Not everyone has the finances to be able to purchase high end graphics hardware and even those who do sometimes run an inexpensive second system in another room for their children. The hardware ill be looking at today is classed as the "bargain basement" of GFX hardware and features two Nvidia cards from Aopen and one from HIS based on ATI technology. Im going to be running all three cards through their paces in a variety of yesterdays and todays games and ill even try a little Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering on some titles to see how they hold up.
In this "low-end" sector of the gaming market you would be hoping to put out some decent framerates at 1024x768, anything above this and you start falling into the zone dominated by the mid range boards such as the NV FX5700 and ATIs 9600 (X600/PCIe) series. Bear in mind the boards on test today cost between 60 and 90 euros, strictly for those on a budget, so compromises have to be made.
Aopen are one of Nvidias partners and are backed by 20 years of PC manufacturing experience in full systems and components, for their full range of Nvidia graphics cards visit this section on their site.
HIS make the ATI 9550 on test today. In 2004, HIS have won over 100 awards with ATI graphic solutions from media worldwide. HIS are being recognized by providing performance leading and award-wining products: IceQ, iCooler, iFan, TURBO Edition, VIVO Edition, AIW Edition, Dual DVI Edition. For the full range of HIS graphics cards visit this section on their site.
Now that we have introduced the manufacturers of the boards on test, you can learn more about the cards by clicking the links below.
As you can see from
the pictures above its a pretty standard affair, with a driver
disc and the usual cables being supplied, the card is also passively
cooled with a massive heatsink covering around 60 percent of the
board. This is the 256 megabyte model (4x64 elixir ram chips are
Just like the 5200, a basic package which is to be expected at this price, although unlike its brother due to the higher core speeds the chip is cooled by an "aopen" fan. The memory configuration on this board is 128 megabytes (2x64 meg Vdata ram).
This 9550 is the 64 bit version with 128MB of DDR again ram from Elixir (2x64 modules). The package again is what you would expect for the price, a CD with drivers etc and a manual with cables.
Next: Testing Setup