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Upgrading GPU, narrowed down to 4. Advice?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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March 17, 2010 2:49:22 AM

Upgrading my GPU soon and im hoping to find some guidance on which to settle on. Ive read reviews for each and my major concern is bottlenecking at some juncture. Outside of the very basic specs, I get lost in the numbers and fear overlooking something.

currently running:

8600gt 512mb

Athlon 64x2 6000+ 3114mhz

3gb ram

mobo GA-MA770-DS3

WinXP


A few specific questions:
the memory bus width of my mobo reads 128-bit, while current GPU's have 256-bit and higher for "memory interface". Do these two figures have any relation, and if so, does this mean my mobo would be bottlenecking the newer GPU's to some degree?

Also, from a few articles ive read here at Toms, the 4 GPU's that im deciding between all rank pretty close on the "GPU hierarchy" and all price pretty close. What if any caveats would you issue for these cards? I have no experience with Radeon but im assuming that a switch from GeForce wont hurt anything. I play mostly FPS genre games.

Radeon HD 4770 512MB 128-bit GDDR5
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GeForce GTS 250 1GB 256-bit DDR3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GeForce 9800 GT 1GB 256-bit DDR3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

BTW if anyone can link some good beginner info on graphics cards id appreciate it. Most of what i find in Tom's articles are over my head! Thanks.
a b U Graphics card
March 17, 2010 2:56:43 AM

hey there,

The 4850 and GTS 250 are the most powerful listed here and are similar in performance. The 4850 is also one of the cheapest--making it a great choice. I would go with the sapphire brand one over the powercolor brand one though.

What is your power supply? This might impact the decision. The 4770 uses quite a bit less power than the other options. The GTS 250 uses the most power of any of these cards.

You have a newer MOBO--its nothing to worry about.

Switching brand shouldnt make a difference as long as you are careful to uninstall Nvida drivers before going to ATI.
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March 17, 2010 3:29:40 AM

I bought my PSU pretty recently with my eye on the future, its in the 535watt range. Good advice about removing the obsolete drivers before i make the swap, and i did not see the sapphire model during my browsing, that will save me some dough.

Good stuff deadlock, tyvm.
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a b U Graphics card
March 17, 2010 1:30:39 PM

I meant the Sapphire on quality, but I see now that its cheaper too :-) (They fluctuate pricing pretty often)

Just to clairfy the difference, the GTS 250 1 gb is slightly more powerful than the 512mb 4850. The 512mb 4850 is slightly more powerful than the 512mb GTS 250. Most of the difference you see between them will be in games that are optimized for either ATI or Nvidia however. I suggested the 4850 here because its $10 cheaper (and free shipping) and uses less power--but if you find a GTS 250 for that price it would be a good buy too.

--
If you decide you want to move up a price bracket this would be your next best value:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The new 5xxx series has Direct X 11, and power use+temps lower than either of the above cards. In this chart from the 5770/5750 review, know that the 4850 performs around the 5750 in performance. (I didnt recommend the 5750 because it costs $135--and its not worth$30 just for DX 11 which isn't really even used yet)





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a b U Graphics card
March 18, 2010 8:55:19 PM

I agree the 4850 is the best option you listed. I would take a look around at some of the 5750's as well though- generally slightly better performance than the 4850, and it has DX11 and Eyefinity support as well, and they're only a couple bucks more.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Might be worth a look.
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March 18, 2010 9:21:56 PM

Out of what you have been considering the 4850 is by far your best bet.
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March 18, 2010 10:30:30 PM

flyinfinni said:
I agree the 4850 is the best option you listed. I would take a look around at some of the 5750's as well though- generally slightly better performance than the 4850, and it has DX11 and Eyefinity support as well, and they're only a couple bucks more.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Might be worth a look.


The 5750's aren't a very good value atm because of the continued price drops of the 5770's.

The Powercolor 5750 512MB you listed is almost $130 with shipping. For only $20 more than that you can get a HIS 5770 1GB which is $150 with free shipping.

If you're going to go above the ~$100 budget you seem to have you should just jump up to the 5770. Otherwise stick with your plan to get a 4850 or GTS250. If you can wait a few weeks though you might see AMD's possible post-Fermi price drops, stocks of 4800's getting smaller, and pressure from the 5770 getting cheaper bring the 5750 down closer to your $100 budget.

The 5750 value just isn't there atm.


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a b U Graphics card
March 18, 2010 10:33:22 PM

Good call DudemanX- the prices keep changing on me! The 5750 was a great deal recently (could get the 512 for $110 and the 1g for $130), but you are totally correct about the 5770- much better deal right now.
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a b U Graphics card
March 18, 2010 11:40:52 PM

I actually noted that in my original post with the charts- but thanks for agreeing :-)
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a b U Graphics card
March 19, 2010 2:44:20 PM

Oh... Good call deadlockedworld:-D I got distracted by the charts and other recommendations up there, so I just missed it :-p My bad ;-)

Edit: and the prices keep jumping around! Here is your deal right here! 5770 1g for $140 after MIR!
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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