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Upgrading my gaming graphics card, $250 budget.

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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March 21, 2014 5:25:26 PM

This will be my first time doing my own shopping for a graphics card!

I've done a some research, read some of Tom's articles, and I'm trying to get the very best bang for my buck. My end goal is a card that can run Star Citizen well when it comes out, and games like Bioshock Infinite, Skyrim, or BF4 on High or better! Now is definitely better than later though, as my old card (don't laugh: a GT 240) is having issues.

For about $250, I can get two Radeon R7 260X and a power supply that can run them. Then, Crossfire 'em. I'm looking at these.

For $200, I can get a single GeForce GTX 660, and I wouldn't need a new power supply! (My current power supply is 500 watts, with 22a on the +12v rail.) I'm looking at this one .

OR, for about $250, I can get a single GTX 760 ....but I'm not 100% sure my PSU is up to the task.

This one doesn't mention any PSU requirements (which makes me suspicious)

And this one says that 500w is enough, but I don't have enough amperage on my +12v rail (this requires 30, I have 22a)

EDITED/UPDATED QUESTION: Is the R9 270X still going to be the best bang for my buck if I have to get a new PSU to use it? I'm leaning towards yes, and thinking of buying this card and this PSU

And again, I'm trying to get the very best i can get for $250 (or close to that). These are just a few cards that caught my eye. I'm trying to make sense of the benchmarks I've seen, but I'm not sure if I fully understand everything, especially regarding Crossfire or SLI performance. Where is the best place to check out benchmarks?

Here are my current specs:

CPU: Intel (R) Core i7, 950@3.07 GHz
Motherboard: Asus SABERTOOTH X58
GPU: GT 240
RAM: 6 GB of DDR3. Considering buying another 3x2gb (which will fill the slots)
PSU: Antec 500W, EA-500D Green. Two +12v rails at 22a

And what you you think? Is crossfire too much hassle? Can my current PSU handle a GTX 760?
Or, simply put, what will give me the best damn performance today, for $250ish?

Thanks for reading, I appreciate it!

EDIT: More accurate specs added.
a b 4 Gaming
a b ) Power supply
a b U Graphics card
March 21, 2014 5:29:19 PM

Can you first give us the specs? It's hard to know what your specs are up to if we can't have em'.

Oh and for $250, you can get an AMD Radeon R9 270X.
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March 21, 2014 5:31:55 PM

r9 270x is the answer
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a b 4 Gaming
a c 84 ) Power supply
a c 157 U Graphics card
March 21, 2014 5:38:25 PM

A 22a 12v rail on a 500w PSU indicates to me that you are using a very low quality PSU and should be replaced before any gpu upgrade.
Here's a 270x and a decent 500w PSU
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

Video Card: PowerColor Radeon R9 270X 2GB Video Card ($209.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: EVGA 500W 80+ Certified ATX Power Supply ($39.99 @ NCIX US)
Total: $249.98
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-03-21 20:37 EDT-0400)
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March 21, 2014 5:56:17 PM

okcnaline said:
Can you first give us the specs? It's hard to know what your specs are up to if we can't have em'.

Oh and for $250, you can get an AMD Radeon R9 270X.


Better specs added. And a lot of people seem to like the R9 270X...I'm researching them right now.
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a b 4 Gaming
a c 84 ) Power supply
a c 157 U Graphics card
March 21, 2014 6:02:26 PM

What exact model of antec is it? 22a on a 500w Antec doesn't seem right it may have 2 12v rails, if so it maybe enough to run a GTX 760.
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March 21, 2014 6:05:24 PM

bignastyid said:
A 22a 12v rail on a 500w PSU indicates to me that you are using a very low quality PSU and should be replaced before any gpu upgrade.
Here's a 270x and a decent 500w PSU
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

Video Card: PowerColor Radeon R9 270X 2GB Video Card ($209.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: EVGA 500W 80+ Certified ATX Power Supply ($39.99 @ NCIX US)
Total: $249.98
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-03-21 20:37 EDT-0400)


Ah thanks! How do you think this compares to the Powercolor version?

