PCI video cards

wrburns

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Hi all,

I have a Dell Dimension 2350 (2GHz P4, 256MB, i845GL integrated graphics with no AGP slot - yes, Dell sucks). My 3D performance is pathetic, and since I have no AGP slot, I need to get a PCI video card. I also run Linux, so driver support is an Issue(tm). So:

1) What's the best PCI card for me (under $100 preferably - I will spend more if it is worth it, but I am strapped for cash)?
2) Will I be able to play modern games like Jedi Knight II, Star Wars Galaxies, or Battlefield 1942 at at least 30 FPS at 1024x768 with low detail?

Thanks much.
 

wrburns

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Thanks for the replies. :)

Well, ATI apparently doesn't have the greatest Linux drivers. So, at this point, I am looking at either the Nvidia FX 5200 w/ 128MB or the GeForce 4 MX 440. How do these two compare?
 
G

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If you can find a FX5200 ultra with PCI I suggest that. The 5200 non-ultra are pretty sucky for even for their price. If you want to use FSAA and Anisotropic filtering i suggest the Fx series other then that you woud probably be better off with a MX440
 
I'm not sure but I doubt you'd be able to push the Ultra through a PCI-slot hard enough to notice the diff. between an FXultra and a raguler FX5200.

In any case they are about equal (FX having a bit more on paper [haven't seen a single review for FX-pci]). Not great, but then again none of the PCI cards will be.

ATI isn't terrible at linux, but yes it appears the NV have a little less problems from what I've read, however I've also read that the ATI drivers are getting better and they have a dedicated team for them, but really only for the FIREGL line (stuff trickles down to the rest from there) as it's the PRO line likely to matter most in the Linux area.


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wrburns

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Well, I don't really care much for stunning visual effects. I just want to be able to play modern games. I have not seen an FX 5200 Ultra PCI - just a non-Ultra. The non-Ultra is $106.

If I bought an FX 5200 non-ultra, could anyone venture to guess what my framerates would be in:

Quake III
Jedi Knight II
Battlefield 1942
UT 2003

I mean just a very rough guess, just to gauge my performance versus other setups. I have a 2GHz P4 with 256 MB RAM (I can disable OB video). Thanks.
 

Willamette_sucks

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The first 3 are all old-skool and easy as pie dude, it will play them just fine.

The last one youre not gonna play period.

There is a huge difference between the first 3 games and the last one:)

"Mice eat cheese." - Modest Mouse

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

Crashman

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Former Staff
Linux has good support for the Radeon 8500, so I'd say get a 9100. That's because the 9100 AGP is the same card as an 8500LE, except for some card BIOS stuff, which shouldn't affect the driver. Also the 9100 PCI *should* operate with the 8500 driver, and it has fairly decent performance (PCI being a crippling factor).

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wrburns

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Heheh. Well, I'd like some second-opinions anyway. :) Those are popular games that you see in benchmarking a lot, and I mainly want to use them as a reference point.

So, here's the bottom-line: is it gonna be a GeForce 4MX 440SE or an FX 5200 non-ultra? I'm desperately trying to figure out whether the FX is worth the extra money. Is it any faster than the 4MX? Since I am on a PCI bus, will the 128 MB on the FX boost performance significantly? Can anyone help me to make any sense out of this?

One glaring difference that I did notice was that the 5200 non-ultra can do 4B texels per second, versus the 4MX's 1B texels per second. Is that significant?
 

Willamette_sucks

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128/64, will make no difference in your case since youre using a PCI card.

You're a fool if you dont get a 9100 PCI for gaming, but if youre going to go nvidia, get the 5200 non-ultra.

Enjoy your crappy performance dude:)

"Mice eat cheese." - Modest Mouse

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

wrburns

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Hmmm, OK. I had pretty much given up on the 9100. Let me look up some performance tables and I will post back.

I really don't think that PCI is as crippling as some people think, especially when up to 128 MB of VRAM is available. It definitely does hurt, but I don't think that it is as bad as some people have told me. We don't live in the days of 4MB cards anymore.
 

wrburns

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That is an extremely rude remark. I am totally lost here, and all you can tell me is to go enjoy my "crappy performance." That's really [-peep-] easy for you to say, especially since you have AGP.

