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Need expert advise on an acceptable GC for this machine

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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April 11, 2011 3:34:38 AM

So I really don't know much about graphics cards, except that I really need to upgrade my integrated one!
I have tried educating myself regarding them, but I still get lost when deciding on a good deal, what my PC can handle, etc.

So... if there is anyone that can help steer me in the right direction, I would REALLY appreciate it.

My PC stats are:

AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 3800+, 2 GHz, 2000 MHz system bus
250 GB hard drive, with 1 TB external.
4 GB RAM (although I know my Vista 32bit can only use about 3 GB of it)
Antec True Power Trio 550w PSU
3 cooling fans, (one of which I installed to cool the VC when I get it)
23" LG LCD flat screen monitor
NVIDIA 6150SE (the last thing I need to upgrade until I buy a new PC)

I know my processor will bottleneck any serious graphics card I get, and my PSU is limited also, I am just looking for recommendations on what you guys think will run without issue on this machine.

I have been looking at NVIDIA: 9500GT, 9600GT, the GT 430 and GT 440 (fermi's)

If you folks have suggestion, I am all ears!!
Thanks in advance ;-)

-G7
a b U Graphics card
April 11, 2011 8:29:56 AM

It's nice that you did your homework. Nothing's worse than an uninformed buyer.

First off, yes, your processor will most probably bottleneck a high-end card, but I don't think those cards you listed will suffer much. How much are you willing to spend? We can create a GPU for your budget, so you should say that up front. Your PSU should be able to handle anything we throw at it. Are you going to play games? What games will you play? What else will you do with the system?

If you upgrade your PC, you'll be able to reuse a few components, unless you really want a whole new system.
April 11, 2011 12:18:27 PM

Good points. I did plan on taking my PSU with me. Possibly the extra RAM I installed and definitely the fan, external and monitor.

So my purpose for getting this cad is to make web browsing smoother and more enjoyable, and to play some older games. Mostly roleplaying games, minecraft, maybe a shooter here and there. Also I plan on being able to watch HD movies, streamed or downloaded, although I dont have a bluRay player on this machine.

Thats it. It may also help memory freeing I hope, as I get "this program is not responding messages" often.

So my budget is about 50-100, unless there is a card that this machine will run that is in the $150 range and bows all my other choices away ;-)
Thanks so much for taking the time to help me out here.

-G
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a b U Graphics card
April 11, 2011 1:20:34 PM

If you can't upgrade soon go for the 5670.
It is about 60-70 at newegg.
a b U Graphics card
April 11, 2011 2:05:18 PM

You're probably using DDR2 RAM. If you upgrade, you'll most probably end up using DDR3, so you won't be able to carry over that extra RAM.

If you want faster web browsing, the solution is a faster CPU, not GPU. But hopefully DDraw acceleration support for web browsers come soon, so that older PCs with weak CPUs can be helped by the GPU. Getting a new GPU also means that you can enjoy HD acceleration with the right player (Media Player Classic: Home Cinema, for example), as well as acceleration for Flash videos.

As plznote above said, the 5670 is a good buy. It is the most powerful AMD card that doesn't need an extra PCIe power connector. The most powerful nVidia card that doesn't need a power connector is the GT 440 I think, and the 5670 is more powerful than that.



April 12, 2011 12:31:14 AM


Thanks folks. Sucks about my RAM but makes sense. As far as web browsing is concerned I was just thinking the video card would help process any intensive graphics that websites throw at me and hence speed up my browsing. No doubt the processor will perpetually be an issue.

Fair enough, though, thats why I came here for advise from people in the know; this is far from my expertise as you can tell. I'll be pricing the AMD HD5670 at some online sites and look for the best deal.

On last side question if you will...
Re-furbished graphics cards? are they worth it, or more often not worth the hassle?

