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Unsure of GPU RAM choices?

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December 14, 2010 11:35:43 AM

I need help! I'm gonna have a severally limited budget for upgrades, and the upgrade will probably be all I can afford for at least six months to a year, my specs as follows: AMD 925 quad, 8GB DDR2 800MHz, HD4650 1GB ddr2, 2 500GB HDDs, Win7 HP X64.

My questions are as follows: with only $100 to spend would I be better off with a new ATI card that has more DDR2 or 3 or less DDR5? If I get lucky I've seen a few going for $100 with 1Gb of DDR5, but would it be better to get a smaller 6xxx series or a larger 5xxx series?

While my screen is only 1600x900 I'm sure the 4650 is probably a bottleneck, but I'm just not sure which would give me more bang for the buck, more GPU RAM of a slower speed or less of the faster and I'm really unsure of how the 5xxx stands up to the 6xxx with various RAM types. The more I look the more confused I get. Help!

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a c 189 U Graphics card
December 14, 2010 1:53:20 PM

What is your PSU? brand? model?
But really, with only $100, the best card you can get is GT240 or HD5670, both of cards will work just fine on 300W PSU or above...
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December 15, 2010 2:47:05 AM

Kari said:
well you don't want anything with ddr2, that's for sure....
and what kind of amounts of ram are you talking about? 1gig (or even 512M) is enough for the res you're at, no point to get one of those wierd 2gig ddr3 cards.

edit and reviews might be usefull
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/GeForce_GTX_570...
this one has more lower end cards in it as well
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/HIS/Radeon_HD_5670_I...




Sorry, it has been quite awhile since I have built anything but office boxes, so I'm more than a little out of the loopy. My current PSU is a 450w no name and my current card is an HD4650 with 1Gb of DDR2. I mainly play FPS and RTS, and as for RAM amounts I'm figuring a max 1GB. But like I said I'm unsure whether DDR2, DDR3, or DDR5 would be the better choice, especially since I not only game with this machine but watch TV, edit and transcode video, this is pretty much the center point machine. And I've looked at similar links, but they never seem to tell you what kind of RAM or the bit length (128-256-512) just the amount, and it says the 5xxx is better than the 6xxx? Even more confusing.

Last time I built or upgraded the only real rules was "More RAM is better" "bigger numbers equal better card" and there frankly weren't any real choices in the matter. Now there are no less than 3 different RAM types, and two major sizes at 512MB and 1GB. I'm afraid $100 will be my MAX amount I can spend due to family and bills, so I can't get one of those $130+ cards and hope for a MIR. Since this will be my last upgrade for quite awhile I want it to last but frankly all the different speeds as well as two major sizes is just confusing me, so any help is appreciated. All I know is I want an ATI card, since the entire machine is AMD and from what I've heard the NV cards are a lot more power and cooling hungry than the ATI.

Frankly the more I look the more lost I feel here. All these different RAMs, sizes, and bit lengths (128, 256, 512) just makes me feel like I'm in a maze and whichever I choose will end up wrong. I don't care if it doesn't play Crysis, or get insane frames per second, just that I can play most of the mainstream games like Bioshock II or have large battles in a RTS without feeling like I'm dragging. The HD4650 really feels sluggish on newer games, I guess it is just too old now. But any advice to this old family guy and part time gamer would be most welcome. Purchase date will be on the first of Jan, as I have a BDay coming up. Thanks in advance! Oh and I looked at the 5670, it says a 400 PSU minimum. Will a 450w run it without dragging? I don't OC but I do have dual DVD burners and dual HDDs.
a c 189 U Graphics card
December 15, 2010 2:53:59 AM

First, we don't know the detail of your PSU (amperage, brand). Second, your max budget is $100, then just like I said above, GT240 or HD5670 is your best choice, it's faster than HD4650 DDR2.

Note: More RAM isn't mean better. GT240 512MB DDR3/DDR5 is much faster than your current HD4650 1GB DDR2.

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a b U Graphics card
December 15, 2010 3:11:57 AM
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GDDR5 is the best, of course. The memory interface - higher is better, but that doesn't mean you need the highest. The best choices for your PSU (If it has a 6-pin power connector) in order of performance 5770>5750>5670 (considering you only want an ATI card). 5770 costs around 130 dollars, the 5750 less and 5670 even more less($100 and less). Your resolution will be ok with even 512MB, but I would suggest 1GB just in case. If there is an option between 512mb 256bit and 1GB 128 bit memory interface, go for the 512MB 256bit.
December 22, 2010 5:31:05 AM

Best answer selected by bassbeast.
December 25, 2010 4:12:08 AM

tigrc said:
GDDR5 is the best, of course. The memory interface - higher is better, but that doesn't mean you need the highest. The best choices for your PSU (If it has a 6-pin power connector) in order of performance 5770>5750>5670 (considering you only want an ATI card). 5770 costs around 130 dollars, the 5750 less and 5670 even more less($100 and less). Your resolution will be ok with even 512MB, but I would suggest 1GB just in case. If there is an option between 512mb 256bit and 1GB 128 bit memory interface, go for the 512MB 256bit.



Thanks for all the suggestions! I was wondering what the guys here think of this card? My nephew asked for a card for Xmas and this is what I got him and so far it is chewing through the scenery. It is cheaper than I wanted to spend, which will let me go ahead and upgrade the no name 400w PSU (which doesn't have a PCIe connector) to a nice 575w with dual 80mm and dual PCIe.

Sure it isn't the newest card on the block, but it is a 48xx, and supports DX10.1. Considering my monitor is only 1600x900 I'm thinking it should drive it pretty well and let me crank most of the pretty up. What do you think?
a b U Graphics card
December 26, 2010 12:25:59 AM

If you are happy with it, there is no reason to say it is weak or bad. I'm just curious, how much did you spend on it? And how much for the PSU? The 4830 is somewhat equal to the 5670. The 5670 is a bit more power efficient and has DX11, but there is no use for DX11 for those cards, as they are not that powerful. However, for DX10.1 and your resolution it will be excellent :) 
a c 271 U Graphics card
December 26, 2010 4:56:49 PM

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