Difference between revisions of "Buying graphics cards"

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m (More buying tips: Update Tom's link)
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== More buying tips ==
 
== More buying tips ==
* Yes, card numbering can be confusing — reading hands-on reviews at [http://www.tomshardware.com Tom's Hardware] can help clarify which give the best "bang for the buck", like their "'''[http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/Best-Graphics-Card,2033.html Best Graphics Cards For The Money: October 2008]'''" article.
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* Yes, card numbering can be confusing — reading hands-on reviews at [http://www.tomshardware.com Tom's Hardware] can help clarify which give the best "bang for the buck", like their "'''[http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-card-review,3107.html Best Graphics Cards For The Money: January 2012]'''" article.
  
 
* With '''Nvidia cards, the ''second'' number in their model number is usually more important than the first''' (e.g., you're better off with a 7800 than an 8400). As such, you can usually find bargains amongst older generation high-end cards, which will outperform newer generation budget cards while being comparably priced or cheaper. Never buy an Nvidia card with a second digit lower than "6" if you intend to run heavy 3D applications (which SL clearly is), unless you have no choice.
 
* With '''Nvidia cards, the ''second'' number in their model number is usually more important than the first''' (e.g., you're better off with a 7800 than an 8400). As such, you can usually find bargains amongst older generation high-end cards, which will outperform newer generation budget cards while being comparably priced or cheaper. Never buy an Nvidia card with a second digit lower than "6" if you intend to run heavy 3D applications (which SL clearly is), unless you have no choice.

Revision as of 12:36, 11 January 2012

A great graphics card may not be as expensive as you think! Be a savvy shopper and check deals sites & stores like:

North America

UK

^ Also check out Quidco for cashback. Also:

Comparison-shopping tools

Add your fave deals sites around the world (only ones you've actually used and have favorable experiences with) to this list.

While there are too many possibilities to describe succinctly, it's generally true that as time goes on, progressively powerful technology gets cheaper. For instance, as of 2008-10-30, GeForce 8800GTs which can run Second Life's graphics at Ultra (the highest) can be found for under US$100 after mail-in rebate. And many capable mid-range cards, like are US$50 or under.

More buying tips

  • With Nvidia cards, the second number in their model number is usually more important than the first (e.g., you're better off with a 7800 than an 8400). As such, you can usually find bargains amongst older generation high-end cards, which will outperform newer generation budget cards while being comparably priced or cheaper. Never buy an Nvidia card with a second digit lower than "6" if you intend to run heavy 3D applications (which SL clearly is), unless you have no choice.
  • To learn more about graphics card generations, see Wikipedia's ATI and Nvidia tables.
  • Your graphics card should be part of a well-balanced system. It won't do you much good to have a top-of-the-line card if you have a lacking power supply or small amount of RAM.