Many thanks to all who replied,
-G7

a b U Graphics card
April 12, 2011 1:02:05 AM

At prices below 100$ brand new, it's not worth the risk in my opinion. You also get the full warranty. I suggest you get a brand new card.
April 12, 2011 2:18:13 AM

Right on.
I was looking at the 5670 and saw the 5770 for 100 bucks. Is this a viable card for me?
Also ran into the 5570 vs 5670 you all mentioned. The 5570 is slightly less and is available in low profile. I don't necessarily need low profile but it will save a slot on my motherboard.

So will the 5770 work?
Differences between the 5570 and 5670?

-G7
a b U Graphics card
April 12, 2011 2:25:23 AM

If you're willing to spend that much, I think the 5770 is great. Your PSU has a couple of 6-pin PCI-e power connectors, so you should be covered. The 5670 and above are dual-slot cards, so make sure you have enough space.

Low profile means that the card's width is decreased, to fit in low profile cases. The vertical height is what takes up slots. In this case, the 5770 takes up two slots.
April 12, 2011 2:48:14 AM

gracefully said:
If you're willing to spend that much, I think the 5770 is great. Your PSU has a couple of 6-pin PCI-e power connectors, so you should be covered. The 5670 and above are dual-slot cards, so make sure you have enough space.

Low profile means that the card's width is decreased, to fit in low profile cases. The vertical height is what takes up slots. In this case, the 5770 takes up two slots.





That clears it up for me, OK.
The only other slot next to my PCI-E is the short slot seen in the picture. I don't have any use for it (obviously, I don't even know what it's called) so it doesn't matter if i cover that up.

But what about those capacitor looking thingys right above my PCI-E slot.
Will those be an issue with the larger cards like the 5770?
...this feels like a pandoras box all of a sudden... ;) 

Thanks,
-G7
a b U Graphics card
April 12, 2011 6:43:53 AM

The card only extends downwards, so anything above will not pose a problem.

That slot below the PCI-e x16 slot is a PCI-e x1 slot. You probably won't use that.

When you finally get the card and place it in, I think you should do some cable management. ;) 
April 12, 2011 6:50:54 AM

I concur...
So I purchased the 5670 1GB. Got a DVI-D cable too.
Look forward to seeing what it can do. I just hope there is a difference between that and what I have now.

Sincere thanks folks, I hope to have it in a few days ;) 

-G7

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a b U Graphics card
April 12, 2011 7:03:12 AM
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The first time that card runs, I guarantee you will piss your pants.

Since you're coming from nVidia hardware, you surely have nVidia drivers. Make sure you uninstall them and use Driver Sweeper to clean out any remains. Did you check if your monitor has DVI input? Just checking, I'm pretty sure you checked that out anyway.

AMD releases driver updates every month, so make sure you download the latest one every time.
April 12, 2011 9:27:08 AM

Best answer selected by g77.
April 12, 2011 9:35:38 AM


I did read that AMD drivers needed updating often. Doesn't bother me as I usually update most of my hardware drivers regularly anyways. Never heard of driver sweeper, will d/l that ASAP.

After looking at all the bells and whistles of the 5670 I saw only HDMI and DVI-D inputs. Checked my monitor and it has both VGA (which is what I've been using) and DVI outputs; hence the need to purchase the DVI cable.

I also read that I may need to enter BIOS and switch from integrated to PCI-E for graphics delivery.
a b U Graphics card
April 12, 2011 10:59:31 AM

It's usually set to auto, so it will select a PCI-e GPU automatically.
April 12, 2011 11:44:08 AM

Yeah I got the one that was 2 bucks more and 1GB, although I doubt it will need all that RAM>
I figured they would send an adapter, but thought DVI was in some way better than VGA. No worries the cable wasn't expensive.
a b U Graphics card
April 12, 2011 3:27:37 PM

Yes, DVI is better than VGA, because it sends a pixel-perfect signal to your monitor. We don't want flickering or any of the unwanted analog signal artifacts on that 1080p screen, right?
a c 271 U Graphics card
April 12, 2011 7:22:17 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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