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Upgrade time

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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March 21, 2011 2:45:18 PM

So, my current computer is nice, but a getting a bit out of date. I don't think I need to do too much to it, but I definitly need more memory and a better graphics card. Here's it's current specs:

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Processor
GigaByte GA-P35-DS3R Motherboard
EVGA GeForce 8800GT 512MB PCI Express 2.0 graphics card
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 250GB Hard Drive
OCZ Technology 2GB PC2-8500 DDR2 memory
550 Watt Antec powersupply


I plan on adding about 4 more gigs of memory (that's a different discussion), and I want to keep the motherboard/processor as is (I'll probably upgrade them later in the year). My question really concerns the graphics card. I've got about $200 - $250 to play with. I was browsing cards on the EVGA site (since that's what I got before, I figured I'd buy from them again) and found two cards that seemed to be about the same - the GTX 550 and the GTX 560. The 560 cost about $100 more and I can't really see why (it does some more pixel pipelines, but from what I've read that's not really a concern anymore). Is there something about the NVIDIA 550 archetecture I should know? I'm not looking for the latest and greatest (and don't plan on overclocking), just something that can handle new games on decent settings. Does anyone have a better suggestion for a graphics card? I'd like to future proof myself at least a little bit.

::::EDIT::::
Just to clarify (oops, I just read the "how to ask thread")

As for usage, this is strictly a gaming computer. I do a lot of FPS games, but generally speaking no multiplayer so frame rate is nice, but I'm not going for competition grade stuff here.

I'm not going for SLI, or crossfire, or anything of that sort. I'm a simply man with simple needs - I have one monitor and so I only need one graphics card.

These are the two cards in particular I was refering too:
GTX 560
GTX 550

Finally, I'm looking to buy this in the next couple of weeks

More about : upgrade time

March 21, 2011 3:24:41 PM

As far as performance goes, the GeForce GTX 560 Ti should theoretically be much superior to the GeForce GTX 550 Ti in general.
GeForce GTX 560 Ti 128256 MB/sec
GeForce GTX 550 Ti 98496 MB/sec

The GeForce GTX 560 Ti will be quite a bit more effective at texture filtering than the GeForce GTX 550 Ti.
GeForce GTX 560 Ti 52608 Mtexels/sec
GeForce GTX 550 Ti 28800 Mtexels/sec

If running with lots of anti-aliasing is important to you, then the GeForce GTX 560 Ti is the winner, by far.
GeForce GTX 560 Ti 26304 Mpixels/sec
GeForce GTX 550 Ti 21600 Mpixels/sec


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a c 173 U Graphics card
March 21, 2011 3:31:20 PM

The 550ti will be an upgrade but not a great one. Go for the 560ti instead now that will be worth your money and effort.
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a b U Graphics card
March 21, 2011 5:37:01 PM

Here is the THG review on the GTX 550.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gtx-550-ti-...

Here is another review of the GTX 550 that includes a lot more comparison cards, including the GTX 560 Ti.

http://www.guru3d.com/article/geforce-gtx-550-ti-review...

Note that a good, intermediate upgrade, falling between those two in performance, is the GTX 460 768MB. The GTX 550 is slated as the replacement for that card, but the GTX 550 is slowe and the 460 is being sold with fairly good rebates since it is being phased out. Both reviews above show its performance, and here is a good card:

MSI GTX 460 768MB Twin Frozr - $140 AR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You can find good general information and links about upgrading video cards at:

http://www.upgradevideocards.com/gaming.html



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March 21, 2011 6:30:21 PM

So the 550 is an improvement, but not a lot of one. The 560 would be a nice jump in performance and the 460 sits somewhere in between? That seems to be the general concensus here. If I'm reading this right, then I'll probably end up with the 560. I'll have to wait until I get paid again, but it seems to be the better buy if I don't want to upgrade again too soon.
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a b U Graphics card
March 21, 2011 6:35:18 PM

The GTX-550 is a silly piece of engineering.
Nice to see Nvidia bringing out a competing card now for an 18 month old design from AMD for slightly more cost and same performance.

Way to go. said:
Nice to see Nvidia bringing out a competing card now for an 18 month old design from AMD for slightly more cost and same performance.

