Video card question...

ok I want to get a video card to play some games. It is way past time to upgrade I have a GeForce 2 32 MB...so it was really outdated a year ago. Anyways I do not want to spend a ton of cash and my AGP architecture won't house one over 128 MB anyways. ATI Radeon Pro is out of the question...I am thinking more along the lines of $100-$150. What are the best out there?

The Radeon 9600 XT is around your price range and is an awesome card. Definitely check that one out.

I agree, and being bundled in with half life 2 is huge. Though how well do you guys think the 9600xt will handle HL2?

Should run it just fine, minus some high end options.

Anything else to consider or is that the only mid range card worth having? I have found a lot of Sapphire brand of the card. Are those good?

I cant remember my research exactly, but I ended up going with the ATI card simply because I knew what I'd be getting without any hijinks from the reman. Its the midrange card to have tho, if you cant find any 9500 or 9700's for cheaper (which you can't, its like they dont exist anymore).

Sapphire is a good brand, you should have zero problems with them.

As far as video cards go, I just built a value system for my brother a few weeks ago and opted to use the 9600 xt. I just checked out this guide, however: http://www.sharkyextreme.com/guides/MVGSBG/article.php/10708_3294771__5 and saw that they are recommending going with a 9600 Pro if you want to save more money. According to them the differences between the two cards aren't that great and the 9600 pro can be overclocked to xt levels anyway. You can overclock the xt as well though making it powerful in its own right, so it all depends on how strapped you are for cash. Either card should be fine for you.

The ati cards run halflife 2 great. I believe you'll be able to run it at 1024 with the 9600pro. There are benchmarks at anandtech.com using this card with halflife2.

"saphire cards = the same as ati, only a bit cheaper"

very true, sometimes though, they use cheaper cooling systems. Check out Sapphire's 9800xt compaired to ATI's.

Armbreaker, the 5900se doesn't even come close to the performance that the 9700pro offers. Especially in dx9 games which are starting to come out. The nvidia cards are fast in dx8 games but the new games coming out are killing the nvidia cards performance.

halflife 2 performance
http://anandtech.com/video/showdoc.html?i=1863&p=8

The nvidia cards perform so bad in dx9 that the game developers had to use ta mixed code path using dx8 features instead of dx9 to make them playable.

Ati's cards are much more powerful in future games because of their design...which uses 8x1 configuration instead of nvidias 4x2 configuration. That's a whole other post however.

Basically, the 5900 is faster in dx8 games using none of the image quality increasing features like anti aliasing and anisotropic filtering but as soon as you turn these features on the radeon kills the nv card. The radeons are also faster in dx9 games as mentioned.

uh isnt the 9700 series dx8 card also?

9700 Pro was one of the first cards to support dx9.

"...for 185ish, you could get the geforce fx 5900se, which kills the 9600..and the 9700. "

What does this mean then???? pro and non pro are very similar, just a small difference in clock speeds.

fuck nvidia, let them stick to makeing chipsets for amd...ATI 9800XT and a 400-600 lcd monitor is a pimp setup, nvidia will be like voodoo