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Need help selecting a video card for gaming

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  • Computers
  • Graphics Cards
  • Graphics
Last response: in Graphics Cards
December 21, 2013 3:40:47 PM

I'm wanting to buy a new video card for my computer, but I'm not sure what will be good (or what will work with my computer, it's a few years old). All it says with the documentation is that it takes a PCI Express x16 card, but I'm not really sure what that means. I've looked at a few cards, and most of the ones I've seen recommended here say they're DDR5, I know my board takes DDR3 RAM, but I don't know if that's the same thing or if the video card and RAM can take different types on the same board.

This is the computer I have, with stock everything except I added 8GB RAM and a replaced the power supply with a 600 watt:
http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?cc=us&lc=en...

I don't really need anything top of the line. Money isn't too big of a deal, but if I can get something good for $200, I would prefer that to something more expensive.


Also, I'm using a TV as a second monitor. According to the specs on the Dynex site, it has a resolution of 1366 x 768. When I go to set screen resolution on my PC, the highest it usually lets me pick is 1360 x 768, which makes some things look a bit off. Sometimes, though, it lets me set it up to 1600 x 900, which looks perfect. I can't figure out why that option is available some of the time but not usually. It's connected with a VGA cable, if that makes a difference. Right now, the graphics chip I have has DVI/VGA outputs, would getting a card with an HDMI output help with that?

This is the TV I'm using:
http://www.dynexproducts.com/products/televisions/DX-26...

More about : selecting video card gaming

December 21, 2013 4:51:04 PM

id save up a few more dollars and build a pc on budget. u can by an amd apu for like 100 and an ok mobo for like 70. u already got ram and psu.
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a c 84 U Graphics card
December 24, 2013 3:08:57 AM

Jhop23 said:
id save up a few more dollars and build a pc on budget. u can by an amd apu for like 100 and an ok mobo for like 70. u already got ram and psu.


No need for that.

@OP

RAM on the video card is different from the RAM on the motherboard. It is very much possible that you have DDR2 RAM on the motherboard and DDR5 RAM on the graphics card. Only the slot needs to be compatible.

It says on your motherboard that you have four slots for RAM.
Have you used all four of them? If not then you would be able to upgrade your RAM further.
Also, your motherboard has a PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot. That slot supports all of the cards, even those which have PCI Express 3.0 capability, with no slowdown at all.

Given your TV supports a resolution of 1600x900(only, considering some people even go for super high resolutions like 2560x1600 and 3840x2160(also known as 4K)) you should be fine with a card such as the GTX660 for 2-3 years.
The VGA output is no issue. It is able to handle a maximum resolution of 2048x1536.
If your TV does not have a DVI input, then when you buy a graphics card, then look at the white DVI connector. It should be a DVI-I connector. A DVI-I connector has all the square holes and a + sign with four dots. The other common type of DVI is DVI-D. That is with all the square dots and a - sign. You can get a DVI-to-VGA adapter like this:

That way you will be able to connect your TV to the graphics card.
Note that the adapter does NOT work with the DVI-D port (the one with the - sign.)
Alternatively, you can buy a HDMI cable -- the 660 supports HDMI outputs.

Given that you have purchased a new power supply as well, which one did you buy? The brands of power supplies make a big difference. The current that the power supply gives out on the +12V rail makes the most difference.
It should be 40-50A for a 600W.
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Related resources
a b U Graphics card
December 24, 2013 9:08:47 AM

When it comes time to look for a new graphics card, give this article a read:
Best Graphics Cards For The Money: December 2013
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-car...

Tom's updates this once a month and it will give you a good idea of what to get based on you budget.
Depending on what you choose, you will need to look at the manufacturers requirements for that card and make sure your power supply can feed it, and if your case can fit it.
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a c 84 U Graphics card
December 24, 2013 9:20:48 AM

I personally am of the opinion that that article is aimed at people who are looking to build new PC's, as it does not show old generation cards.
Here the OP has a build that is a few years old(but not that old, so it's OK I guess) so not every card may work on his system.
I have a build from 2008 that I'm looking of putting a new card into (because the old card is pure crap) and I'm told the 7790 won't work on my system.
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December 25, 2013 6:02:05 PM

cst1992 said:
Jhop23 said:
id save up a few more dollars and build a pc on budget. u can by an amd apu for like 100 and an ok mobo for like 70. u already got ram and psu.


No need for that.

@OP

RAM on the video card is different from the RAM on the motherboard. It is very much possible that you have DDR2 RAM on the motherboard and DDR5 RAM on the graphics card. Only the slot needs to be compatible.

It says on your motherboard that you have four slots for RAM.
Have you used all four of them? If not then you would be able to upgrade your RAM further.
Also, your motherboard has a PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot. That slot supports all of the cards, even those which have PCI Express 3.0 capability, with no slowdown at all.

Given your TV supports a resolution of 1600x900(only, considering some people even go for super high resolutions like 2560x1600 and 3840x2160(also known as 4K)) you should be fine with a card such as the GTX660 for 2-3 years.
The VGA output is no issue. It is able to handle a maximum resolution of 2048x1536.
If your TV does not have a DVI input, then when you buy a graphics card, then look at the white DVI connector. It should be a DVI-I connector. A DVI-I connector has all the square holes and a + sign with four dots. The other common type of DVI is DVI-D. That is with all the square dots and a - sign. You can get a DVI-to-VGA adapter like this:

That way you will be able to connect your TV to the graphics card.
Note that the adapter does NOT work with the DVI-D port (the one with the - sign.)
Alternatively, you can buy a HDMI cable -- the 660 supports HDMI outputs.

