Graphics Card on a Budget

Hello All!
I have been a PC Tech for about 6 years now, and have used this forum numerous times for answers. The community here seems great, and that is why I chose this forum to ask my question.

In my "Gaming PC" (or sorry excuse thereof), my 256mb DDR2 GeForce 8800 GT just died. Back in my day, I kept up with videos cards rather well, but now with a family and full-time job, I have very little time to make heads or tails of anything. I work as a tech for a university, so a GPU fell off of my list of "things I need to know."

I have a pretty set budget of about $50, and I need a new gaming card. I know for that amount of money my choices are slim, but I want to hear the community's advice. I would rather stay with nVidia if possible, but if an ATI card fits the bill, then that is the direction I will go.

There are two things that are currently important to me. I want to be able to play next-gen games on the PC on medium settings (Specifically Dragon Age: Origins - not next gen, but close enough). I also use the Unreal Development Kit and Unity3D for game development part-time, so the card will need to be able to handle those.

One last thing, my power supply is 375w.

Thanks - and sorry about the long post.

12 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about graphics card budget
  1. @HibyPrime - Thanks for the quick response. I looked over the specs of that card and they indeed seem to be what I am after. One thing I noticed, however, is that this card requires a PCI-E 2.0 slot, and I have a 1.1a slot on my XPS 410. I have read that 2.0 cards are backwards compatible, but should I expect to run into any problems?
  2. I could actually afford this card as well, but I am not sure my power supply could handle it - what do you guys think?
  3. No you wont run into any problems, they are fully backward compatible.

    Dragon age isn't quite next gen, but the 4670 should run it on medium settings without trouble up to 1680x1050 - if your resolution is higher than that, then you're SOL :P

    Also, nVidia's options at this price range don't make a lot of sense, once you get closer to $100 they start to be more competitive with price/performance ratios.

    One last thing: I know this isn't what you were hoping to hear, but you'd probably have to spend another $30 on a better card and another $50 on a PSU to get better performance than your broken 8800GT. The 4670 should be around 20% slower on average (I pulled that number out of my ass, but it should be close - I dont feel like pulling up benches right now lol).

    Edit: The 4670 should be just a little bit slower than the 3870, but will run cooler and use less power. If you want anything more powerful than the 4670 (or around a 9600GT on the nVidia side) you're going to need to get a new PSU.
  4. Your best bet is a HD 4670. If you don't mind wait for a $30 rebate, the following Asus will end up costing you only $38:

    That's the best you can do with $50 whether or not it can play Dragon Age - Origins on medium settings depends on your desired resolution.

    The 9500GT is the only nVidia card that is within the $50 range and it competes against the HD 4650, not the HD 4670.
  5. I have a little experience with ATITool and RivaTuner - is the 4670 a decent card to overclock, or would I be wasting my time?
  6. really the only thing you can use would be a 4670
  7. What does a GT220 cost over there?
  8. Best answer

    Just as good as the HD4670 but cheaper and OCs better. It also uses a bit more power but I would think if your PSU handled a 8800gt it should be fine.
  9. Sorry for the redundant post (took me a while to get it posted), but it looks like everyone else agrees. You can get a slight overclock, but I doubt you would gain much. It has an automatic setting for "auto tune" in CCC where it does all the work, you could try that.
  10. After comparing the HD4670 and the GeForce 9600 GSO, I decided to go with the GeForce. The reviews seem to lean me towards that card and the specs were almost on par with the 8800GT (Although the clock speeds of the 9600 seem a bit faster). Thanks for all of your help. I will be back when it is time to get a good card and new PSU.
  11. They are a different chip so a straight comparison of clock speeds is meaningless but with a healthy OC it should be as good as an 8800GT. The main drawback is the 128 bit bus of the GSO. I've only used the 192 bit/384 mb version of the card but it OCed nicely up to around 700 mhz and was great for low resolution gaming.
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