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Which Video Card to Buy

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July 8, 2009 9:44:26 PM

I am dipping into the video card market and had a couple questions after quite a bit of research. Typically I build a computer, and about mid-cycle (18 months in) I upgrade my video card, and then at the 3 year mark I build a new PC. I currently have an nVidia 8800GT 640MB on a Abit IP35-E Mobo and an Intel Q6600 processor running at 3.0Ghz. I play World of Warcraft and plan to play Starcraft 2 when it releases. I also go in spurts of playing FPS games that suit my fancy. I play on a 24" dell monitor in 1920x1200 resolution. In fact purchasing the new monitor is what made me interested in upgrading cards as the resolution definitely stresses my framerates a little more.

The sweet spot seems to be $150-200 as more than that I'm not willing to spend and for less I don't get enough upgrade for the trouble. Three cards seem to fit into that category. The GTX 260, Radeon 4870, and Radeon 4890. All price within the $150-200 range based on which card you choose, with the 4890 running about $25-30 more typically. So after the setup here's my main questions:

1) Are these cards worth it? It seems like I'd see about 80-100% add'l frames with these cards but I wanted to make sure that made sense

2) Is now a reasonably good time to buy?

3) Which of the three cards offers the best value in the range I'm in?

4) Will these cards likely work fine with my system or are there some pitfalls I should be careful of?

5) Lastly if you recommend a card is there a particular model/brand that you would choose? I spent 2 hours today looking at 20 different GTX 260s :) 

Thanks for your help!

More about : video card buy

July 8, 2009 10:25:22 PM

im in the same spot. im also using a 8800GT EVGA. ive been looking at many websites for benchmarks and also looking at best bang for the buck. if i decide to get anything between 200-250 i think the HD4890TOXIC is going to win me over. overclocked from factory and has really great benchmarks. thing that makes me mad is i want the next gen card but with DX11 right around the corner almost not worth to get a new one till DX11 cards come out but blah i cant wait lol. around your price range id say get the HD4870 2gb Vapor ill post link below.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

for 199.99 cant go wrong, it seems to me that the new ATI's are running games little bit better at higher resos. ive been both a ATI and Geforce fan for years. think im going to give ATI a chance for this new upgrade.
a b U Graphics card
July 8, 2009 10:55:02 PM

adam61 said:


1) Are these cards worth it? It seems like I'd see about 80-100% add'l frames with these cards but I wanted to make sure that made sense

2) Is now a reasonably good time to buy?

3) Which of the three cards offers the best value in the range I'm in?

4) Will these cards likely work fine with my system or are there some pitfalls I should be careful of?

5) Lastly if you recommend a card is there a particular model/brand that you would choose? I spent 2 hours today looking at 20 different GTX 260s :) 

Thanks for your help!


1) All 3 cards will be better than what you have, but 100% improvement might be asking a bit much. Check some benchmarks, the 4890 is the clear performance king of the three you listed

2) There is no such thing as a good time to buy. Whatever you get will be slow in 8 months.

3) For your resolution I would stick with a 1gb card. As far as value goes the 4870 is the best bang for the buck if you don't overclock. The 4890 is a screamer if you don't mind overclocking a bit. Get one with a better than stock cooler.

4) They will work fine.

5) If it is in stock this one hands down as far as 4890's go: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Though the new ASUS seem to have a nice cooler.
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a b U Graphics card
July 8, 2009 10:56:59 PM

To add: If you are planning on keeping this card for a long while you might consider waiting till the fall and get a dx11 card. I generally wouldn't worry unless you want this puppy for a couple years. I don't expect a huge rush to make dx11 games, though it will be a faster uptake than dx10 was.
a c 236 U Graphics card
a b Ý World of Warcraft
July 9, 2009 12:09:23 AM

Some good advice from daedalus685 I think.

You might look at this article which measures how good a gaming experience you get with different cards/games/resolutions. The cpu was a E8400 @3.0.
http://www.guru3d.com/category/call_duty_4_pc/
a c 106 U Graphics card
July 9, 2009 12:18:15 AM

Go with the Radeon 4890. It may not be 100% increase but it will be a pretty good increase. If your card is fine for the games you play right now, then you may just want to wait till the DX11 cards roll around, or until there is a really good sale on the 4890 :D .
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