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Screen resolution and graphic card choice

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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November 30, 2009 3:37:10 PM

Hello, I have a graphics card question concerning the build for my next computer - maybe this question should go on the build forum?
My apologies if I seem like a complete noob.

First off, the computer will be purely for gaming, mostly strategy and RPG. (dragon age, mass effect 2, total war) – maybe some FPS

My monitor is 19 inches – this means I’m going to be playing at a resolution of 1260 x 1024. (As far as I’m aware, greater resolution won’t be possible unless I buy a larger monitor – is that correct?). I have no intention of buying a larger monitor.

I read a magazine review saying that unless you’re playing at resolutions above 1260 x 1024, the GTX 260 is good enough for all contemporary games – being played at high detail, with high AA and other goodies turned on etc. It pointed out that hardware benchmark tests are done at massively high resolutions and the latest cards just aren’t necessary if you’re playing with a smaller screen size and a lower screen resolution.

I've been browsing the web and reviews of the HD 5870 (which is the card i was thinking about buying) - and many of the reviews say, there's no point spending over 300 dollars on a card if you're not playing at a res higher than 1260 x 1024

Do you agree with that opinion?

FYI I'm going to get either a i7 860 or i7 920 processor and I'm wanting to build something that will last. I'm trying to weigh up the pro's and cons of buying a cheaper card now, that'll need replacing in 12-18 months, or just jumping in the deep end and buying a Radeon HD 5870 - which I can crossfire in years to come.

Browsing the tom’s hardware tests, the low screen resolution benchmarks are made with low or minimum detail:

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/gaming-graphics-card...

The high quality tests:

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/gaming-graphics-card...

Are all made at 1920 x 1200… The GTX 260 does pretty well on these tests but when I looked at this review:

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/build-balanced-platform,r...

the GTX 260 doesn't seem to be up to the game....especially if I'm going with a i7 processor.

Any thought, opinions would be most welcome.

Apologies if this should be in the build forum.


a c 1406 U Graphics card
November 30, 2009 6:51:40 PM

For 1280x1024 I would recommend GF9800GT/9800GTX+/250GTS or ATI HD4770, HD4850 or HD5750 anything greater would be a waste of money. If you plan on the other hand to upgrade your monitor in the near future go at least a step higher.
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