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Need Some Help Choosing a Graphics Card

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January 4, 2012 6:51:35 PM

I've been looking for a little while at purchasing a new graphics card. This is the first time I've actually purchased one, so I don't know exactly what to look for. My system is a Biostar A780L3G Motherboard with 4GB ram, an AMD Phenom II X4 840 processor running at 3.2 GHz. My PSU is a Diablotek 500W ATX power supply, and I have one 6 pin PCI-E power connector on it. I have an almost ten year old 18 inch monitor at a resolution of 1024x768, yeah I know it's not the best. I've found a couple of graphics cards I'm thinking about, particularly the AMD Radeon HD 6770, one by PowerColor, the other by XFX, for $100 and $109 respectively. Both have 1GB GDDR5 memory, and seem to be otherwise the same card. I'm specifically looking for one around $100, with room to go up to $130. I would like to play Call of Duty Black Ops, Modern Warfare 3, and Skyrim, at decent settings, meaning, 1024x768 resolution, mid to high anti-aliasing settings, and a frame rate of 40 and higher. What is the difference between GDDR and DDR, and will it affect the gaming experience in any way, and which manufacturers of the graphics cards would you recommend? I don't care if it is an NVidia card or an AMD card, and any suggestions for around $100 cards would be helpful. Thanks

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a c 164 U Graphics card
January 4, 2012 7:03:12 PM

The HD6770 is a great card (maybe abit of an overkill at those resolutions, but since thats your budget you may as well leave room for a screen upgrade later on).

GDDR5 is the better one to have. It refers to the Data rate of the Graphics card memory.
DDR = double data rate.
The G is just for graphics as the DDR5 is only available in graphics as yet.

This explains the theory if you would like to read more :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DDR_SDRAM

GDDR5 memery ALWAYS results in better performance so it is preferred.

Between the two XFX is much better in my opinion as it usually has a better warranty and are more reliable.

The card will do better than just 40 frames at that resolution, so go for it!

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a c 199 U Graphics card
January 4, 2012 7:39:57 PM

Although a HD6770 is the card to get, your Diablotek PSU-shaped object will most likely be incapable of powering it, and will likely die in a shower of sparks. Buy a quality PSU like a 380W Antec Earthwatts (currently $45) before upgrading your GPU.

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a c 164 U Graphics card
January 4, 2012 8:02:14 PM

Onus said:
Although a HD6770 is the card to get, your Diablotek PSU-shaped object will most likely be incapable of powering it, and will likely die in a shower of sparks. Buy a quality PSU like a 380W Antec Earthwatts (currently $45) before upgrading your GPU.


Radeon cards are not power hungry. He will make it by a good margin me thinks.

BUT a better PSU isnt a bad thing.
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a b U Graphics card
January 4, 2012 8:06:07 PM

Onus said:
Although a HD6770 is the card to get, your Diablotek PSU-shaped object will most likely be incapable of powering it, and will likely die in a shower of sparks. Buy a quality PSU like a 380W Antec Earthwatts (currently $45) before upgrading your GPU.

Um 6770 is an ultra power efficient low power GPU one 6 pin his PSU is just fine for a 6770.
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a c 199 U Graphics card
January 4, 2012 9:12:28 PM

A quality 350W PSU like a Seasonic wouldn't break a sweat on a HD6770, but your "500W" Diablotek PSU-shaped object is probably not capable of even 350W; in fact if I had to guess, I'd say it may not even be able to output 300W for extended periods of time unless it has gale-force winds cooling it.
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a b U Graphics card
January 4, 2012 9:16:47 PM

Onus said:
A quality 350W PSU like a Seasonic wouldn't break a sweat on a HD6770, but your "500W" Diablotek PSU-shaped object is probably not capable of even 350W; in fact if I had to guess, I'd say it may not even be able to output 300W for extended periods of time unless it has gale-force winds cooling it.

