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Best video card for 1080p & StarCraft2

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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July 9, 2010 7:11:51 PM

I'm wanting to be able to play 1080p movies more smoothly. 720p movies lagged a bit but using the CoreAVC codec solved that problem. But I can still barely play 1080p movies (get 90%+ cpu usage).

Also planning to buy a BD-ROM to play BluRay movies.

I also want to be able to play StarCraft 2 when it comes out. I doubt the requirements will be as high as current games.

What would be the best video card for me? When I first made this rig I made it for being a budget gaming PC. But now I want it to be more a HTPC. Please see my signature for the specs of my system.

I hope to squeeze more juice out of this rig for at least a couple more years with minimal costs.

Thanks in advance.
__________________
Current Rig:
AMD Opteron 165 (currently OC'd to 2.4GHz)
DFI LanParty NF4 Ultra-D
G.Skill HZ 2gb PC4000 DDR500 Ram
Antec TX640B Case
Antec TruePower II 480W power supply
MSI 7600GT
NEC 3550A DVD+-RW
Westinghouse 42" HDTV 1080p LCD LVM-42w2
Logitech Z-5500 5.1 Speakers
Seagate 400GB ST3400633AS-RK SATA/300
a b U Graphics card
July 9, 2010 7:26:16 PM

Starcraft 2 is very CPU intensive. You need to get a whole new CPU too, and your socket is pretty old. Without a CPU upgrade I doubt you will find much of a benefit from a newer GPU.
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a c 125 U Graphics card
July 9, 2010 7:36:12 PM

Not a great CPU but if you're stuck with it I would go with a cheap GPU upgrade like a GT240 just to get by. This will be a huge increase over the 7600.
a b U Graphics card
July 9, 2010 7:37:15 PM

an RTS like starcraft is gonna be signifigantly dependent on the cpu more than graphics card.

as for 1080p most graphics cars with an hdmi out will work. you don't need to go high end, a 9800gt or later nvidia or if you prefer ati i'd say a 4800 series should work, but if you go ati 5000 series at least go 5600 series the ones below that really aren't worth looking at

looked up your cpu and thee really aren't any good upgrades for a 939 socket. your best bang for the buck would be to keep the 7600 gt and thnk about a mobo/cpu and memory upgrade but if your heart is set on new graphics card heed above :D 
July 12, 2010 5:00:19 PM

Okay thanks everyone for the replies, it helped me get more familiar with the newer video cards. The link to the starcraft2 beta benchmarks helped.

I was only looking into spending around $50. Before I put this thread up my bro bought a GTS 250 for $50AR at Fry's, I almost did the same but thought I needed more research. Also thought about getting the HD 5450 for like$15AR but from what I see, it maybe a downgrade from my 7600gt in terms of gaming. Well those deals dont exist anymore but I guess I'll wait for the next one.

If I go the CPU/Mobo route what would be a good cheap combo? Also if I can still use the same RAM..

I also saw a HD 4650 $40 AR on newegg, is that a good one?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

What are the benefits of the newer HD 5XXX series over the 4XXX series in terms of HTPC and playing 1080p videos...

Well I guess in the meantime, I'm gonna start trying to overclock my Opty even more. From what I remember I got to 2.5ghz pretty easily but just brought it down a bit to be sure of longevity and 100% stability, 2.4ghz was already a lot back then. Hope I can get to 2.6-2.7ghz. Also see if I can overclock my 7600gt.

Also might be smart to wait for the official SC2 system requirements . Or probably just even wait til my bro buys it and see how it performs on my system. I'd be happy with medium settings at least, dont have to be full 1920 x 1080 res.

My main concern is being able to play HD videos. If its gonna cost me $150+ in upgrades just to play StarCraft2, then it won't be worth it for me, its the only PC game im interested in.
a c 125 U Graphics card
July 12, 2010 5:18:46 PM

badboyeee said:
Okay thanks everyone for the replies, it helped me get more familiar with the newer video cards. The link to the starcraft2 beta benchmarks helped.

I was only looking into spending around $50. Before I put this thread up my bro bought a GTS 250 for $50AR at Fry's, I almost did the same but thought I needed more research. Also thought about getting the HD 5450 for like$15AR but from what I see, it maybe a downgrade from my 7600gt in terms of gaming. Well those deals dont exist anymore but I guess I'll wait for the next one.

If I go the CPU/Mobo route what would be a good cheap combo? Also if I can still use the same RAM..

I also saw a HD 4650 $40 AR on newegg, is that a good one?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

What are the benefits of the newer HD 5XXX series over the 4XXX series in terms of HTPC and playing 1080p videos...

Well I guess in the meantime, I'm gonna start trying to overclock my Opty even more. From what I remember I got to 2.5ghz pretty easily but just brought it down a bit to be sure of longevity and 100% stability, 2.4ghz was already a lot back then. Hope I can get to 2.6-2.7ghz. Also see if I can overclock my 7600gt.

Also might be smart to wait for the official SC2 system requirements . Or probably just even wait til my bro buys it and see how it performs on my system. I'd be happy with medium settings at least, dont have to be full 1920 x 1080 res.

My main concern is being able to play HD videos. If its gonna cost me $150+ in upgrades just to play StarCraft2, then it won't be worth it for me, its the only PC game im interested in.


My friend was playing the SC2 beta on his PC without a video card. All he had was integrated mobo graphics. Now, granted, he has a quad core (I think it's the Core 2 Quad) but still, no GPU. The game settings were at the lowest but it ran ok until there was a lot of units on the screen (battles being nearly unviewable lol). My point is, you don't need much of a GPU for SC2. If I were you I'd concentrate on trying to overclock the CPU. If you don't have one, investing in an aftermarket cooler is an extremely imporant part of OCing. Possibly you can upgrade the CPU on your socket. I haven't done the research, but it might be an option.
Make sure you research OCing a bit, know how to test it's stability and what sort of OCs other people get with the same CPU as you.
July 13, 2010 6:36:37 PM

wolfram23 said:
My friend was playing the SC2 beta on his PC without a video card. All he had was integrated mobo graphics. Now, granted, he has a quad core (I think it's the Core 2 Quad) but still, no GPU. The game settings were at the lowest but it ran ok until there was a lot of units on the screen (battles being nearly unviewable lol). My point is, you don't need much of a GPU for SC2. If I were you I'd concentrate on trying to overclock the CPU. If you don't have one, investing in an aftermarket cooler is an extremely imporant part of OCing. Possibly you can upgrade the CPU on your socket. I haven't done the research, but it might be an option.
Make sure you research OCing a bit, know how to test it's stability and what sort of OCs other people get with the same CPU as you.


Yes I already have an aftermarket cooler installed, its a Zalman 7000cu?? i forgot the actually model name..

Within the 45 mins of time I had last night, I was able to overclock my Opteron to 2.55ghz. Temperature averaged 50C during 80%-100% while I was playing Dark Knight @ 1080p. The movie was actually watchable, but still some lag. CPU load averaging 90%.
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