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  1. Member
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    I recently got a great 24" widescreen LCD monitor (LG L246WP) and figured it was time to upgrade my old graphics card (from 6600GT). It's been fine for a couple of years because I am not a gamer...at all. I DO do a lot of multimedia stuff: video, graphics, music, yada, yada, yada. Although "on paper" a Geforce 6600GT is supposed to be able to handle the high resolutions capable of a large monitor, in reality...not so much.

    Sure, the picture is there and fills up the screen like it's supposed to...but the card has to have a LOT of help from the CPU to make anything move...ergo, my whole system slowed to a crawl. I was advised on a couple of "tech-head" sites to get an Nvidia 8600GT, that it would be MORE than enough for my little video needs. I bought one, installed it, updated every driver on the computer, including BIOS and chipset...and...still no good. At a low resolution, like 1024x768 the speed was okay, but at that resolution I had to sit across the room because everything on the screen was scary huge! I want to use it at near the native resolution, say 1680x1050. At that resolution, input lag is really, really bad, software runs slowly, and my patience gets worn out.

    I need to multi-task! I usually have one media player playing a video while another one plays music, browser open with 7 or 8 tabs, doing email a program running some utility in the background while I edit video or author a DVD at the same time. Although the heavy gaming crowd don't seem to think our little video/media enthusiasms require very much power or advanced technology, my experience says otherwise. Although I probably rarely need much of the 3-D architecture on the modern cards, my 2-D needs are great.

    So, I've been researching and I think I have it narrowed down to Nvidia 9600GT and ATI/AMD HD 3950 (or 3870). It has been very difficult to find reviews or opinions that are useful to me because every reviewer is concerned primarily with gaming performance. If that applied to me I'd get a 9600...but I've read that the HD 3000 series have better color reproduction, better on-board encoding and decoding functions for both HD and non-HD content, AND, especially important to me, that the HD 3870 is much better at high resolutions than the 9600.

    So, I'm hoping that here, amongst my video-loving peers, I can get the help I'm craving. Please!
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  2. contrarian rallynavvie's Avatar
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    I upgraded to a 7600GT from a 6600GT as that was as far as I could really go on my AGP system. The 7600GT also had the dual DVI outputs I needed for my setup.

    I'm curious why your 6600GT was so bad running a single monitor? I had my 6600GT running my dual HD displays (one 24" Dell running 1920x1200 and a Westinghouse 37" running 1920x1080) and never really noticed slowdowns, and that included running a game in one monitor and video in the other. I even ran two instances of a game client, one on each display. The only reason I upgraded to the 7600GT was it had support for nVidia's hardware HD decoding and because I needed a little better chipset for newer games.
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  3. Member Krispy Kritter's Avatar
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    You don't mention your PC specs (and you don't have the computer details completed in your profile), but I suspect you are having other issues aside from just video card. Your 6600GT is plenty powerful enough to run dual 24inch LCD's. The question becomes your PC specs and what else are you doing that is causing the slowness. For example, if your "video playing" is 1080P mkv files.
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  4. Originally Posted by flbuzcut
    an Nvidia 8600GT... At a low resolution, like 1024x768 the speed was okay, but at that resolution I had to sit across the room because everything on the screen was scary huge! I want to use it at near the native resolution, say 1680x1050. At that resolution, input lag is really, really bad, software runs slowly, and my patience gets worn out.
    I run an 8600 GT with two displays at 1920x1080 and never see any video lag. In fact, your original 6600 GT should have had no problem running a 24" monitor at it's native resolution. There's something wrong with your computer. Until you get that fixed no video card is going to help you.

    What O/S are you running? How much memory do you have?
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    Boy oh boy! I apologize to those of you who responded to my questions a month ago. I "lost" this posting; I read a lot of online forums and am a member on most of them. After a couple of days, I realized I couldn't figure out which site I'd posted on. Yes, I am an idiot. I humbly apologize.

