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Bargain build: What graphics card for bargain build (non-gamer)?

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July 28, 2011 6:04:50 PM

Newbie builder:
I'm building a bargain PC based on the MSI 790XT-G45 for Photoshop/Lightroom photo editing. I'll be using DDR2 memory (limitation of the motherboard) and an AMD Phenom II processor. Trying to save my money for the fastest processor and most RAM I can get.

What graphics card will give me the most bang-for-the-buck? So far, I like the Evga GeForce GT 430 1 GB DDR3 PCI-Express 2.0 Graphics Card 01G-P3-1430-LR which I can get for under $50. Is that a good match for what I want to do, or are there others that would bet better?

I should add that I will probably "splurge" on a 24" monitor, but that will be my last component purchased.
a b U Graphics card
July 28, 2011 6:11:30 PM

cheekygeek said:
Newbie builder:
I'm building a bargain PC based on the MSI 790XT-G45 for Photoshop/Lightroom photo editing. I'll be using DDR2 memory (limitation of the motherboard) and an AMD Phenom II processor. Trying to save my money for the fastest processor and most RAM I can get.

What graphics card will give me the most bang-for-the-buck? So far, I like the Evga GeForce GT 430 1 GB DDR3 PCI-Express 2.0 Graphics Card 01G-P3-1430-LR which I can get for under $50. Is that a good match for what I want to do, or are there others that would bet better?

I should add that I will probably "splurge" on a 24" monitor, but that will be my last component purchased.

If you can get the 430 at under $50 that would be good. Otherwise if you wanted to even go a little different route and get the 5450 HD

http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

I would suggest the 5450 :) 

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July 28, 2011 6:50:12 PM

Thanks for the quick response. That looks like a well-regarded bargain!

One (noob) question... my motherboard can't handle DDR3 and I see this graphics card name says DDR3 in it. Is that a problem for me, or is that referring to memory on the card itself?
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a c 271 U Graphics card
July 28, 2011 6:56:21 PM

cheekygeek said:
Thanks for the quick response. That looks like a well-regarded bargain!

One (noob) question... my motherboard can't handle DDR3 and I see this graphics card name says DDR3 in it. Is that a problem for me, or is that referring to memory on the card itself?

That refers to the card itself and has no bearing on your motherboard whatsoever.
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a c 128 U Graphics card
July 28, 2011 6:59:15 PM

The 5450 is a decent card, though it lowered my 2D WEI score from the on-board Intel GMA X4500's score on my dual-core system with a P5G41T-M LX motherboard. It did raise my 3D score by 1 and I was still able to use Photoshop without a problem, as long as you're not doing too complex, it should be fine.
The 430 would be a little bit better card. Also, if you can find a GTS 250 (I think they're around $75), it would be a good sub-$100 choice.
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July 28, 2011 7:10:10 PM

Thanks for the input. Given the reviews for this card, I think it will be a great start to get me going - especially with NewEgg offering a $20 mail-in rebate making the final price a wacky-cheap $19.99. ORDERED IT.

So far, motherboard ($42.80) and this card ($22.98 after rebate) I'm at $65.78 for a subtotal. Reusing a case, 580W power supply (hopefully?)
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a c 128 U Graphics card
July 28, 2011 7:20:44 PM

Don't skimp on the power. It's the most important component. It affects everything. You probably won't need more than 300W, but the Corsair CX430 is the lowest I'd add to any build just to feel safe.
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July 28, 2011 8:25:18 PM

I appreciate the advice!
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a c 376 U Graphics card
July 28, 2011 10:40:27 PM

ubercake said:
The 5450 is a decent card, though it lowered my 2D WEI score from the on-board Intel GMA X4500's score on my dual-core system with a P5G41T-M LX motherboard.

Another reason why no one should ever pay attention to WEI.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
July 28, 2011 10:53:58 PM

ubercake said:
Don't skimp on the power. It's the most important component. It affects everything. You probably won't need more than 300W, but the Corsair CX430 is the lowest I'd add to any build just to feel safe.

Both of these are cheaper than the CX430 and the second is better;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Either will cover his needs just fine. This is also better and a good deal;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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a c 172 U Graphics card
July 29, 2011 3:25:31 AM

why not get a ddr3 motherboard? DDR3 ram is much cheaper than DDR2. For just photoshop editing, integraded graphics is fine, no graphics card needed.
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July 29, 2011 4:04:18 AM

Well, if I were starting from a blank slate I probably would have. However the motherboard presented itself first (locally), new in the box at a pretty good price. I researched it and read some decent reviews of it and decided to try my first build with it. I'm sure there are more modern boards out there but, as I said I'm kind of a "last season's clearance" bottomfeeder kind of guy. ;)  I liked the fact that this board could still work with the Phenom II multi-core (125W limitation)

Since this is a bargain box, I won't be too afraid of buying a couple of 2GB sticks off eBay and getting my basic 4GB of RAM for $40 or so.
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a b U Graphics card
July 29, 2011 6:29:12 AM

If you are using Adobe Photoshop and have now or might be using CS4, then the video card can speed up processing of some functions by taking some of the processing off the CPU. If you want to get the best out of CS5, then you should go with an nVidia card like the GT 430.

Overclock.net provides a good description and benchmarks for video card acceleration in CS4.

http://www.overclock.net/graphics-cards-general/389996-...

Adobe CS5 added acceleration for multiple applications with the Mercury Playback Engine which is designed specifically for more recent nVidia cards with the CUDA feature set.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/adobe-cs5-cuda-64-b...

Third party video card reviews and recommendations for use with CS5 (the card list starts about half way down the page)

http://www.studio1productions.com/Articles/PremiereCS5....

Note that they recommend the GT 240 with GDDR5 memory over the GT 430.
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