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Video Card Advise and Rate my Build

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 4, 2008 5:18:17 PM

I am doing a budget build So far I have the components listed below. Everything is up and running perfectly. Feel free to rate this build. I know most people prefer Intel now a days but I just couldn't pass up the price of the black box Brisbane.

Total so far (without a video card) was ~$400 shipping included.

Surprisingly, it actually can play many of the demos I tried with the on board graphics, but I am not interested in playing games on low. I want a system that will run MOST games on high for atleast a year or more.

BIOSTAR TForce TF8200 A2+ AM2+/AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 8200 HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard

AMD Athlon 64 X2 5400+ Brisbane 2.8GHz Socket AM2 65W Dual-Core black edition Processor Model ADO5400DSWOFThis is overclocked to 3.2GHz. Can easily go higher as I am still set inthe AMD recommended volts.

G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8500CL5D-2GBPK

HITACHI Deskstar P7K500 HDP725032GLA360 (0A35411) 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

ZALMAN CNPS 9500 AM2 2 Ball CPU Cooling Fan/Heatsink

Rosewill RZS05 BLK Black Sturdy SGCC Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Rosewill RP500 500W ATX12V v1.3/ EPS12V Power Supply

So, my main question is which video card is right for me.

I have done some research and thought I had it nailed down which card I was going to get (4850) but the new price drops have me rethinking this.

So below are the possibilities I have found. Feel free to add a different one and confuse me more =P if I missed a better one. Keep in mind I will not spend over $300 and would like to get the best bang for my buck. Maybe that means buying one of the higher end cards now and replacing it less frequently or maybe that means buying a cheaper card and replacing it sooner.

For now and in the foreseeable future I will be running all games at 1680x1050.

All prices are from NEWEGG. If you know of a better price somewhere else feel free to let me know.

SAPPHIRE 100245L Radeon HD 4850 - $149.99

SAPPHIRE 100247L Radeon HD 4870 - $249.99

PNY VCGGTX260XPB GeForce GTX 260 - $229.99

PNY XLR8 VCG98GX2XPB GeForce 9800 GX2 - $244.99


a c 191 U Graphics card
September 4, 2008 5:49:50 PM

In your place I would get a 4850 for $150. I would then use up to the remaining $150 (probably $90-$120) to buy a quality PSU around 550W-650W.
Rationale: The 3850 I have now runs Guild Wars beautifully at 1680x1050, pegged at the 60Hz monitor refresh rate. Other games are more demanding, but since the 4850 blows my 3850 out of the water, that should be sufficient. Next, although a couple of Rosewill PSUs have gotten high marks on technical reviews, I'm not sure that was one (can't check at work), and the brand as a whole is considered crap. Then, by the time I need more than a 4850, I'll be able to get something like a 4870X2 without needing to replace my PSU.
a c 143 U Graphics card
September 4, 2008 6:31:35 PM

Riven02 said:

For now and in the foreseeable future I will be running all games at 1680x1050.

All prices are from NEWEGG. If you know of a better price somewhere else feel free to let me know.

SAPPHIRE 100245L Radeon HD 4850 - $149.99

SAPPHIRE 100247L Radeon HD 4870 - $249.99

PNY VCGGTX260XPB GeForce GTX 260 - $229.99

PNY XLR8 VCG98GX2XPB GeForce 9800 GX2 - $244.99


At that resolution they are all pretty good cards.
For example the HD 4870 is better than GTX 260 in Call of Duty 4 and World in Conflict and STALKER. They are equal in Mass Effect and FEAR. The GTX 260 wins in Crysis and Frontlines. In all cases the differences between these two are too small to notice in real life. Both are visibly better than the HD 4850. I'd avoid the 9800GX2 because it's a SLI pair of cards internally and that has some disadvantages.

http://www.guru3d.com/article/radeon-hd-4870-review--asus/9
http://www.guru3d.com/article/radeon-hd-4870-review--asus/11

I suggest you pick between HD 4870 and GTX 260. Personally I'd pick the HD 4870, but that's because I'd want a Crossfire setup and I trust Intel's X48 motherboards more than nVidia's 780i motherboards, and because I want Havok support for Diablo 3. You probably don't care about either of these. Flip a coin or something...


Related resources
a c 191 U Graphics card
September 4, 2008 7:11:29 PM

Interesting points, but I do not think a 500W Roe-swill PSU can be reliably counted on to power either of those.
a c 143 U Graphics card
September 4, 2008 7:20:43 PM

Roe-swill??? Good one :)  Yeah, I agree, it's not a trustworthy supplier. I would have picked a Corsair 650TX, for example.

The "500W" part is acceptable, on the other hand. Visiontek recommends "500W or greater" for HD 4870, and these recommendations are always padded for several reasons. Besides, this is a pretty minimal system with a 65W CPU and a single HDD.
a c 191 U Graphics card
September 4, 2008 7:27:22 PM

Oh right, it was the size and the manufacturer together that I wouldn't consider reliable.
September 4, 2008 7:40:47 PM

+1 to scary psu. :)  :)  4870 will nail that resolution for a good amount of time. but i would be concerned about that psu. also you went with 2gb of 1066. i assume you are doing 32 bit os? 2gb with a 4870 or gtx260 might be a bit of a struggle.

what os are you running? too late now but i would have gone 4gb ddr2 800.
September 4, 2008 11:16:16 PM

I am running xp 32bit. I went with 1066 because it was only 5$ more at the time and thought it would give me a bit more OC room. Why would my ram hurt my video card? That is prolly a newbie question, but I'm not making the connection.

