Some FAQs about PCs you wish you knew before you bought it!

Monday, March 31, 2003

Q: You said to watch my PC on a TV I need a scan converter or a TV-out port on my video card. However, my PC's "here" and my TV is "there". How can I get a signal over without running a very long video wire?
Try this product: Which is a 2.4 GHz wireless link between sender and receiver station.

Q: I know there are VDI to VGA adapters. Are there VGA to VDI adapters?
Try here: Cables-n-More

Thursday, March 06, 2003

More fuel to the fire: ATI's new product line, and NV35

Yes, I've seen the info on ATI's new product line... 9800's, 9600's, and 9200's. The truth is... They're really NOT that interesting. They are basically a pumped-up and tweaked versions of their respective cousins (9700's, 9500's, and 9100's respectively). The performance is definitely there... as pure bit-blasters with impressive anti-aliasing solutions, according to Tomshardware. Both Tomshardware and Anandtech liked it well enough, as this erases the slight lead GeForce FX enjoys over the 9700's and puts ATI back over the top.

NVIDIA's interim solution, NV31 (for your info, GeForce FX is NV30), and its lower speed cousin, the NV34 (NOT NV28 as previously posted), are not doing that well in initial benchmarks. So the question now is... what is NVIDIA doing, as there is virtually NO NV30's on the market?

What NVIDIA is doing is damage control. There are signs that NV30 video cards will NEVER reach retail. If you preordered, you'll get one, but no NV30 cards will reach retail shelves. Instead, NVIDIA will rush out NV31/34 based cards to retail as soon as the drivers are stablized and hardware optimized. A second team is feverishly working on the next generation product... NV35.

What does this mean for the consumer? Expect prices to drop on the entire GeForce 4 Ti-line as time wears on and announcements of the NV31/28 based products are made. GeForce 4 Ti 4200 64-meg can sometimes be had for under $100. Expect it to drop another $20 or so in 60 days. Cards higher up the foodchain would see even more price drops as soon as the NV31/34 products hit retail, and corresponding larger drops.

Similarily, the first-gen super Radeons (9700's, 9500's, and 9000's) will see price drops as well as the vendors switch to the newer faster model. The 9000's should see particularly big price drops as it will be dropped altogether, being supplanted by the 9100 / 9200 series (which is based on the OLDER Radeon core!) You can already find 9100's in stores for just under $100 (for 64 meg models). Expect that price to drop another $20 or so in the near future.

The NV31 and NV34 GPUs will be the basis of a full line of DX9 compliant video cards, along with NV30. Not even ATI can claim that as their entry card, the 9000/9100/9200 is based on the older Radeon core, and is thus only DX8.1 compliant.

So what are my recommendations?

If you have less than $100 to spend, your current choices are 64 meg cards, like GeForce 4 MX 440 / SE, or if you're lucky, a GeForce 4 Ti 4200 64 meg. You can also find Radeon 9100's (formerly known as 8500's) for just under $100 for the 64 meg model. The Ti 4200 and the Radeon 9100 are about neck to neck, with Ti4200 taking a slight lead in most races. Expect the 4xxx series prices to keep dropping, as the NV31/NV34 hit the market. The lowest priced version of NV34 is expected to be $99, which means all the Ti4200's will be BELOW that, and the GF4 MX 440 will be even CHEAPER than that...

For under $150, you should be able to find Ti4400's and Radeon 9500's soon for that price. Both are excellent cards. The mid-ranged GFFX card will also be in this range as well.

For under $200, you may be able to find a 9700 or TI4600 in the near future.

Times are good for upgrades... If you have the money.