And, I might be willing to go over my budget a little bit, if it gets me a better PSU. I might want to set up crossfire a year or two down the line; do you have any recommendations on a 700w PSU? I'm looking at this one. (49.99 after rebate)
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March 21, 2014 6:10:05 PM

bignastyid said:
What exact model of antec is it? 22a on a 500w Antec doesn't seem right it may have 2 12v rails, if so it maybe enough to run a GTX 760.


Ahhh! It does have two 12v rails! It's an EA-500D Green. Do you think that could handle a R9 270X?
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a b 4 Gaming
a c 84 ) Power supply
a c 157 U Graphics card
March 21, 2014 6:13:54 PM

Yes that PSU could run a 270x. It could probably run a GTX 760 but it would be running the psu hard. On the 12v rail the PSU has a max output of 444w(37a).
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March 21, 2014 6:26:22 PM

bignastyid said:
Yes that PSU could run a 270x. It could probably run a GTX 760 but it would be running the psu hard. On the 12v rail the PSU has a max output of 444w(37a).


Alright- So if I can use a 270x with my current PSU, the R9 270X seems like the clear choice. I see nobody seems to think the 2X, Crossfired r7 260x will give me as much power. How much difference does the brand of 270x make? Like, the sapphire brand vs the Powercolor?

(and thanks for being patient with me, and helping me out!)


Edit: So it looks like the R9 270X requires TWO 6-pin PCI-E connectors (for ONE R9 270X), whereas I only have one 6-pin connector on this psu. That might be the tipping point that means I buy http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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a b 4 Gaming
a c 84 ) Power supply
a c 157 U Graphics card
March 24, 2014 8:44:49 AM

That PSU is not a good one at all. The TR2 series are complete garbage. they are bottom of the line tier 5 units."Tier 5 - Other than the units listed above for any of these brands, NOT RECOMMENDED. Replace ASAP if you have one.

A-TOP Technology
Apevia
APEX (SUPERCASE/ALLIED)
Aspire(Turbo Case)
ATADC
Athena Power
ATRIX
Broadway Com Corp
Coolmax
Deer
Diablotek
Dynapower USA
Dynex
EagleTech
FOXCONN
FSP Everest
HEC Orion
Hiper Type-R
Huntkey
I-Star Computer Co. Ltd
In Win
JPAC COMPUTER
Just PC
Kingwin Inc.
Linkworld Electronics
Logisys Computer
MGE
MSI
NMEDIAPC
Norwood Micro/ CompUSA
NorthQ
NZXT
Okia
Powmax
Q-Tec
Raidmax
Rocketfish
Rosewill
SFC
Shuttle
Skyhawk
Spire Coolers
Star Micro
STARTECH
Thermaltake Purepower NP
Thermaltake Purepower RU
Thermaltake TR2 (and TR2-RX)
TOPOWER TOP
Ultra X-Connect
Ultra X2 >greater than 700 watt
Ultra LSP
Wintech
XION
YoungYear
Zebronics"
http://www.eggxpert.com/forums/thread/323050.aspx

If you can still cancel it do it and order a better PSU. There are much better options for that price.
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a b 4 Gaming
a c 84 ) Power supply
a c 157 U Graphics card
March 24, 2014 8:49:18 AM

Also the 4Gb version of the 270x is a waste, it doesn't have the GPU power to ever utilize that much vram. For what you just spent you can get a faster gtx 760 a much higher quality PSU.
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 760 2GB Video Card ($264.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $334.97
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-03-24 11:52 EDT-0400)
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March 24, 2014 9:54:11 AM

bignastyid said:
That PSU is not a good one at all. The TR2 series are complete garbage. they are bottom of the line tier 5 units."Tier 5 - Other than the units listed above for any of these brands, NOT RECOMMENDED. Replace ASAP if you have one.

