Lately i've been really unimpressed with my frames per second in world war 2 online and would like to get a new card to up them. Although i'm not oozing with money, i do think it would be a good idea to grab a directx 8 card with the new programmable shaders. So, with price being a problem, i went to pricewatch.com to check out the lowest prices around. I found two cards about in my range, the GeForce 3 Ti 200, and the Radeon 8500 (both running under 200 dollars). Of the two i believe that the Radeon is the smarter choice, but i'm a little weary on which company to buy from, afterall there must be a reason why the cards are so cheap. So i'd like to know if anyone else has gotten a card from there and has an opinion on a trustworthy company to go with.
(yes i'm aware my cpu and ram will slow down such a powerful card, but it will still improve it, and give me the next-gen features that i want.)
At the moment most 8500's available are identical to the ATI reference board (they are even manufactured under the ATI name... it's silk-screened all over them). So you could go with any one of a number of cards from the likes of Power Magic, Power Color, Super Grace etc or even ATI themselves. They all use Hynix RAM. Be wary that OEM/LE models have lower default clockspeeds (250/250 or 230/230) that the ATI Retail boards (275/275) and may use 4ns memory instead of 3.6ns.
I have a Super Grace 8500LE which is running at 300/300MHz. It cost about $200. Great card... wouldn't swop it for a GF3 Ti500 worth twice as much.
Thanks for the advice guys. I think i'm going to go with the 8500 because of all the good i'm hearing about it, and its performance to cost ratio. But i do have a question (I previously posted this in another thread so if you see this twice, i apologize for being redundant). Since my system will bottleneck the card somewhat i'm thinking that the extra speed from the retail won't really be able to show through on my system, and wouldn't be worth the extra dough. Plus i read your little pencil trick so if i do feel like getting some extra performance out of it, it looks like i would be able to . So i would say that the LE/OEM model is more for me, would you agree?
Hell yeah, if you have a multimeter then go for it. If not then just buy a $10 one and you'll still save money overall. Best thing about the mod is you don't change the card physically at all so you can always play the dumbass ("I don't know what happened, it just stopped working...") and RMA it no problems.
The actual speed difference between the LE and the Retail is hardly noticeable, but you're right, your current system may hold things back a little.