View Full Version : [ubuntu] trying to understand video card shopping

August 25th, 2009, 04:38 AM
I was just given Fallout 3 and I found out my computer can't handle it. Turns out (or so im told) its my video card. Apparently the onboard video card is not ment for anything more than word documents.

The box says it requires 512 mb of ram memory card.

Looking online I found nvidia cards 8400, 8500, 8600. All are 512mb but different reviews tell me they don't all work the same. but the prices range from 30$ to 80$... So price being an issue, I'm just looking for something to work that will run the game for as cheap as possible.

I don't get it, if they are all 512mb why would the cheap one not work for gaming? what makes one more special than the other?

August 25th, 2009, 05:05 AM
The difference is memory speed and core speed, shaders and bandwidth.

8400GS- 450mhz, 16 shaders, 800mhz ram, 6.4 GB/sec bandwidth
8500GT- 450mhz, 16 shaders, 800mhz ram, 12.8 GB/sec bandwidth
8600GT- 540mhz, 32 shaders, 1400mhz ram, 22.4 GB/sec bandwidth

While that looks like a mess of numbers, it breaks downlike this-
an 8500GT is pretty much the same as a 8400GS, but will take 1/2 the time to load in data to the card (which does make a difference). A 8600GT will load nearly x2 as fast as a 8500GT, and almost x4 as fast as a 8400GS. The 8600GT has x2 the number of shaders, so it will spend l1/2 the time doing shading as a 8500GT or 8400GS. The 8600GT also has about 20% faster core as well.

So the 8600GT will spend far less time loading, have twice the shader speed, and be 20% faster on anythign that doesnt use shaders at all (and fallout 3 sure uses shaders)

BTW, minimum requirements for fallout 3 are actually a 256MB video card. Thats under windows, I have no idea how much more power you would need for it to work well under WINE.

It might be agood idea to check out what system specifications you are running. Go to System-> System Monitor-> 'System' tab. If you post what it says in there into this thread, someone should be able to tell you if its just your video card, or if its your whole system. ;)

e.g. Ubuntu 9.04, 2GB memory, AMD 3800+

August 25th, 2009, 05:11 AM
I don't think you need to worry about minor differences, although their are 3D games for Linux they are not nearly at the standard of Windows high end games and so will not require the same spec video cards.

You have already took the most important decision of picking nvidia :D now I would try more to get a bargain than picking one on minor differences in specs unless you are a really hardcore gamer like running WINE.

Pick any modern nvidia card and you cant go wrong, it will run Compiz and 3D graphics flawlessly and also allow for gaming even in WINE, so any 8 or 9 series cards are a good buy :D

August 25th, 2009, 05:23 AM
Do you really want to play Fallout 3? From your post, you don't sound like you play games regularly (or as I should say, don't play DirectX games, not on an integrated card). Sounds more like a friend gave you a game and ya just wanted to try it. It's an expense to pay for such gaming quality cards, and if your not that interested not necessary.

Just thoughts, we're not here to force ya to spend money on things.

My vote, would be for an 8800GT, a solid performer that ya could probably get inexpensively now compared to before. It's more expensive than ones listed, but higher quality. Also, people have failed to note that depending on the resolution you intend on running at, requirements vary. Higher resolutions require bigger more powerful cards.