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I Need a Budget Vid Card for Witcher 2 and Skyrim

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August 22, 2011 2:42:38 PM

Hello! As I've noted in the thread name, I'm wanting suggestions on a new vid card that would allow my rig to handle The Witcher 2 at more than ten fps, and would hopefully also handle Skyrim with at least medium performance. I realize that the latter is a tall order, since Bethesda won't announce the requirements.... but yeah. As my rig will probably demonstrate, I'm not a "max performance" PC gamer. I just can't afford it. I'm wanting something that will do passably well - "passably" defined at, like 30 fps-ish. More is better, as long as it is, again, budget-conscious.

My compy is about two years old. If there are other low-end upgrades that will help, my ears are open. Thank you in advance!

Windows 7 SP1
Processor: Intel Core2 Quad CPU Q8200 @ 2.33 GHz
RAM: 6.00 GB
System Type: 64-bit OS
Vid Card: ATI Radeon HD 3600 Series

Let me know if there's any other info I could provide that would help. I'm on the edge of my knowledge, providing this much, heh. :pt1cable: 
August 22, 2011 2:48:07 PM

What is your budget?
August 22, 2011 2:52:03 PM

That's a fantastic question, isn't it? Heh. I would love to keep any new components well under $300. And I just realized this is a European forum, and I apologize. I realize it's not exactly the same, but if it's sold for 300 pounds or Euros on that side of the pond, it seems like a lot of stuff is sold for the same dollar amount over here (even with the differences in pure exchange rate). And like I said, less than that is better.

Thanks again!!
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August 22, 2011 2:59:59 PM

Buy a new CPU cooler and see if you can overclock it it ~3-3.2Ghz, and upgrade to a new video card and you'll be fine your Skyrim if your on a tight budget.
August 22, 2011 3:00:16 PM

most of the posters here are from the USA. here is a link to a breakdown of witcher 2 performance in various resolution with various cards. I would suggest somtehing like the AMD 6850 or Nvidia GTX460. Both cards will give you the ability to play any game out there at good settings and your CPU may hold back the performance of cards with more graphics power.

http://www.techspot.com/review/405-the-witcher-2-perfor...
August 22, 2011 3:18:50 PM

Umm, well for that money - I'd suggest a new processor and a new card. It is possible.

Processor : Intel i5 2400 @ Newegg :
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Graphics : ATI Radeon 6750 :
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The HD 6750 performs quite well in Witcher 2 (really demanding game) you can see the benchmarks for it here: (bear in mind the fps is in Ultra Spec)

http://www.overclock.net/video-game-news/1033023-techsp...

There are cheaper versions of that card that will put you under the $300.

Skyrim - imo - will require less resources than the Witcher 2 - so this setup should do you quite well.

By the way what is your motherboard?
August 22, 2011 3:23:38 PM

Thanks so much to both of you. I was actually surprised when I wrote the original post - I had thought my CPU was 3.33, not 2.33, which puts a lot of points against my husband in the argument of just buying new computers (I'd love to build something on Digital Storm).

How difficult and expensive would it be to upgrade the CPU in my lil' Dell premade? Is it as easy as swapping out vid cards? Or, by asking the question, have I demonstrated enough ignorance to recommend not getting into something like that? Polite honesty is appreciated.

If I -could- handle something like that, what would you recommend? Newegg has that card at a nice price (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...), which leaves me a little budge room if I can handle the actual task of upgrading both (and if I'm upgrading two components to avoid buying an entire computer, I can probably add another 100 bucks to the budget).

Or would I run into a wall with my RAM? Heh. The whole thing makes me think of an annoying logic puzzle, with increasing one thing revealing weakness in the whole mess. So instead of digging Witcher 2, like I'd prefer, I'm playing Diablo II......
August 22, 2011 3:34:29 PM

first up: you have a socket that is 2 genberations old (775), so an i5-2400, nice as it is, won't fit in it. you'd need an entire new motherboard and new RAM to go with it.

your dell prebuilt may or may not use a standard motherboard shape, they are notorious for proprietary motherboard sizes. hey also tend to have barely adequate power supplies for what's already in them, so you might want to replavce the powersupply as well.

If you are replkacing CPU, RAM, Motherboard, vid card, and power supply, you have almost built a new PC anyway.
August 22, 2011 3:48:58 PM

Ok, let's get into this.

