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Need opinions in upgrading from 8800GT

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 3, 2010 4:45:33 PM

My budget is around 450 dollars maximum, although I would like to avoid spending that much if possible, I also lean toward Nvidia.

Here are my specs.
Windows 7 professional 64-bit
750 watt psu
gigabyte m750sli ds4 motherboard
4GB RAM (ddr2)
AMD Phenom 8450 triple core
My current video cards are two 8800gt's

whatever advice you can offer is appreciated!
a b U Graphics card
January 3, 2010 4:53:57 PM

Two 8800GTs are quite powerful and equal to a GTX285.

For a decent upgrade, I suggest getting a 5870 for $399.99 It is a dx11 card equal to two 4870s (or two GTX260s), roughly two tiers above two 8800GT's.

8800GT ~/< 8800GTS 512 ~ 4770 < 9800GTX/GTS250 ~ 4850 < GTX260 ~ 4870 < GTX275 ~ 4890 < GTX285 < 5850 < 5870

You can sell your two 8800GT's for about $140 or so on ebay.
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a b U Graphics card
January 3, 2010 4:56:03 PM

Also, since the Phenom 8450 triple core runs at only 2.1GHz, you will need to overclock it to at least 2.5GHz.

If you can't overclock, consider upgrading to a PII triple core or quad core (if your mobo supports it) in order to prevent your CPU from bottlenecking the 5870.

Phenom 8450 overclock:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ae6WMkJrApY
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January 3, 2010 5:25:33 PM

Thanks for the help. If the GPU upgrade would not be that significant, any other general upgrade advice would also be appreciated! I wanted to swap out my graphics card though because SLI has not seen that much of an improvement for me over just running one card, one thing I've noticed is that they don't seem to like anti-aliasing that much, as turning it on in most games gives a disproportionately large frame rate drop.
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a c 1411 U Graphics card
January 3, 2010 5:29:28 PM

What you are running into is memory limitation on the cards with the 512mb for the AA. The other thing is that your CPU is starting to hold you back with that GPU power.
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a b U Graphics card
January 3, 2010 5:47:11 PM

I think 2 8800GT's in SLI is more like a GTX 260.
Why do you lean to nVidia? The only place where they are good is in the gap between the 5770 & 5850.
Get a new Phenom II X3 or X4, if you want an upgrade get the 5850.
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January 3, 2010 5:48:49 PM

I just lean toward them because I've always used them, and I have an SLI board. I'm not opposed to ATI in the slightest as long as the card works with my mobo.

I've been looking at this card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

here are some of the numbers spit out by my nvidia control panel
These are all factory shipped settings
core clock: 600mhz
memory clock: 900mhz
shader clock: 1500mhz
both cards are running at the same settings.
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a b U Graphics card
January 3, 2010 5:51:20 PM

Well, short of getting a GTX 295 or SLI'ing GTX 260's you won't notice much. SLIing 9800GTX+/GTS 250's will be noticeable but not really worth it unless you can sell the 8800GT's for 80% of their original price.
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a c 191 U Graphics card
January 3, 2010 5:53:40 PM

It would also be handy to know your monitor resolution, because a pair of 8800s' should stomp most games at 1680x1050 or below.
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a c 234 U Graphics card
January 3, 2010 5:57:23 PM

I'd say your choices for an upgrade are at the $240 level and higher....for you to notice, I'd say $330 and higher.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-310-5970,24...

Here's the "winners" from THG's latest (December) GFX Roundup
Best Graphics Cards For The Money: December '09

$50 - HD 4650
$65 - HD 4670 / 9600 GSO
$85 - 9600 GT
$95 - 9600 GT / HD 4830
$110 - GTS 250 512 MB
$120 - GTS 250 1 GB
$155 - HD 5770 / GTX 260
$200 - HD 4890
$240 - 2 x GTS 250
$310 - No winner (HD 5850 Honorable Mention)
$330 - 2 x GTX 260 / 2 x HD 5770
$400 - 2 x HD 4890
$410 - No winner (HD 5870 Honorable Mention)
$465 - No winner (GTX 295 Honorable Mention)
$625 - No winner (HD 5970 Honorable Mention)
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a b U Graphics card
January 3, 2010 6:00:04 PM

alien champion said:
1680x1050


Why do you need upgrade? The 5850 would be overkill for that resolution, dual 8800GT's should be enough.
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January 3, 2010 6:08:21 PM

