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Deciding which GPU for core 2 quad setup

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 9, 2010 9:05:03 PM

I recently purchased a Core2 quad q9400 2.66Ghz.
I have 2 gigs of 800Mhz DDR2, but I plan to upgrade to DDR3 when it's cheaper.
I plan to use a 500 to 600 Watt PSU, maybe lower?

And as for the GPU, that's for you to decide, or at least help me decide.
I'm on a budget here, can't go over 200, preferably around 150.

The ones I've been looking at lately:
- Radeon HD 5770
- Radeon HD 4850
- Geforce 9800 gt or gtx

Nothing that will be bottle necked by the CPU, or not achieve its fullest potential.
In other words, the best bang for the buck.

Also, I'm not a hardcore gamer, but I do enjoy pretty graphics.

Thanks in advance, I really appreciate it!
a c 1410 U Graphics card
January 9, 2010 9:08:19 PM

Go with the HD5770 it is the newest tech and based on your use description is going to last you long.
a c 232 U Graphics card
January 9, 2010 9:23:23 PM

I'm kinda confused why you're comparing a $85 card w/ one costing twice as much.

I'm not a fan of the 5770....at least till its price drops significantly. The card starts to make sense if it can be bought between $130 and $145. It's handily beaten by the GTX 260 and 4870, the prices on which have skyrocketed faced with the competitive boost they are getting from the 5770's pricing.

http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3658&p=14

The value of the 5770 in particular is clearly not going to be in its performance. Compared to AMD’s 4870, it loses well more than it wins, and if we throw out Far Cry 2, it’s around 10% slower overall. It also spends most of its time losing to NVIDIA’s GTX 260, which unfortunately the 4870 didn’t have so much trouble with. AMD clearly has put themselves in to a hole with memory bandwidth, and the 5770 doesn’t have enough of it to reach the performance it needs to be at.

If you value solely performance in today’s games, we can’t recommend the 5770. Either the 4870 1GB or the GTX 260 would be the better buy. So here’s the bottom line for the 5770: Unless you absolutely need to take advantage of the lower power requirements of the 40nm process (e.g. you pay a ton for power) or you strongly believe that DirectX 11 will have a developer adoption rate faster than anything we’ve seen before for DirectX, the 1GB 4870 or GTX 260 is still the way to go.


based upon your budget ....

......if you're playing at 1680 x 1050, I'd go with the 9600GT at $85
......if you're playing at 1920 x 1200, I'd go with the GTS 250 at $120ish or the 4890 at $190

$170 - $180 5770's, 260's and 4870's just don't deliver enough of a performance difference to make them worthwhile in the middle ground between those choices

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 c 107 U Graphics card
January 10, 2010 5:51:52 AM

You can't give an exact power supply.... maybe this, maybe that....... it makes a big difference on selecting the right card. Me, I'd choose a GTX260 or a 1gig 4870/90 if I could get one at the right price....if my PSU could handle it........ Then you say I have 2gigs of DDR2 800 but might switch to DDR3......... you got a magic mother board ?......... be nice to know what exactly you have to help make better decisions for you.

" you buy that mother board from the same guy that sold jack those magic beans"... LOL....had to do it, sorry. ....... and yes, I do know that there are such boards before somebody opines.
January 10, 2010 5:14:50 PM

@zip and swifty, the mobo was purchased with the cpu in a package, a Biostar TP45e with either up to 4 gigs ddr3 or 8 gigs ddr2, so yes, it is a "magical mother board" LOL.

Anyways, thanks for the advice, but as it turns out, either the mobo or the cpu is defected, and the pc wouldn't start up. I guess I'll be returning it later... not going to buy another, they were all return items.

As for the GPU. I'll most likely get a radeon HD 4850, or something around there. But that's after I get a working mobo and cpu.

Thanks again
!