So, my GFX card is dying

My current graphics card is making bad noises, and I suspect the fan only has a couple of months left in it. It’s well out of warranty and I lack the motor skills to try replacing the fan. (Doesn’t help that it’s one of those huge card-covering plastic ducted things.)

Anyway, I’m looking for a relatively cheap (No higher than $US250-$300, possibly as low as $100-$150) PCI-E card to replace the current 9600 XT that I have. Any recommendations? The rest of the computer is a 3200+ A64, with 1 Gig of RAM, and I don’t really need huge gaming power, but would like the best bang for the buck.

Get a 7600gt for $180 or a 7900gt for $280, whichever your budget allows. Even the 7600gt would be a significant upgrade.

Wow. Prices in the US are much, much cheaper than they are here in Australia. That 7600GT is ~$US230 locally (and by locally I mean non-international mail order) and a 7900GT is about $US380. Anyone have any advice on whether it’s worth the hassle to buy from the US?

I recently moved from an ATI Radeon 9800Pro to an nVidia GeForce 6800GS and was deeply disappointed with the image quality of the nVidia card. Even at higher AA and AF settings, the 6800GS has noticeably more aliasing artefacts and texture shimmering than the 9800Pro. I tried several different driver sets and numerous settings and tweaks in an attempt to improve the image quality with little effect and concluded that nVidia’s image quality simply isn’t on par with ATI. I’m not the only one; I’ve read many similar accounts of people moving from ATI to nVidia and being disappointed by the image quality. Something to bear in mind.

I recently made a slightly larger jump, from the 9800pro to the 7600gt and didn’t notice any drop in image quality. But I don’t ever turn on AA or AF, so my idea of acceptable image quality might be different from BrewersDroops

I moved from a 9800 Pro to the 7800GT (AGP) and did see a difference in the details in certain games. Lighting and shadows look better, the AA & AF, eh, the 9800 did a good job on that too.

The Major difference I’m seeing is framerate:
MY 9800 Pro would chug in BF2 sometimes where as the 7800GT more than doubles the frame rate at the same settings.

Strange flashing and occasional total loss of video with the 7800:
Every now and then when I play Guild Wars I will get an all blue or brown screen where the only details that can be seen is the name tags of other players.

A Quick re-install of the Video drivers and a re-boot fixes it. This happens mostly when I want to see my framerate and use the command line in the shortcut path for the game.

So my move form ATI to NVidia was mostly satisfying, but I’m not 100% satisfied, more like 85-90%.
I had slower performance but better reliability with the ATI card in my system.

How did you remove the ATI drivers from your system? I’ve known some people who have to do a full re-format after making a switch between ATI and nVidia because the drivers are so hostile to each other.

ATI has a utility on its website that removes it drivers completely.

For NVIDIA cards, there’s a program out there called Detonator Destroyer, though I would have liked it to be called Detonator Detonator.

ATI bundles an uninstall utility with their drivers. I used that then rebooted and used Driver Cleaner to remove any remaining ATI traces from the system. Then, I rebooted again and manually checked that no ATI related processes or services were being run and searched the registry for any lingering ATI references. There weren’t any.

After the nVidia card and drivers were installed and I noticed the comparitively poor image quality, I also tried reinstalling DirectX just to be on the safe side. It didn’t help.

I never could get the ATI drivers to completely uninstall when switching between Nvidia and ATI cards at one point in the past. I could get the ATI card to work - except that of course it was broken. I had to use a system restore point to get my Nvidia drivers back. I used all the “driver killing” programs i could find and nothing worked.

As someone with both an ati and an nvidia card in my system at the same time: the drivers dont seem to care about each other very much.

I used Driver Cleaner and the ATI uninstall.
Every once in a while I get some strange happenings though.
If I’m playing Guild Wars, sometimes the screen goes blue or brown and all I can see is the name tags of players\items.
The terrain simply vanishes.

I can’t tell if this is an issue with the 7800GT drivers considering it’s a fairly new card, heat or an ATI driver leftover.
I also noticed that the game “Flashes” and strange geometric shapes of considerable size will turn white and then return to normal terrain.

I doubt it’s a heat issue because of the radical cooling I have. If the processor, MB, HDs and RAM are all around 89-104 degrees, I would find it extremely far fetched that heat is the issue.

So there really could be an issue with using an ATI card and then installing the NVidia as a replacement.