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  1. #1
    e=2.718281828459045235360 HyperBaseball's Avatar
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    Best Gaming Cards?

    Hey all. I'm going to be doing some upgrading to my computer so that when I go off to school it'll be top notch and all. And I just bought Half-Life, so I figure I'll be having some fun along with studying, et al.

    My question is: What is the best video card and the best sound card to buy for gaming? One word of notice: The graphics card must be able to support TV as well. I'm not planning on taking a tv with me so I'm going to need that.

    I don't want to spend more than $200-300 on either of them but if there's something just out of that range that is just awesome, let me know.

    I'd greatly appreciate input! Thanks.
    Jason Unger is me.
    "Homer no function beer well without"
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  2. #2
    Gong!
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    Naturally the best video card is the fastest one you can currently get, but since you've got a limited budget, I could recommend getting a GeForce2 GTS. For a soundcard, almost anything will do, there is not too big differences anymore.

    Personally I've managed to cope with a simple TNT2, allthough when I used to play Counter-Strike my framerates were a bit low But Black & White runs very nicely and that's all I need, for now

  3. #3
    Sports Publisher mjames's Avatar
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    If you want the latest and greatest from a solid company, go with nVidia's GeForce3. I have their 32MB GeForce2 MB and also just purchased Half-Life.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard creole's Avatar
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    His budget is only $200-$300. GF3 is more than that isn't it?
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  5. #5
    differently saned russbellon's Avatar
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    Geforce(256,GTS,3)s are great cards, but i'm not sure if anyone makes one with a TV tuner built in or not (ASUS8200 Delux maybe?) you may have to go ATI all in wonder, which throws polygons abit slower than nVidia cards, but has nearly every connection you could need
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  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard TWTCommish's Avatar
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    I'm digging my GeForce2 -- games run smoothly, as does video. Dunno much about price, but my experience with it has been good.

  7. #7
    differently saned russbellon's Avatar
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  8. #8
    Xbox why have you forsaken me? moospot's Avatar
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    Since 3dfx went out of business, nVidia is the only way to go for gaming. You can get a great card cheap. Check out the reviews on some gaming sites (gamespot.com, dailyradar.com, etc.) for some info. These people play games (as opposed to joe hardware reviewer at one of those large corporate mags), so they know whats good and what isnt.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard
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    A GeForce 3 is the best money can buy, but a GeForce 2 is certainly a good card. However a 64MB GeForce 3 will take you a lot further than a 64MB GeForce 2 will - the GeForce 3 lets software developers assign duties to the card that would otherwise be handled by the CPU. For todays games, however, it makes no difference.

    A GeForce 3 runs at around $400 usually. Definately not in your budget.

    Here's an idea: buy a TV Tuner card (I'm pretty sure they are under $50) and when the GeForce 3 cheapens you could find it within your budget. An ATI All In Wonder card would sound nice though. I haven't used it, but I am pretty sure the 3D performance isn't close to a GeForce.

  10. #10
    e=2.718281828459045235360 HyperBaseball's Avatar
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    Thanks for all of the responses, guys.

    I do have an extra ATI All-In-Wonder card sitting around (we've been building computers at my house and have a lot of weird parts sitting around, but anyway) which I could use for TV.

    But if I really wanted to splurge and just spend all my money, I guess I could buy a GeForce3 and one of these external USB ATI TV things. The TV thing runs for about $100 I think, so that's putting me around $500.

    So, here's a question: Is it worth me spending the additional $$ to upgrade from the ATI AIW to the GeForce? The ATI does give me all that I want, but is the gaming that much better in the GeForce where it's a "must buy?"
    Jason Unger is me.
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  11. #11
    You talkin to me? Anarchos's Avatar
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    Yes, the gf3 is insanely faster than an AIW. For sound card, get a Soundblaster Live! Value (you'll want 4.1 speakers); it's cheap but very good.

  12. #12
    differently saned russbellon's Avatar
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    Starting sunday, compusa will have the SB live mp3 for $70
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  13. #13
    You talkin to me? Anarchos's Avatar
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    SB live mp3 is the same as sb live value except with mp3 software, fyi.

  14. #14
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Originally posted by HyperBaseball
    So, here's a question: Is it worth me spending the additional $$ to upgrade from the ATI AIW to the GeForce? The ATI does give me all that I want, but is the gaming that much better in the GeForce where it's a "must buy?"
    What kind of games do you want to play? Half-life is a bit old, but mods like Counter-Strike can tax a system.

    How long do you plan on using the graphics card before an upgrade? If it's a matter of a few years, a GeForce 3 today will be alright then.

