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Max, Paul, Elrond and all you other hardware gurus out there.I almost pulled the trigger to buy a Gainward Geforce3 Ti200 last week but have held back waiting to see the price points for the new Nvidia Ti4200 which appears to be around $50 more than the the Gainward card. My question is this. If I purchase the Ti200 now, will it still be a good card for the next year or, do I spend the extra $50 which I really don't want to and get the Ti4200? I tried some things with my current system last night that really started to make me think. My system is a TB950 (non OC'ed), 512 PC133 and an Aopen Geforce2 MX video card. I downloaded Powerstrip and overclocked my video card to 200/195 and my frames jumped from 4-5 to 10+ sitting on the ground at Simflyers KLAX in the Dreamfleet 734. I was firstly thinking that I would need to build an entirely new system to run FS2K2 fluidly but if I don't have to and just purchase a new video card, then why do it.I know that all systems are unique and it appears that my system may be heavily dependent on the video card.At any rate, what card should I get?Cheers!Richard

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Hi Richard,If you are looking at a video upgrade for a low outlay of cash, I would highly recommend you get a GF4 Ti4200 instead of a GF3 Ti200. At the small price difference between the two, you'd most assuredly be better off with the much, much hiher performing Ti4200 (not necessarily in FS unless at the highest of resolutions and AA settings however). If you play *any* games along side sims or enjoy the highest res or AA settings in sims alone (who doesn't?), the Ti4200 is the absolute clear choice. I'd recommend you look at the Gainward Ultra 650/XP Nvidia Ti4200 w/128MB.Best of luck,http://members.rogers.com/eelvish/elrondlogo.gifhttp://members.rogers.com/eelvish/flyurl.gif

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>Max, Paul, Elrond and all you other hardware gurus out >there. >I almost pulled the trigger to buy a Gainward Geforce3 Ti200 >last week but have held back waiting to see the price points >for the new Nvidia Ti4200 which appears to be around $50 >more than the the Gainward card. My question is this. If I >purchase the Ti200 now, will it still be a good card for the >next year or, do I spend the extra $50 which I really don't >want to and get the Ti4200? >I tried some things with my current system last night that >really started to make me think. My system is a TB950 (non >OC'ed), 512 PC133 and an Aopen Geforce2 MX video card. I >downloaded Powerstrip and overclocked my video card to >200/195 and my frames jumped from 4-5 to 10+ sitting on the >ground at Simflyers KLAX in the Dreamfleet 734. I was >firstly thinking that I would need to build an entirely new >system to run FS2K2 fluidly but if I don't have to and just >purchase a new video card, then why do it. >I know that all systems are unique and it appears that my >system may be heavily dependent on the video card. >At any rate, what card should I get? >>Cheers! >Richard That

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Richard, if you don't want to spend the extra $50 then don't :) As far as FS is concerned, the GF3 and the GF4 will perform very similarly, since anything beyond a GF2 is overkill in FS (until you get to high-fps/high level of detail situations). MSFS simply doesn't need the raw power of the latest video cards to churn out 30fps. You'd be better off getting a new cpu for $100 and sticking with your GF2 MX than if you upgrade your video card alone. However, if you absolutely must have a new video card to turn up the eye candy, at least wait until the GF4 Ti 4200 comes out and the prices on GF3 Ti's drop even further. If FS isn't your only concern and you want something with a little more longevity, go with the GF4 Ti 4200. If you want something that's going to get you through the next year or so, go with the GF3 Ti 200. BTW, as far as your above example goes, I think in that *specific* situation your system is limited by your video card, but in the vast majority of situations (i.e. cruising @ altitude where most flying is done anyway) FS is going to pump out as many fps as your CPU can handle, not the video card. This is, of course, taking for granted that your video card isn't the bottleneck in your system but rather your CPU and memory subystem are. Don't get me wrong here, the GF2 MX isn't the ideal card for any kind of gaming, but it's not as though it's slower than a TNT or some such. To sum it up: get a GF3 if you just want a short-term upgrade, GF4 if you play games other than FS and want something a bit more long-term, or just keep your GF2 MX and get a new t-bird (as that's where you'll see the biggest fps increase).Max Cowgill

