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Building a new rig, Guidance for GPU choice

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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November 28, 2011 1:42:00 PM

Hi guys,

I need help on picking a GPU for my taste and price range. I don't have a full rig yet but I want an idea of what card I would like to have.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: This week. Hours even. BUDGET RANGE: Under $300.

USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: 1.Gaming (Battlefield 3, Skyrim, Metro 2033, Crysis at full settings then any other game would be good). 2.Watching movies in HD. 3.Surfing the internet. 4.Music.

CURRENT GPU AND POWER SUPPLY: I don't have any yet, as this is my first build and just wanting to know what kind of GPU i should get.

OTHER RELEVANT SYSTEM SPECS: Again I don't have any of the other parts as this is probably going to be my first part. If you guys want you can give advice on what Mobo, ram, CPU i should get but that's up to you.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg mostly, amazon.

PARTS PREFERENCES: I prefer nVidia cards mostly.

OVERCLOCKING: I don't know how to OC so probably not. SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Eventually but as of now no.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1680x1050 is mostly likely my monitor size.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: As i said I really don't have any other parts as this is a new build and might be hard to give me advice for lack of information. If you insist in recommending parts other than the GPU then I will appreciate it, if not then GPU is fine.
a b U Graphics card
November 28, 2011 9:56:01 PM

If you have no idea what to get for any of the parts, how can you have a budget for the card alone? What's your budget for the entire build?
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a b U Graphics card
November 28, 2011 10:13:01 PM

2 things.
First, for mid-range cards with the budget that you are looking at I would go with AMD instead of nVidia unless you need CUDA (or if you find a killer deal somewhere). They eat a little less power, and they seem to be more lenient about what cards they can be paired with, not to mention they tend to be more performance per $ in that range.

Second. Save your money before buying anything and then buy it all at once (or at least in quick succession of each other) with the exception of 'once in a lifetime' deals like we saw this last week for black Friday. In general prices for things will go down with time (with rare exception like the HDD prices we have seen the last 3 months), and if it takes longer than expected to save up for the parts then you are really going to kick yourself hard if new parts come out (like the new GPUs in Q1, and new processors at the beginning of Q2).
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November 29, 2011 4:53:11 AM

Hi, thanks for the replies.

kajabla - the budget I have posted is just for the GPU itself. My overall is most likely around $1100-1300.

CaedenV - Yeah that's what I was thinking, looking for killer deals and I found it earlier today with a Gigabyte GTX 570, it was originally $344 today it was at $256.

I didn't get to see the black friday deals last week for computer parts :pfff:  wish I did though. HDDs are expensive!!! Floods right?
What new GPUs coming out in Q1? (I can't keep up with the new parts coming in I don't know any source of info)
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a b U Graphics card
November 29, 2011 10:08:40 PM

Yeah, but unless you have a set-aside GPU fund or something, you'll have to balance your build and see how much you have to spare on the GPU. On $1300ish, all prices off Newegg:
$160 ASRock P67 Extreme4
$80 WTF THE SPINPOINT F3 IS CHEAP RIGHT NOW GET IT
$225 2500K
$80ish case (go by stylistic preference and check here)
$20 ODD whatever
$35 Hyper 212 EVO
$45 8gb Ripjaws X 8gb 1600

That leaves $655 for the PSU and GPU (and SSD?)

With SSD:
$215 128gb Crucial M4
$360 EVGA Superclocked 570
$60 Corsair 500W
$1280 total

Without SSD:
$525 MSI 580 Lightning
$75 ($50 after MIR) OCZ 600W
$1200 total.
No reason to limit your GPU budget to $300 if you can fit in a $525 on the same budget overall. You could, of course, drop the SSD and just do it all more cheaply, but SSDs are sweet.
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November 30, 2011 11:51:31 AM

lol SSDs are sweet, unfortunately i was unable to get it at that good of a price. Came with a computer case too :/ .
Oh my goodness that MSI 580 is ridiculous. I don't know if I want to go that far into spending on one part ha. A little cheaper maybe Under $400? Thanks for the suggestions.

Ok to update you on what I have, I bought the following:

FAN - Hyper 212 EVO. $34 Orig Price.
CPU - Intel i5-2500k. $195 at the time.
MOBO - ASUS Z68. $179 at the time.
OS - Win 7 64-bit Home Pre. $79 at the time.
RAM - Corsair Veng (2x4) 8GB $46 at the time.
PSU - Corsair 750w. Already have it. Re-using.

This saved me quite some money. I also dug up my old Mid-Tower case I never actually got to use. It's a NZXT Guardian. That a good case to fit everything in?

So all I really need now is an SSD and GPU.
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November 30, 2011 1:46:19 PM

kajabla said:
Yeah, but unless you have a set-aside GPU fund or something, you'll have to balance your build and see how much you have to spare on the GPU. On $1300ish, all prices off Newegg:
$160 ASRock P67 Extreme4
$80 WTF THE SPINPOINT F3 IS CHEAP RIGHT NOW GET IT
$225 2500K
$80ish case (go by stylistic preference and check here)
$20 ODD whatever
$35 Hyper 212 EVO
$45 8gb Ripjaws X 8gb 1600

That leaves $655 for the PSU and GPU (and SSD?)

With SSD:
$215 128gb Crucial M4
$360 EVGA Superclocked 570
$60 Corsair 500W
$1280 total

Without SSD:
$525 MSI 580 Lightning
$75 ($50 after MIR) OCZ 600W
$1200 total.
No reason to limit your GPU budget to $300 if you can fit in a $525 on the same budget overall. You could, of course, drop the SSD and just do it all more cheaply, but SSDs are sweet.


