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Graphics Card that will run on 300W and play SC2???

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June 18, 2011 2:41:01 AM

hi i would like to find a graphics card that can run on a 300W PSU and is able to play starcraft 2 on at least recommended settings. this is my computer here: http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/Docume...


now, if you guys think i could get a like 100 dollar graphics card and a PSU < 50$ maybe i would consider doing that instead. so, if i went this route what sort of graphics card would be good in the price range of 90-130$ and what sort of PSU would be good that is less than 50$.

one more thing, would replacing the PSU on that system be difficult for someone not familiar with computers, and could you link a guide. thanks.
June 18, 2011 3:14:46 AM

Quote:
HD5670 or HD6670,

The graphics cards are between USD70-90.
HD6670 is about 10% more powerful, but also more expensive.
both can run without auxilary power and is able to push Starcraft II quite well at 1680*1050, even at Ultra

http://tpucdn.com/reviews/Powercolor/HD_6670/images/sc2_1680_1050.gif

Just make sure to buy the GDDR5 version



thanks dude! you think it'd be wiser just to go with one of those cards if all i want to do is play starcraft II with it and instead wait another 3 years to upgrade to a new pc rather than buying a more expensive graphics card and PSU now? thanks. ur the man.

edit: this is it correct? http://www.amazon.com/EAH6670-DIS-1GD5-Radeon-GDDR5/dp/...

would it be easy to install onto my rig, thanks again.
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June 18, 2011 3:34:54 AM

Quote:
Same Card
Asus HD6670 GDDR5 but at USD 90 after rebate
Power Color HD6670 GDDR5 USD 80 after rebate,


ur american rite?
If u're gonna play Starcraft II, all u need is a powerful enough dual core, with a mid end GPU, anything above a Core2Duo should do ok



yes i'm america. my only concern would be actually installing the graphics card to my pc, i posted my pc in the op, do you think i would be capable of doing it alone?
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June 18, 2011 4:22:53 AM

First.. WHO AM I?
I am a certified electronics technician (civilian diploma). I specialized later in Radar Systems for the Canadian Navy. I ended up being "the guy" to go to if you wanted a home computer built. I also maintained the ship PC systems in addition to the Radar Systems. I've built over 100 PC systems and recommended many more on paper. I've spent a lot of time analyzing systems for bottlenecks and recommending upgrades. In fact, upgrading prebuilt systems like this was the thing I did most often.

Okay...

I highly recommend replacing the PSU. It's been optimized for the existing hardware and likely can't handle much of an upgrade at all.

Assuming your PSU is upgraded, your CPU will bottleneck at some point depending on how good of a graphics card you get.

NCIX tends to have some good sales. Here's my general recommend (Canadian links):

1) buy a PSU from NCIX. There's some great sales, such as: http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=53968&vpn=OC... ($50 on sale for 700W)

Your PSU must supply enough current (Amps) on its 12V line(s) for the graphics card. You must read the specs for BOTH. I really think $50 (on sale) isn't too much for a really good quality 700W PSU. You're really risking anything from undetectable data corruption to a fire if you push the limit by keeping your existing PSU.

2) Graphics card: GTX550Ti OC
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=59501&vpn=01...
benchmarks: http://pro-clockers.com/videocards/1944-sapphire-radeon...
*Note that the above benchmarks won't be completely accurate. I am not sure if your CPU will bottleneck things. Also note that CPU and GPU usage vary between games.

3) non-stock CPU HSF: http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=42379&vpn=Fr...
- stock CPU coolers are usually VERY, VERY NOISY. It's well worth $20 to reduce that noise. Also, the graphics card will add noise.

*You need to investigate that the new fan for your heatsink is compatible with that motherboard and allows fan speed control. It's quite confusing; your best bet is to contact the manufacturer of the Heatsink. Assuming you have Vista or Windows 7, and the fan IS compatible you may need to change a setting in the BIOS. Compatibility is further complicated by the products not listing if it's a 3 or 4-pin fan and exactly how it's done (voltage, PWM etc.) Again, contact the fan manufacture. If possible, locate the motherboard info relating to the fan control so you can send it to them.

How do I know if the new CPU fan is working properly?
Run a CPU stress test program and listen for the fan to change speed. I recommend observing this with the case side off.

I highly doubt you can overclock this CPU (probably no BIOS option). If the option exists, don't attempt it unless you have installed a new Heatsink/fan and tested it.

Summary:
- you can get a huge performance boost for about $200
- open the case and make sure it supports normal Power Supplies and that the graphics card will fit
- non-stock Heatsink+Fan is a good idea for much reduced noise
- my calculations indicate you will be CPU benchmarked in most modern games, but not in some games when paired with the GTX550Ti. I believe this graphics card, on sale, is the best value for your system.

Other:
1) check for BIOS updates and install if any exist
2) check the driver site for your computer for any updated drivers (especially main chipset). You can find the driver versions in your "Device Manager"->"device"-> right-click-Properties->Drivers
3) latest NVidia or AMD drivers are direct from the NVidia/AMD site. Must be for your version of Windows (i.e. Vista 32-bit)
4) Have a secondary hard drive (internal or USB) and create a backup image in case you need to RESTORE due to a failed drive or corrupted software. If you have one "laying around" make sure to do a FULL FORMAT, not just a quick one (full format builds a bad sector table to prevent writing data to bad sectors. Must be done before writing any data.)
5) I always recommend surge protection for any electronic device, especially computers.
6) I believe $200 is the limit you should spend for upgrading this computer. I also do NOT recommend spending any less.
7) You can analyze the CPU usage using the Task Manager (CTRL-ALT-DEL). For at LEAST three games (the ratio of CPU to GPU usage varies between games), do the following with your UPDATED system:
a) open the Task Manager-> Performance
b) set "View-> Update Speed" to LOW
c) set "View-> CPU History" to "One Graph per CPU"
d) leave TM running and start a video game; play for at least five minutes
e) close down the game and observe the CPU graphs (should be two graphs). Analysis of results:
-both cores at 100%-> absolutely CPU bottlenecked
-one core at 100%, second core is anything-> may be bottlenecked. Depends if the video game can use two cores fully or not.
- neither core is at 100%-> bottleneck is the graphics card.
- *If some games are CPU bottlenecked and others are not (CPU less than 100% on both cores), then this is called a BALANCED system. Newly built computers are usually designed with more CPU processing power than needed to allow upgrading. Older systems are best updated to achieve this BALANCE of the CPU and GPU.

Backing up (important):
Acronis True Image is a great tool. If you have a Western Digital drive you can download their free version. I recommend "leapfrogging" backups. Create a backup, then every week create a new one. When you create the THIRD BACKUP, delete the first (always have the two latest backups). You may even wish to keep the first backup you make and never delete it just in case a bad virus sneaks in undetected later on.

Acronis TI has a "free" version around...

Vista and Windows 7 Image tool:
- works, but not the greatest
- must not move backup folder into another folder or it can't be found to be Restored
- no VERIFY option like Acronis has (compares backup to original drive)
- multiple backups a pain
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June 18, 2011 5:01:14 AM

thank you very much but i have to ask if all i want to do is play starcraft II at medium to high settings and really no other somewhat modern games would i need to take these precautions and purchase a new PSU if i were to use the hd6670?
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