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Video card recommendation

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 9, 2011 8:01:14 PM

i just built my first system and need to buy a video card in order to support dual monitors (my existing CRT and a new LCD). the LCD will run off of the motherboard using the HDMI port on each and the CRT will run off of the video card using the DVI port (and using DVI/VGA adapter)

my question is how powerful a video card should i get. i've never been a big gamer but would like to try some since i now have more free time. i want to try a flight simulator game (Flight Simulator X) and possibly some sort of basic first person shooting game that has missions. i will not be playing anything online if that matters.

i currently run the CRT at 1280 x 1024 for normal work and plan on running the LCD at its native 1980 x 1080 resolution.

here is my current setup:

Case: Corsair Carbide 400R
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD4
Power supply: Corsair CMPSU-650TXV2 (650 watts)
Memory: Corsair CML16GX3M4A1600C9 (DDR3 1600, 16GB)
Processor: i5-2500K (not currently overclocking but will in the future)

since there is a GPU built right into the processor i don't even have an idea as to whether or not the built in GPU can handle these types of games easily. if the built in GPU is powerful enough then i would probably just buy a cheap card to handle the CRT and play the games on the LCD. if the feeling that this GPU is not powerful enough then i would buy a card that could handle these types of games and play them on the CRT.

i would prefer using an nVidia chipset since i have used these in the past on pre-built systems and have been happy with them. plus it cuts in half the amount of cards i need to look at. :>) :>)

i would also prefer to stick with the eVGA or XFX as i have read in some posts that these are two of the top video manufacturers as far as quality, reliability, and support.

looking at the numbers on the PassMark videocard benchcard site they list the i5-2500K GPU with a score of 437. two of the cards i was considering were the GeForce GTS 450 GPU (score of 1427) and the GeForce GTX 550 card
(score of 1881).

what gets confusing to me is the rated speed of the Intel GPU is 850Mhz but the speeds of the 450 and 550 cards are 783Mhz and 951Mhz respectively. so the Intel GPU speed is between the 450 and 550 cards but benchmarks much slower. i know that the Intel GPU lists 12 "execution units" and nVidia cards have "stream processing units" so i don't know how much these play into it. plus the fact that the nVidia cards list a shader clock speed. all very confusing for someone who has never bought a separate video card before.

according to the benchmark the 550 card is 4 times as "powerful" as the Intel GPU but how much does this translate in real-world applications since benchmarks can sometimes be artificial.

both of the video cards i was looking at come with 1GB, GDDR5, SLI-ready, PCI-E 2.0 x16 with the 450 at 128 bit and the 550 at 192 bit.

so the main question is, do i really need to buy a decent video card to play the types of games i've listed or can i get by with the Intel GPU and buy a cheap card. or do i need a better card to get decent frame rates? and if
so, would the GTS 450 or GTX 550 meet my needs for these types of games with some room to grow for a game that might require more horsepower.

i would like to keep the cost below $100-125 before rebates if i do have to buy a better card. also looking to buy within the next few days since i have newegg has some discounts going.

Cross-posted to: www.tomshardware.com forums
www.tweaktown.com forums
a c 153 U Graphics card
December 9, 2011 8:17:45 PM

The sandy bridge graphics that are built in are... lackluster at best. You can get a 50 dollar GPU that will blow them away.

You said you want to stick with XFX, but then stick with Nvidia? XFX doesn't make Nvidia cards.

Don't worry about the speeds and what not of the cards, they mean nothing, just pay attention to benchmarks. Think about it this way, we have CPUs many years ago that were 3.0Ghz right? Well those get smoked by CPUs of today that are only 2.6GHz, why? Because of architectural differences. You will gain almost nothing comparing graphics cards that way because many are architecturally different.

You will want a graphics card for sure, the Intel one is horrid. Especially on that 1080 screen.

For 125 dollars I recommend the 6790. You're going to go a little over budget, but its a bit better then 550. Plus after rebates you will be fine.


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Don't get me wrong though, thats just what I would do, it doesn't really matter, the difference isn't that much. This is actually a GREAT price considering the rebate on a good card.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


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a c 109 U Graphics card
December 9, 2011 9:45:06 PM

Helltech said:
The sandy bridge graphics that are built in are... lackluster at best. You can get a 50 dollar GPU that will blow them away.

You said you want to stick with XFX, but then stick with Nvidia? XFX doesn't make Nvidia cards.

Don't worry about the speeds and what not of the cards, they mean nothing, just pay attention to benchmarks. Think about it this way, we have CPUs many years ago that were 3.0Ghz right? Well those get smoked by CPUs of today that are only 2.6GHz, why? Because of architectural differences. You will gain almost nothing comparing graphics cards that way because many are architecturally different.

You will want a graphics card for sure, the Intel one is horrid. Especially on that 1080 screen.

For 125 dollars I recommend the 6790. You're going to go a little over budget, but its a bit better then 550. Plus after rebates you will be fine.


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Don't get me wrong though, thats just what I would do, it doesn't really matter, the difference isn't that much. This is actually a GREAT price considering the rebate on a good card.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

xfx used to make nvidia cards.
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December 11, 2011 1:31:18 AM

Helltech said:

For 125 dollars I recommend the 6790. You're going to go a little over budget, but its a bit better then 550. Plus after rebates you will be fine.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Don't get me wrong though, thats just what I would do, it doesn't really matter, the difference isn't that much. This is actually a GREAT price considering the rebate on a good card.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


started looking at some of the benchmark figures at PassMark and it looks like the 6790 does have better numbers than the 550 Ti. so i went on to newegg and started looking at the 6790 cards. you had given me a link to a XFX card but i came across this one ($145 - $50 rebate = $95 final).

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

this one is made by MSI. the 550 card you referenced above is also made by MSI. i was leaning towards eVGA or XFX based on some posts i read that these two manufacturers are the best for video cards. anyone know how MSI stacks up as far as quality, reliability, support, etc.

assuming one doesn't get cheated out of the rebate because of some "technicality" this seems like an excellent bargain.



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