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Do I need to upgrade my Graphics Card?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 1, 2009 2:51:13 PM

I'm building a new i7 desktop that will be used mostly for photoshop, multitasking and work purposes. I would like to use the computer for gaming though. My plan was to use my old card that is a PSI Nvidia GeForce 8600 GT. I would like to play the most current games and have a nice experience. I don't think I can stomach spending 300+ dollars on a video card. Can someone please tell me if my current card is a decent card or if you would recommend upgrading it? Please tell me what card you would recommend for my build. Here is a quick overview of my system. I have already ordered the parts and they are being shipped now. I know the case is over the top for my purposes but I wanted the option to expand my system if desired, plus it got great reviews.

Case: Antec Twelve Hundred Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case - Retail
Item #: N82E16811129043

Mem: CORSAIR DOMINATOR 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TR3X6G1600C8D - Retail
Item #: N82E16820145224

Mobo: EVGA 132-BL-E758-A1 LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
Item #: N82E16813188039

Power: CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
Item #: N82E16817139006

Hard Drive: Western Digital VelociRaptor WD3000GLFS 300GB 10000 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
Item #: N82E16822136260

OS: Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 64-bit for System Builders - OEM
Item #: N82E16832116493

Thanks for the help!

More about : upgrade graphics card

January 1, 2009 3:04:33 PM

You spent extra money on the case, memory and hard drive but want to cheap out on the video card? OK if 300 is to much, how much do you want to spend? You can get ATI's 4850 for 150, a 4870 for 200 the Nvidia 9800s for 150-200 or a GTX 260 for 200-250.
a c 130 U Graphics card
January 1, 2009 3:13:35 PM

You definitely need to upgrade the graphics to get any kind of gaming experience out of that system, are we talking latest titles here or what ? Also what type/ size/res of display are we powering here. What does occur to me is you are saying you cant stomach paying 300 for a decent card. Well it looks like you spent plenty already so what needs answering is do you have the money or just dont want to spend it.
Im not trying to be funny here and can get that the i7 is best for other purposes but cheaping out on the graphics card would be a waste of the system as far as gaming goes.
I have no worries recommending a decent budget card based on your screen size/ resolution, just seems a shame to let all that power go to waste for the sake of say 100 bucks extra.
Mactronix
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January 1, 2009 3:18:44 PM

I can spend $300 on a card if needed but will I really see and notice a huge difference from what I already have? I don't know if this makes any difference but I have dual 22" monitors. Is the difference night and day with graphics? For example, there is a noticable difference in graphics between the Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360. Is that the type of difference I will see by upgrading my current card? Thanks.
January 1, 2009 3:24:05 PM

mschude said:
I can spend $300 on a card if needed but will I really see and notice a huge difference from what I already have? I don't know if this makes any difference but I have dual 22" monitors. Is the difference night and day with graphics? For example, there is a noticable difference in graphics between the Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360. Is that the type of difference I will see by upgrading my current card? Thanks.


Depends on what games you play, some you will see a marginal improvement some you will see a huge improvement. Overall, Yes, you will see an improvement. If you don't want to spend to much go with a single card for right now. With the x58 board you have you can go crossfire or SLI later on if you feel like you don't have enough juice.
January 1, 2009 3:26:53 PM

Hi Mactronix, I have dual 22" LCD Honeywell Arius Monitors. here are the specs.

Type: 22” color TFT active matrix LCD
Optimum Resolution: 1680 x 1050
Contrast Ratio: 700:1
Viewing Angle: 176 degree
Response Time: 2ms
Brightness: 300 nits (typ)
Display Colors: 16.2 million
Audio Output Power: 2 x 2 watt
Built-in 1.3MP webcam with microphone
Connectors: 1x VGA 1x DVI 3x USB 1x audio in(3.5mm) 1x audio out(3.5mm)
Stand tilts, swivels, and rotates
Warranty: 3 Year Limited
Model: HWLM2216 (SKU MT-SY-HWLM2216)
a b U Graphics card
January 1, 2009 3:45:36 PM

unfortunately dual 22" inch monitors calls for gpu's around 300$. you sure you dont want to spend that much?. a 4850x2 paired with that i7 definitely has a lot of potential.
a c 130 U Graphics card
January 1, 2009 3:51:25 PM

Yea see thats a really nice set up and pretty much regardless of what games you play the kind of cards that would make the most of that set up are gong to be as you say night and day compared to a 8600 card.
Not the same kind of night and day as the Wii and XBox but thats what we Graphics tec heads call an Apples to Oranges comparison.
What you will find is that there are games that the 8600 just plain wont run much above a slide show and with very limited detail/ quality. If you spend out on a decent high-ish end Card then you would get a very decent experiance and be able to turn on the whistles and bells so to speak, Anti Aliasing and AF make a huge differance to the Quality of the on screen image and the 8600 just dosent have the power to deliver.
Personally if i had a system like yours i would first need to consider how i was to run it. Both screens at all times ? Or two for the work stuff and run a single for gaming ( Thats what i would do),. secondly, serious games. Far Cry 2/ Crysis or simple games that need less Graphics power ?
If your looking to run both monitors at full res and want a decent gaming experiance with the latest titles then you have to be looking at the top of the tree, IE Nvidia 2800GTX or HD 4870 X 2.
As i said my choice would be to run a single monitor for games and taking into account that you can go either SLI or Crossfire i would get either a HD 4780 (My personal choice) or a GTX 260 or 280 and then if i felt the need i would get a second at a later date.
Mactronix
January 1, 2009 4:05:50 PM

It' looks like my budget has now changed with the posts. It was just that I was trying to stay in a budget but $300 will be fine. Taxes, Christmas, Economy is why i was thinking cheaper :) 

Mactronix, I think I will use a single monitor for gaming as suggested. I will check out the video cards you suggested.

Its funny you mentioned the 260 Gtx because I was looking at that on Newegg. it's priced at $234. Is the card listed below what you're talking about?

EVGA 896-P3-1260-AR GeForce GTX 260 896MB 448-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
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