    Okay, first my specs:

    Intel E6400 overclocked to 3.2 GHz
    Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3
    Corsair TX650W PSU (just upgraded recently)
    4x1GB OCZ DDR2-800
    AOpen Geforce 6600GT
    Seagate 320GB 7200.10 SATA HD
    WD 250GB SATA HD
    BenQ DW1650 DVDRW
    Win XP Home

    The good news is that I somehow managed to fix what was ailing my system when I wrote the original post. The best I can figure, when I was ready to install the new monitor, I updated all of the system drivers: Intel chipset drivers, Nvidia drivers, sound card, network adapter, everything. The best I can figure, some driver(s) were not happy working with Windows, some of the hardware or other drivers. The reason I was experiencing the horrible lag and the huge drain on the CPU, was something kept telling Windows that my main hard drive (the Seagate) was faulty. So errors kept getting reported to Windows, which cranked the transfer mode to PIO. So every hour or so, I'd have to uninstall the device and reboot (twice) to get it back to DMA. Eventually, after a lot of research and probably some dumb luck, I think it's fixed. Drivers all appear to be working in harmony, devices are running as quickly as expected.

    SO, back to a video card. I installed the LG246 with the 6600GT and yes, it works fine. Video plays fine, picture is nice, but I still notice a bit of lag if I start doing a number of things at once: switching windows, closing some, opening tabs, moving things on the desktop, etc. There is no crash like before, just a bit of a delay.

    So, I still want to upgrade my video card, if only for the more robust support for HD (and SD). Also, I had a Geforce 8600GT briefly during my crisis, and I definitely noticed a difference in the picture quality between it and the 6600GT on the large monitor. The color using the 6600 isn't as sharp and images seem a bit too pixilated. Of course, much of this could just be in my head. (we've already established that I'm an idiot).

    So, I'm pretty much decided on going with ATI/AMD this time. I've always had Nvida cards, but comparing the specs, since I'm not a gamer, ATI seems to have placed much more emphasis on video quality and supporting the various technologies in recent years, where Nvidia has focused their energy on gaming. Is it just me, or have they basically "switched sides" from awhile back? 10 or so years ago, Nvidia had a reputation for better image quality, video support, etc and ATI was the "upstart" who was concentrating on 3D technology that made gaming better. Now, ATi looks like they're providing much more support for video (HD and SD), while Nvidia is putting all their effort into gaming now. Nvidia's meager support for HD seems to be more of an afterthought than anything. Funny, huh?

    So I'm thinking of Radeon HD 3850 or 3650. I few weeks ago I was ready for the 3850, but after reading posts from experts, it sounds like it may be overkill for me. Any suggestions? I do not game, but I will be working with video, both SD and HD. The big monitor's native resolution is 1920 x 1200 but I like running it at 1680 x 1050. And you never, know, I may decide to take up World of Warcraft any day now...

    Thank you and sorry to be such a boob.


    P.S., Just ran across these:

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=8762234&type=product&id=1203815034383

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=8761878&type=product&id=1202650704648
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  6. contrarian rallynavvie's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by flbuzcut
    The big monitor's native resolution is 1920 x 1200 but I like running it at 1680 x 1050.
    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

    Please tell me you weren't running your LCD at that res when you were saying things look pixellated. That would explain, well, everything really. One of the caveats, if you can really call it that, of an LCD is that it has a native resolution which you should always be using. CRTs could scale between several different resolutions but that's because it wasn't using specific pixels on a screen like an LCD. Whenever you use a non-native res on an LCD then the monitor has to essentially make guesses as to how to draw a diagonal line using more pixels than it would have to and sometimes even horizontal and vertical lines will be "fattened" to compensate which leaves them sometimes a bit blurry.

