low$ cad/3d gfx cards vs PS & old mobo?

Hi,
i need to buy low$ graphics card for agp4x and 800MHz. I want to create small files with cad plus minor 3d rendering (no motion video, tho maybe slides...) For
student, intern, entry-level type portfolio.
Big question is POWER: Comparing power needs for gfx card with fans. i haven't found power use specs for any fan cards. the two ati have adjunct power connectors, implying maybe even higher power use, but waht's that in watts?
PS is Sparkle atx-300gt. is it equiv or better to the "300W" often recommended for these cards?
choices and limits of graphics cards: $15-20 MAYBE: NEW newegg bfg fx5500oc (rebate) has fan but new & solid warranty. Does dx9.0b, opengl2.0 used ati radeon 9500 pro. has fan Recent dx9.0, opengl2.0 used ati radeon 9600 xt. has fan (best? but likely too high $) Recent dx9.0, opengl2.0 This compares specs one-on-one, tho some data are missing: http://www.gpureview.com/show_cards.php?card1 '&card28
TIA
_______________         boredom alert: extra credit info :-) NO: quadro2. ok card, but vendor has r@ts@ss reputation, website clues suggest the cards are used/refurb, but the doesn't declare that. used gf4 ti, mx, which are too old (all have FANS. old fans likely burn soon) various kyro, matrox, etc, but too old or inappropriate. Used nvidia fx5200 are overpriced. Better fx5's or gf6's, 7, etc are legit$ but too high for me now. similar for most old radeon (new 7000, etc) gf3 too rare. Quadro 256, DCC gone and too old. quadro4 nvs (2d for tickertape watchers?? needs lfh something??) $10? i'd settle for a $7 tnt2, but not avail. AGP has attained legacy pricing (rising), so not offered in fry's sales.
__________ Sparkle PS (bought ~2002) Label [is mounted upside down]: +3.3V= .0A(ORG), +5V=0.0A (RED), +12V=.0A (YEL) +5Vsb==2.0A(PURP), -5V==0.3A(WHITE), -12V==0.8A (BLUE) P.G. signal (GRAY), ground (BLACK) fuse rating 6.3A, 250V~ (+3.3v & +5v5W max) other stickers: 'ball bearing fan' 'noise-killer' [yeah, sort of]
other hardware: normal tower case, good cooling because the side is open with an 8"deskfan strapped 3" from the cpu :-) 800 MHz Duron, FIC AZ-11 KT133 vt8363, at 100 fsb with AGP 4x. 512 pc133 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_AMD_Duron_microprocessors#Duron_.22Spitfire.22 _.28Model_3.2C_180_nm.29 shows 35.4 W (max?)
one ATA 20gb hd. one floppy. liteon cdrw 52-48-52. one older cdrom. nic
Winxp, no vista. i'm trying to upgrade from Rageiic (drivers v.good for win9x single crt in 2d. Lacks win2k, winxp, linux). no gaming for me. double-wide agp card is ok ('eats' the adjacent pci slot's space), cuz i've plenty open pci.
Future preferred: 2 crt's , but power draw on card is question. Also some online pics of gfx cards show two diff connectors on slot cover, not two (s)vga serial. what's that about?
future possible: Those (partial?) softmods to Firegl (i'm interested mostly if the mod relieves Duron cpu of some work) Second or larger hd, maybe Linux (low priority)
--
posting newsgroups chosen from http://groups.google.com/groups?q=used +%
7C+cheap+%7C+best+graphics+%7C+card++quadro+%7C+firegl
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
spamsquach wrote:

