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Graphics Card upgrade only or more?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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April 8, 2009 5:51:27 AM

I hate to ask since there's so many of these, but...

I've read through the stickied threads and the various articles for the best graphics cards in price ranges, but I'm having a lot of trouble nailing down what I should buy, primarily because I'm not entirely sure if its -just- the graphics card I need to upgrade, or if I need to replace my PSU and motherboard as well, and I haven't really kept up on computer hardware the last four-five years.

Now, I'm running an ATI card (Radeon 1600ish) and know I need to upgrade it (primarily because its acting up, like its going to bite the dust soon). I have an ASUS P5N32-SLI Premium motherboard and an Antec TruePower 2.0 PSU (480 Watt output). I seem to be having heating issues (screen will get numerous greenish lines and then a VPU Recover message or reboot, although both only happen once a day at most, sometimes only once or twice every two weeks), and think the fans (which sound like they've gotten louder, despite frequent cleanings). So I may need to replace the PSU regardless.

Reason I'm asking for help in choosing a graphics card, however, is all these x2 cards (where you have the multiple gpus on a single card, like in-built SLI/Crossfire) and.. I guess I'm old fashioned as it just stumps me as to what I need to run those properly in regards to my motherboard (other than Crossfire is out of the question).

My budget is around $600 (yay for a timely bonus), and any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

More about : graphics card upgrade

a b U Graphics card
a b V Motherboard
April 8, 2009 6:20:43 AM

Ceryse said:
I hate to ask since there's so many of these, but...

I've read through the stickied threads and the various articles for the best graphics cards in price ranges, but I'm having a lot of trouble nailing down what I should buy, primarily because I'm not entirely sure if its -just- the graphics card I need to upgrade, or if I need to replace my PSU and motherboard as well, and I haven't really kept up on computer hardware the last four-five years.

Now, I'm running an ATI card (Radeon 1600ish) and know I need to upgrade it (primarily because its acting up, like its going to bite the dust soon). I have an ASUS P5N32-SLI Premium motherboard and an Antec TruePower 2.0 PSU (480 Watt output). I seem to be having heating issues (screen will get numerous greenish lines and then a VPU Recover message or reboot, although both only happen once a day at most, sometimes only once or twice every two weeks), and think the fans (which sound like they've gotten louder, despite frequent cleanings). So I may need to replace the PSU regardless.

Reason I'm asking for help in choosing a graphics card, however, is all these x2 cards (where you have the multiple gpus on a single card, like in-built SLI/Crossfire) and.. I guess I'm old fashioned as it just stumps me as to what I need to run those properly in regards to my motherboard (other than Crossfire is out of the question).

My budget is around $600 (yay for a timely bonus), and any help would be appreciated. Thanks.


Well could you give more info about you total system config ???
And $600 just for the graphics card???
April 8, 2009 10:59:24 AM

gkay09 said:
Well could you give more info about you total system config ???
And $600 just for the graphics card???


Well, I'd hope not! But its the maximum I could afford to spend on a graphics card and anything else I might have needed.

I'm not too concerned about cutting edge performance and such, but since it'd likely be 2-3 years before the next upgrade (unless my financial situation improves drastically by then) I figure I should try to do as well as I can.

As for my computer; Core 2 Duo 6600 (2.4 GHz), 2 gigs of RAM, and using the on-board sound (as sound quality isn't a major issue for me). I use Windows XP, and likely continue to do as such. Moreover, I never run a resolution higher than 1600x1200. A single hard-drive (500 gigs), and a fairly standard DVD writer/player. I mainly use my computer for gaming and work (writing).

Nothing else to my system; temp wise it runs between 40-48 degrees Celcius, but I think the graphics card I currently have (the ATI Radeon 1600) is dying -- and regardless I should upgrade it when I can afford to. I use a fairly old CRT monitor (LCD's and such give me migraines, alas). I have zero intentions of things such as overclocking.

Primarily I'm just confused regarding the new fangled technology on video cards, as it were -- specifically the single cards that seem to have built-in SLI as they're essentially two cards in one, instead of two actual cards. My motherboard is old enough I'm not sure it can run those, in spite of being SLI capable, or if my PSU should be upgraded with the video card upgrade, or at least purchase a more recent one (as it is nearly three years old).
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April 8, 2009 11:36:11 AM

For Gaming, a core 2 duo will go a long way, all benchmarks show very little benefit from quad cores in current games, so no need to change your CPU / motherboard. You could consider upgrading your memory to 4 gigs (effective 3.5 gigs on XP) but again, most games seem to be optimized for 2 gigabytes anyways. DDR2 is cheap these days though.

If you are worried or annoyed by increasing noise from the PSU, consider replacing that one, but 480W should be enough for a single graphics card, and you don't need anything above a HD4870 / GTX260core216 for your resolution.

I'd start with just the GPU, than if the power supply starts acting up, replace that one with a nice, efficient and silent one. The problems you describe sound like heating issues with the graphics card, not the PSU.

Then save your money for:

1) a nice silent CPU cooler and overclock that 6600
2) an SSD - the OCZ Vertex series or similar will go down in price soon - and at least within a year you should be able to get a very nice SSD for less than $200 - a good SSD will make a world of difference to system responsiveness in everyday use, boot in 15 seconds and get an instantly usable desktop. With the right tweaks (aligning the partition most important) even a cheap SSD can perform very well.
3) consider windows 7 and some more memory when games start utilizing it
a b U Graphics card
a b V Motherboard
April 8, 2009 11:42:15 AM

Ceryse said:
Well, I'd hope not! But its the maximum I could afford to spend on a graphics card and anything else I might have needed.

I'm not too concerned about cutting edge performance and such, but since it'd likely be 2-3 years before the next upgrade (unless my financial situation improves drastically by then) I figure I should try to do as well as I can.

As for my computer; Core 2 Duo 6600 (2.4 GHz), 2 gigs of RAM, and using the on-board sound (as sound quality isn't a major issue for me). I use Windows XP, and likely continue to do as such. Moreover, I never run a resolution higher than 1600x1200. A single hard-drive (500 gigs), and a fairly standard DVD writer/player. I mainly use my computer for gaming and work (writing).

Nothing else to my system; temp wise it runs between 40-48 degrees Celcius, but I think the graphics card I currently have (the ATI Radeon 1600) is dying -- and regardless I should upgrade it when I can afford to. I use a fairly old CRT monitor (LCD's and such give me migraines, alas). I have zero intentions of things such as overclocking.

Primarily I'm just confused regarding the new fangled technology on video cards, as it were -- specifically the single cards that seem to have built-in SLI as they're essentially two cards in one, instead of two actual cards. My motherboard is old enough I'm not sure it can run those, in spite of being SLI capable, or if my PSU should be upgraded with the video card upgrade, or at least purchase a more recent one (as it is nearly three years old).


Actually you can get a high performance PC platform for $600(CPU+MOBO+GPU+More RAM) ;) 
If you are willing toswitch to AMD, then I could suggest a few options...
a b U Graphics card
a b V Motherboard
April 8, 2009 12:02:20 PM

Well here goes...

CPU + Mobo combo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

GPU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Your PSU might be just on the edge with setup and this graphics card...I would suggest you get the PSU
Else if you dont want to change the PSU, then get this card...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU - If required...(This can support 2 cards in xfire)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total $569 without rebates and withut PSU...
With PSU - $650 including rebates...
!