Reading my 500th video card review today I realized that the typical video card review sites don’t really cover the stuff that I care about. Also this stuff changes all the time and there are rarely good places to go to just figure out what is the right stuff to get now. So I decide to post a page that contains my Video Card Guide.
When I’m looking for a video card I’m interested in the following goals-
- Great basic support in Vista, etc, for large monitors. My current desktop rig is one 30″ LCD and a second 20″ LCD in portrait mode (so its the same pixel-height as the 30″).
- Support for common 3d games and applications at great visual quality. I’m running them at 2560×1600 so my ideal is to be able to run at the highest visual settings at full screen resolution with a decent (>30fps) framerate. Typical targets here for me at WOW, Half-Life 2, Flight Simulator X, Google Earth, etc.
- Great media support. It should support H.264 and VC1 acceleration so I can run high definition video at full screen easily without taxing the CPU
- Reasonable price. I’m unlikely to spend $600 on a video card (although sometimes I’ve been tempted to spend $400).
- Stability. If the drivers crash a lot I’m going to be very upset…
- Flexibility. SLI and Crossfire (dual card solutions) are a pain. Having said that I would consider them if the price is right, and especially for the flexibility of getting one card now and another later. The fact that the standard Intel chipsets don’t support SLI is a major mark agaisnt Nvidia.