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Looking for new GPU

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July 21, 2010 2:41:05 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: No preference.

BUDGET RANGE: $100-$400

USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: New games like Metro 2033 and Just Cause 2.

CURRENT GPU AND POWER SUPPLY: ATI Radeon HD 4200 (Onboard). Thermaltake TR2 430W(I am fine with getting a new PSU don't consider this in your suggestion, but let me know if I will need one please.

OTHER RELEVANT SYSTEM SPECS: MOBO: GIGABYTE GA-MA785GM-US2H
CPU: X2 240 AMD Athlon II X2 processor 2.8GHz, 2.0MB total Cache, Socket AM3
Memory: Corsair 2 X 2GB DDR2 - SDRAM

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Doesn't matter.

PARTS PREFERENCES: I don't know the difference between card brand names.

OVERCLOCKING: No idea how to over clock, so no I guess.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1024x768, but might get better monitor in future.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Looking for a decent card with my computer setup for games coming out recently. I would like to play them on 1024X768 at good FPS if that is possible. I would also be interested in know where/when my setup would bottleneck the better cards.

More about : gpu

a c 235 U Graphics card
July 21, 2010 3:09:27 AM

a card like the ATI 5670 will run games (not named crysis) at 1024 x 768 maxed out and not need a PSU upgrade.

without knowing what monitor you plan to upgrade to, its hard to suggest anything else.
July 21, 2010 3:14:32 AM

Probably a 1920 x 1080 LCD 24". No plans as of yet, would have to do some research.
Related resources
a c 235 U Graphics card
July 21, 2010 3:16:15 AM

the 5670 512mb sells for around $100. you can upgrade your video card when you decide to upgrade your monitor.


cards like the Nvidia GTS250 and ATI 4850 also sell for around $100 and offer better performance. Although you probably wont see a huge difference with your monitor and CPU. They will also not hold onto their resale value as well the 5670 since they don't support DX 11.
July 21, 2010 4:14:24 AM

Wow, deja vu. Your rig's spec is similar to mine. since I can understand your situation, I'll try to help. There are one thing you should keep in mind, your current CPU will bottleneck higher spec GPU such as the HD4850. I believe there's a reference regarding CPU and GPU combinations here in Tom's. Check it out.

Some special notes for HD4850:
- the availability is decreasing, better be quick to grab it if you really want it
- It only supports DirectX 10, not 11. Which makes playing metro 2033 not so "graphically awesome" (doesn't really matters for me though). but if you want to maximize your gaming experience, this is an essential factor
-It will require a beefier PSU, just to make it safe I'd say around 750W-800W

As for the game, Metro 2033, I've read reviews about how graphic hog the game is. For maximum settings, assuming you're using a high resolution monitor with all eye candy on, the fps is very unstable. All this using high end CPU and GPU. but in lower resolution and lower setting, there shouldn't be any problem, since the minimum requirements for the game isn't that high. Just keep this in mind

I assume you're aiming to build a proficient gaming rig. but with your current CPU and monitor, I suggest either you lower your expectations based on your budget or save some more to "evolve" your setup. Gaming PC is definitely not cheap.

In your case, I can only suggest the HD5570. It doesn't need a PSU upgrade, matches your CPU and it's DirectX 11 capable. The only downside would be the monitor resolution limit. Although Tom's said that it's great in 1680x1050 (in most games), I recommend to play games in lower settings like 1440x900. That would be the sweet spot. That would also narrow down your monitor upgrade search list. Good luck!
a b U Graphics card
July 21, 2010 6:20:46 AM

Your current PSU has 1 6pin power connector for PCIe Card.So the best option available for you is a HD 5770 for 160$.If possible, then you can upgrade your CPU as well.Get the Phenom II X4 955 for 160$ because your current CPu will bottleneck the 5770 unless you overclock it.For the PSU,if required, get this one( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ).Its is around 67$.With these you will get quite a powerful setup to run your games at your current resolution.Though keep in mind that you will have to get a new PSU and a more powerful GPU in the future if you are going to play these games at full HD and max settings.
July 21, 2010 5:37:07 PM

Thank you a lot for all the help, I didn't think my CPU would bottleneck such cheap cards.

Let's say I did want Metro 2033 of high end resolution and decent frame rate. What would I have to upgrade my CPU to? Also what cards would you recommend with an upgraded CPU? Does my MOBO start to bottle neck my graphics soon after my CPU does?

That PSU looks nice Tamz, thx. OMG Tamz that Avatar is the same one I use for most of my forums... just didn't have time to pop that stuff up last night. :)  Rock on Pink Floyd!
July 22, 2010 2:36:49 AM

It's true that the 4850 is cheap, but in terms of performance it's only 1 tier below 5770 (based on Tom's GPU chart). You shouldn't confuse price with quality, since 4850 is a high value GPU which means that it has a high performance at a low price. But that's only if you can find it though.

