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Upgrading my graphics card help?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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May 13, 2013 6:07:08 PM

I want to upgrade my graphics card. I have 2 ATI Radeon HD 5850's in
Crossfire mode. My motherboard only supports Crossfire but can run 1
GeForce card (16 Lane). And of course there are 1 card solutions now
that will out run the 2, 5850's.

GeForce is what I wanted when I built this system but NVidia was
having chip problems then. :( 
So I want a GeForce card only...

Here are the basic parameters I expect in the single replacement card;
*I play games like Crysis ** and always Max all video options in games if I can.
*At least 2 gigs of V-ram.
*A (little more) Video card than my aging hardware can handle, video power wise.
*Not concerned about the purchase cost.
*Would be using my CRT monitor with it. But not expecting this to be
considered here. (Any questions are welcome though)

Where I need your help; What is the most powerful new GeForce card I
can buy, that this system is still capable of getting the most out of?
Using the Specs below..

Motherboard:
GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard.
-------------------------------------
Processor:
Core™2 Quad Processor Q9550
Cores 4
2.83 GHz
L2 Cache 12 MB
FSB 1333 MHz
64-bit
-------------------------------------
System Memory:
DDR2 1066 MHz
Total 16GB
-------------------------------------
Monitor:
Mitsubishi Diamond Pro 2070sb
22inch CRT
1600x1200x85 native resolution. But very capable of much more.
-------------------------------------
***Graphics:
ATI Radeon™ HD 5850
X2 ~ Crossfire
Total V-ram 2GB
-------------------------------------
Power Supply:
Antec Truepower Quattro 850w
-------------------------------------
Windows 7 pro
-------------------------------------
Notes: Have never had the need to OC, but could add around 300mhz on air.
UPDATE: Its been a while so I decided to OC around a bit and I got the CPU running fine at 3.5GHz. I added a few Hz to the ATI's also.. The WEI went from 7.1 to 7.5 So that was kind a fun. :D 
-------------------------------------

What would you guys suggest?

Thanks, John
a c 288 U Graphics card
May 13, 2013 9:16:37 PM

With an older system like that, you really won't get the maximum use out of a gfx card much more powerful than maybe a GTX 660 2GB. The older C2Q with DDR2 memory and the slow FSB will bottleneck most new high end cards. In fact, it may have been bottle necking the 2 x HD 5850 CF cards.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
This OC version may even be overkill with that system, but I'd try it anyway. At 1600x1200, it should be able to max out almost any game if the rest of the system can keep up.
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May 13, 2013 9:58:57 PM

clutchc said:
With an older system like that, you really won't get the maximum use out of a gfx card much more powerful than maybe a GTX 660 2GB. The older C2Q with DDR2 memory and the slow FSB will bottleneck most new high end cards. In fact, it may have been bottle necking the 2 x HD 5850 CF cards.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
This OC version may even be overkill with that system, but I'd try it anyway. At 1600x1200, it should be able to max out almost any game if the rest of the system can keep up.


Big thanks cluchc!
Its very hard to tell and I really mean this, I have not yet had any noticeable frame drops while playing any of my games. I was running Fraps for a while but never had any frames lower than around 30 and mostly 60 and way higher so I haven't used it in a long while. I believe this system is pretty well balanced and that is why Im having good frame rates so far.

I do see in a lot of the testing that OCing this CPU to 3.6 in a lot of cases brings the lowest frame rates up 10 or so and in between the I3 and I5 in some cases at the high end... shrug

Yours is a good solution.. I'll give some more time for some others to give their opinion before I call it answered.. :) 
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a c 288 U Graphics card
May 14, 2013 8:54:33 AM

John Arneson said:
Really like the price on that card you picked out clutch!

But then that got me looking at this one...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

What a bout that kind of overkill?


That's a great card. If you upgrade to a newer system, you will be able to use it to its max. If you feel it is worth it, go for it. The rest of the system will bottle neck it some, but you will have a nice card.

Try this... run a CPU intensive game like BF3 and see if your processor is maxing out at 100% during gameplay. You will need a 2nd monitor to watch the Task Manager/Performance display, tho.
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May 14, 2013 2:56:16 PM

clutchc said:
John Arneson said:
Really like the price on that card you picked out clutch!

But then that got me looking at this one...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

What a bout that kind of overkill?


That's a great card. If you upgrade to a newer system, you will be able to use it to its max. If you feel it is worth it, go for it. The rest of the system will bottle neck it some, but you will have a nice card.

