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GTA IV, picking a cheap decent card

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 8, 2010 2:22:13 AM

I have been watching YouTube videos all day of graphics performance in GTA IV with various video cards. My HD4870 512MB is no good. Even in Windows Aero or on YouTube videos, there's dots everywhere. Fired up GTA IV and had all sorts of nasty things showing up, and the game was barely playable even when I COULD see. My wife is considering buying a new card and giving me her 4890, but she likes her 4890 and I'd like to just spend less money overall anyway.

Moving on, here's the token Q&A:

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: ASAP, probably Monday the 13th of December, payday

BUDGET: is flexible but I'd like to spend $80 unless I go eBay*. I ignore rebates since they rarely pay out

USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: If it can play GTA IV smoothly, it can do everything else I need it to do

CURRENT GPU AND POWER SUPPLY: Raidmax Aurora2 700 watt (works fine)

OTHER RELEVANT SYSTEM SPECS: Dell Inspiron 570, this is 785G motherboard, Athlon II X4 630 2.8GHz CPU, one PCIe x16 2.0 slot

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Egg

PARTS PREFERENCES: Anything that will get r done, 1GB video memory minimum, would prefer a card that exhausts heat out the back of the computer, but at $80 that's rare so I'll deal with it

OVERCLOCKING: Catalyst or whatever SLI OR CROSSFIRE: not with one slot

MONITOR RESOLUTION: I can support 1920x1080 but would probably play at 1440x900 or 1280x800

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I would prefer a DX11 card just because, and I'm on the fence between ATI and nVidia because I do wish to partition in Ubuntu and nVidia has better drivers for Linux, but I have ATI HD4200 on board. As long as an nVidia card will run on the system, I don't care. There's Passmark benchmarks online with people who have GT220 and GT240 in this same machine and they seem to do well. But I want DX11, so I'm looking at GT430 on nVidia side (the only sub-$100 DX11 they sell nowadays), and 5570, 5670, 5750 on ATI side.

Tell me what YOU think, but please leave out derogatory comments about my power supply or my computer brand. It was spend $280 on this refurb box with W7 already on it (the PSU and GPU I already had left over from upgrading the wife's computer) or spend $510 to build one like it (X4 640, 6GB RAM, 1TB HD, 785G/880G board, etc etc etc). Lucky for me now I have money left over for a video card, right?

* I checked eBay and saw HD5830 and GTX460SE 1GB cards BIN going for $130ish shipped. Will this be enough card that my X4 630 becomes the bottleneck? That would be freakin' awesome and give me an excuse in the future to watch for cheap deals on X6 Phenoms (which are allegedly supported by this motherboard) I'll gladly take a few more eBay bucks by purchasing there, too. Also, GTS450 seem to sell around $110-120 shipped BIN and that would be a giant (I'm thinking 40-50%) step up from the GT430 for not much more. eBay bucks will come in handy in January when I get around to rebuilding the engine in my car.
a c 214 U Graphics card
December 8, 2010 3:49:03 AM

I was going to suggest a Radeon 5770 but if you can find deals on 5830's and 460's on ebay then i would say go for it.Does bring some suspicion of why they are priced so low.I don't think you would see a bottleneck from those cards your prossesor is still somewhat good in gaming aspects.GTA IV use's alot of video memory to max out everything so no wonder only having 512mb it would act like that.Do remember that their are lots of people not getting playable FPS in GTA IV even on super machines.Something about them using the wrong socket or it's messed up because they made it for for Console and PC and didn't write the code correctly.I still don't see any reason why a 4870 would not be able to play GTA IV even tho it only has 512.
Again i would suggest a 5770 but if you can get the 5830/460 i would go for that, they are much better and you won't get bottlecked by your CPU.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If all else fails then get the 5670 it is the 2nd best choice and should run GTA IV very well.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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a b U Graphics card
December 8, 2010 4:01:00 AM

Yeah I have heard that GTA IV is coded pretty bad, a crappy console port...

$80 is pretty low, but you might be able to find a 4850 1GB somewheres for that little. Newegg used to have one but right now the cheapest I see is $100... Besides, they're getting to be outdated (2 yrs old).