I record a lot of game footage, and it is difficult to get a good quality screen capture. Also I wanted to boost my frame rate while running dragon age and fallout 3 at higher quality settings. From what I'm hearing though, it sounds like a new processor would be a better investment.
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a b U Graphics card
January 3, 2010 6:10:22 PM

If your not getting goof quality then use FRAPS, if you want it to be faster while recording get a faster HDD.
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January 3, 2010 6:13:29 PM

I'm happy with the software I use, and the writing speed is fine, its the quality that comes out. I need to boost the frame rate of my end recording, and of my game while its running, with or without my recording software in the background.
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a c 191 U Graphics card
January 3, 2010 6:13:46 PM

Odd, as I said, your cards should stomp most games at that resolution.
Before spending money, try checking that all your drivers are up to date, the BIOS is correctly configured and there are no large programs taking up memory and CPU time.
As for a replacement, the HD5850 is favourite: It's damn fast, under budget and draws less power than your current 8800s'.
If you must stick with Nvidia, fanboy;) Try dropping a GTX275 in there and overclock it rather than getting the more expensive GTX285.
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January 3, 2010 6:19:43 PM

Well I might have a faulty card. I used to get driver failures, bsods, and CTD's with many games. However I thought I nailed that down to a bad RAM stick, which I have since removed. The crashes have all but disappeared, save for fallout 3 which crashes like crazy, though that game is notoriously buggy to begin with.

I use Nvidia's own utility to keep my drivers up to date, and I actually checked them this morning. I have tried several experiments in reducing the wear on my system resources as well, and the impact is minimal (including shutting down explorer, and just about everything else)
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a c 1411 U Graphics card
January 3, 2010 6:21:23 PM

coozie7 said:
It would also be handy to know your monitor resolution, because a pair of 8800s' should stomp most games at 1680x1050 or below.

Except for his X3 running at 2.1 GHz he should be all set.
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January 3, 2010 6:25:35 PM

Not like he's a fanboy, coozy. He has a motherboard that supports SLI only. I only bought AMD video cards so far (I'm a semi-fanboy) but if I had that kind of mobo I'd also lean a little towards NVidia.
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a b U Graphics card
January 3, 2010 6:28:25 PM

He should upgrade to a Phenom II X3 or X4.
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a c 191 U Graphics card
January 3, 2010 6:32:09 PM

@ Rolli59: Good point, well made. Perhaps an upgrade (or overclock) there would be a better choice, as I recall Fallout 3 IS hard on the CPU and I suspect more CPU horsepower will not hurt with the video capture issues, either.
@ Znegval: The fanboy comment had a smily-I was just joking.
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a c 217 U Graphics card
January 3, 2010 6:41:19 PM

alien champion said:
I record a lot of game footage, and it is difficult to get a good quality screen capture. Also I wanted to boost my frame rate while running dragon age and fallout 3 at higher quality settings. From what I'm hearing though, it sounds like a new processor would be a better investment.


I noticed you are running Dragon Age. Have you noticed much jagged edges on scale mail armor? Until I enabled Super Sample AA, which currently is a new feature of the 5xxx Radeons, they looked terrible. Since you are looking for upgraded quality, I thought I'd ask if this is a problem for you. I've noticed other games, like Risen also appreciates Super-Sample AA which seems to fix jaggies on textures that MSAA and Adaptive MSAA leave behind.

If you wanted to fix those jagged edges, then a 58xx card could fix that for you.

I also appreciate your quest for higher FPS. I get motion sickness at FPS some of these people consider playable. Higher FPS does help me a lot in that regard.
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January 3, 2010 6:49:28 PM

bystander said:
I also appreciate your quest for higher FPS. I get motion sickness at FPS some of these people consider playable. Higher FPS does help me a lot in that regard.


