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Graphics card for a non-gamer

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 21, 2008 3:00:39 PM

I'm probably going to buy a Dell XPS 420 within the next few months.

I'm a non-gamer and a pretty average computer user... internet, office apps, music, light photo editing, movie watching, etc.

The base choice for the Dell system is the ATI Radeon HD3650 256MB... for $50 more I can have the Radeon ATI HD 2600 XT 256MB, and for another $50 above that I can have the ATI Radeon HD3870 512MB GDDR4.

For what I use my computer for, would getting one of the upgraded choices provide any benefit to me at all?

More about : graphics card gamer

a b U Graphics card
September 21, 2008 3:11:49 PM

The base is the 2400Pro, but for $50, get the HD3650. All you need for all that is integrated really, but the HD3650 would be a wise investment. The 2600XT for an extra $50 is a joke because the 2600XT and the HD3650 are in the same performance class. The only reason to go to the HD3870 if you're planning on gaming within the next 6 months.
September 21, 2008 3:44:39 PM

Dont get the Dell at all.

Build your own and save a ton, and use onboard video.
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September 21, 2008 4:03:27 PM

roadrunner197069 said:
Dont get the Dell at all.

Build your own and save a ton, and use onboard video.

If you know how, you definitely would save a lot by building it yourself.
September 21, 2008 5:28:21 PM

I don't know how to build a system and I've had good experience with Dell, so I'd rather just spend the extra few hundred and have the system built for me.

Why would you recommend using onboard video? I know onboard can handle what I do just fine, but isn't it better to have a dedicated graphics card to dip into the system memory?
a b U Graphics card
September 21, 2008 6:32:53 PM

Well, AMD/ATi boards (HD3200 from the 780G chipset) is very good at video playback and a little gaming (maybe? lol). Besides, Phenom's are NOT that far away from C2Q's in real life apps performance.

It will save you a LOT of bucks, maybe more than you think. I'll make a quick build and post it later.

Esop!
a c 106 U Graphics card
September 21, 2008 6:48:15 PM

Go with the 3650. Basically the 3650 is the same as the 2600XT, but the 3650 is made on a smaller process and thus needs less power and generates less heat. I can't imagine why they would charge more for a 2600XT over a 3650. If you meant the 3450 though that's a whole other story. Anyway get the 3650. If you ever decide to put a blu-ray drive into your computer it will allow for smooth playback. If you are not going to play any games, then the 3870 will never be put to use by you so it will be wasted money.
a b U Graphics card
September 21, 2008 6:51:52 PM

Phenom X3 ($130): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

WD Caviar 250GB ($70): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Kingston 2x1GB DDR2 800 ($32.5): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Foxxconn A7GM-S ($67): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

APEX Mini-ATX + 300W PSU ($40): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Till this point, this build sums up: $339.5

I don't trust that PSU from the case, so i'd add this:

Logisys 480W ($16): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Also, I'd add a keyboard, mouse and a monitor, but those can be found anywhere. The cheapest XPS-420 is $799 btw :p 

Esop!
a c 236 U Graphics card
September 21, 2008 6:55:34 PM

@metsfan: To answer your question, you probably do not need a graphics card upgrade for anything you mentioned, with the possible exception of movie watching. Ram is cheap, so it is no real problem if the graphics card uses some of it.
Would you post the components and cost of all the parts you are considering?
No doubt, you can get a list of parts from forum members here to build it yorself. If you are considering anything better than an entry level system, a custom build can be significantly cheaper.
If you build it yourself, you will get a clean system with out "bloatware" and trial programs which can be a pain to get rid of. It only takes a couple of yours to do, assuming you have all the parts on hand.

The satisfaction is priceless.
September 21, 2008 7:09:24 PM

Building your own computer is actually easier than you would imagine (assuming you don't get any DOA parts), especially if you can get friends that know how to do it to help.

If you're getting DELL, they sometimes have really nice deals or discounts for their XPS 420 (so just check on a weekly basis).
a c 175 U Graphics card
September 21, 2008 7:09:51 PM

And you would trust a Logisys PSU?
Get one of the Antec Basiq PSUs instead, or whichever Earthwatts Newegg has on special this week (one of them is always a good deal).
Antec earthwatts EA430 430W ATX12V v2.0 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail $35 after MIR: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Put it in one of the low-end Rosewill cases. They have plenty of room, have a 120mm fan in back and a place for another 120mm in front.
This one is $25: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Get this RAM instead, for $32: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168.... It has slightly better timings.
That Foxconn mobo may be okay, but I'm not sure how durable it is. This Asus one is $77 but has free shipping: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
a b U Graphics card
September 21, 2008 7:17:19 PM

Actually i don't trust either, haha. But since it's not a gaming machine, the PSU won't be stressed out to it's limits.

And yeah, those parts are a better fit to this build, wich still is WAY WAY cheaper than the XPS-420.

I also noticed that the XPS doesn't come with a monitor, lol.

Esop!
a c 79 U Graphics card
September 21, 2008 7:51:45 PM

^^that newegg whislist asks for a login, not very usefull :p 

but yeah, don't get a dell, build your own.
a c 236 U Graphics card
September 21, 2008 7:57:15 PM

@kari: If you have a newegg account, go to their site and login. Then you can see those wish lists.
a c 79 U Graphics card
September 21, 2008 8:02:36 PM

^^well I don't have, and I'm not sure I want to get one just see some budget setup. :D 
They don't ship to Europe so the account would be pretty useless...
a c 236 U Graphics card
September 21, 2008 8:19:03 PM

Kari said:
^^well I don't have, and I'm not sure I want to get one just see some budget setup. :D 
They don't ship to Europe so the account would be pretty useless...

Good point.
Maybe posters should cut and paste their list instead of linking to them.
a c 79 U Graphics card
September 21, 2008 8:23:25 PM

didn't newegg use to have 'public' wishlists as well, that didn't need a account to see them? Or am I thinking of some other site?
a b U Graphics card
September 21, 2008 10:03:31 PM

I'm not using newegg to make him buy from there. I'm using it to list a reference point for prices. It might not be the best place to make a list to compare, but that list is very usefull to illustrate my point: Dell is expensive for his needs.

Esop!
a c 175 U Graphics card
September 21, 2008 11:32:04 PM

Rosewill R220-P-BK Black 0.5mm SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
Model #:R220-P-BK
Item #:N82E16811147074

$29.99 -$5.00 Instant $24.99

BIOSTAR TFORCE TA790GX A2+ AM2+/AM2 AMD 790GX HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
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Item #:N82E16813138128

$99.99 $99.99

Antec Basiq BP500UB 500W ATX12V Version 2.01 Active PFC Power Supply - OEM
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Item #:N82E16817371019

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AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ Brisbane 2.6GHz Socket AM2 65W Dual-Core Processor Model ADO5000DOBOX - Retail
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A-DATA 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model ADQVE1A16K - Retail
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Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
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LITE-ON 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model iHAS120-08 - Retail
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Subtotal: $349.44
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