Geforce 7900 GTX replacement on GA-P31-DS3L MB, must fit into new future rig

My Geforce 7900 GTX just bit the dust and I need a replacement.
My system is quite old, but I plan on upgrading to a new rig only in a couple of months, therefore I need a GPU that will both run on my current system AND my next system, which will be a poor-man's-architecture system only (I mean a system built around a fast CPU, medium range MB, lots of memory and basic GPU). I need your help in choosing the right GPU.

Current system:
Intel E6300
22" 1680x1050 Monitor w. VGA and DVI inputs only

I will happily pay the premium for a passively cooled unit according to recommendations.
Gaming is not a criteria.
I prefer to keep my current monitor, unless modern GPU outputs don't use DVI anymore.
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  1. Best answer
    Field is wide open then. Practically any PCI-E video card will be compatible with that system and any future system.

    What is your budget?

    My usual cheap recommendation is the Radeon 7750, which is about as fast as you can go without the complications of additional power cables. Comparable from nVidia would be the GT640, both at around $80
  2. Thanks for the quick reply.
    My very limited budget is focused on getting the maximum CPU at the expense of anything else, so the GPU must suffer.
    Will the benefits from 1GB DDR5 7750 for Autocad or Photoshop outweigh the additional ram on a 2GB DDR3 GT640? I can't quite tell since these GPUs are games benchmarked...
  3. That is an interesting question. It really depends on the size of the files you deal with and how much video memory they consume. With shared memory it will also consume system memory to augment the video card if needed. So when you get around to building the rest of the machine shoot for 8GB or memory or more.

    I would probably pick the 7750 over the GT640, but you should be able to find 2GB GDDR5 versions of both, though they will cost more.
  4. I assume that investing at higher system ram (16GB let's say) would show better returns over a higher ram GPU, right? I'm not sure how to find the points of best return though
  5. When comparing DDR3, GDDR3, and GDDR5 you have to look at their intended use.

    DDR3 being your standard system memory it is the slowest, but your CPU will have faster forms of memory(cache) as a buffer. Video memory on the other hand runs at usually very high frequencies (6000Mhz or more) for modern GDDR5 cards. With with essentially direct access to the pci-e bus, the faster this memory is the more quickly the system can load video data to be processed into the card. Having more just means that more data can be pre-cached for the next clock cycle. Having less means it will resort to using the system memory, which is already being used as a buffer between the CPU and GPU, or defaulting all the way back to essentially loading from disc.

    Having more of both of course is desirable, but it should take a fairly detailed CAD drawing or a Photoshop image with many many layers to saturate a cards video memory.
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