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/display/ati-powercons.html http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/display/ati-vs-nv-power.html
Xbitlabs has been measuring power, in their video card reviews, on and off since those two articles above. To find power, go to this page:
http://www.xbitlabs.com/search /
Enter something like this in the top line
7600 GS power
Note that they don't tend to abbreviate the part number to 7600GS, so it is a good idea to put a space between the two parts of the name.
Set "Search Using" to "All Words".
You may have to look through a few pages, but eventually you'll find a table with power numbers.
Another good pair of words to use for a search:
Contemporary power
They like to use "contemporary" when reviewing the current crop of cards. This article is from July 2006.
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/display/power-noise.html
There should not be a big difference in power draw if using two monitors. If the card is in 3D mode, it should already be drawing the power stated in the Xbitlabs measurement. Running another DAC or running a TMDS interface won't make that much difference. Running two monitors is more demanding of the video card memory bandwidth, and so selecting the cheapest card might not help in that regard.
What will make a difference, is trying to run two monitors with a Duron 800. The processor could well be the rate limiting thing.
To work through a reasonably modern example, I picked this card:
ASUS N7600GS SILENT/HTD/256M GeForce 7600GS 256MB 128-bit GDDR2 AGP 4X/8X $87
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductReview.aspx?Item=N82E16814121064
The card has 256MB of onboard RAM. The interface to that RAM is 128 bits wide, whereas a lot of low end cards only use 64 bits. The really expensive cards have 256 bits or more in width. Width helps with GPU to video memory bandwidth.
That card memory is probably "true memory". The low end cards sometimes use Turbocache or Hypermemory, and you have to read more than one version of advertising copy, to see an admission that the card uses something like that. You don't have a lot of system RAM, so sharing some for video is not going to work well. It is possible, if the driver detects a small amount of system memory, that the "cache" effect would be disabled, and the card might work a bit speedier.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turbocache http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HyperMemory
The above Asus example card, has an aluminum heatsink. I would estimate the power of the card at around 35W or so. (Allowing a couple watts for the HSI bridge chip on the back of the card.)
The card has a disk drive connector on the end of it.
http://images10.newegg.com/NeweggImage/productimage/14-121-064-05.jpg
I have a couple fanless video cards here, and what I do is mount an 80mm case fan next to the video card. That keeps the card stable in 3D mode. Both my cards are fine in 2D (desktop) mode, but one of them overheats in 3D mode. Using a fan fixes that for me. Since it is a case fan, if the case fan wears out, it is easy to replace. Not so with some of the cheap fans used on video cards - they can be hard to find a replacement for, and sometimes you have to use an aftermarket heatsink and fan to do the job.
On the faceplate side, there are three connectors. Video at the top, VGA in the middle and DVI-I on the bottom. Some combination of two of three connectors can be used at a time.
http://images10.newegg.com/NeweggImage/productimage/14-121-064-09.jpg
The DVI-I connector has two sets of signals on it. There are digital signals (TMDS) suitable for driving an LCD. Note that a lot of cheap LCD monitors only have a digital connection on them, and the fact that the 7600GS AGP card shown above has a VGA connector, means you could potentially have a problem if you switched to two cheap LCD monitors in the future.
The second set of signals on the connector, are suitable for driving a VGA monitor. They are analog signals. The signals on the "cross" at one end of the DVI-I connector, are 75 ohm RGB for analog VGA.
That video card also comes with a "DVI to VGA dongle". What the dongle does, is extracts the VGA signals and puts them on the familiar 15 pin connector. Using that dongle, you can drive two VGA CRTs for example.
http://images10.newegg.com/NeweggImage/productimage/14-121-064-06.jpg
Some cheap video cards have DVI-I connectors, but no dongle is included in the package. Having to buy it separately, adds to the total price. You only have to buy a dongle, to convert a DVI-I to an analog VGA for an older monitor like a CRT monitor.
So there is room to cut corners on video cards, but you may not end up getting all the features you were looking for.
More info here. Non-quadro cards are listed as fine, as long as the video card has sufficient memory for the number of open windows. (click "tested" button.)
http://www.solidworks.com/pages/services/videocardtesting.html
Paul
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"wow wow wow". This is exactly why i need to ask questions. thank you. I was nowhere near discovering some of the aspects you outline below. And of other aspects, i'd only noticed the phrases, but not (yet?) realized their significance to me. Also, (not buttering you up, just noticing..) the way you typed this up, you appear super familar.
Summary: my PS almost certainly limits me to old cards. My PS is strong on +5v and weak on +12v. My revised selection criteria: low-cost, reliable (new/warranteed/RMA-able or fanless used). Very secondary criteria: bandwidth, vram, dual-crt.
I'd like to know whether I'm stuck choosing from used 16mb-era gfx cards (eg, tnt2. And of course I'd research these myself). AFAIK any fan card old enough to use + 5v, will have worn out fans. Maybe the low-end agp cards (such as fx-5500oc, see below) draw low enough power for my +12v line to supply?
(data from www.sparklepower.com/proPCPS_ATX.html) My PS looks fine for summed wattages: Sparkle's summed (+5v & +12v) ratings are:     175W for my ATX-300GT (site's values match my label's)     120W for ATX-300PA and ATX-300PN (two newer 300w models with +12v1 +12v2 lines) Sparkle total of all "+" lines are:     280W for all three models.
i found posts which summed +12v demand (including a recent post by you (Paul 'nospam needed') :-) )
mobo + 1hd + usb hd + fd + 2cd + gfx card = amps, +12v ??? + 0.5 + 0.2 + 5 + 2 + ???gfx = ???Amps [my PS label rsays +12v=A]
Details: cpu. I strongly suspect AZ-11 mobo feeds Duron 800Mhz either 3.3v or 5v. 800Mhz maxes 35.4w at 1.6-1.7v. I can't find or further decipher AMD spec info. usb hd. i guessed at USB signal watts. Probably negligible. Might be 3.3v or 5v. The external usb hd has own PS in power cord. I have no usb mouse, keyboard, or "usb hub". floppy. Generic 5 watts from googling
Zero amp stuff: nic. Dlink pdf on cd says 0.8w(240mA)max 3.3v. ram. Runs off 3.3v? 0fans. No case fans because it's a 110v a/c deskfan strapped to the open side of case. Seems very good flow.
??? amps: gfx card. Depends on card, but assuming the fx5500oc agp, i will probably phone BFG, asking for link to published specs (with power vs volt lines). fx5500 lacks hd power plug, so should need less than agp (2.0 or 3.0) spec's max? mobo. can't find info yet. az-11 manual warns only about min 200W PS, supplying 20A, +5v and 10mA, +5Vsb. (Maybe acronyms in the manual would imply likely approximate amps?)
i thought comparing amps (+12v?) of this Rage iic gfx card might be useful, but can't find that.
I googled for VIA KT133 conflicts. So far, I've found no explosive looking info.
the power question is probably all that's puzzling me...
___________ but for anyone interested (google archaeologists) the following is my ~2nd sweep thru the research process