LOL your claim is sensational and unsubstantiated LOL and kind of ridiculous and funny at the same time.
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a c 199 U Graphics card
January 4, 2012 9:35:43 PM

I didn't find one on that specific model, but there are a few reviews of Diablotek PSUs online (jonnyguru has at least one, as does hardOCP) that shows them to be overrated, system-killing GARBAGE. Jonnyguru apparently had some of their test equipment killed by one. Here are the links: http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=... http://www.hardocp.com/article/2010/12/17/diablotek_phd... and another cheap JG review thrown in that references the Diablotek one and expressing concern over the test equipment: http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...
What's sensational is the idiocy of people who will risk their expensive systems on cheap PSUs. It isn't funny, and the only thing that is ridiculous is that these perpetrators of willful consumer fraud haven't been thrown in the slammer, fined out of existence, and/or put down for it.
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a b U Graphics card
January 4, 2012 9:46:12 PM

Onus said:
I didn't find one on that specific model, but there are a few reviews of Diablotek PSUs online (jonnyguru has at least one, as does hardOCP) that shows them to be overrated, system-killing GARBAGE. Jonnyguru apparently had some of their test equipment killed by one. Here are the links: http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=... http://www.hardocp.com/article/2010/12/17/diablotek_phd... and another cheap JG review thrown in that references the Diablotek one and expressing concern over the test equipment: http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...
What's sensational is the idiocy of people who will risk their expensive systems on cheap PSUs. It isn't funny, and the only thing that is ridiculous is that these perpetrators of willful consumer fraud haven't been thrown in the slammer, fined out of existence, and/or put down for it.

I would never buy anything other than 80Plus Certified PSU from Enermax, Corsair, Seasonic, Antec, OCZ, XFX, CoolerMaster. I just find it ridiculous that industry could let a 200watt continuous power rating discrepancy fly LOL preposterous and I am sure that the PSU in question is diabolical but that's just blasphemous LOL.
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a b U Graphics card
January 4, 2012 9:49:05 PM

Onus said:
I didn't find one on that specific model, but there are a few reviews of Diablotek PSUs online (jonnyguru has at least one, as does hardOCP) that shows them to be overrated, system-killing GARBAGE. Jonnyguru apparently had some of their test equipment killed by one. Here are the links: http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=... http://www.hardocp.com/article/2010/12/17/diablotek_phd... and another cheap JG review thrown in that references the Diablotek one and expressing concern over the test equipment: http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...
What's sensational is the idiocy of people who will risk their expensive systems on cheap PSUs. It isn't funny, and the only thing that is ridiculous is that these perpetrators of willful consumer fraud haven't been thrown in the slammer, fined out of existence, and/or put down for it.

OK I skimmed the review you provided and it looks like that PSU is Fail juice to the power of 2 LOL I would not buy that thing just based on looks it looks like it would just heat up and fail LOL.
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a b U Graphics card
January 4, 2012 11:22:37 PM

Onus said:
Other than Coolermaster (all kinds of fail sauce there, like http://www.hardocp.com/article/2010/11/22/cooler_master... ) and many OCZ, that list is close to mine. FSP has some good units, and LEPA is essentially Enermax.

SeaSonic and Enermax are some of the best PSUs in the world Antec is solid and Corsair is Seasonic you failed.
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a c 199 U Graphics card
January 4, 2012 11:35:08 PM

Headspin_69 said:
SeaSonic and Enermax are some of the best PSUs in the world Antec is solid and Corsair is Seasonic you failed.

How did I fail? Seasonic has consistently high quality across their entire line; many (but not all) Corsair are built by Seasonic and are of course as good; same for Antec which also uses Delta for some of their better models but has some mediocre units at the low end. The only ones from your list I would not choose are CM and many OCZ; I would add LEPA because I believe they are essentially re-branded Enermax. I added FSP also, which typically reviews well.
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a b U Graphics card
January 4, 2012 11:43:04 PM

Onus said:
How did I fail? Seasonic has consistently high quality across their entire line; many (but not all) Corsair are built by Seasonic and are of course as good; same for Antec which also uses Delta for some of their better models but has some mediocre units at the low end. The only ones from your list I would not choose are CM and many OCZ; I would add LEPA because I believe they are essentially re-branded Enermax. I added FSP also, which typically reviews well.

I put OCZ because those Mod Extreme PSUs from OCZ are dirt cheap and still pretty high quality plus they are fully modular FTW. Sorry I misunderstood it seemed like you were disagreeing when I stated that Enermax, Corsair, Antec, Seasonic make or produce crap PSU when they are among the best in the world as far as I know. The reason I said Cooler Master is because i am one one right now and it is working fine and some of the reviews were favorably for some of there units.
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a c 199 U Graphics card
January 4, 2012 11:56:40 PM

Nope, I agreed with most of your choices. The ModXStream units have reviewed well (e.g. at HardwareSecrets), but I've also seen remarks on other forums where OCZ has been dinged hard for some substandard parts, like 85C caps. My own PSUs are all Seasonic or Antec, although I've got an Enermax Liberty in a rig I'm wanting to sell. Believe it or not, my "bench" PSU is actually my Antec SG-650, but I may put it back in my primary PC (now using a Seasonic X-560) especially if I upgrade the GPU.

