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Considering video card upgrade...

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January 18, 2010 2:04:42 AM

I have a Nvidia 7900 GTO 512MB video card and am considering an upgrade. My motherboard is only a pcie 16x and not pcie 2.0. I can play older games like Quake 4, Doom 3 and similar games from the 2004-2007 era at their max settings at 1680x1050 without missing a beat. However, playing more recent games like Bioshock & Crysis don't run nearly as well and I have to bump the settings to low and use a smaller resolution just to make them playable. I'd also like to get the new Dragon Age: Origins game but I'm sure my card won't handle it as it recommends a 8800 GTS for adequate performance. I need advice...

I have a couple of options...

First of all, I have another identical 7900 gto card in another pc which is not used for gaming (I got both of them together at a huge discount a couple years ago). I can try to SLI them and see if this makes any difference. I've not attempted this yet and may try it if you guys think it is worth it. I have an older nvidia 7900 gs video card that I'll use for the other system if I choose to do this.

Secondly, I'm considering purchasing a newer video card in the $200 range. Since my board only supports SLI and not ATI CrossFire I figure I'll go with an Nvidia card, even though the ATI cards seem to be better.

The concern I have with buying any new pcie 2.0 video card is that I'm sure it will not run as well as it could on my board since it is only pcie 16x. In fact I'm not sure how much performance increase I'll get purchasing any new pcie 2.0 card and running it on my current board.

My long range plans are to build a new i7 system piece by piece later this year but this is not a priority of mine right now. I'm not looking to get a new LGA775 board with pcie 2.0 since I'll be upgrading everything later anyway. Right now, my system runs great for what I do most and I am a casual gamer at best.

So there it is. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Below are my specs and links to the above specified components...


Here's my build...

Q6600 @ 2.7Ghz (stock voltage - I get BSOD oc'ing higher due to RAM and not being able to configure certain settings in the BIOS)
Artic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro
ASROCK Penryn 1600SLI-110db
Nvidia 7900GTO 512MB
WD Black 1TB
WD Blue 500GB
8GB (4X2GB) PC2 6400 Corsair XMS2 (DDR2800)
Sony DRU810A DVDRW
Pioneer DVDRW
Antec TriPower Trio 550 Watt PS
Antec NineHundred Ultimate Gamer Case
2 - Acer AL2223W 22” LCDs
Dual OS Boot - W7 Ultimate 64-Bit / XP Pro 32-Bit

Also, here are the links for my ASROCK motherboard & Nvidia 790GTO video card...

http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.asp?Model=Penryn1600S...

http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Here's a link to a video card I'm considering purchasing as an upgrade...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Thanks so much for your advice...EWB

More about : video card upgrade

January 18, 2010 2:22:04 AM

if you'd prefer to stick with nvidia, get a GTX260. however, my recommendation is to wait for the Radeon HD5830 to come out on the 25th as it'll be quite a bit better performance for ~$200. plus it'll have directx11 and you already have windows 7 so you'd be future proof. I wouldn't bother crossfiring the 7900, they're just old cards and you'd still be upgrading in another 6 months anyways.


i'd say wait for the 5830 because it'll perform better than the gtx260, and be the same price if not less. but if you want to stay with nvidia for future crossfiring than a gtx260 old suffice.

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January 18, 2010 2:36:10 AM

Thanks for your quick reply.

From your post I gather that if I do purchase a new pcie 2.0 video card it will run just fine on my pcie board...right? No performance hindrance to worry about with this? Also, the only reason I thought I'd stay with Nvidia is because my board is set up for SLI...I'll go with whatever is the best deal for performance vs price...which I'm pretty sure will be an ATI card.
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a b U Graphics card
January 18, 2010 12:24:55 PM

From what i have read, the hd5830 performance will equal the hd4890 performance ( that's around gtx275 ), at a lower price tag, so you will have dx11. . And yes the best deal for performance vs price will be an ATi card at least the next 2-3 months, until nVidia release GTX300 dx11 cards series, cut GTX360 prices and then release GTS 350, because GTX380 & 360 prices will sure be something like 8800GTX & Ultra in 2007 or so.:) 

Anyway whichever card ( that OC'ed GTX260, HD5830 ) you will choose will keep you happy at least for 2-3 years.
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a b U Graphics card
January 18, 2010 12:41:15 PM

Sure you can wait but at that point, I suggest you go for 5770 HD

For $150 you can play almost every title upto 1920x1200

I guess that would be more than enough for you and will give you a real performance boost from your old 7900 GT

By the Way, what resolution are you planning to game at?
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January 18, 2010 2:38:27 PM

I usually play them at full screen 1680x1050. My lcds are both 3 years old but work great. I've considered an upgrade to a larger screen with 1920x1080 but that will take place when one of my monitors finally give out. I can't justify a monitor upgrade right now.