A-TOP Technology
Apevia
APEX (SUPERCASE/ALLIED)
Aspire(Turbo Case)
ATADC
Athena Power
ATRIX
Broadway Com Corp
Coolmax
Deer
Diablotek
Dynapower USA
Dynex
EagleTech
FOXCONN
FSP Everest
HEC Orion
Hiper Type-R
Huntkey
I-Star Computer Co. Ltd
In Win
JPAC COMPUTER
Just PC
Kingwin Inc.
Linkworld Electronics
Logisys Computer
MGE
MSI
NMEDIAPC
Norwood Micro/ CompUSA
NorthQ
NZXT
Okia
Powmax
Q-Tec
Raidmax
Rocketfish
Rosewill
SFC
Shuttle
Skyhawk
Spire Coolers
Star Micro
STARTECH
Thermaltake Purepower NP
Thermaltake Purepower RU
Thermaltake TR2 (and TR2-RX)
TOPOWER TOP
Ultra X-Connect
Ultra X2 >greater than 700 watt
Ultra LSP
Wintech
XION
YoungYear
Zebronics"
http://www.eggxpert.com/forums/thread/323050.aspx

If you can still cancel it do it and order a better PSU. There are much better options for that price.


Wellp, neither you, nor anybody else objected when I posted the link to it in two separate posts, replying to your comments, on Friday, so I went ahead and ordered it yesterday. It's already shipped!
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March 24, 2014 10:02:55 AM

bignastyid said:
Also the 4Gb version of the 270x is a waste, it doesn't have the GPU power to ever utilize that much vram. For what you just spent you can get a faster gtx 760 a much higher quality PSU.
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 760 2GB Video Card ($264.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $334.97
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-03-24 11:52 EDT-0400)


I considered the 760 (@ $239.99 after mail in rebate), but since everyone on this thread recommended the 270x, I figured it was worth a little extra to get what the experts at TomsHardware recommended. Also, some of my personal friends assured me that 4gb was a night and day difference from the 2gb version.
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March 24, 2014 10:20:49 AM

There is no difference between the 2gb and 4gb versions. Unless your running multiple monitors which with a 270x you probably wont be running any games on eyefinity. There simple isn't enough muscle there to make it worth it. So either the 2gb or 4gb will be exactly the same. I personally say go with the 270x its a great card.
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a b 4 Gaming
a c 84 ) Power supply
a c 157 U Graphics card
March 24, 2014 10:32:51 AM

The 270x was the best you were going to get without a PSU upgrade to stay around the original budget. Also in 1080p gaming there will be virtually no performance difference between the 2gb and 4Gb card. More vram currently only helps in large resolutions and situations which the 270x's gpu isn't going to handle well. Here's a article that explains more about vram. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/graphics-card-myths...
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March 24, 2014 10:41:31 AM

bignastyid said:
The 270x was the best you were going to get without a PSU upgrade to stay around the original budget. Also in 1080p gaming there will be virtually no performance difference between the 2gb and 4Gb card. More vram currently only helps in large resolutions and situations which the 270x's gpu isn't going to handle well. Here's a article that explains more about vram. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/graphics-card-myths...


While I genuinely appreciate your earlier help picking out the PSU and the 270X, I don't really want any help getting buyer's remorse. And the 270X does require a PSU upgrade:
"So it looks like the R9 270X requires TWO 6-pin PCI-E connectors (for ONE R9 270X), whereas I only have one 6-pin connector on this psu."
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July 10, 2014 9:31:47 AM

Nick H said:
bignastyid said:
The 270x was the best you were going to get without a PSU upgrade to stay around the original budget. Also in 1080p gaming there will be virtually no performance difference between the 2gb and 4Gb card. More vram currently only helps in large resolutions and situations which the 270x's gpu isn't going to handle well. Here's a article that explains more about vram. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/graphics-card-myths...


While I genuinely appreciate your earlier help picking out the PSU and the 270X, I don't really want any help getting buyer's remorse. And the 270X does require a PSU upgrade:
"So it looks like the R9 270X requires TWO 6-pin PCI-E connectors (for ONE R9 270X), whereas I only have one 6-pin connector on this psu."


While everyone is saying No on the 4GB, I disagree. If/when you want to Crossfire that puppy and run multi-monitor, you'll be happy that you have the 4GB.
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