    How much does ultimate gaming performance mean to you? When things start to get choppy you can always turn down the detail. Today I was playing Team Arena (a rather intense and demanding game) on an iMac (a rather weak and cheap computer). It was unplayable at the default detail settings (I'm guessing two frames per second) but I set all of the detail settings to lowest besides the resolution and it was over 30 frames per second for sure. Now, it didn't look too fancy, but considering that I could probably trade an iMac for a GeForce 3 itself that isn't too bad. My point is, do you expect high detail settings or not? I run all of my games at their highest settings and haven't noticed any slowdowns yet on my GeForce 2, but that'll be different in a year's time.

  15. #15
    e=2.718281828459045235360 HyperBaseball's Avatar
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    Aidan,

    I'll mostly be playing games like Counter-Strike, Q3Arena, Unreal, etc. I like for my games to look as sharp as I can get them, and I probably won't be upgrading the graphics card anytime in the next 1-3 years, so maybe a GeForce3 is my best bet.

    As for sound, is it worth me actually buying something other than SoundBlaster Live? If I have to splurge on video, then cheap audio would probably be best.
    Jason Unger is me.
    "Homer no function beer well without"
    http://www.jasonunger.com

  16. #16
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Unless you have great speakers, you don't need a great soundcard. I'm using a SoundBlaster Live and I'm fine with it on my THX Dolby Digital Altec Lansings.

    A GeForce 3 may be your best bet. If I were you I'd wait for the price to lower a bit. It's been in the same area ever since it was released.

  17. #17
    e=2.718281828459045235360 HyperBaseball's Avatar
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    Okay, I think I'm narrowing it down some. CompUSA and Best Buy around here have the GeForce 2 64 MB AGP 400 MHz for $129 and $149, respectively. I looked on Egghead.com and they had the GeForce3 for $440. Is it really worth for me waiting for that price to drop down, or should I just go for the cheaper GF2? If the price goes down (maybe $100 bucks) in the next month or so, I'll definately get the GF3, but I'm not sure how realistic that is.

    I'm probably going to get the ATI USB external TV thingy, that way I can watch TV on my laptop as well.
    Jason Unger is me.
    "Homer no function beer well without"
    http://www.jasonunger.com

  18. #18
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Well, now that I think about it, it isn't worth paying 3.5 times as much to get a GeForce 3, especially if they both have 64 MB.

    When the GeForce 3 was a couple of weeks old, it was $400 at my local CompUSA. I ran a search at PriceWatch, and there are about 60 vendors selling it for less than $350. There are 153 vendors selling it for under $400 right now.

  19. #19
    e=2.718281828459045235360 HyperBaseball's Avatar
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    Updates and all.

    I was at a computer show yesterday, and only one vendor had a GeForce 3 when I was there, all the other folks had sold out quick. He was selling it for $389, which I thought was a little high, so I backed out. But I did purchase the ATI TV Wonder, which is the external USB TV tuner, so I definately plan on getting the GeForce3 online, just have to find a good place and a good price.

    And, seeing all of the stuff that they have at computer shows, I'm not sure which of the following is the best to get, in terms of sound cards. I saw these three there:

    SoundBlaster Live! mp3
    SoundBlaster Live! gaming
    SoundBlaster Live! Platinum

    The first two cost like $85 each, and the platinum ran for about $160. I can probably find it cheaper online, but that's not the point... anyway.

    Platinum allows me to have the features of all SB Live cards, but I'm not really into mixing mp3s or developing sounds at all, so it probably isn't worth me getting, is it?

    Anarchos-- do you know the difference between the SB Live Value and the Gaming one? Or maybe the gaming isn't even necessary. Any help would be great. Thanks
    Jason Unger is me.
    "Homer no function beer well without"
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  20. #20
    You talkin to me? Anarchos's Avatar
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    SB live value, gaming, mp3, and platinum are exactly the same sound card. The difference is that the platinum has a frontal connection for 5.1 sound cards, if I remember correctly, and gaming and mp3 have additional bundled software (games, and mp3 software, respectively), which you can also buy separately.

  21. #21
    Xbox why have you forsaken me? moospot's Avatar
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    Don't the newer MP3+ and X-Gamer have 5.1 connections where the Value! only has 4 ports?

  22. #22
    Xbox why have you forsaken me? moospot's Avatar
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    According to the SB website, all the features ARE the same, with exception of the 5.1 cards, which obviously have Dolby 5.1 decoding.

    Otherwise, as Anarchos said, they are the same with different bundles of software.

  23. #23
    e=2.718281828459045235360 HyperBaseball's Avatar
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    Oh okay, well that makes the decision pretty easy then. I really don't have any reason to get any software bundled with the cards, and I don't think I need all of the Platinum features, so value, here I come.

    Thanks for all your help, and I'll let you know how everything turns out.
    Jason Unger is me.
    "Homer no function beer well without"
    http://www.jasonunger.com


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