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Need a solid graphics card on a budget. Please reply

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December 29, 2011 9:23:49 PM

Hey guys :)  I recently bought this computer from best buy http://www.bestbuy.ca/en-CA/product/hewlett-packard-hp-...

I thought it was a decent deal for 599.99 bucks. I intended on doing a lot of gaming on it, and I knew that the graphics card was probably the most important thing for gaming, yet I bought the computer anyways with an AMD Radeon HD 6450 Graphics card. I did a bit of research afterwards and realized that this card is not good for gaming.. atleast i do not think it is.

My question is, what graphics cards can I buy for under 200 dollars (preferably as inexpensive as possible) to run games such as Battle field 3, Starcraft 2, Crysis 2, Skyrim on the highest quality. I realize there probably isnt one for under 200 bucks but I would like to experience any game at the best definition I can. Thank you :) 

Oh and I live in Newfoundland, Canada if that makes a difference.
a c 1378 U Graphics card
a c 279 4 Gaming
December 29, 2011 9:36:43 PM

The PSU in the computer probably has to be replaced to support a gaming card. Not knowing the size of it taking a wild guess the HD6670 might be the best you can do.
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December 29, 2011 10:16:20 PM

Thanks for your post, I bought the computer today and it is in getting a few speed tweaks and some other things done to it. Im thinking the PSU was 650 or 750W. Does that change what you said or am I still better off getting the HD6670?

Also on a different but similar topic, I am pretty sure i have heard of people getting 2 graphics cards for the one pc. Is it possible to put the 6670 and the 6450 together? and would that increase my preformance?

Thanks :) 
Matt
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a c 92 U Graphics card
December 29, 2011 10:18:53 PM

you should get a 6850 or a 6870 at that price point.

also you won't be able to use both cards at once unless you use them in crossfire and then both cards have to be the same. its also not worth it to crossfire 2 6450s.
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December 29, 2011 10:39:59 PM

Ahh I see. Thanks for your reply :D  My pc meets all the requirements for the 6850 I think. Correct me if I'm wrong. But I cannot find the req's for the 6870. Is my computer good for it? Which one do you recommend as the best bang for your buck.. I dont mind spending the little extra money if it will make a significant difference.

Thanks :D 
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a c 92 U Graphics card
December 29, 2011 10:48:41 PM

you computer will be able to use both and if you have the money, the 6870 should be a better buy
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a c 92 U Graphics card
December 29, 2011 10:58:06 PM

I'd say the second one even tho its used
first one is refurbished and I never trust those lol.
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December 29, 2011 11:01:49 PM

i bought a brand new HD 6870 for around $200 (much cheaper in usa or try ncix.com) and i play skyrim on max with no problems
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December 29, 2011 11:11:54 PM

haha alright thanks esrever you helped alot. :)  and yeah Im thinking that this video card will be great for me. Although I've been looking around at people saying games like BF3 and many other games that require a higher graphics card it will only be able to run on some high quality settings and some medium without issue's. I don't see how there will be issue's seeing as i have been playing older games such as guildwars and starcraft 2 on the highest settings with a graphics card equal or worse than the 6450 without a hitch.

Thank you for your reply reaper. I'll check the site out. :) 
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a c 193 U Graphics card
a b 4 Gaming
December 29, 2011 11:45:38 PM

Verify the wattage and quality of the PSU you're getting. The stock was probably 300W; if you're having a new one added, make sure it isn't one of the Dynex, Huntkey, or Rocketfish PSU-shaped objects that Best Buy foists off on the unsuspecting. A 500W Corsair or Antec (Best Buy in the US has those brands also) could easily handle a HD6870.
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December 30, 2011 12:10:31 AM

Matt-S said:
Thanks for your post, I bought the computer today and it is in getting a few speed tweaks and some other things done to it. Im thinking the PSU was 650 or 750W. Does that change what you said or am I still better off getting the HD6670?

Also on a different but similar topic, I am pretty sure i have heard of people getting 2 graphics cards for the one pc. Is it possible to put the 6670 and the 6450 together? and would that increase my preformance?

Thanks :) 
Matt


We definitely need to know which power supply it comes with, default HP system comes with a 300w PSU which would need upgrading for better dedicated graphics.

Long explanation:
The processor in your PC is an APU, which is a GPU + CPU combined. The GPU built in can combine with certain other GPUs using "hybrid crossfire". The one that came with your PC (6450) can combine, so you can actually use 2 GPUs now. Hybrid Crossfire is only supported in some games and is NOT supported by directx 9 games, so it may or may not work well. At worst, you get the performance of the better GPU. A8 + 6450 makes a 6550D2, which still won't be that good. Right now, you're better using the integrated graphics, an a8 has 6550 level graphics. If you get a 6870 they won't combine but the performance will be better than any combination with the APU. You'd need much more than 300W though, so the new PSU would raise costs.
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December 30, 2011 12:32:39 AM

Thanks for your reply's guys. The computer is still in the shop, picking it up tomorrow.. I was looking at 2 computers, both HP, one of which I am almost sure had 650W, because I remember seeing it, thinking 650W was decent. I hope I chose that one ^^.

I will mostly be playing games that support direct x 10 or 11. Correct me if I am incorrect but most games coming out will support one of those 2, and most of the older games that only support direct x 9 do not need that powerfull of a video card anyways. Should the 6550D2 be sufficient to atleast play Battle field 3, starcraft 2, skyrim and crysis 2 on medium quality for now? If so I may save up a little and get a more powerful graphics card such as the 6970.

