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Trying to find graphics card for friend's computer

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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March 31, 2010 5:57:15 AM

Hey everybody,

My friend recently bought a pre-built comp from Fry's and wants to do gaming on it. It's a really nice machine (AMD 2.8 Ghz dual core processor, 3 Gigs of RAM, 500 GB HD), yet it only has onboard video. He wants to buy a new video card to install so he can play today's good games. His monitor is @ 1600x900. So I am looking for a good card for under $80 that will make his system great. The mobo has one PCI-e slot, but at the moment I am not sure if the computer would have the right power adapter for most PCI-e cards. Does anybody know how common it is to have the right power cable in these type of pre-built systems?
So cards that are powered through the PCI-e slot would probably be preferred, as I can't look at his system right now to see if it would have the right power cable.

Any recommendations on a higher mid-end PCI-e card for under $80 that would allow him to play all the good games on medium-high settings?

Thanks.
Frank
a c 376 U Graphics card
March 31, 2010 7:16:08 AM

$80 is the middle of the low end. For that budget this would be a good choice;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
However it will be a bit weak for 1600x900. For that resolution you really want an HD4850/GTS 250 but those cards are high power and you will likely need a new PSU for them to run. The HD4770 may be the best choice as it is close to the performance of those cards but significantly lower power.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
You would need to tell us what PSU is in that thing first though because it may not be able to handle that card.
a c 175 U Graphics card
March 31, 2010 6:15:15 PM

^+1. I doubt a HD5670 would have any trouble with medium settings.
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March 31, 2010 6:31:25 PM

I will see if I can get the PSU wattage from him, but for now the 5670 does sound like a good choice. As long as it will fit in the case. Too bad it's only 128-bit, but I guess you have to sacrifice something to get down into the $80 price range. I was looking at 9600gt's since Tom's Hardware reviewed them as the best card for this month in that price range. But to get a quality one of those, it's usually more than $85. I don't want to count on mail-in-rebates.
I assume his computer has a pretty low-end PSU since it's a pre-built system.
Thanks for the input.
a c 376 U Graphics card
March 31, 2010 8:35:48 PM

It uses DDR5 ram which largely mitigates the narrow memory bus. Don't look at the 9600GT, it is a less powerful card. But really, as I said earlier, the HD5670 is not intended for that resolution. Check the PSU and up the budget slightly for the HD4770. It's a good idea anyway, theoretically even the HD5670 may be too much for it to handle.
March 31, 2010 8:48:25 PM

What about this card? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It has outstanding reviews, and even though it's a bit more than the others, it doesn't need the 6-pin power cable, and it's small enough to be sure to fit in most cases. Apparently runs pretty much any game on good settings.
a c 376 U Graphics card
March 31, 2010 9:02:52 PM

That card is equal to the HD5670 in performance but it is $16 more and DX10 rather than DX11.
a b U Graphics card
March 31, 2010 9:18:54 PM

The Radeon HD 5670 is the most powerful reference card that doesn't need a PCI-E Power connector. It is also small enough to fit in most cases- even though that one that was listed is a dual slot card, it should still fit no problem as most PCI-E slots are NOT the bottom slot. 5670 is DX11 and is equivalent to that 9800. The 9800's that HAVE the power connector are faster, but when they drop the power connector, they also drop performance a bit.
April 2, 2010 4:07:56 AM

So his computer has a 250W PSU. He says he's willing to buy a new power supply (I'm thinking probably like 500 or so) so he can get a better card.
With that new factor, what card would you recommend? Sticking with the 4770? Seems like a really nice one. Too bad everything costs so much.
a c 175 U Graphics card
April 2, 2010 4:32:23 AM

If he buys a QUALITY 500W PSU (e.g. Antec, Corsair, Seasonic, PC Power & Cooling, or Enermax), he could run a HD5850 with it. His original budget was $80; what's the new one? A budget of $175-$200 would fit a HD5750 and a nice PSU.
April 2, 2010 5:07:02 AM

I'm thinking this Cooler Master one: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...
Very good reviews, cooler master is a quality company.
I think we want to keep the card budget under $100, so I'm feeling that a 4770 fits the bill well with lots of horsepower and good value.
April 2, 2010 5:22:35 AM

cooler master..... quality? uh...... not really

For the $40- 60 range, look no further than the corsair vs450w or the antec500w's

I wholeheartedly support the vx450w as i have it in my dads comp (its my backup incase my tx750 fails... teehehe) and its a helluva deal at $40.
corsair
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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

Both have AWESOME reviews, corsair & antec is quality companies i'll take any day over any cooler master.
Good choice on 4770 but if you can find a hd4850 for around $100 itll be the pick i suppose....
April 2, 2010 5:57:14 AM

That's the same Antec PSU I have in my comp. :) 
Would a 450W power the whole system and leave room for expansion?
a c 175 U Graphics card
April 2, 2010 1:12:06 PM

That was one of the older, mediocre Coolermasters. Any PSU bought today should have full range active PFC (no little voltage switch) and be 80+ certified. That 500W Earthwatts (there's now an 80+ bronze version) is the one that had so many excellent reviews written about it. That's what I put in my wife's rig a little over a year ago.
a b U Graphics card
April 2, 2010 3:44:32 PM

Coolermaster is a good company for cases and cooling, but not so much for PSU.
I would suggest the Corsair 450W PSU's as the best for probable application. the 500W Antec is also good, just make sure you get the 80+ bronze certified one.
As for the card, if you are still looking in the ~$80 range, the 4850 linked is probably the best deal, but I would highly suggest (when already getting a PSU and stuff) bumping up and getting a 5770, which has DX11 and will last a good bit longer at this point than a 4850.
April 2, 2010 11:53:20 PM

lilotimz said:
cooler master..... quality? uh...... not really

For the $40- 60 range, look no further than the corsair vs450w or the antec500w's

I wholeheartedly support the vx450w as i have it in my dads comp (its my backup incase my tx750 fails... teehehe) and its a helluva deal at $40.
corsair
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


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

Both have AWESOME reviews, corsair & antec is quality companies i'll take any day over any cooler master.
Good choice on 4770 but if you can find a hd4850 for around $100 itll be the pick i suppose....


The Corsair would be a helluva deal if it was $40. The link you gave me is $66, even after a MIR.
The antec is 45 + tax after a MIR, so maybe that one. I've used it and know it's a good one.
!