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A New Graphic Card for a 2 Year Old Rig

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November 13, 2010 2:05:28 PM

I have (or better say had) a 2 year old gaming rig which includes the following:
CPU: Core2Duo E8500
Mobo: DFI Lanparty DK P45
RAM: 4GB OCZ DDR2 1066Mhz
Graphic card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 4870 (512Mb)
PSU: Thermaltake Toughpower 600W

Obiously not state of the art, but it was sufficient for every single game I ran so far.

Yesterday I came home and tried to turn on my PC, it made a weird sound, didn't power up and then I felt a smell of burnt plastics. Turns out my graphic card is toast.

So now I'm in the market for a new Graphics card.

Now the thing is that I've just started graduate school - which will keep both me and my finances busy for the next 2 year. This means that most likley I'm going to stick with my current gear for 2 more years and won't be gaming much. I do however want to be able to run games (for those rare occasions I'll have to play).

So I'm looking for a new graphics card that on one hand will improve the performance of my machine as much as possible but on the other hand won't be wasted due to the bottleneck which is the rest of my gear.

I was thinking about the Radeon HD 5770 1 GB (which fits well in my budget). What do you think? Would it an overkill for my rig or will I be able to use it to it's full potential?

More about : graphic card year rig

a c 169 U Graphics card
November 13, 2010 2:10:27 PM

HD 5770 performs pretty much like 4870,so if you are looking for something with the same performance,5770 is a good choice.(It runs cooler and quieter too)
a c 190 U Graphics card
November 13, 2010 3:40:53 PM

For now the HD5770 will be enough, as the man says, it's almost identical in performance to the HD4870 (a little slower but you'd be hard pressed to spot it).
But, two years down the line and it will probably be struggling so I'd recommend either the GTX460 or HD6850 as a better long term investment, particularly if your display has a resolution of 1680x1050 or more.
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November 13, 2010 4:42:22 PM

Yeah, since I posted this question I've seen the charts and saw that the 5770 actually performs worse than my old 4870. This is astonishing to me. A few years back, a 2 year old graphics card (no matter how high-end in it's prime) couldn't come close to the performance of a newer card of a slightly lower class.

Anyway, the thing I was afraid of is my CPU/RAM being the bottleneck. How much high-end I can go on a graphic card without my my CPU/RAM making being the bottleneck? (not including CF because I don't have room in my case and mobo for 2 large cards)
a c 169 U Graphics card
November 14, 2010 11:20:37 AM

Bottleneck depends on the resolution and the games that you play.
November 14, 2010 5:11:07 PM

But in general? Various games (for example Dragon Age: Origins) and 1680x1050?
and what will happen if I upgrade to 1920x1080?
a b U Graphics card
November 14, 2010 5:25:53 PM

your CPU is a fast yet older dual core that shouldn't bottleneck with that card, RAM is perfectly fine for a long time.
November 14, 2010 5:43:54 PM

Thanks.

Now, I was thinking abot the GTX 460 768MB - judging by the charts here and the prices I see it's probably the best performance/price card I can fit into my budget. Now, would there be too much of a difference between Gainward, Sparkle, Inno3D, Palit, Innovision, Zotac and Gigabyte? I have only heard of 3 of those firms.
a c 169 U Graphics card
November 14, 2010 6:50:12 PM

In 1680x1050 you may notice a bottleneck in some games but on higher resolutions,almost all games become GPU limited.
And yes a GTX 460 is certainly a great upgrade.Gainward,Palit,Zotac,Gigabyte,XFX,EVGA and ASUS are all good brands
November 14, 2010 7:48:34 PM

If you can fit it in your budget, get the 1GB GTX 460, as it is actually faster than the 768MB version, due to a wider memory bus.
November 14, 2010 11:00:09 PM

Maziar said:
HD 5770 performs pretty much like 4870,so if you are looking for something with the same performance,5770 is a good choice.(It runs cooler and quieter too)


Agreed lower power requirements less heat and quieter. JMHO,
Dave
a b U Graphics card
November 15, 2010 12:43:07 AM

I would go with the brands with the best reviews and the brands you trust.
a c 190 U Graphics card
November 15, 2010 4:35:30 PM

If your budget cannot reach for a 1Gb card, do n't beat yourself up, even at 1080 resolution the difference is small. Either will be a useful upgrade from the HD4870 and at the lower resolution mentioned still have some performance in reserve to handle the next generation of (even more!) demanding games, something the HD5770 lacks.
Yes, the Iron Age ;)  CPU will be a restriction at 1680x1050, but a minor one, and if you go for 1080 later even that small restriction stops (because the higher resolution forces the GPU to work harder, thus slowing it down).
You're planning on keeping this for some time, so look for the best warranties and customer service rather than brand name, EVGA seem to be top of the tree while Zotac seems to have a lot of improving to do.
a c 173 U Graphics card
November 15, 2010 4:38:46 PM

Pass up the 5770 as it is not the red hot wet nipple dream that people make it out to be. The 68x0 series only costs a bit more and blow it out of the water like it would do your old card with power to spare.
a b U Graphics card
November 15, 2010 5:24:59 PM

Also --- Gigabyte has a 3 year warranty period so have you contacted them to see about replacement under warranty ??
November 15, 2010 8:01:14 PM

@coozie7: Thanks - this is exactly the kind of answer I was looking for! :) 

@JDFan: The thing is that the store where I bought this card has closed since then ("temporary" due to a "change in ownership"). There are a few local distributer in my area who deal with Gigabyte so I've been trying to talk with them and get the service from them, but so far the 2 importers I talked said that this specific card is not theirs.

I'm not losing hope because I still have at least one importer I haven't talked with and there's still a chance that that store will be reopened, but for now I've decided to look at the graphic cards market anyway, in likely case I won't be able to get my 4870 replaced.

Worse come to worst, I'll get the replacement 4870 after I've gotten a new card and then I'll sell it on ebay or something. :) 
a b U Graphics card
November 15, 2010 8:45:28 PM

Could try contacting Gigabyte support directly and explaining to them that the shop is closed and they should arrange for you to send it directly to them for replacement. --- Figure the 4870 was first released in June or July of 2008 so even if it was one of the first cards sold it is under the 3 years that they offer a warranty for so shouldn't be a problem proving it should still be under warranty !
!