View Full Version : Budget Graphic Cards?

12 December 2003, 05:00 PM
Hi, I had 3dLabs Permedia 3 and MSI Geforce 2 GTS 32mb, and both had terrible driver support problems, which caused them to be OS incompatible or very, very slow.
So for my next card, I need one with good and long-term driver support.

Card purpose: Iím starting a long animation project, but I never play 3d games. A safe estimate of any scene in my animation is roughly 300,000 triangles or less. I would probably simplify the geometry in animation mode tho.

My budget is around $200-$300. Whatís your comparison on a high-end game card-nVidia FX 5700, a low-end workstation card-Quadro FX 500/ATI FireGL T2-128, or older high-end workstation cards like Wildcat/Oxygen GVX420/Quadro 4 etc?
Can anyone with the above cards try if 300,000 triangles lag in wireframe AND shaded?

I use mostly 3ds max, Photoshop, Premiere. I also might use Maya, Motion Builder, other 3d apps.
Iíve seen some cards (including game cards?) have specific software optimization. Like most highend cards have a dropdown list of apps or extra drivers for 3ds max etc.

If Iím not mistaken, Iím assuming most cards support having analog CRT and a DVI LCD as a mixed dual monitor. Right?

12 December 2003, 05:25 PM
new: quadro4 750xgl

used: quadro4 980xgl

those 2 will probably give you the best bang for the buck in that price range. realistically, do not bother with the gaming cards that come close in price, as they will have lower performance.

12 December 2003, 02:38 AM
Interesting, I found that quadro4 750xgl and 700xgl have a $85 price difference, with a difference of 64mb more. Does memory affect performance that much?

sorry for my ignorance, I have no idea what the memory stores.

12 December 2003, 05:30 AM
I've seen the QuadroFX 500 perform quite admirably. It's definitely not a bad deal if you plan on not doing any gaming.

12 December 2003, 07:56 AM
Originally posted by gopherCG
Hi, I had 3dLabs Permedia 3 and MSI Geforce 2 GTS 32mb, and both had terrible driver support problems

i can't speak for the permedia cards, but geforce2gts cards were and are still supported very well. nvidia's suite of drivers for their video cards still work with the geforce2 family, and if their performance is lacklustre you can look at an older set like the 30.82's.

the geforce2 has since been surpassed by newer cards, that much is certain. but i'm fairly confident that if there is a fault in your system it is with your setup, and not nvidia's drivers.

if you'd care to detail your software, operating system and drivers we'd be happy to offer some advice on fixing the problem.

12 December 2003, 10:22 AM
3Dfx_Sage, I'm quite interested in knowing how fx 500 compares with 750xgl or 700xgl? I haven't found any comparative benchmarks.

I noticed Wildcat VP870 is admirably very similar to 750xgl, but I'm surer on nVidia's dual monitor software and Max plugin.

It confuses me to find concrete tests on "softQuadro" which most times show good stability and performances compared to the true workstation cards. Maybe budget cards mean modded game cards?

elvis, I gave up on fixing the GTS., since I sent it to MSI at least twice. And tried drivers from 7.x up to 4x.x. They ran fast, but crashed very fast, so I ended installing version 5.x, the oldest I could find. Now I'm very happy with the stability, but it's very slow anyhow. I tried it on another computer: same problem.

My comp:
MSI k7D Master (dual)
2x Athlon xp 2000+ (1666Mhz)
512mb TwinMos
geforce 2 GTS
Aopen 330W

Narrowing down, can anyone help me choose among Geforce FX 5700, quadro 4 750xgl, quadro FX 500, or FireGl T2-128?

12 December 2003, 04:54 PM
first off, I can tell you what your problem is- you have an MSI product in your system! I have yet to have an MSI product that wasn't so horrible that I had to replace it.

now then, onto graphics cards...
dont get a gaming card for serious 3d work. I can tell you that in some apps you will get about 0.15 frames per second when doing certain things... like using Maya PaintFX or image planes. Especially dont get a budget gaming card.

In some apps the FireGL is pretty good, but in others, and only on some systems, you'll simply not be able to use the app. It's not worth the risk right now.

now let me find a link to a FX500 review....

12 December 2003, 05:06 PM
you might not speak german, but pictures are universal.... try this link for benchmarks:

12 December 2003, 06:14 PM
you might not speak german, but pictures are universal.... try this link for benchmarks:

Lol, or you could click the "English version is here!" link.

Anyway, for your price range, I would definitely go with the Quadro FX 500.

Oh, also 3dFX, I don't think gaming cards are bad for image planes anymore. There used to be that problem with Radeons in Maya that the image plane would appear in front of everything else, but it was fixed in the latest drivers.

EDIT: Well, on the second thought, maybe an ATI card would be good. ATI cards are generally hated in the 3D community, because their OpenGL drivers are so slow and buggy (and just about every 3D CG software uses OGL), but 3DS Max uses DirectX, so I don't know here...

12 December 2003, 06:32 PM
hmm for some reason my GeForce4 slows way down when I use Image Planes in Maya...

12 December 2003, 02:52 AM
I have the 750 XGL and have been very happy with it. I used a Quadro FX 1000 for a while at work then to build my budget system at home I used the 750 XGL.

It's a great little budget card. There's a noticable difference between the two but thats what $700 extra buys you. The 750 handels large complex scenes fairly well and can be somewhat slower on compolicated deformations but I've never felt like the card inhibited my work.

The difference in stability between it and a geforce card is night and day as well.

Dual monitors on the card in spanning mode also works great with Maya.

12 December 2003, 02:56 AM
Hey thanks 3Dfx_Sage for the review. It's one of the most comprehensive I've seen.
And interesting find from the review:
My rough estimated ranking based on the SpringMark graph that tests heavy geometry load in fps (I suppose "Bilder/s" in German is "fps"?):
FireGL T2
Wildcat VP870
fx 500
the game cards are all pretty low here.

All these prices are within $200-$300, except 980xgl, which is quite expensive and seems less efficient.

It's very interesting, I'll take some time looking through all of the review.

12 December 2003, 02:58 AM
Originally posted by gopherCG
I suppose "Bilder/s" in German is "fps"? vertice's, actually. so it's vertice's / second

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