Try this... run a CPU intensive game like BF3 and see if your processor is maxing out at 100% during gameplay. You will need a 2nd monitor to watch the Task Manager/Performance display, tho.


Yeah ok will work on that..

You know what will happen if I start on a new system, it will be another $2,500 plus a new super high-end monitor or 3 :p 

There could be 2 reasons to get that card though. 1. I will benefit a little from the extra v-ram and a couple of the new features it has regardless. 2. I can get another later for the next build if I do it that soon.
---------------------------------
I'll go ahead and tell you the reason I cant live with my ATI's, (besides having trouble with ATI cards in the long ago passed), the video across the board is so dark with these cards that I cant even play dark games and games that have dark areas are bad. But these cards are just not the proper balance in any ap. And I cant tune the darkness out either. I am a digital and 3D artist that's why I use this $900 monitor but now I cant even use Photoshop. Ive always used GeForce cards and had perfect color beyond belief.
So I just don't know what to do about it really. I don't have any friends now that blow big cash on video cards like I do, so I could test a new generation GeForce card. Its not the ATI's I sure but its the way they work with this monitor. Actually this situation really does suck. If you have an idea I will listen..
---------------------------------
Big Thanks
---------------------------------

PS. Another pc site just backed cluchc's GTX 660 recommendation..

So on that note I found a couple 660's, which one would you get if you had my setup?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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a c 288 U Graphics card
May 14, 2013 5:46:54 PM

Well... the ti is definitely a step up from the non-ti card as the price would indicate: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/660?vs=647
But with your present system, you won't really notice the difference. But since cost seems to be a moot point, there's no reason to not get the ti. That is, if you plan on a system upgrade to make it worth your while.

If you game at all, I would suggest Nvidia cards at this time over AMD, anyway. Don't get me wrong, I like AMD and have used their cards in many of my builds. In some ways, I prefer them. But at this time, they seem to be having issues with stutter caused by long frame times even though they produce high overall frame rates.
http://www.anandtech.com/show/6857/amd-stuttering-issue...
I read that there was a fix with their latest drivers, but haven't seen anything to verify it yet.
http://www.pcper.com/reviews/Graphics-Cards/Frame-Ratin...

The darkening of your display intrigues me. Are you sure it is card related and not the CRT failing?
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a c 620 U Graphics card
May 14, 2013 5:56:46 PM

After reading some of your criteria, I would shoot for the GTX 660 Ti 3GB cards. Here's the Asus DirectCU which comes with the quietest cooler on the market.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Even less, the Galaxy GTX 660 Ti GC 3GB for $295 after rebate:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.hardocp.com/article/2012/08/16/galaxy_geforc...


The 3GB cards are a little better not just for the extra VRAM, but also for a more symmetrical memory subsystem that runs all lanes at their full speed. Anandtech can explain it better than I can.
http://www.anandtech.com/show/6159/the-geforce-gtx-660-...
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May 14, 2013 6:40:06 PM

clutchc said:
Well... the ti is definitely a step up from the non-ti card as the price would indicate: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/660?vs=647
But with your present system, you won't really notice the difference. But since cost seems to be a moot point, there's no reason to not get the ti. That is, if you plan on a system upgrade to make it worth your while.

If you game at all, I would suggest Nvidia cards at this time over AMD, anyway. Don't get me wrong, I like AMD and have used their cards in many of my builds. In some ways, I prefer them. But at this time, they seem to be having issues with stutter caused by long frame times even though they produce high overall frame rates.
http://www.anandtech.com/show/6857/amd-stuttering-issue...
I read that there was a fix with their latest drivers, but haven't seen anything to verify it yet.
http://www.pcper.com/reviews/Graphics-Cards/Frame-Ratin...

The darkening of your display intrigues me. Are you sure it is card related and not the CRT failing?

Ok I hear ya on the graphics card loud and clear. I just like most others want to go for a little more than I need and the graphics is a good place to do it. Know what I mean? Your answer is the smart one and I do appreciate that! :) 

"The darkening of your display intrigues me. Are you sure it is card related and not the CRT failing?" Well I had considered that although it happened only when I built this system with the ATI's. I have 2 inputs on this monitor and I can switch between them. I had a GeForce 7800 GS, AGP / XP machine running right along side of it and had no Darkening problem. Also its been a couple years on the ATI's and it hasn't gotten worse, you'd think it would have.

What do you think about the Cable, could it be the problem? Or, the cards have DVI outs and the Monitor has D-Subs, conversion problems?
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May 14, 2013 6:41:39 PM

17seconds said:
After reading some of your criteria, I would shoot for the GTX 660 Ti 3GB cards. Here's the Asus DirectCU which comes with the quietest cooler on the market.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Even less, the Galaxy GTX 660 Ti GC 3GB for $295 after rebate:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.hardocp.com/article/2012/08/16/galaxy_geforc...


