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Best Video card (AMD) for HTPC using 380watts PSU?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 30, 2011 6:54:29 AM

I currently got a midi-spec system below:

- Athlon X4-640 (3.0 GHz)
- MSI 890GX mobo (Radeon 4290 onboard GPU)
- 4 GB DDR3
- OCZ 120GB SSD
- Hitachi 2 TB HDD
- Antec fusion case with LCD
- 3 92mm Fans, DVDRW
- Seasonic 380 watts PSU (34 Amps combined on 12V rail)


What's the best video card I can get to be:
1. Don't tax my PSU
2. Cool and Quiet for HTPC
3. To bitstream HD Audio, play bluray, have good video quality
4. Can play some of the latest games at max-quality in 720P, and mid-quality in 1080P
5. Max GPU that doesn't make my CPU the bottleneck (not sure for instance of 6850 is too much for my CPU?)

I have narrowed things down to these AMD Radeon cards:
- 6670 (doesn't need extra power, but probably too weak)
- 5770 (108 watts, but not sure if enuf power?)
- 6790 (150 watts! probably too hot/much for PSU)
- 6850 (only 127 watts, even if it's stronger than 6790?!)

I really appreciate any recommendations, not just for the card, but also for the brand that has done a good quite/cool implementation of the chipset (I think Sapphire is best, but there are some deals around XFX and Diamond cards I've seen).

Thanks!
a b U Graphics card
December 30, 2011 7:09:14 AM

5770 require 450w, at least 400w with low end cpu. If you dont upgrade to a new psu you cant use a 5770 or higher gpu on your system. You have to stay in 6670. 6750/5750 require 86w but still tight to your psu.
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December 30, 2011 7:23:58 AM

5770 is doable on a 380W if it's a high quality PSU and the rest of the system isn't really high on watts. Seasonic is a good brand and 34A is pretty good on the 12v rail, so it's possible. It would be pushing it close, and going to a 6850 is pushing it even closer.
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a c 175 U Graphics card
December 30, 2011 7:27:38 AM

Seasonic is a decent brand and I think it will hold 6770 fine, get 6770.
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December 30, 2011 7:29:46 AM

mubin said:
5770 require 450w, at least 400w with low end cpu. If you dont upgrade to a new psu you cant use a 5770 or higher gpu on your system. You have to stay in 6670.


This is very dependent on the specific power supply. If you had a random crap power supply from HP/Dell/etc. then yes, but with a quality PSU like Seasonic he doesn't need nearly that. A 150w card would leave 230w for the rest of the system which is more than enough, and that PSU has plenty of power on the 12v rail for any of those cards.

Any card with a single 6pin PCI-E power input will be fine with that PSU no problem, and if he really wanted he could probably push it to some of the 2x 6pin cards, though at that point I wouldn't recommend it anymore.

The 6850 would be a good card to go with, though if you don't need the horsepower for gaming you could do the 5770/6770 as well. (6790 is really kind of the odd card out, and the 6670 would leave you lacking for your occasional games) If you really want, i believe there is a low power version of the 5770 that doesn't use external power, though it's really not necessarily, and the likely extra cost would be better put toward a 6850 instead.
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a b U Graphics card
December 30, 2011 7:50:19 AM

the Seasonic 380W should be good enough to hold a HD6770. Even an average 400W can hold a HD5770 easy. TBH, any card with a single 6pin power connector should be fine. The HD6770 can max out Skyrim with 2x AA @ 1080p (40ish fps).
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December 30, 2011 2:49:29 PM

Ok, thanks. So 5770 for sure no problem while 6850 is most likely fine, right?
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December 30, 2011 2:55:50 PM

The 6670 is the most powerful card you can install that has no requirement for power dran from other sources than the PCI-E slot. Only 66W, and no PCI-E 6Pin additional power required. I for one would invest in a $15 wall socket energy monitor before splashing out on cards. Take into account your PSU efficiency (Hopefully it has an 80 PLUS sticker?), so if it's 80% efficient then a 400W draw at the wall will equate to 320 in the case etc. See what you are using now, take your card out and use onboard and check again. That will give you the requirements for your current card, and how much extra headroom you have. Choose a card based on those figures.
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December 30, 2011 3:24:37 PM

stuffe said:
The 6670 is the most powerful card you can install that has no requirement for power dran from other sources than the PCI-E slot. Only 66W, and no PCI-E 6Pin additional power required. I for one would invest in a $15 wall socket energy monitor before splashing out on cards. Take into account your PSU efficiency (Hopefully it has an 80 PLUS sticker?), so if it's 80% efficient then a 400W draw at the wall will equate to 320 in the case etc. See what you are using now, take your card out and use onboard and check again. That will give you the requirements for your current card, and how much extra headroom you have. Choose a card based on those figures.


This is my PSU. It is 80 Bronze plus.



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a c 173 U Graphics card
December 30, 2011 3:42:26 PM

34A * 12V = 408W. That's more then 380, so you don't have 34A. If you look at the picture you'll see that under BOTH 12V rails it says 324W. 324W / 12V = 27A.

You'll still be fine with the 5770. It has a 110W TDP, so that leaves you with over 200W for the rest of the system. Even if you had a 125W CPU, you'll still have enough for everything else. Be careful with any OCing as that might be a bit to much.
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December 30, 2011 8:15:45 PM

4745454b said:
34A * 12V = 408W. That's more then 380, so you don't have 34A. If you look at the picture you'll see that under BOTH 12V rails it says 324W. 324W / 12V = 27A.

You'll still be fine with the 5770. It has a 110W TDP, so that leaves you with over 200W for the rest of the system. Even if you had a 125W CPU, you'll still have enough for everything else. Be careful with any OCing as that might be a bit to much.


It IS a 380watts PSU, but it has 324W under 12V according to that picture, which is weird as it say 17A for 12 volts and that should be 408 watts... funny enough when I looked at the Seasonic 430 watts, it also has 17A under 12*2, but it rates it at 360 watts, kinda doesn't make sense to me. I honestly think those two are the same, just rated differently for price segments. I remember when researching the Seasonic 380 was reviwed very well.

At any rate, so is 6850 too much then? I think it's rated 127 watts max, with my 95 watts CPU, I'd be at 222. Or maybe wait for the new 7770? Looks like a perfect card, only 100 watts but with performance much higher than 6850.

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a c 173 U Graphics card
December 31, 2011 12:14:09 AM

It makes sense to me. Each rail can handle 17A on its own. But together the "12V source" that powers them can't output the full 34A. Basically you can't just add the single rails together to get the total output.

You'd be fine with the 6850. 222W + another 50W or so for the rest of the system is only 275W. You have another 50W to spare so you'll be ok. Any single 6pin PCIe card should be fine.
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a c 175 U Graphics card
December 31, 2011 2:56:20 AM

6850+1

If you can't get them then 6770...
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a c 92 U Graphics card
December 31, 2011 3:08:12 AM

you'd want to have the 6850 if you want max at 720p. Not overkill :p 
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January 1, 2012 7:43:19 PM

esrever said:
you'd want to have the 6850 if you want max at 720p. Not overkill :p 


Thanks. Would that do Battlefield 3?

Thnx
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a c 92 U Graphics card
January 1, 2012 8:26:07 PM

it will have a good chance to play bf3 on high at 720p with a 6850.
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January 7, 2012 2:00:31 AM

Best answer selected by alexb75.
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