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Bottleneck/GPU Some tips?

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May 14, 2011 6:02:29 PM

I don't like asking for help.. I mean it, when I say it. It's troublesome to go out of my way to sites like these, so many of them, and google searches have no provided me an answer.. So I'm at a loss.

I've done some research, and bottlenecking has come to my attention.. something I should have realized a bit sooner.

While I'm not too worried about it, consider I'm using a pretty stock syastem at the moment, my last videocard I bought blindly, and was lucky it worked for as long as it did and as well as it did.

I already paid and bought for a new Power Supply, and it's not yet installed, nor do I know it'll work, I assumed the best that it would work too.

http://www.amazon.com/Cooling-PPCS500D-Silencer-Certifi...

I was convinced with a review of someone who used the same model as I did, I am a little too tight ona budget to build a whole new computer. It is a Dell Dimension E520.

Below I used a program called SPECCY, wasn't sure which program to use. But I've listed some of my hardware specs, and should be everything you need to know.

PASTEBIN: http://pastebin.com/eMYWU0vP (Specs with tabs.. much easier on the eyes.)

Summary [SPECS]

Operating System
MS Windows XP Professional 32-bit SP3
CPU
Intel Pentium D 805
SmithField 90nm Technology
RAM
3.0GB DDR2
Motherboard
Dell Inc. 0WG864 (Microprocessor)
Graphics
DELL S199WFP @ 1440x900
Intel(R) G965 Express Chipset Family
Intel(R) G965 Express Chipset Family
Hard Drives
156GB SAMSUNG SAMSUNG HD160JJ/P (SCSI) 42 °C
Optical Drives
TSSTcorp DVD+-RW TS-H553A
SZY 4X2FS9QB SCSI CdRom Device
Audio
SigmaTel High Definition Audio CODEC


most of that is what I have.. and, to be honest, I really need to upgrade my videocard, I do not have a PCI EXpress 2.0 compliant motherboard, I at least think so. But, I know that it is backwards compatible, now that I accidentally went bought an expensive PSU, I decided, I should prob just go ahead and buy a decent GPU, (Possibly to use in future computers.)

I'm also leering over at my cpu and harddrive occasionally waiting for one of them to die. But, this is more so focused on some things.

While my budget under $120, I also would like to know some tips, for future reference.

I want to learn how to, say, figure these things out myself, I've read guides and watched some. I'm aware of CPU speed, and all this nonsense, but if you can explain in some detail to me, as well atleast point me in the right direction for something. I'd greatly appreciate any assistance.

More about : bottleneck gpu tips

a c 269 U Graphics card
May 14, 2011 6:37:12 PM

What kind of a slot do you have in which you want to install a graphics card?
Any pci-e X16 slot will be OK, and there are good choices for graphics cards. PCIE 1.0, 2.0, or whatever is not important for any single graphics card.
If you have an AGP slot, your choices will be limited and more expensive.
PCIE is also possible.

As to how to figure out what you need, and to help clarify your options, run these two tests:

1) Run your games, but lower your resolution and eye candy.
If your FPS increases, it indicates that your cpu is strong enough to drive a better graphics configuration.

2) Limit your cpu, either by reducing the OC, or, in windows power management, limit the maximum cpu% to something like 70%.
If your FPS drops significantly, it is an indicator that your cpu is the limiting factor, and a cpu upgrade is in order.

It is possible that both tests are positive, indicating that you have a well balanced system, and both cpu and gpu need to be upgraded to get better gaming FPS.


Your pc is three generations old, so I would not plan on investing much in it
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May 14, 2011 6:54:36 PM

I have no plans on planning any next-gen games, to be honest. I really want something to cover me very very well. Since most of the things I like to buy come from newegg (Or somebody else I favour in trust?)

While I am currently on ONBOARD, I have lowered all my settings to lowest. I have before my old gpu died. Played crysis on max settings. (Even tho I hear crysis is a GPU heavy game, and it killed my videocard or so I thought.)

I'm currently using a 305 watt power supply, I have a 500 watt coming.

