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Upgrading Integrated Intel GMA 950(Yeah I know it sucks)

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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July 3, 2011 6:42:51 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Pretty much as soon as I decide on a card

BUDGET RANGE: $0-$100

USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Some light gaming(Such as Portal 1 and Team Fortress 2)

CURRENT GPU AND POWER SUPPLY: Intel GMA 950

OTHER RELEVANT SYSTEM SPECS: I have a Lenovo 3000 J200 (9690-A12).
Specs are: Intel Pent Dual-Core E2140(1.66Ghz), 2GB RAM, 320GB 7200RPM S-ATA HDD, no diskette drive, PCI/PCIe Tower (4x4), Intel GMA 950, Multi-Burner Plus 16x, 56K modem, Realtek 10/100 Ether, mem Card Reader

PREFERRED WEBSITES FOR PARTS: newegg.com, maybe amazon

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: Prefer nVidia due to better Linux support, but I can manage to get AMD/ATI cards to work as well.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1440x900

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Basically I need the best card that won't be bottlenecked by my horrible Pentium which is only 1.66 Ghz, but the CPU won't be bottlenecked by the GPU either, as it is currently. Since at the time I got this computer, in 2007, It was a mid-range computer, I probably need one of today's low-end cards. How would a GT 520 be? Any recommendations?
a b U Graphics card
July 3, 2011 7:03:40 PM

I would recommend a Radeon 5570 or 5670 at max, which are around $50 and $60, respectively. Anything above that would be bottlenecked.

If you really want to increase that budget to around $500, you could go to the Tom's system builder page for the ~$500 systems. It would absolutely demolish that Lenovo system. The latest has an Intel i3 dual-core and Radeon 6850. Doesn't include Windows, though, if you need it.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/diy-gaming-pc,2970....

I see you prefer nVidia for linux support, but AMD does release linux drivers as well (I use ubuntu with my 5750, and it works great). On Ubuntu, at least, the driver installer thingy automatically installs for you. For other distros, you can get it from AMD's website. For example, the latest 11.6 drivers for Radeon 5xxx cards on linux x86_64:
http://support.amd.com/us/gpudownload/linux/Pages/radeo...
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July 3, 2011 7:21:20 PM

I'l probably not be getting a new system, and as for the AMD drivers, my main concern was if I did end up having to get a pretty old card, AMD would've stopped supporting those drivers on newer versions of xorg. Seeing as there are plenty of new cards that fit my needs though, I probably don't have to worry about that. I use PCLinuxOS, Linux Mint, and Fedora, by the way. About that Radeon 5670, should I be getting a 1 GB or 512 MB card? And also, how would a GeForce GT 430 compare, as Newegg sells them for $40 after rebate.
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July 4, 2011 12:55:12 AM

I'd say 512mb should be fine for your resolution but whichever you get make sure to get one with ddr5 memory as it is a pretty big boost compared to ddr3.
Have you considered upgrading your processor? Here's a list of ones for your socket.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...
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a b U Graphics card
July 4, 2011 1:07:59 AM

If you won't be getting a new system, then you may as well use your budget.

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

There's AMD's updated version of the 5670. Yes, it's more expensive, as I'm sure people will point out. But it also performs a little better, and the main point about it is the power usage. It uses extremely little power, which is what I'd definitely want for an OEM machine - it would put as little stress on the undoubtedly cheap PSU as possible. I'd say it's worth the extra $20. It doesn't need an auxiliary power supply connector, either, so it's basically plug and play once you get the drivers updated. And speaking of drivers, you shouldn't run into any issues with drivers becoming outdated. It would probably make you feel a little better though, knowing that you have a member of the 6xxx series - AMD's newest.

Just my $0.02 on what you should do. :)  That's what I'd get if I was in your position.

Edit:
http://www.guru3d.com/article/radeon-hd-6670-review/4
There's a quick review of it. For such a small card it can really spit out the FPS, and I feel like it would be a decent match to your current system.
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July 4, 2011 5:29:45 AM

someguynamedmatt said:
If you won't be getting a new system, then you may as well use your budget.

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

There's AMD's updated version of the 5670. Yes, it's more expensive, as I'm sure people will point out. But it also performs a little better, and the main point about it is the power usage. It uses extremely little power, which is what I'd definitely want for an OEM machine - it would put as little stress on the undoubtedly cheap PSU as possible. I'd say it's worth the extra $20. It doesn't need an auxiliary power supply connector, either, so it's basically plug and play once you get the drivers updated. And speaking of drivers, you shouldn't run into any issues with drivers becoming outdated. It would probably make you feel a little better though, knowing that you have a member of the 6xxx series - AMD's newest.

Just my $0.02 on what you should do. :)  That's what I'd get if I was in your position.

Edit:
http://www.guru3d.com/article/radeon-hd-6670-review/4
There's a quick review of it. For such a small card it can really spit out the FPS, and I feel like it would be a decent match to your current system.


But won't it be bottlenecked by my processor? I mean, it is part of AMD's newest line, and my processor wasn't exactly the best even 4 years ago, so nowadays... you get the idea.
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July 5, 2011 6:20:31 PM

bump...
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