card construction rather than a bad GPU chipset.  While browsing newegg.com, I did see another report of capacitors blowing, but don't remember which card it was.