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Upgrading Graphics Card

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
July 26, 2009 7:48:00 PM

Hi, I'm sure you get a lot of people here asking similar questions, but I have a couple of questions:

I am looking at upgrading my GPU from my pc. AS it stands my pc has:

E8400, 4gb ram and a 8800gt (which has just been RMA'd, probably now going to be a 9800gt) on a P5N-E SLI motherboard.

SLI doesn't really appeal to me at the moment, but I will look into it in future. I will mainly be gaming on a 1280x1024 screen at the moment.

I have been looking at the GTX260 (216sp) or the 4870 1GB.

Would these cards give a boost to my average fps? Would they be the best thing to upgrade to, looking at spending £100-£150.

Which would be better for my build, in your opinion?

Also, is it worth going with nvidia purely for drivers/physx support? Or are these redundant?

Thanks in advance
a c 236 U Graphics card
July 26, 2009 7:56:05 PM

either of those card will give you a large FPS boosts
if fact you could step down to the GTS250 / 4850 and still max out settings at 1280x1024

as far as Nvifdia / ATI preference, go with whichever you like best, some games run better on Nvidia or ATI so you could check out card reviews using your favorite games.
July 26, 2009 8:00:59 PM

Thanks fo r the reply, in the past I have only really used nvidia, but have heard great things about the recent ati offerings.

I think, however I may go with the gtx260, as it leaves room for me to hook up my pc to my larger tv (dont have a console) when I have the flat to myself!!

I dont expect crysis at full details, but these would play games such as mass effect (not played it through yet!) and fallout 3 at good rates?

my current card is fine for source games, but I can feel a drop in other games.

Most recently I played arma2 (which I have a feeling overheated my old card, causing it to die on me), would these cards be able to handle that reasonably? I know it is very demanding and I would possibly be limited by the cpu.
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a c 191 U Graphics card
July 26, 2009 8:15:24 PM

Is that TV a 1080?
If so you really need to look at the GTX260 as a minimum and I would have said it makes no sense to get an ATI card for a SLI MB but then I found this:

And if you look around you can find the GTX275 is around for the 150 pound mark.
Look at Scan, Overclockers, CCL, Pixmania, Microdirect and Novatech to start.

One point of caution: All these cards need a fairly potent PSU with at least twin 6 pin PCI-E connectors and 500W output and if you move up to the GTX275/HD4890 calibre they may need 1x6 pin and 1x8 pin and 550W output.
July 26, 2009 8:19:25 PM

I think my psu is 600W from memory so hopefully it will suffice.

The tv has a pretty poor resolution (not 1080, possibly 1440x900 off the top of my head) so it wont be much of a problem I shouldn't think, but it'll be nice to watch films etc in widescreen. It would be used fairly irregularly since I dont often have the chance to have my pc in the lounge.

Also, would a 9800gt (my old card) fit in a small factor case? I think its micro atx, and would be an upgrade from a 8600gt, which is pretty small.

Also, coozie- thanks for those links, only really knew scan and overclockers.
a c 191 U Graphics card
July 26, 2009 8:33:10 PM

Depends on the case and card, a lot of small cases need low profile or half height cards but if it'll fit it will be a nice upgrade.

Prices are all over the place right now: That HD4890 is a stupidly good deal: GTX275 performance for under 140 quid? You'd have a job finding a GTX260 for much less, and it is a much slower card. If your PSU is up to it, I would advise you to get the Scan HD4890.
July 26, 2009 8:40:43 PM

It does seem like a good price. I have to wait a week or so for payday, but I will bookmark it and have a look. Its only £20 more than a 260 that I had my eye on, and cheaper than a factory OC'd card. The only niggling thing is that I've never used ati before, though I really shouldn't let that stop me.

Thanks for all the help. I'll spend the next week or so looking over the charts and trying to find the best deal. I think it might be best to go with a relatively cheap one so that I can look towards a new card in a couple of years.
July 26, 2009 9:03:57 PM

A final note- the guru3d article ( suggests the 4890>GTX260, apart from in Dead space (where at my resolution it suggests a "mere" 142 fps, more than enough!) and in far cry 2, where it still outperforms my card at the moment, with 49fps with 8xAA.

Thanks for the recommendation coozie, I am almost certain this will be my next card now!
July 26, 2009 9:05:28 PM

Save your money till the end of the year as DX11 GPUs are coming. Even if you don't purchase a DX11 GPU, the release of the new line will cause everything else to drop in price.

July 28, 2009 11:18:00 AM

Hmm. BFG have supplied me with a 9600gt as a replacement for an overclocked 8800gt.

Is this allowed? Its a downgrade from my original card.

Looks like I will have to upgrade before christmas, thanks to the RMA process with bfg. :( 
July 28, 2009 4:02:01 PM

coozie7 said:
Is that TV a 1080?
If so you really need to look at the GTX260 as a minimum and I would have said it makes no sense to get an ATI card for a SLI MB but then I found this:

Thats a shame, It has just been priced £10 higher (about 150 I think). A shame since I was thinking of buying it! I'll have to have a bit more of a think now.

EDit: my mistake, that was the XXX edition. the card has just changed to:

Is this the same card?
a c 191 U Graphics card
July 28, 2009 4:49:54 PM

^ Looks like the beastie, but then again I was on my Xth beer when I spotted it (or them...HeHe:) 
Still, prices are, as you have just seen, fluctuating on an almost daily basis.
If you are going to use a resolution no higher than 1440x900 or thereabouts then I'll stop spending your money for you and drop the GTX275/HD4890 as a recommendation and say you were correct all along: Go for a GTX260, you can always SLI later if need be but at 1440x900 it's more than enough for smooth gameplay.
Keep the money handy in your credit card and an eye on the prices, particularly during the weekend when the 'specials' come out to play.