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Best WinXP Video Card

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First post, by KT7AGuy

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Reading through various forums and articles, it would seem that the GeForce GTX 285 is probably the best all-around video card for WinXP systems.

Would you agree? If not, what do you think is the best all-around card for XP? Please consider stability, durability, and overall power.

For example, the GeForce 8 series cards had a high failure rate. Are any other series affected by a similarly high failure rate or other problems?

Another example: I have a 560 Ti 448 that works fine with both XP and Win7, but I remember reading somewhere that the GTX 285 plays better with DX9 apps and games. (Personally, I haven't noticed any problems.) The 750 Ti looks to also be a good choice, but I wonder about those potential DX9 issues.

At what point do modern cards start having issues with DX8? DX7? Should we even be concerned about DX7 or DX8 compatibility when it is easier and better to just keep a Win9x system around for such things?

Reply 1 of 171, by agent_x007

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Don't know your budget... BUT GTX 780 Ti is really good 😀
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No problems so far 😀

As for problems with old cards :
Used 9800/8800 series cards (GT/GTS/GTX/Ultra), may have "baking advantures".
Some Fermi cards (GTX 470/480) may also develop this issue.

If U are on budget, I would go for Kelper (650 [Ti]) or low power Fermi card GTS 450/GTX 460.
560 Ti is also a good choise, but everything depends on what rig U have (CPU's performance to be exact).

EDIT : GTX 285 is great if U need that high Fillrates/Bandwidth it has (not so good if U have slow CPU or want lowish power consumption XP rig).

Last edited by agent_x007 on 2016-04-23, 21:36. Edited 3 times in total.

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Reply 2 of 171, by PhilsComputerLab

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Really hard to choose a "best" GPU. I'd always go on a game by game basis. But the GTX 285 seems like a solid choice.

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Reply 3 of 171, by swaaye

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I remember that initially the GF8 cards had a lot problems with games prior to D3D8. I remember Jedi Knight wasn't playable for awhile and that color dithering didn't exist so 16-bit color depth looked horrible. I think many issues were fixed as time went by.

You can also run DGVoodoo2 for improved compatibility with D3D3-8. Amazing utility from Dege.

Not sure what the best XP card might be. Whatever works well with the game I suppose.

Reply 4 of 171, by KT7AGuy

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Thanks for all the suggestions so far!

I'm not actually buying another GPU anytime soon. My original post was only a "what if?" question. I'm just curious about using late-model and current-era hardware for a theoretical "best WinXP" build.

I have an ABIT IP35 Pro that I've been using as my HTPC for the past eight months with an e6850 and Radeon 5770. It works OK, but I really prefer NVIDIA cards. If I were ever to take it out of HTPC service and make it into a WinXP legacy machine, I was trying to think of what sort of GPU to pair it with. I was thinking that either 560Ti or 750Ti would be at the very high end of what sort of performance I could squeeze out of it. To avoid "baking adventures" and expensive electric bills, it seems like the 750Ti is the better choice.

I hate to get into fantasy XP builds because at this time I have no intention of doing this. However, if I were to reconfigure it, it might look something like this:

ABIT IP35 Pro
Intel C2D e6850
4GB RAM
GTX 560Ti or 750Ti video
Creative X-Fi sound

... and that's what I'm thinking would be a very nice high-end XP machine. I know that I could build a much faster XP system, but there comes a point of diminishing DX9 returns. It just makes more sense to run a modern PC with Win7/8/10 and DX10/11/12 for pretty much any games released after 2010.

Reply 5 of 171, by shamino

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Some games that prefer XP can be modded to such an extreme that having a very fast DX9 WinXP card can be useful.
Examples I know of would be Bethesda games, at least from Morrowind through Fallout 3. For example, I saw the limits of a GTX260 when I took an already heavily graphical modded Morrowind install and set it up to render across 3 monitors using SoftTH. At that point the framerate became bothersome. It's kind of funny that Morrowind is still my "killer app", but it basically is. 🤣

I've sometimes wondered what cards would be best at handling the inefficiencies of a heavily modded older game like that. It's probably a very different scenario than simply running a newer game, which is what mainstream video card reviews test for.

Reply 6 of 171, by swaaye

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Morrowind has loads of overdraw from what I understand. So you want maximum pixel/texel fillrate. That probably means just use a modern card.

