hey guys. I've been using cheap-shit laptops for way too long. I'm in the process of choosing components for my first desktop in AGES. But I need a little help picking out an amazing video card for $200 or less. I've been all over the internet looking at performance benchmarks and charts, pricing diagrams, reviews, etc. This link has been kind of useful, and I'm interested in the AMD CrossFire setup (halfway down the page, and I think it uses 2 video cards) http://compreviews.about.com/od/video/tp/videocards.htm
Here are the things that are of concern to me...
1. Most importantly, I want to comfortably run 2 monitors simultaneously (Hammer in one screen and the freshly compiled map in another screen). I plan to use some high-quality monitors (no 3D)...does the size or quality of the monitors have much to do with the choosing of a video card?
2. I want to run most current games comfortably without
using highest settings or heavy use of AA.
3. I want to avoid a situation where the video card messes up the little numbers in Hammer. I remember hearing that a certain kind of video card makes Hammer look messed up, maybe there is no truth to that.
In order to achieve dual-monitor usage, I am totally willing to get 2 video cards eventually (one at a time). Here is the motherboard I have picked out. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131792
Also I have picked an 800W power supply just in case. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139025
There's no problem with going for a larger power supply right? Or can I drop it down to 700W in order to save some cash?
Thanks for the input!!
The board you picked out has onboard video (well, cpu simulated gpu). Im having a hard time googling the exact performance of said board in 3d graphics, but it may(i absolutely have NO IDEA) just be enough for hammer alone (especially with a fast cpu like the i7-2600). You can then use the other card for hl2 or something. Just a FYI. (To be honest, ive got no idea how well this would work, ive never tried it.)
As for crossfire, im personnally not very keen on dual gpus (this includes SLI). Usually a single card setup is more (energy-)efficient and less prone to problems; The money saved on the second gpu can easliy be saved and used later for an even faster gpu with directX 2000 support. Or not, if in the future you realise hammering while halfliving isnt very usefull anyway
as for your questions
1) youll have to actually search very hard to find a grapihcs card that CAN'T handle dualscreen, thats not a problem. However, if you are using screens with high resolution, you may want to invest in a card with at least 1.5-2 gb of video ram. (more mixels = more ram needed, simple as that)
2) i like this site: http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/
Pick out the best card you can afford! I dont think theres any videocard having a problem with any Source title.
3) that was a problem with a certain setting iirc (the videocard basically saw the letters as something that needed anti-aliasing and anti-aliased the hell out of the text). Easy to resolve by disabling AA for hammer. iirc it only happened for a certain range of cards, thats true, but i dont know which. Its not really something you should be worried about
4) Depends on what videocard you pick, and whether or not you want to sli or crossfire later on. More is usually better, but also mind that most powersupplies are most efficient (least heat production because of least conversion losses) in a certain range, usually somewhere in the 80% range). Slight note about corsair though: im hearing more and more problems with 'coil whining' (high pitched iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii) on certain corsair models. Make sure your model doesnt have that.