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So confused with the different video cards and what I need?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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April 6, 2011 2:37:50 AM

Hey everyone. Okay here's my deal I just bought a new machine for light gaming (Flight SImulator X, WoW, etc). It's a ATI Phemon II X4 955 Black at 3.2Ghz, 500Gb, 4GB ram. I had a video card from a year or two ago kicking around which is the Sapphire Radeon HD 4550 512Mb.

Flight SImulator works great, but the rest is less than stelar. If I put WoW on fair it plays perfect, and even on Good settings it plays well with a little choppyness. The Resident Evil 5 benchmark at 720p runs around 23fps and looks fine, but the Final Fantasy 14 benchmark gives me 680 and says I can't play it.

Now, I ran the Asus utility from my Mobo while running these, and it shows all 4 cores, and while playing any of these games, each core is around 30-40% in use max. Sometimes core 1 is 40%, core 2 15%, core 3 20% and core 4 55% but never 100 so I'm assuming that means it's the video card that's the bottle neck no?

I want to upgrade but man it's confusing. I know my card is something like 600Mhz main clock and 800Mhz memory. Here's where I get lost, I see for example a PowerColor (AX6850 1GBD5-DH) HD 6850 1GB DDR5 ATI Radeon HD 6850 Chipset (775Mhz) 1GB (4000Mhz) DDR5 Triple Display Dual Dual-Link DVI/HDMI/2x Mini Display Port PCI-Express 2.1 Graphics Card for $159. Then I see Asus EAH5770 CUCore/2DI/1GD5 ATI Radeon HD 5770 Chipset (850MHz ) 1GB (4.8Ghz) GDDR5 Dual Display DVI/HDMI/D-Sub PCI-Express 2.0 Graphics Card for $129.

The cheaper card seems to have a faster main clock at 850mhz vs 775 and 4.8Ghz memory speed vs 4Ghz on the other one. So I know there's more to it than just clock speed but what is it I'm really looking for here? There's some really expensive cards that are 750Mhz so clock speed can't be everything. I just want the games to run smooth and be able to use higher quality graphics like better textures so I"m just not sure what the most important feature to look for in a card is. I assume in the above that HD 6850 is better than HD 5770. My concern is I don't want to buy a card and only get a tiny bit of improvment. Am I also right in assuming my CPU is more than adequate considering that it never maxes out while running games?

Just wanted to add my monitor is 23" native 1080p display by ViewSonic.

More about : confused video cards

April 6, 2011 3:25:35 AM

A 6850 will out perform a 5770 easy. If you want a card to play the games you are playing, i would like at a 6850. Great cheap card. A good model is http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... . Though you can buy what ever brand you want. If you want a better card for games such as Crysis, Metro 2033 and such i would suggest a GTX560/AMD 6950.
EDIT: Here you can see all four cards in benchmarks http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/msi_gtx560_twin...
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