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Well Richard,It appears as though you've gotten the opinions you wanted, now the question is: who do you trust the most? ;)Max Cowgill

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:( :( :( :-) :-) :-) :-newbie :-newbie :-scatter :-scatter (-: (-: B) B) B) :-lol :-lol :-lol :-spacecraft :-bluegrab :-spacecraft :-walksmile :-vuur :-xxrotflmao :7 :7 :-yellow1 :-yellow1 :-jumpy :-jumpy :-jumpy :-wave

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cough :-spam1 cough ;) Wait... I post more than I have a right to so nevermind :-lolMax Cowgill

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Why do I feel like I'm being watched all of a sudden? Stop looking at me! Those eyes are like a dagger piercing the deepest, darkest depths of my soul! No mommy, make it stop! Make the bad men go away! :-zhelpMax Cowgill

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Definately a meeting of the minds here!I certainly do appreciate the input from the 3 of you!Sometimes it is very difficult for me to get off the fence. I realize that at altitude (Flightsim is the only thing I play by the way) the FPS is really no big deal since I am getting 15 FPS (locked) with any of the add-ons I have. The problem for me is all the add-on sceneries that I have (Simflyers North America, Airport2000 v3, etc) that it makes it difficult on approach if I drop below 7 FPS. I am sitting with 4-5 FPS now with my add-ons and sceneries which translates to a slide show on final so my thinking was initially that I could get the extra 2 FPS from a video card upgrade versus processor, Mobo, memory and P/S upgrade and that this might last me for another 8 months when an entire system upgrade will more than likely be a requirement for FS2K4. With the Ti200 it will get the job done now I think but, will I want another video card in 8 months? This is my quandry.I will take all that is said under advisement. I just wish there was something to really push me off the fence either way because I am one of those guys who kicks himself in the arse when I purchase something then see it at a significant discount a month later.Here is to making a wise decision.Cheers!Richard

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By the way Paul, I read that the Ti4200 scales pretty nicely with older systems. What has been your take?Cheers!Richard

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Richard, I recommended getting a new CPU because you mentioned that you had a 950MHz thunderbird, and I assumed your mobo would support up to a 1.4GHz tbird since that is the limit of most mobos that support the tbird. Of course, not all tbird-compatible mobos do support up to 1.4GHz... You may want to check with your manufacturer/system builder on that one. As for your question about the GF4 Ti 4200, in most cases I would recommend the GF4 over the GF3 (Ti 4200 vs. Ti 200/500) but since you mentioned the only gaming you do is MSFS, a GF4 will be overkill *for now*. I think you'd be better off getting a GF3 Ti 200 and overclocking it than you would be spending another $70 on a GF4 Ti 4200 for the same performance in FS2k2. By the time FS2k4 comes around video cards will be so much faster than the current crop it's not even funny... Then again, you could just save up your pennies for a couple months and get a Parhelia when it comes out ;) Max Cowgill

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>By the way Paul, I read that the Ti4200 scales pretty nicely >with older systems. What has been your take? >>Cheers! >RichardPerformance of these cards doesn

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Were you guys on the college debate team :-)!If I could get both of your blessings, that would be great :-)!Max, in terms of another CPU, my Mobo is an A7V and it would indeed support a 1.4 AMD however, I am still limited in terms of my FSB. For me to upgrade CPU I would take the road of a new Mobo, CPU, memory, etc.I think it is going to be the Ti4200 when the vendors get them in stock and then the bit-by-bit system upgrade.Thanks for all the advice you guys are great!Cheers!Richard

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Hi again Richard,Don't listen to that ninnie Max... :-lolDon't even consider buying a Ti200 today. Its a waste of good money. If a video card is your choice of expenditures as you said and the range of the Ti200 is your budget, you'll be spending $100-$200 dollars. Theres absolutely no sense in giving $150 of your hard earned dollars away when $180 of your hard earned dollars buys you a product that is leaps and bounds better in speed, implimentation and improvements. Wheather FS on todays CPU's takes full advantage of the difference or not (which it does at the resolutions and aliasing level we all desire to run - even on your hardware) has nothing to bear on spending your money on the best hardware you can buy for the smallest amount of difference in cash. So there Max. :-) I'd highly hope you don't recommend inferior hardware to people when the price differences are so low and the quality difference is so high.Take care, http://members.rogers.com/eelvish/elrondlogo.gifhttp://members.rogers.com/eelvish/flyurl.gif

