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"Mid-Range" - Graphics Card Choices

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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March 15, 2011 9:09:00 AM

Hey everyone !

I'll start by saying I'm totally new to the Tom's Hardware Forums, so go ahead and call me the "new guy" :p 

First off, I'm willing to build myself a nice little (Hmm, let's call it a "mid-range") build. My price range for that build would be from 1000-1200 $.

Now, a big big question I asked myself was which card I would like to have in the system. Here's some general information about what I plan to do with the build (and the card) :

- Gaming (Main reason of the build) : I'll mostly play Rift, and would LOVE to have nice FPS when in towns, raids, etc. I'm aware that the GPU is not the -only- thing which affects this, but still :) . Also, I want to be able to run newer games (Dragon Age 2, Elder Scrolls : Skyrim, etc.) quite nicely.

- Resolution : Mainly 1440 X 900 . Only have a 19 inch Widescreen Samsung Monitor, so that resolution will be enough. Although my 42" HDTV is close to my computer, I'll probably try to hook it up via HDMI to see if I can get interesting results (resolution is usually 1980 X 1020, is that correct ?).

- Power Supply : A 750w or 850w , depending on which one I'll choose to get.

- CrossFire or SLI : That's a tough one. I probably will consider one or the other, since I want to be able to "upgrade" the computer later on. I'm not sure if I should consider CF or SLI for now because of my budget, but the option of buying a second card later is very appealing for sure.

Deals : Here are some quite interesting deals, that surely you guys can help me out with. As a note, I'm willing to pay around 180-250$ for the GPU (maybe a bit more if it's a great deal, or worth the shot)

PNY GeForce GTX 560 Ti XLR8 Black Box 822MHZ 1GB GDDR5 Dual DVI Mini-HDMI DX11 PCI-E Video Card

http://ncix.com/promo/promosale.php?webid=customerappre...

I absolutely have no clue if PNY is a reliable company, but it's still a good deal IMO.

XFX Radeon HD 6950 XXX 830MHZ 1GB 5.2GHZ GDDR5 PCI-E 2XDVI HDMI 2x Mini DisplayPort Video Card

http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=58456&vpn=HD695X...

That seems to be a good deal as well. I've heard the Radeon 6950 is quite nice.


That's about it guys! Sorry in advance if I missed some information. I won't be "specific" on my exact build, since it's not yet official, but I am open for any recommendations/opinions/deals from everyone here.

Post away ! :lol: 
a c 169 U Graphics card
March 15, 2011 9:16:48 AM

Hello and welcome to the forums :) 
First of all your monitor has a resolution of 1440x900 not 1900x1440 and your HDTV's resolution is 1920x1080(1080p)
If you mostly play at 1440x900 then both GTX 560 and HD 6950 are way overkill.Cards like HD 5770 can handle all games fine on that res;however,if you mostly play at 1080p,then you need something more powerful than 5770.My vote goes to HD 6950 in this case
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a c 172 U Graphics card
March 15, 2011 9:39:22 AM

even at 1440x900 id say go at least a 6850, that should give you good results in all the most demanding games with AA on. I have 1440x900 an you really want to turn at least 4x AA on to get decent image quality. 8x AA gives great image quality. AMD cards generally take less of a performance hit with AA on from what i have seen. i also vote 6950.
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a b U Graphics card
March 15, 2011 11:33:47 AM

The 6950 & GTX 560 Ti are quite close in terms of performance. The 6950 might edge it out as it can be flashed to be a full-fledged 6970.

I went with the GTX 560 Ti because it can be overclocked like no other card i have seen.

Please check out my signature, this is what i use to play rift at almost full settings and I usually get between 45 - 75 FPS,
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March 16, 2011 8:18:27 AM

Thanks for the suggestions guys. I'm really leaning towards the Radeon 6950.

@jonpaul37 : That scares me a bit, because you are OC'ing your CPU and GPU. I plan to get a Intel i5 2500k, 4 Gigs of RAM (might be 8, not sure yet) and the GPU which I need to choose. I probably will OC eventually after I get the build, but it probably means I won't max Rift. Perhaps I can still get some very nice settings, especially in Raids/Towns.


If there's any other suggestions, post away! :) 
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a b U Graphics card
March 16, 2011 4:34:40 PM

Maziar said:
You can max out Rift with either 6950 or GTX 560.
http://telarapedia.com/wiki/System_Requirements



Close Maziar, very close but even as OC'd as my 560 Ti is, with full supersampling AA and full settings, i get like 22 FPS in some situations...
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March 17, 2011 9:45:21 AM

Well as long as I get high graphics, I don't mind lowering some settings for playability.

Ugh, so many choices and deals ! The main thing I thought about is SLI/CF. I think I want the option to do it, so I can extend the lifespan of the build ;) .

Now, the main question : Which PGU model should I aim for?

I know that the cards stated above might be "overkill", but I might change my resolution if I ever change monitors (19" Samsung Widesreen at the moment). And , I plan on trying out my HDTV as stated on the original post, which means higher resolution.