Your CPU is exactly like mine (check out my rig), that's why I know it like the back of my hand. I bought the Athlon II X2 240 for 3 reasons:

- It's dual core, no need to explain the deatils
- It has 2MB L2 cache, the 2,7GHz version only has 1MB
- It's way cheaper than the 2,9GHz version, at least in my country

The reason why I'm saying that the CPU will bottleneck high end graphic cards are:

- It's only 2,8GHz, unless overclocked, with this speed your CPU will be choking to death (figure of speech)
- It doesn't have L3 cache, which is important for faster processing (or something like that...lol!)
- It has only 2 cores

While the last reason is relative to the game in question, I strongly believe that latest games are also utilizing core numbers for the processing means. Metro 2033 is a graphical hell for mediocre CPU and GPU, that's why I recommend a CPU upgrade along with the GPU and PSU.

To play the game with max settings and highest resolution, you'll need a monster rig with crossfired (at least) 5770, 4GB of RAMs, quad core high speed CPU and a high power PSU to feed the beasts. Even with this setup there's no guarantee that you will get a stable fps. Like I said before, some (enthusiastic) gamers are complaining about the game graphic madness on their so called gaming rigs. This is considered embarassing for some people.

Consider these facts before making any purchase. You wouldn't want to waste your money on false estimation, would you?
a b U Graphics card
July 22, 2010 2:39:15 PM

Based on your current system specks i would do this:
Buy a gtx460 and a new corsair 650W PSU and a CPU cooler. If you have the option to overclock your CPU in bios then overclock it to 3+ GHz. -you do, just checked that.

When you get more money buy a new motherboard that supports SLI and a new CPU quad core.

This should be your plan for near future with the possibility of upgrading your PC.

Metro 2033 favors Nvidia architecture and the gtx460 SLI performs at a rate of up to 198% with two cards witch is unbelievable, but true.

Here are links to the components i recommend:
Power supply, the Corsair HX series are high quality PSU's. The HX650W is enough to power your future system. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$119.99
($99.99 after $20.00 Mail-In Rebate Card)

Video card: The gigabyte version of 1Gb RAM will help you at higher resolution. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... It has 2 fans witch is a great thing for cool and quiet. Also comes with a 2 OZ copper PCB. It is not available now because it was sold out, wait for it to be and buy it, or from another store.
$229.99
Free Shipping

CPU cooler: This is one of the best CPU coolers on he market http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... . If you want more, post and i can recommend the corsair sealed water cooling solution fro the same price and has great reviews by customers. It is a maintenance free system.
$74.99

Total: 424.97 from witch you can take $20.00 Mail-In Rebate Card that the power supply gives you.

If you want a single card solution buy the 5850( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... -$314.99) or 5870( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... -400$) with the above components(except the gtx460).
The GTX470 is more powerful then the 5850 but it gets too hot and noisy.

I have a question, that budget must include the PSU or not?
EDIT: typo
July 22, 2010 8:53:59 PM

That budget was more of an estimate. I wanted info for future use, and you guys did amazing with it. Thank you.

That gtx460 looks like something I would want, then I can upgrade my other stuff later. If my other stuff is upgraded too much I can always get a 2nd card, 198%... amazing.
a b U Graphics card
July 22, 2010 10:37:45 PM

Well not in all of the games is that high but that is the highest..ever actually(I've read it somewhere but do not have the link).

EDIT: found the link: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gtx-460-gf1... It's 193..my bad. But still very high.

Good luck with your build.
July 23, 2010 2:10:19 AM

So I'm guessing if the 460gtx bottlenecks his CPU, then a 2.4ghz dual core processor (E6600) would also be bottlenecking it also?
July 23, 2010 3:56:12 AM

Shirosaki said:
So I'm guessing if the 460gtx bottlenecks his CPU, then a 2.4ghz dual core processor (E6600) would also be bottlenecking it also?

Umm... you got me confused here... bottlenecking each other???

The concept is: a component with a lower performance will bottleneck the higher one. I don't think with all those praise for the GTX460 (I havent read the review yet), most likely that it won't bottleneck the CPU (assuming it's a 2,4GHz dual core like you mentioned). On the contrary, the CPU will bottleneck the Fermi GPU. So, the GPU is bottlenecked by the CPU.

