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Thread: Best card for under $100

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Default Best card for under $100

    Greetings, I've helped a friend on building his new PC, but made the big mistake of advising him on using a Sandy Bridge Core i5 2500 for graphics. As we've experienced (and I've read on Phoronix), the Sandy Bridge graphics performance has been subpar in Ubuntu to say the least: We had to install a Linux 3 kernel and Mesa development snapshots in order to make them to work, and even with that, there are several issues with Compiz and the screen resolution.

    I want to make up with that getting a video card that works. It doesn't have to be expensive, I'm looking for something below $100.

    These are the conditions:

    • It must work with Ubuntu 11.04 out of the box, no workarounds, no hacks. This includes desktop effects and virtual terminal resolution.
    • It must display video in the native resolution of the LCD (1280x1024). If it doesn't have a VGA port, it must work with a DVI to VGA converter, without issues or workarounds (SNB couldn't).
    • It has to perform adequately for light 3D gaming (Minecraft, Lugaru, Quake 4, etc.) for a 1280x1024 resolution.
    • It should work well with a 450 W power supply.
    • It doesn't need to be a heavy gaming card - it shouldn't take more than one bracket from the tower; but this is not an absolute must.

    I've looked at some cards for about 85 bucks: Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT (512 MB GDDR3 VRAM, used), GeForce 9600 GT (1 GB GDDR3 VRAM, used), GeForce 9500 GT (1 GB DDR2 VRAM, new), GeForce GT 240 (1 GB DDR3 VRAM, new), GeForce GT 430 (1 GB GDDR3 VRAM, new); ATI Radeon HD 4670 (1 GB DDR3 VRAM, new) and Radeon HD 5570 (1 GB DDR3 VRAM, new).

    Which one do you recommend? Are there any other cards I should look for?

    I live in Colombia and card prices tend to be higher than in the US, but if the card you propose works under the conditions described above, we can consider it.

  2. #2
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    Default

    This includes desktop effects and virtual terminal resolution.
    The "and" would cut out all nvidia cards, no?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by curaga View Post
    The "and" would cut out all nvidia cards, no?
    I don't know, actually. Why's that?
    Last edited by Richard Wolf VI; 07-31-2011 at 03:19 PM.

  4. #4
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    The binary won't do a KMS console, and nouveau may be unstable.

    I'd recommend the 4670, or whatever is the best 4xxx series card you can get for the conditions.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by curaga View Post
    The binary won't do a KMS console, and nouveau may be unstable.

    I'd recommend the 4670, or whatever is the best 4xxx series card you can get for the conditions.
    I understand, I guess KMS is not that important if Nvidia cards work as they should in the other aspects.

  6. #6
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    Jul 2011
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    ya......
    I am also in the favor of Nvidia.

  7. #7
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    A bit over 100, I found the Radeon HD 5670 new and the HD 4830 used, too. Any other recommendations, which to avoid?

  8. #8
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    I've learned that Braid (the game) doesn't play nice with AMD cards, how much of this is true?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Which 2500 second gen (sandybridge) i5 was bought?
    2500?
    2500S?
    2500T?
    2500K?

    I can only speak for the 2500K i5 which has Intel® HD Graphics 3000 (While all the others have Intel® HD Graphics 2000) in saying that graphics performance here is fine using the current stable Fedora release fully updated. No issues to speak of.
    You can save yourself the cost of buying a card if you switch to Fedora or (I would hope,) use a Ubuntu daily until the next Ubuntu release.

    IMO you won't get much more than a little if any better performance than HD Graphics 3000 with a cheap add in card.

    If you really must use Ubuntu as is before they release anything as stable which works with second gen i5 processors, without going for one of their development CDs, then an AMD HD card is the right choice. The higher the number the better. I would avoid second hand unless the price is extremely reasonable and the source is reliable.
    ATI\AMD make the most powerful graphics cards in the world. And have done consistently for as long as I can remember.

    I have had problems with cheap Nvidia cards. Especially using Linux.

  10. #10
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    I only read about Gnome 3 problems with some of the newer nv drivers, but i have got no bad reports from Kanotix users with KDE 4.4.5 and Xserver 1.7.7 - as you can test live with gfx on option already. I mainly use a low power nv card, preferred passively cooled or at least with low noise cooling. 100$ is basically a price point where you dont get interesting cards. If you dont have got an onboard solution and you dont want to play games then a passive g210 would be enough, if you intend to play games with full hd res later maybe save your money, every card you get for 100$ you would need to replace anyway when you want to do that with current (non Linux) games or Unigine Heaven benchmark with tesselation and everything enabled. Those cards begin with gtx 460, maybe try to get this 2nd hand. I dont have got this card on my own, but i know some how do. My fastest dx11 card is an ati hd 5670, but i would only use ati in a 2nd or 3rd system. At least in no system mainly used for watching movies. Btw. if your only tft is 1280x1024 i would definitely replace it with a new full hd tft with hdmi, looks much better...
    Last edited by Kano; 08-04-2011 at 08:02 AM.

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