Specific Recommendations for Upgrading your Video Card
Below you'll find our specific recommendations for upgrading video
cards depending on the age of your video card or computer system.
If after reading our recommendations you are still uncertain if you
current card should be upgraded, then visit your graphics card manufacturer's
web site and determine the fill rate of your current card and compare
it those in the charts featured in the ATI
and NVidia Graphics Card Comparison Tables on the previous page.
If your video card/computer system/ is 2 years old or older.
I suggest you spend no more than $100 to upgrade your video card.
Suggested upgrades would be the GeForce FX 5200 Ultra or the ATI Radeon
If you already have an ATI Radeon 8500 or an NVidia GeForce 4 Ti card
than you shouldn't upgrade.
If you currently have a video card/computer system less than 1.5
If you currently have an ATI Radeon 8500 or 9000 series card, or
an NVidia GeForce 4 Ti series card with at least 64 MB of memory,
your video card has adequate performance, and does not currently require
If you are concerned that new performance games like Doom III will
not run adequately with your current card, or if you just would like
faster video performance, then be prepared to spend at least $170-$200
to upgrade your current card to an ATI Radeon 9600 XT or a NVidia
GeForce 4 FX 5700 Ultra.
If your video card is less than 1 year old. Providing you
have a fast, well-tuned computer, you should not consider upgrading
to any card slower than the ATI Radeon 9600 XT or a NVidia GeForce
4 FX 5700 Ultra.
If you want one of the fastest video cards available, then you should
upgrade to a NVidia GeForce FX 5950 Ultra or an ATI Radeon 9800 XT
Video Card Shopping Tips
1. Do not pay a premium for 256 MB graphics cards. Only those
purchasing ATI Radeon 9600 XT or a NVidia GeForce 4 FX 5700 Ultra
or faster cards should consider paying additional money for a 256
Your money would be better spent on a faster video card with 128 MB
of memory. The additional memory on a slower video card will not give
you an appreciable boost in speed.
2. Understand the warranty. Most graphics card manufacturers
have a 2 year or longer warranty on video cards. However, at least
one brand of video cards, PNY's Verto, claims to have a life-time
warranty, while in reality its warranty only covers the card as long
as it is in production.
3. Beware of overpriced video cards. I have seen GeForce FX
5200 and 5600 cards priced in the $175 range. These cards typically
have 256 MB of video memory and are proclaimed as a great deal.
Don't be fooled! The ATI Radeon 9600 XT and NVidia GeForce 4 FX 5700
Ultra with 128 MB of video memory can be found in the same price range
and are much faster cards.
4. Make sure the graphics card has the correct video out connectors.
If you have a flat panel monitor you will need a DVI out connector.
If you have a regular CRT monitor you will need a VGA connector. Those
wanting to hook their video card to TVs or VCRs need a SVGA connector.
5. Make sure your system can use the card before you buy it.
Many new video cards require the use of a hard drive power connector
to function properly. If you do not have a free hard drive connector
or your connector is not long enough, buy a splitter/extension known
as a hard drive "Y cable".
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NVidia Graphics Card Comparison Tables
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