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Best cheap video card

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April 5, 2010 8:21:55 PM

hey all, new member in need of some advice. im having crashing problems with my computer and after RMAing my RAM i know that that isnt the problem. now im thinking that the problem may be my XFX 4870 so im going to RMA it. im using an ASUS M4A79T deluxe motherboard so i dont have any onboard video.

does anybody have any insight into a really good and really cheap video card that i can use so im not without a computer for the week or so that it takes to RMA my real video card?

im looking at >>>THIS<<< newegg page and wondering what would be good for a temp/backup video card.

thanks for any help!
full specs on my Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit machine:

motherboard - ASUS M4A79T Deluxe AM3 DDR3 AMD 790FX ATX AMD Motherboard
CPU - AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz
CPU cooler - ZALMAN CNPS9900ALED 120mm 2 Ball Low-noise
video card - XFX HD-487A-ZHFC Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16
RAM - Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Dual Channel Kit
display - ASUS VW246H Glossy Black 24" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen LCD
case - COOLER MASTER HAF 932 RC-932-KKN1-GP Black Steel ATX Full Tower
power supply - COOLER MASTER Silent Pro 700 RS-700-AMBA-D3 700W
2 times HDDs in RAID 0 - Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5"
DVD burner - ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X

More about : cheap video card

a c 1315 U Graphics card
April 5, 2010 8:35:07 PM

The 8400GS is cheap but you will have a hard time gaming on it. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... This radeon HD3650 will allow you to game a little but it costs a bit more but you will not have to worry about nvidia/ATI driver conflicts. For little less you can get HD4350 and little more HD4650.
a b U Graphics card
April 5, 2010 9:03:43 PM

Are you planning on gaming with the temporary card? If you just need something to get you by with desktop use till your card comes back, find the cheapest POS you can get. If you want to game, you'll want to get something a little better. a 4650 or 5570 (5570 could be a worthwhile buy if you ever plan on building an HTPC or anything like that). I would stick with an ATI so you don't have to worry about driver issues.
Related resources
April 5, 2010 9:56:04 PM

i have a ton of games but i guess i could get by for the xx amount of days that it will take XFX to send me a new card. i can play solitaire though! :pt1cable: 

looking at THIS list sorted by price and with free shipping. then throwing out the mail-in rebates, im seeing the POWERCOLOR AX3450 256MB for 30 bucks. is the Sapphire 3650 512 MB worth 10 more dollars in case it takes a little time for the RMA to go through?
a c 1315 U Graphics card
April 5, 2010 9:58:53 PM

Probably not if you are happy with Solitaire. (HD4350 can play some on low settings)
April 5, 2010 10:15:56 PM

well i doubt i could get anything that i want to play and have in 'queue' (BF2142, Fallout 3, Comp of Heroes) going on any of these low end cards. although i could pull out the old copy of Max Payne 2 for the time being.
a b U Graphics card
April 5, 2010 10:22:48 PM

You know- if you get a card you could use for something else and make due with it, it wouldn't just be a waste of money. Say a 5450 or 5570 and then throw it in an HTPC or media server type of box later on.
a c 164 U Graphics card
April 6, 2010 3:46:29 AM

Just a thought, try to find a card at a good price with no rebate. Get a 5750 or a 5670, or some other higher end card. Use it for your week, then dump it on your local CL for $20-$40 less then it cost you. Mention that its new, used for just a week or two, and it should sell. You get to use a card that will handle games, and it only ends up costing you about the same as the lower end cards.

