Your Video Card Upgrade Ladder

ND40oz

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jul 31, 2005
Messages
12,342
Some 16 mb ATI card
9200se
5900XT
X800XL (AGP)
X800GTO2
7800GT
SLI'd 7800 GTs
SLI'd Quadro 4500s
SLI'd 7900 GSs
Crossfired X1950XTXs
Crossfired HD2900XTs

Also have a 8600GT for the MCE box, still using everything from the Quadros on up and the 9200se.
 

Xeth

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Apr 6, 2007
Messages
1,624
Trident 512KB VLB
S3 Trio 64+ 2MB PCI
ATI Rage Pro 4MB AGP
Diamond Stealth III S540 16MB AGP
Diamond Viper V770 (TNT2 Ultra) 32MB AGP
ATI Radeon (7200) DDR 32MB AGP
ATI Radeon 8500 DDR 64MB AGP
GeForce 6800 NU 128MB AGP
GeForce 7800 GT 256MB PCIe
GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB PCIe
 

satosphere

n00b
Joined
Apr 26, 2007
Messages
19
Not very long, since I just started owning a computer recently. But all my upgrades were quite steep upgrades.

Intel 815 onboard graphics
Geforce FX 5200 (crappy but cheap)
Geforce 6600GT
8800GTS 320MB
 

Spetsnaz Op

2[H]4U
Joined
Oct 8, 2002
Messages
2,873
ATI Rage PCI > ATI Radeon 64DDR VIVO > ATI 9600 Pro 128 (desktop) > ATI 9600 Mobile 256 (laptop)

:D
 

regnak

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jun 29, 2007
Messages
165
TNT 2 > GeForce 4 MX > Powercolor 9600XT 256mb > ATI 9800 Pro 128mb > eVGA 7900GS 256mb.
 

sd11

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Apr 11, 2007
Messages
1,141
voodoo, voodoo 2, geforce 3, geforce 4ti 4600, 9700 pro, 6800gt sli, x1900xtx, 8800gts sli.
 

defaultluser

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jan 14, 2006
Messages
14,365
I've posted my upgrade ladder before, but I thought I'd post something more this time around: my thoughts for buying each upgrade.

************************************************************
Some Cirrus Logic onboard, 512k.

This was a great DOS SVGA chip, played games like Sim City 2000, Transport Tycoon, The Seventh Guest and even the Tie Fighter special edition in 640x480 glory! Of course, it wasn't all that fast, but that's to be expected.


************************************************************
* First "3D card": Diamond Stealth Pro 2000, S3 ViRGE chipset.

Yeah, I bought the ads and the hype, and there were a couple good pack-in games (Terminal Velocity was sweet), but that was it.


************************************************************
* First real 3D card: Hercules Thriller 3D, Rendition v2200 chipset.

Thanks to real review sites like Tom's Hardware Guide and Anandtech, my next purchase was more informed.

Reasons: image quality was as good as a Voodoo Graphics, better Direct 3D performance, $40 cheaper (only a hundred bucks!), all without the pass-through cables. Also allowed me to get rid of my POS S3 ViRGE. Too bad the OpenGL drivers never really lived up to the Direct3D performance.


************************************************************
Next: Nvidia Riva TnT (STB Velocity 4200).

I also got a great deal on this card, an OEM version without the TV-out for only 90 bucks. Such was the result of the price war between Nvidia and 3DFX. At the time, there was no better choice because the Banshee had poor performance.

I needed an upgrade because Half-Life was killing my poor Thriller 3D even at 512x384. Rendition was on their way out and ATI hadn't released their Rage 128 yet, so I had few options besides Nvidia or 3DFX.


************************************************************
Next: Matrox G400 MAX.

After the TnT, I decided going upmarket would be a nice change, and the cards might actually last me longer. I got a great deal on this in a trade with a friend, and it made me happy for several years once Matrox finally released a powerful OpenGL ICD.

