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Help choosing a new graphics card.

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:

Foxconn A74ML-K AM2+/AM3 AMD 740G Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
AMD Phenom X4 9550 Quad @ 2.20 GHz with Thermaltake CLP0579 120mm Contac 30 CPU Cooler
Transcend 4 GB (2 x 2 GB) DDR2 PC2-6400
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:
Diablotek EVO CPA-6170 Black 0.6mm SECC ATX Mid Tower with blue LED
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?


Mark J
10 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about help choosing graphics card
  1. You are PSU limited for a GPU upgrade, then again your CPU is not the greatest either. Maybe CPU upgrade then maybe a PSU and GPU upgrade.
  2. 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.
  3. Best answer
    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!
  4. I was looking at getting this raidmax unit:

    And I am going to update the CPU, possibly as soon as Christmas, depending on how much money I have left over from my family's gifts.

  5. 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!
  6. That is not a good PSU this is a much better unit and plenty for you rig with one GPU
    Even this one would run it
  7. Thanks to the both of y'all for the quick replys!


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


    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.
  8. 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
  9. Thanks for the advice! I'll certainly use that list!
  10. Best answer selected by mjj92.
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