The 3GB cards are a little better not just for the extra VRAM, but also for a more symmetrical memory subsystem that runs all lanes at their full speed. Anandtech can explain it better than I can.
http://www.anandtech.com/show/6159/the-geforce-gtx-660-...


Checking your ideas out bro...
Thanks!
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a c 288 U Graphics card
May 14, 2013 6:58:12 PM

"What do you think about the Cable, could it be the problem? Or, the cards have DVI outs and the Monitor has D-Subs, conversion problems?"

Yeah, that's a possibility. Easy to test, though. But if the other card doesn't present that issue to the same monitor, it probably isn't the monitor. You may try removing one of the HD 5850s and see if the problem persists. Then swap cards. Not that that will solve the issue, but at least you might get an idea what is causing it.

Btw, if you want to do a little benchmark testing... I just finished another build with an FX-6300 @ 4.0GHZ and an MSI Twin Frozr GTX 660 O/C. Running 3dmark 11 nets me a P6588 score. If you want to run that with your 2 x 5850s and Q9550, we could see where it stands as to bottle neck.

(I had a nice Q9550 build awhile back. That processor is still going for top dollar used if you ever want to sell it. I got slightly more than I paid for it when I sold mine.)
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May 14, 2013 7:18:01 PM

clutchc said:
"What do you think about the Cable, could it be the problem? Or, the cards have DVI outs and the Monitor has D-Subs, conversion problems?"

Yeah, that's a possibility. Easy to test, though. But if the other card doesn't present that issue to the same monitor, it probably isn't the monitor. You may try removing one of the HD 5850s and see if the problem persists. Then swap cards. Not that that will solve the issue, but at least you might get an idea what is causing it.

Btw, if you want to do a little benchmark testing... I just finished another build with an FX-6300 @ 4.0GHZ and an MSI Twin Frozr GTX 660 O/C. Running 3dmark 11 nets me a P6588 score. If you want to run that with your 2 x 5850s and Q9550, we could see where it stands as to bottle neck.

(I had a nice Q9550 build awhile back. That processor is still going for top dollar used if you ever want to sell it. I got slightly more than I paid for it when I sold mine.)


Benchmarking 3dmark 11.. Let me see if I can pull that off and I'll post back.. Should I OC my Q9550 or stock it for the test?
----------------
Cable.. I did test the cards in different orders and had pretty much the same results.
I have a LCD monitor with DVI's now to try and see if the ATI's appear dark on that. But I need to get a DVI to DVI cable to try it the Right way. /:
----------------
Wow you got more for your Q9550! lol That's great! When I saw that CPU for the first time I just had to get it. Sucks that it has to get old :( 

==============================================
Ok I did the Benchmarks. Here are the results..
3DMark 11

Processor Intel Core 2 Quad Processor Q9550
Processor clock 3,502 MHz
Physical / logical processors 1 / 4
# of cores 4
Package LGA775
Manufacturing process 45 nm
TDP 95 W

3DMark Score P6263
Graphics Score 7275
Physics Score 4749
Combined Score 4002
3DMark Score 6263
3DMarks Graphics Score 7275
Physics Score 4749
Combined Score 4002
Graphics Test 138.0 FPS
Graphics Test 236.7 FPS
Graphics Test 345.1 FPS
Graphics Test 419.7 FPS
Physics Test 15.1 FPS
Combined Test 18.6 FPS

===========================================
Graphics Card ATI Radeon HD 5850
Vendor Unknown
# of cards 2 SLI / CrossFire
On Board Memory 1,024 MB
**Core clock 735 MHz
**Memory clock 1,035 MHz
Driver Name ATI Radeon HD 5800
Series Driver version 12.104.0.0
Driver status FM Approved

(Secondary)
Graphics Card ATI Radeon HD 5850
Vendor Unknown
# of cards 2 SLI / CrossFire
On Board Memory 1024 MB
**Core clock 399 MHz
**Memory clock 900 MHz
Driver name Radeon HD 5850
Driver version 12.104.0.0
-------------------------------------------
Look at the Second Card, see something a little screwy there?? :o 
Whats up with that?

