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Is this a good card for the money?

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June 6, 2010 6:16:31 AM

Howdy folks,

So I want to upgrade the graphics card in my retail desktop computer (HP m8120n Media Center PC). Here's the specs:

  • Motherboard: Asus P5BW-LA
  • Core 2 Quad Q6600 (K) 2.4 GHz, 1066 MHz front side bus
  • 3 GB DDR2 RAM
  • 2 x 320 GB 7200 rpm SATA HDDs
  • Graphics Card: GeForce 7350LE; 128 MB DDR memory; DVI, S-Video, VGA
  • TV tuner card
  • Realtek ALC 888S chipset (sound card)

    A pretty decent setup IMO (for being 2.5 years old), except for the crappy graphics card! :pfff:  I want to stick with nVidia, since my primary OS is Linux and I've always had better luck with nVidia on Linux. I also want to be able to run Mass Effect 2 (minimum requirements).

    I was looking at this card on newegg. The price is about what I was looking to pay (~$50) and my understanding of nVidia numbering is that this is a pretty good card. What do y'all think? Does it seem like a good deal for the money? Any other options in this price range that would give better bang for the buck? How about Biostar...are they any good?

    The other thing I was worried about was power...my 7350 is fanless (this one has a cooling fan) and much less powerful. Furthermore my system only has a 350 W PSU. Will that be too small to support this card?

    Finally, a n00b question...is the fan powered from the PCIe bus or do I need one of the little power plugs from the mobo to connect?

    Thanks in advance.
  • More about : good card money

    June 6, 2010 6:39:18 AM

    check out XFX PVT95GZAFG 1GB Version. It is 10$ more but it is a better card for your budget. Plus it gives great performance in recent games including mass effect 2. also check out the reviews at
    http://www.dabs.com/products/xfx-geforce-9500gt-550mhz-...

    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/ite...


    http://videocard-review.blogspot.com/2010/01/xfx-pv-t95...

    Regarding the low profile bracket, if you have a mid tower or full tower pc case forget about it.

    http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20091129...



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    June 6, 2010 6:53:18 AM

    karthik_11 said:
    check out XFX PVT95GZAFG 1GB Version. It is 10$ more but it is a better card for your budget. Plus it gives great performance in recent games including mass effect 2. also check out the reviews at
    www.dabs.com/.../xfx-geforce-9500gt-550mhz-1gb-ddr2-pci...


    Hmmm....that is indeed a good card. The only difference I see is that the XFX has 1 GB of DDR2 RAM while the Biostar has 1/2 GB of GDDR3 RAM...right? Is the 1 GB of RAM more important than the faster GDDR3? (I'm not trying to argue or anything, just want to understand it all well.) And do you think it's really worth the $20 extra?

    I'm not a big gamer at all, so the card won't be pushed much, but if the 20 bucks will make a big difference I would go ahead and invest in the better product.

    EDIT: Ah ok, 10 bucks more from Tiger Direct....missed that the first time through.
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    Related resources
    June 6, 2010 6:59:53 AM

    I am looking into this. Meanwhile i have included some other links in my last message. see it and i will be back in a few minutes.
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    June 6, 2010 8:00:23 AM

    I checked in the web . but first before proceeding check these links .

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

    http://www.techenclave.com/graphic-cards/9500gt-at-guru...


    I first suggested a 1gb xfx card.after reading reviews, i find that 9500 gt will not utilize the 1 gb.so don't buy it.

    instead try the 512 mb xfx model that i have given in the link. it is ~50$. Plus I have checked the specs in xfx website.

    The card memory is ddr3 and it performs great in many games . Regarding the biostar Model

    I cannot find any user reviews much. So think and buy. In Newegg Xfx has a higher score than the biostar model . check out and reply me.

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    June 7, 2010 6:42:11 AM

    karthik_11 said:
    I checked in the web . but first before proceeding check these links .

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

    http://www.techenclave.com/graphic-cards/9500gt-at-guru...


    I first suggested a 1gb xfx card.after reading reviews, i find that 9500 gt will not utilize the 1 gb.so don't buy it.

    instead try the 512 mb xfx model that i have given in the link. it is ~50$. Plus I have checked the specs in xfx website.

    The card memory is ddr3 and it performs great in many games . Regarding the biostar Model

    I cannot find any user reviews much. So think and buy. In Newegg Xfx has a higher score than the biostar model . check out and reply me.


    Strange...why wouldn't the GPU use all the 1 GB? You'd think that if the manufacturer put 1 GB of RAM on the card it would use it all!