(I'm jumbling over the same words here, it got me confused also... lol)
July 23, 2010 4:05:54 AM

yeah I worded that wrong. Yeah I meant the cpu bottlenecking the gpu, not the other way around. So the 2.4ghz dual core processor wouldn't be good enough for the 460gtx and I'd need to upgrade?
a c 376 U Graphics card
July 23, 2010 4:25:23 AM

Your processor is alright if you overclock it. It should get up to 3.5ghz fairly easily on the stock cooler and then it should be fine for pretty much all current games. Upgrading it at some point is a good idea but it cover you for now.
The GTX 460 is a good choice if you plan to upgrade your monitor in the near future but until you do so it is going to be massive overkill for your current resolution. If you can spend $400 I would recommend just getting the GTX 460 and a 1080p monitor at the same time. You will want a new PSU as others have said;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
That totals $420 before rebates and $390 after.
a c 376 U Graphics card
July 23, 2010 4:26:46 AM

Shirosaki said:
yeah I worded that wrong. Yeah I meant the cpu bottlenecking the gpu, not the other way around. So the 2.4ghz dual core processor wouldn't be good enough for the 460gtx and I'd need to upgrade?

It is the low base speed that will cause issues more than that it is a dual core. Does your motherboard allow for overclocking?
July 23, 2010 6:27:30 AM

jyjjy said:
It is the low base speed that will cause issues more than that it is a dual core. Does your motherboard allow for overclocking?

I don't know. I doubt it though. I can't even control the fan speeds through speedfan because the mobo doesn't have the option. I paid 100 dollars for it about 4 years ago. So it's terrible.

It's a DP965LT Intel mobo. 775

I'm a noob with OCing. I've only built one PC and I planned on OCing my new comp in a few months. Still don't have the money to get the PC I want. I know I made some mistakes with my first build. I'm going to try to search and see if it's possible. I do have the Hyper 212+ on it right now. runs at 30C idle and about 47C on full so there is some room for OCing.
a c 376 U Graphics card
July 23, 2010 6:32:32 AM

Yeah, Intel boards wont let you OC.
a 2.4 ghz is going to bottleneck the GTX 460 in the more CPU intensive current games. No reason to avoid it though if you are going to put it in a new build before long. How much are you planning on spending on a new build?
July 23, 2010 6:54:39 AM

jyjjy said:
Yeah, Intel boards wont let you OC.
a 2.4 ghz is going to bottleneck the GTX 460 in the more CPU intensive current games. No reason to avoid it though if you are going to put it in a new build before long. How much are you planning on spending on a new build?

Well my wishlist is up to $1600, but that's with a nice case (Haf32) and a nice new psu 1250w, so I never need to buy a new case or buy a psu for a few builds I'm hoping.
http://img18.imageshack.us/img18/3766/aadsf.jpg

I know that PSU is expensive but it had a combo where I got $130 off of it. $1600 seems like a lot.

I am thinking of going cheaper though, since I don't know if I'll have the money for that build.

Actually I googled my mobo and it seems like there are some threads saying you can OC it. Not sure if they're wrong. Going to read some more. But I just realized my ram is 533mhz ddr2. Not helpful for OCing either if I remember right.
a c 376 U Graphics card
July 23, 2010 7:16:08 AM

A 1250w PSU? Are you planning to run three GTX 480s or something?
You can get what by any reasonable standard would be a very nice case and a top of the line PSU for $250+ less than the stuff you are looking at.
July 23, 2010 7:29:47 AM

jyjjy said:
A 1250w PSU? Are you planning to run three GTX 480s or something?
You can get what by any reasonable standard would be a very nice case and a top of the line PSU for $250+ less than the stuff you are looking at.

I just had that PSU in my wishlist because I just wanted to keep an eye on it. I am looking at other options.I wanted to get a Full Size case so I had plenty of air cooling for OCing and plenty of room for the future. I also wanted to be able to have fans at the top and the option to water cool and have radiators in the future. I was planning on OCing my chip and perhaps OCing 2 video cards. I just wanted to make sure I had enough wattage for future comps because it seems like the wattage required for PCs is going up. If it's not then I can probably get maybe a 1k watt PSU and be fine I guess. I'm still looking though, because it seems like I can probably get a nice comp that lasts for a couple years for maybe $700.

Looking at those OC threads, it looks like they are using SetFSB to OC my mobo, which doesn't sound like a good idea to OC with. hehe It really isn't a good thing to OC with. I got it to 9x300 (2.7ghz) after I go to 310 my comp crashes. That's crazy.
a c 376 U Graphics card
July 23, 2010 11:27:03 AM

Yeah, you may want to tone it down a bit. High end PC components really aren't in the category of "you get what you pay for." After a certain point you just end up spending tons more for marginal benefit. Even if you are going to spend that much there are better ways to do it like for example a cheaper case/PSU and put the money towards a small solid state hard drive for OS and apps. In general just buy what makes sense and is priced right at the moment. Trying to plan ahead and spending lots of money trying to anticipate needs you might have in the future when dealing with rapidly changing technology is a mistake. Here are some suggestions;
A case like this one is really quite nice and well priced;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
For anything short of SLIed GTX 480s a PSU like this would be more than enough;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
There's no reason to think they wont last you many years and you are quite unlikely to need more power. Just because the GF100 chips are power hogs doesn't mean it makes sense to spend hundreds on a PSU. They are the exception, not the rule and unless you are SLIing some they are irrelevant to your needs.
Perhaps you could even just OC a Phenom II x4/6 or i5-750 over the i7. They are better deals and the performance difference really isn't all that large. Also for a hard drive I would recommend a Samsung Spinpoint or Caviar Black drive.

