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  1. #1
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    Re: Graphics Card Recommendation

    Phil

    The SiS 661FX is, as far as I'm aware, on onboard video card (ie built onto the motherboard of your PC), and as such is likely to be perfectly adequate for 2D apps (Office etc), but next to useless when it comes to displaying 3D graphics.

    Open GL & DirectX are just 2 different APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that are used to display 3D graphics. All the message you got means is that your graphics card drivers don't support the OpenGL standard. If it works okay in DirectX, then the image quality is likely to be very similar.

    Your question asking 'is the video display likely to be better?' is a bit vague. If you mean, will the picture look prettier, then no, not really. If you mean will another card be more powerful (ie smoother, able to run at higher resolutions etc), the answer is almost certainly yes. Even a cheap modern graphics card will easily outperform the 661FX. The main problem you may have is that as you have onboard graphics, your motherboard may not have an AGP or PCIe slot, in which case you'll need to hunt down a PCI card.

    It's difficult to recomment a card without knowing your requirements & your budget. There's no point spending loads on a monster graphics card if you never play games...
    <font color=448800><font face="Comic Sans MS"><big>Lyra J </font color=448800></font face=comic></big>
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  2. #2
    Uranium Lounger
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    Graphics Card Recommendation

    I have a new Win XP Pro SR2 computer with a FoxCom motherboard. The display adapter is an SiS 661FX. I just downloaded the new GoogleEarth. When I tried to run it, it said it couldn't run in OpenGL, that I had to run it in DirectX mode. I read the thread about OpenGL, but that didn't answer this question.
    1. If I get a new graphics card that supports OpenGL, is the video display likely to be better?
    2. What video card do you recommend? I've looked at eVGA GeForce 6800 Ultra which PC World rated highly. However, =PGEVG]>Tom's Hardware Ratings doesn't even rank it on it's first page.
    Thanks in advance,

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    Re: Graphics Card Recommendation

    I've always been an nVidia guy, but I recently upgraded from an nVidia gForce 4600 to an ATI x800 XL (AGP w/ 256MB). I paid $316 and it's been well worth it! My 3 year-old system now has a new breath of life! My reason for upgrade was that a new game (Battlefield 2) couldn't run on my old card. It runs very nicely on my new card! And Google Earth screams <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

    Also, on top of the gaming and 3d performance, I can run Windows Media Center Edition. Talk about a PC-based home entertainment center! It's very nice...

  4. #4
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Graphics Card Recommendation

    Phil,

    Lyra gave you a good run down of the chip capabilities. So far as a particular card.....NVidia GeForce and ATI Radeon are the two big names in graphics cards. Generally, the higher the series number, the higher the price but also the higher the graphics capabilities. Look for cards with a good amount of RAM.

    I'm presently running a ATI Radeon 9550 with 256 mb video RAM but I have had NVidia's for years and can recommend BOTH types highly.

    I think your wallet will determine how high you can go. ALL will be a <big>big</big> improvement overt the built in video.
    BOB
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    Re: Graphics Card Recommendation

    Thanks, Mark, for the advice. One more question. I happen to see PC World's reviews here on both boards (if I understood yours correctly). If I'm correct, the eVGA GeForce 6800 Ultra, that I mentioned in my first post was rated slightly higher than the one you mention. Do you see any worthwhile difference between the two? (I will have to check the motherboard to see what kind of slot it has).
    Thanks again,

  6. #6
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    Re: Graphics Card Recommendation

    Hi Lyra & Bob:
    Thanks to both for your replies.

    Lyra: Thanks for the rundown on OpenGL & DirectX. The GoogleEarth first gave me a message that my computer was compatible with OpenGL (which led me to believe that I was missing something.) <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15> I will check to see what kind of slot I have on the motherboard.

    Bob Lyra: In any event, I've been dissatisfied with the display my 2D apps, also. Sometimes, the redraw is slower than I want & some of my desktop icons revert to a default. So hopefully, these graphic cards will improve 2D display, also. As far as my wallet, all my hobbies are cheap, except this one so I'll spend whatever will make me happy. <img src=/S/laugh.gif border=0 alt=laugh width=15 height=15>

    Thanks to all,

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    Re: Graphics Card Recommendation

    I've been a long-time nVidia supporter. That changed when I saw the latest generation of ATI cards. In my opinion you get a bit more bang for your buck with ATI. There are a few next-generation features that only nVidia supports at the moment (like Vertex Shaders 2.0 and possibly a few more) but no games are using this yet. Even when games start to implement these bleeding-edge features, they will still support cards that don't have those features (to a certain degree).

    I'm of the general opinion that performance is closely related to price - even with a few small differences between nVidia and ATI counterparts. First decide how much you want to spend, then look at the features offered by cards in your price range. Think about things such as dual monitor support, VIVO (Video In/ Video Out), etc.

    On a side note, I purchased an nVidia 5700LE 256MB card to replace my 2 year-old nVidia 4600 128MB. The 5700 was about $100 but I originally spent about $300 for the 4600. Oddly enough, the 5700 performed WORSE than the old 4600! I immediately took the 5700 out and sold it on e-Bay. The 4600 was just a faster and higher-end card. I kept it until a few weeks ago when I upgraded to the x800XL. Oddly enough yet again, the framerates on several games are still about the same with the x800 as they were with the 4600, but the image quality is MUCH better. I'm starting to think the framerates are related as much to my system bus speed as they are to the graphics card.

    Also, keep in mind that some of the newest generation cards (including the nVidia 6xxx series and ATI x series) usually require an extra power connection. Be sure that your power supply is up to the challenge - usually a 300W is minimum. I have a 420W and it purrs like a kitten... (2 hard drives, 2 optical drives, etc).

    I'm sure you'll be VERY pleased with anything you get (as long as it's in the $200+ range).

  8. #8
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    Re: Graphics Card Recommendation

    Thanks again, Mark. I hadn't thought of a power supply. I just assumed that plugging the computer into my surge protector that plugs into the wall would supply all the power I need. I will check with Fry's or CompUSA for a power supply, if that's what it takes. Since this is my only hobby that costs money, I figure I can splurge. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>

  9. #9
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Graphics Card Recommendation

    Hi Phil,
    The sequence is: wall outlet powers THROUGH the surge protector, then powers the power supply inside your system box. You should be able to look at the specs for your system and MOST will tell what the capacity of the DC power supply is. ( in watts ) As Mark said 300 watts is todays minimum to run the system with added plug in boards. More is better. If you DO need a new supply just make sure it's the type for your system box, like ATX or mini ATX.
    You have to make sure that the new supply fits mechanically into the enclosure as well as being one to supply sufficient electrical power. I found a 600 watt "jobbie" that doesn't even breathe hard despite the add ons that I have.
    BOB
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  10. #10
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    Re: Graphics Card Recommendation

    Hi Bob:
    Thanks for the information. I also have a UPS hooked up, but I have so many wires that I forget how it's hooked up. <img src=/S/laugh.gif border=0 alt=laugh width=15 height=15> Where would I look to find the specs for the power supply? I don't have any documentation because the machine was built by a friend of a friend.

  11. #11
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Graphics Card Recommendation

    Phil,
    Lacking a manual you might take a look inside the case and see if there is a label on the PS itself.
    Usually there will be information like input & output voltages, power capacity in Watts, etc.

    Also, the power capacity mentioned does NOT mean you are actually drawing that much. It just means what the MAX is for that unit.
    BOB
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    Long ago, there was a time when men cursed and beat on the ground with sticks. It was called witchcraft.
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