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Graphics Card Recommendation

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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July 6, 2009 5:17:53 PM

I want to upgrade my vga card but I just cannot decide..

Specs

AMD Athlon X2 5000+
2GB RAM
500 GB HD
PCI E 16X
19inch Screen
580w Xpower psu

I was thinking the gts 260 should be ok. Anybody plz help

a b U Graphics card
July 6, 2009 5:40:14 PM

What resolution do you play at?

A 260 would probably be overkill given how weak the CPU is.
July 6, 2009 5:59:08 PM

I would be most happy to play at 1440 x 900. I tried the gts 250 from a friend but there was a bit of a lag at all high settings...
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July 6, 2009 6:11:46 PM

a 4850 would be a pretty solid choice...
a b U Graphics card
July 6, 2009 6:16:47 PM

Agree, a 4850 would be morpe than enough for that resolution. You could probably go even lower than that. But given teh prices of a 4850 it is probably the best bang for your buck, and gives you the chance to get a bigger display if you see fit.
a c 235 U Graphics card
July 6, 2009 6:22:01 PM

a 4850 or gts250, depending on your ATI/Nvidia preference
a c 159 U Graphics card
July 6, 2009 6:36:24 PM

Your 8800 GTX is the maximum card your CPU can make use of. Many of your games will completely max out the CPU (at least one core; most games can't use two cores fully, that still means the CPU is maxed out).

You can look at this chart and get one at or below the 8800GTX level but you may wish to get another 8800 GTX.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gtx-radeon,...

so the 260 would be a waste of money.

Your other option is to purchase a faster CPU but at that point I'd be considering a new computer. I'd also upgrade to 4GB of RAM if it's not too expensive.

You are actually quite crippled for many newer games by having that CPU. I have the X2-4800+ and compare CPU usage (CTRL-ALT-DEL) so I know what I'm talking about. I've maxed out the CPU on at least one game using only an HD3870. I estimated the HD4770 would max out most games on the CPU but not all so it would be optimal. At this point I'll just wait though and upgrade the whole system.

Chart:
I noticed that this doesn't have all cards. The 8800 GTX may also not be the best deal. Anyway, use this as a guideline. Remember, a more expensive and faster card will work but you won't see any benefit in games.

If it was me, I'd upgrade your system like this:
- AMD X3 720
- 4GB (total) RAM (DDR2 I assume)
- GTX 275 896MB
a b U Graphics card
July 6, 2009 6:36:25 PM

The lowest 250 is 10$ more than a 4850, all the other (non sparkle) brands are 119 compared to 99 for the 4850.

I can't recommend a 250 given the current prices. A 4850 is a far better buy, so is a 4870.
a b U Graphics card
July 6, 2009 6:39:13 PM

Photon, the op never stated he has an 8800.

Though you are correct about his CPU, it is probably the reason he is gettign low FPS with a gts250. It may not be wise to spend much money on a new GPU given that you will soon need a new CPU.
July 6, 2009 6:39:14 PM

Agreeing with a point with previous comment; 260 would be crippled by the CPU.

I got a 260 with an Athlon x2 4850 @2.5GHz.
I realized the problem and got a Phenom II x3 720 BE @ stock 2.8GHz and my FPS with FarCry2 increased from ~30 to >50 at 1920x1200 'Very High'
a b U Graphics card
July 6, 2009 6:42:45 PM

gunnarhx said:
Agreeing with a point with previous comment; 260 would be crippled by the CPU.

I got a 260 with an Athlon x2 4850 @2.5GHz.
I realized the problem and got a Phenom II x3 720 BE @ stock 2.8GHz and my FPS with FarCry2 increased from ~30 to >50 at 1920x1200 'Very High'


Aye, dependign on the MB you have it may be worth considering a cheep CPU upgrade to go along with the GPU. You won't be able to take full advantage of a new GPU until you do so.But anything around the performance of a 4850 wouldnt be too crippled (it certainly would be bottlenecked a bit, but not enough to realyl kill teh upgrade potential). Otherwise if your current GPU is getting by alrigth in games it might be worth just saving up some cash. As it stands any single upgrade (cpu or gpu) probably won't get you the fps you are looking for.
a c 106 U Graphics card
July 6, 2009 7:22:40 PM

At 1440x900 I'd say go with a Radeon 4850. A GTS 250 would be ok too. I suppose you could also go with a 4870 or GTX 260, but anything more would be overkill with your CPU. The reason your games lagged with the GTS250 is probably because your CPU was holding it back. In that event you can do 1 of two things

1) Turn down CPU intensive settings in games (like particles), or

2) Overclock your CPU

Even with the original revision of the 5000 you should be able to reach close to 3.0Ghz. You may also get some slow down with 2GB of RAM if you have too many background programs running (itunes, real notification, messengers, etc. ) so I would recommend running a lean installation and getting rid of stuff you don't need, or just get some more RAM :D .
July 6, 2009 8:37:39 PM

Woow thats a load of replies!! thx

Well guys as I told you before I already tried the GTS 250 and the graphics were jolly good except for the fact that the fps decreased suddenly to 3-5 fps for about 7 seconds and then back up to 30 - 40 fps playing crysis at high level and it goes on every 2 mins.