As for the overclocking of your current system, yeah, there are some programs that can attempt it but it is pretty sketchy. There's a bit more to OCing than just raising the front side bus and without a BIOS that will let you fine tune CPU settings, ram dividers, voltage settings, ect. you probably wont get too far.
July 23, 2010 11:59:06 AM

jyjjy said:
Yeah, you may want to tone it down a bit. High end PC components really aren't in the category of "you get what you pay for." After a certain point you just end up spending tons more for marginal benefit. Even if you are going to spend that much there are better ways to do it like for example a cheaper case/PSU and put the money towards a small solid state hard drive for OS and apps. In general just buy what makes sense and is priced right at the moment. Trying to plan ahead and spending lots of money trying to anticipate needs you might have in the future when dealing with rapidly changing technology is a mistake. Here are some suggestions;
A case like this one is really quite nice and well priced;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
For anything short of SLIed GTX 480s a PSU like this would be more than enough;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
There's no reason to think they wont last you many years and you are quite unlikely to need more power. Just because the GF100 chips are power hogs doesn't mean it makes sense to spend hundreds on a PSU. They are the exception, not the rule and unless you are SLIing some they are irrelevant to your needs.
Perhaps you could even just OC a Phenom II x4/6 or i5-750 over the i7. They are better deals and the performance difference really isn't all that large. Also for a hard drive I would recommend a Samsung Spinpoint or Caviar Black drive.

As for the overclocking of your current system, yeah, there are some programs that can attempt it but it is pretty sketchy. There's a bit more to OCing than just raising the front side bus and without a BIOS that will let you fine tune CPU settings, ram dividers, voltage settings, ect. you probably wont get too far.

yeah I was looking at cheaper components and came up with this.

http://img5.imageshack.us/img5/6872/asdfde.jpg

I could save 20 bucks and go with a x4 965. You'd also have to add a 460gtx for $230. So I'd be spending about $850. I could also probably get by with my current case and psu for awhile. It's 600w. I probably wouldn't be able to OC at all with that PSU because it seems like I'd be cutting it close on power usage.That antec case does look pretty good. I was looking at getting it before but thought I needed a full size. I'll have about $600 at the end of this month saved up. I could have maybe the $850 at the end of August. I am looking at getting a SSD but they are just so expensive still. I think the minimum I'd go for is 60gigs, just so I could fit some games on there along with the OS. And if I get some new games I can just move my old games over to a regular hard drive and put the new ones on the SSD. I'll check out those hard drives you suggested.
a c 376 U Graphics card
July 23, 2010 12:26:30 PM

I would probably go with an i5 myself unless you do a lot of things that will really take advantage of the 6 cores(encoding, rendering, music production, ect.) Here is a nice combo with a decent 700w PSU that I believe should be fine even for SLIed GTX 460s;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
What exactly is the brand/model of your current PSU?
You also may want to buy components over time so you can get the best deals. Sign up for neweggs newsletter. 2-3 times a week you'll get an email with a bunch of deals and promo codes. You may find a good deal on ram one week, a PSU the next, ect. Also over time the available combos will change so keep an eye open to try to spot the best ones.
July 23, 2010 12:52:28 PM

So even with the lower clock speeds the I5 are still superior to the 965, 1055, and 1090?

That PSU only has 2 6 pin connectors on the PSU. Wouldn't you need 4 for 2 460s in SLI?
a c 376 U Graphics card
July 23, 2010 1:05:48 PM

You'll want to OC whatever processor you get. The stock speeds are irrelevant, but yes even at 2.66ghz vs 3.4ghz the i5 is still notably better than a 965. They are a different architecture so you can't directly compare clock speeds and expect it to be meaningful;
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/109?vs=102
Once you OC the difference will be even larger because both can get up to around 4ghz but that is a much larger increase when you start at 2.66ghz.
Versus the x6 processors it is a bit different;
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/109?vs=147
Most of these are highly multi-threaded tasks so the x6 comes out on top. However if you look at the gaming benchmarks the i5 wins and often by a large margin. For the average person gaming is the most CPU intensive task you will perform regularly and the vast majority of games can't even use 4 cores at the moment, much less six.
!