Given that you have purchased a new power supply as well, which one did you buy? The brands of power supplies make a big difference. The current that the power supply gives out on the +12V rail makes the most difference.
It should be 40-50A for a 600W.

I have a RAM stick in every slot, but two of them are 2GB and two are 4GB, so I can still upgrade to 16GB total later if needed.

I just don't understand why it would have 1600x900 resolution some of the time, but usually only lets me set it up to 1360x768. It looks like the TV auto-adjusts to whatever input it gets whenever I start up any older games with lower maximum resolution, and it looks perfect in 1600x900 on the occasions when the Screen Resolution menu in Control Panel has that option. Is there any way to manually set the computer to output a higher resolution rather than detecting the TV and automatically pick the resolutions available?

The power supply I got is an EVGA Bronze 600, it says it's got 49A on the +12V.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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a c 84 U Graphics card
December 25, 2013 9:52:05 PM

My brother has a similar TV, it lets him set 1600x900 while gaming too.
You have plenty of RAM then. No need to worry.
Your power supply looks good enough. It has enough current, and has good efficiency and ripple values.
Go with the 660 then. You're good to go.
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December 27, 2013 12:45:50 PM

It doesn't appear to matter what programs I'm running when I go to the screen resolution menu. Just now, I shut it off to check how much room is in the case (didn't want to order a card, wait a week for it to ship to me and have it turn out to be too big). It was set to 1360x768 when I turned it off, then it booted up already in 1600x900. I know (or at least think) it can't really be random, but it looks that way. I'm hoping once I have an actual card, it'll be more consistent, bit if not, I guess I can wait a few months and get a gaming monitor...

I looked up the 660 and I think I'll go with that. There's a few different ones listed on Amazon and Newegg (EVGA, PNY, Asus, couple others). There's not much difference I can see, but I assume the different manufacturers have different levels of quality. Does it matter enough to pay a bit extra for a specific one or should I just go with the cheapest?
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Best solution

a c 84 U Graphics card
December 27, 2013 1:52:04 PM

You'd want to go with aftermarket cooling. It's a little premium for the manufacturer, but worth it, the card will have more headroom to overclock, be quieter and cooler.
ASUS has the DirectCUII(Somebody mentioned it was old now, they had a new technology but I think the 660 has the DirectCUII) EVGA has The Signature 2 or ACX(I don't know really; they don't have it in India). Easy way to tell is just look at the reference model(big rectangle with the centrifugal fan(google it) given on the geforce website). The ones that don't have that design are aftermarket.

EVGA, Gigabyte and ASUS, I think are among the most used brands. Zotac are good too. Don't know about Palit, Leadtek, PNY or Gainward(or any other).
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December 31, 2013 11:57:20 AM

cst1992 said:
You'd want to go with aftermarket cooling. It's a little premium for the manufacturer, but worth it, the card will have more headroom to overclock, be quieter and cooler.
ASUS has the DirectCUII(Somebody mentioned it was old now, they had a new technology but I think the 660 has the DirectCUII) EVGA has The Signature 2 or ACX(I don't know really; they don't have it in India). Easy way to tell is just look at the reference model(big rectangle with the centrifugal fan(google it) given on the geforce website). The ones that don't have that design are aftermarket.

EVGA, Gigabyte and ASUS, I think are among the most used brands. Zotac are good too. Don't know about Palit, Leadtek, PNY or Gainward(or any other).

Thanks for the help. I got an EVGA GTX660 with the ACX fans. Came today, and it works perfectly. Also, the software for the card DOES allow you to manually set an output resolution instead of automatically detecting it from the display, so there's another plus for it.

After I installed it, I noticed it came with a little sticker for the outside of the case and thought it looked cool. I'm glad I didn't see it at the beginning, I couldn't get the paper off the backing of it and ended up pulling the entire adhesive strip off. I'm not sure I would have had the heart to open up the case and work on the hardware if I had just been defeated by a sticker...
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a c 84 U Graphics card
December 31, 2013 9:22:53 PM

Nothing big on the hardware -- just pull down the notch for the card slot, keep the card straight, and push down.
Basically like installing RAM. If you can do RAM, you can do graphics card.

Just remember to install the latest drivers -- that'll make sure you get the most out of your card.

If you were not using a graphics card before, then it's even easier.

Which graphics card did you get? I'd like to have a look at it myself as well.
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January 1, 2014 1:49:28 AM

cst1992 said:
Nothing big on the hardware -- just pull down the notch for the card slot, keep the card straight, and push down.
Basically like installing RAM. If you can do RAM, you can do graphics card.

Just remember to install the latest drivers -- that'll make sure you get the most out of your card.

If you were not using a graphics card before, then it's even easier.

Which graphics card did you get? I'd like to have a look at it myself as well.

The GTX660 made by EVGA with two ACX fans.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Biggest hassle with the install was getting the little metal slot covers off the back of the case, didn't see there was a cover you could take off to get one end loose and pried them up. Cleaned off my heat sinks and fans while I was in there, which took longer than the card installation. Installed the drivers off the disc that came with it then updated. Including the restart after the drivers installed, it took about ten minutes. And as I said above, it lets you manually set resolutions, so no more issues with the TV.

Came with Assassin's Creed IV, which looks beautiful with this new card. Plays on the highest settings with no issues.
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a c 84 U Graphics card
January 1, 2014 5:32:37 AM

Well. Enjoy your new card.
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