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It's all in the graphics card ! - 11/25/2005 7:32:26 AM   
SiliconFreak


Posts: 12104
Joined: 7/4/2003
From: Melbourne, Victoria, AUS
Status: offline
BACK in 1997, the original Tomb Raider game stunned the world with the introduction of one really buxom babe.

More importantly, it signalled that 3D games had arrived for home computers.

Along with other games like Quake and Descent, Tomb Raider thrust gamers into a world that had real space and time.

Suddenly we could kick objects and watch them roll around, punch virtual villains till they keeled over, or just see Lara Croft bounce around.

It was all thanks to the advent of the 3D graphics card, which has become the most expensive component of gaming computers today.

Such cards handle all the imagery on the screen and have become even more important than Intel or AMD microprocessors.

Here's a quick guide to get into the game this holiday season.

CHOOSE YOUR POISON
 
If you head down to Sim Lim Square, you will be bowled over by the sheer range of 3D graphics cards available from makers like Asus, Leadtek, MSI, and Powercolor.

They range from $100 to $1,000, so which one should you get?

Despite the many brands, most of them run on two types of graphics 'engines' - Nvidia or ATI.

As a rule of thumb, the best buy is usually the second fastest board on the market. This is because it offers performance just 10 to 20 per cent behind the leader for a few hundred dollars less and will last at least three years of serious gaming.

For example, the top dog Nvidia 7800GTX costs about $900, but its lesser sibling, the 7800GT, costs about $700.

If you baulk at such prices, you can fork out $440 for a mid-range card like the Nvidia 6800GS.

PLUG IT IN

Make sure the card can plug into the PCI-Express slot on your computer motherboard.

Most computers older than a year use the obsolete Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) slot and there are AGP versions of the lower-end cards.

But I suggest you upgrade your entire computer to PCI-Express to future-proof yourself.

GET ANOTHER CARD
 
The fad these days is combining two graphics cards to ramp up the 3D number-crunching ability.

The eye candy in the latest games can strain even the most powerful cards on their own, leading to stuttering frames.

Nvidia introduced the Scalable Link Interface (SLI) last year, and today it is a mature technology that has many gamers biting despite the high cost.

Two Nvidia 7800GTXs on SLI mode will set you back $1,800, enough to buy a complete computer!

SLI can almost double the performance of one card, but you do need a compatible motherboard that can take two cards and a 500W internal power supply.

ATI has its new CrossFire dual-card solution, but going by recent tech reviews, it lacks the maturity and stability of the Nvidia solution.

WIN NVIDIA GRAPHICS CARD
 
HERE'S your chance to get into the world of 3D games. Two readers stand to win the MSI Nvidia 6600LE card (PCI-Express). Just answer the following question:
  • What does SLI stand for?

    E-mail your answer to msi@corbell.com.sg along with your name, address, IC no, contact details and also tell us your favourite PC game at the moment.

    The closing date is 30 Nov 2005.

    Winners will be contacted by Corbell Technology.


    Source : Electric New Paper Asia
  • Post #: 1
    RE: It's all in the graphics card ! - 11/25/2005 7:57:27 AM   
    major9686


    Posts: 387
    Joined: 6/28/2005
    From: Holon, Israel
    Status: offline
    can I enter that contest as well ?
    damn .. all of those contest and none is for israeli people :(

    (in reply to SiliconFreak)
    Post #: 2
    RE: It's all in the graphics card ! - 11/25/2005 8:48:37 AM   
    SiliconFreak


    Posts: 12104
    Joined: 7/4/2003
    From: Melbourne, Victoria, AUS
    Status: offline
    ...at least you can try...cant hurt you....almost nothing to lose (exept few minutes) and lots to gain if you win....

    (in reply to major9686)
    Post #: 3
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