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Thanks Elrond!I think that the Ti4200 is what I am going to go with.Now I see that Gainward is releasing a "Golden Sample" version of the 128 meg variety first and vendors have it for $214 and $219 + shipping and from my understanding, it has the 4ns memory chips. Since I do not knwow whether I would reslly need 128 meg power, should I wait for the release of the 64 meg variety?Cheers!Richard

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Richard, I'm not trying to imply that a Ti 4200 will be a waste of your money, by all means go for it! I think the GF4 Ti 4200 along with the GF3 Ti 200 are the best values in video cards today, and if I had the money (and a system that would benefit from it) I'd get a GF4 Ti 4200 definitely. However, since your mobo supports a 1.4GHz tbird I don't see how you couldn't pick one up since they're going for $76 (266FSB) and $88 (200FSB) on pricewatch at the moment. By the time the Ti 4200 goes on sale, you could already have your 1.4GHz Tbird and have saved up another $100 or so to pick up that GF4 Ti 4200.Max Cowgill

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>Hi again Richard, >>Don't listen to that ninnie Max... :-lol >>Don't even consider buying a Ti200 today. Its a waste of >good money. If a video card is your choice of expenditures >as you said and the range of the Ti200 is your budget, >you'll be spending $100-$200 dollars. Theres absolutely no >sense in giving $150 of your hard earned dollars away when >$180 of your hard earned dollars buys you a product that is >leaps and bounds better in speed, implimentation and >improvements. Wheather FS on todays CPU's takes full >advantage of the difference or not (which it does at the >resolutions and aliasing level we all desire to run - even >on your hardware) has nothing to bear on spending your money >on the best hardware you can buy for the smallest amount of >difference in cash. >>So there Max. :-) I'd highly hope you don't recommend >inferior hardware to people when the price differences are >so low and the quality difference is so high. Come now Elrond, If you're going to quote the price of the GF4 Ti 4200 at it's lowest street price of $179 you could at least make it an apples-to-apples comparison and quote the lowest street price of the GF3 Ti 200 which is $103. Last time I checked that wasn't a $50 difference... ;) As far as the GF4 Ti 4200 being "leaps and bounds" ahead of the GF3, I beg to differ. While the GF4 is indeed a nice improvement over the GF3, it is by no means leaps and bounds ahead of it in the image quality or performance arenas. Remember, all Richard is using the card for is MSFS. If he were playing Quake III or 3dMark all day then he might want a GF4 but it's overkill for FS. He'll be limited by his CPU/memory anyway so it's not like he'll get any more fps with a GF4 than he will with a GF3. I do agree that the GF4 is a better investment for the future but buying the best hardware today does not guarantee good performance in the future. The next-gen GPUs will be leaps and bounds ahead of today's GPUs (straight from the horse's mouth), let alone the next-gen and the next-gen after that.Max Cowgill

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Wow, that kinda makes sense.So, get the Ti200 and a 1.4 TBird?Cheers!Richard

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>Wow, that kinda makes sense. >So, get the Ti200 and a 1.4 TBird? That would be my advice, Richard, but in the end it's your money and your "buyer's conscience" you have to live with. Max Cowgill