Same efect when I played Unreal Tournament 3 on highest settings.


I formated the pc and running the game alone but no change it would always lag at some point... such a shame. I wonder if it is my psu 580w xpower or 2gb ram causing bottleneck...

I emailed nvidia support and they advised to change my psu or motherboard.. (not very helpful is it lol) but quite sure that my rig should support the gtx260... from nvidia's point of view.

http://www.nvidia.co.uk/HelpMeChoose/fx/HelpMeChoose.as...



a b U Graphics card
July 6, 2009 8:41:03 PM

I have troubles playingcrysis without someslow down on high settings...

Your CPU and a 250 are nowhere near powerful enough to drive crysis on high settings without slowdowns, just the way it is. Your computer just doesnt have the legs to play the newest games on the highest settigns anymore. Besides that i woudlnt judge a computer around crysis.. A 4850 would suffer the same problems. If you really do want super high FPS in crysis you need a new CPU.
July 6, 2009 8:44:37 PM

photonboy said:
Your 8800 GTX is the maximum card your CPU can make use of. Many of your games will completely max out the CPU (at least one core; most games can't use two cores fully, that still means the CPU is maxed out).

You can look at this chart and get one at or below the 8800GTX level but you may wish to get another 8800 GTX.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gtx-radeon,...

so the 260 would be a waste of money.

Your other option is to purchase a faster CPU but at that point I'd be considering a new computer. I'd also upgrade to 4GB of RAM if it's not too expensive.

You are actually quite crippled for many newer games by having that CPU. I have the X2-4800+ and compare CPU usage (CTRL-ALT-DEL) so I know what I'm talking about. I've maxed out the CPU on at least one game using only an HD3870. I estimated the HD4770 would max out most games on the CPU but not all so it would be optimal. At this point I'll just wait though and upgrade the whole system.

Chart:
I noticed that this doesn't have all cards. The 8800 GTX may also not be the best deal. Anyway, use this as a guideline. Remember, a more expensive and faster card will work but you won't see any benefit in games.

If it was me, I'd upgrade your system like this:
- AMD X3 720
- 4GB (total) RAM (DDR2 I assume)
- GTX 275 896MB




I would be prepared to do that except for the gtx 275 which would be above my budget... but I have got an AM2 socket. Will the x3 fit in there??? sorry if that a noob question.

Secondly my psu is only 580w... ;(

July 7, 2009 6:34:30 AM

i say try to overclock your cpu whatever you can...you should see an increase in performance from games that are cpu intensive, like crysis...I got an X2 6000 and it seems to handle crysis a little bit better than my friends X2 5200...
July 7, 2009 6:54:05 AM

GTX 260 or more is an overkill.

the Athlon would bottleneck it more than Hillary Clinton trying to launch a NASA shuttle.
July 7, 2009 5:27:31 PM

A lot of peoples are telling you that getting a 260GTX or a 4870 will bottleneck your system... but they don't consider price into the balance.

You can get a 4870 for as little as 125$ for the 512 mb version and a 4850 for 100$...

For 25$ more, just grab a 4870.
a b U Graphics card
July 7, 2009 5:36:13 PM

redgarl said:
A lot of peoples are telling you that getting a 260GTX or a 4870 will bottleneck your system... but they don't consider price into the balance.

You can get a 4870 for as little as 125$ for the 512 mb version and a 4850 for 100$...

For 25$ more, just grab a 4870.


Yes, we actually do take price into consideration. As that is really the primary factor in a bottleneck. You lose scalign because of a bottleneck, therefor every dolalr you spend over what you need gives you less and less performance.

The OP asked about a price range, $25 may not seem like a lot to you but it is to some. We told the OP his money is better spend ona cheeper card as the more cash he spends the less he gets for his dollar. I do not make a habit of telling folks to spend more money than they need. If he wants to still spend the money he can, but that is up to him. Realistically a 4850 is plenty, anything more would not be as good value for teh cash, given the limitations in scaling a bottleneck would bring.

Smooth framerates in somethin like crysis will probably require a CPU upgrade as well.
July 7, 2009 8:59:17 PM

well guys i did something foolish by all your perspective... I bought an XFX GTS 250 1GB. Please do not get frustrated. I tried it running crysis and ut3 again... and guess what... it started just fine with everything working absolutely fine. I was admiring the scenery when the inevitable happened.. fps dropped to 2-4 ps... I immediately posted it back to the supplier and they will refund the money (paid £130 including insurance)

Good lesson I have learnt... Guess my dream to play everything at highest will be held for some time later. I think I am going to get the 9600gso now...

thank you for all your support and messages. and thank you toms hardware...
!