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Until the summer of this year I was sitting at home with a pretty decent system ( Athlon 900, 256 meg ram 55 gig HDD and a Geforce 2 32 meg MX 200 graphics card ) which had done me well for well over a year but it came to the point where I just wasn't cutting it any longer.
Working with a lot of graphically based applications as well as 3D rendering software sapped my system too quickly meaning that several times a day I had to reboot after leaving my system off for a few minutes. This just got annoying after a while so finally after losing my rag one night ( having lost about 7 hours of solid work due to lack of graphical resources ) I decided that it was time to build myself a new computer.
Now computers are not cheap by anyones definition and cost was a factor when I choosed my parts but I never wanted to compromise as I am a person who loves to multitask doing generally 5 to 10 things at once, even moreso when I am designing a new web page or Flash movie.
After choosing my motherboard, processor, ram, hard drives etc I came to the task of choosing my graphics card. At first I was tempted by a multi header graphics card that would allow me to run more than one monitor on the same system ( drools ) which would have been heaven for a multitasker like me but the cost of which was rather pricey. Fortunately the matter was taken out of my hands when my spare secondry monitor got broken leaving me with only my new ( and far bigger ) monitor.
I knew I needed better that the old 32 meg MX 200 Geforce 2 that I had been running on the old system but there was still so many choices. The Hercules Prophet looked like a good option but I had friends that had bad times with this brand. Then when going to my local independant computer shop I saw the Geforce 64 meg MX 400 for a very reasonable price.
A sub point here is that I refuse to buy anything from Time, Tiny, PC World, Computer World, Curry's, Dixons or any other large chain store on the principal that 99% of the workers there know jack about computers and they hike the prices up to a mind numbing level.
Anyway I digress. Back to the point. There are really only a couple of things you really need to know about graphics cards in order to make a informed choice.
1: The amount of memory on it. Obviously stepping up from a 32 meg card to a 64 meg card is effectively doubling my graphics memory and the truth here is 64 meg is about all any normal home user will ever need.
2: The bus speed of the card. In this case the bus speed is a 133 mhz which was good as my entire system was going to be run at 133 mhz. A common misconception is made when people buy DDR ram graphics cards that run at 266 mhz or 333 mhz bus speed thinking that they are going to have far faster graphics. While the card is quite capable of running at that speed chances are your system isn't therefore you will have spent all that extra cash for something you will never use. kinda like a person who has no idea how to drive buying a car ... totally pointless.
Finally the brand of the graphics card should be something that is considered. NVidia pretty much revolutionised the graphics card industry after 3DFX and their now ill fated Voodoo range dominated the market for years and quite frankly NVidia are a company I personally trust.
The proof however is in the pudding as they say ( okay I have no idea what that actually means it just sounded good ) and the fact that since I got my new Geforce MX 400 64 meg graphics card I have had no issues at all with it. As well as being more than capable of doing everything I have required it to do it has also surpassed my expectations in that it performs far better than twice the level of my old 32 meg card.
I had one of these Geforce MX cards in my machine when I first bought it, and it certainly did the job. However I moved up to a Geforce 4 Ti4200 early last year and I haven't looked back since.
Judgee 05.12.2002 17:28
Boohoo it will soon be time to bin my Voodoo 5500 after a couple of years faithful service. The lack of support has been annoying, I just hope nvidia stick around, it would be nice to have a card that actually has new drivers written for it occassionally!
glitterprincess 28.11.2002 14:43
More complicated 'puter stuff ... well its not really all that complex, i'm just being terribly girly about the whole thing! Jami x