Graphic Card...



Well i'm not much of a gamer but i owned half-life and upon seeing the E3 preview of HL2 i know i must have it. Anyways...i was wondering if you people could be so kind to tell me how well my cpu can run it. I got 255 Ram from what my sys properties says and a "NVIDIA Geforce2 MX/MX 400." Not sure if you need to know anything else. If so i'll just edit the post.

I was also thinking about buying a graphic card if it'll be to sh!tty of a picture. Being that i know nothing about Graphic cards, i just want something that will run HL2 decently for a decent price. I don't need to see a pimple on the G-Mans face is what i'm trying to say. So does any have a suggestion for a decent card?

Thanks in advance

The GeForce 2 MX card will probably not give you the fillrate for a playable game at moderate settings. It certainly lacks the technology to give you the eye candy. There are a number of good midrange cards out there now, but how they'll perform in HL2 is anyone's guess.

I'll take a stab at a recommendation anyway:

The GeForce FX 5600 Ultra and the Radeon 9500 Pro / 9600 Pro are the current mainstream options.

All three accelerate all core DX9 functions in hardware, and all three are also billed as next-generation OpenGL parts (yet to be tested, as far as I know, in any systematic way). What this means is that they CAN run all the shiny graphical effects you want to have from HL2 without using any performance-sucking software emulation.

All three are also limited compared to the best cards on the market: depending what resolution you play at, the limitations are more apparent. Since I play mostly at 1024x768, and usually without anti-aliasing, the difference between my card (a 9500 Pro) and the fastest beasts out there is relatively small: probably around 10%, generally. If I played at a higher resolution, the gap could widen to 50%. Add AA / high AF settings and the gaps just get wider.

These cards each have very specific strengths are weaknesses, but any one of them - now - will fit the bill as a good buy and a decent gaming card.

If you're planning to upgrade for HL2, I'd wait until the game is out and tests are in to show which cards perform best before sinking $200 or more into a card.