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Questions About Graphics Cards

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#1 cowsgonemadd3


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Posted 18 November 2006 - 11:52 PM

I am wondering if buying a high end card can make a game look better?

I have a ati 9200 se with 128mb ram.

Well I know its not the biggest and all but it meets all the min. requirements for the games I play.

What is the purpose of getting a 300-500 dollar graphics card?

What does it help?

Just wondering.

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#2 Mr Alpha

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Posted 19 November 2006 - 04:40 AM


A better graphics card makes games look better in three ways:

It enables you to turn up the graphical details of a game. Bigger textures and bump-maps. Better and more real shadows. Higher detail models. How much of this you can do depends on the game.

It also enables you to turn of graphical effects which aren't supported on older hardware. Like SM3.0 effects.

It also enables you to increase the resolutions, Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic filtering, which all give you image quality improvements.

Using a couple of screenshots from tweakguides.com I'll try to illustrate the difference. These are from Oblivion with either a setting on maximum or minimum.
Grass distance 100% vs grass distance 0%.
View distance 100% vs view distance 0%.
Distant trees on vs distant trees off.
Shadows 100% vs Shadows 0%.
Normal lightening vs HDR lightening.
Water details on vs water details off.
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#3 usasma


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Posted 19 November 2006 - 08:33 AM

Also, higher end cards will have hardware support for different levels of Direct X - so they'll work better and tax your CPU less.

The same goes for the added memory - it'll take the load off of your CPU.

Try playing a game with Task Manager open and look at your CPU usage. If it's constantly maxed out - then you'll be in the market for a newer vid card.
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