Clearest and best video card for dual monitor under $180?
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Thread: Clearest and best video card for dual monitor under $180?

  1. #1
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    Clearest and best video card for dual monitor under $180?

    Just as the title says. I am looking for a clear solution for my 2 19" LCD's. What are your suggestions?
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  2. #2
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    What kind of problems are you having with the Ti4200?

    I know it will only do one DVI while the second monitor would have to be analog.

  3. #3
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    Id recommend an ATI Radeon 9600PRO (or 9600XT if you can get one cheap enough)

    it has 2 connectors for montors, a DVI and an Analogue. i know the sapphire cards come with a DVI>Analogue adaptor so you can have 2 analogue connections.
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    He said LCDs, not CRTs. Honestly, going analog on TFTs is not quite the way to get maximum image quality

    So to return to the topic: au contraire, I'd say then a card with two DVI outputs is what's needed there. Assuming, of course, that the LCDs have DVI input too.

    And with DVI, well, it's digital, so any card with DVI output will look just as well on TFT. So pretty much all Matroxes fit that bill, and a good number of NVidia cards.

  5. #5
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    There really isn't a problem with my Ti 4200 except it is slow to play Doom 3 and Half Life 2. The Ti 4200 was more blurry than any Radeon card I tested in my system. Therefore, I am leaning more toward ATI for picture quality. Speed is secondary for me if there is neglible difference. In addition, I watch and edit a lot of DVD's. So taking into consideration of the above, what do you guys recommend?
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  6. #6
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    OK, now that changes everything. You really should up the budget a tiny bit. You can get a Radeon 9800Pro for $200 or a GeForce 6600GT AGP for about $240. The GT will smoke in Doom3! I'm not sure about the image quality of some of the cheaper GF cards, but some are complaining about the PNY brand card's image quality, particularly on the GeForce 6800 (plain version). You might want to get a good brand name for that. ATI cards don't seem to be impacted on image quality like nVidia based cards with differant manufacturers... I'm not really sure why. I have seen some pretty crappy looking cards like my old Inno3D GeForce2 GTS and my AOpen GeForce4 MX-440. My Gainward GeForce4 Ti4200 looks great though.

    I have a Radeon 9700Pro and it runs Doom3 great at 1024x768 High Quality and Half Life 2 at 1280x1024 MAX settings with 8xAF and it looks great (just beat HL2 the second time yesterday ). A Radeon 9800Pro is about 10% faster or so. The image quality is great.
    Last edited by Todd a; November 27th, 2004 at 11:31 PM.
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  7. #7
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    Again, if we're talking dual _LCD_ monitors, and assuming that they do have DVI input:

    1. You'll want a card with dual DVI outputs. DVI makes _the_ biggest image quality difference on a TFT.

    Which means you can forget about ATI completely.

    2. Over DVI, it doesn't matter which brand you'll get, they all have the exact same image quality. Over an analog cable there are many factors which influence quality, because we're talking an analog signal. Over DVI, it's digital. The monitor gets an exact number for each pixel. E.g., this pixel has exactly colour #C0C0FF.

    Any image quality issues possible at this point are from the TFT itself, not from having a PNY vs having an Asus.

    3. If you also want to play games, the only choice left with two DVI outputs is an NVidia. This usually means a 6800 Ultra. (Or the Gainward Ultra/2400 GS GLH, which is a GT overclocked to Ultra speeds.) Yeah, it's not cheap.

  8. #8
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    I second the 6600GT. It has what you need and it's a decent gamer.

    http://www.buy.com/prod/XFX_GeForce_.../10387999.html

    Also haven't noticed any issues with the image quality of my analog output on my PNY 6800GT. It looks exactly the same as my 9800, but the TV out looks twice as good as the 9800's.
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  9. #9
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    It seemed to be limitted mostly to a batch of GeForce 6800 from CompUSA. Some actually had copacitors that had fallen off sitting in the bag. They also mensioned the package included a note saying do not return to store, contact PNY custome service, which was horrible. Some were fine, but it does bring to queasting their quality assurance at PNY.