My main issue is that I want to make sure if I purchase a new card now, bit it ATI or Nvidia, it will work with my current board that is only pcie (not 2.0). My board is a 650i. Here's the link...

http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.asp?Model=Penryn1600S...

Let me know if you think I'll have any issues with an ATI card on this board. Thanks again for your replies.
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a b U Graphics card
January 19, 2010 6:13:59 AM

Don't worry about motherboard

It's a good one.

Like I said before Radeon 5770 will perform great upto 1920x1200.
(Sure in some games like CRYSIS you will have to lower resolution, but not in all games.)


You will be good with 5770

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January 19, 2010 3:21:46 PM

Glad to hear my MB won't be an issue. I'll be considering a 5770 and will probably wait until later this month and evaluate the 5830 as well before I purchase anything. Thanks everyone for your responses. They have been very helpful...EWB
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a c 130 U Graphics card
January 19, 2010 3:27:30 PM

Considering tis is just a placeholder system until you get your new i7 build up and running, you could go with a cheaper card so as to be able to get your i7 build up and running sooner. There's an HD5670, which came out recently at only $100.
There's also, of course, and HD4890. This card, while not DX11, has more power than the 5770 and can net you better performance. I'd recommend this card because you're going to be getting the new-tech DX11 HD58XX (probably) for your i7, so you're good for future gaming there.
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February 21, 2010 3:19:25 PM

It's been over a month now and I still haven't purchased a new video card. I was disappointed that the 5830 was not released. I also read lots of 5770 reviews on Newegg, Tigerdirect and on here as well that state there are tons of driver issues causing BSOD, crashes in games, monitor flickers and an array of other issues.

I think now I'm more undecided than before. I've been leaning towards the possibility of purchasing a used GTX 260. I've seen listings on eBay for $155-$180 for various GTX 260's. It's still more $$$ than a 5770 but the driver problems have me worried.

Do any of you have any insight regarding the 5770 driver problems that apparently aren't solved yet? Thanks...EWB
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February 21, 2010 3:25:14 PM

Hey...I just got this email from Micro Center about a GTS 250 on sale...

http://microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?pro...

I've looked at this one as well but wanted the best performance I could get and was looking for something a little more powerful. However, at this price I might take a chance on it. I'd appreciate any input on the GTS 250.
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February 21, 2010 3:49:40 PM

Bro, a 5770 is good for you, however, a 5830 or 5850 would be ALOT better.

you can use them with the Core i7, they'll run gr8 on ure current pci-e 1.0 system.

The GTX 260 is overpriced, and NVIDIA is unlikely to provide a good competitor at a reasonable price point anytime soon.

Also, the 5830 delays are REALLY pissing me off, too.

Gd luck.
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February 21, 2010 3:50:08 PM

if planning fr nvidia go for the gtx 260 sp216 nd for ati wait for the 5830 to cum out
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February 21, 2010 3:51:19 PM

also think abt the 5850
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February 21, 2010 9:04:07 PM

The $300 price of the 5850 is the only turn off for that one. As far as the 5770 (seerwan) it's the driver issue that's got me pausing.

5770 driver issue anyone?...
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a b U Graphics card
February 21, 2010 9:12:39 PM

Well, the driver issue IS going to be fixed, otherwise ATI is gonna have a lot of troubles :p 

And since you have an SLI system, why not get 2xGTS250s? They could be a very good deal if you find them for cheap. 2xGTX260-216's could also mean a nice upgrade, but they're expensive even nowadays.

Cheers!

EDIT: Typos xP
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February 21, 2010 9:30:48 PM

Yea...the SLI thought crossed my mind a few minutes ago. Mind you that my board is an 8x SLI and not 16x...not sure how that may hinder performance though. If I do go the SLI route and get 2 GTS 250 it's still $250 which is a little more than I'd like to spend.

Here's a list of the newer games I'm going to play when I finally do upgrade...

