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Replacing old graphics card, budget ~$100

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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July 19, 2010 5:36:27 AM

Alrighty, the sticky had a template, so without further ado...

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: ASAP

BUDGET RANGE: ~$100 USD After Rebates (I can fudge on that a bit if necessary - maybe up to $150 or so, but only if it's going to give me a tangible benefit for my uses)

USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming [Starcraft 2, Star Wars: KotOR I/II, PS2/Gamecube/Wii emulation], watching movies.

CURRENT GPU AND POWER SUPPLY: Nvidia Geforce 7900GT and 500W Rosewill PSU.

OTHER RELEVANT SYSTEM SPECS: Don't think there's anything too relevant. I do have an empty slot next to my PCI Express 16x slot, so a big card probably won't be a big deal. No extravagant cooling in my case, but I don't think I'll be needing a real power hog.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg, Amazon, wherever's cheap/reliable.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: Nvidia and XFX have kind of left a bad taste in my mouth, and I'm all for giving ATI/AMD a try.

OVERCLOCKING: Not likely, but hey if the card I get happens to be OC-friendly, it wouldn't upset me
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Don't think so unless it's really going to benefit my usage and fit my budget (so I'm thinking that's a no)

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1680x1050 (who knows though - one of these years I might upgrade to 1920x1080 or 1920x1200 though)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
I should probably clarify that I'm not really dissatisfied with my current card's raw performance. As you can see above, I don't play a lot of cutting edge games, so I'm not really looking for something too overpowered. A few little annoyances have prompted me to get something new though.

First, Nvidia's scaling (for using non-native resolutions) does not work properly with my monitor. Nvidia's drivers will scale to my monitor's maximum resolution (1600x1200) rather than my monitor's native resolution, which my monitor in turn scales to its native resolution, leading to an extra blurry, skewed image. I spent countless hours trying to tweak things or get Nvidia to fix the issue to no avail. I'm hoping that the scaling in AMD's world will work a little more sanely. (Anyone know anything about that?)

Second, over a year ago, Nvidia made a change in their drivers that caused timing issues where XFX's 7900GTs would display nothing but garbage in place of full screen HW-accelerated graphics. (This makes Aero or other HW-accelerated desktop compositors unusable, and games impossible to play.) A workaround was to very slightly overclock the card. I did so and it solved that issue, but I've noticed funny little graphics artifacts from time-to-time ever since.

I also thought it might be fun to try out a card that had some descent open source drivers (for Linux), though I understand they might still perform more poorly than the proprietary drivers. I know ATI cards used to have a fairly bad reputation on Linux systems but (and correct me if I'm wrong here) I was under the impression that things have improved a bit over the years? I do run Linux on this machine fairly often, so I'm hoping the card will work acceptably there.

Optional things...
  • I'm also thinking a card with HD H.264 hardware decoding might be nice. I know AMD's GPU video decoding is still young in the Linux world, but I gathered that the Radeon HD 4000 and 5000 series have some potential for it, and should work just fine with it in Windows?
  • DirectX 11
  • OpenCL

    So, all that said, I'm not very savvy when it comes to comparing graphics cards, so I was looking through the Best Card for the Money articles and was thinking maybe the Radeon HD 5570 or 5750 might be suitable. What are your insights? (I'm also curious how those compare in terms of raw speed with my old 7900GT.) Thanks in advance.
  • More about : replacing graphics card budget 100

    a c 153 U Graphics card
    July 19, 2010 5:51:31 AM

    To be honest, I'm not fanboy, but I do still dislike ATIs drivers, and I prefer Nvidia. The problem with your resolution sounds like something that should have a fix (It could be a fix with the monitor, drivers, or even Nvidia control panal.)

    However you are looking for DX11 anyway, so I guess it doesn't matter, off to the new card!

    There is a big, big difference a card you can get for 100 dollars, and a card you can get for 150, so I post one for each and let you decide.

    Let me tell you that these will blow your 7900GT, out of the water, way way outta the water.

    @ the 100 dollar mark the 5670
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


    @ the 150 dollar mark we have a 5770 on sale
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    The 5770 is leagues better then the first card, and will last you a lot longer.
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    a b U Graphics card
    July 19, 2010 6:38:00 AM

    A HD 5770 would be your best choice as stated above.
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    a c 376 U Graphics card
    July 19, 2010 6:44:58 AM

    For your resolution I would definitely recommend the HD5770 if you can afford it. It will do very well in pretty much any game at 1650x1050, gives you DX11 compatibility and is extremely power efficient, especially at idle. The card hell linked above would be a good choice.
    If the price is a bit much for you I recommend you forgo DX11 and get an HD4850 or GTS 250. They are 25% or so slower, DX10 and use more power but they are much cheaper and should still be pretty good for your resolution. These are good deals and good cards;
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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    a c 153 U Graphics card
    July 19, 2010 6:49:20 AM

    Yeah I agree with jyjjy, it was very hard to find a decent DX11 card at the 100 dollar mark, so if you want to stick with the 100 dollar mark you should follow one of his links, and forget about DX11 for now.
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    a c 376 U Graphics card
    July 19, 2010 6:59:13 AM

    nonoitall said:
    I'm also curious how those compare in terms of raw speed with my old 7900GT.

    The HD5770 is roughly 3 times as powerful as the 7900GT.
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    a b U Graphics card
    July 19, 2010 9:44:43 AM

    Yeah the 5770 is your best bet with your situation, also maybe ATI drivers are still a bit buggy but there on there way with them. They are improving, anyway. This is a card currently that just floats over your 100$ mark, but just below your 150$ higher mark. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... it's 6$ less than 150 so not a huge savings, but i think HIS is awesome personally. There cooling is pretty sweet too.
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    a c 376 U Graphics card
    July 19, 2010 10:45:09 AM

    ATI drivers are fine, about on par with Nvidia at least.
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    July 19, 2010 12:06:02 PM

    A 5670 fits in your budget and gives good performance but the 5770 is a far better option
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    July 23, 2010 9:31:59 AM

    Well I've been keeping my eye on NewEgg deals for the past few days and noticed this for $145 after MIR. Whatcha think?
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    Best solution

    a c 376 U Graphics card
    July 23, 2010 10:48:25 AM
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    a b U Graphics card
    July 23, 2010 3:38:50 PM

    jyjjy's deal IS fantastic. The CuCore from Asus is actually a very good card, since you actually can push the clocks with OCing much better than the reference. W/O the loud *** noise that sounds like a jet engine on the reference cooling.
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    July 30, 2010 7:02:41 AM

    Best answer selected by nonoitall.
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    July 30, 2010 7:04:21 AM

    Went for that one you suggested, jyjjy, and am pleased so far. (Though it did cover a SATA port that I thankfully can live without for the moment.) Thanks for the help guys!
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    a c 376 U Graphics card
    July 30, 2010 9:13:34 AM

    Yeah, a lot of motherboards are designed so any decent video card will cover some of the SATA ports. Poor design but there's usually still enough of them unblocked. Give overclocking the card a go when you are ready. It should do quite well.
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