    I found my TV on my Radeon 9700Pto AIW to be much better than my Geforce4 Ti4200. Those are the only two I've run TV out on. The GeForce4 had a horizontal line drifting up through the screan. I thought it was the cable, but it was still there when I moved the TV closer and tested with a better cable. The line was faint, but it still bothered me.

    I did not notice dual LCD either, so yes that limits your options to generally more expensive cards. You might be able to find an older Quantro card with dual DVI, but it will not perform as good. The GeForce 6600GT is likely your best bet and $229 is a pretty good price. I have not used Buy.com in years (since they got bought out), but their service and shipping (speed and prices) were VERY good. That one lists free shipping too. Maybe you can find someone to buy for old card for $50 to increase your budget.

    I did find a Radeon 9600 (non-pro) for $129 (shipped):

    http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduc...161-115&depa=1

    It has dual DVI and 256MB DDR. It should be able to play HL2 OK, but Doom3 will smack it around pretty bad. Too bad you didn't have PCI-e on that board because the XFX GeForce 6600GT PCI-e is about $40-50 less.
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  10. #10
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    May be I will wait until PCI-e comes out and upgrade then. The image quality problem is not all that bad. I can live with it. I do get greater than 40 FPS with both games which is playable. I want to go the A64 route when PCI-e is more in full force. I am also contemplating on holding out until dual core comes out and do SLI. But all of that would mean I would have to drop more than a grand to do it. Hmm...it all comes down to $$$$$. Which I don't have enough thus the ~ $200 price limit. What do you suggest? Hmm... thanks Todd a, I don't think I am going to CompUSA to get those defective boards...my buddy returned 3 before he got one with the capcitor on.
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  11. #11
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    The TV out on the GF4 line was similar to that of the GF3 and was horrible. You needed to buy TVTool just to make the image tolerable. The TV out on the latest nV cards is GPU integrated and noticeably better than my 7500, 9700, and 9800 which all have the same quality (probably because they use the same tech).
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  12. #12
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    If I am getting this right, the current Nvidia cards are much better than before and have better image quality than the ATI?
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  13. #13
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    Latest (6600/6800) yes, with FX line it depends, but mostly not

  14. #14
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    Both really have good image quality, but like I said nVidia does not seem to have as good of qulity control over what the manufacturers do. It is the manufacturers that deside how good of filter they will use on the output image. This has a pretty large impact on the crispness of the picture. As long as you are carfull when use nVidia cards from budget manufacturers you should be just fine. nVidia has a tiny leg up in performance right now (mostly in Doom3) and both are having horrible supply problems. Both companies really upped the bar thought with their GeForce 6600 and Radeon x700 for mid ranged and GeForce 6800 and x800 for the high end. nVidia's step to full DX9.0c gives them a slight technology lead too, but few games use this (FarCry with patch 1.3 is about it right now).

    It is good to here they upped the TV out image on their XF and 6xxx series. ATI's is pretty good, so it would be interesting (for me at least) to see how they compare. It will have to wait a bit as I am set on graphics for about a year (unless money is really good).
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  15. #15
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    Originally posted by Todd a
    It is the manufacturers that deside how good of filter they will use on the output image. This has a pretty large impact on the crispness of the picture. [/B]
    Yeah but thats just it,from what Ive seen of the FX line, exluding Asus, IQ and TV-out was bellow that of ATI 9xxx series, FX5200 Ive seen was terrible.

    On the ATI side, apart from certain 9200SE, with unbarable IQ, Ive heard of, even the likes of GeCube and Club3d, managed to produce pretty good IQ and decent TV-out on their products.

    Now admittedly this is all anecdotal, still if IQ and TV-out is important then Id say be carefull with FX line, but with 9xxx series you should be OK as long as you stay clear of the lowest priced products.

    BTW as wrathchild_67 said allready, 6800 has great TV-out, Leadtek 6800LE I had for a while was a lot better then Gecube R9800PRO, I had before.
    Last edited by F_A_L_C_O_N; November 28th, 2004 at 04:39 PM.

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