Good, energy-efficient video cards?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by steelphantom, Nov 27, 2007.

  1. steelphantom macrumors 6502a

    steelphantom

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2005
    #1
    I'm in the process of building a PC, and I'm looking at getting a video card around the $100 range. I'd like it to be able to handle Vista's Aero smoothly as well as play some of the latest games on at least medium settings. I'm not a huge gamer, so no 8800s or anything like that. Another concern of mine is power consumption. I don't want to have to use a huge 500-600 watt power supply just to be able to power the video card.

    Here's one of the cards I've been interested in: Gigabyte GeForce 8600GT. It's passively cooled, so at least it'll be quiet, and will probably draw less power than a fan-cooled card. What do you guys this card, and how are 8600GTs in terms of power consumption in general?

    Any suggestions for a decent, energy-efficient video card will be great! Thanks.
     
  2. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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  3. steelphantom thread starter macrumors 6502a

    steelphantom

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    Oct 15, 2005
    #3
    Looks like an awesome card, but at ~$180, it's a little out of my budget. Know anything good in the $100 range that's not power-hungry? Thanks for the suggestion.
     
  4. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #4
    It's a shoot out between the HD 2600XT and the 8600GT then.
     
  5. steelphantom thread starter macrumors 6502a

    steelphantom

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    #5
    That's what I figured. Any thoughts on the passively-cooled 8600GT I mentioned in my original post?
     
  6. chewietobbacca macrumors 6502

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    Jun 18, 2007
    #6
    Honestly, if you don't want DirectX 10 (personally I wouldn't get one for DX10 as even the $500 DX10 cards struggle atm), go with these cards:

    X1950Pro

    or

    7900GS (or 7950GT if you can find one)

    They should e-tail for ~$100 and are faster performers than the 2600 or 8600 but are not DX10 cards. Pretty low power usage on them as well.
     
  7. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #7
    Thats a good choice, I have a passive 7600gs in my dell and its been silent and good for gaming though I must admit Im now using ati2600 graphics in my iMac.
     
  8. steelphantom thread starter macrumors 6502a

    steelphantom

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    Oct 15, 2005
    #8
    Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. Is there much of an advantage to using DX-10? I'm not sure how many games use it right now, or if anything besides games uses it at all.
     
  9. chewietobbacca macrumors 6502

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    Jun 18, 2007
    #9
    All DX10 games have DX9 mode which means that non-Vista rigs can still play them. DX10 just adds some graphical effects but usually at a big performance hit. Its debateable how much they impact the game, but gameplay itself doesn't change.
     
  10. TBi macrumors 68030

    TBi

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    Ireland
    #10
    The 8600GT is a great card and a little less power hungry than the 2600XT. However the new ATi 3850 (not the higher version) is more energy efficient (i think) so have a look at that too.
     
  11. PMR macrumors 6502

    PMR

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    #11
    Since you are going to use vista, go for nVidia. ATI drivers are buggy as hell in vista.

    The previous 7900GS/GT would smack the 8600GT, but they are to noisy when using standard cooler. If you don't mind the noise, stop reading here;)
    As for DX10, forget it, because any low end card won't run anything in that mode. For the $100/Vista combo the 8600GT is the winner. For $100/XP 8600GT or HD2600XT, but I think I didn't see any passive cooled XT yet.
     
  12. Yvan256 macrumors 601

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    Canada
    #12
    While we're on the subject, what about a PCI, fanless, nVidia card only for a dedicated Final Fantasy XI computer? I'm selling my Xbox 360 (only used for FF XI) because this thing is way too big and too noisy (the DVD drive is always spinning while running FF XI).

    I'm asking for a PCI and fanless card simply because this PC going to be a mini-ITX motherboard (intel Pentium M), as I'm now used to the small size and low noise of my Mac mini. :D

    P.S.: either Windows 98SE or Windows XP, not sure yet.
     
  13. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #13
    PCI isn't going to give you enough bandwidth for gaming today.
     
  14. Yvan256 macrumors 601

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    Canada
    #14
    This would have been a dedicated Final Fantasy XI PC, and that game was released in 2003. They state ATI Radeon 9000 with 32MB as a minimum, and GeForceFX 64MB as recommended.

    Anyway, I just received the case for my mini-ITX board today and it's so small that a PCI card can't fit in there anyway.

    Back to the noisy Athlon XP 2400+ with Radeon 9600XT/128MB I guess... though last time the damn thing just wouldn't boot (not even a BIOS boot screen). And AFAIR it was quite noisy too, just a bit less than the Xbox 360. :(

    I wish SquareEnix made the game for either the Wii (with an external USB drive) or for the PS3.
     
  15. chewietobbacca macrumors 6502

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    Jun 18, 2007
    #15
    A PCI FX5200 might work for you. I can't believe PCI express has been around that long already....

    And ATI's Vista drivers are a lot better shape now than they were before, they're pretty consistently stable actually. The 3850 is very energy efficient and is 2-3x faster than the previous kings of performance, the X1950XTX and the 7950GT and all that at $159-179. ($159 after the rumored $20 price drop incoming in the next week or two)
     
  16. TBi macrumors 68030

    TBi

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    #16
    Oh god don't recommend an FX5200!
     
  17. chewietobbacca macrumors 6502

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    Jun 18, 2007
    #17
    I usually would never talk about that abomination but its really the only cheapest/available PCI card still around. Im amazed someone still has a motherboard with a PCI-only slot and not even AGP which is on the verge of going the way of the Dodo.
     
  18. TBi macrumors 68030

    TBi

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    Ireland
    #18
    A lot of boards just give you PCI because they have onboard graphics and people usually need more PCI slots than AGP, especially in small form factor where you only have 2 slots.

    Talking about the 5200 though, i'd even go as far as to say the onboard intel graphics would be faster than this!
     
  19. Yvan256 macrumors 601

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    Canada
    #19
    All mini-ITX boards only have 1 PCI slot.

    Anyway, the old Athlon XP 2600+ with Radeon 9600XT 128MB AGP finally decided to boot when connected to a TV (for some reason), so I won't be needing a PCI card after all. However it's still way too noisy for my taste. I think I'll put it in another room and just use very long video/keyboard/mouse wires. :D
     

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