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Budget graphics card upgrade for casual gaming

Useful Information:


APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Soon ( Next few weeks) BUDGET RANGE: 0-150

USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming -- Modern games Ex: Skyrim, Most steam games at high quality, or at least smoothly

CURRENT GPU AND POWER SUPPLY: ATI Radeon HD 3200

OTHER RELEVANT SYSTEM SPECS: 4gb Ram ( Being told only 1.9 is available.)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Any. County of Origin -- United States

PARTS PREFERENCES: Reccomended card

OVERCLOCKING: Ermm...not sure!

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1280x1024

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Would like to run most modern games at high quality. -- If that's not possible on this budget, please let me know.

I'd really appreciate any help with advice regarding purchasing a better graphics card for my PC, as I'm having a tough time running the games I'd like to.

I'm new to this, so please excuse any newbie errors, I did my best with reading the forums, but I'm still a bit confused.

Thanks!
21 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about budget graphics card upgrade casual gaming
  1. What CPU do you have?

    What motherboard do you have?

    What is the make/model of your Power Supply?
  2. My CPU is an AMD Phenom 9150e Quad-Core Processor (4 CPUs), ~1.8 GHz
    Motherboard is Gateway RS780

    Not entirely sure what the make/model of my power supply, and I'm not sure how to check it. I really appreciate the help, sorry if I'm a bit slow.
  3. So the problem I see here is your processor.The 9150 is a bit weak for a quad core these days and it will bottleneck any of the high performance GPU's.You should still be able to run Valve games and Skyrim but please clarify what other "steam games" your going to play.

    I'm guessing that since you've never had an discrete GPU that you have a generic 300watt or less PSU so that will need to be upgraded.To find out what PSU you have open your case and look at the PSU their should be a chart on it somewhere listing the info.

    The best card you could get without causing a bottleneck would be a 6670.

    MSI 6670 $100 + $7 Shipping

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127586

    Now the 6670 is on the lower end of power consumption because it doesn't need an additional PCI-E power connector but I would still reccomend upgrading your PSU.

    Antec 500 watt $65 + Free Shipping

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371035
  4. Thanks for the links, those both look like what I'm looking for. As far as the steam games I'm looking to play, I'd really like to be able to play most modern games without lag. I'm not asking to play them in the highest quality, just to be able to play them smoothly.
  5. Well the 6670 should allow you to play most games somewhat smoothly wether it be on high or medium settings.But like I said before your CPU will hold you back.You might want to consider O.C.ing.That processor isn't that great at O.C.ing but any small amount that you can achieve will go a long way.

    What's the model number of your gateway PC?

    Are you using a 32 bit or 64 bit version of Windows?
  6. Probably won't be able to overclock a pc from gateway. The BIOS will be locked, and overclocking from the OS is dangerous and difficult. With that CPU, I would guess that a 5670 graphics card is the highest you can go without having to upgrade anything else. Maybe just a 5450.
  7. O yah,I totally forgot about that.O.C.ing is out of the question then.
  8. It seems like I just have the wrong PC in general for gaming... If you were to reccomend a pre-built desktop PC, which would you reccomend on a...say 400-700$ budget? I know this is know off topic in this thread, but I don't think that I should post another one.
  9. You should always build your own PC.It's a lot cheaper and it's a way to get to know everything and how it works.Nice hands on experience.

    Do you think you can salvage your case and HDD?

    Well the thing is do you want to conserve as much money as possible but still build a PC that can do moderate gaming or do you want to spend the full $700 and get the best you can buy?

    Without knowing the games you want to play it's a little difficult to build a PC designed around your budget.
  10. I suppose I could salvage the case and HDD. ( Don't know what I'm talking about )


    Well the thing is do you want to conserve as much money as possible but still build a PC that can do moderate gaming or do you want to spend the full $700 and get the best you can buy?: Somewhere in the middle.

    Alright, well some of the games i'd like to play are:
    -Skyrim
    -Guild Wars 2 Upon release
    - Trine 2
    - Minecraft
    - Witcher 2
    - Diablo 3
  11. What brand is your case?


    Well anyway here's what I was thinking and this build actually turned out to be a very high performance build with plenty of upgrade paths.The only thing I didn't include was the HDD.

    https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySavedWishDetail.aspx?ID=20746607
  12. Gateway, I believe.
  13. It's probably a micro-atx then which means you will want to upgrade since the componets on that list are a lot larger.
  14. Alright, that can't be TOO expensive. When I click on that link, all I see is an empty wishlist.
  15. Best answer
  16. Best answer selected by BrianPCNoob.
  17. Thanks alot, I think I might be going with that exactly. One other thing I forgot about is the Operating system... How should I deal with that?
  18. Aren't you going to reuse your HD?
  19. Ah... right. Is there any way to wipe my hard drive, aside from the OS?
  20. BrianPCNoob said:
    Ah... right. Is there any way to wipe my hard drive, aside from the OS?


    Not in a reliable automated fashion. You'd pretty much be uninstalling all of your apps manually if you wanted to try to clean things up at the same time as the hardware upgrade.

    Safest bet is usually to start w/ a fresh re-install of the OS and all your apps IMO, but that may not be an option if you've only got a recovery disc from Gateway. Other issue you might run into is reactivation of Windows when you change all the hardware w/ what is most likely an OEM OS license.
  21. You can always install a version of Widows without entering the CD-Key(Illegally of course).The OS itself will work and will allow you to do what you need but you won't have any customization of backgrounds or styles.Their will also be an annoying ticker saying you need to enter your key.It still works though.
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