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Sub $200 GPU for dual display scientific imaging

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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November 22, 2013 12:45:57 PM

My overly high end GPU just died, likely due to heat, so I need to replace it quickly. Here are my needs. I am interested in good build quality and not buying above my needs. Any suggestions are much appreciated!
PURCHASE DATE: as soon as possible
BUDGET RANGE: sub-$200
USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: scientific 2D imaging, image processing Adobe CS 5.5, lots of simultaneously run small (512x512) 2-D movies. NO GAMES. Occasional 3D rendering, but not real time

CURRENT GPU: GPU that just died: Gigabyte Nvidia GeForce 660 2 GByte (probably way overkill for my needs)
CURRENT POWER SUPPLY: corsair AX860
CPU: i7 3770K
MoBo: ASUS P8Z77-V PRO
Memory: 32 GByte
Case: Cooler Master HAF XM with 5 fans

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: US sites, doesn’t matter which

PARTS PREFERENCES: Given my experience with Nvidia, maybe Radeon. Am a little nervous of PCIe 3 cards, since there is a thread linking failure of my gigabyte card due to incompatibility its PCIe 3.0 and the LGA 1155 motherboards

OVERCLOCKING: No
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 2 monitors, both 1920x1200

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: this is business use, so a 3 year warranty is important. I hope my needs don’t demand a GPU that runs so hot with normal use that state-of-the-art cooling is critical.
November 22, 2013 12:54:41 PM

imagesci said:
My overly high end GPU just died, likely due to heat, so I need to replace it quickly. Here are my needs. I am interested in good build quality and not buying above my needs. Any suggestions are much appreciated!
PURCHASE DATE: as soon as possible
BUDGET RANGE: sub-$200
USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: scientific 2D imaging, image processing Adobe CS 5.5, lots of simultaneously run small (512x512) 2-D movies. NO GAMES. Occasional 3D rendering, but not real time

CURRENT GPU: GPU that just died: Gigabyte Nvidia GeForce 660 2 GByte (probably way overkill for my needs)
CURRENT POWER SUPPLY: corsair AX860
CPU: i7 3770K
MoBo: ASUS P8Z77-V PRO
Memory: 32 GByte
Case: Cooler Master HAF XM with 5 fans

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: US sites, doesn’t matter which

PARTS PREFERENCES: Given my experience with Nvidia, maybe Radeon. Am a little nervous of PCIe 3 cards, since there is a thread linking failure of my gigabyte card due to incompatibility its PCIe 3.0 and the LGA 1155 motherboards

OVERCLOCKING: No
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 2 monitors, both 1920x1200

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: this is business use, so a 3 year warranty is important. I hope my needs don’t demand a GPU that runs so hot with normal use that state-of-the-art cooling is critical.


I use a Radeon Hd 7870, $150-200, and works beyond perfect for me. You could probably even go with a Hd 7850. Check newegg.com, I think even the Hd 7870 could be on sale for even cheaper than $150. I have a XFX brand, DD double dissipation (2 fans). I'd recommend 2 fans on your cpu and brand wise probably msi, xfx dd, asus, his, or saffire.
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November 22, 2013 1:11:08 PM

Thanks! I was looking at the Sapphire 7790, which is going for $140, and has nice cooling, so about the same ballpark as the Radeon cards you suggest. My colleague wonders whether the 7790 is overkill, and will therefore run too hot to be stable, so I am hoping that the community verdict will point me to the right level. I really appreciate your suggestion.
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November 22, 2013 1:14:49 PM

imagesci said:
Thanks! I was looking at the Sapphire 7790, which is going for $140, and has nice cooling, so about the same ballpark as the Radeon cards you suggest. My colleague wonders whether the 7790 is overkill, and will therefore run too hot to be stable, so I am hoping that the community verdict will point me to the right level. I really appreciate your suggestion.


the 7700's are vastly lower performance than the 7800's. and if the 7790 your looking at is $140, id say get the 7870 around that same price. get one with 2 fans and rated well for cooling (mine xfx dd after hours of gaming doesn't go over 50 degrees. )
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November 22, 2013 1:43:58 PM

The question for me is how the card matches my needs. I don't need it for games or 3D rendering. I have two monitors running at 1920x1200 each and do lots of 2D image display. We are always taught to get the fastest, the best, (the hottest). I am looking for a card that gives the resolution and hardware support I need and easily handles the 2D stuff I do.
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November 22, 2013 1:53:18 PM

imagesci said:
The question for me is how the card matches my needs. I don't need it for games or 3D rendering. I have two monitors running at 1920x1200 each and do lots of 2D image display. We are always taught to get the fastest, the best, (the hottest). I am looking for a card that gives the resolution and hardware support I need and easily handles the 2D stuff I do.


True, but why spend the same amount of money for an inferior card, and pushing 2 1080p displays may not be the most graphically intensive, but it sure wouldn't hurt to go bigger, spend the same, and then also be set for a longer duration of time before having to upgrade again. Just my two cents.
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November 23, 2013 6:46:45 AM

And another thing, if you get a XFX brand you'll get a 2 year warranty but if you register your gpu you'll get a lifetime warrenty. So that in itself was the reason I went with XFX. Just make sure if you do get a card by XFX you get a DD (double dissipation/2 fans). They run far more quite and cool than the typical single fan.
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November 23, 2013 9:21:33 AM

Not sure if it's still true but Nvidia used to be better for 2D work and pretty well any 1Gb card out there will handle simple dual display operations.
Cool, quiet, top end warranty, legendary customer support: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 2Gb versions are available for those with larger needs.
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November 23, 2013 8:16:48 PM

Not sure either, but if you want Nvidia route then get a 650ti or equivalent of sorts.
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