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Need advice on choosing new GPU

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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August 3, 2011 3:38:01 PM

I am running an XPS 420, it is a 4 year old rig.

Windows 7 64-bit
6GB RAM
Q6600 (2.4 Quad Core)
8800 GT

I was able to play Battlefield 3 just fine on low settings, but on higher settings I got crashes. This is probably due to my card, but maybe also because the game was in Alpha and still has bugs to be ironed out. The coming of BF3 prompted me to finally upgrade my machine.

I have two questions. I'm aiming to spend around $250 dollars for a combined GPU and PSU, but cheaper is always better!

1. If I upgrade to a stronger card, would my Q6600 bottleneck me?


It is a quad core, but 2.4 is pretty low compared to what is out today. Buying a new machine isn't an option, but I can afford to upgrade a GPU and PSU. If it is a bottleneck, I've read up on it and many people with my machine claim they overclocked it to 3.0 with no problems at all, some higher using aftermarket cooling.

2. What card should I upgrade to? I'll also need to upgrade my PSU as well so keep that in mind. I was thinking a 550 or 600W PSU would do.

The GTX 460 looks nice, but I notice there are GTX 560 TIs that cost nearly the same price as the GTX 460. I'm not really that knowledgeable about cards so any advice is appreciated.

More about : advice choosing gpu

a b U Graphics card
August 3, 2011 3:42:48 PM

what resolutions do you play at? and the bottleneck will depend on the card, although with a Q6600 it wouldn't be anything major (especially if OCed to 3.0Ghz). What is your current PSU and what Make/Model is it?
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August 3, 2011 3:46:12 PM

I play at 1440x900. So my processor won't be a problem then? My current PSU is 375W and it came with my dell, so it is not good. I will have to upgrade it if I buy a new card.
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a b U Graphics card
August 3, 2011 6:28:32 PM

for your needs this is what i would reccommend:
Antec High Current Gamer Series HCG-620 620W PSU: ($50 after rebates)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


a PNY VCGGTX560TXPB-OC-BDL GeForce GTX 560 Ti with a free 10ft HDMI Mini to HDMI Cable: ($199 after rebates):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

total $248 after rebates.

but i would reccommend looking into a 6870 or a 6850 at that resolution:
6870:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or a 6850:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

that 620W PSU should be able ot handle crossfire 6850s/crossfire 6870s too.

even this PSU would be able to handle any of the cards above just fine:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

the question is would you plan on crossfire/SLI in the future? i don't think you would since you mentioned a Dell PSU which leads me to think you have a dell mobo too.

i do prefer a 6950 over a gtx560 Ti but the 560 Ti is a great overclocker:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

6950 vs 560Ti:
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/293?vs=330
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August 3, 2011 8:18:40 PM

Thanks for your replies.

I do not plan on crossfire/sli in the future, not on this machine, and I plan at staying on this resolution for now. In the future I plan to take my new card and PSU out of this PC and put it in a new one that I would custom build. I won't be able to do that anytime soon though.

You said you recommend looking at a 6870 or a 6850, would these be able to max out Battlefield 3 and future games just as well as a 560 TI? Also are the 6870/50 superior to a GTX 460? Lastly, would my Q6600 need to be overclocked to prevent bottlenecking these cards or would it be enough as is?

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a b U Graphics card
August 3, 2011 8:53:17 PM

inner universe said:
Thanks for your replies.

I do not plan on crossfire/sli in the future, not on this machine, and I plan at staying on this resolution for now. In the future I plan to take my new card and PSU out of this PC and put it in a new one that I would custom build. I won't be able to do that anytime soon though.

You said you recommend looking at a 6870 or a 6850, would these be able to max out Battlefield 3 and future games just as well as a 560 TI? Also are the 6870/50 superior to a GTX 460? Lastly, would my Q6600 need to be overclocked to prevent bottlenecking these cards or would it be enough as is?


both the 6850 and the 6870 are better than the GTX460 (and while the 6850 is a bit better than the gtx 460 the 6870 is quite a bit better):
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/313?vs=290

for BF3 at your resolution im pretty sure that the 6870 will be able to max out BF3 at 60FPS+ and the 6850 would probably get 50FPS+. So in the end i would say to go with the 6870, a new PSU and a nice aftermarket cooler to allow you to OC that Q6600, but it won't give major bottleneck if you don't overclock either.

if your looking at a near silent but still effective cooler i would reccommend this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

but the coolermaster 212+ is another great choice:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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a c 376 U Graphics card
August 3, 2011 10:31:01 PM

I wouldn't bother with anything more than a GTX 460/HD6850 at your resolution, especially with your CPU. Either of those should kill at 1440x900. Only consider something more powerful if you plan on upgrading your monitor in the future as well.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
August 3, 2011 10:34:39 PM

ps3hacker12 said:
both the 6850 and the 6870 are better than the GTX460 (and while the 6850 is a bit better than the gtx 460 the 6870 is quite a bit better):
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/313?vs=290

for BF3 at your resolution im pretty sure that the 6870 will be able to max out BF3 at 60FPS+ and the 6850 would probably get 50FPS+. So in the end i would say to go with the 6870, a new PSU and a nice aftermarket cooler to allow you to OC that Q6600, but it won't give major bottleneck if you don't overclock either.

if your looking at a near silent but still effective cooler i would reccommend this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

but the coolermaster 212+ is another great choice:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The HD6850 is not better than the GTX 460. They are almost exactly equal on average at reference speeds and the vast majority of GTX 460s are also sold with a factory OC which actually make them faster. The HD6850 can be OCed as well but the GTX 460 can be OCed to a higher degree and performance tends to scale better on those cards.
FYI his computer is a Dell so he cannot overclock his CPU without replacing the motherboard.
60+ FPS is more than is really needed for any game and also very unlikely no matter the card given his processor.
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August 4, 2011 3:49:41 AM

i had the q6600 at 2.4ghz previously and i was using an ati 5770 (that combo just seemed to shine for me in regards to gaming) and i could play all games including bc2 on high, easily... after a bit of a problem with the card i got a refund and bought myself a 6950.. my q6600 bottlenecked it and at times the games had to be set to a higher quality to recieve higher fps. i started overclocking the 6950 and started getting brilliant results...but in the end i decided to go for an amd 6-core 1090t (because it was cheap) and there are no bottlenecks i can see... everything set to full in black ops and even forcing some stuff im seeing up to 333 fps...battlefield bad company 2 is simple to play and not taxing on my system at all.

the 5770 you would not bottleneck and my brother still had his in which he has overclocked and is getting some insane performance. the 5770 works well under an overclock...

but i believe the 6850/6870 would be better, you wouldn't bottleneck it that much. and it could run the bf3 pretty well.
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August 11, 2011 3:27:05 AM

Best answer selected by inner universe.
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