Reasons: I had recently bought a high-quality monitor, and the poor output from my TnT was plain to see, so I wanted a Matrox card. It just so happened the G400 MAX was also one of the fastest cards in its time, so it was a perfect upgrade.


************************************************************
Next: Radeon 8500.

Just as I thought, the G400 MAX lasted a lot longer, but then Return to Castle Wolfenstein came along and killed my poor G400 at low settings. Unfortunately, since the release of the G400 MAX, Matrox had been dicking around, which left me with few options.

Lucky for me, I didn't have to pay the Nvidia tax (most Nvidia cards were overpriced), because the Radeon 8500 was a steal at under $200. I didn't need AA anyway, and now that the drivers were sorted-out (the whole Quack optimization mess was long past), it was a good deal.

Made me feel REALLY good when I watched the Parhelia launch 6 months later, and get completely toasted by my new Radeon.


************************************************************
Next: XFX GeForce 6600 GT AGP.

This was a tough upgrade for me, because I was really happy with my Radeon, and wanted to stay ATI. However, ATI still hadn't gotten their act together regarding the midrange like they had with the 9600. ATI dropped their x700 XT, charged WAY too much for the x800 vanilla, and only had the 9800 Pro to compete with the smashing new 6600 GT AGP.

The 6600 GT AGP was released on the same day as Half-Life 2, and I bought the very first line of cards available, from XFX, along with Half-Life 2. Mmmmm, HL2 was so sweet at 1280x960 with 2xAA.


************************************************************
Next: XFX GeForce 7900 GT.

I was in a tight spot because I was selling my current machine, and the choices available in the $300 range on the ATI side were pretty lame. At the time I bought my 7900 GT, all ATI had to compete was the x1800 XL, which was slower and ate more power. Bleh, guess I'll stay Nvidia.

I stuck with XFX because their support staff had never treated me wrong, and the double lifetime warranty was nice now that I was selling my old systems.
 

Sovereign

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 21, 2005
Messages
3,098
*copies defaultuser*

************************************************************
* Onboard IBM video - all purple-green-bluish

I was very young at this point. All I knew was how to play "Reader Rabbit"...

************************************************************
* Onboard 1MB video in my Performa

Not the fastest thing in the world. At all. Handled all the around five games that I could run on the Mac just fine. Except StarCraft. Well that wasn't really the video chipset's fault, it was the CPU's fault... Star Wars: DroidWorks ran like dog doo. That made me sad.

************************************************************
* 4MB Intel 810e Chipset, Dell Dimension L1000R (big 1GHz!)

Four times the memory! YAY! Not... While StarCraft's 2D sprites ran happily on this chipset, DroidWorks wouldn't even start. It would hang at the launch menu. However, I was able to try to play 3D games for the first time. Star Trek: Armada II never looked so good...


************************************************************
* Dell gets an upgrade: Radeon VE/DDR 32MB PCI

Not knowing anything about computers at this point (I sometimes called PCI "ICP"), my dad and I called Dell and asked them what we could do to increase the computer's gaming performance. The tech said either a $210 Oxygen Labs or a Radeon for $80. Being a kid on an allowance then, I took the $80 one. And knowing what I know now, the Oxygen was probably a workstation card anyway.

Eight times the memory! I can play Jedi Knight II on medium to high settings at 1024x768! I have the fastest gaming machine on the block now! (Sadly, this was true for about six months until my neighbor and his brother got an Athlon XP system with a 9800 Pro). And Armada II had much sharper rendering and "edges."

************************************************************
* First "real" graphics card: BFG GeForce 6800 AGP

This was the graphical heart of my first actual purpose built gaming system. It was "pre-overclocked" with the possibility to unlock to 16x6 (only 12x6, sadly, 16x6 caused massive blue-line corruption). A massive 128MB of memory would fit everything, I thought. After all, I only had to deal with 1024x768... Until we got the 1280x1024 LCD that is.