Your cpu is ok. I do not recommend overclocking it. Upgrading this component will give you a performance increase - but in actual fact the reason why I suggested the above cpu is to avoid further upgrades. The 2400 is perfectly fine for gaming and you can, if you so wish, upgrade to more powerful graphics cards in future without upgrading the cpu.

If you do decide to upgrade the cpu - know that it is fairly easy to install a new one and it costs the amount of the cpu and some thermal paste - but there are a number of things you should be careful of. One is the socket type on your motherboard - will your new cpu fit into it? To find that out we need to know what model your motherboard is. You can do that now if you like. I'll wait. :-)

Your RAM is perfectly fine. No need to upgrade imo.

Vid Card : it's awful. But - You don't need an all powerful setup to PLAY the latest games. After a certain level all a gamer could be interested in is playing on several monitors, going for the very highest of settings or just showing off. I played the Witcher 2 on high settings, with no bells and whistles and it looked lovely and that was on the HD 6750. Only trouble was that my cpu wasn't good enough to allow the card to do its thing completely. The 6850 is quite nice too - good choice - but with your current cpu - it won't do you much good. I can't recommend unless you're willing to get both the 6850 and the i5 2400.

August 22, 2011 3:50:41 PM

Whoa, agreed. I wondered if I would hit this kind of wall.


Well, I suppose my next step is to head over to the forums at http://www.digitalstormonline.com/compspecialdeals.asp and see if I can do decently for less than a grand. I'm guessing that whatever I walk away with is going to be a little more upgradeable than what I have here.

Thanks for quick, kind, thorough help. I can't believe how fantastic this forum is.
August 22, 2011 3:53:17 PM

On second thoughts you could steal ScrewySqrl's setup - it's got both the cpu and the graphics card you need.... :-) And screwy is perfectly right about the cpu being a different gen, should have picked up on that.
August 22, 2011 4:11:33 PM

Tanneseph said:
Whoa, agreed. I wondered if I would hit this kind of wall.


Well, I suppose my next step is to head over to the forums at http://www.digitalstormonline.com/compspecialdeals.asp and see if I can do decently for less than a grand. I'm guessing that whatever I walk away with is going to be a little more upgradeable than what I have here.

Thanks for quick, kind, thorough help. I can't believe how fantastic this forum is.


digital storm is a rip off, they over charge on all their so called "tweaks" i would suggest getting something off newegg and then upgrading the PSU + GPU. it will offer you more bang for the buck

just upgrading your video card will give you good results. the Q8200 offers similar performance to an athlon II x4 and your video card is what is really holding you back

August 22, 2011 4:16:26 PM

the build in my signature runs about $560 right now with a little bigger hard drive and slightly better motherboard (I'd pick the H61M/U3S3 over the VS nowadays), plus $95 for windows 7, all from Newegg, if you're willing to put it together yourself
August 22, 2011 4:18:31 PM

ScrewySqrl said:
first up: you have a socket that is 2 genberations old (775), so an i5-2400, nice as it is, won't fit in it. you'd need an entire new motherboard and new RAM to go with it.

your dell prebuilt may or may not use a standard motherboard shape, they are notorious for proprietary motherboard sizes. hey also tend to have barely adequate power supplies for what's already in them, so you might want to replavce the powersupply as well.

If you are replkacing CPU, RAM, Motherboard, vid card, and power supply, you have almost built a new PC anyway.


im guessing she has a DELL XPS 430 (by her specs) which would intail a standard mATX mobo rather then the BTX mobo they used to use. it also comes with a decent (for an OEM) 375-425w PSU. Dell used it to power the ATI 4850 as an offering.
August 22, 2011 4:19:42 PM

Holy crap, Sqrl. Okay, so you've probably gotten a sense of how smart or ignorant I am when it comes to this stuff. i.e. I know the names of some of the parts, and that they all slot in somewhere, and not much else. So, is that something I could handle? 'Cause I definitely like the price point.

Anyone have a guide I could read that they trust? Then I could judge.

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August 22, 2011 4:35:03 PM
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10 part video from PC world
http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?annotation_id=ann...

how to install a video card from AMD (nvidia works exactly the same)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9x097QRXeA

August 23, 2011 2:23:36 AM

building your own is fairly simple. the only tool needed s a phillips screwdriver.
August 30, 2011 3:52:24 AM

Best answer selected by Tanneseph.
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