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Taya Carver

Graphics cards

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Hello!

I hope I am posting this in the right place! I am in the market to buy a new desktop, and of course I would like to run SL on at least mid level. Does anyone know of a good Nvidia or ATI graphics card that will do this? Looking to stay in the $500-600 range.

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500-600$US ?

if that's for the card, get any one you like, as all the cards in that price range will run SL on ultra

if that's for the whole system, you are oh so very screwed, because I can't imagine a card cheap enough to allow you to fit in with a system that light.

 

ETA:
as Leliel points out later, my price points for low end desktop components is a bit out of date... so, my apologies.

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Do you mean $500 to $600 for the entire machine? Your best option from Nvidia would probably be the GTS 450, or a GTX 460 / GTX 550 Ti if you can find one for under $150. For ATI your best option at the moment is the HD 5770, altho the HD 6770 should be coming out soon. Also you'll some times see the HD 6850 1GB for under $150.

Any one of these cards can run sl on ultra and have shadows enabled most, or all, of the time depending.

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Void Singer wrote:

if that's for the whole system, you are oh so very screwed, because I can't imagine a card cheap enough to allow you to fit in with a system that light.

 

Actually it's pretty trivial to build a system that can run with shadows enabled on that budget assuming he already has a monitor.

GTS 450        $115

i3-2100          $125

MB                  $80

HDD               $80

4GB DDR3    $40

Case              $40

PSU               $60

Total              $540

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I have run both ATI cards and Nvidia cards.

My own opinion is... I am never going back to the ATI cards ever again.  Period.  Their implementation of OpenGL is poor at best and causes many of the bugs you hear about in SL (such as the triangle problem).  Updating drivers with ATI involves uninstalling the drivers, starting up in VGA mode, installing the new ones, and HOPING that the new drivers work because you are otherwise stuck in 640x480 mode unless you find the previous version and roll it back.  ATI was nothing but trouble for me and Catalyst, for all its good intent, falls way short of the "one driver for all" solution (may work for your card or may not.)

Whereas my GTX260 and later 460 cards have never had a problem with OpenGL, were a snap to update drivers on, and have created excellent graphics.  And with the 460 cards or newer, you can use the CUDA cores to speed up things like video rendering and encoding. 

If you are looking to spend top dollar, consider the latest 500 family cards from Nvidia.  But for SL purposes, the 400 family doesn't even break a sweat and costs much less.  But anyone in SL, my advice would be to totally avoid ATI entirely because their cards are more problematic, glitchy, and work poorly on ANY OpenGL program.  ATI views OpenGL as obsolete and would like to ditch it entirely because it draws resources away from supporting directx.  So their grudging implementations of OpenGL have been somewhat less than stellar.  Whereas Nvidia doesn't seem to care if it's OpenGL, DirectX or some old DOS program from the 90s -- you wanna run it, run it. 

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Shockwave Yareach wrote:

I have run both ATI cards and Nvidia cards.

My own opinion is... I am never going back to the ATI cards ever again.  Period.  Their implementation of OpenGL is poor at best and causes many of the bugs you hear about in SL (such as the triangle problem).  Updating drivers with ATI involves uninstalling the drivers, starting up in VGA mode, installing the new ones, and HOPING that the new drivers work because you are otherwise stuck in 640x480 mode unless you find the previous version and roll it back.  ATI was nothing but trouble for me and Catalyst, for all its good intent, falls way short of the "one driver for all" solution (may work for your card or may not.)

Whereas my GTX260 and later 460 cards have never had a problem with OpenGL, were a snap to update drivers on, and have created excellent graphics.  And with the 460 cards or newer, you can use the CUDA cores to speed up things like video rendering and encoding. 

If you are looking to spend top dollar, consider the latest 500 family cards from Nvidia.  But for SL purposes, the 400 family doesn't even break a sweat and costs much less.  But anyone in SL, my advice would be to totally avoid ATI entirely because their cards are more problematic, glitchy, and work poorly on ANY OpenGL program.  ATI views OpenGL as obsolete and would like to ditch it entirely because it draws resources away from supporting directx.  So their grudging implementations of OpenGL have been somewhat less than stellar.  Whereas Nvidia doesn't seem to care if it's OpenGL, DirectX or some old DOS program from the 90s -- you wanna run it, run it. 

/me looks at her garbage can and sees her old ATI 5770 there.

I agree completely, ATI and SL is not recommended, ATI cards might be okay, but the drivers are pure garbage (ATI drivers are like the LL viewers, if something would work, noone would offer third party solutions) . If you want to use Sl without graphical glitches, don't buy an ATI card, it's like burning money. Running a NVidia 460 GTX OC now and Sl looks much better than ever before.

Jeannie

 

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For someone who is in the market for a new graphics card, this is a great post.  My destop is currently running an ATI Radeon HD 4200. I'm just looking for a graphics card that will support the newest graphics (lighting/shadows) and/or chose to run in ultra. I have never had issues with NVIDIA, so I will be shopping around online. Is the GTX 450 the best option? I know nothing about PC hardware.

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450 should run fine in ultra, it may be a bit slow on shadows if you enable that as well... but for the price they're at it's hard to beat.

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Ok, I researched the specs on the GTS 450, and it seems like I would need to upgrade my Power Supply as well (currently 300w). The Minimum Recommended System Power is 400 W, while the Maximum Graphics Card Power is 106 W for the above model. I call NVIDIA support and the guy says GeForce GT 430/400 fall into what I'm looking for since the Power Supply on my PC is 300 W. How good are those cards? Can I still install the GTS 450 without problems?

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you can get a new power supply pretty cheap (750w are fairly low), I would recommend doing that rather than going for a lower end card. just make sure the case dimension fit.

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FrankiePalmero Actor wrote:

Ok, I researched the specs on the GTS 450, and it seems like I would need to upgrade my Power Supply as well (currently 300w). The Minimum Recommended System Power is 400 W, while the Maximum Graphics Card Power is 106 W for the above model. I call NVIDIA support and the guy says GeForce GT 430/400 fall into what I'm looking for since the Power Supply on my PC is 300 W. How good are those cards? Can I still install the GTS 450 without problems?

You can get a high quality and high wattage power supply for $50, just make shure it's actually high quality. I would recommend reading reviews on some good sites like hardware secrets or hardocp. (Note: a good power supply review will disassemble the unit, identify the parts and list their specs, then hook the thing up to an oscilloscope to see how clean its output is. )

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I was looking at the GeForce GTX 550/560 Ti until I found out I would need to upgrade to a higher watt power supply. Are those 2 models pretty high end? Any recommendations? I am on a HP Pavilion with Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, an AMD Phenom II X4 processor, 8.00 GB of RAM (7.74 GB usable) and currently an ATI Radeon 4200 HD card. The computer is a little over 2 years old.

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the GTX x50's are mid/low range cards with the "x" being the how recent the hardware/software support is (higher = more recent). I'd guestimate that adding or subtracting 90 (+/-5) from the whole number will give you a rough comparison of performance (or just look at the site).

GTX x60's would be mid/high range, x70's low/upper, x80's high/uppers and anything above that is bleeding edge for that hardware set.

memory size over 500MB won't matter for SL, but may help a bit for running multiple application windows at the same time, or multiple monitors (or other applications/games that can utilize the extra), ignore things like core clock speed  and compute performance for SL, all that will make a difference to that is graphics performance (benchmarks you would want to look at comparisons of high details, effects and large amounts of textures... you will NOT see the same performance in SL... half if you are lucky.)

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