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Best Graphics Card to run S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear Sky on high settings

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 27, 2009 7:45:14 AM

Hey Guys,
I’m a real fan of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R series and am looking to upgrade my graphics card to handle higher settings.

I currently have an Asus 7600GT card that lets Clear sky run but at average settings. In terms of what settings I’m looking for in an upgrade:

1280x1024 resolution is fine
Anti-aliasing – Not a major factor, its fine for it to be off to improve performance
Max object, texture, lighting and shadow quality
Sun rays and quality – high
SSAO – If possible
Volumetric lighting
DX 10

So what would be the best card to upgrade to preferably below $150 but if the card will last a long time i can stretch to $200, to run smoothly without lag to experience a solid atmosphere of the game and the new one soon to be released? Could you also indicate whether the card requires its own power source.

I’ve briefly looked into various cards but its all a bit mind boggling. So far the Geforce 9800 series has stood out but price vs. specs has tied me up on what version

Any help appreciated
Cheers
September 27, 2009 9:30:49 AM

yep what he said, also think ahead 1-2 years from now when there will be many other games in dx 11, plus new tech has more Max object, texture, lighting and shadow quality, More advanced features

check out these pics and vids on dx 11 stalker http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/page-102695_25_0.ht...
scroll down to see the shading pics
Related resources
September 27, 2009 9:36:38 AM

So was it both of those cards that wont support dx11 or just the second one?
The HD 4870 seems like the choice due to the size of the other card. But it would seem that i would need to invest in cooling and power for that card, any idea if thats needed and if so what kind of money would i need to upgrade?

Just another point, i will need to upgrade my processor too, its currently an Intel Pentium 4 3Ghz, what kind of processor would i need to allow a new graphics card to run at its best, again without going overkill
a c 141 U Graphics card
September 27, 2009 9:47:06 AM

both cards will not be able to use dx11 since you need the hardware needed for dx11 to be able to use dx11. but with that cards you still be able to play dx11 games with reduce feature.

as for processor, if you have tight budget dual core will be fine. try to get dual core with high clock like E8500 (3.16)
September 27, 2009 10:03:00 AM

get the ati 5850 and the best cpu u can afford. The better the parts you buy now will help the pc run games better for longer.
so dont be to cheap :) 
ps the card comes with its own fan u dont need to invest in cooling it. what psu do you have?
September 27, 2009 10:15:23 AM

I think I may be overshooting the mark with these cards, im in Australia so US$150 is pushing it into AU$200 for the HD 4870. Also i think these level cards are too high tech for my needs. Scaling down a notch or two, what are the best cards in the $100 -$150 range. So far ive see 1GB HD 4850 as a viable option.

i should stress that im a casual gamer looking to improve the atmosphere created by games such as STALKER and remove lag from high settings. is the geforce 9800 series worth looking into and if so how do they compete with the Radeon cards?

any other information on cards in the 9800 and 4850 price-performance bracket would be tops?

cheers
a c 164 U Graphics card
September 27, 2009 10:25:38 AM

This shows where the cards fall relative to each other:

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/best-graphics-card,review...

Also more information on your system is needed: There's no point putting a fast card into a slow machine, you'll just see no results other than a reduced bank balance.

As a side note: I bought one of those XFX cards linked to by Renz496 and sent it back: The cooler was total crap, loud and ineffective (92c Furmark at 100%, side off the case). You have been warned!
September 27, 2009 10:35:06 AM

is the HD 4830 worth a look? what does it compare to?
a c 164 U Graphics card
September 27, 2009 10:39:00 AM

^^Check my link, mate.
September 27, 2009 10:41:08 AM

again -check my link as well mate :0
September 27, 2009 10:49:34 AM

Thanks guys, helped out alot
Just to finalize off, it looks like the 4830 or 4850 are the major choices, which one of these cards (or cards in same ballpark as on coozie7 link) will give the performance i'm looking for for the money. the 4830 is about AU$100 and the 4850 at AU$150. which one will give me more bang for my buck? remembering i'm casual and just looking for solid settings with no lag

again thanks alot for your help, has made my search far easier
September 27, 2009 11:00:13 AM

4850 will do the job with stalker...

well 5850 wud b..wise but still..

no heaps !
a c 164 U Graphics card
September 27, 2009 11:02:46 AM

The 4850 is a fair bit faster but watch the cooler, that card can run hot on stock cooling like this:

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

A cooler like this is much better:

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

Of course, if the case has very good airflow, the cooler is less of an issue.

Just a point on expectations, sunrays and high-end DX10 features are known framerate killers, even for high end cards, do not expect high framerates if you apply too many of those features!
September 27, 2009 11:11:47 AM

For a 4850, will a 1GB be a major change from a 512Mb???
September 27, 2009 11:18:21 AM

only if u plan higher resolutions !

wanna play above 1440 ?

den YEAH !
a c 164 U Graphics card
September 27, 2009 3:12:56 PM

At lower resolutions 512Mb is usually enough but if the 1Gb card is only a few dollars more I would say get it. The extra memory can be useful in smoothing out gameplay because the card can hold more data, preventing or minimising those little glitches caused by the card reading new texture data during play.
September 27, 2009 3:45:26 PM

Hello just to give a opinion of mine i think u should wait a bit and grab a 5750 which is supposed to be replacing the 4870 at $150 or less has all the newer tech of the 5870 and should be or supposed to be running all the games at highest settings in 1280 resolution. It will be the best for u and by then mayb u will get those 4series cards a bit cheaper. A 4850 is excellent for that resolution indeed and will run all the games at highest ingame settings(including crysis which is by far the most demanding game in the history) pretty smoothly. But getting a new gen cards not only gives u access to newer tech and architecture but also will be more power efficient and maybe less heat/noise and atlast maybe a bit better overclocker than the current card in emergency case :) 
!