The rest of the system:
2.2GHz A64 3400 939 (yes I will repeat: those existed)
A8V Deluxe
120GB HDD
Onboard Sound
Ultra X-Connect 400w Gen 1 (no it did not blow up...)

I was finally able to play games. Real games. Like Doom III, Half-Life 2 and Star Wars: Battlefront :) Don't forget others like Quake 4, Empire Earth II, Age of Empires III, SWAT 4, Halo PC and F.E.A.R. I could go to my neighbor's house and play games with settings maxed or near maxed while he struggled along on his FX series crap and later 6600GT.

If it weren't for the sudden appearance of inheritance money I would probably be replacing this system now. But I got $12,000 dropped in my lap...so off to NewEgg!

************************************************************
* Current Setup: 2x eVGA 7900GTX EGS (stock clocks) "Reloaded" in SLI mode (pending 64-bit Vista driver support...argh!)

Given that large amount of money, I invested $10k and spend $2k on the computer. The rest of the money came from the sale of the old machine and some saving I had done. I spent at least 18 hours researching, reading reviews, posting questions in this forum and two others, before I finally made the decision to buy the system listed as "Play [H]ard" in my sig.

I decided that even though I was going to be using 1280x1024 for the forseeable future, I was going to ensure that I would not max out my videocard so quickly (the 6800 showed its age in only six months!) Therefore, I went way over the top with $1000 in video graphical goodness.

Of course, everything ran at maximum with 16x AF and 16x SLI-AA. Smooth as butter with a 2.6GHz OC on the CPU, 432MHz DRAM (rated 500MHz) etc. However, the wheels started falling off quite quickly.

First, the Raptor hard drive I had bought to banish loading screens to computing hell (a.k.a. the halls of Microsoft Corporation) failed. NewEgg replaced it pronto. Next, I started noticing funny jaggies coming out of character's heads in Republic Commando with 8xAA or 16xSLI-AA enabled. I turned these settings off, thinking them incompatible. However, things got worse because in the middle of a LAN party I was hosting, I started getting colored shapes in the skybox of Far Cry. I down-clocked the videocard RAM from 800MHz to 600MHz but the problems continued. I had read about 7900 series problems. Heck, I even made a thread here "Post here if you have a WORKING 7900!" in which I proudly proclaimed that my cards had no issues. Yeah. Right.

The RAM had fried itself, and I'm sure SLI did not help (more heat). eVGA, being eVGA sent me new cards on a cross ship overnight for free. System came back online and I went back to gaming.

Then I made the big move from high school to college. Running on that same massive overclock, my system began to act up. Random BSoD accompanied driver installs (video mostly). MACHINE_CHECK_EXCEPTIONS became more and more common. I heard that this was a symptom of a dying CPU, but I didn't want to hear it.

Eventually I reformatted, but got some weird errors installing my soundcard. Five formats later, my computer seemed to have a mind of its own, recognizing the "Creative SB X-Fi" even before I installed drivers (yes I formatted the Raptor, a full format, between installs four and five). Odd, because Windows XP always complained about a "Multimedia Audio Controller" needing drivers...

Finally the sound stopped working. Neither onboard nor X-Fi could produce any sound at all. The mobo had died, at least as far as PCI slots went. Despite the "lock" that was supposed to keep the slots in check and protect them from overclocking, the OC had fried them. After a huge hassle with MSI (who still owe me the promised refund), I got an A8N32-SLI Deluxe and 4GB RAM. And of course I have no SLI. Thanks nVidia!