    This most recently linked card looks like a good buy...I think that 512 is plenty of RAM for the gaming I will do, and the fact it is DDR3 at least makes me feel better (whether or not it makes a big difference). I have also got the impression that Biostar is perhaps the "cheap" card maker, and XFX seems to be a better company. (And they have lifetime warranty...) EDIT: And it also comes with CoD4 for free....a nice little bonus!

    I think that I will buy this card (512 MB XFX)....thanks for your help KARTHIK_11! Any other advice (in agreement or disagreement) before I click the buy button?

    And also to re-ask my n00b question....will all the power come from the PCIe bus, or should I connect another molex power cable?
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    June 7, 2010 11:07:00 AM

    No...
    9500GT is not a gaming card, it's too weak...
    You will not be able play Mass Effect with a decent gameplay with that card...

    What is your PSU? brand? model?
    Monitor? what size?
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    June 7, 2010 2:12:43 PM

    First before buying check whether your power supply is sufficient enough or else you may end up losing your card. Give me your full specs of your power supply and also its brand.you need at least 350W or greater system power supply (with a minimum 12V current rating of 18A). Also at what resolution do you play mass effect 2?
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    June 7, 2010 10:41:01 PM

    I know my PSU is 350 W...I'll have to wait until I get home tonight to see the brand and model, but I can tell you that it is probably nothing fancy since this is an HP computer.

    As for my monitor, I have a 22" Acer LCD @ 1680x1050....although I am fine with running ME at a lower resolution if it will save me money (I'm only a very casual gamer, usually my computer does more CPU intensive activities.) Right now it is just barely playable with my 7350le (at the lowest res, no effects, I get maybe 15-20 fps).

    wa1, I knew the 9500GT wasn't a serious gaming card, but I hoped that it would work for my needs....I don't want to spend a whole lot of money, and $50 was about my budget. Do you really think ME will still be unplayable with this card? I figured it had to be a lot better than my current one.

    Thanks for everyone's help....more advice is always welcomed!

    EDIT: Here is HP's info on the motherboard: http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?lc=en&cc=us... . I'll get the other info when I get home...
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    June 8, 2010 2:35:52 AM

    Okay, since you're on a tight budget, it's okay 9500GT then, you will see a significant performance increase than your current card... :) 
    It's still playebale, but not with highest setting...
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    June 8, 2010 7:07:59 AM

    OK folks, as promised the PSU info: it is made by Delta Electronics...the labeling on the side reads:

    So it doesn't appear to be a very good supply. Luckily a friend of mine has an older 500 W Enermax...if he can find it he said he would give it to me.
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    June 8, 2010 8:00:34 AM

    Nah, for 9500GT, your PSU is enough... :) 
    Don't worry about that..
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    June 8, 2010 12:32:24 PM

    I'd go with an HD4650/4670 over a 9500GT any day. The 9500GT shouldn't even be classified as a "GT" card. It's gaming performance is downright awful.

    4650's start at about $40, and 4670's start at about $65. And neither is power hungry at all.
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    June 8, 2010 5:01:30 PM

    OK thx wa1...I agree that the specs look good enough on my power supply. But what I was more worried about was that the quality might not be so good, and when my system gets under a heavy load it might go out of spec and cause problems with my other components. Is this Delta Electronics a decent PSU manufacturer?

    @RazberyBandit I had indeed though of getting an ATI card, because I do think that they are more value for the money. But I was planning on sticking with nVidia because I run Linux, which has very good nVidia drivers but not so good ATI drivers (they have gotten better recently but still nVidia's are more stable). However, I would perhaps be game to switching to ATI... Is the HD46x0 really hugely better than the 9500GT?
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    June 8, 2010 5:29:33 PM

    OK great news....my friend found one of his PSUs.... an Enermax EG651P-VE...550 W (650 W peak) with 24 A on the 12 V rail. It should still work fine.

    Only problem I see is that there is no PCIe power connector...can I just use an adapter for one of the other connectors for that purpose?
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    June 9, 2010 3:11:38 PM

    But, the OP is using Linux and it sounds like that's his primary reason for pursuing a Nvidia card. I do think if you use Windows primary or it's the sole OS, then an ATI card is a far better choice regardless of generation.

    ATI has a notorious rep for inconsistent support in Linux and although there's cases where things are 'working', the OP probably wants the safer bet even if the comparable ATI card is superior.
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    June 9, 2010 5:28:11 PM

    Exactly right Canuck1...most Linux folks don't really like ATI a lot because of their "inconsistent" support. Some cards will work just fine (mostly the lower end ones) but the drivers for a lot of the higher end ones have some really nasty memory leaks. Plus they are just less optimized than the Windows ones. You'd be hard pressed to find a die-hard ATI and Linux user.