[snip] sampling: http://www.xbitlabs.com/images/video/graphics-cards-2003/3dmark03_1024 _pure.gif implies that bang-for-buck, 9500 pro does well against 9600 xt. But this is a speed benchmark. And not only do we minority 'workstation' users have to filter thru gaming-oriented info, but various cad/modeling software probably need differing benchmarks (all of which are obscure?)
Bad for me: xbitlabs never ran an fx-5500. Though possibly they ran another NV34 based card.

ok. Data bits is larger when dual-display, while data watts is negligibly different.

i haven't googled this yet, but i wonder: is CRT power demand *of the data* roughly a factor of total pixels? or of display area? (or neither?)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_ATI_Graphics_Processing_Units#Rade on_R300_series bit width Radeon 9500 Pro    128 Radeon 9600 XT    128 or 256 (later implies both are native-agp)
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GeForce_FX_Series#GeForce_FX_models FX 5500     NV34        64 or 128 bit        native-agp
BFG site's info is skimpy. Can't find bit-width, but bfg fx5500oc is probably 64-bit

yes [snip]

[snip clarification on output & power connectors]
those used ati's are fully featured. but lack of HD plugin for fx5500oc agp suggests it needs less power. but the fx5500 lacks dvi out. According to those wikipedia pages, all agp have "true" vram/memory. Implies that it doesn't matter whether cards may be native pci-e , because running thru agp- spec slot means they can't cache.

[perhaps appropriate disclaimer: i didn't intend to mislead anyone to thinking i expect to be using solidworks. this ng was most common in results from googling.]
I chose "ATI"," winxp". SW chart shows: ATI 9500 Pro passes w/limitations (see popup). Note that 9600 pro is in same group, so possibly SW never tested 9600xt, yet it would be similar. For "ATI", clicking "show all" button gives the same chart of cards.
SW2008 is likely not yet tested.
______________ boredom alert. leftover thoughts: NV34, last of native-agp? Anisotropic Filtering apparently slows the FX cards, but this may be an example of a tradeoff that benefits modelers.
bfg fx5500oc is probably 64-bit: www.google.com/search?q=FX-5500+bfg+%7C+oc+Bits+Bit-width www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t7880 2004 www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showpost.php?pC9430&postcount "as verified by a phone call to BFG....well hell, they don't even know... all the engineers had left for the day." www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showpost.php?pD3252&postcount "it was 64-bit One of the main reasons I took it back to Best Buy."
lack of 'turbocache' is actually performance disadvantage, but *should* force advertisers to list vram correctly. OTOH, why not also 'turbocache' the fastest cards?
gfg4 are last of +5v powered cards (don't know which ati are last +5v)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.