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Help choosing a new graphics card.

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 5, 2011 9:44:33 PM

Hi everyone,

I'm new to the community and would like to ask for some help.

Over the summer I threw together a system with some spare parts I had lying around and a few things I purchased from Newegg so I wouldn't have to drag my old P4 to college with me. I figured it'd be embarassing to bring it as I'm a computer science major at a tech university. Anyways, I did the best I could with my money at the time and came out with this system:

Motherboard:
Foxconn A74ML-K AM2+/AM3 AMD 740G Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
Processor:
AMD Phenom X4 9550 Quad @ 2.20 GHz with Thermaltake CLP0579 120mm Contac 30 CPU Cooler
RAM:
Transcend 4 GB (2 x 2 GB) DDR2 PC2-6400
HDD:
WD 500 Caviar Blue Sata 3 GB/S 3.5"
Video Card:
MSI R5450-MD1GD3H/LP Radeon HD 5450 1GB 64-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP
TV Capture Card:
Diamond ATI TV Wonder HD 750 PCIE DVB-T HDTV receiver/analog TV/video input adapter PCIE x1
Optical Drive:
ASUS Black 18X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA DVD-ROM Drive
Case:
Diablotek EVO CPA-6170 Black 0.6mm SECC ATX Mid Tower with blue LED
PSU:
280 Watt Diablotek non-modular PSU (removed from an old HP desktop)

It runs my older games just fine, like Trainz Rail Simulator `06 and Quake 4, but a few weeks ago I purchased Battlefield 3 and it brought my system to its knees. Now I've heard that Bf3 is very CPU dependent, but I'm wondering if I can purchase an updated graphics card to compensate for my older CPU and older graphics card. Christmas is around the corner and my parents said they'd chip in so I can get a decent card. I don't want to run into a huge bottleneck, so can anyone offer any suggestions/thoughts?

Thanks,

Mark J

More about : choosing graphics card

December 5, 2011 9:52:59 PM

I for sure will be getting a new PSU for Christmas from my parents so that won't be a problem. My mobo can support AM3 procs so I can upgrade it later once I get a job. Any recommendations on a GPU though? I was looking at 6870's, but I'm not for sure. Thanks for the quick reply.
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a c 1363 U Graphics card
December 5, 2011 9:55:24 PM

You know what PSU you are getting? Make sure it is a quality unit! HD6870 is a good card and if you are planning a CPU upgrade later then I do not see a problem with your current CPU bottlenecking it in the meantime!
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December 5, 2011 10:05:50 PM

If you are looking to upgrade soon, the newly announced 6930 should be an excellent performer, and be priced where the current 6870 is. I agree with Rolli59 though. Before you do anything, upgrade your power supply.

Also if you are testing with BF3 to see if you are CPU or GPU bound, open your task manager before you launch the game, then play it a little bit, then alt-tab to your task manager and look at the CPU history graph to see if it's at 100%

Happy building!
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December 5, 2011 10:16:40 PM

Thanks to the both of y'all for the quick replys!

dalethepcman,

Thanks for the tip, I'll have to investigate next time I fire the game up!

rolli59,

Thanks for your judgement, I'll probably go with the corsair. But out of curiosity, what's the difference between the raidmax and the corsair? I've always been foggy about how PSU are rated and the whole "rails" concept. Out of all types of hardware, I'm least knowledgeable on PSU's.
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a c 1363 U Graphics card
December 5, 2011 10:27:38 PM

There are a few brands that are quality Raidmax is not one of them! The raidmax in question has the ratings of a decent 500watt unit although they say it is 630watts, no 80+ certification and no active pfc! Here is a list that is good to know about http://www.eggxpert.com/forums/thread/323050.aspx
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December 5, 2011 10:39:53 PM

Thanks for the advice! I'll certainly use that list!
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December 19, 2011 12:45:30 AM

Best answer selected by mjj92.
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