So it seems like if I want a high end VC I will definitely need a new PSU even though mine is brand new...... I just made a mistake... it happens....

If I buy a new PSU is there anything else about my system that might hold me back? Am I just a PSU and a Video Card away from a nice gaming system? I am willing to eat the loss on the PSU if that would be the last step to getting a killer system.

September 5, 2008 1:06:32 AM

did any1 bother to search and see that his board doesn't support crossX or Sli, so his best bet would be the gx2:) 

And yes in some cases the Quad sli is disadvantage, but sli profile games (COD4, Crysis, GRID, fear etc) benefit while (hl2, oblivion, frontlines, etc) don't.



And a single GX2 would blow those cards out of the water, since its faster in the majority of the games.
September 5, 2008 1:46:17 AM

Looking at the benchmarks it seemed to me also that the GX2 was faster but it seems no one else likes it. After I made this post I found the video card roundup on this site and the GX2 seemed to be craZy fast. Is there a negative to it? I know there are some games that do not benchmark as well with the GX2 but it seemed like they all still ran good. I could be missing somthing though
September 5, 2008 1:53:29 AM

well for you its a good thing for others, it could be a bad since most ppl think that quad sli (2 GX2s) don't scale, which can be true in some cases, mostly in games with no SLI profile. But you have a single slot motherboard, the next best card for you would be the 4870 X2.

performance for you round up like this:

4870 X2 ($500+) > 9800 GX2 ($250+) > 280 GTX ($400+) >4870~260 GTX (depnds on the game) > 4850 > 9800 GTX+ and etc

P.S

People don't trust Quad sli, because past experiences has scared them off. Although they are right to react that way, you really have to test it out for yourself, its a hit or miss.

Either the game scales or stays the same. For me most games scale, and I also tweak the SLI-profile manually sometimes.

But I don't mind.

Oh yes one more thing that might be a disadvatange with GX2 is microstuttering, but to me it really doesn't affect gameplay and its a rare thing that happens, like when you see a tear in the screen once in a blue moon:) 

Don't make me get dagger in here:)  she has a lot of benchies:D 
September 5, 2008 2:01:18 AM

And what PSU would I need to run the GX2? Also I am going to have to buy a new dang case mine will not accept a large enough power supply so with the extreme length of these cards can someone point me toward a cheap case that a GX2 would fit in?

Also just to ask once again. If I get this card and a PSU I will be all set right? Nothing else in the build is missing?
September 5, 2008 2:08:23 AM

Well it ran fine with my 600 Watt PSU:)  so I'd say around 600 Watts and no lower to play it safe:p  So now that I look at your rig again you have a 500 watt:( 

The min on the box says 580 watts, Nvidia recommends 850 watts ( which in my opinion can run 2 GX2s lol, so thats overkill).

I think your missing CD/Dvd drive, unless I missed it, and Mouse and keyboard etc. Your okay though.

CPU
RAM
HDD
Motherboard
Case
CPU fan (although not needed unless oc)
You have thoses:) 
September 5, 2008 2:11:35 AM

Riven02 said:
And what PSU would I need to run the GX2? Also I am going to have to buy a new dang case mine will not accept a large enough power supply so with the extreme length of these cards can someone point me toward a cheap case that a GX2 would fit in?

Also just to ask once again. If I get this card and a PSU I will be all set right? Nothing else in the build is missing?


Power consumption of various cards, idle and load:
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3341&p=22

Typical 550w should cover it.
a c 143 U Graphics card
September 5, 2008 2:47:48 AM

This is from the newegg page of the BFG 9800 GX2:

Quote:
580W PCI Express-compliant system power supply with a combined 12V current rating of 40A or more*
One 8-pin and one 6-pin PCI Express supplementary power connector -or- Two 6-pin PCI Express supplementary power connectors

*Minimum system power requirement based on a PC configured with an Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700 processor


This is from the newegg page of the Visiontek HD 4870 X2:

Quote:
650 Watt or greater power supply with one 2x3-pin PCIe® power connector and one 2x4-pin PCIe power connector is required (1K Watt with two 2x3-pin and two 2x4-pin connectors for ATI CrossFireX technology in dual mode)


HD 4870 and 9800GTX+ and HD 4850 have lower recommended minimums.

A good 550W like the Corsair 550VX ($78) would do indeed, especially with a minimal system.
A Corsair 750TX ($110) would be worth the extra $32 IMO, especially if you get the 4870 X2 and want TV tuners and lots of hard disks and overclocking.
There's a 650TX too.

These recommendations are padded, i.e. if they recommend 650W you can usually get by with 550W. Still, I'd follow the recommendations.

What else you're missing: 4 GB of RAM and 64-bit Vista Home Premium.

RC-690 or Antec 900 are excellent cases with good cooling and can fit any video card I can think of and some pretty big PSUs. There's a RC-690 for $77 at www.buy.com with free shipping, for example.
http://www.buy.com/prod/cooler-master-690-without-power-supply/q/loc/101/206177908.html


September 5, 2008 4:45:27 AM

you need 4gb ram. if you go 32bit with 2gb and a big video card you are going to have a problem.
a c 143 U Graphics card
September 5, 2008 3:15:30 PM

And if you go 32bit with 4GB and a HD 4870X2 you'll only have access to 2 GB or something like that. The best video cards these days have lots of RAM and a 32-bit system simply can't address it all unless it loses access to a lot of the system RAM. That's why 64-bit Windows is becoming popular these days.
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