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Another guy, another graphics card

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May 4, 2011 1:29:44 AM

It is time to upgrade. I was fortunate enough to come across a beautiful new monitor, but unfortunately i want to run my games at 1920x1080. And my graphics card says otherwise. I am looking to upgrade it, but am just afraid of--

1. Not enough power supply
2. The thing won't fit (some cards are monstrosities)
3. If my system just sucks now and I need to quit while I'm ahead.

Here are my specs.

CPU-AMD Athlon II x2 250
2x2G RAM ddr2
480W PSU
GIGABYTE GA-MA785G-UD3H 785G HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard

--Zotac GeForce 9500GT

This system is a couple of years old. I built it a bit under two years ago. Obviously not the best equipment (but what do you expect from a part time job?)

If I am missing any info let me know. Ill update whatever I can. Thanks in advance.

More about : guy graphics card

May 4, 2011 1:48:26 AM

Didn't even finish my question. I need help choosing a compatable graphics card for what I want. I enjoy gaming. especially with smooth, clean graphics at 1080p.

Found some that tickled my fancy but I would like to hear input on them.
AMD HD 6950
Nvidia GTX 480


But I am stuck on brand names... I only want to run a single card and I am pretty sure my comp is cool enough to handle a little more temp.
a c 214 U Graphics card
May 4, 2011 2:07:21 AM

What is the make/model of your PSU?

I would reccomend going with a 6850/GTX460 or less.If you get any card above those you will be severly bottlenecking them by your lack of CPU power.
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a c 214 U Graphics card
May 4, 2011 2:07:44 AM

What games are you trying to play?
May 4, 2011 2:09:32 AM

well I play tons, from SC2, Rift, Darkspore now and I am going to afraid when Diablo 3 comes out... and I won't have enough to play it
May 4, 2011 2:11:04 AM

but yeah i started looking at the GTX460 models, because my power supply only gives 12v x 18a, and saw a few recommendations for 12v x 24a
a c 214 U Graphics card
May 4, 2011 3:19:16 AM

Your PSU only has 18amps on the 12/v rails?Is it single or is their more than one rail?
18amps is only around 200 watts or so.You might have to upgrade your Power Supply.

Yah i'm sorry to say but the GTX460/6850 is the best your gonna get without having to get a compelte overhaul because your CPU will bottleneck anything higher.

Luckily tho i did check out your mobo and it is able to support all the way up to the Phenom ii x6 1100T.

So you could get a new CPU and upgrade the power supply and you can get a better graphics card.

Do you have a budget and maybe we can make this all fit?
May 4, 2011 3:29:55 AM

I have about a $400 budget as of now. couple more weeks I can put more money away.

and yeah, right on the side of the psu box in the grid... DC output +12V/18A only one. Its been working for two years extremely well. So I'm surprised.
I kinda figure the psu needed to be updated before I jumped into a graphics card.

So I figure with the power supply and a GTX460 I am around $250 with tax. Leaves $150 wiggle room.

But speaking of room, I didn't realize that most of the GTX460 are pretty big. about an inch bigger length and by at least 2 in width compared to my 9500gt. How can I check the available space on my mobo?
a c 214 U Graphics card
May 4, 2011 3:34:35 AM

Yah you definitly need a new PSU then for these bigger cards.

What type of case do you have?
Measure from the back 7" to the front and see if you have enough room.The biggest issue will be length not width or height.

Are you into overclocking?
a c 214 U Graphics card
May 4, 2011 3:40:50 AM

So here's what i've got so far...

CPU
Phenom ii x4 955BE $140 + Free Shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Power Supply
Antec 520watt $60 + $4 Shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Graphics Card
HIS 6870 $200=$180 after MIR + Free Shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

So it comes to around $405 not including tax and rebates and shoudl be around $385 after rebates.And you said you could manage a little more money then I would suggest going for the GTX560ti for about $30 more than the 6870.Or you could get one of those cards you wanted in your first post.
May 4, 2011 3:40:59 AM

my lower slot has up to 8 inches room. But my front USB ports are connected right above the port. the top BARELY has 7 inches.

And no, I never tried it or even know much about it. Just ran things stock.

And I don't know what to say about the case. I'll have to find it on the web, don't even know the name of it.
a c 214 U Graphics card
May 4, 2011 3:45:38 AM

The bottom slot is no good because it runs a x4 speed not x16.Only the top slot will run at x16 and thats what your gonna want.