Way to go.
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a b U Graphics card
March 21, 2011 6:40:10 PM

GTX-560 < GTX-460 < HD5770 & GTX-550
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March 22, 2011 12:00:11 PM

Quote:
Time to overclock that E8400 to atleast 4Ghz
Meh, maybe. It's about 3 years old now and I'm still runinng stock cooler. I might bump it to 3.6 since I heard you can do that with stock cooler, but at the same time, this is my only PC, so I'm a bit hesitent to mess with it.

After digging around on this site, and reading some other reviews, I think I'm going to go with the inbetween option and get the GTX 460. EVGA has a superclocked version that sits inbetween the two prices and looks to be able to do what I want it too. It's not as "future proof" as the 560, but I think it should last me at least a year or two. Thanks everyone for your help with this.
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a b U Graphics card
March 22, 2011 5:14:05 PM

EVGA is my favorite brand so I can support your choice. However, I still recommend and favor the MSI brand I linked above because of its Twin Frozr cooling system - which is very effective and quiet. And right now with rebate the price is only $130.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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March 22, 2011 5:26:12 PM

rockyjohn said:
EVGA is my favorite brand so I can support your choice. However, I still recommend and favor the MSI brand I linked above because of its Twin Frozr cooling system - which is very effective and quiet. And right now with rebate the price is only $130.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

That's not overclocked out of the box is it? That's the beauty (to me atleast; someone who it should now be quite obvious is not a hardware person) of the EVGA card I'm looking at - it's overclocked out of the box and still comes with a 2 year warrenty. From the benchmarks that I've read, the EVGA superclocked 460 is a leap beyond the regular 460 and is only $10 more then their regular one, which I grant you is still $30 more then the one you suggested (assuming of course I send in the $20 mail in rebate, which is a dubious proposition at best).
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a c 646 U Graphics card
March 22, 2011 5:35:19 PM

You are making a good choice with the EVGA Superclocked. EVGA is a good brand with good support, and the factory overclock will help squeeze out more performance.

The MSI SOC Twin Frozr is factory overclocked at 750 mhz, while the EVGA Superclock is clocked at 763 mhz.
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a b U Graphics card
March 22, 2011 5:51:27 PM

Quote:
EVGA card has shitty cooling compared to the MSI. Who cares if it comes overclocked. It takes 5 minutes to download MSI afterburner and overclock it yourself


couldnt agree more.
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a b U Graphics card
March 22, 2011 5:53:05 PM

As I said before, I agree that the EVGA is a good brand and would be a good video card upgrade choice. But MSI is a good brand too. One of the few differences from the reference design that brands can make is in the heatsink/fan, and in the model I recommended MSI has added a superlative HSF. Also note that the "SOC" in the MSI card name stands for "super overclock". It is a bit misleading to refer to the two cards as "MSI SOC" and "EVGA super overclock"; obscuring that both are high overclocks.

You can find more information about video card brands at:

http://www.upgradevideocards.com/brands.html

Why is sending in a $20 rebate a "dubious proposition"? They are relatively easy to submit and over the the last several years I have received almost $500 in rebates. Years ago the manufacturers played a lot of games and often did not honor the rebates, but now most are pretty good.
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March 22, 2011 6:22:13 PM

rockyjohn said:
It is a bit misleading to refer to the two cards as "MSI SOC" and "EVGA super overclock"; obscuring that both are high overclocks.
I wasn't sure, that's why I asked.

rockyjohn said:
Why is sending in a $20 rebate a "dubious proposition"?
Because I have a long history of not bothering to do so. It wasn't a knock against MSI, more of a bit of self-deprecation.


Quote:
EVGA card has shitty cooling compared to the MSI. Who cares if it comes overclocked. It takes 5 minutes to download MSI afterburner and overclock it yourself
And keep the warranty? I'm paranoid about these things, but it looks like the card is overclocked as is and I won't need to do that anyway.


I'm going to trust you guys with this one and go for the MSI card. Who knows, I might even get around to sending in the $20 rebate at some point too.
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March 29, 2011 12:15:21 PM

Best answer selected by SewerRanger.
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