If you're willing to go over budget a little, Newegg has a Radeon 5770 for $105. It's better and newer than the 4850 1gb.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
EDIT: It's a rebate, without the rebate it's $120...
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a b U Graphics card
December 8, 2010 9:33:03 AM

^ +1 If you are willing to stretch a little, the Hd 5770 is a great card for the money =)
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a b U Graphics card
December 8, 2010 9:55:42 AM

You'd be surprised what you can get on Ebay. I got a GTS450 for £65 just after launch, as someone had bought it in error. A brand new card for half price? Yes please!

Have a look around and maybe post some possibles up here!
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a b U Graphics card
December 8, 2010 9:58:45 AM

GTA IV is pretty badly coded. It is one of those games where the CPU is just as important as the GPU. At HD resolutions i would say that the GTX460 1GB is the best choice. But for $80, its pretty hard to select a card. I would say the HD5750 should fit your budget.
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December 8, 2010 2:15:47 PM

my rig has ddr 3 -4 gb ram 2 tbs of storage and 3 ghz core 2 quad and two gtx 460's in sli and it didnt work!!
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December 8, 2010 8:35:20 PM

Purplestank, the reason my 4870 sucked on GTA IV was due to it being fried from the previous owner's overclocking. It's why my wife spent $200 last year on a new XFX 4890. So I borrowed a 4670 from a friend and it pulled the same 17fps on the same settings (1440x900, all high details except water on medium, 4xAA, 33 draw, 33 distance, 50 traffic density) but without the horrible artifacting covering 50-75% of the screen in random patches. That's the card I'll be using until I get my own, as friend will need it back by Christmas for his son's new-to-him computer.

If I can get a GTX460 or a 5830 for the same amount of money, it seems the GTX460 is the better pick according to Toms and Passmark. It scores higher, 15% higher even, in Passmark. It runs up to 16 degrees cooler under load. It uses 10 watts less power under load and is better on idle as well. I can pick 768MB or 1GB or 2GB versions. There's more choices for ports.

I'll keep scouring eBay for these. If I choose to go new, it seems $160 will buy a 768MB GTX460 outright, and rebates up to $20 are out there although I don't trust rebates. The 1GB versions are $170 and some have $30 rebates, making them cost the same overall. But in reality that's really too high so I would go GTS450 for new. There are some 1GB GTS450's for $120 new with $20 rebates so they cost $100 overall. It's a step backwards from a 4870 in Passmark points but a better card all in all. Wish me luck bidding I guess.

I'll let this thread go to after the weekend so the ATI and nVidia fanboys have a chance to talk up or down on the GTS450, GTX460, 5770, and 5830. It seems $80 isn't a good budget for GTA IV playability and I'll just have to spend more than I want to, and be looking at GTS450 or 5770 cards for $110ish new or GTX460 or 5830 cards for $130ish used.
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a c 214 U Graphics card
December 8, 2010 9:11:08 PM

GTX 460 is by far the best choice and is the best bang for your buck,i would go with the 1G version depending on what else you do on the computer but 1G is always a safety net.Remember that it isn't guranteed that you will get playable FPS even with the 460 or 5830,it is the game itself that has problems even Episodes from Liberty City the new one's still have the same bug.What other games have you played with the 4870?
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December 8, 2010 9:36:19 PM

It's really the only game I want to play on the computer. I have a PS2 for all the older GTA games, Gran Turismo, etc...and my boys each have an Xbox 360 but I can't hardly get time on them so I decided to get the PC version. I don't really own any other PC games except for Vice City (retail) and San Andreas (modded crack). Those run fine on even my laptop. One game I've thought about getting is Worms Reloaded. That's a 2D game for the most part, so no problems there. And then there's Left 4 Dead 2. That actually would be playable on my laptop, for example, so I'm not concerned about it working on here.

The 4870 was jittery when we got it which is why we swapped it out for the 4890 last spring. It had been in the 4890's box since then. I pulled it out when I bought this refurb Dell because I thought it would be better than the on-board HD4200 (you would think, right?). What's funny is I can PLAY GTA IV with the on-board graphics. I'm serious. 800x600, everything low or off, trilinear, and it plays at 14.45fps.

