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Upgrade to low end card, or stick with mobo graphics?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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October 26, 2010 9:12:05 PM

Hello,

I have a 785 gmt motherboard, with an integrated HD4200 graphics card. I have a mid tower case without much space and subpar cooling, and only a 500W PSU. As such, I can't upgrade to a high end card without replacing essentially the whole computer. So I'm looking to spend ~$100, but I know I won't be able to reuse this card anyway.

I'm planning on buying a whole new system in about a years time, but until then, is it worth it for me to upgrade to a low end graphics card, like the Radeon HD 5670 (like $80)? In other words, would it have any improvement, or is it really not much better than the integrated graphics?

Here is the template:

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: This week

USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Specifically, I want to be a able to play starcraft II, mass effect 2, maybe civ 4. My current system can run these games, but only on the minimum graphics settings on 800 by 600 resolution. If I can bump this up to a decent resolution, then it's worth it.

CURRENT GPU AND POWER SUPPLY: Integrated graphics, I think it's called HD 4200 based on dxdiag.

OTHER RELEVANT SYSTEM SPECS: Athlon II X4 620

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1680x1050, but even if I can run those games on 1024x768, then that's still progress.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: As I mentioned above, I need a small card, that doesn't consume too much power or generate too much heat. Longevity is not a factor, since I want to replace the whole box in a year or so.

I'm thinking about getting the HD 5670.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Thanks!
a b U Graphics card
October 26, 2010 9:45:01 PM

A 5670 is a HUGE boost from integrated graphics it could probably handle 1680x1050
fine on medium-high settings!
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a c 172 U Graphics card
October 26, 2010 9:56:49 PM

a 5670 is a good upgrade. anything less than that is pretty useless for gaming at any decent resolution. When you go upgrade your computer in a years time you can always get a crossfire support motherboard and add another 5670.
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October 26, 2010 9:59:20 PM

I was running civ4 on a radeon 3870 up until a month ago on full graphics. It's not a game where you really need to worry about graphics. But with your processor you can still expect turn delays in the late game. Thats just a fact of civ gaming.
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October 27, 2010 1:14:25 AM

Thanks a lot for the replies! I think I'll get the card, and enjoy my games on much improved graphics.

I was just afraid of spending money but having it not deliver any boost. I didn't know how much of an improvement over mobo graphics it is.

@c_for: Haha, late game it easily takes 30 seconds to compute enemy moves. And it starts to lag whenever it tries to render a nuke going off, I thought that might have been a graphics card issue. Thanks for your comment.
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