I really don't have much money to put on the side. While I am a gamer, and building a whole new computer sounds like a lot of fun.. I will not have enough money to do it. I have barely any income to set aside. I'm currently spending off of a 2 year amount of income that I could set aside for this. (Yeah.. It's difficult for me.)

I am thankful for the information, and any assistance. I'll keep the tips in mind, I have very little problems in the past involving my cpu, and I' am very proud of it. (Despite wanting an upgrade. )

2.66 ghz (Dual Core), considering I want to buy a better videocard, I do have..

a pciexpress x16 (1.0 or 1.1? I'm not sure.) I'm aware that 2.0 really doesn't impact too much and doesn't matter to much. But I don't want to end up buying something.. that'll slow things down.

I hear that memory type can play a factor, is this true? (For example, my RAM is all DDR2, would it be beneficial to have a DDR2 Videocard?)

I'm new and very entry-level I suppose when it comes to computers, and building. I was going to build one, but now that I've learned about this. I'm glad I can now consider these new facts.

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

This was my old videocard, it worked like a charm, I have a 305 watt power suppy, it wasn't until now I understood why it died. I believe I wasn't providing the videocard enough power in the 2 years I owned it, and the fan would not operate. (The videocard said it was, but I always thought the videocard was just terrible.)
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a c 189 U Graphics card
May 14, 2011 7:06:49 PM

My parents have a e520 but its a 2.1ghz c2d version but they use the same mobo and pretty much same everything else. The bios is locked so what geofelt said is pretty much moot. (no offense) But if you're buying a gpu before you have it that method won't do any good, you want to know before you buy.

This article is probably the best at explaining a balanced pc to avoid bottlenecking but with every different computer configuration and people's different needs, it's never a sure thing to know. Pretty much every factor can affect it, even which game you're playing. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/build-balanced-plat...

Now I bought my parents a cheap $40 4650 (with the stock psu) which is enough for his minor gaming needs but you should be able to handle up to a 5770 or 450 since you're at 2.6ghz. You can see in the article that a 1.8ghz dual core is, for the most part, not bottlenecking a 4850. You would need a new psu for these cards though.

The ddr of the videocard has no effect on the system as that memory speed only pertains to the video card.

Edit: I did want to see the power consumption of the 7600gt and it uses 10w more than the 4650 but is worse performance. And the 4650 uses about the same as the stock x1300 pro that came with my parent's dell.

Almost forgot, I'm pretty sure you know this, but you would need make sure the gpu fan would clear the airduct around the cpu heatsink.
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May 14, 2011 7:35:16 PM

k1114 said:
My parents have a e520 but its a 2.1ghz c2d version but they use the same mobo and pretty much same everything else. The bios is locked so what geofelt said is pretty much moot. (no offense) But if you're buying a gpu before you have it that method won't do any good, you want to know before you buy.

This article is probably the best at explaining a balanced pc to avoid bottlenecking but with every different computer configuration and people's different needs, it's never a sure thing to know. Pretty much every factor can affect it, even which game you're playing. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/build-balanced-plat...

Now I bought my parents a cheap $40 4650 (with the stock psu) which is enough for his minor gaming needs but you should be able to handle up to a 5770 or 450 since you're at 2.6ghz. You can see in the article that a 1.8ghz dual core is, for the most part, not bottlenecking a 4850. You would need a new psu for these cards though.

The ddr of the videocard has no effect on the system as that memory speed only pertains to the video card.

Edit: I did want to see the power consumption of the 7600gt and it uses 10w more than the 4650 but is worse performance. And the 4650 uses about the same as the stock x1300 pro that came with my parent's dell.

Almost forgot, I'm pretty sure you know this, but you would need make sure the gpu fan would clear the airduct around the cpu heatsink.


Oh you're right, I didn't think about it, but I often forget, that the case is BTX, for Dell loves it's micro-towers. I'll keep that in mind, and make sure should I buy one of the bulkier videocards. I have a power supply with 500 watts, but I do not know what I can handle with that 500 watt powersupply. I was hoping for a reccomendation,If not I could try aiming for a low-profile videocard. I don't know what low-profile means.. But I can assume it is well low-requirements/well not high-end.

