Graphic card recommendation


I am new to 3D development. My PC is a bit old with an integrated graphic card running Windows XP. It cannot run those shader programs and I plan to add a new graphic card to do some panda development and Cg experiments. I would like to get your recommendation on selecting a right graphics card, with a good performance and reasonable cost. Would it be an advantage to use NVIDIA cards for Cg development/experiment ?

Thanks a lot !

First of all, welcome! Hope you enjoy all the great possibilities Panda provides. :slight_smile:

I have an NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GS, and it’s been absolutely great for all my Panda work. I got it over a year ago, so I imagine that there are much better ones now, and that one is even cheaper. I highly recommend all of their cards.

I would personally recommend one of the NVIDIA GeForce 8x00 series. I don’t recommend choosing a card that’s too new, or you’ll end up making a game that will only run fine on the latest cards.
I used to have a GeForce 5200, which sucked, but when you have a crappy card, you’re much more focused on optimizing, which can be a good thing.

For a card that you want to use for gaming and will keep for a few years, I’d recommend at least a 9xxx series nVidia card but if you just want to develop using Panda, an 8x00 series sounds about right.

It is also very important that you check which slots are on your motherboard. Graphics cards now come for PCI Express slot, but AGP was the slot used for many years. You should check your motherboard for which slots it has (search for pictures of each slot as reference). If you don’t have either you will need to get a graphics card for generic PCI. Or use it as an excuse to upgrade your computer, which should only cost you at most $500USD if you do it yourself.

Another very important factor to look at when upgrading your graphics card is to check how many Watts it can provide – it should be labled on a sticker. You will want something at the very very least 300W, but 350 will be a safer bet.

modern high-end cards already eat up to 370 Watt! less powerfull cards eat ways less power. so if you go for really-high end you def need a good power supply.
worth checking in any case.
for panda development i’d also recommend something in the gf8x00 region. said that panda itself even runs on cards as old as geforce 265 or savage3 with 8mb grafical memory, (depending on your app, roaming ralph example runs fine even on such old hardware).
so you buy your hardware not for panda,but for the application you want to create.

Thank you very much for all your replies.

Looks like it is not a simple decision. I will check on the power supply and PCI slots first before do an upgrade.

ThomasEgi mentioned modern card eat up to 370W ! Is it a peak power consumption during game running ?

If I get a gf8x00 card, will it be easily burned if my PC’s cooling fan is not powerful enough ?
just some rough numbers.
using a single gf8x00 card you’ll be somewhere between 100 and 150Watt if the card is working hard.
the 9x00 and gtx cards seems to be a bit more hungry.