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Old 12-19-2010, 01:35 AM   #1
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Default Graphics Cards

Hi! I'm new to the forums, and computer building in general. I was surprised when I watched a video of someone actually put a PC together. I was expecting to see more soldering action and such, but it was really much easier than some other wiring jobs I've done.

And so I am inspired to build my own Gaming PC. I've compiled my reasearch from the last few nights, and realized that the hard part is selecting hardware. I simply can't find information on what graphics card I should use.

So far, I know that:

1. I should use PCIe x16 slot(s), because they are the fastest.

2. Crossfire / SLI combines the power of two cards into one PC, making for a very powerful combo.

3. I want a card that can be used on HDTVs, if affordable. (Optional, just a thought. Maybe for another build, another time)

So, my questions to you very educated persons are:

1. Is my understanding of graphics cards at this point correct?
2. What is today's standard? (what do I need to run most games smoothly?) (and how much $ is it?)
3. Is one good graphics card or two with SLI / Crossfire better?
4. How do you know that one card is better than another?
5. Are dual core Processors better for gaming? (nothing to do with G cards, I know)

Please and thank you for your help!

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Old 12-19-2010, 03:34 PM   #2
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Default Re: Graphics Cards

1. So far so good
2. There isnt really a standard, you buy what you need to play the games you want, eg if you want to play solitaire then anything will work, but if you want to play black ops then you will need something current. I always try to get the best i can afford, i never go for the very top end cards as i dont believe you get the bang for the buck, but this is my opinion.
3. Also comes down to what you can afford and also if the game supports SLI or crossfire, benchmarks suggest that SLI is better tho, ive never used crossfire so cant comment on that.
4. Look at benchmark comparisons
5. This also comes down to if a game has been encoded to use the extra cores, you could have 8 cores, but if the game only supports one core then you will see no increase in performance.

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Old 12-19-2010, 10:07 PM   #3
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Default Re: Graphics Cards

Thanks! Now I'm gonna google the benchmarks. =)

Is Passmark a good place to get the benchmarks for cards and processers and such?

Also, How does one use SLI? Do you have to use a program?
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Old 12-19-2010, 10:35 PM   #4
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Default Re: Graphics Cards

Passmark is a decent benchmark and is a good way to get a ballpark estimate of a card's performance, but to get the full scope of it you need to look at a bunch of different benchmarks. Some programs/games favor Nvidia, some favor AMD, some like higher memory bandwidth, some like higher core count, etc, etc...every card will have strengths and weaknesses. Same with processors...good for a ballpark estimate but look elsewhere to get the most accurate view.

You enable SLI from the driver's monitoring program...either Catalyst Control Center(AMD/ATI) or Forceware(Nvidia). In general, though, it's usually better to get one really good card than to get two cheaper ones. You typically get more performance for the money, and still have the ability to add a second really good card later, provided your motherboard supports it.
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