Statistics
Average FPS: 14.45
Duration: 37.44 sec
CPU Usage: 34%
System memory usage: 41%
Video memory usage: 94%

Graphics Settings
Video Mode: 800 x 600 (60 Hz)
Texture Quality: Low
Shadow Quality: Off
Reflection Resolution: Off
Water Quality: Low
Texture Filter Quality: Tri-Linear
Night Shadows: Off
View Distance: 5
Detail Distance: 5

Hardware
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium

Video Adapter: ATI Radeon HD 4200
Video Driver version: 8.17.10.1052
Audio Adapter: Speakers (Realtek High Definition Audio)
AMD Athlon(tm) II X4 630 Processor

File ID: Benchmark.cli

Compare that to the crippled toasted 4870's benchmark at 1280x800 with 100 view/detail distances and everything else turned way down except medium for texture:

Statistics
Average FPS: 17.62
Duration: 37.40 sec
CPU Usage: 53%
System memory usage: 43%
Video memory usage: 86%

Graphics Settings
Video Mode: 1280 x 800 (60 Hz)
Texture Quality: Medium
Shadow Quality: Low
Reflection Resolution: Off
Water Quality: Low
Texture Filter Quality: Tri-Linear
Night Shadows: Off
View Distance: 100
Detail Distance: 100

Hardware
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium

Video Adapter: ATI Radeon HD 4800 Series
Video Driver version: 8.17.10.1052
Audio Adapter: Speakers (Realtek High Definition Audio)
AMD Athlon(tm) II X4 630 Processor

File ID: Benchmark.cli

Ouch.
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a b U Graphics card
December 8, 2010 9:53:27 PM

You are surely getting capped by the 512MB frame buffer and any issues caused to the card by its previous owner.. I played GTA IV with pretty handsome details with the help of a 4870 1GB, a dual core E6750 and 4GB ram.. Now, the HD 5770 is equivalent in performance to a 4870.. So my recommendation is to go a tier higher.. It'll be just plain awesome if you can manage yourself a GTX 460 1GB or a HD 6850.. Among the HD 5830 and the GTX 460 768MB, my vote goes to the latter..
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a c 214 U Graphics card
December 8, 2010 11:26:09 PM

GTA IV really just needs more video memory, it doesn't require a "fast" card.Since that is the only game you play i would reccomend getting a 5670 1G,it's cheap it's reliable and this version comes a little factory O.C.

Radeon 5670 $90=$80 after MIR and Free Shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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December 15, 2010 11:09:01 PM

Best answer selected by occupant.
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December 15, 2010 11:10:43 PM

The video memory deal is what's working it for me here. Maybe I'll get lucky and find something over 1GB for cheap, but barring that I'm swapping engines in my car and the HD4200 will have to do for awhile. Then I will shoot for a cheap 5830 off eBay and fall back to a 5770 or below if that doesn't work.

quickie edit/update

I've been using the computer with the HD4200 and it's perfectly acceptable to me. GTA IV runs playable until it starts raining. Good enough for now. What I do need now with the workload I have is a second monitor. Can't do that off the HD4200 I don't think. The engine is swapped into my car so now with that project nearly complete (I still need a different bracket for the AC compressor and the carburetor sucks so I need to kit it) I can put a few bucks away for a video card. It looks like to get 2 DVI ports I'll need to get at least an HD5750/5770/better or a GTS450/GTX460. So I'm still at the same spot I was at. HIS has a 5770 for $129 on NewEgg with a $30 rebate and that's at the top of my wishlist at the moment. BUT wifey is looking to do some upgrades to her computer with the Sandy Bridge 2600K blasting over 10K on Passmark for $330. She wants that, a P67 board, some more memory, an SSD, and a new video card. I might very well take her HD4890 at that point. Get her an HD6850/6870 or something. With the way her business is going, dropping $800 on her computer is nothing compared to what she'll get out of it.
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