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technicianxp
13-06-2008, 07:57 PM
Hi everyone.

I'm finally at the ordering stage for a new PC I've been planning to get. The specs are as follows:

Athlon 64x2 4800+ (Brisbane)
Transcend 2GB DDR2-800 RAM
Abit AX78 Motherboard
Seagate 320GB 16MB HDD
Gigabyte GZ-X1 case

The only area where I'm unsure as to what I should choose is graphics. I have an option between either a XFX 8600GT 256MB DDR3, or an Asus 8600GT 512MB DDR2 card. They are similar in price so that doesn't matter too much.

What would you guys recommend I go for out of these two? The XFX does have the advantage of a Zalman fan, and I am pretty keen on having a quiet machine. I don't really play the latest and greatest games, but I want the best value for my money.

I realise the CPU probably isn't a top performer, but I am sticking to a budget of $550 with delivery included. I've sourced the best parts from a supplier I can pick them up from (C1 Shoppingmall). I am reusing the relatively new 500W PSU and DVD writer from my current PC.

Thanks in advance!

SolMiester
13-06-2008, 09:02 PM
DDR3 memory....can you not afford a cheap 9600GT?

technicianxp
13-06-2008, 09:43 PM
Hi solmiester.

That really would be pushing it, as a comparable 9600GT is nearly double the cost. It would probably be overkill too as I am upgrading from a Celeron D 2.66GHz with a 128MB Geforce 6200, so any boost in performance would be awesome.

I don't really have any of the latest and greatest games, and a friend of mine has a computer already with almost identical specs and he finds it great for most games with a monitor twice the resolution of mine.

But thanks for the advice anyway. I'll see if anyone else has something to add but looks like I may settle for the XFX in the end.

qazwsxokmijn
13-06-2008, 10:18 PM
Yeah, I'd get the XFX 256MB one. 8600GTs are equivalent to 7600GTs in performance, and if you're not much of a gamer the extra 256MB in the Asus is not at all useful.

technicianxp
14-06-2008, 12:28 AM
Thanks for the responses guys. :thanks

However I just realised that I can also get a couple of supposedly good ATi models as well. What I've got to choose from here are:

Sapphire ATi Radeon HD 3650 512MB GDDR2
Asus ATi Radeon HD 3470 256MB GDDR3


Both the cards are silent models with no fans. According to the C1 site the 3650 has a 128-bit memory bus while the 3470 has a 64-bit one.

Would you guys be able to tell me how these cards stack up against the 8600GT's in the original post? One advantage an ATi card would give me is that of being able to use CrossFire if I get another one.

Sherman
14-06-2008, 01:26 AM
I have an ATI HD 3650 512MB GDDR2 card. On my 19" 1440 x 900 monitor, I can play The likes of Bioshock and Source engine games (HL2, ep1 ep2 etc) with nearly all and all respectively eye candy turned on, although that is without anti-aliasing turned on, although 2-4x AA on source games seems ok. I haven't tested any other modern games, although I suspect other games based on the Unreal 3 engine will be similar to Bioshock.

It seems to be a nice card, accept for the problems with H/W acceleration of live DVB-T TV.

I wouldn't bother with the 3470, the lower memory bus and (far) less stream processors make it unsuitable for gaming. Quite frankly I'm not sure what the point of having GDDR3 memory on a 34xx series card actually accomplishes....

I also like the card because it is based on a 55nm fabrication process, and runs comparitively cool in my crap case with no case fans and terrible airflow. Am also running it in a system with a cheap OEM 250W PSU :blush: (shame on me I know!!). I don't seem to have power issues though as I've run Bioshock for hours at a time without any glitches etc.

(Just a note - the AMD site says the card requires a system with a 400W PSU...)

technicianxp
14-06-2008, 01:16 PM
(Just a note - the AMD site says the card requires a system with a 400W PSU...)

Wow, and I thought I was pushing it using a 300W supply for my dad's 8400GS :D

It's great to know the 3650 can handle those new games well. The Asus model I am looking at is actually a bit of a monster in terms of size, it takes up two slots with a vent for the huge heatsink on the second one. Do you also have this model by any chance?

It looks like then that my choices are down to:

Asus 8600GT 512MB GDDR2 (fan)
XFX 8600GT 256MB GDDR3 (Zalman fan)
Asus 3650 512MB GDDR2 (no fan)

Essentially I'm still not sure thanks to the ATi option coming up now. Can you guys give me some final pointers on what my best bet is out of these three? Bear in mind that my motherboard has an AMD 770 chipset and supports ATi crossfire, which is why I'm keen on the 3650 now too.