    Karthik, I installed the Enermax last night...everything is running perfectly. I think the new one weighs about 15-20 lbs...my old one was about 5 (!) pounds. So I think it is better quality :whistle: 

    Now the deal is, I was already in the mindset of spending $100 total (50 for GPU, 50 for PSU). Now that I have a good PSU for free, I thought I could spend more and get a better card. I thought about upgrading to a 9800 series card, such as this one. It's EVGA which I have heard is a good brand. And it's 9800 GTX+ (top of the line, right?) OCed to 675 MHz. Plus it is down from $135 to $99. How much better is the 9800 GTX+ vs the 9500 GT? Is it worth the extra $50?

    Sorry if I sound indecisive here...But I think I can increase my budget for the card itself now that I have a free (and good) PSU.
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    Best solution

    a b U Graphics card
    June 9, 2010 6:14:40 PM

    A 9800GTX+ spanks the $^#% out of a 9500GT. It's not "top of the line" anymore, but it once was. It's essentially the exact same thing as the GTS250 card, so you may want to consider one of them instead. They have greater availability, and are priced similarly.

    If you decide to go with eVGA, keep in mind that their -TR suffixed cards (like this GTS250) are not covered by their lifetime warranty like -AR suffixed cards are.
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    June 9, 2010 6:26:17 PM

    wa1 said:
    No...
    9500GT is not a gaming card, it's too weak...
    You will not be able play Mass Effect with a decent gameplay with that card...

    What is your PSU? brand? model?
    Monitor? what size?


    Glad someone took the time to ask about monitor specs before giving a recommendation.

    RazberyBandit said:
    A 9800GTX+ spanks the $^#% out of a 9500GT. It's not "top of the line" anymore, but it once was. It's essentially the exact same thing as the GTS250 card, so you may want to consider one of them instead. They have greater availability, and are priced similarly.

    If you decide to go with eVGA, keep in mind that their -TR suffixed cards (like this GTS250) are not covered by their lifetime warranty like -AR suffixed cards are.


    If you can fudge the budget enough for that $129 9800GTX+ you'd see quite a bit of gain over the 9500GT. At a resolution of 1680x1050 I think it would be substantial performance gains. One is a gaming card, the other is a HTPC card. ;) 
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    June 9, 2010 7:28:42 PM

    RazberyBandit said:
    A 9800GTX+ spanks the $^#% out of a 9500GT. It's not "top of the line" anymore, but it once was. It's essentially the exact same thing as the GTS250 card, so you may want to consider one of them instead. They have greater availability, and are priced similarly.

    If you decide to go with eVGA, keep in mind that their -TR suffixed cards (like this GTS250) are not covered by their lifetime warranty like -AR suffixed cards are.


    Hmmm...so comparing the 2 cards, the 9800 looks like it's clocked a little higher. Is the GTS250 a newer card? (IDK all the nVidia numbering schemes.) Which one would you pick...9800 GTX+ or GTS250 (for $10 less)?

    jerreece said:
    Glad someone took the time to ask about monitor specs before giving a recommendation.


    Yeah, sorry bout that...I should have given my monitor info in the first post.

    jerreece said:
    If you can fudge the budget enough for that $129 9800GTX+ you'd see quite a bit of gain over the 9500GT. At a resolution of 1680x1050 I think it would be substantial performance gains. One is a gaming card, the other is a HTPC card. ;) 


    I think I will be able to spend the higher money (& it's $100 with the rebate :)  ). I see what you mean about the difference (HTPC vs gaming). Now I think it is between the GTS250 or the higher clocked 9800 GTX+ for $10 more. Ah, the decisions...... :sarcastic: 
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    June 9, 2010 8:10:59 PM

    The GTS250 is basically the same thing as the 9800GTX+ to be honest. And the 9800GTX+ was a slightly tweaked 8800 GTS 512MB card.

    It's a 3rd generation of the same graphics card with some tweaks and refinements. nVidia rebranding old chips basically. LOL

    If you can get the GTS 250 for the same price, then it'd be cool. However, some GTS 250's have issues with their fans running at a constant speed, regardless of temperature or GPU load. And apparently they cannot all have their fan speeds changed through Drivers/BIOS mods.

    The 9800GTX+ should benchmark just about equally (or very close) and is the "older" version of the same card. The 9800GTX+ is a larger card, and will use more energy.

    Here's an article about the rebranding :) 
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/2731/1

    NewEgg.com has a PNY brand GTS 250 1GB card for $129 - $20MIR = $109. Keep in mind it says it requires a 450W power supply.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    Palit has their "Green" version for $112 + Free Shipping
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    EVGA 9800GTX+ $129 - $30MIR = $99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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    June 9, 2010 10:47:46 PM

    jerreece said:
    The GTS250 is basically the same thing as the 9800GTX+ to be honest. And the 9800GTX+ was a slightly tweaked 8800 GTS 512MB card.

