Since 2001 I have had an ATI Radeon 9200 3D Card installed in my computer. For a while the card performed very nicely, although I had a massive problem with the Drivers when we first bought our machine. It handled almost every game well for the period of 2001 - 2003, but after that, things slowly began to sink.
Perhaps it started when I purchased "Doom 3" for my PC. I was significantly over the minimum requirements for the game to run, but I noticed a few things. On 800 X 600 Resolution, I had a slightly fragmented frame-rate. Also, characters had a distinct shadow on one side of their face while the other was stark and bright - it looked ridiculous. And when I encountered areas with alot of detail and animation, the Game stuttered like a nervous wreck. In short, although I played "Doom 3" and finished it, my experience was marred by average Graphics Card (and CPU) performance.
In 2005 I bought "Far Cry," another 2004 game. The game insisted on defaulting my system specs to the lowest settings, although I had a 2.4 GHz Processor (the minimum is 1 Ghz) and a 128 MB 3D Card with 768 MB of RAM. So I began to play - and then I encountered my next problem. When a vehicle appeared on screen or I attempted to drive a vehicle, the game would periodically freeze. This problem drove me mad for a day. I then decided to update my drivers, but ATI didn't have any 3D Card Drivers readily available for download. I then proceeded to download a generic driver from Microsoft, and luckily that fixed the main problem - great! But I then discovered that at high (and even medium!) texture settings, some parts of the landscape would appear totally luminous green or dark navy blue - not condusive to gaming pleasure! I then eventually found the official 3D Card driver software updates and luckily it corrected this problem. However, I still experienced the occasional bout of poor framerates and game crashes.
I am now proceeding to upgrade my PC to a GeForce 6600 128 MB PCI 3D Card. I am just tired of both my now somewhat obsolete Processor (which caused some of the poor framerates and crashes no doubt) and Radeon 128 MB 3D Card. Back in its day, this card was pretty hot. But now it's kinda like the John Smith of 3D Cards. The average Joe, or whatever you want to call it. I agree with the reviewer that said that ATI has poor customer services - they don't really give you the impression that they care much about you. Another thing I'd like to add is that with the newer drivers for the 3D Card, I experienced some very annoying problems regarding video playback. Of all things in this world, video playback!
I've just had it with the endless torrents of garbage this Card is giving me. And it will undoubtedly get worse as the years go by. If you're buying a New PC, buy PCI Hardware and look elsewhere. If you really need a 3D Card, this one isn't terrible. It can do its job, but only up to a point. I would personally recommend PCI Express Cards for new and current buyers. AGP Hardware is dissipating fast and down here in SA it's nearly been outsourced. It's cheaper to buy a new motherboard, good CPU, some extra RAM and a PCI Express 3D Card than to buy a top-of-the-range AGP Card.
I say, don't even consider buying this Card. If you have one, I recommend you upgrade soon or get left in the dust. PCI just makes more sense. I have had my say, and now, you must make your choice...but just please, take heed of my words before you purchase...
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