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Advice on a GPU upgrade

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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July 28, 2010 1:23:26 AM

I'm pretty much out of the loop now on graphics cards as I have not kept up with them for the last year and a half. So I'm looking for advice on purchasing a new graphics card. I'll follow the sticky's format below.

First of all here's a link to my computers specs
http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c02...

and here is a link to my monitors specs
http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c01...

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: within the next month
BUDGET RANGE: Below $300

USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT:
HD output - HDMI to a widescreen monitor (i'll be watching blueray/mkv files)
Gaming - (spending around 250-300 bucks i'd like to play starcraft 2 on the highest detail and have it be silky smooth. also i'd like other games to look great and play smooth as well)

CURRENT GPU AND POWER SUPPLY: Radeon HD5450: 512 MB VDDR3 memory

OTHER RELEVANT SYSTEM SPECS: http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c02...

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: nothing shady...other than that i don't care
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: n/a

OVERCLOCKING: maybe...i want my card to last and i dont want to do the overlocking myself

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080 http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c01...

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I really just want a decent higher-endish card that is worth my money and won't fail in 3 months. I wanna play starcraft 2 at 1920x1080 on ultra and have it be smooth or at least not held back by my video card. i'm willing to buy a little bit more expensive if you think the card will give me good returns (playing games 6 months from now at high settings 1920x1080)

More about : advice gpu upgrade

a c 153 U Graphics card
July 28, 2010 1:37:36 AM

PCI Express x16 One (None available) I saw this in your computer specs.

Does it say that becuase it has a card in the computer already?

Anyway, I'd get the GTX 460 1GB version.

Oh damn, have you upgraded the power supply in that computer? It is only 300 watts (good thing yor budget is 300 bucks).

If it is the 300w that came with the computer, then I'd get the GTX 460 1gb, and the Corsair 550W PSU.
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a c 235 U Graphics card
July 28, 2010 1:39:04 AM

you won't be playing SCII at 1080p ultra settings without a PSU upgrade.

currently the best cards i would recommend would be the ATI 5670512mb and Nvidia GT240 512mb DDR5. The ATI is the better over all card but the Nvidia currently plays SCII better. you can find plenty of both cards on newegg for under $100.

if you upgrade your PSU to a good 500w unit, you can get the GTX 460 which will let you play SCII at 1080p ultra.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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a c 235 U Graphics card
July 28, 2010 1:39:47 AM

Helltech said:
PCI Express x16 One (None available) I saw this in your computer specs.

Does it say that becuase it has a card in the computer already?



because of his 5450 card already taking up the socket
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a c 153 U Graphics card
July 28, 2010 1:40:18 AM

ct1615 said:
you won't be playing SCII at 1080p ultra settings without a PSU upgrade.

currently the best cards i would recommend would be the ATI 5670512mb and Nvidia GT240 512mb DDR5. The ATI is the better over all card but the Nvidia currently plays SCII better. you can find plenty of both cards on newegg for under $100.

if you upgrade your PSU to a good 500w unit, you can get the GTX 460 which will let you play SCII at 1080p ultra.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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


We have been taking the words right out of each others mouths today. :p 

ct1615 said:
because of his 5450 card already taking up the socket


I thought so but I had to make sure.
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July 28, 2010 1:57:37 AM

switch_foot4 said:
I'm pretty much out of the loop now on graphics cards as I have not kept up with them for the last year and a half. So I'm looking for advice on purchasing a new graphics card. I'll follow the sticky's format below.

First of all here's a link to my computers specs
http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c02...

and here is a link to my monitors specs
http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c01...

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: within the next month
BUDGET RANGE: Below $300

USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT:
HD output - HDMI to a widescreen monitor (i'll be watching blueray/mkv files)
Gaming - (spending around 250-300 bucks i'd like to play starcraft 2 on the highest detail and have it be silky smooth. also i'd like other games to look great and play smooth as well)

CURRENT GPU AND POWER SUPPLY: Radeon HD5450: 512 MB VDDR3 memory

OTHER RELEVANT SYSTEM SPECS: http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c02...

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: nothing shady...other than that i don't care
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: n/a

OVERCLOCKING: maybe...i want my card to last and i dont want to do the overlocking myself

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080 http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c01...

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I really just want a decent higher-endish card that is worth my money and won't fail in 3 months. I wanna play starcraft 2 at 1920x1080 on ultra and have it be smooth or at least not held back by my video card. i'm willing to buy a little bit more expensive if you think the card will give me good returns (playing games 6 months from now at high settings 1920x1080)


DX11 Ati 5830 or when Ati releases a new one in Late October pick up a the Revised DX11 spend another 200 bucks and you have your sli setup or wait until October! I would Wait until October and get a newer one $300 only around2 monthes away or spend 200bucks than spend another 200bucks when its released hmmm!
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a c 153 U Graphics card
July 28, 2010 2:00:25 AM

The 5830 is a pretty bad card... Its not even as good as the GTX 275.

Go with the GTX 460.
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a c 266 U Graphics card
July 28, 2010 2:45:43 AM

GTX460 and a psu upgrade from helltech and ct1615 is good advice.