Then again buying a 4350 and keeping it so you have a back up card on hand all the time isn't a bad idea either. Just throwing ideas out there.
Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
April 6, 2010 3:56:13 AM

If I am in your shoes with such a system, I would take this as an opportunity to upgrade and get a 5850 and sell the 4870 with the lifetime warranty as a new replacement. ;) 

And at those prices, if you wanted to sell the 5850 , it would sell like cake @ the same price as purchased.
a c 164 U Graphics card
April 6, 2010 9:27:55 AM

Hmm, thats another option. Not a bad one either. The 5850 is down to $250 or so, sell the 4870 for $100 and your looking at getting a 5850 for $150. Not a bad deal at all.
a b U Graphics card
April 6, 2010 4:23:49 PM

thats actually not a half bad idea- Ebay is your friend as the 4870's are still selling reasonably well. Upgrade to a 5850 and you'll be golden, and able to sell basically a brand new/refurbished 4870.
April 7, 2010 1:48:36 AM

im still not sure what to do. whats the best card for the money? 4870x2, 5870, or 5850? or maybe just buy a cheap one that will allow me to use the computer and then worry about a new card once i get the RMA back.

i think ill just buy the cheapest card i can get and then worry about buying a new one and selling the 4870 while it is on its trip...

oh, just thought of something else will the 3450 or 3650 be able to play SD video OK? im about halfway through season 6 of BtVS and dont want to quit it for however long the RMA takes.
Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
April 7, 2010 3:10:41 AM

The 5850 is the best all around, fps/$. Anyway, a cheap one can always be used for troubleshooting. Any card should play SD video LOL even integrated
April 7, 2010 4:53:09 AM

thats what i figured for the SD video but it never hurts to ask for a beginner like myself.

yeah, a cheap one will be used a few times a year for troubleshooting purposes or if i have any problems like this again.

was also wondering what people thought could be the crash problem that im having, is the vid card really the most likely culprit? ill put the problem here and open a new thread if needed...

random crash issues and i RMAed my RAM as i thought that was the problem, like i said. my computer will be running perfectly until, no warning it just freezes and wont come back until i hit the reset button on the case. it has happened after hours of running, it has happened after seconds of logging in, it once happened during the throbbing Win 7 logo before the log in. happened during screen saver, happened during movies, happened during games, happened when nothing was happening except Winamp playing music.
totally random, not a software issue unless its some combination of what i have as it didnt lock up right after reload of Windows but i put software back on pretty quickly. could other hardware be a more likely suspect? any tests that i should run or logs to look at that may tell?

thanks a lot for all the help so far!

*edit - i ended up going with the Sapphire 3650 for my temp card. thanks for the recommendation rolli59! and everyone else!
a b U Graphics card
April 7, 2010 5:16:34 PM

That definitely could have been the GPU. It does seem like a hardware issue as well- not software. It sounds like either the GPU or even the CPU could be unstable. Hopefully the new card will not have any crashes and you can verify that the GPU was the problem. Enjoy that 3650.
Also- just so you know- the 5850 is definitely the best card for the money right now in the higher-end range.
April 7, 2010 5:50:23 PM

i REALLY hope that the GPU is the problem so i can use my comp w/o wondering when the next crash is going to happen.

im looking at the 5850's now, and will prob sell the 4870 soon after getting it back from the RMA.
April 15, 2010 1:28:50 AM

been using the 3650 for a few days now and its great not having the computer crash. no more wondering when the next crash was going to occur, etc. thanks again for all the input!

finally some movement from XFX tech support. after a week of communicating they are finally satisfied with my troubleshooting and asked for my SN# to get the RMA going. ive asked 2 times and the support guy hasnt answered me, so ill ask here. does XFX offer any trade in program? it would be easy to send them the 4870 and some cash and have them ship me a 5850.

btw, im really happy with the 3650. been playing Max Payne (the first one) with it and it plays perfect with everything turned up all the way including the resolution. just needed a patch to get the sound working with Win7, but it was relatively easy to find.

a c 164 U Graphics card
April 15, 2010 7:19:20 AM

AFAIK only BFG has such a program.