Ok, and while I'm on it, does the bits of a videocard have to play with anything in the system? 64 bit? 128 bit? These confuse me, but are listed with the title. Considered I'm making notes of these things. I would like to mention, I'm highly accustomed to nvidia cards, however if you can convince me that ATI would be a better choice, I would have no trouble switching. (It's a matter of experience.)
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a c 269 U Graphics card
May 14, 2011 7:58:58 PM

1) The type of ram on a video card has no relation to the type you use on the motherboard.

2) If a 7600GT did well for you, there is no need to pay $130 for a replacement. Something like a GT430 will cost only $48 after rebate, and will be considerably faster.
It only requires a 300w psu:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

3) Something like a GTx550ti would be about $120 after rebate. It only needs a 400w psu:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

4) Low profile means not tall. It has nothing to do with energy or performance. Low profile will fit in a case that will not handle expansion cards that are full height. Yours is normal if the 7600GT pictured fit ok. No need for low profile. Some graphics cards are as long as 11". The GT430 is 5.7" long, the GTX550ti is 8.25" long. Plan accordingly if either is an issue.

5) The memory bits on the video card is not important, it tells how wide the memory bus on the video card is. There is no connection with anything on your PC.

6) Graphics cards are competetive between Nvidia, and AMD. There are fans of each side. If you have had Nvidia installed before, you can just drop in a new Nvidia card, and go. If you change to AMD, you will have the added step of cleaning out your Nvidia drivers, and installing AMD drivers for the video card. Not a big deal, but I suggest you stick with Nvidia for simplicity.
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May 14, 2011 8:19:26 PM

geofelt said:
1) The type of ram on a video card has no relation to the type you use on the motherboard.

2) If a 7600GT did well for you, there is no need to pay $130 for a replacement. Something like a GT430 will cost only $48 after rebate, and will be considerably faster.
It only requires a 300w psu:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

3) Something like a GTx550ti would be about $120 after rebate. It only needs a 400w psu:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

4) Low profile means not tall. It has nothing to do with energy or performance. Low profile will fit in a case that will not handle expansion cards that are full height. Yours is normal if the 7600GT pictured fit ok. No need for low profile. Some graphics cards are as long as 11". The GT430 is 5.7" long, the GTX550ti is 8.25" long. Plan accordingly if either is an issue.

5) The memory bits on the video card is not important, it tells how wide the memory bus on the video card is. There is no connection with anything on your PC.

6) Graphics cards are competetive between Nvidia, and AMD. There are fans of each side. If you have had Nvidia installed before, you can just drop in a new Nvidia card, and go. If you change to AMD, you will have the added step of cleaning out your Nvidia drivers, and installing AMD drivers for the video card. Not a big deal, but I suggest you stick with Nvidia for simplicity.


I mentioned I already paid for a 500w powersupply, an addition to knowing that I may have problem with any further updates.

http://www.amazon.com/Cooling-PPCS500D-Silencer-Certifi...

(Also I can't click links from this board.. So I need to manually retype them, do a my HOSTS file being .. what adbanner hates.)

I have yet to install the PSU, and I'm thankful for the helpful information so far, I pleased with how fast I am getting advice/information, and help. I am thankful and grateful for your time, and I apologize if I seem ignorant, or arrogant. (Don't know which one would apply, mind you. I sometimes mix their definitions up.)

I have a relatively small case, as k1114 seems to pointed out, considering the stock case I am using IS rather tiny, I will likely have to go out of my way to measure it, just in case. You've all been really informative, and I was expecting.. no help at all.

I'm really glad I choose to post at tomshardware, considering how many options I had to choose from. I thank you all, for being helpful with me so far.

