Looking for help/advice on upgrading graphics card. Questions about compatibility, bottlenecking, and physical size.

Hello everyone, I'm a new member here on tom's hardware and I'm a newbie at working with PC hardware. I have a custom built gaming PC that I got pre-built from ibuypower and I've never actually gotten my hands dirty and installed/changed any parts, however I think it may be time for an upgrade after about 2 years with the same hardware.

Let's jump right into it. I'm making this thread because I'm looking to upgrade my graphics card from my Nvidia GTX 650ti to a GTX 760 or more likely a GTX 770. I have a few questions about wether or not I will be able to do this without making more changes in the form of my case or PSU.

My first question is about wether or not either of those cards will physically fit in my case as they are much larger than my current card. I have linked all the specifications for each card above. My case is the NZXT Guardian 921RB which is a mid-tower case. Part of my concern is that I have a lot of hard drive bays that would be in the way for the length of the new graphics card. I only have one Hard drive in my PC right now so most of the bays are empty but I don't know if they can be removed to make room for the graphics card.

My second question is regarding my PSU and it's compatibility with either the GTX 760 or GTX 770. My current PSU is a Corsair AX1200. The GTX 650ti has one 6-pin connector but the GTX 760 has two 6-pin connectors and the GTX 770 has one 8-pin and one 6-pin connector. I honestly don't know what this means as far as compatibility or if it just means I need to get some new cables/adapters or something. As for the wattage, I'm pretty sure 1200w should be more than enough for any card.

My third question is about manufacture brands of graphics cards. I've seen that you can get graphics cards from many different manufactures and I'm not sure what's best for me or what's good quality/what isn't. Does brand name matter? For example, this GTX 770 is made by "Gigabyte" and this one is made by "Asus" and has slightly different specs. Can anyone give any insight into what brand name means in this situation and possibly offer some advice?

My fourth and final question which may be a dumb one is about bottlenecking. I've heard a lot about how bottlenecking is a serious issue for graphics card/CPU combos and I don't think that I'd have any issues but I thought I'd check to be sure. My current CPU is an Intel i7 3770k 8-core running at 3.5Ghz.

So that's all the questions I have regarding upgrading my graphics card. If you need any more information in order to properly help or give advice then please let me know. Thanks a lot to everyone who read this and to everyone willing to lend a helping hand. I really appreciate it.
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More about advice upgrading graphics card questions compatibility bottlenecking physical size
  1. Best answer
    Hey cari,

    Well written post. If you are unsure if the card will fit you can simply take a ruler or tape measure and check. alsi if you take off the side of you case you will be able to tell if the storage bays are removable. often there are little screws holing them together.

    That is a very large psu for your system. but yes it will work. it is modular and the GPU will come with the necessary cable to power it

    You wil not Bottleneck anything yyou put in there so no need to worry about that. as far as brand it does not really matter. The differences are rather pedantic. just get the cheapest, non reference, factory OCed GPU you can find.

    I hope that answers your questions.
  2. Hi there,

    While a 760 is an upgrade, it's not a huge one. I'd probably prefer to move to a 770 (or equivalent) if I was you; it seems more cost effective when focusing on the increase in performance you'll get.

    That case can apparently fit a maximum graphics card length of 10.43 inches, which would eliminate the reference designed 770 you linked to. The good news is that there is a non-reference design, with better cooling, that will just about fit (about 4mm to spare):

    For the power question; as you realize, you have more than enough wattage on the PSU. That PSU has more than enough cables to power a 770 (it have enough to power 3!).

    There are many different manufactures of cards, each of them putting their own unique spin on the cooling systems, and occasionally on the actual design of the card. They ebb and flow between which one is best, but on the whole, people normally focus on ASUS, EVGA, MSI, and Gigabyte being the best of the bunch. So brand name does matter a little, but not as much as in other retail sectors. The two specific 770s you link are a good example of some of the different designs put out by manufactures. The different specifications you'll see, in this case the core clock in particular, are due to manufacturers sometimes selling factory overclocked cards. Just about every card manufacture puts out at least one factory overclocked edition, which normally costs a little more, but also performs a little better.

    Fourth one. You have no need to worry about bottle-necking, at all. That CPU you have is still one of the best for gaming.

    Hope that helps.
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