Here's some deals I found :

Sapphire Radeon HD 6950 1GB GDDR5 PCI-E 2XDVI HDMI 2x Mini DisplayPort Video Card

http://ncix.ca/products/index.php?sku=58501&vpn=11188-0...

Nice price. This is what I was thinking of getting mostly, but I also heard CF has some issues with CF drivers (not sure). 219$ is a nice price range I'm willing to spend.

Powercolor Radeon HD 6950 800MHZ 2GB 5.0GHZ GDDR5 2XDVI HDMI 2XMINI Display Port PCI-E Video Card

http://ncix.ca/products/index.php?sku=57619&vpn=AX6950%...

Wait, what!? 2Gb version at the same price? I highly doubt the "Powercolor" brand, which irks me a bit. The Sapphire brand is 249$ ATM at Newegg.ca, and Gigabyte version at 274$.

There's also a nicely priced 560Ti Twin Frozr edition at 249$ too, sounds nice.

Argh ! Unless I run a single card setup, and upgrade later ? I just think SLI/CF would be more "efficient" for upgrading later. What do you guys think ?



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a b U Graphics card
March 17, 2011 10:06:13 AM

I personally use GTX 560 over Radeon (especially as Rift has been having issues with AMD cards)

Just so you know, in an i5 750 build with a GTX 560 I play Rift on Ultra settings and have 60- 90FPS and do not need to reduce settings when in towns or during big invasions (though the FPS does drop below 60 during those times, but hey, 30+ is all I need). This is on a 1920 x 1080 24 inch monitor.
So, the GTX 560 has plenty of power for if you upgrade your monitor and if Rift is your main game (like it is mine) it is a good choice. AMD may have fixed the issue with their cards for Rift, but just in case they have not got things perfect I would stick with Nvidia
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a b U Graphics card
March 17, 2011 11:47:49 AM

asteldian said:
I personally use GTX 560 over Radeon (especially as Rift has been having issues with AMD cards)

Just so you know, in an i5 750 build with a GTX 560 I play Rift on Ultra settings and have 60- 90FPS and do not need to reduce settings when in towns or during big invasions (though the FPS does drop below 60 during those times, but hey, 30+ is all I need). This is on a 1920 x 1080 24 inch monitor.
So, the GTX 560 has plenty of power for if you upgrade your monitor and if Rift is your main game (like it is mine) it is a good choice. AMD may have fixed the issue with their cards for Rift, but just in case they have not got things perfect I would stick with Nvidia



Does that include MSAA & AF?
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a c 169 U Graphics card
March 17, 2011 12:46:35 PM

jonpaul37 said:
Close Maziar, very close but even as OC'd as my 560 Ti is, with full supersampling AA and full settings, i get like 22 FPS in some situations...

Well,AA doesn't make a huge difference in graphics so you can always turn it off.
Also on 1920x1200,there won't be much of jagged edges,so turning off the AA won't make the game look very bad.(in comparison to lower resolutions)
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a b U Graphics card
March 17, 2011 1:02:03 PM

Maziar said:
Well,AA doesn't make a huge difference in graphics so you can always turn it off.
Also on 1920x1200,there won't be much of jagged edges,so turning off the AA won't make the game look very bad.(in comparison to lower resolutions)



Agreed but i am a visual settings nazi. I like for everything to be as cranked as possible! LOL.

From my understanding, RIFT really doesn't take advantage of SLI very much.
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a b U Graphics card
March 17, 2011 1:26:33 PM

jonpaul37 said:
Does that include MSAA & AF?


I have the AA turned on, but I do not have it maxed - mainly because the Rift game itself warns you that this will be a major performance hit (possibly not optimised - they added AA very late in beta)

As for SLI, correct, Rift does not make efficient use of this - as is the case with most MMOS
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a c 169 U Graphics card
March 17, 2011 6:50:39 PM

jonpaul37 said:
Agreed but i am a visual settings nazi. I like for everything to be as cranked as possible! LOL.

From my understanding, RIFT really doesn't take advantage of SLI very much.

haha,you're like me then :D 
And non multiGPU support explains the reason why the game can't be maxed out(at least with decent FPS).
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a b U Graphics card
March 17, 2011 7:41:49 PM

Maziar said:
haha,you're like me then :D 
And non multiGPU support explains the reason why the game can't be maxed out(at least with decent FPS).



I suspect they will optimize for SLI/Xfire. Rift is basically the most taxing program (including some benchmarks) on both my GPU and CPU but that is because it is visually stunning. MMORPG-ers have been waiting for a game like this for a LONG time...
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a b U Graphics card
March 17, 2011 9:47:24 PM

Get a hd6950 and unlock and OC. Also, you could spend a tad more and get two hd6850s for $300. (they scale really well) Hd6870s are a sweet deal right now too. If you can only afford one card now, get the hd6950.
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