a question of suitability

alexleonard

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hi there. i have been doing a lot of research in the past couple of day as a result of my matrox G550 going belly up on me. (it doesnt like my new mobo, the Asus a7n8x-x)
i thought i would ask on the forums in case anyone had any advice as to what video card i might look at buying.

i am invovled heavily in music production and find dual monitor incredibly helpful.
i do not do much 3d gaming (dabble).
i am interested in getting involved in video applications, rendering, VJ software such as arkaos, with the potential for live VJ sets along to music.

i find it hard to work out which card is most suitable. i am assuming that a hardware dual monitor control is the best, but find it difficult to get info well-explained on manfacturers sites. i am also concerned about compatibility issues since the demise of my matrox G550.

my system is

Asus A7N8X-X bios rev 1006
1gb PC3200 DDR Ram 400Mhz
Athlon XP2600+ (no overclocking)
Maxtor 80gb HDD ATA133 7200rpm
Audiotrak Inca88 sound card
Samsung DVD, Samsung 48x24x48 CDr/rw
Windows XP Pro, Service PAck 1a


the suggestion i have gotten thus far is to look at ATI's all in wonder range, but that varies immensely. i cannot really afford to spend more than $200, and would ideally love to spend a little less, but i accept that you pay for what you get! [as a result if there is a perfect card that costs that bit extra i might go above my $200 mark!] (and the matrox g550 was so perfect for my needs, despite its shortcomings in some areas).

feel free to ask me any questions to clarify what i need :)

i suppose the simplified version of my question is this:
what card out there does a similar job to the Matrox G550 Dual Head?

regards,

alex
 

alexleonard

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ok, ive had a look at that. seems fairly good (and the price too :)

the fact that it is 128Mb SDR Ram is not a downside no? would it be wiser to go DDR ram? or is that going to up the price alot?
 

Willamette_sucks

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the 9600 Pro does have DDR ram, maybe that was a misprint. What was the brand and model name of the 9600 you were looking at? I recommend you look at either ATI or Sapphire 9600 Pro (AIW) cards. They should be clocked at 400/300, so check the specs when possible. Sapphires marketing is a bit tricky.

"Mice eat cheese." - Modest Mouse

"Every Day is the Right Day." -Pink Floyd
 

alexleonard

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and how does the dual monitor situation actually work, i had a look at the picture of the card and there is one square shaped monitor o/p. does it come with adapters to split the o/p to two screens?
 

cleeve

Illustrious
An all-in-wonder card is no better than any other Ati card. It's more expensive because it has video capture abilities and a TV tuner built in. So if you don't ned those, an AIW will be useless for you.

Video memory is also useless to you if your uses are primarily audio applications. Video memory isn't even used in video editing applications... it's used for 3d textures (Games and 3d rendering programs).

If you don't game, and use dual monitors, go for a cheapie card like the Radeon 7500.
Excellent display quality, great dual monitor functionality, mediocre gaming ability.

If you want to dabble a bit more in 3d games, go for a radeon 9000 PRO with dual montior outputs.

If 3d gaming is something you find important, then go for a Radeon 9600 PRO with 128 megs of RAM.

------------------
Radeon 9500 (modded to PRO w/8 pixel pipelines)
AMD AthlonXP 2000+
3dMark03: 3529
 

ufo_warviper

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He stole my words, right out of my mouth I tell ya. The AIW 9600 Pro will MORE than suit your needs. Isn't the Matrox G550 based upon he old G400 core. The G550 is a very slow card by today's standards so even any DX8 card would be faster & alot cheaper than what you pay for a Matrox board, except for the Parhelia. Don't get the Parhelia though, it costs as much as a High-end Flagship product and is slower than mid-range stuff becuase it only has a partially capable DX9 chipset. Matrox has a nitch market for 2D video editing, image qualtity, etc. But Nvidia & especially ATi provide VERY good image quality too. Also, do you guys beleive an Radeon 8500 AIW would suit this guys needs? It should be very cheap these days, like less than $70 maybe. I think it probably would still be more than adequate for this guy who doesn't do any gaming.

My OS features preemptive multitasking, a fully interactive command line, & support for 640K of RAM!
 

alexleonard

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oops

the 9600 Pro does have DDR ram, maybe that was a misprint.

it wasnt a misprint. it was a misread :)
sorry
i was checking out the ATI site proper.
 

cleeve

Illustrious
By the way, the card comes with an adapter that changes the second DVI output into a VGA output.

I'm not sure that the All in wonder comes with a second VGA output... might only have TV outs... so make sure of that if you get an all-in-wonder, although like I said, I don't think an all-in-wonder suits your needs as you described them.

------------------
Radeon 9500 (modded to PRO w/8 pixel pipelines)
AMD AthlonXP 2000+
3dMark03: 3529
 

ufo_warviper

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Cleeve is right, go for the a DX7 card. Heck even a Radeon 7500 is more than suitable for QUake 3 apps, Half-Life (also CS, DOD, & other mods), and the original UT.

My OS features preemptive multitasking, a fully interactive command line, & support for 640K of RAM!
 

alexleonard

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this is great. thanks a lot for the informative replies.

i think you are probably right that i dont need the AIW 9600. what about the Radeon 9600 (non AIW version) seems much like the 7500. both have DVI and VGA o/p's and sure i already have a convertor even if it didnt come with a convertor!

thanks again, this is incredibly impressive. i only hope i can be of help at some point.

alex
 

ufo_warviper

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If your not really going to be doing any gamin than even a 9600 wouldn't be neccessary. The biggest enhancements over the years can be largely attributed to 3D Graphics rendering power. You said you don't do much gaming, but do you do any at all? IF your remotely interested in running Doom ]|[ or Half-Life2 on Medium or High settings than for the 9600. Otherwise a Radeon 7500 will be very fast for your music editing needs. Heck, even a TNT2 would probably do the job, but the 7500 64MB DDR is so cheap now, I would just go for that.