EDIT: I forgot I can edit my post to copy the links! Ignore earlier comment.
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a c 189 U Graphics card
May 14, 2011 8:26:32 PM

It does need to be single slot and it seems rather difficult to find a single slot nvidia. I did find a 240 though. http://www.amazon.com/XFX-GT-240X-YAFC-GeForce-128-bit-... But there are plenty of ati offerings from 5670 down that are better performance and a low price.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
May 14, 2011 8:33:10 PM

Return the PSU. Any card you should bother using with a Pentium D will be ok on one of those 305w Dell PSUs which are pretty decent quality and rated for continuous usage. Just stick to card that don't need an external power connector.
The thing you need to consider for now;
1) Is it one of the "slim" Dell models? If so will need a low profile video card.
2) Is it BTX? If so you may not be able to use dual slot video cards.
3) You should avoid PCI-E 2.1 video cards as they often have issues with older 1.0 motherboards.
If your case is not "slim" and can handle dual slot cards then a PCI-E 2.0 HD5670 would be a good choice.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
If you do need a a low profile card card then something like the GT 430 mentioned above is probably for the best. If it just needs to be single slot then something like an HD4670 or GT 240 would work.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
May 14, 2011 8:36:35 PM

geofelt said:
Not a big deal, but I suggest you stick with Nvidia for simplicity.
Not a big deal but you recommend he drastically cut down his already limited options rather than doing so? :ouch: 
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May 14, 2011 8:38:18 PM

jyjjy said:
Not a big deal but you recommend he drastically cut down his already limited options rather than doing so? :ouch: 

I actually uninstalled my drivers when I went back to onboard. It's a common practice not to leave drivers that you are not using in a computer. (For the simple fact, I don't want drivers to conflict, or the possibility that it may occur, when I had to reinstall my onboard drivers.)

I pulled an image of what my computer case looks like on the inside. This is from a picture of the E521 (Vs my E520) Most dimension cases are similar in my opinion. So..

http://www.vector64.com/5600/IMG_2337.JPG

What is a really big problem, is the big black thing in the middle of the case, which is what was talked of earlier.
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May 14, 2011 8:59:41 PM

k1114 said:
The single slot cards suggested will all fit (430, 240, 5670). Here's a good pic off google.
http://www.lewisroberts.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/05/...
http://www.lewisroberts.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/05/...
Although this is a longer card than the ones suggested, you can easily tell by the fan placement.


That is also a very helpful, as it demonstrates that it is also of the same case that I am using. (I can tell.) Thanks a lot so far, it seems a few of you, don't quite agree on things. As much as returning the PSU sounds like a great idea.

My PSU has been running at peak power for over a year, I notice that the fan on my last videocard didn't work, and had always thought it was broken, now I think it was because the videocard it's self had been getting power, but the fan was not getting enough to actually move.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
May 14, 2011 9:01:38 PM

The black thing is the CPU cooling shroud. It looks like you need either a single slot card or a card with a single bracket and a centralized cooler that will avoid the shroud. Here is a pic of a card like that installed in the same model computer as yours;

I believe the HD5670 I linked should fit in there. It has a single bracket and the cooler while dual slot barely extends beyond where the PCI-E slot is on your motherboard as you can see in this pic;

You look to have at least some room beyond the slot to work with so that card should fit just fine.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
May 14, 2011 9:12:10 PM

Fusioneko said:
That is also a very helpful, as it demonstrates that it is also of the same case that I am using. (I can tell.) Thanks a lot so far, it seems a few of you, don't quite agree on things. As much as returning the PSU sounds like a great idea.

My PSU has been running at peak power for over a year, I notice that the fan on my last videocard didn't work, and had always thought it was broken, now I think it was because the videocard it's self had been getting power, but the fan was not getting enough to actually move.

The PSU really should be ok for the cards we are discussing. If you want to hold on to the PSU for now and try the new card on the old one. If it seems fine then ship back the PSU. If not then you may want to consider sending it back anyway as it is more than you need and quite expensive. Something like this would do just as well for your purposes at less than half the price.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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a c 189 U Graphics card
May 14, 2011 9:12:59 PM

The psu is more than these cards need but you already have it and could use it for your next pc. It also has a higher efficiency which might help in the long run, so all in all it's your choice. As for which card, the 5670 does perform better and costs more. The 240 is also a good choice and is slightly less performance for a slightly lower price.

