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What card should I get for a quick upgrade?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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February 9, 2010 3:58:44 PM

OK, I've got a Dell XPS 410 (also called Dimension 9200) desktop that I'd love to replace with a homebuilt system but I just dont have the cash at the moment.

These are the specs:

Core2 Duo E6400 @ 2.13GHz
2 x 1GB of (slow) DDR2 RAM
Nvidia Geforce 7900 GS
RAID0 2 x 160 HD

-Running Windows 7 Professional 64-bit


As I can't afford a whole new system I thought I'd bump up the GPU and perhaps add a bit more RAM.

My uses are light gaming (I would like to be able to run MW2 on medium settings) and 3d modelling (mainly using sketchup)

I was thinking about a Ati 5670. Is this a good choice? I know you can get 4850 and 4870 cards for similar money but I'm not keen on this for 2 reasons:

-my GPU is only 350 Watts so these cards would probably overload it.
-I would like a recent card which has Directx 11 and low power consumption and HDMI that I might use in the future on a new PC build.

What do you think? Is the 5670 a good card? I also consider a 4770 but they are quite hard to come by these days.

Any advice appreciated...

More about : card quick upgrade

a b U Graphics card
February 9, 2010 4:20:21 PM

Your CPU speed is a little slow, and that is going to inhibit what kind of videocard power you can actually utilize. That said, the 5670 might be the upper limit on performance return on investment.

I would second your choice of 5670, depending on the resolution you want to use while gaming. If you want to run 1920x1080 or higher, a bump up to a 5770 would be useful, but your willingness to turn down the settings could make a 5670 very usable for you. There is also the concern that the 5770 would be too limited by the CPU to justify the expense, and overtax the PSU.
February 9, 2010 4:25:27 PM

Thanks for the reply.
It seems the 5670 could be a good choice; when I eventually build a new system I could then buy another one and run in crossfire.

My monitor currently is only a 20" 1680x1050 so I wont be running anything higher than that anyways.

Would an extra GB of RAM be worth the ~£16?
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a b U Graphics card
February 9, 2010 4:39:08 PM

You might see an improvement, you might not. Planning for a 4gb kit upgrade is probably a good idea, if your motherboard supports it, but ddr2 prices are climbing with the common adoption of DDR3 in the market, so the cost of upgrading that much might be prohibitive compared to saving for a new build.
February 9, 2010 4:43:38 PM

I have also done a bit more looking and a 5750 looks very appealing - much more powerful but still low power requirements.

Will this use more power than my 7900 GS?
a b U Graphics card
February 9, 2010 4:59:22 PM

Someone correct me if I am wrong please, but from some quick interweb sleuthing, it appears the 7900 GS uses far more power than a 5750.
a c 167 U Graphics card
February 9, 2010 6:30:51 PM

I'm not trying to start an arguement here JofaMang but this chart shows the 7900 GS using about half the power of the HD5750:

http://mark.zoomcities.com/images/gfx/GFXpowerchartbybr...

Even if the above is incorrect, the HD5750 can still draw close to 95W:

http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/HIS/Radeon_HD_5750_i...

which is about the same as the HD4770 (see first link)

Even so the HD5670 should be able to run MW2 at medium at reasonable framerates and will be a significant upgrade from the 7900GS currently installed:

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/geforce-310-5970,review-3...

It's not on the chart linked above but falls a little short of the HD4670.
More RAM comes in handy if you multitask. If you can afford it I'd say go for a 2x2Gb setup unless you can exactly match what is currently installed for a 4x1Gb setup, not every motherboard likes to have all its slots populated and some can be picky about mixing memory speeds/type/layout.
a b U Graphics card
February 9, 2010 7:54:00 PM

For about $30, get an open box G31 mobo from Newegg (which is what I did) and use that to overclock your CPU to 2.66

If you want to spend more, get a P45 chipset mobo ($60 open box) and go for 3 GHz.
February 9, 2010 10:19:50 PM

Thanks for all the advice.
Unfortunately I don't live in USA so everything's more expensive.

Also my Dell is a btx case (not atx) so replacing the mobo is not an option.

Eventually I will go for a i5 750 system so I don't want to spend loads of DDR2 when I'm just gonna buy DD3 later on for the P55.
a b U Graphics card
February 10, 2010 1:44:03 PM

Thanks coozie, i must have been misreading the charts and recommendations for the 7900gs, and probably knew it, thus why I called out for a correction, hah. I based it mostly off the recommended psu, which is higher than the 5750, but that was a long time ago in a different world of PC components.
!