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Help, I need a graphics card that my CPU can handle. Any suggestions?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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February 28, 2011 2:37:43 PM

I am upgrading my old pc to pass down to my son once I get the new one. We are not hardcore gamers, but would at least like to play some games. The integrated graphics doesn't allow for any games to be played on this thing. I was looking for a graphics card that could play games like Amnesia, Penumbra, and maybe some others. He would like to play Crysis... :lol:  Yea, right! He might have better luck trying to fly a plane with the engine of a Kia! (He asked me to include Crysis on my post...even though I already know that answer) Maybe on the new pc!

Anyways, I don't want to spend a whole lot of money and don't need the most powerful card on the market. I am looking to spend no more than $125.00. I need a card that won't give me a bottleneck...my CPU is slow...see below. What cards are available in my price range, that can handle the games we want, and won't bottleneck?

I have a Gateway GT5408. I am throwing in a 650 Watt PSU. I don't want to do anymore upgrades, because this old thing is not really worth it and I will be replacing it soon.

Please help....I feel like I am running in circles trying to figure this out!!

My Specs.
OS: Vista SP1
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E4300 @ 1.80 GHz, 1.80 GHz
RAM: 3GB DDR2
Current PSU: 300 Watts :ouch:  (Will be upgrading to the 650 watt)
MoBo: Intel D945GCF (Pretty much the same as the D945GCL...just made exclusively for Gateway...from what I am told)
If you need more specs just let me know!
one PCI e x16 slot
one PCI x1
two PCI conventional slots
a b U Graphics card
February 28, 2011 2:48:59 PM

What power supply are you planning?
Have a look for the following:

8400GS
9800GT
GT240
GT430
HD4670
HD5550


They are some jigsaw solutions.
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February 28, 2011 3:00:21 PM

This is the power supply I was thinking of.



Sorry if the link didn't show up correctly. I have a hard time posting links in this forum....?


The 9800 GT was one that I was originally looking at! Maybe I should have just went with that one from the start. I got nervous about buying it since I kept reading that it ran really hot. This won't cause a bottleneck?

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a b U Graphics card
February 28, 2011 3:03:40 PM

You tried to encode with BB but failed due to the lack of a text between the '=MAIN]' and the '[/url]'
I had an XFX GeForce GT9800-512MB and it ran hotter than most cards but not anything ridiculously high like the 480GTX.
Ultra power supply? Never heard of them so I can't comment so much but I personally recommend sticking to the known brands with good warranty services etc..


XFX
Antec
Corsair
Seasonic (said to be the best)
FSP (a little like Seasonic in that their designs are somewhat generic but what's inside is high-quality)
Silverstone (not sure)
Thermaltake (Toughpower)
Coolermaster make some great cases but their PSUs are questionable.
Enermax

These are some of the more trusted companies and I'm sure anyone on this forum will agree with me...
Also, look out for the 80PLUS certification.


Here is a considerable power supply for your son: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - Antec BP-430
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February 28, 2011 3:22:46 PM

The Antec is only 430 watts? Will that be enough to run the graphics card?

What brands should I lean to for the graphics card? I know XFX, BFG, and EVGA are good brands. What about Sparkle, Gigabyte, and PNY? I haven't heard of them....except PNY (am familiar with their RAM...but not their graphics card). Should I stay away from them too?
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a b U Graphics card
February 28, 2011 3:44:35 PM

396 watts effective I like to say and yes that's enough to run your system including a 9800GT.

XFX (Pine Electronics) are great.
eVGA and MSI are great ones also
BFG is non-existent now as they ceased during the recession.
Inno3D (like mine) has the best stock coolers I've ever come across.
Gigabyte are big, they make motherboards too and some power supplies.
Asus is another reliable one
Stay away from Gainward & KFA2
Palit is mediocre/fair.
Don't get Sparkle.
PNY is one of the first nVidia contractors and are big, don't know how you've never heard of them!
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February 28, 2011 4:13:11 PM

This is my first graphics card upgrade. I know PNY from doing numerous RAM upgrades. After searching online for graphics cards, I have found more out about the brands that I mentioned that I am familiar with as being good brands and less about the brands that I wasn't familiar with.

PNY, I kept coming across mixed reviews. So I wasn't sure how good of a brand they were as far as graphics . The most common review was "good while it lasted". Which is a scary review!


I want to thank you for all the help you have offered! I think I will go with the suggested Antec PSU and I have narrowed the list down in my Newegg wishlist and think I have found the card that will work.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130592 <----thanks for telling me how to correct that too! ;) 

My son will be happy that he can play more than Roblox on this!

Thanks!!!
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Best solution

a b U Graphics card
February 28, 2011 4:20:21 PM

No worries my friend, and welcome to Tom's Hardware guide community.

Edit:
By the way, I had a PNY 8400GS-512MB and ran Bad Company 2 well with medium settings at 1280x1024. I was surprised at that and I'm sure you know Bad Company 2 is respectively demanding game.
Another thing just incase that you don't know, get the drivers from the nVidia site rather than off of the disk included in the box.
Also, for 5 years or so I ran a PNY-branded 6200 and it still works but the motherboard died so I threw that one out.
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February 28, 2011 5:49:54 PM

Thanks for the welcome and the tip. I would have gotten the driver off of the disc not even thinking about it being an old outdated driver! :D 
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March 5, 2011 8:13:10 PM

Omnisome,

I went with the PSU and VGC that was suggested and wanted to let you know that they were exactly what I was needing. I, also, was able to save money on your suggestions! I had budgeted $125 USD for the VGC and $60-$70 on the PSU and ended up only spending $82 for both!

Thank you so much for your help!!! :D 
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March 7, 2011 4:59:33 PM

Best answer selected by azrael7700.
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