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If you only had ~$50 to spend on a graphics card...

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
July 24, 2010 11:53:45 PM

What specs would you consider in a GPU and what would you buy? I've been looking all around newegg, tigerdirect, etc... some decent deals (after rebates, etc.), but video memory is the only spec that I am really able to tangibly understand. Benchmark scores are obviously very helpful, but I have a hard time finding them. Where would you look, what would you look for, and what would you buy if you were in this situation?

Current machine:
AMD Athlon 64 x2 3800+
2GB RAM
OCZ PS 450w or 500w (can't remember)
Nvidia Geforce 7600GT
....(this is robably funny compared to what I read in most of your sigs :lol:  )

any potential bottlenecks I should watch out for?

More about : spend graphics card

Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
July 24, 2010 11:56:53 PM

And I guess I don't really have to stay under any certain amount, but is it naive to think I can get a good card in this price range?
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Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
July 25, 2010 1:41:41 AM

Thanks, guys. Much appreciated.
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Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
July 25, 2010 2:07:48 AM

I know that some games are GPU dependent and others are CPU dependent, but how can I tell what kinds of things (specs) will bottleneck my athlon x2 3800? Will a 7950gx2 bottleneck my CPU? I apologize if I'm being redundant in my questions, but I'm still learning as much as I can about this stuff.

The framerates I find on benchmarks usually don't have MINIMUM framerates, and that's what is important when dealing with a slow CPU, right? Just in terms of gaming, that's the worst time; when the action heats up.
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Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
July 25, 2010 2:31:11 AM

I posted this in a different thread but didn't want to hijack the original question. So I apologize if I'm being redundant, but I'm still learning as much as I can about this stuff, and a more specific thread might be appropriate here. (If you're a mod and you think that this thread is unnecessary, please feel free to delete it.)

I know that some games are more GPU dependent and others are more CPU dependent, but how can I tell what kinds of things (specs) will bottleneck my athlon x2 3800? I'm running a 7600GT right now and someone told me that THIS is almost bottlenecked by my processor. Will a 7950gx2 be bottlenecked by my CPU? The framerates I find on benchmarks usually don't have MINIMUM framerates, and that's what is important when dealing with a slow CPU, right? Just in terms of gaming, that's the worst time; when the action heats up.

Addt'l q: Can I calculate the approximate addition to my power bill based on the difference in max power draw, in watts, of the cards I'm looking at?
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a b U Graphics card
July 25, 2010 2:33:21 AM

Quote:
I know that some games are GPU dependent and others are CPU dependent, but how can I tell what kinds of things (specs) will bottleneck my athlon x2 3800? Will a 7950gx2 bottleneck my CPU? I apologize if I'm being redundant in my questions, but I'm still learning as much as I can about this stuff.

The framerates I find on benchmarks usually don't have MINIMUM framerates, and that's what is important when dealing with a slow CPU, right? Just in terms of gaming, that's the worst time; when the action heats up.


Yes minimum FPS suffers a lot from CPU bottleneck, but the average FPS does too. A 7950 GX2 will be bottlenecked by your CPU, which should be slightly faster than the 9600 GT I showed you.
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Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
July 25, 2010 2:38:57 AM

AMW1011 said:
Yes minimum FPS suffers a lot from CPU bottleneck, but the average FPS does too. A 7950 GX2 will be bottlenecked by your CPU, which should be slightly faster than the 9600 GT I showed you.



So would you recommend that I overclocked to accommodate the 7950gx2? If so, what would be a safe speed that wouldn't create heating issues or significantly reduce the life of the CPU? (haha, I know I'm already really outdated, but I can last with the best of them.)

EDIT: If you suggest overclocking, I'm sure I could find other threads on the recommended speed, etc.
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a b U Graphics card
July 25, 2010 3:22:57 AM

I don't think it'll be too bottlenecked, seeing as the best processors back in the day were Athlon 64 X2s, the 4800+ specifically at 2.4 GHz, and the Athlon 64 X2 3800+ ran at 2.0 GHz, with half the cache.

Your Athlon 64 X2 3800+ will bottleneck the 7950 GX2 a bit, however I wouldn't be too concerned since there's not much you can do, except overclock.

