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$300 Graphics Card and Compatibility

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June 24, 2013 8:41:10 AM

Dear fellow users,

A year ago (or so) I bought a pre-built computer off of Amazon. It was the HP Pavillion P7-1235 and I was able to get it for a very good deal. My computer features 8 GB RAM and a 3.2 GHz AMD A8-5500 CPU, but one thing it lacks is a discrete graphics card, and I've been wanting to play a variety of games but simply haven't been able to do so due to the lack of a discrete GPU.

Now, I was initially thinking to build a new PC from scratch, but I thought that perhaps the P7-1235 could rather be upgraded than be put aside to fit my gaming needs. So my questions are:

1. Looking at the current specs for the P7-1235, will my computer be able to run graphics intensive games (e.g. crysis3, far cry 3, metro last light) very well @1920 x 1080 if I buy a video card around $300? Or will I need to upgrade more components of my PC, such as the CPU, mobo, etc.

2. I have researched potential graphics cards I may buy and I'm thinking of getting either the MSI N660TI PE 2GD5/OC (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) which comes with Metro Last Light and 3D Mark,

or the Sapphire Tech 100352VXSR Radeon HD 7950 3GB (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) which comes with 4 games (very sweet deal considering games are about $60 each these days).

Will one of these two gpu's fit my needs and if so, which one is better?

Feedback is greatly appreciated and forgive me if this post is a bit long. Thanks for taking the time to read, and I look forward to your replies!

-David

The PC specifications can be seen here: http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/electronics/...
June 24, 2013 8:47:07 AM

Unfortunately, that CPU will severely restrict your framerates in the most demanding games. Combined with a decent CPU though, the GTX660 Ti would deliver strong performance in any game, though not quite enough to crank all those graphics settings up to maximum in Crysis 3 etc. I'd actually recommend saving a bit of money and getting the GTX660 (it's 90% as fast as the Ti but considerably cheaper) and putting the money saved towards a good CPU (and associated costs).
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June 24, 2013 8:49:04 AM

I agree with @sam_p_lay. The CPU will bottleneck any $300 graphics card. Obviously, a change to the CPU will result in a change of the motherboard as well so my advice would be to save up.
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June 24, 2013 9:02:18 AM

It's true that a $300 card won't be fully utilized with the A8-5500, but if you think of it as the first piece of your new build, you can have good-enough graphics performance while you're saving for a new CPU/MB. You might also consider an HD7870 in the same price/performance range as the 660 and 660Ti. Look at Tom's "best graphics cards for the money" that came out last week.
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