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Videocard Selection Advice

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 5, 2009 9:07:51 PM

Hello everyone. I am in a process of buying parts for my new computer. I was wondering what videocard would you recommend? I plan on using this computer for the next 4+ years so I want to be prepared for upgrading in the future. I am considering crossfiring in the future to keep up with the graphics card industry. Going for about $250.00 max.

So far I have bought...

2x OCZ Special Ops Urban Elite 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model

ASRock X58 Extreme LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

LITE-ON Black 4X Blu-ray Disc Reader SATA Model iHOS104-08 - Retail

CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power ... - Retail

Intel Core i7-920 Bloomfield 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601920 - Retail

Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM

COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

Western Digital Caviar Black WD7501AALS 750GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive -Bare Drive

Acer P235Hbmid Black 23" 5ms HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor - Retail

______

Any advice would be appreciated. Also let me know what you think about my setup so far. I've spend about $1236 and have been tryin to balance performance and price.

Thanks,
Samson

a c 1362 U Graphics card
December 5, 2009 9:56:40 PM

I would say HD5850 but they are selling for about $320 now ($259 on release). Anyway it would be the perfect card for your system. Other options would be HD4870/90, GTX260, HD5770
a c 376 U Graphics card
December 5, 2009 10:15:46 PM

The HD5850 is unfortunately well over your budget because it's in short supply. I'd recommend an HD5770 and crossfire later.
Related resources
December 6, 2009 2:49:43 AM

Word, thanks for the quick responses. Yeah i just came across the HD5770, its only $165 which is a pretty sweet price.

The 5850 is available on newegg right now for $310. Do you think I will see a noticeable difference? I actually dont mind spending that much, but again I am trying to get the best bang for the buck. I am a moderate gamer, but im more into watching movies and video editing. My worst fear getting an outdated videocard that will not be able to handle software in the next couple years. :/ 
a c 1362 U Graphics card
December 6, 2009 2:53:55 AM

The 5850 is a much better card!
a b U Graphics card
December 6, 2009 4:03:08 AM

Hi, Nice PC.

Since you are a moderate gamer, suggest you change strategies. Instead of getting a video config that will run whatever you throw at it for 4 years, get one that looks like it will last 18 months. Cut price point to $150. Maybe an HD 5750. In 18 months there will be a whole new set of video cards and you will (1) be happy with your current card -or- (2) know exactly where your current card is letting you down (missing API wil dx11, or slow framerate, or too much noise, or ...)

Since you will be doing video editing, suggest you look at software that can use a video card to accelerate rendering. There are only a few packages that do this well. Find a video card compatible with the package you like. For example if the package uses CUDA then get an nvidia card. Your PC is really fast. Accelerating with a video card can still sharply improve rendering if supported.

At the $250 price point any card you get will be excellent. Hard to believe you could go wrong for gaming. As a moderate gamer you need to look closely at noise levels -- you might chosse a different noise/framerate trade-off than most people buying a $250 video card. (I passed an X800 XL to my son -- it was too noisy for me even after underclocking to reduce heat and cut fan noise). You probably want to skip heavily overclocked cards. If you leave the PC on most of the time you could also take a look at power consumption.

If you haven't found/read "Best Graphics Cards For The Money: November '09 " suggest you do so. Goggle the article name.
December 6, 2009 4:39:06 AM

Hello tsnor,

Your advice will definitely be taken into consideration. I appreciate such a detailed response, makes me feel much better :] I never looked into the software to see if it would accelerate rendering. I am currently using Sony Vegas (mainly because thats one of the few programs I've found to work with .mp4 easily). Do you know anything about that program? I've tried googling but I didnt find anything. I also checked out the Best Graphics Cards For the Money article, and that was very helpful as well.

a c 376 U Graphics card
December 6, 2009 5:01:38 AM

The HD4870 is slightly more powerful than the HD5770. However the HD5770 is a new card and over time improvements in the drivers will largely make the difference in performance disappear. The HD5770s main advantages are that it is DX11 and a lot more power efficient/runs cooler. DX11 is important for longevity and the power/heat advantage is very nice if you are going to crossfire 2 of them later.
If the HD5850 was at it's list price of $260 it would be easier to recommend but for a self described "moderate gamer" at it's current price I'm not so sure it makes sense. You can always get another HD5770 later and combined they will be better than the HD5850 anyway.
a b U Graphics card
December 6, 2009 5:04:57 AM

minijetlee said:
Hello tsnor,

...I never looked into the software to see if it would accelerate rendering. I am currently using Sony Vegas (mainly because thats one of the few programs I've found to work with .mp4 easily). Do you know anything about that program? I've tried googling but I didnt find anything. I also checked out the Best Graphics Cards For the Money article, and that was very helpful as well.