That would work, but I here's another alternative:
- Go to microcenter to pick up their cpu/mb deals. i5 2500k (179.99) with a decent motherboard for a $60 discount on the combo. So approximately $230 right there.
- Which leaves about $30 for some 1600 ram (Corsair, Patriot, Gskills).
- Get a $60-$80 SSD to use as a bootdrive, and just put in some old HDDs for storage. DO NOT WASTE MONEY ON HDD's NOW.
- $90-100 for a decent case (Corsair 500r, NZXT phantom), and that leaves you at $430 without a GPU and PSU.
- You'll have $770 to spend on peripherals and GPU/PSU.
- You can just get a 6970 or 560/570 ($300-400) and a 800W PSU ($70).
- So assuming you're paying the maxiumum prices in my estimates, it would have added up to only $910 for a system that'll last you a while.

Depending on what games you want to play choose a GPU or GPU setup that would max out on high or ultra settings, then get a PSU that would support your system.

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a b U Graphics card
November 30, 2011 9:18:12 PM

^you wouldn't need more than 500W for any of those cards. Not important to the OP's build, but just saying. http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/graphics/2010/12/15/at...

Yeah, that case'll be fine. I didn't know you had so many parts already. The GPU will be as good as the amount of money you're willing to spend. At various price ranges, the GPUs that are best worth getting are the 6950, 570 and 580. I've actually run into this $400 issue before: there's nothing, really, between the $350 570 and the $500 580.
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November 30, 2011 9:20:44 PM

I already have most of the things I need, though your advice irilx about SSDs is true because they're ridiculously expensive since that flood right?
This is quite expensive but seems good, SAMSUNG 1TB?

To be honest I don't know the difference between SSD and HDD, SSD is a hard drive that basically doesn't spin right?

Just checked out microcenter and I like it, ALOT of deals.

Any recommendations on GPU's? (Other than that MSI 580 lol)

EDIT* Just saw your post.

Yeah I was quick to buy all the parts as they were all for sale I jumped as soon as i saw the new prices. They actually came in today :D .

Thats what I was thinking of buying the 570, seems good of a card and possibly a future SLI but I'm not thinking to far ahead yet as this is my very first build.

Also any advice on what to do before I start to build?

This is ekkstra by the way, I'm on my friend's account by accident as he logged on without telling me :/ 
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a b U Graphics card
November 30, 2011 9:31:46 PM

HDDs are ridiculously expensive. SSDs are no more expensive than usual.
SSDs are WAY better than HDDs. They have no moving parts, so they can access data very quickly. A hard drive has to actually move a piece of metal over to the physical location where the data is stored on its disk before it can read it. In practical terms, this means that Windows boots very quickly (on the order of 15 seconds; mine, on an HDD, takes something like 45 seconds or a minute), applications open very quickly, and games and their levels load very quickly.
The Tom's SSD article, which recommends them highly:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-upgrade-hdd-per...
SSDs are still much more expensive than HDDs, but they're significantly less expensive than they were a couple of years ago.

Read the Tom's How-To article if you're nervous (http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/274745-31-step-step-g...), and follow the parts' instructions, most importantly those of the motherboard. The most common mistakes, I think, are applying thermal paste incorrectly, not tightening the CPU heatsink enough and installing the PSU upside down so that its fan faces into the case.
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December 1, 2011 5:31:53 AM

Hmmm seems like SSDs are a good improvement from HDD, from what I read on that link kajabla it's worth the expense.

Ok just to make sure from what I already have posted above, it's all compatible right? Like the cooler master and the Intel-i5 I bought?

Also, when I get that 570 should I get like EVGA or something? My old GPU was EVGA and it was a pretty dedicated GPU back in it's day. Addition to the 570, will it play all the recently released games at pretty high settings if so maybe max? (BF3, Skyrim, Metro 2033 or Crysis even?)
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a b U Graphics card
December 1, 2011 11:35:38 PM

Ya, ya. No compatibility issues. Everything's pretty standard here.
EVGA would be a safe bet, and cheaper than many other options too. This is probably the best-performing card: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
The 570 will max most games, but not all. My definition of maxing is 60fps; I believe that it's better to dial quality down than to get choppy visuals. This card'll get you probably 45 or 50 fps in a few of the latest games with all the eye candy on (Crysis 2, BF3, Metro 2033), but otherwise I think you'll see pretty consistent maxing. Skyrim will easily max: it's mostly CPU limited, and the 2500K'll eat it up.
You just happened to pick three of the most graphically demanding games available.
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December 2, 2011 12:33:07 AM

Okay sweet sounds good, lol ironically this thread was to help me get a GPU first but instead i bought everything but that haha.

Well most games to me is good enough I don't really need to be picture perfect with every game I'd like to enjoy it at the same time, so seems like this is my best bet. Oh and I was talking about Crysis 1 the one that came out in 2007, but I'm pretty sure it can handle that. The game that will probably be the most demanding is Metro 2033. Ok Skyrim has no problems then can't wait to get to see some of the mods :D .

Well thanks everyone for your advice, specially you kajabla you've been a big help. Greatly appreciated.

I will be planning to get the 570 soon maybe like next week and then the SSD but I gotta save some money first for the SSD it's a money killer.
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a b U Graphics card
December 2, 2011 12:34:56 AM

But Crysis 2 is baadaaass :D 
Yep, you shouldn't have problems with the original Crysis. You will not be able to max (60fps) Metro with everything on, but it'll still look great.
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December 2, 2011 12:39:13 AM

K cool thanks, can't wait for this beast to be built! :D 
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December 3, 2011 4:28:08 AM

Best answer selected by ekkstra.
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