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Hiya Max,I thought that'd get your Goat... :-)So you don't think it was an Apples to Apples comparison? Well I'm not sure if you are a hardware vendor or what you do for a living, but if not you can use pricewatch. So lets compare true apples to true apples:A card that is the closest to the recommended Ti4200 I've stated above (Gainward's Ultra 650/XP) is the MSI G3Ti200 PRO-VTG. It is a 128MB version of the Ti200 just like the Ti4200, it includes full video in and out just like the Ti4200 and it runs at pricewatch for $155 (search on G3Ti200 PRO-VTG to verify for yourself), not $103. The Gainward Ti4200 at pricewatch is now listed for $209. Lets remember that the Gainward is at PreSale pricing right now: it can't be actually shipped for a couple days. The Ti200 has been available for months and months. The Gainward Ti4200 will indeed be in the $180 range within weeks - just like every other new hardware is priced normally once its actually in the channel soon after release.Now thats an Apples to Apples comparison, but of course the MSI is a cheaper-if-reliable board (a Toyota lets say) than the highly respected Gainward's (a BMW lets say) so its really not (and I'd clasify the VisionTek's as Geo Metro's :-)). If you want to compare lowball to lowball, the VisionTek or MSI version of the Ti4200 should be chosen - they won't have VIVO and they are "lesser" brands (but still quality of course).As far as you not seeing leaps and bounds of difference between the GF3 Ti200 and the GF4 Ti4200, I think you've missed some things. I have in my house right now a Ti4400 and a Ti500 (the highest end GF3 you can get of course). There is a stunning and dramatic difference in AA performance between the two, let alone DVD, dual-display, etc. I have to completely disagree with you on the benefits of a great video card when it comes to sims: Anti-Aliasing was *made* for sims - of all types (racing, flying, etc). The GF4, in my opinion, was custom made more for the sim community than the FPS community, its benefits are exactly what *we* need compared to any other genre.Indeed, because of FS's reliance on CPU bandwidth, the GF3 or GF4 won't give a bit of difference in framerate at 1024x768. I can whole heartedly tell you that is not the case when you run at 1600x1200x32 at 4X(S) AA. In flight simulator, there is no better resolution and AA depth - and its absolutely stunning on the GF4 platform. The GF3 by comparison is a pig (speaking relatively of course). As for bandwidth at these levels, indeed a mid-range processor will get a great benefit at these resolutions and AA depths - FS like any other game becomes more evenly GPU bound.Hope that helps explain and take care my friend,http://members.rogers.com/eelvish/elrondlogo.gifhttp://members.rogers.com/eelvish/flyurl.gif

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One Issue that (unless I read all the posts to fast) no one brought up is the fact the Ti4200 had Dual Head capability and the Geforce 3 series does not. So if you plan to have a dual monitor rig in the future it is easier with a dual head card than adding a second (PCI) video card. I have been struggling with using a PCI video card in my system (Asus A7V133 with 1.4GHz TB) for quite some time and just bought a Ti4400 card and it is so nice to be rid of the hassles that I had. Just my 2 cents worth.....Scott

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Elrond, as far as it being an apples-to-apples comparison, if you want to get technical it never will be because they're different GPUs ;) I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree about the GF4 then. I don't think the GF4 is a bad card, or that it's overpriced and I've already stated that the GF4 Ti 4200 is one of the best values in video cards today (along with the GF3 Ti 200) so we're not in disagreement there. As for your example of running 1600x1200x32 w/4x FSAA, it takes A LOT more than just GPU power to run at that res... Seriously, who runs at that res with details turned all the way up? Slideshow, anybody? I thought we were talking about Richard's situation in which case he sure as heck won't be running at those settings with a 950MHz tbird... Anyway, not saying it's not possible (I know it is, you just need a monster rig to pull it off) just that it's not optimal. Max Cowgill

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I hate to say this Max, but:"As for your example of running 1600x1200x32 w/4x FSAA, it takes A LOT more than just GPU power to run at that res... Seriously, who runs at that res with details turned all the way up? Slideshow, anybody?"Its clear from that statement that you don't know what your talking about in this instance. You evidently don't have any experience on testing this or you wouldn't say such things. 1600x1200x32 at 4XS AA on a GF4 with anything around 1Ghz or better is extremely doable. I wouldn't recommend someone run FS any other way (maybe a tad lower AA, Quincunx for instance on the lowest end). FS was *made* for high resoltuions - theres no point in running FS at lower resolutions because its way too CPU bound for it to make a whit of difference. Adding a great video card is the *only* way to *keep* framerates stable at high resolutions and AA depths, regardless of underlying CPU platform. Hense the discussion in another thread on the highest end CPU for FS.I'd suggest you take some time out and run down to your local mom+pop shop and ask them if you can run some benchmarks with FS on a few of their systems. At my shop I routinely let enthusiasts (that I trust) do exactly that, so I'm sure you'll find one in your area that will do the same.Take care,http://members.rogers.com/eelvish/elrondlogo.gifhttp://members.rogers.com/eelvish/flyurl.gif

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