    You really need to run that monitor at 1920x1200 if that's what it's native res is. Don't have the software render an image/video/game only to have the monitor muck it up because of the res issue. If it's a matter of text size/readability or you want larger icons on the desktop then there are settings within Windows to adjust these. You spent a lot of money on that monitor over one with 1680x1050 native res so use it. If not I'll buy a 1680x1050 monitor and trade you; my 24" Dell could use a clone.
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  7. Yeah, and I doubt the "lag" issue has anything to do with the graphics card. The lowliest of graphics cards can handle all of Windows' 2D graphics demands these days.
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    No, no...after I resolved my driver/system issues and reinstalled the 24" monitor, I experimented with a lot of settings to test everything out. I know that it's always best to run an LCD at native resolution, but I've always used a lower one and have been satisfied. Yes, I lose some "crispness" to images and especially text, but I've the that the native resolutions on LCDs are always WAY over what I find comfortable. If I was mostly playing games, it wouldn't be much of an issue, but I'm reading a lot and text, graphics, images, everything are so small that I'd soon go blind! the LG scales to 1680x1050 quite well. The image is nice and crisp. When I mentioned "pixelating" I was not really referring to the outer edges of images, but more to color...colors in images and video don't have the proper gradients...things look kind of blotchy. And there's really no lag now...the lag was when my drivers were f...., er, messed up. no fault of the graphics card...it was because the CPU was working overtime because of the slow transfer speed on the hard drive. And of course, Windows is also to blame....I find you can blame any problem on Microsoft.
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  9. Originally Posted by flbuzcut
    I'm reading a lot and text, graphics, images, everything are so small that I'd soon go blind! the LG scales to 1680x1050 quite well. The image is nice and crisp.
    Some things you can do to get around the small text problem: use bigger fonts. Use a web browser with zoom. For example, Firefox has a feature where you can zoom entire page, text and graphics. It also has a setting where you can tell it never render a font less than a certain size. This messes up the layout of some pages but I use it all the time.

    Originally Posted by flbuzcut
    When I mentioned "pixelating" I was not really referring to the outer edges of images, but more to color...colors in images and video don't have the proper gradients...things look kind of blotchy.
    You might be able to fix that with the proc amp controls for the desktop and for overlay. Also be sure you are running 24 or 32 bit color.

    The one place where you may need some of the latest cards is in playing high definition h.264 or AVC encoded video. The latest cards have hardware decompression for these codecs. The video processing ofATI and Nvidia cards is pretty close at similar price points.
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    I know there's not that much difference between 1920 and 1680...I guess I'm just stubborn and want it to look llike I want it to look. I do use Firefox and am very familiar with image zoom. I tried the full page zoom function but it kind of made me dizzy... and my MS mouse has the option of magnifying but I find I activate it when I don't want it. (sigh)

    I appreciate your help though. Now that I've figured out my problems were not with the graphics card and that I don't have to have a top-of-the-line model, I'm just asking for suggestions. I don't want to spend cash unnecessarily, but also I don't want to aim too low and have to replace the card next year. ATI and Nvidia products both have good and not-so-good points, but I think I'm going with ATI...if only because I've always had Nvidia (even when everyone ridiculed me) so now I think I'll be contrary and give ATI a try. Thanks!
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  11. Have you tried Firefox 3's zoom? I haven't used 2's zoom but 3's simply draws EVERYTHING bigger.
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    I haven't installed 3 yet. I've had bad luck w/beta's in the past, so I wait patiently till things are official. I'll give zoom a try again and see if I can avoid the motion sickness. whoa!
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  13. Member Krispy Kritter's Avatar
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    Your picture "quality" issues are most likely with the files themselves being low res or overly compressed. Nothing you can do to really "fix" them. This will be more noticable if zooming or playing the files back full screen.

    As for your video card, unless you have a specific need to upgrade (for example, slowness in games), there is no real need to spend any money at all. Wait until you have a specific need or reason to upgrade. If you just have to spend money, then look into the nvidia 8600 for hardware decoding or the 8800 for general purpose use.
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