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ATI Radeon 9700, 9700 Pro, 9700 TX

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Hi All,I'm looking at grabbing a new Dell PC but of course the video card is a big issue for us Simmers.I've got 4 choices on what video card I can put in it and had a few questions that I was hoping some of you hardware gurus could answer.The choices are;1-64MB nVidia GeForce 4 MX 420 Graphics Card w/ TV-Out 2-64MB All-in-Wonder Radeon 9000 Pro TV Tuner Graphics Card 3-128MB DDR ATI RadeonT 9700 TX Video Card w/DVI and TV-Out4-128MB DDR ATI RadeonT 9700 Pro Graphics Card w/DVI and TV-Out I'm looking at getting the 3rd choice but am a bit confused.The 9700 Pro costs $310 more than the 9700 TX and is a tad out of my price range. What is the big difference between the two cards and should I make sacrifices in other areas of the system to get the more expensive card?I currently run a Geforce 2 GTS 32MB DDR card and would like to improve quality and performance without skipping dinner for the next month.Thanks for your help.CF-AOA

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I bought a 9700 TX preinstalled with a new Dell 8100 I bought last fall. I thought it was coming with the 9700 Pro and didn't realize until later that it was the TX (the Pro wasn't offered then, and I assumed "9700" meant PRO since I didn't know there was anything different at that time.That said: I'm VERY happy with the 9700 TX. There are tweaks at 3DRage and other sites that will kick these cards up to higher performances but I've not done any of that since this card performs so well with FS2K2 as it is now. Heck, I didn't know there was a third choice (neither Pro nor TX) so maybe I have only the 9700?! Doesn't matter, my flightsimming is the reason I bought the computer with that card and I'm more than satisfied.

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Hi Phil,Thanks For your input.I've decided to go with the Radeon 9700 Pro after all. The mobo on my new machine only supports AGP 4x, but from what I've read it won't be that big a deal for the time being.Also, the only difference between the 9700TX and the 9700Pro is the controller's clock speed. According the the snippet of info at Dell's site, the TX runs at 263MHz and the Pro at 324MHz. I'm sure there's a little more to it than that, considering the difference in cost.Anyway, I'm hoping the new machine eats up FS. Although, my PIII 866 w/384MB RAM, Geforce 2 GTS 32MB machine runs it fairly well, I'm hoping to run FS with some heavy detail.New PC is.....Dell 8250PIV 2.53GHz w533 FSB and 512K L2 Cache512MB PC1066 RDRAMATI Radeon 9700 Pro 128MB60 Gig Dell Hard Drive482448 CD-RW48x CD-ROMSound Blaster Live! 5.1Intel Pro NIC56K Telephony Modem (it's on the mobo but I use DSL)Dell E151FP LCD Monitor (I'm keeping my 19" too!)Windows XP Home CF-AOA

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You'll like that system for flying!There's a program that will increase clock speed on these cards and a lot more. I've barely scratched the surface on the tweaks that I can do, mostly because I've got every slider at the max, all reflections and lights and etc. on, FPS locked at 30, and my flights have no blurries or stutters (unless I fly to FlyTampa's airport, then I have to turn down the terrain mesh complexity or I get stuttering). The program is at:http://www.rage3d.com/r3dtweak/There's also a great forum there at rage3d too.

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>You'll like that system for flying!I sure hope so, I laid out $2,800 CDN of my hard earned cash for it!>>http://www.rage3d.com/r3dtweak/>>There's also a great forum there at rage3d too.And I'll have to check those out. I'm not much of a tweaker, but I'm sure I'll find something interesting there.I wonder though. How much does running a second monitor affect performance with FS?Thanks, CF-AOA

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I just checked the clock speed (via the Rage3D program) and it shows 324 for core speed and 310 for clock speed. Maybe I have the Pro after all? I even hit the "restore defaults" on that overclocker tab and those speeds remained unchanged. There are some raging debates going on at both the Dell forums and the Rage3D forums over some new drivers for these cards that Dell has released. ATI says they will be releasing the 3.3 Catalyst drivers for them in a few weeks, but Dell has released a non-certified version for Dell machines only (although many have installed them on other brands). Some say they've solved problems and increased performance and others say they do just the opposite (just like most forums :-roll )I'm still using the 3.1 drivers because of the controversy over the 3.2's when they came out. Since it ain't broke I'm tempted to "fix it anyway" but will probably wait until ATI releases their official 3.3 version.I hope somebody chimes in regarding your second monitor question. I'm guessing it'd have to be a performance hit since it'd use CPU cycles but I'll keep watching to see if that is a good guess or not.

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