Sherman
14-06-2008, 02:58 PM
I have a Gigabyte card, just a stock, single slot card with basic heatsink & fan.

Please not also that I am not a huge gamer myself, and to me it was a HUGE upgrade over the intel integrated graphics of my laptop... And I also don't know how it performs compared to a 8600GT.

technicianxp
15-06-2008, 10:13 PM
Hi again guys.

I couldn't get any more responses and I really wanted to have the system ready for pickup by the time my exams finish (Tuesday afternoon), so after much thinking I decided to get the Radeon 3650. Main reason for this is the lower power consumption, ability to use CrossFire, and the fact that it has no fan so there's a guarantee it'll be quiet.

Not sure if my decision is great, but I based it on whatever details I could gather from the net.

Anyway, thanks to everyone who helped.

Sherman
15-06-2008, 11:51 PM
It's an Asus card, so you shouldn't have any problems there.
Let us (me :p) know how you get on with it when it arrives :)

sroby
16-06-2008, 10:17 AM
If you want quiet cards....

I have a Asus 8600GT in my HTPC. The fan is dissapointingly loud, but I
only cost $100+gst (the guy in the shop got a shock when I showed him his
pricing on his website). Also doent seem to have fan speed control/slowdown on idle.
Also have a Gigabyte 8800 with a OEM 'Zalman' fan. This is not a silent fan, I
guess the OEM version isnt as good, Ive had a few 'retail' Zalman fans & they were silent. So dont expect an OEM Zalman to be silent.

Look at the Palit perhaps, the Palit 7600GT I used to have was completely silent
with the OEM fan.

technicianxp
16-06-2008, 10:21 PM
Hi sroby

Wow thanks for letting me know. I was worried about that myself, which was why I decided to go with the Asus since it has no fan, only a huge heatsink.

A friend of mine has the XFX card and he's really happy with the performance, but I don't know if he's as sensitive to computer noise as I am.

Planning to pickup the parts tomorrow and hopefully put them together, although I'll have to use a noisy, rubbish Excel PSU until the 20 to 24 pin adaptor for my one arrives. Will post on how it all goes provided this cold wears off by tomorrow :yuck: .

technicianxp
19-06-2008, 01:27 AM
Hi again guys.

As I promised I'd update everyone on how this goes, so here it is.

All the parts were ready for pickup within hours of ordering yesterday from C1. Picked them up and eventually started building the system. Mainly because of trouble with the motherboard's IO plate and the case's screwless design not accepting a PCI slot cover, it took me until 12.00am to finish assembling it.

Powered the thing up, all fans and lights turned on but nothing came up on screen. Tried every possible troubleshooting method to no avail, with the BIOS code LED display on the motherboard itself showing 'FF' and no beeps coming from the speaker. A Google found other people had the same issue and it required repair. Gave up around 2.00am and today confirmed that the motherboard is stuffed after testing everything but the CPU with my dad's system. :crying

So now I've put in a RMA request to C1 but what's really killing me now is the fact that they take on average 2-3 weeks to replace faulty items. A PCI wireless card which I returned a couple of months back took two weeks for replacement, and feedback from other people here (http://www.gpforums.co.nz/showthread.php?threadid=297771&perpage=25&pagenumber=1) isn't too encouraging either. Really hoping they'll get their act together this time.

If anyone knows some way to get stuff fixed through them faster then please let me know :) , otherwise I suppose patience is the key.

Deathwish
19-06-2008, 12:04 PM
perhaps a little late, but the xfx 8600 gt is better than all those cards. For gaming, it will give you the very best bang for the buck -> ddr3 vram is greatly advantageous over ddr2. The extra 256 mb in the 512 ddr2 asus that you get, you probably won't even utilize. Memory on a gfx card only comes into play when you have large amounts of AA and high resolutions. As for the noise, it isn't very noisy at all, actually I can't hear it over my case & cpu fans. There is no difference in noise between when it's on idle and when it's playing movies/games. I use it as HTPC too sometimes, have never noticed the noise, the neons get annoying though.

technicianxp
19-06-2008, 12:33 PM
Thanks for that mate.

Yeah it is a little late lol, but no worries. I had a feeling the XFX would probably be a better performer since every review I read was recommending DDR3. However it took a while to find a review which actually made any mention of the sound level and when I did find one, it said the card wasn't quiet at all. I was a bit surprised but I really didn't want to risk it so went with the Asus.

I haven't been able to try it yet, but I'll probably get by alright with the 3650. My gaming demands aren't at full-quality Crysis level. As long as Far Cry and a few flight simulators run well I'm happy :)

Once again though thanks for the advice. Having the mobo dropped off at C1 today so I'm hoping it'll be back soon for me to try out.