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Looking to upgrade GPU in older machine

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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March 19, 2014 7:20:23 AM

This is the build I've got right now:

Intel Core 2 Duo E6550 (2.33GHz, not overclocked)
Gigabyte EP43-UD3L mobo
ATI Radeon HD 4350 (I know, terrible!)
Maxtor 500gb 7200 hdd, being upgraded to a Samsung EVO 120GB SSD as soon as it arrives
4GB DDR2 1GHz 5-5-5-15 (G.Skill), being upgraded to 8GB as soon as it arrives
Samsung 225BW 22" LCD 1680x1050 (will likely be upgraded to a 24" 1080p monitor of some sort as soon as I can get my wife to agree to the small expenditure!)

I'm looking to spend around $100 max, so I'm looking on eBay at used:

GeForce GTX 460
GeForce GTX 465
GeForce GTX 550ti
GeForce GTX 650
ATI Radeon HD 7770 or something in that range

I don't do a lot of gaming, but I'll probably start playing a little Simcity or Civilization once I finish grad school. Mostly I use my PC for running an XP virtual machine that connects to a virtual desktop for work and I watch HD video, which my current setup chokes on regularly. I also run a Plex server that I use for my Apple TVs using PlexConnect

It's been about 5 years since I made any upgrades to this PC. I used to love this stuff but I've gotten out of the loop after getting married and having a kid and generally having better things with which to waste my time. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
March 19, 2014 7:31:00 AM

A 650, 550ti or 460 would be good. They will be held back a little bit by the processor, but not to a major degree.

The AMD equivalent of those would be a R7 250, 7750(DDR5 version) or 6770.

Good luck!
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March 19, 2014 7:31:17 AM

I'm not always certain about what might be offered up on eBay. You might look into our own Deals section of the forum. In any case, I'd rather have a new product warranty. Since you're not a high-end gamer, your $100 budget is reasonable. What is the brand and model (not just wattage) of your current PSU?
Very likely, a HD7750 would be a suitable card for you. It does not need auxiliary power, but should handle the games you want to play. The HD7770 is notably more powerful, but needs a PCIe power connector, so check that PSU. The GTX750Ti would be a great choice, except that it exceeds your budget (~$150-$160).
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March 19, 2014 7:34:43 AM

Onus said:
I'm not always certain about what might be offered up on eBay. You might look into our own Deals section of the forum. In any case, I'd rather have a new product warranty. Since you're not a high-end gamer, your $100 budget is reasonable. What is the brand and model (not just wattage) of your current PSU?
Very likely, a HD7750 would be a suitable card for you. It does not need auxiliary power, but should handle the games you want to play. The HD7770 is notably more powerful, but needs a PCIe power connector, so check that PSU. The GTX750Ti would be a great choice, except that it exceeds your budget (~$150-$160).


+1
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March 19, 2014 7:58:09 AM

Onus said:
I'm not always certain about what might be offered up on eBay. You might look into our own Deals section of the forum. In any case, I'd rather have a new product warranty.

Very likely, a HD7750 would be a suitable card for you. It does not need auxiliary power, but should handle the games you want to play.


Indeed, good catch. To be on the safe side, a card without auxiliary power needs is best.

As far as warranties are concerned, you can buy a used card from Asus or Gigabyte that is less than 3 years old (r7 250, HD 7750, GTX 650).

Asus and Gigabyte both have 3 year fully transferable warranties from date of manufacture, no registration necessary. Those 3 models from Asus or Gigabyte would all have ~1 year or more left on the warranty.

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March 19, 2014 8:04:05 AM

Onus said:
I'm not always certain about what might be offered up on eBay. You might look into our own Deals section of the forum. In any case, I'd rather have a new product warranty. Since you're not a high-end gamer, your $100 budget is reasonable. What is the brand and model (not just wattage) of your current PSU?
Very likely, a HD7750 would be a suitable card for you. It does not need auxiliary power, but should handle the games you want to play. The HD7770 is notably more powerful, but needs a PCIe power connector, so check that PSU. The GTX750Ti would be a great choice, except that it exceeds your budget (~$150-$160).