Did you buy the PC as a complete or did you build it yourself?

Look for the model no. and maker somewhere on the case,should be a sticker somewhere if you bought it as a complete.
May 4, 2011 3:47:20 AM

Found it NZXT Gamma Case
May 4, 2011 3:51:06 AM

but hell if i need a different case then I have no problem turning this into a project. And I had a friend help me build this. So a lot of the parts I do not know everything about.
May 4, 2011 3:54:52 AM

yeah that's the one. And thanks Super, I'll look more into that one. cheaper is.... nice haha
a c 214 U Graphics card
May 4, 2011 3:55:24 AM

Says this in the Features Section

"High end graphics card support, the Gamma features space that is especially designed to fit longer 10." cards "

Doesn't look like you will have any problem fitting the card you probably just need to do some better cable management.
a c 214 U Graphics card
May 4, 2011 3:57:02 AM

Also a couple more case fans wouldn't hurt either I would imagine you still only have the 1 case fan that came with it?
May 4, 2011 3:57:09 AM

Allright, it just seems very tight in some spots. I think its the way the mobo is set up, but i could be just making an issue out of nothing due to my ignorance -_-
a c 214 U Graphics card
May 4, 2011 3:58:49 AM

Well I think what they might be saying in "fine print" with that statement is that you will have to remove the middle cage to fit longer cards.
May 4, 2011 3:59:45 AM

Yeah just one fan. But Its on the desk near A/C so I never stressed about it.
a c 214 U Graphics card
May 4, 2011 4:00:10 AM

How many Hard Drives do you have and where are they located in the case?
Are they in the middle or lower rack?

It's really not a question of will it fit it's just a matter of how.
May 4, 2011 4:01:32 AM

Yeah, then wiring will be a HUGE issue. Theres a space adjacent to the slots.. but all the power cords run right in front of it.
May 4, 2011 4:01:58 AM

One harddrive. Very top
a c 214 U Graphics card
May 4, 2011 4:05:23 AM

Your gonna have to re route all the wiring anyway when you get the new PSU so you can fine tune everything then.While were on the subject of cable management I'd reccomend going with this Modular Antec PSU.It's only $5 more but it's really worth it.And it's a little better in efficency.

Antec 550watt Modular $65 + $2 Shipping


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
May 4, 2011 4:12:50 AM

okay cool. $5 is not going to kill me. But I am just worried about the black metal piece right behind slot 1(i guess the southbridge) on my mobo. the card i have in there is set closer to the board than the top of the piece, so if anything was extended I think it would rest on it or not be able to clear it.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ImageGallery.aspx?CurImag...
a c 214 U Graphics card
May 4, 2011 4:39:13 AM

It's meant to clear it.The SB heatsink should be level with the PCI Express slot so that when a card is instered it will clear it, although it may touch it.Not a biggy.They make the mobo with those things in mind.

It is nice that your board supports crossfire(dual graphics cards) but because it's a x4 slot it doesn't really make it worth spending the money on a second card.

The Modular power supply will only have the essential wires already attached to it so you only plug in the cables that you need so you don't have a bunch of loose wires hanging around.
a c 214 U Graphics card
May 4, 2011 4:43:08 AM

SpudzRotunda said:
well I play tons, from SC2, Rift, Darkspore now and I am going to afraid when Diablo 3 comes out... and I won't have enough to play it


Diablo 3 has been in the making for years so the technology their using to make it is from a while ago.It should have the same charectoristics as SC2 because it's built with the same engine.So Diablo 3 will likely have the same system requirements as SC2.
Either way with any of these cards and the new processor you should have no problem at all playing them on high settings.
a c 214 U Graphics card
May 4, 2011 4:47:53 AM

Is their anyway you can take a picture of the inside of the case and post it so I see why you think it won't fit?
May 4, 2011 5:31:09 AM

well i took it out, rigged it with a hard piece of plastic that was squared up with the edge. it just rests against it. oh well.
May 4, 2011 5:36:28 AM

you said something about a second fan? I forgot summer is coming up and it is going to get hot as all hell.

And thanks for everything man. I feel a hell of a lot better about customizing my pc.
a c 214 U Graphics card
May 4, 2011 7:19:03 AM

SpudzRotunda said:
well i took it out, rigged it with a hard piece of plastic that was squared up with the edge. it just rests against it. oh well.


