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Best strategy for a backup GPU

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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March 31, 2011 3:50:08 PM

I am building a workstation based on the P67 and the i7 2600k, so I won't have integrated graphics (which I understand I could get with an H mobo and the i72600k). I have decided on the HD6850 as my GPU for the build. Discussing the project with a more experienced coworker, he mentioned that I should make some sort of backup plan in case my GPU has problems. We discussed several options - since my P67 doesn't have a VGA port, I could get a cheap backup graphics card and install it just so I can get some sort of "screen" when I have problems. My question is what would be the best way to do this? Should I run the cheap card constantly, at the same time as the 6850 just in case (will this impact performance?), or should I install it and disable it from the BIOS? Thanks in advance, this board has been most helpful to me.

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a c 173 U Graphics card
March 31, 2011 4:37:33 PM

If you want something really cheap then a 8800/9800gt or a dirt cheap 3870/4850/4870 on the second hand market will go far however for retail and still want to aim for the $75 or below price point then a 5450 will do. If you do have a second pci-e slot you can use a $30-50 8800gt for encoding video and running apps like CS5.
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March 31, 2011 5:07:04 PM

Thank you for the reply, I'm not really looking to be able to do anything with the backup card except get my primary GPU working again. I'm ok with buying a $30-50 card and putting that in an extra slot (I think I have 2-3 available, including a pci-e). Should I keep the cheap card activated though, along with the 6850, or just disable it in BIOS so I can turn it on if my primary GPU is having problems?
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a c 173 U Graphics card
March 31, 2011 5:14:20 PM

You can use both from either brand. Extra monitors with a second ati card cuda supported applications on the nvidia. It is really up to you, I did the same thing my self after getting my gtx 460. Slapped in a $54 8800gt from a local rip off shop and have been using it as a dedicated physx card although I could make more use of it.

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a b U Graphics card
March 31, 2011 5:31:01 PM

a gtx 260 or 4870 off if ebay for around 70 bucks would be a good cheap fix
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March 31, 2011 5:38:13 PM

A suggestion. You should never buy a backup GPU used. It will set you back even more in terms of warranty, and you want the backup to remain under warranty for as long as it can. So in the future, just shy of a year if your primary card blows up, you still have one full year warranty left when your second GPU starts working. If you buy a card that's already nearing warranty expiration, you know what this entails...

If you do want to buy a used card, avoid doing so on eBay. eBay is an excellent website but I would advise searching on websites like craigslist and go to the seller and see the card performing in the PC for a while before you buy it. Craigslist can also scam you, but you see it before you believe it.

As for backup suggestion, you don't have to keep the secondary card running, you're actually degrading its life by doing so. I would suggest buying the backup card from newer families, say 69xx if not 68xx. And give it a spin say every six months or so.
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a c 358 U Graphics card
March 31, 2011 5:45:38 PM

For me, my backup plan in case my HD 5850 fails is to simply use the 9600GT that's in my HTPC until I buy a replacement.

As for the OP, I would by something cheap and simple like a HD 5450. Install it, make sure it works, then just put it back in the box. Install again when your primary video card actually fails.
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a c 358 U Graphics card
March 31, 2011 5:50:32 PM

pinaklonkar said:
I would suggest buying the backup card from newer families, say 69xx if not 68xx. And give it a spin say every six months or so.


Waste of money.

-Why buy and keep a HD 69xx as a backup if you already have a HD 6850? Should the HD 6850 then be the backup?

-Buying a HD 68xx as backup, means that it's value will only decrease over time. Unless you think the current HD 6850 is going to fail soon, you can generally purchase it for a lower price down the road. Buy that time, you might want a faster card anyway.
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a c 173 U Graphics card
March 31, 2011 6:09:49 PM

jaguarskx said:
Waste of money.

-Why buy and keep a HD 69xx as a backup if you already have a HD 6850? Should the HD 6850 then be the backup?

-Buying a HD 68xx as backup, means that it's value will only decrease over time. Unless you think the current HD 6850 is going to fail soon, you can generally purchase it for a lower price down the road. Buy that time, you might want a faster card anyway.


Money must grow on trees or grows like grass ware ever he/she lives :pfff: 

$30-50 is enough for a backup card while $20 more wouldn't be missed either.
I actually once had to rely on a back up card though due to issues with drivers for one of my games.
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Anonymous
March 31, 2011 6:21:35 PM

Why even worry about a backup card, Its not a question of when the 6850 fails, its a small possibility IF it fails!

Do you live in the sticks or in a town, because if you live in a town, a trip down the local electronics store will nab you a replacement crappy card whilst you get a new better card, or 1 days wait for next day delivery on a replacement.

Seems illogical to have a spare GPU sitting around for the possibility of a breakdown on a workstation! Now if you wanted redundancy on a 24/7 server or something like that, different story!
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March 31, 2011 7:14:26 PM

'Do you live in the sticks or in a town, because if you live in a town, a trip down the local electronics store will nab you a replacement crappy card whilst you get a new better card, or 1 days wait for next day delivery on a replacement."

How would I install a card on the spot when I can't see anything because my GPU just failed? I don't bank on having my primary fail, but what if it does? I seriously doubt it would be replaced in a day if I had an issue, at least if its still in warranty and I'm not just buying another card and next day airing it. Meanwhile I would have a machine that can only display a blank screen..

Anyway thank you for all the suggestions, I think I will likely install it and take it out as jaguarskx mentioned. I think I have a little HD4650 that will be perfect for this.
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March 31, 2011 10:09:17 PM

Best answer selected by xplorerwielder.
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April 1, 2011 2:54:22 AM

I missed the part that he ONLY needed a backup. I thought he needed to have a very equivalent card and wasn't near any major store (in USA). Good answers though. Thanks
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