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Looking for best bang-for-the-buck low power graphics card - I think.

I need a graphics card with DVI and HDMI output for my i5-2500K 8BG -based PC. This PC works as a part-time HTPC (DVR with 6TB of recording space) and is used fairly heavily for video editing, transcoding, re-encoding, and serving. I have SolidWorks on it for occasional work-at-home stuff, and I rarely game but would like to be able to run most things I could throw at it once in a while.

I don't want to pony up the cost of a workstation graphics card like I use at work (NVIDIA Quadro 2000) for such rare use of SolidWorks (frankly, the GPU of the 2500K is adequate for most that I do at home), but I want discreet graphics so my system RAM can be dedicated to the CPU, and to resolve an issue outputing the 2500K's graphics via the motherboard's (ASUS P8Z68-V PRO) HDMI.

So far, I've narrowed down what I'm looking at to the following:

SAPPHIRE 100323-2L Radeon HD 6570 1GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card for about $50. This seems to be pretty quiet for what it can do and would probably be my hands-down choice if I didn't care at all about gaming and thinking it would be nice to have just a tad more horsepower.

SAPPHIRE 100357LP Radeon HD 7750 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready Low Profile Video Card for about $100. This seems to be favored for low noise and power consumption with decent performance.

A few flavors of the NVIDIA GTX 650 1GB in the $100-$130 range. I missed out on the opportunity to get the MSI Power Edition N650TI PE 1GD5/OC GeForce GTX 650 Ti 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card for $99 when they ran out of stock.

I believe I would favor the NVIDIA GPU for how compatible their workstation cards are with SolidWorks, but I don't know if that's any kind of factor for my needs or not.

What are the suggestions from the Community? Thanks!
10 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. It will take a little more work on your part, but your best deal may be a HD7770 (if SolidWorks is a low priority or it works with this card) because of the free game codes; you could sell those for half the price of the games, and end up with a more powerful card for less than the price of a HD7750.
  2. Also look for second hand graphics card. I recently bought a 5670 for only 30$ from an ad posted on Kijiji, (don't know if that site is available worldwide), but you can also check on ebay, craigslist, etc...

    If you want to go with something new, have you also considered the 6670? If you can afford it the 7750 is definitely the most powerful card you can get right now that doesn't require an auxiliary power connector from your PSU. The nvidia 650 and 650-Ti you were looking at require a 6-pin power connector from your PSU so they're likely to draw more power if that's a concern.

    I never worked with Solidworks but I think this software is using OpenGL? I don't see why AMD cards couldn't handle it, they're usually very good for OpenGL/OpenCL stuff.
  3. Onus said:
    It will take a little more work on your part, but your best deal may be a HD7770 (if SolidWorks is a low priority or it works with this card) because of the free game codes; you could sell those for half the price of the games, and end up with a more powerful card for less than the price of a HD7750.
    So do you mean that there are free game codes with the 7770 that aren't with the 7750? Or were you referring to this HIS iCooler H777F1G2M Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card that comes with Far Cry 3?
  4. MC_K7 said:
    Also look for second hand graphics card. I recently bought a 5670 for only 30$ from an ad posted on Kijiji, (don't know if that site is available worldwide), but you can also check on ebay, craigslist, etc...

    If you want to go with something new, have you also considered the 6670? If you can afford it the 7750 is definitely the most powerful card you can get right now that doesn't require an auxiliary power connector from your PSU. The nvidia 650 and 650-Ti you were looking at require a 6-pin power connector from your PSU so they're likely to draw more power if that's a concern.

    I never worked with Solidworks but I think this software is using OpenGL? I don't see why AMD cards couldn't handle it, they're usually very good for OpenGL/OpenCL stuff.
    I'll take a look at the 6670, but I guess I was sort of focused on the latest generation, being under the impression that some power consumption-to-performance gains had been made over previous.

    I have a decent power supply with the 6-pin connector (In fact, I believe it has two of them), but I'm not committed to using it if I can get what I need out of the PCI slot.

    Yes, SolidWorks plays hard in the OpenGL world. I've used plenty of Radeon GPUs with SolidWorks over the years (since 1996, actually) and they've work quite well for the most part. My only issue with Radeon is that I've had more driver installation issues with them than with NVIDIA drivers.
  5. Tom just released the latest version of those monthly articles:

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-card-review,3107.html

    Looks like nvidia just dropped the price of the 650-Ti if that's what you were looking for. Just make sure your power supply can handle it if it's an HTPC with limited space and power.
  6. tluxon said:
    Yes, SolidWorks plays hard in the OpenGL world. I've used plenty of Radeon GPUs with SolidWorks over the years (since 1996, actually) and they've work quite well for the most part. My only issue with Radeon is that I've had more driver installation issues with them than with NVIDIA drivers.


    I wouldn't worry too much about that. It's true that Radeon had drivers problems in the past, but that was many years ago. Their new generation of drivers have been rock solid for quite some time now. Their new drivers also boosted the performance of all their cards by a good margin catching up in performance with nvidia more expensive cards, forcing nvidia to drop their price now.
  7. I had an Ati 6850 and it was an awsome card for processing videos.

    Much better than both my old 5830 and newer 7850!
  8. Yes, the HD7770 is the "lowest" card that is included in the free games bundle. If you don't want the games, you can sell the codes to offset the price of the card.
    Normally I'd agree with MC_K7 about the drivers. Both companies have had bad drivers, and both have had good ones. Right now though, AMD seems to have some problems with 2D and/or acceleration. I have a HD7870 and a new HD7970. BOTH of them exhibit blocky artifacts, but ONLY in Firefox. Games are fine, and both cards can mine bitcoins, but there are some driver issues. Furthermore, I'm using the Beta drivers (13.3?) because there is an OpenCL bug in the current release (and I think the one before it too); guiminer aborts on load, GPU-Z moans about it and disables OpenCL, and another GPU-checking program (name forgotten, sorry) also craps out immediately with an OpenCL-related error message. This may be relevant to SolidWorks, but like I said the Beta drivers work fine for mining (but there is still the artifacting issue, which happens at any clock speeds, and even if I turn off acceleration in Firefox).
  9. MC_K7 said:
    Tom just released the latest version of those monthly articles:

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-card-review,3107.html

    Looks like nvidia just dropped the price of the 650-Ti if that's what you were looking for. Just make sure your power supply can handle it if it's an HTPC with limited space and power.
    I started reading that before it was completely posted. I'll check it again.

    I think my power supply should be adequate. It's the Antec NEO ECO 620C which has dual PCI-e connectors (one 6-pin and one 6+2 pin). When I said HTPC I probably should've said Media Center PC, as it's actually a pretty big tower (Corsair R500) for high drive capacity and great cooling.

    How do you think the HIS iCooler H777F1G2M Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card (which I can get for $89 after MIR at the moment) would fare against a GTX 650 like the ASUS GTX650-DC-1GD5 GeForce GTX 650 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card? Would it be almost as much performance for less power?

    Thanks!
  10. Best answer
    For games, the HD7770 is more powerful than the GTX650 (which competes with the HD7750).
    If budget isn't all that important, a GTX650Ti Boost Edition offers the most bang, for $150-$170. The most bang/buck though, by far, is the HD7770 because of the free games, which can be sold; for only $100 after MIR. Sell the games, and you might have spent $50.
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