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Best GPU Options

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  • Graphics Cards
  • GPUs
  • Graphics
Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 18, 2010 3:35:41 PM

I'm after your opinions on whether upgrading my GPU is worth it, and what my best options are if that's the case. My current setup is as follows...

Intel Q6600
EVGA 680i SLI
GeForce 8800GTX
4GB RAM

Now I do a lot of PC gaming and also I'm doing a fair bit of modelling using 3DS Max, so I'm also possibly looking towards a dual monitor setup. My current monitor is at 1680x1050.

When I built this system, I had enough money to get a whole new setup but unfortunately, I don't have that luxury this time around and won't have for a while. With prices of top components always going up, I can't really upgrade my processor, motherboard and ram so I figured that it may be time to at least upgrade the GPU. It's been a while since I've kept track of what's going on with new technology so I'm wondering if I'd see much benefit by upgrading it?

I know about the i7's being the latest thing, but will my Q6600 be good enough for good settings on the most recent games if I upgrade to a better GPU?

I have a budget of around £250/$400 possibly pushing up to £300/$500 at a real push. What would be the best options considering that price range? As I said above, I won't be replacing the motherboard so unfortunately won't have the option of Crossfire but can use SLI.

Thanks for any help :) 

More about : gpu options

January 18, 2010 3:59:53 PM

Wait 2 months for Fermi to release and ATI prices to drop and decide then imo
Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
January 18, 2010 4:02:39 PM

I doubt fermi will be released in 2 months and I really doubt ATI will need to drop prices, at least not enough to wait 2 months in the hope of that happening.
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a b U Graphics card
January 18, 2010 4:27:59 PM

I think if you could manage to find an 8800GTX for the ~$100 that its worth than it would be an economical upgrade. I would also suggest a minor overclock of your processor for a little more performance.

If you want to spend more an ATI 5850 at £245 or 5870 for £330 would give you a very significant graphic power boost. Also ATI's Eyefinity technology would be great for a multi-monitor setup. (and you could keep the 8800 as a physX card--assuming you have the PSU to run both)

One of the benefits of these new DX 11 cards is that they would probably last long enough that you could keep them to eventually crossfire on a newer processor/mobo.
January 18, 2010 4:40:13 PM

Thanks for the quick replies.

I did think about a second 8800GTX but wasn't convinced it would give me a great boost when compared to the latest cards.

I'm leaning towards an ATI 5850. There doesn't seem to be a massive difference between that and the 5870 but I could be wrong there. From what I've read, I think my best bet would be to save a little cash and opt for the 5850.

You mention keeping the 8800 as a PhysX card and run both. May sound stupid but is it possible to run both? My PSU is a Corsair 950W which should be plently good enough, I think.

Another question, is Crysis still the best game for testing your machine? If so, how would the Q6600 handle it? I may get around to overclocking it a little although, I doubt I'll get much more out of it due to heat.
a c 217 U Graphics card
January 18, 2010 5:09:51 PM

You can use your 8800 as a dedicated physX card, which is what I'm doing myself, but it's not officially supported anymore. You'd either have to use old nvidia drivers, I think going back to 161.xxx or look for a hack created by GenL (what I'm doing).

It has worked great so far.
January 18, 2010 5:31:56 PM

Thanks for the info. Found the GenL hack, so that's something I'll give some consideration too.
a c 198 U Graphics card
January 18, 2010 5:43:53 PM

Tut tut tut. Using hacks, how naughty;)
Yes, the HD5850 sounds like a nice upgrade but you should really look into overclocking the processor first, you might be surprised how much extra performance you can get by adding a $50 (or less) cooler and spending a little time on it.
a c 376 U Graphics card
January 18, 2010 6:23:03 PM

Yeah, the Q6600 is still a good processor but overclocking it is definitely a good idea. It OCs very well and there's no reason not to really.
You can get another 8800GTX and it will be a nice upgrade but if you have the money the HD5850 will be significantly better, especially if you OC it as it can reach close to the performance of the HD5870(higher if you raise the voltage.) The other advantages of an HD5850 are DX11, no scaling issues and it uses less than half the power/gives off much less heat.
Honestly though that card is overkill for your resolution. Even an HD5770 will perform very well at that resolution and be a nice upgrade(35-40% or so) over your 8800GTX and give you DX11 support and nice power efficiency. When/if you build/buy a new computer you could get another in crossfire for performance similar to an HD5870 as it scales very well;
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/display/radeon-h...
January 18, 2010 6:35:26 PM

I'm going to give overclocking it a go tomorrow. My worry is with the temperatures. I have a good cooler on but the temps are still a little high. I can definitely get more out of it but I'm not sure how much more.

What should I be looking at getting to make it worthwhile? I do recall having it at 2.6 and I'm not sure I'll get it higher due to temperatures. I'll certainly give it a go though.

I'll also take a look at the HD5770 :) 
a c 376 U Graphics card
January 18, 2010 6:46:44 PM

With that chip 65-70C under full load is about as high as you want to go. It should be able to easily top 3ghz before reaching those temperatures especially if you have a good cooler like you say.
a b U Graphics card
January 18, 2010 9:18:06 PM

These posts are so much simpler when all of you agree with me :-)

A good intermediate option between the 5770 and the 5850 will be the 5830--(to be released in the next week in the states, but I dont know about availability in Europe)

The 5770 is a powerful card, but if you plan to game on a multi-monitor setup and have a decent budget I'm inclined to suggest you go ahead and just spend the extra money on a 58xx.
a c 107 U Graphics card
January 18, 2010 9:33:44 PM

^ The 5770 wouldn't be much of an upgrade over his current 8800GTX, while two 8800GTX cards would actually be a little faster than a single 5850 depending on the situation.

Anyway, I also say go for a second 8800GTX and overclock the CPU. You may also want to add some good case fans, if you can add anymore that is, since two 8800GTX cards can produce a good bit of heat. If you really do just want to go with a single card solution then a 5850 is certainly the way to go. Thanks to eyeinfinity you can even hook up three monitors to that bad boy.
a c 107 U Graphics card
January 18, 2010 9:34:26 PM

^ and I meant to add that you could use all three at the same time in a single game!!! (well supported ones anyway).
a c 376 U Graphics card
January 18, 2010 9:40:53 PM

megamanx00 said:
^ The 5770 wouldn't be much of an upgrade over his current 8800GTX

It would be a decent if not huge upgrade. I did tell him exactly how much so he can decide. Certainly a very nice card for 1680x1050 and reasonably priced.
a c 217 U Graphics card
January 18, 2010 9:50:25 PM

I am fairly sure he'd have higher performance with another 8800gtx at less cost, BUT would lack DX11 support.
Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
January 18, 2010 9:52:40 PM

I would sell the 8800gtx and buy a 5770 before buying a second 8800gtx. The raw performance of sli'd 8800gtx is still good, but not worth everything else that comes with it, ie power draw, temps, lack of dx11 etc.

Also as a fellow UK'er I know that he will get a pretty good price for that 8800gtx on ebay here still. Half the cost of the 5770 at least, and probably more.
a c 376 U Graphics card
January 18, 2010 10:13:02 PM

bystander said:
I am fairly sure he'd have higher performance with another 8800gtx at less cost, BUT would lack DX11 support.

Yeah, definitely but the heat/power usage would be worlds different and there's still some SLI scaling/compatibility issues in some games.
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