Edit: Actually I think its eVGA that has the step up program. BFG every now and then lets you trade in and get a new card.
April 17, 2010 2:20:11 AM

im so mad right now. the first few days of the new 3650 and no crashes. unfortunately the computer is starting to crash again. not as often as with the 4870, but still doing it occasionally.

i would guess that this brings the hardware culprits down to CPU or power supply. right? i would also guess that since its happening less frequently with the lower power consuming 3650 that the power supply is the likely culprit. right?

should i still RMA the 4870 just in case or thank XFX for their trouble and move on?
a c 164 U Graphics card
April 17, 2010 5:52:02 AM

Getting near summer time now (for those of us in the northern hemisphere anyways...) any chance this is a temp problem? I would think the power draw would be low enough that even a 700W CM PSU would be able to handle it with no problems. Check your temps and dust your case if need be.

I'd also start looking at a software problem. Use your windows disk and install windows again. Use the second build to see if the problem still happens. Just install a game or two and see if it happens. Install the windows updates and see if it happens then. Perhaps you just have a software issue.
April 17, 2010 8:43:29 AM

im in washington (state, not where all the murders are!) and it is starting to get hot outside but as you can see the temps shouldnt be any problem. btw, i dont know why its not getting a reading on the 2nd fan but all fans are running and this is a High Air Flow 932 case...
1 x 140mm rear fan
1 x 230mm front fan
1 x 230mm top fan
1 x 230mm side fan
not to mention the Zalman 9900 120mm CPU cooler



as to the software, that was one of the first things that i tried so this is a fresh load of Win7 x64. i put back most of the programs that i use but nothing out of the ordinary. probably fewer than average and all stuff that i have and use on my laptop which is very stable.

thanks for the help. it makes this crappy problem a little easier to deal with. :) 



a b U Graphics card
April 17, 2010 9:03:26 AM

I got to this thread too late. I would have suggested a 9500GT which can be used for PhysX along with the XFX 4870 when the issue gets fixed.

But seeing that you have gotten the HD3650 and that you also got crashes with them, the troubleshooting might go a little further...
I look at the picture in your last post. Is that XFX 4870? What is the card under it?
April 17, 2010 5:39:09 PM

i took that a few weeks ago before i switched out the 4870. under it is a wireless NIC card that is disabled. i used it for a while until i got around to running a cat5 to the room where i set up.
April 19, 2010 1:41:48 AM

this really sucks. im going out of my mind with freezing computer crap. probably crashed at least 10 times today while ive been trying things. ran with each stick of RAM by itself to rule out my newly RMAed RAM. i removed the disabled wireless NIC card to make sure that isnt causing problems.

why would the whole system run stable for about 3 days after installing the new vid card and now that its gotten used to having it, it freezes up as often if not more than with the 4870. damn thing crashed in the middle of writing this!

the problem was nonexistent when i first installed the 3650. after about 3 days of perfection, it froze up once. ran perfect for another day or so. then it froze 3 or 4 times the next day. now its happening many times a day again. just like with the 4870. i dont get the whole thing. change hardware and all plays nice and gives me hope that i found the solution and then slaps me in the face just when i get comfortable...
a c 164 U Graphics card
April 19, 2010 2:14:33 AM

Where do you live? Any chance you have "dirty power"? Try getting a battery backup/UPS. If the power is bad your PSU might be having problems.
April 19, 2010 4:52:55 AM

i live in Washington state.
im using a CyberPower 550VA 330W that i bought a few months ago.