It is pretty demanding of the CPU as well but I'm not sure it's a challenge for anything Core 2 or newer.

Reply 7 of 171, by kanecvr

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Anything newer then the GTX 2xx series has issues with some DX8 games. Black and White is one example (corrupted textures / artifacts). Then again that's a game one should be playing on win98 since winXP sometimes corrupts B&W registry information and savegames. My XP rig had a matching XFX 7950GT set and now i'm using a pair of Leadtek 8800GTS cards - that lets me run games from 2003 to 2007/1h 2008 @ 1080p + AA (for some titles).

Reply 9 of 171, by Skyscraper

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I have argued before that the Geforce GTX 285 is the optimal Nvidia Windows XP video card. This is in combination with a really fast dual core CPU for playing games from year 2001 to 2009 or so.

If one wants a "last days of Windows XP" year 2009+ system that can run modern (post year 2009) games that still support Windows XP at high resolution and with full AA a Geforce GTX 580 or newer is a better choice.

If one wants an earlier XP system like a S754 or S939 A64 and don't need to run any games made after year 2006 then a Geforce 7900GTX is a solid choice.

On the ATI side I like the Radeon X1950XTX for slower XP systems and the Radeon HD4870/HD4890 when it comes to faster XP systems.

Main PC: Dual Xeon X5690@4.6ghz, Evga - SR-2, 48gb memory, Intel X25-M g2 SSD and a Nvidia GTX 980 ti.
Retro PC #3: K6-2 450@500mhz, PC-Chips m577, 256mb sdram, AWE64 and a Voodoo Banshee.

Reply 10 of 171, by kanecvr

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ratfink wrote:

That's good to know - think I'll try B&W on my gtx560ti now you mention it as problematic, I'd assumed dx8 onwards would be ok.

I've never tried it on a 5xx series card but it has issues on the faster 4xx series cards. Seems to work well on a HD 4850 tough. Out of the faster cards I tried it withmy GTX 760, the 7970m in my sister's laptop and my 280x break in-game scripting and events making it impossible to complete some levels (stuck in cinematics, cannot regain camera control, events don't trigger, objectives don't complete - tested on Q6600 / win XP SP3). I finally gave up and finished the game on my overkill 98 rig (A64 3800+, 6800GT, VIA K8T800). Also got to play it at 1920x1080 witch was fun 😀

Reply 11 of 171, by KT7AGuy

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Thanks everybody for your replies!

kanecvr, ratfink:

What a coincidence that you should mention Black & White. I was just showing that game to my brother on the Win98SE PC that I built for him. It uses a GF4 Ti4800SE (aka Ti4400) and the game was just flawless at 1024x768. It made me feel nostalgic, so when I got home I installed it on my WinXP Athlon 64 3400+ system with a Radeon 9800XT. It again ran flawlessly at 1280x1024. After about 20 minutes of feeding people to my pet and beating the crap out of him, I started to remember how long (and sometimes tedious) that game can get. I didn't have any problems running it with WinXP, but if I decide to actually play it again I'll do it on one of my Win98SE systems.

I have no idea how many FPS I was getting with the game, but it was silky smooth on both systems. I also noticed that turning on AA and AF made no difference at all. It must be one of those games like Halo where AA and AF just don't work.

By the way:
There is an unofficial patch that addresses some of the problems the game has with WinXP and newer video cards:
http://bawsite.com/
http://bawsite.com/ourfiles.html

Reply 12 of 171, by kanecvr

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You can play it comfortably @ 1920x1080 with everything maxed out (w/o AA) using a Geforce 4 Ti 4600 or overclocked Ti 4200 and a fast CPU (3200+ and alike) and get 30 to 80 fps. Just be mindful that running it on a very fast machine might cause issues with gameplay.

Thanks for the links BTW I've been looking for something like that for a while.

Reply 13 of 171, by Standard Def Steve

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I know this option isn't too popular around here, but it's something to consider, since you're still in the "what if?" stage.

I used to have a dedicated XP gaming system, but several months ago I shifted my 2004-2008 gaming over to my main computer running Windows 7. It's a 4.5GHz 4930k with a heavily overclocked GTX 970. So far it's been a smooth ride. I never have to worry about performance; the games that allow me to select high res 16:9 modes just fly, even at 2560x1440. The majority of these XP games are from 2005 and later, so they're mainly D3D9. Admittedly, I haven't played too many D3D7/8 titles on my primary computer, but the handful I've tried--Dungeon Siege and Midnight Club II were the most recent--worked after a few tweaks were made. However, I play most of my D3D7 and older games on a 98SE machine.

