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Video Solutions for Work or Play
Video cards are just about as complicated now as any part of the system. The days of the simple PCI graphics cards are long gone, and AGP has been drug out the back door behind them. The new icing on the cake fits into a PCI-E slot, usually a x16 slot, and pushes more pixels than half a dozen of their predecessors together could just a few years back. As a matter of fact, many og the newest GPUs are far more powerful than CPUs of just a few short years back. This page will show you a few of the best, starting with the cream of the crop.
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The King of Pixels! THIS is the new GeForce 8800 GTX! Being 100% Windows Vista compatible, it is the ONLY card to date that supports DirectX 10. Though this may not seem significant when one considers the near-total lack of games produced for DirectX 10, the power this card delivers is enough to push game developers into high gear. By year's end, there should be a number of excellent titles available. This video processor packs more power than a small super computer from just a few years back! The card packs 128 Stream Processors with 768MB of memory running at 1350MHz on a 384-bit interface. The core clock speed is 575MHz. Finding bottlenecks with this card should remain impossible well into the future, as it sports 86.4GB/sec. memory bandwidth. So, how fast is it? This thing has a fill rate of 36.8 BILLION texels per second. In many situations, nVidia's own GeForce 7950 GPU running in an SLI configuration can't touch just one of these cards! Long Live the King!

OK, so we all know who I'm talking about. This merger was about more than just graphics for AMD, but it could be ATI that has the most to gain. Stll, with hardware like the X-1950-XTX, which is Crossfire comaptible to allow you to run two of these beauties, AMD is not doing poorly right now. The fact that the card is not Direct-X 10 compatible is only a temporary set-back. After all, games for Direct-X 10 aren't really materializing very quickly. The XTX packs 384 million transistors on a 90nm fabrication process, employing up to 48 pixel shader processors and 8 vertex shader processors. With up to 256-bit 8-channel GDDR4 memory interface, and a maximum of 512MB of memory, a near cinematic experience should be possible. A 512MB version of this card can set you back as much as $395.00! and Crossfire doubles that!
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MainStream Solutions
Regardless of whether you prefer ATI/AMD or nVidia, very few people are going to be able to afford top-of-the-heap cards from either manufacturer. So, like me, you'll chhose something that does the job for you very effectively, at a much-reduced price. Here are a couple of graphics cards that are a little more of what us normal folks expect to purchase.

The GeForce 7600 GT features Graphics Bus Technology PCI Express®, which means it requires a newer motherboard, but if your board is only a couple of years old, it'll probably do fine. The hardware has 256MB of memory on a 128-bit memory interface. With a fill rate of 6.7 billion pixels/second, it's not the fastest, but far from the slowest. It is Direct-X 9.0c compliant, so many of the newer games will play on it, but I''d check requirements before purchasing higher-end games. At $189.00, this card is an excellent deal!
The ATI X-1650 has to support both of your flat-panel monitors. Twelve pixel shader processors and five vertex shader processors provide fairly good detail in most of the games supported, and there are many of them! The 256MB of RAM is well-supported by the 128-bit, 4-channel, DDR/DDR2/GDDR3 memory interface. These cards are available in PCI Express x16 bus interface versions or AGP 8x configurations which are supported with AGP-PCI-E external bridge chip. For $199.00, this is an excellent midrange solution.
Ferrell-PC · ·Franklinton, NC
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