/end really long post
 

Sodalason

n00b
Joined
Jun 4, 2007
Messages
12
Hell if I can remember > Rage 128 Pro > GeForce2 MX > GeForce 3 Ti 200 > GeForce 4 4400 > Radeon 9800 Pro > BFG GeForce 6800 GT OC > GeForce 8800 GTS
 

shady86

Limp Gawd
Joined
Oct 17, 2003
Messages
148
PII 333 PC(AGP)[dead]
-ATI Rage IIc 2MB
-Riva TNT2 32MB
-GF2 MX200 64MB(not compatible)
-Riva TNT2 32MB[latest]

P4 3.0E PC(AGP)[running strong]
-ATI Radeon 9800SE 128MB(256bit, 4 pipes)
-ATI 9600XT 128MB
-ATI 9550SE 128MB[latest]

930D PC(PCI-E)[current rig]
-NVIDIA 7600GS 256MB
-ATI X1950XT 256MB[latest]
 

Rambo

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 3, 2007
Messages
390
Home PC: EVGA 6200TC >>> EVGA 7600GT KO >>> EVGA 8800GTS

Work PC: ASUS FX5600 >>> ASUS FX5700 >>> EVGA 7800GS
 

Snowdog

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Apr 22, 2006
Messages
11,267
Vic-20 Integrated:176x184 pixels
C-64 Integrated VIC-2: 320x200.
C-128 Integrated VIC-2E: 320x200 (2KB dedicated color ram!)
Amiga 500/1000: Denise/Agnus: 4096 Colors!

PC Era (I am missing one in here somewhere).

Diamond Speedstar (VLB).
Matrox Millenium (PCI)
ATI Rage 128 (PCI)
3dfx Voodoo 3 (PCI)
ATI Radeon 8500 (AGP)
ATI Radeon 9700 Pro. (AGP)

Waiting for a true DX10 midrange with 256 bit memory bus for my next card. Probably my first NVidia.
 

BlackTigers91

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 4, 2005
Messages
2,620
FX5200 > 6800OC > 6800GT > 6150 (int) > FX5200 > 6600GT > 6150 (int) > 7800GT > 8800GTS 320

nVidia 4lyfe.
 

Frosteh

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 30, 2004
Messages
3,664
Voodoo 2
Voodoo 3
Voodoo 5
Geforce 4 Ti (er 500?)
Geforce FX 5950 Ultra
Geforce 6 6800 GT
Geforce 7 7950 GX2
Geforce 8 8800 GTX

I'm not an Nvidia fanboy...




WHAT?!




shaddap :p
 
Joined
Jun 2, 2005
Messages
7
Some ancient ISA video card I can't remember, I think S3 made it
Rage 3d pro
Geforce 2
Geforce 4MX (this was my first video card purchase. I wasn't that educated about computers and thought the geforce 4mx was better because it had a 4... once I popped it in, I found it was a total waste of $100, it was just like my geforce 2)
Radeon 9600
Geforce 6800
Geforce 7800gt
Next one will most likely be a G92 card.
 

RiPpLeeFFecT

Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 3, 2004
Messages
369
Wow, someone dug this old tread up from the grave. oh well, guess I'll add mine in

See if I can remember these

S3 ViRGE/DX
Diamond Stealth II S220 4mb
i740 Starfighter 12mb
STB Velocity 4400 16mb
Diamond Viper 770 Ultra 32mb
ATI Radeon DDR 64mb oc to 249/249 (i know.. that's way over stock) Ran that way until the fan died
ATI Radeon 9500Pro oc to 382/308 on air
Powercolor X800Pro (bios flash to x800xt-pe, unlocked pipelines) 515/555 on air
BFG 7900GT OC 515/720 on air
eVGA 8800 GTS OC 320mb (current)
 

ganstafm

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 2, 2006
Messages
157
6600n

The end :D

My dad used to be in computers but then quit, i have a few old voodoos in the loft but dont have a clue what thier numbers are.
 

StealthyFish

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 2, 2005
Messages
1,591
Of course, everything ran at maximum with 16x AF and 16x SLI-AA. Smooth as butter with a 2.6GHz OC on the CPU, 432MHz DRAM (rated 500MHz) etc. However, the wheels started falling off quite quickly.

