This is Better Than That


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One live caller last night asked me which (in my opinion) is better – NVIDIA or ATI. I can’t possibly answer that question. That’s like asking me if Windows or Mac is better. It’s akin to wanting to know whether apples or oranges are better. You have to be much more specific if you want to know whether one of these is better than the other. All kinds of things come into play here.

Some people may argue that a specific ATI graphics card is better to use for certain games. Others will fight you, and tell you adamantly that a certain NVIDIA graphics card is better for different games. Had the question been more specific, it might have been easier to answer. If you compare a specific graphics card from ATI against a specific graphics card from NVIDIA, you might – perhaps – get an answer.

The problem, though, is that it is a completely relative question. It boils down to a matter of opinion. You have to do your research and find out what card works well with your system. If you’re basing a system on the card, then you need to find out what others are saying… read reviews, figure out if there have been a lot of problems, make sure you can get drivers.

This holds true no matter what you are going to ask when wanting to know if something is “better” than another thing. I can’t tell you what’s best for you, anymore than you have a clue what would be the best for me. You need to do some research, figure out what your needs are and then look at what’s available within your price range. That, my friends, will be the one which works best.

There is no better answer that I can give you.

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Graphics and Video Card Help

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I asked my chat room: “What kind of Video Card do you have?”. No matter what… I get asked this question constantly. Inevitably, someone wants to talk about Video Cards. “What do you have?” “What should I get?” “What is BEST?”

A video card, also referred to as a graphics accelerator card, display adapter, graphics card, and numerous other terms, is an item of personal computer hardware whose function is to generate and output images to a display. It operates on similar principles as a sound card or other peripheral devices.

The term is usually used to refer to a separate, dedicated expansion card that is plugged into a slot on the computer’s motherboard, as opposed to a graphics controller integrated into the motherboard chipset. An integrated graphics controller may be referred to as an “integrated graphics processor” (IGP).

Some video cards offer added functions, such as video capture, TV tuner adapter, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 decoding or even FireWire, mouse, light pen, joystick connectors, or even the ability to connect two monitors.

What’s the best video card? Well, it depends on what you’re going to be doing on your computer. Are you gaming? How graphics-intensive are your games? What’s your Operating System? There is no “best” video card. There is only a best for YOU, based on what you’re doing. I had an email from someone saying that he had asked the chat room what the best PCI card was to buy. Everyone threw out their suggestions, but it didn’t really help him. I can’t help him either in one respect. I can’t tell him what to buy, nor what is best with him. I can give recommendations… but that’s about it.

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LCD Monitor Questions and Answers

On my two 30″ monitors, Jirvin Loh from Malaysia asks:

Should I have to have a multi-GPU machine (NVIDIA SLI) if I am willing to have two 23” LCD monitor operate at NVIDIA Dual-view mode with 1600×1200 resolution?

I don’t have a multi-GPU (NVIDIA SLI) machine yet, what I currently have are two 19” LCD running at Dual-view with 1280×1024 resolution. Video signal are all coming out from VGA and DVI that are from a single video card.

Here I was a bit confused, as I search through your archived blog, I’d never seen you mention that much about the dual-monitor configurations that is in particular the video card; what kind of the configuration you actually have for your current dual-30” LCD? Are they (the signal) coming out from a DVI that is from single video card or from DVI that is from two separate video cards?

My PC has two NVIDIA 7900 GTX cards, which each sport dual-link DVI capable ports. Just one dual-link DVI port is necessary to run a single 30″ monitor at a full 2560×1600. I happen to have the two monitors plugged into a single card at the moment.

You shouldn’t need SLI or multiple GPUs to support two LCDs (even at that resolution), so long as your current GPU isn’t from the bargain bin. I’m assuming your video card has two ports, however. If those 23″ monitors in question don’t require anything special, you should be okay. If your resolution requirements weren’t so high, I might have suggested a Matrox DualHead2Go or TripleHead2Go.

And while we’re on the subject of monitors seen in my live and recorded videos on YouTube, John C. Adamson put a smile on my sponsor’s face this morning:

I just bought a $600.00 Dell 2407WFP-HC 24-inch monitor because of one of your YouTube videos. The video had an overlay saying that you used this monitor thanks to Dell. (I also see the Dell logo on your videos.)

Anyway, I decided that if it was good enough for you, and looked that good, it had to be OK. I went to the site, saw it was on sale and bought it today.

Question: I want to send a note to Dell telling them they sold a monitor because I saw it sponsored on one of your old videos. I came across you and your site by accident – love it – and appreciate the fact that Dell helps keep you on. Who should I write/e-mail to?

I don’t know how you track your viewers and readers. You might be surprised at the range in your demo. I’m a month away from 60 and about as non-tech as you can get. You are very welcome to forward this note to someone at Dell if you’d like.

Our approach to content sponsorship works like a charm… and I don’t think I could have found better proof for past, present, or future partners!

Shared vs Dedicated Video Card Memory


Chris | Live Tech Support | Video Help | Add to iTunes

http://live.pirillo.com/ – A shared video card is one that is built in, and shares memory with, the rest of the system. A dedicated video card is independent of the system, and has its own memory that it uses.

Usually, a dedicated video card will perform better when you are doing anything graphically intensive on your system. The more video card memory you have, the smoother things will run and look. One reader wrote in, asking about this issue. His MacBook has a built in video card, and he wondered if he would be able to better manage his HD files with a dedicated video card. For the most part, your MacBook will be able to play and manage the files just fine on its own. However, if you want to get into things like editing, you’re going to be better off getting that external video card. Likewise, if you are into gaming, you will probably find you need that dedicated card.

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