Alright heres the thing, I posted in the homebuilt forums about what I should upgrade, and I got overwhelmingly RAM. So I did, and I still have upgrade money left, so I want to upgrade my graphics card.
There are a couple odd things about this build though, in that while my motherboard has two PCIe x16 lanes, one of them is in use by my Quadro FX580 and that will not be changed. The other lane is currently populated by my 9800GT which I'm looking at upgrading.
I would like to skip ATI if possible, although I know they have the best cards right now, just solely because I need driver stability and ATI has not provided that in the past ( I had a AIW 9600XT and a X1600Pro which I used for like 2hrs before I bought a 8500GT).
My system is as follows:
6 GB ECC 10666 Ram
Seagate 7200.? in Raid 1
WD Black 1TB
PCIe Slot 1: XFX 9800GT
PCIe Slot 2: Quadro FX580
PSU: 500+ Watts (forget exact rating) Has 3 +12V rails at 18A each.
Slightly ashamed to say that this is the first computer I did not build myself , it's a Lenovo S20 that I got at a corporate discount. Since it is under warranty, I'd like not to have to change out the PSU if possible.
Monitor Resolution: 1900x1200
It will be driving 2 monitors, but only one when gaming. Running everything at max is not a concern (medium is required), it just has to play smoothly.
Half Life 2 CM 10 (Extremely taxing, reason for the upgrade)
Mass Effect 1 & 2
Red Alert 3
TES 5 (whenever it come out)
Lots of software & web development programs
Budget: Absolute top max is $200, would like to stay around $150 if possible.
Someone mentioned SLIing another 9800GT, would that be better than buying a single more powerful card? Remeber that I would like to keep this Quadro where it is.
9800GT? It would be better than an HD5770, but not by much. It's like crossfiring OC'd HD5670s.
An HD5830 would be better though....not worth the price IMHO.
An MSI HAWK HD5770 will OC nicely too.
But is it stable? Thats really important to me, I can't have driver instability....I make my livelhood off this computer. Which brand would you go for, I like the size of the XFX's but don't know how good their stock cooling is (my 9800GT from them runs a little warm).