which video card for graphics appls (not games)?


I am building my own computer (first time) and the video card is the last to buy.

I want to get into Autocad 3D, Lightwave, Maya, etc. I have no desire to play computer games.

I am also interested in learning to program in OpenGL and perhaps Directx 8.0, but it will be probably be months by the time I get to programming anything advanced,at which time I can buy a new card?

The problem is price. I know little about what exactly to look for in a card except for “a good OpenGL installable client driver (ICD)”?? I know ATI Fire etc is reccommended but it is WAY too expensive!

Which should I get, for say under 200$ CDN ($130$ US)???

How about GeForce4 MX440? Or ATI Radeon 7500?? I have no idea!


I think the following cards are interesting to you:

You should check if the applications you wanna run support them.

-ATI 8500
-Nvidia Geforce3 TI 200/500
-Nvidia Geforce4 TI 4200/4600

Stay away from the Geforce MX versions, they are for gamers only.

GEforce4 TI 4600, is the best card in the world, the graphics this thing shoots out can’t compare. There aren’t monitors in existance that can’t show the full potential of this card, better yet not any software either.

GEforce4 ti 4600 fork over the extra money and you will never have to upgrade!!!

I use AutoCAD and 3D Studio Max all th time and I think you should get a Nvidia Quadro 4 XGL graphics card. It comes with dedicated drivers for a lot of appls including the above mentioned. It is also base on the Geforce4 chipset.

True, for Autocad and other design tools, the Quadro family has optimizations that are benificial for those apps.

That’s according to some pdf file at nvdia (don’t know the URL). In a few benchmarks, the regular MX was comparable to the quadro family.

The document explained everything very well and had plenty of benchmarks.


Originally posted by jpkramer:
There aren’t monitors in existance that can’t “(I think he means CAN)” show the full potential of this card, better yet not any software either.


If I want 2048x1536x32 I only get a 60Hz refreshrate with the TI4600. If I want the 85Hz my monitor can handle in this mode I have to go down to 16Bits per pixel.

Besides the image gets very blury in high resolutions (1600x1200 and above, because the RAMDAC aint good enough).

I dont see that with the ATI, 2048x1536x32 are (almost) crystal clear at 85Hz.

Sure the Ti4600 is faster and the drivers are better but it lacks image quality at high resolutions / high refresh rates.

Its a gamer after all (not that this is a bad thing)

price is an issue? and your talking about potentially a couple of thousand dollars of graphics software

that aside, for serious graphics applications i wouldnt look at the geForce4 family of GPUs, and look for something more capable like the Quadro line of cards suggested by fixxer.

another alternative is the GVX line of cards from 3DLabs. www.3dlabs.com
fantastic interactive application performance which is exactly what you’ll be needing. ive used their GMX range before and their GVX cards running Autocad, Microstation, 3DsMax, Maya. really nice performance and better than a gf4 ti 4600 IMHO

possibly one of the best cards ive used ever was an Integraph Intense 3D. perhaps you can find a second hand one around somewhere. theyll push 1/2 a million polygons around no sweat. Maya on a gf4 struggles when it starts to get that complex.

anyhow, best of luck.