    It's a 3rd generation of the same graphics card with some tweaks and refinements. nVidia rebranding old chips basically. LOL


    haha....I like their "innovation" :kaola: 

    jerreece said:
    If you can get the GTS 250 for the same price, then it'd be cool. However, some GTS 250's have issues with their fans running at a constant speed, regardless of temperature or GPU load. And apparently they cannot all have their fan speeds changed through Drivers/BIOS mods.

    The 9800GTX+ should benchmark just about equally (or very close) and is the "older" version of the same card. The 9800GTX+ is a larger card, and will use more energy.


    Actually I can get a GTS250 for $10 less than the 9800GTX+ I was looking at. And I like the smaller card size (since my retail case is kinda cramped) as well as the lower power draw (since my PSU is only a little massive...and only has 24 A on the 12 V rail).

    When you say some have fan issues, do you mean certain manufacturers? Or just random cards from all manufacturers?

    jerreece said:
    Here's an article about the rebranding :) 
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/2731/1

    NewEgg.com has a PNY brand GTS 250 1GB card for $129 - $20MIR = $109. Keep in mind it says it requires a 450W power supply.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    Palit has their "Green" version for $112 + Free Shipping
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    EVGA 9800GTX+ $129 - $30MIR = $99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


    Thanks for the reading info...how about this card? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    One last thing....the 9800 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130339) is clocked at 738 MHz, while the GTS250 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130539) is clocked at 675 MHz. Is that right? If the two cards were practically the same, I would have thought they would have the same clock speed. Maybe I could OC it to be equal?
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    June 9, 2010 10:50:40 PM

    Sorry for the double post...one more question though. The 9800 GTX+ had 2 DVIs, while the GTS250 has 1 HDMI and 1 DVI. Personally I like the HDMI port, but it would also be nice to have the ability to use 2 monitors someday. Does anyone know if I can output 2 different things to the DVI and HDMI?
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    June 9, 2010 11:11:59 PM

    Quote:
    Id just get a 4850: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    or a 5750: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    In terms of Linux support, fglrx is better than both X.org and Noveau IMO, especially for the 4800s. Besides, the term "Linux Gaming" is pretty much non-existent, and in terms of OpenGL support, ATI still has a slight advantage.

    Your PSU is actually REALLY good for an OEM, in fact it may just be on par with a good quality 400+W.


    Oh of course fglrx is better than noveau....but compared to the binary nVidia drivers I think nVidia still wins out. (Noveau is the open source driver.) I do agree though that Linux gaming is not the most popular thing right now...

    IDK I have always had good luck with nVidia and Linux...I've tried ATI a couple of times and just didn't have much luck. Perhaps things have changed some, though.

    And the Delta is really good, you think? Or the Enermax I replaced it with?

    Quote:
    HDMI ports are 100% compatible with DVI signals, after all HDMI is basically DVI-slim plus audio, and it should come with an adapter. So that's pretty much not a problem.


    Right, I knew they were compatible....I just didn't know if the two ports would be able to output 2 different signals...

    EDIT: Ignore this stuff...that's not an Evo in your avatar :pfff: 
    BTW how do you like your Evo? I am going to buy either an Evo or Incredible....The Evo seems really big to me, though.
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    June 11, 2010 6:59:38 AM

    Alright everybody, after all the information and help y'all gave me I have ordered the GTS 250 card from EVGA: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... . It should be arriving at the middle-end of next week...I'll update once it is here and installed. $90 after rebate....not a bad price.

    Hopefully it is a good performer for the money! The only thing I am a little worried about is the newegg page for it says the clock speed is 675, etc...lower than the speed listed on nVidia's site. So either they are typos, or I should be able to overclock it easily?

    Timop, I know you were suggesting ATI, but I really just wanted to stick with nVidia. I've just always had better luck with nVidia than ATI when it comes to Linux support.

    Thanks again for the guidance in picking this GPU!
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    June 18, 2010 3:28:08 AM

    Best answer selected by magnesium.
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    June 18, 2010 3:59:02 AM

    So my card came in yesterday.....talk about an improvement. It's amazing, I can play ME 2 with top settings and max resolution, and it is perfectly smooth! I guess that's what happens when you actually have a good GPU, lol. :lol:  :sarcastic: 

    Thanks for everyone's help....I picked RazberyBandit's answer as best because he had the link to the card I ended up buying, but everyone's help was important. That's why I always come to TH for help!
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    June 18, 2010 4:00:14 PM

    Hehe. Glad your upgrade worked out well and you're now happily gaming.
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