========================
Q9550 @ 3,604 MHz scores:

3DMark Score P6375
Graphics Score 7376
Physics Score 4873
Combined Score 4099
3DMark Score 6375
3DMarks Graphics Score 7376
Physics Score 4873
Combined Score 4099
Graphics Test 138.6 FPS
Graphics Test 237.2 FPS
Graphics Test 345.8 FPS
Graphics Test 420.0 FPS
Physics Test 15.5 FPS
Combined Test 19.1 FPS
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May 14, 2013 11:57:16 PM

17seconds said:
After reading some of your criteria, I would shoot for the GTX 660 Ti 3GB cards. Here's the Asus DirectCU which comes with the quietest cooler on the market.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Even less, the Galaxy GTX 660 Ti GC 3GB for $295 after rebate:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.hardocp.com/article/2012/08/16/galaxy_geforc...


The 3GB cards are a little better not just for the extra VRAM, but also for a more symmetrical memory subsystem that runs all lanes at their full speed. Anandtech can explain it better than I can.
http://www.anandtech.com/show/6159/the-geforce-gtx-660-...


I have to say I really like this card! I'd probably get this one.. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It looks like though after my benches my CPU is slowing down the cards I've got now.. shrug
Going to do some of the reading you linked now.. Update: That anandtech review didn't really explain the 3gb 660ti cards and it seemed like it wasn't very favorable of the 2gbs either? lol
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Best solution

a c 288 U Graphics card
May 15, 2013 7:01:15 AM

As to your 2 cards not having the same core and memory clocks in 3dMark 11... that could be because the 2nd card was never allowed to max out due to CPU bottle neck. Just guessing. Swap them around and run again to be sure it isn't the card that's faulty.

As you yourself allude to, "It looks like though after my benches my CPU is slowing down the cards I've got now.. ". I think you are spot on. An O/C would help if you want to try. (For best guide lines on O/Cing that CPU check with the "Overclocking" section of the forum.)

If you decide you are not getting all the performance possible with the 2 x HD 5850 now... due to processor bottle neck, it doesn't really seem you'll get much more performance by getting a faster single card.
Share
May 15, 2013 1:57:32 PM

clutchc said:
As to your 2 cards not having the same core and memory clocks in 3dMark 11... that could be because the 2nd card was never allowed to max out due to CPU bottle neck. Just guessing. Swap them around and run again to be sure it isn't the card that's faulty.

As you yourself allude to, "It looks like though after my benches my CPU is slowing down the cards I've got now.. ". I think you are spot on. An O/C would help if you want to try. (For best guide lines on O/Cing that CPU check with the "Overclocking" section of the forum.)

If you decide you are not getting all the performance possible with the 2 x HD 5850 now... due to processor bottle neck, it doesn't really seem you'll get much more performance by getting a faster single card.


Hmm the CPU issue is evident now. OCing did help a little and it was enlightening to see it in the benchmarks. Darn I don't have the money to start a new build. I build computers to last for years so I can see this new build would cost me $3500+ with 3 monitors. Specially the monitors, those are where I go all out.

I will do some checking on that other card but I think you're right that its being throttled down by the CPU neck. Too bad there isn't a good option for a good CPU 775 upgrade.

This computer with no OC is still great. I still see no perceptible lag ever in games. So when I do I'll have to see where I go in that regard.

So I guess (this) issue is solved. Now on to tracking down whats making the monitor dark. I really hope the ATI's are not the problem, looks like they still have a lot of life in them. :) 

Im going to give clutchc the cred for solving this. Thanks bro!

If anyone has more ideas, I will take it seriously. So please let me know what you're thinking...
Big thanks to all who read and contributed !! :) 
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a c 288 U Graphics card
May 15, 2013 2:34:03 PM

One last thing...
It probably isn't the Q9550 alone that is the bottle neck. The MB with its DDR2 memory and FSB is playing a large part in the bottle neck too. In fact, if it were possible to put the Q9550 in a better platform, it would be able to perform much better. It really isn't all that bad a processor. Check out this Q9550 vs. Ivy Bridge CPUs.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ivy-bridge-wolfdale...
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May 15, 2013 3:07:10 PM

clutchc said:
One last thing...
It probably isn't the Q9550 alone that is the bottle neck. The MB with its DDR2 memory and FSB is playing a large part in the bottle neck too. In fact, if it were possible to put the Q9550 in a better platform, it would be able to perform much better. It really isn't all that bad a processor. Check out this Q9550 vs. Ivy Bridge CPUs.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ivy-bridge-wolfdale...


Awesome.. Yep I read that article, I sorta was referring to that when I spoke of the Q9550 OC'd coming in between the I3 and I5.
So let me ask; What MB would you recommend to top this Q9550 ??
Cooling is very important to me. That said Im not looking forward to Water cooling. (Thermaltake TT1225 is what I have now) What would be *The Air Cooler* for Max OC'ing this thing??

