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Old February 16th, 2003, 03:45 PM   #1
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Seeking advice for graphics card upgrade.

I'm interested in upgrading my graphics card for my Dell Precision 420 Workstation. My current graphics card is a Matrox G400 Max. The cards I'm considering to purchase are:

1) ATI Radon 9500 Pro
2) Matrox Parhelia (128 MB)

It seems like either card will be able to work with my Dell 420 Workstation: 2.0 APG (4X); 410 Watt power supply; Windows XP Pro SP1; Pentium III 733; 1 GB RAM.

However. . . I have lots of other stuff connected to my computer including a second internal HDD; SIIG IEEE 1394 card; SIIG USB 2.0 card; ADS Pyro Firewire hard disk holder containing a 120 GB hard disk drive; MOTU 2408 MK2 audio device; MOTU Midi Timepiece AV device; Plextor 12/10/32 external SCSI CD recorder; SONY external DVD recorder. (And . . . believe it or not. . . everything seems to run just fine!!!)

My concern in purchasing either card is the potential for operating conflicts with any of the gear that's attached to my happy Dell computer. I'm also concerned about any possible conflicts with any of the audio/video recording programs loaded on my computer.

Why am I wanting to upgrade the video card???? Because I'm getting back into 3D animation. Beside video recording/editing, I've always held a rather deep passion for animation. I currently own Caligari's TrueSpace 5.1 3D animation program. (Just reloaded this program back into my computer after "moth-balling it for several months.) It rocks. . . although it is tough to use (and learn how to use). It seems like my poor Matrox G400 video card is working to the tilt with this program.

So . . . .

Any suggestions? Are there any potential conflicts/concerns in upgrading to either one of the above mentioned video cards for my current computer system? Are there any other similar graphic cards that may be worth looking into. . . that may less problematic with my system?

I don't plan on purchasing a new(er) computer for at least another 1 1/2 years. My current computer is on lease for that same amount of time. Instead, I've been upgrading operating systems, memory and now a video card. Besides, it works just fine, over all. Just want my computer to work a bit better utilizing the 3D animation program. (I wish I could upgrade my CPU to a Pentium 4! But, unfortunately, I'm not able to go beyond a 1 GH Pentium III CPU. . . which I might consider doing, down the road!)

Thank you in advance for your time and thoughtful imput!

Regards,

Ted Fiebke, RN
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Old February 16th, 2003, 07:06 PM   #2
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Re: Seeking advice for graphics card upgrade.

I'm running a Parhelia 128MB on a Dell 340, 2.8 GHz P4, XP SP2, and a similar assortment of I/O cards and smattering of disks. No problems to speak of. The Parhelia client monitor works well with Premiere, AE, and Avid XDV. Vegas won't use the overlay monitor, so it won't help you there. 3D graphics performance is OK; not on par with the latest radeon or geforce cards, but adequate. Smooth as glass at 3200x1200; not sure how else to quantify it. (3Dmark03 is still downloading, after having aborted a couple times...)
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Old February 17th, 2003, 12:29 PM   #3
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I'd go with........

ATI 9700 Pro or the 9700 All in wonder.

Considering how long before you say your going to upgrade above....

At this very second I would choose the above, since it's the only card that truly supports Direct X 9.
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Old February 17th, 2003, 01:01 PM   #4
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I just got 3dmark03 downloaded. The first results are:
Matrox Parhelia: 845 (my system).

For raw DX9 performance, the posted scores tell the tale:
ATI 9700: 5400
Ti4600: 2400.

For video work, though, the Parhelia stands alone. I have a 3200x1200 desktop across two 19" glass monitors, and realtime video display on the overlay monitor (TV).
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Old February 18th, 2003, 10:22 AM   #5
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Re: I'd go with........

<<<-- Originally posted by RC Productions : ATI 9700 Pro or the 9700 All in wonder.

Considering how long before you say your going to upgrade above....

At this very second I would choose the above, since it's the only card that truly supports Direct X 9. -->>>

He can save some money and buy an Sapphire 9700 regular, and flash the BIOS with a 9700 Pro BIOS. That's what I did, and it effectivley turned my 9700 into a Pro. Saved myself about $130. The architecture is identical, the core and memory timings just need to be bumped up. This only really works if you get a retail sapphire 9700, as the OEM ones may use the slower memory chips.
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Old February 18th, 2003, 02:33 PM   #6
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Re: Re: I'd go with........

<<<----
He can save some money and buy an Sapphire 9700 regular, and flash the BIOS with a 9700 Pro BIOS. That's what I did, and it effectivley turned my 9700 into a Pro. Saved myself about $130. The architecture is identical, the core and memory timings just need to be bumped up. This only really works if you get a retail sapphire 9700, as the OEM ones may use the slower memory chips. -->>>

This is true, and if you want to go that route I'll supply several "how to" web pages.
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Old February 18th, 2003, 05:36 PM   #7
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I having problems finding the Sapphire 9700 regular.
Any ideas who is selling them?

thanks,
c
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Old February 25th, 2003, 03:00 PM   #8
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Graphics Cards

Since we're on the topic, do any of the new cards such as the ATI 9700, Nvidia 2600 etc. support dual monitor layout just like the Matrox G550? I know someone mentioned the Parphilia (sp) and that is a great card from what I hear. I just bought the Matrox G550 and love the fact I can spread my desktop over 2 monitors with unreal quality, the only small problem is, I can't play newer games like BlackHawk Down, etc. when I need a release from the video editing. The G550 does not do well w/ 3D at all. From what I've read at TomsHardware about the 9700 is that the split display is just for a tv etc. and not a "true" expanded desktop.
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Old February 27th, 2003, 12:37 PM   #9
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ati and nvidia both support dual monitors. Have for about 2 years.
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Old February 27th, 2003, 01:07 PM   #10
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RADEON 9000 PRO 128MB

I use this card in my CPU w/ Avid XPRESS DV.

I could say I am very happy with the performance ala games and with Avid (The two monitor setup/w video out to TV is ok, I haven't had time to get it the way I want as of this moment)

I switched from my NVIDIA card because it was producing playback artifacts that weren't part of the media. When I replaced the card, bye-bye artifacts.

Hope this helps...

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