First, the Raptor hard drive I had bought to banish loading screens to computing hell (a.k.a. the halls of Microsoft Corporation) failed. NewEgg replaced it pronto. Next, I started noticing funny jaggies coming out of character's heads in Republic Commando with 8xAA or 16xSLI-AA enabled. I turned these settings off, thinking them incompatible. However, things got worse because in the middle of a LAN party I was hosting, I started getting colored shapes in the skybox of Far Cry. I down-clocked the videocard RAM from 800MHz to 600MHz but the problems continued. I had read about 7900 series problems. Heck, I even made a thread here "Post here if you have a WORKING 7900!" in which I proudly proclaimed that my cards had no issues. Yeah. Right.

The RAM had fried itself, and I'm sure SLI did not help (more heat). eVGA, being eVGA sent me new cards on a cross ship overnight for free. System came back online and I went back to gaming.

Then I made the big move from high school to college. Running on that same massive overclock, my system began to act up. Random BSoD accompanied driver installs (video mostly). MACHINE_CHECK_EXCEPTIONS became more and more common. I heard that this was a symptom of a dying CPU, but I didn't want to hear it.

Eventually I reformatted, but got some weird errors installing my soundcard. Five formats later, my computer seemed to have a mind of its own, recognizing the "Creative SB X-Fi" even before I installed drivers (yes I formatted the Raptor, a full format, between installs four and five). Odd, because Windows XP always complained about a "Multimedia Audio Controller" needing drivers...

Finally the sound stopped working. Neither onboard nor X-Fi could produce any sound at all. The mobo had died, at least as far as PCI slots went. Despite the "lock" that was supposed to keep the slots in check and protect them from overclocking, the OC had fried them. After a huge hassle with MSI (who still owe me the promised refund), I got an A8N32-SLI Deluxe and 4GB RAM. And of course I have no SLI. Thanks nVidia!

/end really long post


Machine_check_exception happens to me a lot when I overclock and when stuff is dying. It isn't the CPU in particular, just something that's dying, dead, or ready to flop. I've gotten it before and it just makes me go "wtf" every time I see that stupid BSOD and that gay error pop up. Doesn't really tell you crap, especially if you can still turn your computer on and boot into windows, then see their explanation of the problem (diagnostic says.... driver malfunction...). lol.

That sounds kind of like my computer builds. Every build I've had (with the exception of the 975XBX I had in my hands for a while) all had problems the first time I built them. Both hard drives RMA'd, RAM is being RMA'd, AW9D-Max is being RMA'd, P5LD2 has been RMA'd twice, power supply has been RMA'd once before and is going to be sent back again, and one of my 6800GS's have been RMA'd. And that's within a 3 year period of when i started computers, lol. What a great experience. Right now, my DDR2 800 runs at DDR2 440 @ 2.3V. It just slowly died :(

That windows detection thing seems to detect almost everything in my computer correctly without drivers after a format, it's weird. It says VGA adapter detected, Nvidia 6800GS, Avermedia 150M TV Tuner card, realtek NIC ports... oh well :p good job windows ;)

hope we have better luck with computers the next time around huh? haha :D
 
Joined
May 24, 2007
Messages
739
nVidia MX440 onboard NF2 64MB shared
ATi 9600SE 128MB
ATi X800GTO 256MB
nVidia 6150SE 64MB shared (waiting for....)
nVidia 7800GT 256MB (OC specs in sig)
 

Digital Viper-X-

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Dec 9, 2000
Messages
14,639
Marvle G200 + 3DFX Voodoo 2 -> Mel G400 -> Radeon 32M AIW -> GF3 Ti200 -> Radeon 8500 - > Radeon 9500 - > Radeon 9700pro -> 9800pro 256 ->6800GT -> X800proModded to XT -> X850XT PE -> 7800GTX -> X1800XT -> 7800GT -> X1900XTX -> 8800GTX -> X1950pro -> 8800GTS -> X1900XTX :p
 