I've read that Windows 10 is much less compatible with older games. This is the main reason I still use Win7 on my primary computer. IMHO, if you run Win10 on your main rig, then having a dedicated XP gaming box makes far more sense. Another reason just came to mind: hardware accelerated audio. You pretty much need XP for a proper HW audio implementation. I never really cared about XP era HW audio--didn't think it added too much to my game. I only bought dedicated sound cards because onboard audio really sucked back then & video cards didn't yet support 5.1 PCM via HDMI.

Reply 14 of 171, by KT7AGuy

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Standard Def Steve:

You and I think very much alike. I've never been much into EAX or HW Audio. I also tend to agree with you regarding the need (or lack thereof) for an XP legacy machine. For folks like us who have good Win9x machines as well as modern systems, there isn't much need for a WinXP legacy gaming box:

- Anything that won't run on Win7/8 will run on our Win9x boxes.

- Anything that needs a faster machine will generally run well with Win7/8.

Pretty much the only game I can think of that doesn't work well on either Win9x or Win7 is Fallout 3. Even then, there are ways of making Fallout 3 run on Win7.

Aside from wanting a non-ALchemy EAX system, there aren't too many reasons to run a WinXP legacy machine, but consider this: MS has been very aggressive in trying to get folks off of Win7/8 and onto Win10. With XP, it's pretty easy to use either the corporate version or other hacks to get around activation issues. With Win7, I wonder how easy it will be in the future to maintain a legacy system. From what I understand, Win7/8 need to phone home occasionally to remain activated. XP doesn't have that problem.

Whatever the reasons, I still want to maintain a legacy XP machine. I've already got one that I ran for years as my old HTPC, but it's not exactly the fastest or the best and I also don't want to spend money upgrading it. I'm kinda thinking ahead to what I would like to maintain as a best/fastest legacy XP machine to keep around "just in case" I might need it. My current C2D HTPC will likely fill that gap at some point in the future.

Reply 15 of 171, by PhilsComputerLab

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Had a look at Nvidia drivers and it seems that the GeForce GTX 960 and GeForce GTX 950 are the only cards from the 900 series with XP drivers.

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Reply 16 of 171, by swaaye

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It's pretty easy to get Fallout 3 running on Win 8 and 10 too. All I needed was the GFWL disabler.

Windows 8 and 10 are less compatible with games made for <D3D9, but that's where efforts like DGVoodoo2 come in.

Maybe the Radeon HD 5000 and newer cards deserve more consideration. Their rotated grid SSAA mode is awfully nice with <=D3D9 games.

Reply 17 of 171, by Yushatak

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Didn't read all of the responses, but I'd say that there's no "best" except "newest" at the moment - the more powerful the better generally, I've never seen anything refuse to run on a modern card that couldn't be fixed. My GTX Titan has run 7th Legion on DX6 just fine after a file was dropped in the directory, for instance. As for what you need/want for an XP period machine that depends on which era of XP since it spread over a decade and a half..

~Yushatak

I'm notorious for repeatedly editing posts, so please excuse me if new information just pops up while you're writing your post... xD

Reply 18 of 171, by RatCatcher

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A GTX 285 is perfect for DX8/9. Since XP doesn't have DX10 support. Better to find one new, because they run hot. Solder breaks down on high hour cards. I went with a GTX 650ti with a Q9650, 8GB DDR2 800 and XP 64 bit. It runs DX9 perfect. Dont use DX8 on this card, but im shure it would work fine. The 650ti stays cool and doesn't consume much power. I said it before. A socket 775 system is the best platform for XP and parts are plentiful and cheap. There are so many cards that will work perfect with XP. I would go for a later model GTX. Not going over a 760. That's too much power.

Reply 19 of 171, by dave343

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Interesting info, I'm looking to build an XP system too, but for games dating back to 2001-2006ish. The most demanding game I'd like to be able to max out is Oblivion and load up my saves, and the least demanding is probably going to be the last few Adventure Games like Post Mortem from 2003. I want an XP system primarily for Swat 4, Postal 2, Oblivion, Stalker, all 5:4 aspect Ratio games.