What did you do?I'm unclear on what exactly your talking about.
a c 214 U Graphics card
May 4, 2011 7:20:15 AM

SpudzRotunda said:
you said something about a second fan? I forgot summer is coming up and it is going to get hot as all hell.

And thanks for everything man. I feel a hell of a lot better about customizing my pc.


I was saying you might want to consider getting some more case fans for better airflow reguardless of summer.I am assuming you only have 1 case fan the one that came with the case?
May 4, 2011 8:07:42 AM

I added on a small part to my current graphics card. pretty much a straw with a bunch of tape to see if my "bigger" graphics card would clear it. my current one is 7" i made a 3" addition to it to see if there was any issues with the sb. but its okay.
May 4, 2011 8:08:40 AM

and yeah, i only have one case fan running.
a c 214 U Graphics card
May 4, 2011 10:50:56 AM

O,i c.Just make sure not to get any metal or conductive material near those parts.
Anyway your case has tons of options for additonal fans.
What I would do is fill up every spot you can.But since your on a tight budget I would say to get x3 120mm fans.1 on the top(exhaust),1 front(intake) and 1 on the side(intake).

Have you decided on what parts your going to get so far?
May 4, 2011 5:18:10 PM

Well I only got the second psu you mentioned. Next week or so ill pick up a video card. The CPU after that then lastly the fans. This will be about a month of waiting for money. Still have bills haha.
But as for the gpu. Still undecided. Both you mentioned are great, and the ones I wanted are pushing my budget.
The gtx560 seems the most suitable to me. A bit more power for barely and price difference.
And ill get the processor you mentioned.
a c 214 U Graphics card
May 4, 2011 5:37:06 PM

The CPU i suggested is a Black Edition so if you wanted you can O.C. it.Possibly read up on some tutorials in the Overclocking section.I highly reccomend it even if you don't know how to yet,being that it's a BE it's really simple to O.C.
May 4, 2011 6:36:56 PM

Yeah I'll check out how to over clock that then. What about oc the gpu?
a c 214 U Graphics card
May 4, 2011 6:56:43 PM

It depends which one you get.Of course you will be able to achieve a higher O.C. from a card that has a aftermarket cooler instead as the reference.
May 4, 2011 7:43:35 PM

What gtx 560 ti would you recommend? Do they really differ from eachother much or no?

Best solution

a c 214 U Graphics card
May 4, 2011 8:36:31 PM
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The biggest difference between telling which card is better is the aftermarket heatsink thats used.
I would reccomend one of these...

MSI GTX560 Twin Frozr II
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MSI GTX560 Twin Frozr II GOLD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Their basicly the same card just one is made of different material.It is said that gold conducts heat better than copper but i'm not sure of that.

MSI GTX560 Hawk
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The only difference between the Hawk and the Twin Frozr II models is the Hawk is O.C.'d about 50mhz more than the Twin Frozr II and about 120mhz over the stock clocks.

Some other good choices is the Asus Direct CU versions...

Asus GTX560
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Asus GTX560

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

Asus has just as good if not better cooling than the MSI versions but their practicly neck and neck.But the same thing for these 2 versions 1 is at stock clocks and one is O.C.'d.Also one thing I noticed is that all of the MSI versions exhuast interanally and the Asus versions exhaust externally,something to think about if you ever worry about your temps but I don't think it will be a problem both MSI and Asus versions run really cool for how big they are.
May 5, 2011 1:08:07 AM

Best answer selected by SpudzRotunda.
May 5, 2011 1:08:32 AM

Well, I won't run the cards without the fans then. I would hate for anything to overheat. Fans are easy to set up, already have them mapped out of where i want them. I might be getting another hard drive soon, so One is going right on the front, bottom of the case.
another( hopefully it will fit) between the video card and psu. then exhaust on top.

And i remember MSI was the first one that i looked at for getting an upgrade. I'll probably go with one of those. Ill have enough power to run Hawk and cooling as well.

Well I think that settles it. I can't thank you enough for helping me out. I can figure out the rest on my own.
a c 214 U Graphics card
May 5, 2011 9:24:52 PM

Your Welcome.

Just make sure you plug in the fans before you put them in to see which way the air blows.I made that mistake a couple times.
!