* Bioshock 1 & 2
* Dragon Age: Origins
* Resident Evil 5
* Aliens vs Predator (2010) (demo's graphics even in DX9 are awesome)
* Left 4 Dead 1 & 2
* Mass Effect 2
* Crysis & Crysis Warhead (hopefully if the upgrade will do it smoothly)

I've got Doom 3, Quake 4 and some other older games that run fine on my 7900 GTO so I'm not concerned about any games from that era. Do you think the GTS 250 will handle all the games on my list. From what I've seen on the net it looks like Crysis may be the only one that lags a bit in high settings. My max resolution is 1680x1050.
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February 21, 2010 9:33:34 PM

As far as i know, the driver already HAS been fixed... for the 5770...

anyone sure..?
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February 21, 2010 9:36:16 PM

Can you provide a link that confirms the fix? A download in addition to the ATI drivers or something...?
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a b U Graphics card
February 21, 2010 9:48:44 PM

They (ATI) promised to deliver ASAP, so by the time you actually get the card it will probably be fixed.

Why not gamble to that? :p 

Also, the 5830 is a very strong card for 1680x1050 and it's about to be released on the 25th AFAIK.

Cheers!
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February 24, 2010 10:29:21 PM

I think I've made my decision here. I'm going to stick with Nvidia for now and pick up 2 GTS 250s. Here's the link to the cards...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

There are several reasons I'm leaning towards staying with Nvidia for now. The #1 reason is I don't want to replace my motherboard until I upgrade to a core i7 setup in the future. I've been reading online and apparently the Nvidia 650i motherboards are having major compatibility issues with all ATI video cards. Here's one of the links...

http://www.overclockers.com/forums/showthread.php?p=641...

The other reason is purely cost. The cost for a decent GTS 260 is @ $210 & up. The cost for an HD 5770 is $165+ and it only slightly out performs the GTS 250 in benchmarks from various sites on the web. The cost for 2 of the above GTS 250s are $240 & end up being $190 after the mail in rebates. I'll be buying one card and a friend will pick up the other so I can take advantage of both rebates (MSI limits rebates to 1 per household). So, I come out cheaper w/ 2 GTS 250s and get higher performance than the GTX 260. I also found this link where it states that 2 GTS 250s out perform a GTX 285...

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/display/gf-gts25...

The above link assumes the motherboard used uses pcie 2.0. My board is only pcie 1.0 but I still think I'll get awesome performance out of the GTS 250s in SLI.

The only considerations I have here are the SLI set up on my motherboard and possibly my power supply.

First of all, my power supply is an Antec 550 watt True Power Trio. I ran my 7900 GTO & my 7900 GS without any problems for 2 years. Each required 1 6 pin pcie connector which my power supply has. I never tried SLI with the other 7900 GTO I have in my wife's machine because I thought it wasn't worth the trouble since I was upgrading anyway. I'm hoping I'll have similar success here as well with my current power supply.

Now the motherboard...the sli supported is 8x and not 16x. The boards have 3 pcie 1.0 slots. One slot is a 16x and is used only when 1 video card is installed. The other 2 are 8x and are used for 2 cards in SLI. Unless I'm missing something I assume the 2 GTS 250s should run fine in 8x SLI. It won't be as good as 16x sli though...

So that's where I stand right now. I'll most likely wait until Friday to order the cards so I can get some feedback from you guys first. I'm also curious about the new HD 5830 specs that is suppose to be for sale tomorrow. We'll see if that even happens.

Thanks for all the input guys. It helps a lot and saves lots of people money!...EWB
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March 1, 2010 12:24:35 AM

It's been a few days and I didn't purchase the 2 GTS 250s as I planned to. I hesitated for some reason and couldn't go through with it.

Instead I took a gamble and purchased an XFX HD 5770 from eBay. It is an HD-577A-ZNFC. It was a 24 hour listing that started around midnight Friday and is brand new. I couldn't resist the "Buy It Now" price...$123!!! I paid a few extra bucks for shipping also. I couldn't pass up this deal.

I'm hoping that it will run on my 650i motherboard without any major problems. I know to uninstall all the Nvidia software for my 7900 series cards first to avoid any conflicts.

If I do start to have a conflict with it I'll be looking at getting a different motherboard...probably this one...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'd like to get a new i7 system now but I just can't get passed the DDR3 ram prices...way too much right now.

My cpu is a q6600 and I've got room to upgrade from there if a good deal crosses my path.