*edit - this one
a c 164 U Graphics card
April 19, 2010 5:04:11 AM

Well cr@p, I'm just about out of ideas. About the only idea left is to try a different PSU. 700W should be enough, but you could always have got a bad one.
April 19, 2010 7:11:24 AM

not the CPU or MB?

i guess ill try RMAing the power supply then. how is Cooler Master customer service?
a c 164 U Graphics card
April 19, 2010 9:40:10 AM

I'd try testing before you RMA. Grab a PSU from a friend/buddy and see if you can use it for a day or two. If the problem persists, then its not the PSU.
a b U Graphics card
April 19, 2010 10:20:07 AM

I would love to recommend the ...GTS 250.. again
but somehow these cards aren't going down in price as they were back in February. I've seen spikes in prices hitting $179 locally and even online they seem to be sitting at a higher than desired pricepoint as well.
These aren't the cards everyone is after so why the hell do they keep raising the price? It's time for the 200 series to kindly fade away.
From the looks of it there are tons of 220 and 240 series cards out there.
The shelves can't seem to hold them all.
a c 164 U Graphics card
April 19, 2010 11:26:55 AM

There's still plenty on newegg for ~$100, after rebate. There are a couple around $120 with no rebate and counting shipping as well. I saw only one 5750 in that price range. All the others were more expensive then that.
a b U Graphics card
April 19, 2010 1:53:56 PM

heynow said:
this really sucks. im going out of my mind with freezing computer crap. probably crashed at least 10 times today while ive been trying things. ran with each stick of RAM by itself to rule out my newly RMAed RAM. i removed the disabled wireless NIC card to make sure that isnt causing problems.

why would the whole system run stable for about 3 days after installing the new vid card and now that its gotten used to having it, it freezes up as often if not more than with the 4870. damn thing crashed in the middle of writing this!

the problem was nonexistent when i first installed the 3650. after about 3 days of perfection, it froze up once. ran perfect for another day or so. then it froze 3 or 4 times the next day. now its happening many times a day again. just like with the 4870. i dont get the whole thing. change hardware and all plays nice and gives me hope that i found the solution and then slaps me in the face just when i get comfortable...

Sorry to hear that... How is the temperature of the CPU & the Video Cards? Try running everest with long frequency updates ( 10~20 seconds/maybe ) so you can see graphs of the temps over long period of time and observe if there are temperature spikes that could be causing the crashes. Of course you have to check on it from time to time cause once it crash, you will lose the graph. I am not sure if it saves some logs cause I never looked since I never have the need for it..
April 28, 2010 6:32:56 AM

ive run everest and i cant see anything suspicious. im sure its not a temp issue as i turned on the computer today after getting home and it froze about 2 minutes after i logged in. it was turned off and sitting in a room that was 72 degrees all day. after i reset it, its been running for the last 6 hours or so without any problems at all. i just dont know what else to try. i dont have much money to buy any equipment to test (mobo, cpu, psu, etc) and no friends with high end computers that i can swap parts with. i guess my only option is RMAing random parts until i come up with the faulty piece.
August 15, 2010 5:31:15 AM

just going to update this as i finally found out what was causing the random freezing issues that i was having! i was doing some research on SSDs and came across a post from a guy that had nearly the same specs that i have (same MB, GPU, CPU, RAM). he mentioned that he was having stability issues and then tweaked his RAM settings until he was stable. when i compared his settings to mine i found the problem.

i had let the ASUS M4A79T Deluxe 'auto' the RAM settings because i figured that having the looser 9-9-9-24 settings would make sure that that wasnt the problem however i never looked at the voltage that the RAM was getting. im running Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 996601 which if you read the specs runs 7-7-6-18 with 1.8 to 1.9 volts! the MB was autoing to (i think) 1.6 volts, which is obviously way to low and causing all sorts of stability issues.

just something else to put in the memory banks if someone is having stability issues, make sure they KNOW what the correct hardware settings should be in the BIOS and double check that they are correct. definitely NOT calling anyone out for not thinking of this as its my job as the comp owner/builder to be aware of whats happening and im very grateful for the help that i received but just another tool for diagnosing problems.

now im running 7-7-6-18 at 1.78 volts and its stable. i just bought a 96GB Vertex and i couldnt be happier with my computer atm! anyway, after all the headaches and yelling it was a simple BIOS setting for some RAM that wants an unusually high voltage that was the cause of all this trouble. thanks again for all suggestions and help!
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