About 3 years ago, I bought an HP Pavilion a1440n desktop computer. I liked everything about it except the graphics card, a Nvidia 7300LE, which I thought was a bit too weak to handle computer games. I did not really play a lot of games, but I needed a better one that was more than adequate to play CounterStrike Source (2004) and Guild Wars: Factions (2006). I looked for something that was cheap but also a good performer. I decided to buy the Nvidia 7600GT, which had gotten positive reviews online. Having never bought a Nvidia card before (my only other purchase before it was an ATI Radeon 9800 Pro), I was surprised that there were several different versions of the 7600GT by different manufacturers. Again, I started researching which was the better one. Although many people seemed to like EVGA, one of the the more popular manufacturers, I chose a BFG Technologies 7600GT.
One of the main reasons why I bought the card from BFG Technologies was that it came with a lifetime warranty (certain limitations applied). I can return the card if it malfunctions, or I can trade it in when I decide to buy a new BFG graphics card (certain qualifications applied). Most of the other makers had only a 3 year warranty at maximum. I was afraid that if something went wrong with my card, I would be out of a lot of money. The lifetime warranty put me at ease.
There were also other small details that pushed me towards BFG. The other online reviews seemed to point out flaws with the other makers' cards. For example, some described XFX's version as running with a very high temperature and EVGA's to conflict with drivers (software) sometimes. I cannot verify these claims since everyone has different computers with different limitations and problems; the odd thing was that I did not find many criticisms of BFG Technologies in general.
As for the performance of the card, I used it to run CounterStrike Source and Guild Wars: Factions almost every other day for 8 months in 2006-2007, along with other minor programs. In late 2007, I bought Bioshock (2007) and played that as well. The graphics card was able to run it, despite it being a newer game. I sometimes would exit one game to play another a couple seconds later, and there would be no slowdown. I ran the games at 1024x768 resolution on a 15 inch monitor with most of the video settings at high or medium. For 2 years, the card was enough for my purposes.
Currently, there have been drawbacks. When I purchased Left 4 Dead (2008) in November 2008, the specifications of the game allowed me to use my 7600GT. After 2 weeks of playing, I decided that the card was being pushed to its limits. The card was not struggling, but my recommended settings suggested I play with mostly medium graphics settings with the game. In addition, I could hear the card fan running at high speeds whenever I played.
Recently, the 7600GT appears to be showing its age. Every now and then, I see a strange multicolored line across my screen. Most of the time, it appears for a couple seconds then disappears. I believe the lines are "artifacts, " which are usually signs that there is a problem with a computer's hardware. I think the source is the video card, which may be failing a little bit. I have tried testing different components, and I am sure that the memory and monitor are not to blame, which leaves the graphics card. While the card is still functional, I am planning on returning it for either a replacement or as credit for a newer BFG card.
Despite this setback, I will still claim that BFG Technologies is a quality company. For the most part, I am satisfied with my purchase. The 7600GT is likely very cheap now, but I would suggest buying a newer card from BFG; if you are on a budget like I am, a Nvidia 9800GT card may be what you are looking for, and I have seen prices between $100.00 and $150.00 online. Considering that I bought the 7600GT for $163.99 in 2006, the 9800GT has a relatively cheap price.