Cheapo video card comparison - GT520 vs 9500GT

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Cheapo video card comparison - GT520 vs 9500GT

Postby Bakemaster » Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:45 pm UTC

I'm considering replacing a dead-or-dying 6600GT on the cheap. These cards are currently both $20 after rebate:
MSI GeForce GT 520 (Fermi) 1GB 64-bit DDR3
ZOTAC GeForce 9500 GT 1GB 128-bit GDDR2
Tom's heirarchy has them on neighboring tiers so I expect them to perform similarly (and obviously performance is not my top priority here). I could use some help interpreting the specs to figure out what, if anything, one card might do better than the other—or to point out any stupid shit that my untrained eye won't catch, e.g. card can't actually use this or that feature because of this or that spec. It would be nice not to do the video card equivalent of buying a machine with 32-bit OS and 8 GB RAM.

This is for an older XP machine so I don't really care about DX11. The monitor's native resolution is 1680x1050. I think the only games installed on it are Portal and Left 4 Dead.
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Re: Cheapo video card comparison - GT520 vs 9500GT

Postby Endless Mike » Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:00 pm UTC

I'm going to go out on a limb and say the 520 will outperform the 9500 just based on clock speeds.
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Re: Cheapo video card comparison - GT520 vs 9500GT

Postby PhoenixEnigma » Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:49 pm UTC

I'd go with the GT520 as well. More shaders, faster clocks, and more memory bandwidth (half the bus width, but more than double the effective clock rate going from GDDR2 to DDR3) all make it likely to be faster, although you do lose some raw rasterization and texturing power. There's been a few architectural improvements in between, though, that should help make up some of that difference, and possibly give the GT520 a bit more of an edge. If it matters, you also get better hardware video decode support (5th generation PureVideo as opposed to second), and the GT520 is spec'd as a ~30W part compared to the 9500GT's 50W.

The only thing I'd watch for is the rebate - based on the reviews, getting it from MSI might be a bit hit or miss, although that's hardly unusual for MIRs in general.
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Re: Cheapo video card comparison - GT520 vs 9500GT

Postby ajd007 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:28 pm UTC

Also, make sure that your motherboard slots are PCI Express and not AGP 8x, otherwise the cards won't be compatible
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Re: Cheapo video card comparison - GT520 vs 9500GT

Postby asye288 » Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:39 pm UTC

GTS 520 will be a better choice. I also like 9500 GT but I don't trust the brand of Zotac. For the same money, I would rather like to go for the MSI.
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Re: Cheapo video card comparison - GT520 vs 9500GT

Postby Bakemaster » Sun Jan 22, 2012 10:30 pm UTC

PhoenixEnigma wrote:The only thing I'd watch for is the rebate - based on the reviews, getting it from MSI might be a bit hit or miss, although that's hardly unusual for MIRs in general.

Update re: the rebate: I did go with the GT520 and have had my rebate approved, though not without some effort and still waiting for it to arrive in the mail. Apparently MSI will not accept the Packing List that Newegg sends you as an acceptable invoice, so my first rebate application was denied for reason of missing documentation, with a note that I could try one more time. I looked around on Newegg and found where I could print an invoice that is actually called an invoice, and has a little bit more information; sent that in with another copy of the rebate request, and was approved shortly after.

It seems like a lot of the grief people have had stems from communication problems, and people demanding that the packing list be accepted, either because they are stubborn or just don't know they can easily print out a more detailed invoice from their account, plus MSI formerly not allowing rebate re-submission where now it seems they give you a second chance.

If the rebate does arrive some time this coming week as it's supposed to, I will tentatively say that MSI has gotten a bit of a bad rap by some impatient reviewers. We'll see.

EDIT: Prepaid VISA arrived yesterday. So that's good.
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