For your additional question, with Kill-a-Watt or a PSU calculator yes.
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Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
July 25, 2010 3:28:25 AM

Good point about that era of hardware.
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Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
July 25, 2010 3:29:07 AM

Thanks, lmeow. I'll start reading about overclocking...
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a b U Graphics card
July 25, 2010 3:51:51 AM

Make sure you have enough amperage on your 12V rails.
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Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
July 25, 2010 4:25:46 AM

Whelp... I've read enough in the last hour to know that the chances I screw something up are greater than the chances that everything goes smoothly. I guess I'll just live with a little bottlenecking. :p 
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a b U Graphics card
July 25, 2010 4:54:32 AM

What motherboard do you have? Now that I think about it, if you have an AM2 board you do have the ability to upgrade your processor, as there really is no overclocking headroom in that 3800+ that will do you much good.
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Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
July 25, 2010 5:06:35 AM

I have an Infinity Nforce4 Standard.

I'm sure you know more about this than I do, but I've read several threads about the favorable overclocking potential of the athlon x2 processors. Maybe I haven't read enough, yet...
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a b U Graphics card
July 25, 2010 5:17:54 AM

Damn it DFI made an AM2 and a 939 version!

Alright download this and tell me which socket:
http://www.cpuid.com/softwares/cpu-z.html

In its day the 3800+ was a great overclocker, with clocks ranging from 2.5-2.7 GHz in good hands, but that won't give you much extra performance as the chip is just very outdated. Not only that but it will take you a lot of work and patience to learn how to overclock that thing safely. You should be able to get it to 2.4 GHz pretty easily, and if you have no other choice then do the research, but I simply don't think it will be enough.

Back when the 7950 GX2 came out it took an Athlon 6000+ to feed a 7950 GX2 well, preferably a C2D, which wiped the floor with a 6000+.
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a c 273 U Graphics card
July 25, 2010 5:22:16 AM

I ran a pair of 7900GT's with a sck939 3800 x2 and they were not "bottlenecked" by the CPU so a 7600GT is nowhere near close to being "bottlenecked" by one and neither is a 7950GX2.
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a c 273 U Graphics card
July 25, 2010 5:29:31 AM

This next topics has been merged by Mousemonkey
  • Athlon x2 3800+ processor, how do I avoid a bottleneck w/ new vid card
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    Anonymous
    a b U Graphics card
    July 25, 2010 5:32:11 AM

    mousemonkey, I hope you're right. :) 

    AMW- it's a socket 939, according to CPU-Z
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    a c 273 U Graphics card
    July 25, 2010 5:38:11 AM

    My old 3800 x2 is back with me at the moment because one of the cards died and took the primary slot with it but the rig still works on the secondary slot (even though the manual states that it won't) and I'll bet that a single 7900GT can out do your 7600GT without a so called CPU "bottleneck" coming into play.
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    a b U Graphics card
    July 25, 2010 5:54:44 AM

    Mousemonkey said:
    I ran a pair of 7900GT's with a sck939 3800 x2 and they were not "bottlenecked" by the CPU so a 7600GT is nowhere near close to being "bottlenecked" by one and neither is a 7950GX2.


    Hmm, that's not how I remember it MM. I remember the upper tier 939 socket chips being about the minimum you would want with the high end 7xxx series. I admit I'm only guessing on the effects of having two of them, as I know a single 7800/7900 GT was okay on his processor. I still think there will be a bit of a bottleneck there MM, and I wish he had the AM2 chipset so he could avoid overclocking that processor as it isn't exactly the best one to be starting out on. Maybe your right, I'll defer to you as you seem to have had first hand experience, while I did not.
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    a b U Graphics card
    July 25, 2010 5:56:36 AM

    Quote:
    mousemonkey, I hope you're right. :) 

    AMW- it's a socket 939, according to CPU-Z


    Then you may need to do some overclocking, just be careful as those chips were not quite as lenient as what we have now.
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    a c 273 U Graphics card
    July 25, 2010 6:02:54 AM

    SLi'd 7900GT's and a 939 3800 x2 was a nice little combo that turned out to be quite a nice balance when running at 12 x 10 but a 16 x 10 monitor messed it up as the cards just didn't have the legs hence the 8800's which did get "bottlenecked" by the CPU.
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    a c 376 U Graphics card
    July 25, 2010 6:18:41 AM

    AMW1011 said:
    A 7950 GX2 will be bottlenecked by your CPU, which should be slightly faster than the 9600 GT I showed you.

    The 9600GT is 3 tiers above the 7950GX2 according to the hierarchy chart;
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-radeon-hd-ge...
    While this list thinks they aren't quite that far apart it concurs that the 9600GT is notably better;
    http://www.overclock.net/graphics-cards-general/502403-...

    I would really just grab an HD4670 or GT 240 as has been suggested.
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    a b U Graphics card
    July 25, 2010 2:47:37 PM

    hierarchy charts are pretty useless. A 7900 GT was about as fast as an 8800 GS, so two of them on one card should slightly outperform a 9600 GT.
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    !