Any input on how to deal with the 5770 on my 650i motherboard is appreciated. Thanks again...EWB
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a b U Graphics card
March 1, 2010 12:58:24 AM

The 5770 will do should on that board, only one way to find out though.
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a b U Graphics card
March 1, 2010 12:26:09 PM

You shouldn't have any issues at all... I'm running a 4890 on a nF4-SLI and 0 problems. You shouldn't have any performance issues also, a Q6600 is very capable CPU, just make sure your PSU can handle the power load and it fits on your case.

Cheers!
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March 1, 2010 1:03:37 PM

Great guys! Thanks for the input. I'll update this when I get it installed and running later this week. Thanks again...EWB
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March 1, 2010 2:56:05 PM

I'm in a very similar predicament where on my system I'm running AMD Athlon X2 6000 @ 3.2Ghz, on a EVGA 590SLI board, 4gigs RAM, Win7 64 bit, I have a 7900GS right now, and looking to eventually build a i7 system, but that may not be for a little while, but I'm looking to upgrade my card to run Bad Company 2. My question is basically the same, I'm looking at the 5750, mainly because of DX11 and price OR getting a GTS250, see how it runs on it's own for playing Battlefield 2142 & Bad Company 2, and if I need to the GTS250 gives me the option of running SLI (since my mobo can't do Crossfire with the 5750) Should I just go cheap and get a GTS250, and when I build i7 just get another card, or get the better card now(prob 5750 or 5770) and just carry over to the i7 system (keep in mind, i7 system maybe a year out)??

Thanks!
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March 1, 2010 3:17:01 PM

What I was going to do when I considered the GTS 250s was use them in SLI. Lots of the new 1366 motherboards support both SLI & Crossfire so when you do upgrade you can continue to use SLI on the new board and upgrade to whatever card you like in the future. I was only considering the 1366 with a i7 920 and not any of the 1156 mb or cpus. I figured if I was going to spend the money I might as well get one that is more future proof.

I've also heard that new 6 core Intel Gulftown cpus are on the way later this year and they will be for the 1366 socket and not the 1156. Hopefully the existing 1366 motherboards, or at least some of them, will be compatible with these existing boards.

If you can hold off on your purchase for a week or so I'll advise how the 5770 runs on my board. That might give you a better idea of what to expect on your system...EWB
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March 1, 2010 3:29:22 PM

Yea, I probably will make my decision next week so no rush. I was also considering building a i5-750 Quad since it looks like it performs fairly close to some of the lesser i7 but like you say, that is where compatibility between SLI and Crossfire differ on the 1156 and 1366 boards, but I've got time, let us know how that 5770 runs.... What brand did you go with?
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March 1, 2010 4:14:26 PM

Wait a month for Fermi.
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March 1, 2010 4:18:52 PM

The one I got is an XFX HD 5770 HD-577A-ZNFC.
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March 4, 2010 8:52:15 PM

I received my video card a little while ago and the serial # is HD-577A-ZNFR. I thought it was the ZNFC but was wrong. I can't find any info about this card on the XFX site or on the web. Anyone know what the deal is with it?
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March 6, 2010 2:46:03 PM

Well, a couple of days ago I got it installed and it appeared to be working fine. However this morning when I turned on my pc both my monitors were clone images of each other and an error message appeared stating my video card was either malfunctioning or the drivers were not installed. I reinstalled the drivers and it appears to be working fine now.

I checked on Newegg's power supply page and used the power supply adviser. With my current set up the adviser stated my system uses @ 553 watts of power at max load. I have an Antec 550 Watt True Power Trio power supply. I ran the same advisor with my 7900 GTO & 7900 GS installed and it stated it used @ 643 watts.

I've never had this problem with the old set up that apparently used more power. I'm guessing it's a driver issue...ya'll agree?
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March 17, 2010 2:16:57 AM

Well, I finally got everything figured out...at least a solution that works for me.

I could not get the 5770 to work on my W7x64 machine. I spent several days chatting with tech support about the issue and they seem to be clueless. I went so far as to completely wipe out my W7 install and start over to make sure there was not an Nvidia conflict...didn't work. The 5770 would always cause screen flickers in my secondary monitor and come up as "uninstalled or not working correctly" when I'd turn it off and back on after @ 4 hours or so, or overnight.

I took several steps before giving up on the 5770. I even bought a new Coolmax CUG 950 Watt power supply and replaced my Antec 550 True Power Trio thinking it may be a power issue. Nope...same problems as before.