Here's some benchmarks for the cards. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-5670,2533...
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May 14, 2011 9:26:07 PM

From what I've seen I really do like these three,

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

http://www.newegg.com/Product%2FProduct.aspx?Item=N82E1...

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

But to be honest, the 1 GB may not be necessary at all, since really most games max at 512 already. (And that's for current gaming.) I suppose, I wanted to invest on a video card, and hold onto it for awhile. I also had planned to hope to put in a few hard drives as well, as maybe a blue-ray player (Should I get money for that.) and to replace my DVD-RW should it be broken.

And so far, your assistance has been most helpful, so I once again thank you guys again for your time and words. (I really do mean it, It has helped me take a look at things more carefully too.) I'm paranoid, because when I first upgraded. I didn't even look at anything, I was lucky, I just bought a videocard and assumed all videocards worked.

Maybe it did back in 2007 when I bought it.. (or was it 08?), but now that I'm more aware of this, I (I like to explain myself and my reasonings.. this gets old.) am glad to have some sort of assistance with this, I should have done it with the power supply, I had planned to add some components, which I thought required power.

Since I had the PSU for so long, I also heard that their initial wattage goes down after a few years. Which would make some sense to me, as someone also told me..

I'd like you to keep in mind, I'm deliberately killing my machine/computer. I keep it running almost all the time, and it's a concern really, because until I can set side money, to my other tower which I used as a light server (Httpd/mysqld) While it is a windows box.. I don't need to give my lifestory about it.

Anyway, my friend told me, that he once bought a videocard, and said it overdrew from the PSU and caught power. I don't know anything about how it works, or completely understand, and If he is wrong, you would do best to tell me now. I'd love to know if any of you would happen to know if that statement is true and false.

(Penalties regarding power supplies being drawn from too much.) I had thought that, you know, my first and only thought is. 'Shouldn't the component just not get any power? therefore, the system would not allocate anything too it?'


Edit: I also would like to mention, I DO OWN Crysis, and I was hoping to play it again too as a bonus, once I got a new videocard in. (Or oblivion, oh god oblivion.. but for some reason it never ran smoothly, most likely for a different reason.)

I will settle for a low budget card, if only to get decent OpenGL (Emulators for some of my playstation games, when your computer can play your ol classics like Secret of Mana, and Armored Core.. what else do you need?)

Edit2:: Now that I notice it, that RedWood ATI card can't dual monitor with me.. since I don't have anything that uses.. HDMI or this DisplayPort? (What is that?) I'd like to use both my monitors again. (I .. Liked having windows in another monitor, to monitor things, while one window was for actively doing things.

(I cannot stop explaining myself? Maybe that's a bad habit, or maybe it's a nervous habit? MAYBE It's a human defense mechanism, afraid to show someones vulnerabilities.)

In anycase, I'm not too needy on dual screens, but I'd like it. Whiel my budget is likely $100-$50 within that range.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
May 14, 2011 9:35:01 PM

The HD5670 is the best of those cards by a fair amount. 1gb vs 512mb really doesn't matter much on cards of this caliber.
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May 14, 2011 9:36:50 PM

jyjjy said:
The HD5670 is the best of those cards by a fair amount. 1gb vs 512mb really doesn't matter much on cards of this caliber.


I'm aware more onboard memory doesn't mean better. That only means something for a next-generation game I haven't seen yet. As far as I'm concerned, I played most games on a 256 MB videocard just fine for over two years.

I'm a little concerned with what I may have spoken in my Edits
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a c 189 U Graphics card
May 14, 2011 10:40:56 PM

ATI/nvidia aside, I would go with the 5670 for more performance. 512mb vs 1gb means nothing even in next gen games as the card is just too underpowered before the amount of memory becomes an issue. Adapters are pretty cheap if you want 2 monitors. Amazon does seem to have free shipping with those same parts.