Please let me know what you think :)  thanks for the help guys I appreciate it.
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a c 92 U Graphics card
December 30, 2011 12:37:50 AM

the 6550d2 will play them on medium to low depending on how well the crossfire works in the specific games. some games like starcraft 2 you should be able to play on high.

this whole time I did not notice you have an APU. Since thats the case you might want to try to buy a cheap 6670 and run that in asymmetrical crossfire since it would be better.

also a 6970 might be overkill for your cpu depending on the game it might bottleneck.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
December 30, 2011 1:03:03 AM

Very odd that your computer comes with an HD6450 as it really isn't much better than the processors integrated graphics.
Your computer comes with a 300w PSU as everyone is telling you;
http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/Docume...
You will need to replace it if you want to use a decent video card. This is a decent deal;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Your computer also comes with a 5400rpm hard drive as the only drive which is bad news. I HIGHLY recommend you get an SSD for Windows and apps and just use the 5400rpm drive for storage. This would be a good choice;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
If not at least get a 7200rpm drive.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
December 30, 2011 1:05:03 AM

esrever said:
Since thats the case you might want to try to buy a cheap 6670 and run that in asymmetrical crossfire since it would be better.

He can run asymmetrical crossfire with the HD6450 already but it's not very useful in the large majority of games.


Personally I wouldn't pick a PSU with only 336w on the +12v rail to run an HD6870.
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a c 92 U Graphics card
December 30, 2011 1:08:09 AM

jyjjy said:
He can run asymmetrical crossfire with the HD6450 already but it's not very useful in the large majority of games.

I thought it crossfire with the 6450 would be not much of a gain compared to crossfire with a 6670 as you'd barely get an improvement over the normal graphics with the 6450 but you'd get up to 80% improvements with the 6670.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
December 30, 2011 1:15:03 AM

Sure, but that doesn't really have much to do with crossfire, it's just because the HD6670 is a much better card than either the HD6450 or the integrated graphics. If he were to get an HD6670 he would only want to turn on crossfire in DX11 games and then the improvement would be marginal.
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December 30, 2011 3:03:09 AM

Well, as you will be getting it to test out, I would say double check the PSU when you get it. Check the total watts and brand, or better yet, the model number on the PSU. Some brands are more capable than others.

If it IS 300W, try the system out and see how it works out for you. There should be a check box somewhere in AMD's graphics settings that show if crossfire is enabled. If it's on, it might be worth testing some games out. When using crossfire, there is sometimes a visual issue called micro stuttering. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro_stuttering If it's a problem in the games you play, you can always look into discrete graphics.

I think the whole idea behind the a8 +6450 combo is to pull off crossfire with a low wattage. Even going to a 6670 might be too much for a 300W to handle, so getting a better graphics card could require a PSU upgrade also. If it comes with a 650W PSU though, you might be alright for a better card.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
December 30, 2011 3:25:07 AM

kinggraves said:
Even going to a 6670 might be too much for a 300W to handle

A 300w can handle an HD6670 just fine.
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a c 193 U Graphics card
a b 4 Gaming
December 30, 2011 9:03:08 AM

650W is decent, but only if it's a quality brand. A "650W" Dynex or Diablotek is probably only a 300W-350W PSU with a liar-label slapped on it. A 650W Antec or Corsair is probably actually good for well over 700W (not that you'd want to run it that hard, but your PC with a HD6870 added would run easily on a 500W PSU).
If you discover you have a 300W PSU, you can either get a HD6670, or upgrade the PSU and get something more powerful. If your monitor resolution is 1920x1080, you'll want a HD6870 (or stronger). If it is 1440x900 or 1366x768 then the HD6670 will do pretty well.
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December 30, 2011 10:08:20 AM

The last reply just beat me, but I was about to say that no-one has asked what monitor you have and what resolution you will game at. Frankly, you don't need a brilliant card if your monitor is 1366x768...... You chances of running BF3 on high settings increase with every step down the resolution list you make. Most people wanting to (and with the kit to) run BF3 on high/ultra etc, have top range cards, or dual cards which can easily cost what your whole PC cost, and a monitor to match. If you monitor is relatively basic like the rest of the PC, then sit back at 1280x800 or one of the lower resolutions, and see how high the quality goes.

Personally, I would rather go low resolution/high details, than high resolution/lowered detail. I'd look for a 6670 for approx $120, and try to keep your existing PSU. No point buying a PS then throwing away the PSU and Discrete card straight away - get some moneys worth for a small additional outlay now, then save up and upgrade it properly later.
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December 30, 2011 10:17:26 AM

Additional info (I can't edit my posts yet)

a 6670 is only actually about $90, and should eat games up at 1280x800 os similar resolutions while still looking good. It has lowe power requirements, and more importantly doesn't need a PCI Express 6 pin power block which your PSU probably doesn't have. Can't find what power a 6450 uses, but let's say it's hald the 6670, that only leave you needing an extra 30watts headroom on your existing PSU.

From the December GFX card guide:

Honorable Mention:
Radeon HD 6670 GDDR5 (Check Prices)

Exceptional 1680x1050 performance in most games, 1920x1200 in most games with lowered detail

Radeon HD 6670 GDDR5
Codename: Turks
Process: 40 nm
Universal Shaders: 480
Texture Units: 24
ROPs: 8
Memory Bus: 128-bit
Core Speed MHz: 800
Memory Speed MHz: 1000 (4000 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 11/SM 5.0
Max TDP: 66 W

The Radeon HD 6670 isn't really much of an upgrade over the Radeon HD 5670. However, we're going to give it an honorable mention for being the fastest card (at least compared to reference versions from AMD and Nvidia) that doesn't require an auxiliary PCIe power cable. That is to say its power requirements are entirely satisfied by a second-generation PCI Express x16 slot.

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