Yes, FPS is one of the most important factors to me, especially when playing any multiplayer anything. As for the scale armor, I only just got the game and have played it for maybe 2 hours, the relatively lower FPS I got in that time was what pushed me toward upgrading, which had been in the back of my head for a while.
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a c 217 U Graphics card
January 3, 2010 6:58:12 PM

alien champion said:
Yes, FPS is one of the most important factors to me, especially when playing any multiplayer anything. As for the scale armor, I only just got the game and have played it for maybe 2 hours, the relatively lower FPS I got in that time was what pushed me toward upgrading, which had been in the back of my head for a while.


If it's any help, I can tell you I run everything maxed at 1920x1200 with an i7 and a 5870. I also turned on x4 AA with Super Sample AA. This hits the system hard, which is why it's only at x4 AA, but it is far supperior to x16 MSAA for this game.

At your resolution, I'd think a 5850 would perform similarly.

If you are also taking video's of PhysX games, you can save one of those 8800gt's and use it as a dedicated PhysX card following these directions: http://www.overclock.net/graphics-cards-general/633137-... (you can skip step 2 if you have a 2nd monitor to plug the nvidia card into.)
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a b U Graphics card
January 3, 2010 7:17:33 PM

If he can sell the 8800GT's, then he should definitely get a $400 5870, which is equal to a GTX295.

The problem with the 5850 is that it is suppose to cost $260, but at the moment costs $300 due to short supplies. At that price, it's not worth it and he might as well pay more to get the 5870.

It will max out any game at 1680x1050, including Crysis at the very highest settings and lowered AA. It would also be good if he ever gets a 1080p monitor.
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a b U Graphics card
January 3, 2010 7:18:03 PM

Rolli's discount is nice, but there's a C3 955 if your into overclocking for $10 more than the 955 they linked you.
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January 3, 2010 8:20:11 PM

I don't like doing overclocking, there's just too many variables for me to worry about. I think I'll go with the processor (AM3), and if my problems persist I can live with it easily for now and upgrade the GPU later. If anyone has an alternate opinion to this plan please tell me.
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a c 107 U Graphics card
January 3, 2010 8:39:47 PM

First thing is the 8800's are limited by their 256bit memory interface and if it only has 512 memory that's another hold back. A GTX260 would give better performance over 2 of those in sli. ( maybe not higher frame rates...that everybody seems to be hooked on.... but performance wise..... AA, etc. It will also probably give you higher minimum frame rates in more demanding games ).... The processor is too slow to push most any higher end cards to give you better performance. I do like the 285 w/2gig memory but until you upgrade the processor it's a waste. Having said that....... you have Windows7. You have a good buck to spend. I'd wait until Nvidia releases their next card and choose one of their DX11 cards or opt for a high end ATI product.

I can sli if I want. it seems like a real waste of money most of the time and if you don't have the right cards it's a loosing proposition. Getting higher minimum frame rates is better than getting 1000 FPS and having a card/cards tank when you really need it.
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a c 1411 U Graphics card
January 3, 2010 8:58:36 PM

Quote:
GTX 275 or HD 5850!!!

You are actually recommending a ATI card?
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January 3, 2010 9:00:28 PM

Would that really help me without a processor upgrade as well?
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a c 1411 U Graphics card
January 3, 2010 9:06:18 PM

There is no short answer to that, now you have plenty of raw horsepower but limited in eye candy (AA) you can put on because of the 512mb memory. A single GTX275 would give you the same raw horsepower and the ability to turn on some AA but it would still be held back a bit because of your CPU.
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Best solution

a c 273 U Graphics card
January 3, 2010 9:08:18 PM

rolli59 said:
You are actually recommending a ATI card?

Yeah that made me smile. ;) 
@ OP, start with a faster CPU and let those 88's stretch their legs, three giggle hurtz or higher is my recommendation :sol:  and it does not have to be a Quad but at today's prices you may as well get as many cores as is available.
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January 3, 2010 9:23:22 PM

Mousemonkey said:
Yeah that made me smile. ;) 
@ OP, start with a faster CPU and let those 88's stretch their legs, three giggle hurtz or higher is my recommendation :sol:  and it does not have to be a Quad but at today's prices you may as well get as many cores as is available.


Yeah I think I'll do this unless anyone else has a reason I shouldn't.
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January 4, 2010 4:00:46 AM

+1 for the CPU upgrade, your 8800GT's will spring back to life at 1680x1050 with the faster CPU.
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