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Monday, April 02, 2007

For The Love Of Hardware - Finale Finally, AGP tips

It turns out that I was confused about the 12V rail stats. The Rosewill has two 12V lines and they need to total more than 20A for some cards, not have 20A each. Thing is, though, that you can't apparently just add up both lines and get the total for the rail.

In truth, there's little you can do to be sure of what the PSU is capable of since as one reviewer put it, "they're just numbers someone wrote on a box".

So to recap: there's a number that you can need but it is very difficult to know exactly what the number is or what number you have. A bit like playing War without either player showing their cards.

In the end, though, it wasn't the PSU. I put the Rosewill back in and bought a 7600 GS from Best Buy. It's worked flawlessly so far and without putting out much heat. It isn't the fastest card, not even as fast as the X800 GTO was, but it makes the CheapBox worth keeping around and staves off the need to put any more console hardware in the study.

I don't know how it will fair against titles like Unreal Tournament 3 (or whatever they end up calling it) - but it certainly breathes new life into most every title currently on the market.

I think I need to build a shrine for my old 9700 however. That card has outlasted almost every computer component around it and done it with admirable stamina. Good times. Good times.

So - in summary, for other AGP gamers looking to upgrade:

1. Check out your current card and compare it to where you want to go. Here's a great list of cards listed out by performance:

The Best Gaming Video Cards for the Money: March 2007

I only went up "two levels" on the chart and am quite happy with the results. The specs on these cards get pretty confusing, so research before you buy.

2. Beware of OEM deals and other discount prices. Video cards have a lot of soldered parts and so sometimes when they die - they stay dead. Even after a refurb.

3. If you're going to get a truly upper tier card - be very mindful of the power requirements. Try and find out specifically what the 12V rail requires and what you are putting out. Price is a poor indicator of a PSU and they are generally no reviews for them, so just find the tech specs and hope they're accurate.

I'd say the Gypsy Curse is lifted at this point - but it seems the Mac Mini is now turning itself off after being on for about fifteen minutes. I'd be freaking out about this now, but I think it's just because enough cat hair and dust gets inside the case that it thinks it is overheating - even though it isn't.

I hope.

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