I've been out of the graphics card scene too long and i'm really struggling on deciding what to replace my dead 8800GTX with
APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: probably this week
BUDGET RANGE: £300-£400
USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming - currently playing COD MW2 mostly (mass effect 2, dawn of war 2. want alpha protocol, etc etc.)
CURRENT GPU AND POWER SUPPLY: Geforce 8800GTX - Hi-Power Black 800W 14cm Blue LED Fan PSU - 20+4pin 4x SATA 4x PCI-E
OTHER RELEVANT SYSTEM SPECS: CPU - intel C2D firstname.lastname@example.orgGhz MoBo - Asus P5n32e-sli plus RAM - 4gig DDR2 800mhz. The case has 2 fans in it
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: ebuyer.co.uk or any uk site other than scan.co.uk COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: UK
PARTS PREFERENCES: Whatever's compatible
OVERCLOCKING: Not bothered
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe
MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1680x1050
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: im looking for something better than the 8800gtx which I had no complaints with for the last 3 years, it played everything i've been bothered about at max settings @1680x1050 and that's good enough for me. I want the new card to keep me going in the same way for another 3 years if possible. I'd also prefer something that isn't going to make my small room seem like a boiler.
Cheers to anyone who could suggest the best card solution for me
The HD5770 is a nice upgrade(40% or so) and a good choice at a good price. It uses a lot less power than your 8800GTX and should be great for your resolution.
If you want something that might last you 3 years+ like the 8800GTX did then get the HD5850. It's about twice as powerful as your 8800GTX at stock and can overclock a huge amount. It also uses less power than your 8800GTX.
2-3 years? You don't want to go Nvidia - the 200 series is already dated and cannot support Direct X 11 which will be more common over the next years.
Your best bet is either:
5770 - nice card, good value, will work great at your resolution. My only concerns for this card are: Over the next 2-3 years you may get a new monitor (1920 x 1080 resolution). The other concern is that DIrect X 11 tends to cause a performance hit in games, I worry that the 5770 may struggle with it in some games.
5850 - great card, but is considerably more expensive at £250. However it is one of the best price/performance cards. This card can cope with a 1920 x 1080 resolution with max settings for everything (except Crysis where you may need to take down the AA). My concern is: At your resolution it may be a bit overkill, more power than required so money you did not need to spend. On the other hand, with Direct X 11 the extra power may be perfect.
Those were the two obvious options.
There was also:
The 5870 - complete overkill for your system, at your resolution and with your CPU it will be wasted, so it is just not worth getting
Nvidia 200 Series: Old technology, cannot support Direct X 10, overpriced compared to ATI's cards which are better, run cooler, use less power and are Direct X 11 compatible.
GTX 470 - costing close to the 5870 and being an inferior card, it is definately out of the running. Ad the fact it is hot, power hungry and noisy and you can see you want to keep away from it.
To be honest, while the 5850 may last you 3 more years, your CPU wont. You will need to replace the CPU, Mobo and RAM before the 5850.
That card would be fine but the same site has this for (very) slightly less; http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=GX...
It is generally considered the best HD5850 around, especially if you may want to overclock the card at some point. It has a quieter and more effective fan/heatsink than the reference fan on the Sapphire card.
My last card was an ASUS, after the trouble i've had recently getting my 8800GTX dealt with under its 3 year warranty I don't want to deal with ASUS again where possible.
A few people have mentioned that my CPU is going to become the problem in the future. I absolutely agree. Is there a CPU you guys would recommend as an upgrade, that is perhaps cheap (and will go in the same board) but provide a mild speed boost that will keep me going?
I want to edit my post but i can't for some reason. I appreciate that my Mobo/cpu and ram are all going to need replacing at some point, they are all 3 years old too. But since my graphics card has died I need an immediate replacement and I want to get something decent. I'll ask you guys for help again when i'm looking for the right mobo/cpu combo, you all know what's what ;-)
Is there a CPU you guys would recommend as an upgrade, that is perhaps cheap (and will go in the same board) but provide a mild speed boost that will keep me going?
I think it would be a smart move just sticking with your current rig till you're not happy with it's performance. It's not like you're working with a weak system.
You're still running with a good mid-range CPU. C2D E6700 Passmark CPU score
Assuming that is a Q6700 there isn't really a processor that's worth upgrading to on your current motherboard. Your current processor is actually still pretty nice and can last you a fair amount longer if you are willing to overclock it. You should be able to bump it up another 1000mhz or so fairly easily. If it is an E6700 then you can upgrade to a quad core but it would still benefit from an OC for games that aren't fully multithreaded.
Outside of that you can go for a new motherboard and an i5 or i7. An LGA 1156 motherboard and an i5-750 would probably be your best choice for the money.
I assume C2D means Core 2 Duo, so it is not Quad. But at the moment I would not bother changing to Quad on same mobo, may aswell save your money until you can do a proper upgrade.
However, the E6700 is not dead yet, with the 5850 graphics card you should find you can run your games fine. (my wife still uses E6700 8800GTX and can still run many games on High Settings). Its just a new CPU and mobo will likely be needed in the future to get more from your 5850 (so make sure when games start struggling in future you don't just assume a new card will fix your problems)
You CPU upgrade will either need to be an i5 750 or an AMD Phenom II x4 955 along with compatible motherboard and DDR 3 RAM
It's really not particularly hard. It basically involves raising one or two settings in the BIOS. The E6700 operates at stock on a 266mhz front side bus with a x10 multiplier so the stock speed is 2.66ghz. To overclock you just raise the front side bus(FSB.) So on a 300mhz FSB it would be 3ghz, 333mhz = 3.33ghz, 350mhz = 3.5ghz, ect.
The processor can only go up a certain amount on the stock voltage. You can probably get it up to around 3ghz on stock voltage but likely not much higher. Raising the voltage slightly and putting the speed up to 3.33ghz should be something you can do with a very small voltage increase and still be fine just with the stock fan/heatsink. It wouldn't be pushing the processor to it's limits by any means and should only take a few minutes to do. That would put the processor more in line with the needs of the more CPU intensive current games and help prevent frame rates from diving during the more hectic action in a game.
There's nothing to be particularly worried about either. Most horror stories you hear about overclocking are from a previous era when processors ran hotter, didn't have nearly as much overclocking headroom or automatic safety features built-in. These days it's quite safe, extremely effective and almost impossible to damage anything even if you attempt to push it to the limit(which I'm not suggesting.) With a good aftermarket fan/heatsink you may be able to get the processor up 3.8ghz+ but that would be a much more tedious and time consuming process so I don't recommend it for a first timer.