Motherboard is not sli/crossfire capable.
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July 29, 2010 1:13:27 AM

Awesome guys. I have no problem buying a new power supply to get a newer card. I will definitely go check out the GTX460...anyone know if Best Buy is a good choice to have them install this stuff? I'm sure i can figure it out but i'd rather have it done by someone i know will do a good job.

quick question....looking at the specs you linked me for the gtx460 i noticed the output is "HDMI 1 x Mini-HDMI 1.4a". is a mini-hdmi the same thing as regular HDMI or is that a different sort of hook up?
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a c 266 U Graphics card
July 29, 2010 1:26:50 AM

You should get a mini HDMI to HDMI adapter along with some other adapters included in the card package.

There is no way to tell if a tech at best buy is competent. If someone you trust can recommend one, then fine.

The only person you can really trust is yourself. And the satisfaction is priceless.

Installing a card is simplicity itself.

A psu is a bit more complicated, but everything is keyed so you can't put a cable in the wrong place.

If you are worried, take a photo before, showing where all the cables go so you don't forget one.
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a c 235 U Graphics card
July 29, 2010 1:37:13 AM

switch_foot4 said:

quick question....looking at the specs you linked me for the gtx460 i noticed the output is "HDMI 1 x Mini-HDMI 1.4a". is a mini-hdmi the same thing as regular HDMI or is that a different sort of hook up?


its different do to space limitations on the card for ports. you would use a cable as such

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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July 30, 2010 1:52:52 AM

would that conversion from miniHDMI to HDMI have any image quality loss?
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a c 235 U Graphics card
July 30, 2010 2:26:31 AM

no its still a digital image
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July 31, 2010 11:34:10 AM

another quick question...whats the difference between PCI Express 2.1 x16 and
PCI Express 2.0 x16?
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a c 235 U Graphics card
July 31, 2010 5:12:50 PM

PCI-E 2.1 has some features that are planned to be implemented in PCI-E 3.0. these are not performance features but rather troubleshooting ones.

in terms of performance, you would not see any difference between a 2.1 card and 2.0 of the same model.
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a b U Graphics card
July 31, 2010 6:00:58 PM

switch_foot4 said:

Gaming - (spending around 250-300 bucks i'd like to play starcraft 2 on the highest detail and have it be silky smooth. also i'd like other games to look great and play smooth as well)

I wanna play starcraft 2 at 1920x1080 on ultra and have it be smooth or at least not held back by my video card.


Based on this alone, I'd say you need a PSU & a GTX 460 1GB like others have suggested. ct1615 suggested a couple lesser video cards, which would do fine for SC2, but not necessarily "other games". SC2 uses DX9, so it doesn't require as much muscle as many of today's games that take advantage of DX10.
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a c 235 U Graphics card
July 31, 2010 8:13:52 PM

jerreece said:
Based on this alone, I'd say you need a PSU & a GTX 460 1GB like others have suggested. ct1615 suggested a couple lesser video cards, which would do fine for SC2, but not necessarily "other games". SC2 uses DX9, so it doesn't require as much muscle as many of today's games that take advantage of DX10.


actually i suggested both the GTX460 and more budget friendly options if the OP decided to go in that way but thanks for making sound as if i didn't...and just repeated what I had already stated.
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a b U Graphics card
July 31, 2010 8:35:17 PM

Nothing against Palit at all. However, it's important to know that Palit's retail cards are missing the VRM heatsink (helps cool memory chips). There's some debate online on that issue, and it means memory chips onboard will run hotter, and therefore won't have the overclocking headroom.

eVGA puts out an outstanding product pretty consistently. It looks like the EVGA card uses the default cooling solution, which is perfectly adequate.

The Palit is overclocked to 800Mhz, where as the EVGA is 763Mhz core.

$2 shipping difference between them, but that's it. The Palit may run cooler for the GPU core, but the RAM on board will run hotter chances are.
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a b U Graphics card
July 31, 2010 8:39:35 PM

ct1615 said:
actually i suggested both the GTX460 and more budget friendly options if the OP decided to go in that way but thanks for making sound as if i didn't...and just repeated what I had already stated.


I never said you did NOT suggest a GTX 460. I just referred back to the lesser two cards you also mentioned, and wanted to clarify to the OP that they would work fine for SC2, but wouldn't be great gaming cards for "other games".

I know that you know what you're talking about, ct1615. I'm not poking jabs at anybody. ;)  I apologize if my post came across as anything other than what I intended. Which was purely to let the OP know what to expect from each option.
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a c 235 U Graphics card
July 31, 2010 8:42:25 PM

i was just playing with your words ;) 
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a b U Graphics card
July 31, 2010 8:44:44 PM

It's all good. 90% of human language is passed through body language. Text loses a LOT of the meaning folks intend. And beside that, we don't always impart 100% of our intent/meaning through what we actually type anyhow!!
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July 31, 2010 9:54:36 PM

Thanks for all your help! I really appreciate it. I went with the eVGA and the 520 PSU linked earlier in thread. After everything I payed around 320 which is perfect! Just wanna say thanks you guys are very knowledgeable. You'll probably see me back on the forum in a week or so...im gonna try to install it myself!
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a c 235 U Graphics card
August 1, 2010 12:56:16 AM

grats and enjoy, evga and seasonic are excellent brand names and deservedly so
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August 8, 2010 12:10:23 AM

just an update...got the power supply in and graphics card all hooked up and it all works beautifully. power supplies are easy...i didnt even have a screwdriver handy so i used some toenail clippers.
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August 8, 2010 12:17:48 AM

Best answer selected by switch_foot4.
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