How good of a graphics card do i need?

So I'm thinking of building my own computer but am on a tight budget. I'm pretty much going off of the $500 computer guide found here,3032.html but am trying to customize to best fit my needs.

My friend says for the gaming I do, I do not need as good of a graphics card as they recommend. I have a PS3 so I do most of my serious gaming on there. Games like Mass Effect 2, Battlefield, Call of Duty, and things like that I use my PS3 for. The only games I use my Computer for are computer only games like League of Legends and Dota 2 when it comes out and games like that. My friend says I should save some money by getting a worse graphics card and I'll still get the same performance out of it for these games.

So I started looking up other graphics cards and comparing prices. I know graphics cards are rated by their G3D but what exactly do these G3D's mean? I'm using the chart found here to compare prices. Like the one this build recommends is the Radeon HD 6870 which has a G3D mark of 2833 for $175. My friend is recommending I get the Radeon HD 4830 which has a G3D mark of 1255 and costs $60.

So what I'm asking is would I still be able to play like Dota 2 on it's highest quality with at least like 40 FPS if i got the worse graphics card. What exactly is the difference in the 2833 G3D and the 1255 and will I notice the difference between the two in simpler games. Also, if you agree with my friend that I don't need that high of a graphics card to play these games, can you give me an idea of what area G3D is should be looking at getting. The last thing I want to do is get a graphics card that is not good enough. I'd rather pay extra and have a card thats more than i need than pay less and not have enough.
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More about good graphics card need
  1. 500 dollars is pretty good for a build. What are your parts that you are going to use? Try to get an i5-2500k, you should have enough money left over for something like a gts450 to a gtx 550ti.
  2. so far my budget is looking something like

    CPU AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition $120
    CPU Cooler AMD boxed heatsink/fan $0
    Motherboard ASRock M3A770DE $60
    RAM Crucial Ballistix sport 4 GB (2 x 2 GB) DDR3-1333 BL2KIT25664BA1339 $25
    Graphics Radeon HD 5830 $109.99
    Hard Drive Seagate Barracuda ST500DM002 500 GB SATA 6.0Gb/s $40
    Case NZXT Gamma Classic Series GAMA-001BK $36
    Power Antec EarthWatts Green EA430D 430 W $44
    Total Price $435

    so, you think I should upgrade that CPU to a Intel Core i5-2400S @ 2.50GHz for $200? that'll bring my total to $495 which is just in my budget so that's good. But then for the Graphics Card, the gtx 550ti is rated as 1880 G3D on and the one I have now is 2121 for 15 dollars cheaper. Are those ratings on that site reliable?

    And so you think I need like upper 1,000's to lower 2,000's G3D's to be able to run the games i want on high quality with no lag?
  3. If you want to see how good a card is compared to another take a look at this graph here in Tom's Hardware:,2997-7.html

    Go off that and check prices to see how well a card will perform. And to answer your other question, you will not need anything too crazy for DOTA 2 and LoL. The card that you have picked out would work just fine. Speaking of which, you should get this GPU instead:

    It has roughly the same performance, but this card is newer with newer technology and will just give you more mileage than that last generation card, not to mention a free game (which you can play or sell on ebay for some money back), and a $20 mail in rebate. And one last thing - the only problem with upgrading your CPU is that you will also need to upgrade to a new motherboard.. so its up to you if you want to try and fine a new mobo with that. Also keep in mind shipping is probably going to throw you over the $500 mark.
  4. I will second Phishy's suggestion of the HIS HD6770. Particularly for less demanding games, it will do well, while using less power and creating less heat than a HD5830.
    The only thing I'd be inclined to change in that build is to get a Socket AM3+ mobo, which leaves open the option of upgrading the CPU to Bulldozer later. You may never need it, but in this case I think it is better to have the choice.
  5. Thanks for the answers! I don't currently have any of the parts so I'm not upgrading my CPU, just buying one to start. I don't have a motherboard either so I have to buy a new one anyways. Thanks for the tip on the graphics card though, I'll probably go with the newer generation one like you both said. If anyone else has any suggestions please share! Thanks again

    oh and do you guys think that that graphics card is about the minimum i can buy that will still let me run those games in high quality with good fps? or could i afford to save some more money and get a little bit worse graphics card? because like Phishy said, I'm going to be over my budget with S&H right now so I'm just trying to figure out if I really will need everything I'm paying for right now.
  6. Honestly, that card is about as low as you WANT to go. While there may be a card that will also run it and its a crappy card, you are very quickly running into another issue. Lets say for God knows what reason a different game comes out that you want to play on the PC. If you go with a card lower in specs than this one, you are going to have to upgrade yet again at that time.

    I think this card is about as low as you want to go.
  7. You might want to read this article on <$200 gaming cpu's,2859.html

    A cpu like the 2100 will do very well as a rule.
    The integrated graphics is somewhat as capable as a $50 discrete graphics card.
    As an initial step, Just don't buy a discrete card and see how you do.

    There is now a similar 2105 cpu which costs about $10 more. It has a faster graphics engine, and might be worth it if you think there is a possibillity that you will be satisfied with not using a $100 discrete card.
  8. hmm so it sounds like I can get a graphics card that I would need for the games I play for about $110 and then I can upgrade my CPU some with this money saved.
  9. DMullane said:
    hmm so it sounds like I can get a graphics card that I would need for the games I play for about $110 and then I can upgrade my CPU some with this money saved.

    As a rule, it is easier to upgrade a graphics card than a cpu.
    A $100 graphics card will likely need upgrading in the future.
    A $200 cpu probably will not need upgrading for some time.
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