PS. Sounds like you may be talking going with a DDR3 solution also?
e.g. GIGABYTE GA-EP45T-USB3P LGA 775

Edit: Looks like any good 775 boards are going to be hard to find lol
Another observation: Looks like my setup is kicking butt on that X48 / DDR3 synthetic test they did in that article.. shrug.. I haven't really pushed the OC'ing Ram and CPU on this board either.
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a c 288 U Graphics card
May 15, 2013 6:18:20 PM

I was going to continue this discussion by PMing you since you already closed this thread. But when I tried, your name came back as "invalid". I don't know if that is a problem on the forum's end or something you did wrong. So...

You already have one of the better boards from that era. And like you say, good 775 boards are getting hard to find. The GIGABYTE GA-EP45T-USB3P you mention is a good choice if you can find one. But, if you were to invest in a new MB and possibly DDR3 memory, you might as well go all the way and get an IB CPU and new MB/RAM. Btw, I believe the 775 test MB in that article had DDR2, not DDR3 memory controllers.

If you're going to stay with your existing CPU/MB/RAM combo, I would look into the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO. It is one of the best coolers and is quite inexpensive. But if you have tall heat syncs on your memory sticks, it may interfere. The cooler sits quite low to the board.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The Noctua NH-D14 is one of the very best air coolers if you have the space for it, but it comes with a high price tag.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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May 15, 2013 10:39:11 PM

clutchc said:
I was going to continue this discussion by PMing you since you already closed this thread. But when I tried, your name came back as "invalid". I don't know if that is a problem on the forum's end or something you did wrong. So...

You already have one of the better boards from that era. And like you say, good 775 boards are getting hard to find. The GIGABYTE GA-EP45T-USB3P you mention is a good choice if you can find one. But, if you were to invest in a new MB and possibly DDR3 memory, you might as well go all the way and get an IB CPU and new MB/RAM. Btw, I believe the 775 test MB in that article had DDR2, not DDR3 memory controllers.

If you're going to stay with your existing CPU/MB/RAM combo, I would look into the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO. It is one of the best coolers and is quite inexpensive. But if you have tall heat syncs on your memory sticks, it may interfere. The cooler sits quite low to the board.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The Noctua NH-D14 is one of the very best air coolers if you have the space for it, but it comes with a high price tag.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Sorry, heres my CPU Cooler;
Thermaltake CL-P0114 120mm Big Typhoon CPU Cooler.. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... Still pretty hard to beat. It easily took this chip from 2.8 to 3.6 and tested. I think going any farther than that is getting into the crazy zone and should be done with a bunch of caution even if on water. :) 

I'll try to see whats up with the invalid name situation. I have no idea what that's about. I don't consider this thread closed anyway. You have something important to say I'm happy to hear it..

So, I know what your saying about just selling what I got and starting a new. But it never turns out cheap.
I built my first comp in 93 or 94. It was a 386 to 486, I had the Matrox Impression (hung outside the case on the monitor cable), an add-on card that worked in conjunction with their High-end Millennium 4MB V-ram Video card and gave it 3D acceleration. With another extra $80 4MB v-ram add-on card, for a huge 8MB of v-ram) Had an astounding 1024x768 3D gaming rig! Cost $3,300.
The next was a Pentium 1, 200 mhz MMX, oc'd to 220!!. I got the 3dfx Voodoo and Voodoo 2, I spent a lot more than a couple grand on that comp. It was the fastest one around till the P250 came out. I built a P2 a P3 the only one I didn't build was a P4. About every 3 years on average I'd build another top performer.
With all of these years of building I've got a good idea when to build a new system again - and its not now. The next best time will be just after the next *Real* Windows is release, not a skin job Windows.

Sorry bout all the writing, I have many stories and I really like talking about this stuff :) 

So with that said.. I have a great system now in every way, I think that's what we've proved here.
Really the only problem is the dark video, then. So I'm going to find out what is causing it, if I can..

I also would like to know how to OC this board the right way with what I have on it. It would be really cool to see what this thing is capable of for once...
----------------------------------------------
Update: Now that I got the wild hair thanks to clutchc, Im reading a lot of posts and things about this EP45-UD3 and the Q9550 combo. I did this a while ago when I got this thing built but there is so much more info out there now! Anyway I am seeing situations where these guys are getting this setup to the closer side of Double what the Stock speeds are for this chip! It's freakin nuts to me! :o 

Makes water cooling look worth a look lol ..shrug..
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