Joined
Mar 15, 2002
Messages
782
VIA onboard video / ATI Radeon PCI 32MB / Visiontek GF2 64MB / Visiontek GF4Ti4200 128 MB / ATI Radeon 9600 Pro 128 MB / ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 128 MB / 3dFusion GF7600GS 256 MB
 

skwayb

n00b
Joined
Jan 27, 2005
Messages
44
Various Mach Video Cards and Onboard video
Matrox Millenum + Voodoo 1
Matrox Millenum 8mb + Quantum 3D X24 (2 SLI Voodoo2's on one card)
Riva TNT2 16mb + X24
Ati Rage 128 + X24
Geforce 2 MX
Geforce 3 TI200
Geforce 4 4400
Geforce 5 5800
Geforce 6 6800 GT OC
Geforce 8 8800 GTS 640mb
 

Spazilton

2[H]4U
Joined
Feb 25, 2005
Messages
2,803
Trident 8bit ISA..
Trident 16bit ISA
Voodoo 3000
The "Orginial" Radeon
Radeon 8500
Geforce 4 TI 4600
Radeon 9800Pro
Geforce 6800GT AGP
BFG 7800GS AGP
7800GT
7800GT SLI
7900GT
8800GTX
 

Gloomy

n00b
Joined
Jul 3, 2007
Messages
27
started from like this
some S3 4MB PCI video card on my P2-266
then added a 3DFX Voodoo, kept it for a while until i upgraded to a BX2 motherboard and jump into the Celeron 300A crazy.
used a Voodoo Banshee AGP at first with that.
After that one fried, got my first nVidia Card, the TNT2. that one eventually died and upgraded to a GeForce DDR.
after that, i stop PC gaming for a while since PS2 was hot!
kept that Celeron 300A until 2005, went with a Northwood 2.4A, at the same time, upgraded to a 9500Pro then 9600XT.
Upgraded to a AMD Athlon 64 3000+ Venice and got my first PCI-E card. The GeForce 6600GT.
switch to dual core AMD and upgraded to a 7800GT
now back with intel Core 2 duo, using 8800GTX
 

elm669

2[H]4U
Joined
Jul 8, 2003
Messages
2,454
SIS 6205 1mb > Intel i810 integrated > S3 Savage 4 32mb agp > Radeon 7500 > fx5700le > 7600gs
 

abudhu

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Oct 28, 2004
Messages
1,653
Fun! Sadly, I can't remember the name or chipset type of my first Graphics cards, but i know I was able to play Mario and Old School Donkey Kong on it (The Ladder one). With that said...

Riva TNT > Riva TNT2 > GeForce MX200 > GeForce 2 Ti200 > GeForce 6800Nu > GeForce 8800 GTS
 

Glow

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jul 20, 2002
Messages
4,834
rage pro or something?
Geforce 2 32mb
Geforce 4 64mb I think it was
9600XT? or something
x800pro
 

artimasz

Gawd
Joined
Jan 28, 2002
Messages
702
Trident 256kb ISA
Cirrus 512k ISA

Trident 1MB PCI
ATI All-in-Wonder 4mb
ATI All-in-Wonder 4mb /w 4mb Add-in (8mb Total) & Diamond Monster II
Diamond Viper v770 Ultra /w Diamond Monster II
Creative Labs Graphics Blaster (Geforce /w 32 Megs) & Diamond Monster II
Geforce 2 /w 64 megs & Diamond Monster II

Leadtek Geforce 4 4400 /w 128 MB
ATI Radeon 9700
ATI Radeon 9700 All-in-Wonder
Leadtek Geforce 6800
Leadek Geforce 7600 GT /w 128 Megs

PNY Geforce 8800 GTS /w 320 Megs
 

DerekMecca

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
178
Some type of Diamond Viper was my first card > Voodoo 3 > Geforce 2 > Geforce 3 > Radeon 9800

And in about a month, I'll add a new card to the list.
 

baker97

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 23, 2006
Messages
226
kinda short but...

1. Nvidia Geforce MX 420
2. ATI Radeon 9550 SE PRO 256MB
3. Sapphire X800GTO Fireblade edt. 256MB
 
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