Not sure if I should upgrade Alienware x51's graphic card. Please Help
First off I bought a alienware x51 this February as my first gaming PC coming from console. The one i bought had an intel i7-3770 3.4 GHz with a 1.5 gb GDDR5 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660. On this PC i will be doing schoolwork and playing games such as COD Ghosts and BF4. Since I am a complete computer idiot could someone please advise me on whether or not i should upgrade my graphics card and too what. Also before you go respond about how stupid i was too buy a overpriced alienware please dont tell me because i already know that and regret it. I also know next time i want a pc i will be building it myself. Thanks for your time and please help!
Alienware is not that bad...but yes...building the rig on your own is better
GTX660? GTX660 is already one of the latest and best GPU you can find in the market.
Here are some questions you should answer to yourself and perhaps also share with us:
what are the games you played and on what resolution?
are you using nVidia surround? 3D perhaps? and how much are you willing to pay? how powerful is your PSU?
There are better and more expensive cards which means more investments (GTX680, GTX780, etc.).
If necessary go for SLI ( multiple GPU. I do not know if the X51 can do this tho' but I know my rig can if I want since I built it myself ).
Go for the the investments only if you need it.
If you want to upgrade then the best upgrade for the money would be to get an EVGA GTX 760 SC w/ ACX http://amzn.to/15J0OZX You would see a noticeable difference with that upgrade and would also be the best upgrade for the money. You could honestly get by with the card you currently have. It's not the best one out there but you should be able to play BF4 on medium settings at least.
firstly don't be sad, I think you made a good purchase, I love the X51. I build PCs myself and know my way around the insides of PCs pretty well, and I have to say I am impressed with the X51. My brother has one because he is too lazy to build his own. I had a look and we stripped it down to take a look insides and it's very well designed, great use of space. You'd certainly struggle to build one yourself that well designed at that price. I'd be happy to recommend them.
Power supply, that's your problem. The 660 is the most powerful graphics card that your power supply can handle, upgrading is impossible. But don't worry, the 660 is actually a pretty good card.
You want my recommendation? Buy a 250Gb Samsung 840 SSD. There is room above the DVD drive to fit it and a spare SATA port to plug it into. Adding an SSD will make your X51 fly. Use Clonezilla to clone your harddrive onto the SSD.
You should be fine with the card you have, and you can do a lot worse than Alienware, especially just getting into the PC space.
Whatever you decide, keep in mind what limitations your PSU might impose. I haven't been hands on with too many Alienware machines, but I can imagine that they use the cheapest PSU to run the system 'as-is.' This might be something you have to upgrade with the card.
As others have suggested, the EVGA GTX 760 ACX is a good value. I am not personally a fan of the cooler, or any cooler that just dumps the hot air in the chassis, given that my rig uses vertical airflow as opposed to front-to-back and that this would just push the card's hot air into my H100's radiator. (I have the case in standard ATX.) I don't know how your airflow works out, but I can imagine that case getting a little toasty.
Personally, and provided it would fit in your case, I would go with something like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130937
It is a 4GB card, something I am partial to. I remember when everyone said, "One gig of VRAM is more than you will ever need!"
That lasted me eight months, so this time around I went for broke and got a EVGA GTX 770 Classified 4GB and can run Skyrim with every re-texture I want. I plan to add another card later.
It's out of stock at the moment, but they can be found.
Good luck with your system!