At that point I was really p*&%$#! So, with a new power supply that was strong enough to power almost any card, even a high end dual card set up, I gave up on the 5770 and bought a used EVGA GTX 260 off eBay that came with several games for $190. The games I got were AVP 2010, COD4 - Modern Warfare, COD - World At War, Street Fighter IV, Time Shift, 007 Quantum Solace & Battlefield 2...not a bad deal at all. I then wiped out my machine again and put the GTX 260 in. It's been several days & has worked perfectly ever since. Below is the Newegg link to the GTX 260...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

After talking to several people on different forums and some of my friends who work in IT, I discovered that the 5770 drivers still have issues with W7x64 but it's only with certain cards in the 5000 series family and ATI is not looking at these issues as priorities. My card, 577A-ZNFR, is one of those cards and production of it has been discontinued from XFX. Most of the other cards with similar issues are no longer in production (certain model #s that is.) I believe that is why I got it so cheap on eBay.

It worked great my dual boot of XPx32. Knowing that I now have it installed on my wife's machine with XPx32. It is working fine. Her machine has the same board, RAM, CPU & HD as mine and she's using my old Antec 550 power supply without issue. After getting rid of the Nvidia drivers from her 7900 GTO in her machine & installing the 5770 without issue I knew it was a driver issue for sure and not a hardware issue or under powered power supply. I did not have to do a new install on her pc as I tried on mine. It appears solid on XPx32.

So, for those of you who see an HD 5770 for sale with the model # 577A-ZNFR be aware that as of today, 03/16/2010, you will have problems with the current 10.2 ATI drivers on W7x64. It works fine on XPx32. I don't know about Vista and have no plans to check it since I don't use it.

Thanks to all of you for your input and help in this matter. It's been frustrating but definitely a learning experience...EWB
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a b U Graphics card
March 17, 2010 11:17:26 AM

crashingmedic said:
Well, I finally got everything figured out...at least a solution that works for me.

I could not get the 5770 to work on my W7x64 machine. I spent several days chatting with tech support about the issue and they seem to be clueless. I went so far as to completely wipe out my W7 install and start over to make sure there was not an Nvidia conflict...didn't work. The 5770 would always cause screen flickers in my secondary monitor and come up as "uninstalled or not working correctly" when I'd turn it off and back on after @ 4 hours or so, or overnight.

I took several steps before giving up on the 5770. I even bought a new Coolmax CUG 950 Watt power supply and replaced my Antec 550 True Power Trio thinking it may be a power issue. Nope...same problems as before.

At that point I was really p*&%$#! So, with a new power supply that was strong enough to power almost any card, even a high end dual card set up, I gave up on the 5770 and bought a used EVGA GTX 260 off eBay that came with several games for $190. The games I got were AVP 2010, COD4 - Modern Warfare, COD - World At War, Street Fighter IV, Time Shift, 007 Quantum Solace & Battlefield 2...not a bad deal at all. I then wiped out my machine again and put the GTX 260 in. It's been several days & has worked perfectly ever since. Below is the Newegg link to the GTX 260...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

After talking to several people on different forums and some of my friends who work in IT, I discovered that the 5770 drivers still have issues with W7x64 but it's only with certain cards in the 5000 series family and ATI is not looking at these issues as priorities. My card, 577A-ZNFR, is one of those cards and production of it has been discontinued from XFX. Most of the other cards with similar issues are no longer in production (certain model #s that is.) I believe that is why I got it so cheap on eBay.

It worked great my dual boot of XPx32. Knowing that I now have it installed on my wife's machine with XPx32. It is working fine. Her machine has the same board, RAM, CPU & HD as mine and she's using my old Antec 550 power supply without issue. After getting rid of the Nvidia drivers from her 7900 GTO in her machine & installing the 5770 without issue I knew it was a driver issue for sure and not a hardware issue or under powered power supply. I did not have to do a new install on her pc as I tried on mine. It appears solid on XPx32.

So, for those of you who see an HD 5770 for sale with the model # 577A-ZNFR be aware that as of today, 03/16/2010, you will have problems with the current 10.2 ATI drivers on W7x64. It works fine on XPx32. I don't know about Vista and have no plans to check it since I don't use it.

Thanks to all of you for your input and help in this matter. It's been frustrating but definitely a learning experience...EWB



The GTX260 is nice card too:) 
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