Greetings Everyone!

I’ve been wanting to upgrade my PC for a while and thanks to a tuition refund, it looks like I’ll finally be able to do it!

Now, my PC wasn’t that great to start. My last computer died mid-semester and I was forced to go out and buy a pre-assembled one from Walmart. On top of that, I didn’t really have a lot of money to spend, so I wound up with this.

It’s not too bad for the price but I’ve always regretted not being able to build my own. We all know how much money you can save going that route. I did however install this 8600gt video card. I was a little let down, admittedly, but it allowed me to max out the graphics on WoW (25-40FPS in Outlands, 60-100+ in Azeroth) and WAR PvE(unsure, but probably about 15-20). I also installed some extra RAM which got me up to 3GB. For those who don’t want to look at the link, my current specs are:

  • Pentium D Socket 775 2.8GHz
  • 3GB DDR2 RAM
  • MSI 8600GT 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 Video Card
  • 250GB Hard Drive

Now though, I’m really starting to notice the limitations of my processor with gaming. Pentium D is dual-core but it’s a throwback. These days, an equal speed Intel Core 2 Duo will beat it hands down. So, I’m buying a new one.

And I figured hey, as long as I’m upgrading, why not get a new graphics card too. The 9800s are cheaper now than ever before. After some research, I decided that a 9800GX2 would be a good investment and just barely in my budget range. And hell, if I’m upgrading my GPU then I’ll be needing a new Power Supply too! Thankfully, those are fairly cheap.

So, on to Newegg I went and do you know what I found out? Graphics cards have gotten huge! Not just in length but anything 9800GTX+ now takes up two slots! No worries though, I thought. I should have room. I popped open my case to be sure and, yes, I had enough room! Except… for two small capacitors and a little plastic slot about an inch long (no idea what it’s for). Damn! Thank you Compaq for providing slot space (there’s ever a cut out for it on the back of the case) and then making it impossible to utilize.

I asked around on Yahoo Answers to see if there was any way for me to remove the plastic casing on the card, or if there were any single slot GTXs but only walked away disappointed.  I was stuck with 9800GTs due to my slot limitation.

After looking around, I came up with three candidates. I’m a little unsure about which one is the best.

1. First, and seemingly the best (unfamiliar with this brand name) is this card.

    • GIGABYTE GV-N98TOC-1GH GeForce 9800 GT 1GB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI
      Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card – $162.99
    • It looks good and has some higher clock rates than the other two. The design of the board looks quite different from the other candidates though, which makes me pretty wary. Combine that with my haziness on the name and I’m a little nervous. Anyone familiar with this company?

    2. Second, we have this card. It has half the memory but I recognize the name a little more.

      • ZOTAC ZT-98GES5P-FCP GeForce 9800 GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI
        Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card – $139.99
      • I like the design but since it’ll be in the case, I don’t really care. The case featured on this card is used on most 9×00 series cards.

      3. Finally, we have this MSI card.

      • MSI N9800GT-T2D512-OC GeForce 9800 GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3
        PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card – $114.99
      • Now, this card has a slower core clock rate but a faster memory clock rate. This is where I get confused. Which one is the most important? Does it matter that there’s only a 100MHz from the other cards? It’s cheap though and looks okay. I have to say this though, MSI tech support sucks. It’s all outsourced and the customer service representatives obviously use a lot of scripted responses. That’s one of the main reasons why this card is the third choice.

      If any of you have any thoughts or recommendations, I would appreciate hearing them. I have a decent amount of tech experience but I’m still learning some of the specifics on graphics cards.

      Thankfully, I have a couple months to decide what one I’d like to get. I’ll keep you posted.

      Oh, and for those of you interested, I decided on this Power Supply. It has good reviews, a good price, and has a sharp LED to boot!