A good psu will have protection from under and over current/power/voltage and will shut off the whole system when any is flipped. The video card is getting power from the mobo so when the protection is flipped it turns off the whole mobo so the whole system goes off. A bad psu, commonly supplied by oems to lower cost, may not have protection, in which case blows your whole pc. The dell psu is decent quality and as far as I know does have protection.
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May 14, 2011 10:56:09 PM

k1114 said:
ATI/nvidia aside, I would go with the 5670 for more performance. 512mb vs 1gb means nothing even in next gen games as the card is just too underpowered before the amount of memory becomes an issue. Adapters are pretty cheap if you want 2 monitors. Amazon does seem to have free shipping with those same parts.

A good psu will have protection from under and over current/power/voltage and will shut off the whole system when any is flipped. Your whole computer is like a circuit, drop the power of one component and the whole thing turns off, mainly due to everything being connected to the mobo. The drives can be shut off separately. A bad psu, commonly supplied by oems to lower cost, may not have protection, in which case blows your whole pc. The dell psu is decent quality and as far as I know does have protection.


Thank you, for all your help. You've all been really good, I'm almost willing to close it now, I did see/remember the adapters, as I have tons of VGA -> DVI adapters laying around, it wasn't until I picked one up and remembered, I could get another adapter for those other two, and be about my business.

Problem is now, is I'm a little unsure, I've been reading some reports bout ATI's card, this is being my uneasiness towards their drivers. Now, if any of you can clear any concerns towards ATI's drivers, a thing I HOPE never to see again, is .. artifacts. If I had to look at artifacts again, I'll freak the "F" out. My last videocard during it's deathbed stage of the last 6 months of it's running before I retired it. (BSOD) Showed pixels on boot, and within windows. It worsened when in low resolution.

But, if I can get some sort of clarification on the drivers, and some reliability, I'll be a bit pleased. I'm reading customer reviews, while it isn't common the review says "OH hey, drivers suck.", but at least 1-2 people out of 10 seem to say it. I'd like if those concerns could be eased. :) 

On an unrelated note.

I still think my 7600 GT is still very much usable, and hope to one day try to fix it. (For now, I will not attempt anything outside my knowledgebase.) I hear things on oven-baking videocards might help.. Since my videocard cooked it's self. I was curious if that route might help, but it was just artifacts on screen. Nothing like crazy lines.

Also crazy performance drop for more demanding games like Oblivion, and texture stretching for most games starting after fable that use 3d.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
May 15, 2011 3:22:29 AM

I've used both ATI and Nvidia cards extensively. I think I may have had more problems with Nvidia drivers actually though I haven't had many issues with either. On that front I'd just say the Nvidia control panel is a little easier to deal with than ATI's Catalyst Control Center but it's not a huge thing.
The only reason you would get artifacts is if a card is defective, dying or overheating.
FYI that HD5670 can actually use 3 monitors if you choose to do so. The third will require an active displayport adapter(about $30) unless one of the monitors has a displayport input(unlikely unless it's new and high end.)
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May 15, 2011 11:28:43 AM

jyjjy said:
I've used both ATI and Nvidia cards extensively. I think I may have had more problems with Nvidia drivers actually though I haven't had many issues with either. On that front I'd just say the Nvidia control panel is a little easier to deal with than ATI's Catalyst Control Center but it's not a huge thing.
The only reason you would get artifacts is if a card is defective, dying or overheating.
FYI that HD5670 can actually use 3 monitors if you choose to do so. The third will require an active displayport adapter(about $30) unless one of the monitors has a displayport input(unlikely unless it's new and high end.)


Thank you for all your help, I will immediately go and make a purchase as soon as I can get money into the bank. You've impressed me, I'll try to come back in the future. I will reward you the best way I can, or complment you the best way I can.
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May 15, 2011 11:28:54 AM

Best answer selected by Fusioneko.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
May 15, 2011 5:19:43 PM

You don't need to do anything like that. I hope the card works out for you. It should be very large upgrade over your 7600GT. About 3-4 times faster although your Pentium D may hold the card back some from its full performance depending on the specific game/resolution/settings.
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a c 272 U Graphics card
May 15, 2011 5:47:19 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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