To everyone else, look what I just found! Maybe I'm not dead in the water after all. Would a VisionTek Xtasy Radeon 9200 SE w/ 128 MB be any good?
 

wrburns

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OK, so I've done a tad bit of research of the 9100. Basically, it sounds like the way to go. :) It looks to me like it can even run UT2K+3 decently and gets a good 3DMark score, so it should be a good performer. Awesome. Can I get any final opinions on this? Thanks a whole lot for everyone's help.
 

confoundicator

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I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Ti4200 64MB yet. Of course I don't even know if they're available any more, or in PCI for that matter, but they are good fast cheap cards.

Will run UT2K3 smooth as glass at 1024x768x32 (at least mine does in the AGP slot). :cool:


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wrburns

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They are still available and are one of the most-recommended budget cards, but they are not available for PCI. Thanks anyway. :)
 

Crashman

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We don't live in the PCI Graphics days either!

AGP2x is 4x the performance of PCI. AGP4x is 8x the performance...and now we're up to AGP8x (still performing at 4x levels). You're not going to get good performance from ANY PCI card. The best you can hope for is passable, but not likeable, performance. The 9100 chip processes far more data than the PCI bus can pass.

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Crashman

Polypheme
Former Staff
BTW, if you're looking at an AGP card performance comparison, you're totally lost! Comparisons such as Tom's VGA charts don't even matter for PCI cards. Why? PCI video performance is about processing the most output for the least input! AGP cards don't have that limitation.

Say you tested 2 cards at AGP4x, and card N outperformed card A. But then you tested those same cards on an older AGP2x board, and card A outperformed card N. Now, you can see that card N requires a lot more bandwidth than card A to get the same performance. So which would work best on PCI? Not the most powerfull Card N, but the most efficient card A.

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wrburns

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Yes, I am totally lost. :)

OK, so what do you mean by "input"? This thing has got plenty of room for textures (128MB), so I doubt that bandwidth will be much of an issue for textures. What is it that you mean by "input"? Thanks.
 

Willamette_sucks

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Good choice. The 9100, being an 8500 LE, is almost always better than a 9200 in gaming situations, and should be able to play ut2k3 at, say, 800x600 medium detail (maybe more, we'll find out!).

The reason I made that 'rude' comment, was because DESPITE all of our recommendations of ATI's PCI cards, and the statement about their improving linux support, you insisted on nVidia, which is clearly not the best choice in your situation.

BTW what are you going to be using linux for?

Are you going to be doing most of your gaming in Linux or Windows?

"Mice eat cheese." - Modest Mouse

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

wrburns

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Oh OK. Well, then sorry for the misunderstanding. I know that some people are sensitive to the ATI vs. Nvidia issues. Personally, I just want the best card for my money. :) It seems that ATI wins this round.

BUT, now I am really lost and worried that I am totally dead in the water without an AGP bus. I really, really would like some explanations of this. I will have 128 MB of memory onboard, so I really don't see texture swapping as being much of an issue.

TigerDirect has the VisionTek Radeon 9100 PCI for $50 after rebates, but it is a "white-box." Can anyone explain exactly what that means?

I use Linux for everything, include mild gaming (very little gaming on Linux, really). Most of my gaming will be in Windows, but I will use it in Linux. I really don't consider myself a gamer, but my current 845GL is completely unacceptable. I mean, it won't even run in 32-bit color with 3D acceleration. It's that bad.
 

Crashman

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Former Staff
I don't know code well enough to know what makes the 9100 more efficient, but according to the last PCI comparison I saw it was around 50% better than an MX440 PCI card. You think you're going to find a TI4200 or better PCI card? You think that would actually help, given the limits of PCI performance?

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wrburns

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Geez, dude, chill out on me, OK? I just want a decent card, right? This Radeon 9100 is plenty fast enough for me. What I don't understand here is why AGP is so much better when texture shuttling is taken out of the question. That's where I need help at this point.
 

wrburns

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Alright, you morons. Thanks a lot for practically ruining my day without any reason at all. Check out this page:

http://forums.us.dell.com/supportforums/board/message?board.id=dim_video&message.id=63634

See that? That's called a 3DMark 2001SE score of 7390 with a PCI Radeon 9100 on a 2.4 GHz Pentium 4. That's the same as a 3.06 GHz P4 w/ HT and an AGP 8X GeForce 4MX.

Now all of you who were pissing my system can go f*ck yourselves while I go enjoy decent gaming in spite of what you say.
 

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