Comparing Video Cards

I am wanting to buy a video card for my son for Christmas. There are a ton of different video cards to buy. Does anyone know how to compare video cards and how to tell what is a good buy? Is Ebay a good place to buy one? Any advice would be helpful, there are just too many options with vastly different prices.

Thanks,
Jim from KY

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November 30, 20050 found this helpful

There are a lot of options with video cards so it can be pretty confusing. Your best bet is to find out what card your son's computer has now and then try to get a new card with the same features, but better specifications.

Good video cards can be found for $50 - $100. If you're buying a really high-end card they can go up to about $400.

There are two kinds of connectors for cards. You need to find out which kind your son's computer uses. AGP cards go in a special slot which is made just for a video card. PCI cards go in general purpose expansion card slots. Just about any computer will accept a PCI card, but its preferable to get an AGP card if you can.

The amount of RAM that a card has is a general indicator of its power. The high-end cards today have 512MB RAM. 256MB cards are also good. 128MB cards can be found for a bargain and might be good if your son is using an older card.

Most monitors use VGA connectors and most video cards will have that kind of connector (a 15 pin trapezoid serial connector). Flat panel displays usually also have DVI inputs (with a squared off connector). Most high-end cards will have both a VGA and DVI connector.

Finally, some cards off extra features like television tuners and television outputs. These aren't necessary for gaming, but might be useful for doing video editing and multimedia.

The two most popular card brands seem to be ATI and nVidia. I really don't have a good feel for whether one brand is better than the other.

However you buy your new card make sure you know what the return policy is. Some stores have only 14 day return periods. Be sure you buy the card close enough to Christmas that you can return it during the week after if it doesn't work in your son's computer for some reason.

And, if your son has a Macintosh make sure that you get a Mac-compatible card. Mac's use the same cards as PCs, but you have to make sure you get one that says it supports Mac specifically so you can be sure the right drivers are available.

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December 8, 20050 found this helpful

u need to ask your son how he intends on using computer, if for games, u need the most amount of memory 256, not under 128. Pixel pipelines are what your computer uses for calculating the math to tell your monitor what to show, again the more the better 8 being min and 24 being the current best. for under 300 you can find great cards. like the first post u need to know how the video card connects to mobo, agp or pci express. My opinion buy a card from a retail store near u, u can return easily and buy 2 yr warn for pretty cheap, i use comp usa or best buy, ill pay a little more knowing i can walk in and replace it. also if u start spending over 200 u might have to connect the video card to power source, your sons power source might not have a connection so u might have to replace power source.

ATi X700 pro is 256mb memory with 256 bit interface (both pretty good) and only 8 pixel pipelines(decent) and sells for under 200 at comp usa and best buy and no power source is needed i had the card and liked it. I recently upgraded to a geforce 6800 GS by Nvidia and it has 256 mem,interface and 12 pixel piplines but i needed a power source. it sold for 249.99 and it is much better for games, that is what im into.

usually if u look for last years newest card it will be cheaper that the current newest. they come out avg 6-7 months so look for last years cards and u will find good deals.

Nvidia 6600 is a 128 mb and interface and sells for about 166. if your son plans on gaming this would be the min card i would use any lower and new games wont play on it.

if u need to ask question email at billygoatgolfer @ yahoo.com (remove spaces)

hope this helps, hook your son up he'll love it

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