Need help choosing video card

My main pc is Intel850, P4 2Ghz, 1GB RDRAM, WinXP Pro SP2. My current video card that came with the system is NVidia GeForce MX 420 with only one VGA out. I will receive two LCDs from UPS next week, both have VGA/DVI inputs. They are Dell 17" 1704FPT UltraSharp with typical response time 13ms (if that helps). I’m planning to use them for dual LCD system, not for gaming, mainly for work and at most home video editing. Well maybe in the future I may play games if I’m bored, but at least not this year. :slight_smile:

Now I’m in the market for a new video card. My budget is $150 or less. Please recommend a good video card. The $$ may go up if there is a good reason.

As a preliminary search, I’ve read about Saphire ATI 9800SE for $130 at newegg. After reading a review, the pcb is based on ATI Radeon 9500Pro. Not sure if it’s good or not, but fits my budget.

Thanks and appreciate any inputs.

dont get a se from ati or a le from nvidia. They tend to be the cheaper ripoff cards. Go for a 9600XT or 9800Pro if you can afford it.

something like that.

Yo zevia-

Strongly recommend getting the ATI 9800 (NOT the SE)-

Reason - the pure 9800 has the full 8 pipelines operating and the SE limits them to four!!

Here is a good vendor/price for a REAL 9800-

The 9500 Pro - while a great card - uses older technology from ATI - and is priced at or higher than a true 9800-


if you choose to buy that card, make sure its 256BIT. 128mb is ok, 128BIT is not. That card doesnt specify.

Dont you want dual DVI?



DiiZzY does make a strong point here - and that card that he shows in the second thread looks kicka$$ both in price and features-


zevia, got your PM… I’ve ran dual lcd’s, and I have to say that once most people run dual monitors, they almost always recommend a dual dvi card. That said… if you think you are going to game quite a bit, you might sacrifice the dual dvi and go with the 9800 like bigmike said.

After checking out the 9600 in the 2nd link of DiiZzy’s post, I’d say for the money that would be what I’d go for. Like bigmike said… for the specs, features, and price… that looks like a good card. Especially since I see you burning and scanning more than I do gaming.:bigsmile:

Thanks everyone! :bow: :bow:

First, I’d like to apologize not giving a full spec of my system. After checking I found out that my mobo has 4x AGP only. I see some of the 9800 series does not supports 4x, only 8x listed.

@DiiZZy: not sure if I want to go with dual DVI. Maybe my wife, after seeing the LCD quality, she might want one of the LCD. :sad: She has a dual CRT right now.

@bigmike: thanks for the link, but it’s 8x only. Btw, the pic looks the same with the newegg link in my post#1, and it’s from Sapphire also.

@[H]itman, do you have dual DVI? If not can you see the quality difference?

@tiger025: a true 9800Pro for $189+$4 shipping, very tempting. PowerColor ATI Radeon 9800PRO Video Card w/ Hitman Game, 128MB DDR, 256-bit, 4x/8X AGP -OEM.

Will I get all the benefits from 9800Pro tiger025 recommends, having only a 4x AGP in my pc?

my secondary rig is close to yours it’s an intel 850 Mobo with 2.6 Ghz P4 ( 400mhzFSB)
and 512 rambus. I had a 9800 ( non pro) in it and it ran all the newest games smoothly. I would recommend getting the 9800 the fact that it is 8X means nothing it will run at 4X on a 4X board. so will the 9800 Pro which is what is now in my secondary machine ( I got a X800 pro for my main machine)

overall there is a negligible difference in performance between 4X and 8X in fact there is a larger difference in performance between the 9800 non pro and the 9800 pro then there is between running 4X or 8X

So your saying, even with my 4x AGP slot, I will get higher performance with 9800Pro compare to 9800 nonpro?

And how about the video quality of DVI vs VGA out? Does it improves a lot for, say, normal programs (word documents etc).

So your saying, even with my 4x AGP slot, I will get higher performance with 9800Pro compare to 9800 nonpro?

yes I have used both the pro and non pro versions in the same machine and the pro does have better performance. while there is only about 50mhz difference in core speed betweent he two ( 325 for the no pro and 375-380 for the pro) the pro version usually has faster ram than the non pro. but either one is a good choice.

I cant tell you about DVI performance I am a CRT hold out. but I will say this 2d performance has never been Nvidia’s strong suite but it is ATI’s there 2D graphics performance has always been better. it’s one of the reasons I switched to ATI a couple of years ago I had ( then) high dollar Nvidia cards but my buddies lower power ATI cards alway had better 2D image than my highher priced Nvidia cards and I even had a better monitor.

zevia, no I don’t have a dual dvi card. I have a BFG 6800GT with one DVI and one analog. I bought my card when it first came out, and the dual dvi cards weren’t on the shelves yet. I used my card with dual lcd’s for approx 6 months. Now I have only one of the lcd’s hooked up on this machine. Can you tell a difference between dvi and analog? Yes. Did I notice it? No.


Still think that that 9600 card with 256 mb of ram would give you one hella kicka$$ dual display for only $129-

The big thing about ATI are the drivers - and Omega makes some of the best modded ATI drivers around-


This is one of my concern. I don’t know in the future if I always can use two DVI LCDs so if I buy a dual DVI card, I will be stuck with it. I haven’t order any card yet, the first LCD just arrive yesterday and I’m using it with my old card (GeForce 4200) and at the moment it looks fine with the VGA port plugged.

Dont worry about that. There is no problem running vga off dvi with a adaptor. I been doing that for a year or so, run a vga monitor off the dvi port on my 6800. As far as i can tell, theres no fps loss, or picture loss or anything.

You’re saying that you use a DVI to VGA adapter on your dual DVI card? Hmm… interesting, I didn’t think about that… thanks.

Edit: all the cards @newegg’s link above is out of stock now :a

Yeah a dvi to vga adapter would work fine, but even if eventually you use only one monitor(lcd), that one monitor has a dvi cable doesn’t it? Even tho I’m using one monitor right now, it’s plugged into the dvi port.

A DVI to VGA adapter would work fine, but even if eventually you use only one monitor(lcd), that one monitor has a dvi cable doesn’t it? Even tho I’m using one monitor right now, it’s plugged into the DVI port.

I have a preference towards the Radeon cards because of the better video quality but I have the 9600SE and have had no trouble with it and can play games fine on it so it must not be that bad.