My current PSU is an Antec Earthwatts 380W
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Best solution

March 19, 2014 8:11:10 AM

you need a little more power for most of these cards EXCEPT a new gtx750 non ti Newegg has them for $119USD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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March 19, 2014 8:29:10 AM

The Antec EA-380D is a quality PSU able to handle any graphics card with a single 6-pin PCIe power cable (max draw of that configuration is limited to 150W).
Edit: Same goes if it is the older EA-380.
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March 19, 2014 8:37:48 AM

papablista said:
you need a little more power for most of these cards EXCEPT a new gtx750 non ti Newegg has them for $119USD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


The earthwatts 380w is able to handle any of the cards discussed here except perhaps the GTX 465.
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March 19, 2014 8:42:21 AM

Manufacturers often recommend higher wattage than is actually needed in the attempt (often futile) to account for the liar-labeled junk still being sold that is not capable of outputting what the label claims. If you read through any of the SBM cycles, you will see that actual power usage tends to be a lot lower than many people think.
For example, Gypsy (in my .sig) typically pulls around 117W from its UPS.
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March 19, 2014 9:10:01 AM

csobrien said:
papablista said:
you need a little more power for most of these cards EXCEPT a new gtx750 non ti Newegg has them for $119USD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Would the HD 7750, without auxiliary power requirements, require a more powerful PSU?



No, it would work
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March 19, 2014 1:49:11 PM

Well, I've narrowed it down to an R7 250X and a GTX 750 after all of the advice I received here. The two cards I'm considering are:

SAPPHIRE 100367L Radeon R7 250X 1GB 128-Bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 CrossFireX Support Video Card $99

or

EVGA 01G-P4-2753-KR GeForce GTX 750 Superclocked 1GB 128-Bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 Video Card $119 after rebate

I'm finding it difficult to find comparisons between the R7 250X and the GTX750, but I'm leaning towards the GTX750. Given my current setup, can anyone make a final recommendation?
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March 19, 2014 2:15:55 PM

I'm not at 100% on the new cards yet, but I believe the R7 250X is essentially a tweaked HD7770. It needs one 6-pin PCIe power cable. The GTX750 is slight more powerful (on average), and does not need a PCIe power cable. Unless your applications strongly favor one or the other, I'd probably choose the GTX750 too.
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March 19, 2014 4:56:11 PM

But Phis x rocks it's your decision man, Choose wise Grasshopper
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March 19, 2014 8:39:34 PM

It occurred to me tonight as I was poring over all these different card options that what might limit me the most is not the PSU, but the CPU. I don't have it in the budget right now to upgrade the CPU and likely won't until we get to the point where I can either build a brand new machine or get an iMac 27". But that's a different discussion altogether.

Given my current CPU, would it be worth it to buy one of the newer cards that may be bottlenecked by the CPU anyway? Would it make more sense to go to something older that will give the same performance as a newer card mated to this CPU?

I guess what I'm saying is that I'm back to square one. LOL

Maybe the HD 7750 or a GTX 460 is the best solution after all?
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March 19, 2014 10:00:15 PM

No the bottleneck won'y be noticeable and you can always move a GPU to a new mother board...
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March 19, 2014 10:10:25 PM

You'll be just fine with any of the cards suggested.

I'm begging you, do not buy an iMac. If you're going to spend $1800+ on a computer, first of all I wouldn't get an AIO for many reasons, second you can build a nice gaming rig + buy a nice monitor for the same price and you'll get better performance.

But really, I would just get a new graphics card at this point and wait for a while longer to get a new computer.
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March 20, 2014 5:29:01 AM

papablista said:
No the bottleneck won'y be noticeable and you can always move a GPU to a new mother board...

This is a very good point. Even if you buy something more powerful than you can really use now, the card you get can be moved into your next system, so you will not have wasted your money.
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March 24, 2014 6:32:08 AM

A gift card for Amazon for my b-day finally made me bite the bullet. I ordered a GTX 750 Superclocked today! Thanks all for the advice!
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