Which card to buy for 1280x1024?

This is my current system

C2D E6420 (2.13ghz, o/c to 2.6ghz)
Nvidia 9600GT
WinXP, 3GB RAM
19" LCD at 1280x1024

I don't game very often, for example I bought the 9600GT a year ago and only played Mass Effect and Fallout 3 on the card. Now I'm playing the Witcher, and the FPS drops to an unacceptable level if I max out all detail settings. As you can see, I'm almost exclusively an RPG gamer.

I'm looking forward to playing Dragon Age Origins, and considering a graphics card upgrade. Any suggestions for gaming at 1280x1024? I want to spend as little as possible since I only have about 6 months of gaming left before I start my part-time studies . Or is it pointless for me to buy a current gen card if my CPU is a bottleneck?
21 answers Last reply
More about which card 1280x1024
  1. Good luck on hunting for 4770.

    I would suggest a 4850. Hopefully, your PSU isn't crap..
  2. +1 on the 4850
  3. I looked at some benchmarks, and the HD4830 doesn't seem to outperform the 9600GT by a significant margin. Would it make more sense to pump my money into a CPU upgrade instead? Maybe an E8400?
  4. Why don't you first overclock the 9600GT.
  5. Upgrading your cpu to an another C2D is pointless. Unless there's a huge gap of performance between them. Say an athlon x2 to a phenom II x2.
  6. shubham1401 said:
    Why don't you first overclock the 9600GT.

    +1

    That alone may do the trick. If not, he can also then do some stock/OC'ed 9600 GT benchmarks in Fraps at 1280x1024 & lowered to 1024x768 to confirm whether it's the GPU holding back performance. If the FPS drops don't improve, it's not the GPU.

    For comparison, although framerates aren't too high, [H] is calling an 8800GT playable at 1920x1200 2xaa and max details. And here a 9600GT is struggling at 12x10 no AA?
    http://enthusiast.hardocp.com/article/2008/01/07/witcher_gameplay_performance/3
  7. I think a new monitor is in order far before a new graphics card, 1280x1024 was okay a few years ago, but it's time to upgrade to something worthwhile.
  8. trkorecky said:
    I think a new monitor is in order far before a new graphics card, 1280x1024 was okay a few years ago, but it's time to upgrade to something worthwhile.



    Thats not valid for all of us.
    believe me More ppl are gaming on 12X10 than 19X** Resolution.
  9. shubham1401 said:
    Thats not valid for all of us.
    believe me More ppl are gaming on 12X10 than 19X** Resolution.

    I'm aware, I've read the disappointing statistics of the Steam surveys. More people are also running inexpensive OEM hardware with integrated video that hardly plays WoW/The Sims 2 at low-mid settings, then wonder why their "brand new" computer was obsolete two years before they even went to the local B&M store and threw down the money on it. I'd love standardization in the industry, or at least a minimum performance rating for integrated graphics chipsets for people who have no idea what they're buying, but that doesn't look too promising.
    But nowadays for ~$120 one can get a 20" 1680x1050 monitor and increase productivity drastically (among other things, probably a much better looking picture as well), checking deals you can grab a 1920x1080 monitor for only a slight bit more. Writing code on 1900x1200 is phenomenal, the ability to have two full pages of a document open side-by-side on 1680x1050 or higher really helps as well.
  10. IMO overclocking the 9600 is a waste of time.... If you are looking for a real performance boost get a 4850 or a 9800GTX......
  11. 4850 is the way to go.


    @trkorecky: yeah your right in some ways but he may like the size he has for other reasons and don't forget if he gets a bigger screen he will likely have to turn down the game settings he already plays at until he gets something more powerful to run that higher res. Which means still turning around to get the new card which not many people have the money to spare for both right now.
  12. My monitor is still working fine, and my wife would kill me if I replaced it for no good reason. :)

    Also, my PC desk is small, and just exactly fits my current 19" and CPU tower. A widescreen would not fit.

    I ran FRAPS last night, and I was surprised by the results frankly. FPS hovered in the 30s, even though it felt like the 20s.
  13. IMO 19" monitor is best for gaming.
    21" seems a bit too stretched to me.

    @redryder
    Try running the games without FRAPS.It seems to lower the fps when running.
  14. trkorecky said:
    I think a new monitor is in order far before a new graphics card, 1280x1024 was okay a few years ago, but it's time to upgrade to something worthwhile.


    For some people, the quote "If it ain't broke don't fix it" applies. Also suggesting to the guy to get a higher res monitor when at 1280x1024 and gaming his card is already having a hard time is ludicrous.


    shubham1401 said:
    Thats not valid for all of us.
    believe me More ppl are gaming on 12X10 than 19X** Resolution.


    * raises hand *
    My monitor works fine, usually it's the video card or processor that I need to upgrade first.


    @redryder

    Could you try recording the fps? It may be that at times you're dipping to 20's.
  15. My monitor native resolution is 1280x1024 - it is an LCD 19'' ACER 1914. And I just bought Sapphire HD 4890. Many people will now frown on how I am under-using
    the potential, but for now, I can't say I complain. Also, investing that way, I don't have to upgrade the card down the road - just going to get a new monitor and voila!

    EDIT : I must add that the jump in performance was huge on that resolution going from my old X1800 to the new card.
  16. shubham1401 said:
    IMO 19" monitor is best for gaming.
    21" seems a bit too stretched to me.

    @redryder
    Try running the games without FRAPS.It seems to lower the fps when running.


    I currently have a 17" because my 22" died.I like playing on 26 BUT only certain games. Some games have a feel to them that really fits well on large screens like Far Cry 2. While others are kind of annoying.
  17. I used to think that 1280x1024 was all you would really need. Then I got my 24" Ultrasharp monitor (1920x1200).
  18. Oc ur proc to 3ghz, oc ur 9600gt to 750mhz cc and just save the money.
  19. Well, eventually you're probably going to get a 22" monitor as they get ridiculously cheap and in months will be around $99. So, the price difference between a 4850 and 4870 now isn't that much, I'd get the 4870 so it'll last a few years. And if your motherboard supports 45 nm CPU's I'd upgrade to at least an e6300 to get the most from the new GPU upgrade.
  20. On my current system, I can get decent framerates at max graphics detail at 1280x1024.

    If I upgrade to a 1920x1200 monitor, I probably have to turn down detail to medium or even low (god forbid!). Would the increase in resolution justify the reduction in the detail settings? Meaning would games still look better?
  21. Games will do look better if you have max settings in high res monitor. But with low settings, I don't think so. I won't justify the switch. Higher resolution would mean higher requirements for your games to look awesome in the eye. Unless you upgrade your video card to something higher (hd 4890), you're games would look mediocre.
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