My OS features preemptive multitasking, a fully interactive command line, & support for 640K of RAM!
 

alexleonard

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yeah i never really have done any gaming. (i probably realistically wont have the time over the next while either!) although i do like to keep the options open :)

and regarding running live visuals on something like Arkaos Vjam, would the card make much of a difference? i just need to find somewhere online that has the 7500 in stock and in ireland or the uk... any suggestions (i usually use www.microdirect.co.uk)

oh and does it make a huge difference whether it is a 'power colour' 'gigabyte' or 'hercules' ATI card?? i have never beentoo sure what the difference is...

thanks again,

alex
 

alexleonard

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ive found in stock cards on www.dabs.com

they have the 7500 by 4 different manufacturers

connect 3D (£37-£40)
crucial technologies (£40)
hercules (£68 - more expensive due to 128mb ram)
Sapphire (£40)

is there much of a difference between these manufacturers?

:)

cheers,

alex
 

ufo_warviper

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oh and does it make a huge difference whether it is a 'power colour' 'gigabyte' or 'hercules' ATI card?? i have never beentoo sure what the difference is...

Yes it does. Gigabyte is a decent manufacturer of NVIdia cards. But I don't beleive they manufacture ATi boards yet. I think you might be confusing
"Gigacube" with "Gigabyte". Hercules, Saphire, & "Built by ATi" are all good. Just don't get a Powercolor or Gigacube board. With that said, I belive no 3rd party manufactures produced boards for ATi until the Radeon 8500LE came about. I have a Hercules 8500LE on one of my systems. It runs all my games fine inspite of its age and lack of DX9 extensions. What will be more than suitable for you would be a Radeon 7500 64MB DDR. IF you do happen to find yourself gaming, you can 'get by' with that card as Gabe Newell has stated that Half-Life 2 will run fast on DirectX 7 boards with lower options enabled. You should be able to get in the upcoming games & even run them with ok framerates, they just won't be very pretty or as fast as other cards, that's all.

My OS features preemptive multitasking, a fully interactive command line, & support for 640K of RAM!
 

ufo_warviper

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The 128MB of RAM isn't going to help you on the Hercules. Either 32MB or 64MB should be fine. You won't notice the difference between 32MB & 64MB for standard desktop usage, only in 3D games. I would go with the 64meg since you said you want to keep 'doors for the future open'. But if you can't 32 should be great.

I've never heard of Connect3D. Crucial makes great RAM products for motherboards. I didn't know they made 3D video cards as well. They might be worth a look into. Maybe someone else knows about the Connect 3D & Crucial boards. As far as Sapphire, they are known to make great video boards. If you go with them, I know you won't be dissapointed. Sapphire is the same company that makes all the "Built by ATi" boards. So if Sapphire is #1 on the ATi hitlist, then their other boards should be fine too.

My OS features preemptive multitasking, a fully interactive command line, & support for 640K of RAM!
 

cleeve

Illustrious
I think Gigabyte has been making Ati cards since last year, UFO.

Yeah, all those manufacturers are great, except Connect3d... haven't heard much about them. I'd imagine their warranty support wouldn't be as good as major players like Hercules, Sapphire, and crucial tho.

------------------
Radeon 9500 (modded to PRO w/8 pixel pipelines)
AMD AthlonXP 2000+
3dMark03: 3529
 

ufo_warviper

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I his case, I wouldn't go with the Hercules. With that $70 price tag, the money would be best spent on a 64meg Radeon 8500LE for the same price or cheaper which would have some decent visuals in HL2 and run it ok. One of the cards I have is a Radeon 8500LE & it runs terrific. Whoops, I already said that I beleive. I'm not saying the Hercules is a bad card, its just not the best option in this case. I've never heard of 128 megs on a DX7 board. If 128 megs doesn't do much(or anything at all for that matter) for a Ti4200 then it won't help a Radeon 7500 chip. In fact, the RAM might be clocked slightly slower on the 128 meg card. That's usually the case for cards that offer more than the typical memory amount.

My OS features preemptive multitasking, a fully interactive command line, & support for 640K of RAM!
 

alexleonard

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cheers yet again.

i've found the radeon 7500 oem by sapphire for £38.59 inc VAT on www.ebuyer.co.uk. and its the 64mb one ;)

i think i will go with it. thanks for all the help. cheered me up no end!

:)

alex
 
I'd agree with what Cleeve said (not the first time).

However I'd add tha an R9100 w/ 64mb might be another good mid-ange choice for you (instead of the R9000np/pro). They can usully be found for cheaper than the R9000s (both of them) and will give you slightly fastr perfomance for gaming (but not R9600 class gaming, but you don't need that).

Also, most(all) graphics card memory is <b>SDRAM</b>, it's just DDR SDRAM in some cases. So read carefully.

And, for the prices you have listed that's pretty expensive, you may want to see the minimal cost of upgrading to an R9100 if you want a DX8.1 capable card (nice but not absolutely necessary, only need for some games)

Of the one's you've listed my order of preference by builder is Herc, Sapphire (depends on which card sometimes), Crucial, then Conect 3D.

The AIW 9600's connector connect to two VGA ports, all other AIW are single monitor. If anything go with a dual monitor card and add a capture card.


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