Sorry I don't know much about Sony Vegas or MP4 editing. (I have used Sony Gigapocket software and video capture card to edit video, and would not recommend that to anyone).

The use of video cards for general purpose work (GPGPU = general purpose graphic processing unit) is just starting now. New languages like OpenCL are emerging standards for how to talk to the cards. Vendor unique approaches include CUDA for nvidia and STREAM for ati. Try googling for CUDA or STREAM applications. Right now transcoding and video editing are not really done on the GPU, with some exceptions. When I was playing around with the "folding at home" client for GPU a slow video card 8600GTS was able to substantially (3X ?) outperform a quadcore q6600. The same could turn out to be true in the next year or so for something like transcoding.

I'd stick with the software you like, your new system should burn through it.

This article shows some of the future promise, not yet delivered.
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3339



a b U Graphics card
December 6, 2009 6:00:06 AM

Why do you buy dual channel RAM for a tripple channel MoBo?
a c 376 U Graphics card
December 6, 2009 6:02:21 AM

Yeah, a 3 or 6 gig kit would make more sense.
a c 225 U Graphics card
December 6, 2009 2:22:33 PM

Only changes to what you have would be:

1. use correct memory 3 x 2G
2. That HD is old generation....one w/ 500 GB platters would be faster.

As for GFX, check out the article here.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-graphics-card,...

As to your question, why does the 4xxx get kudos over the newer 5xxx, you'll see that a lot in this article. The price / performance ratio just isn't there due in part to the unusually low yields they are getting with the 5xxx series. IIRC, that article gives 10 wins to the ATI 4xxx series, 4 to nVidia and 2 to the 5xx series.

Must be recognized that as an enthusiasts site, the articles here are geared to people who are popping case covers off very frequently as compared to the "average joe" . What I mean is that most here are probably changing GFX cards every 2 years or less.....if you are gonna keep the set up as is for 3-4 years, then DX11 would be a good step toward future proofing your rig.
December 6, 2009 7:36:48 PM

Thanks for lookin into my computer; it definitely makes me feel reassured I got the right products. As you can see I am not a very experienced computer builder. My friend is helping me out with building it.

I didnt even realize what memory I had gotten. I bought it without blinkin because it was such a good deal on black friday XD.

I read the harddrive I got was slower than the 500 gb but the 750 was cheaper. I assumed the difference in speed would be small for an average joe like me.

I think im going to get the ati 5770. Changing my memory is definitely going to cost me more. Going with JackNaylorPE, it has DX11 which is great to see.
a c 376 U Graphics card
December 6, 2009 7:42:38 PM

You can use the memory you bought, it would just be a good idea to get another 2gb of it to take advantage of the i7s ability to use 3 channels of ram.
December 6, 2009 7:53:48 PM

when you have the money I suggest you get a seconde 5770 first, then later
add some more ram
that way you'll see your performance boost the fastest
December 6, 2009 8:57:35 PM

So I can use a dual channel on a triple channel? I guess I am a little confused on this whole channel part. If you were me, what would you do?

Before I read this, I was considering buying this. Its $170 (after rebate)

CORSAIR XMS3 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model TR3X6G1600C8 G - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I can get that, and return my dual channel memory i bought (for $28.33 restocking fee).

or I could buy 2gig of memory and still have triple channel? I dont get it :/ 

Ehsan: Thanks for the heads up. Videocard then ram. check.
a c 376 U Graphics card
December 6, 2009 9:44:35 PM

There is no dual channel or triple channel ram, it refers to how many ram slots you are using. If you keep your current ram and get another 2gb you will then be using the triple channel ram capabilities of the i7. If you stick with 2 x 2gb you just won't be using the third channel the i7 allows for. It's not that big of a deal.
December 6, 2009 10:52:50 PM

Oh I see now. I bought two packs of 2 x 2gb, so I can fill three channels up right? I would actually have one extra. I would have 4 slots out of 6 filled. is that bad?

Oh and I appreciate all your help jyjjy
December 6, 2009 11:59:33 PM

I see. I already bought the two packs though, i probably wont return them because of restocking fees. Who knows, maybe I will be a hardcore gamer/video editor once I get this computer rollin :]
!