Anyway, I think we should return this thread to its rightful owner. If you don't replace your PSU, don't use anything more demanding than a HD6670 (and hope for the best), otherwise if you consider the Best Graphics Cards for the Money article, a HD6790 or HD6870 would be high on my list.
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a b U Graphics card
January 5, 2012 12:01:59 AM

Onus said:
Nope, I agreed with most of your choices. The ModXStream units have reviewed well (e.g. at HardwareSecrets), but I've also seen remarks on other forums where OCZ has been dinged hard for some substandard parts, like 85C caps. My own PSUs are all Seasonic or Antec, although I've got an Enermax Liberty in a rig I'm wanting to sell. Believe it or not, my "bench" PSU is actually my Antec SG-650, but I may put it back in my primary PC (now using a Seasonic X-560) especially if I upgrade the GPU.

I promote Enermax because a 550watt Enermax from back in 09 ran a Crossifre 4890 Dragon platform and Phenom II x4 940 for me no problems that's how well built the PSU was and a testament to the fact that good quality PSUs are generally have underrated specs.
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January 5, 2012 12:32:26 AM

I quite frankly don't know jack about power supplies. When I rebuilt this computer a couple of weeks ago, used to be an HP Pavilion A550E from 2002 with one of the original Athlon 64 processors, I had a 300W PSU, not sure about the manufacture. That didn't supply enough power output to power the Phenom processor, so I went to Microcenter and got the cheapest PSU I could find, that Diablotek 500W one for $20. I still don't know what is so bad about using cheap power supplies. This is the link to the PSU. http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml....
This PSU does have the 6 pin PCI-E power connector, so it should be able to handle the graphics card. Microcenter sells a ton of these Diablotek PSUs now that I go back and search, they also make some of the cases that Microcenter sells. Can someone tell me the disadvantages of using a cheap PSU? Thanks for the replies about the graphics card.
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a b U Graphics card
January 5, 2012 12:41:03 AM

grumman said:
I quite frankly don't know jack about power supplies. When I rebuilt this computer a couple of weeks ago, used to be an HP Pavilion A550E from 2002 with one of the original Athlon 64 processors, I had a 300W PSU, not sure about the manufacture. That didn't supply enough power output to power the Phenom processor, so I went to Microcenter and got the cheapest PSU I could find, that Diablotek 500W one for $20. I still don't know what is so bad about using cheap power supplies. This is the link to the PSU. http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml....
This PSU does have the 6 pin PCI-E power connector, so it should be able to handle the graphics card. Microcenter sells a ton of these Diablotek PSUs now that I go back and search, they also make some of the cases that Microcenter sells. Can someone tell me the disadvantages of using a cheap PSU? Thanks for the replies about the graphics card.

http://www.corsair.com/highqualitypower/ This is a decent quicky overview of why a Quality PSU is very important and really the biggest problem of Cheap PSUs is inefficiency which intern creates more wasted energy that in turn just coverts to heat instead of it's rated continuous power rating.
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a c 199 U Graphics card
January 5, 2012 1:00:13 AM

I would suggest going to www.hardwaresecrets.com and reading some of their tutorial articles on PSUs, and then read a few of their reviews. Be sure to include some on cheap PSUs that are not good for what is on their labels, and that can pass damaging ripple and noise to attached components, particularly when overloaded. Compare scope shots. Computers are wonderfully stable when provided the smooth, clean power of a Seasonic or Antec, vs. the erratic waveforms of a Diablotek, Apevia, or Logisys.

Edit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTVEtr14FEA
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January 5, 2012 1:01:27 AM

Headspin_69 said:
http://www.corsair.com/highqualitypower/ This is a decent quicky overview of why a Quality PSU is very important and really the biggest problem of Cheap PSUs is inefficiency which intern creates more wasted energy that in turn just coverts to heat instead of it's rated continuous power rating.

Well, I'm not sure how to test consistency, and this one delivers 78% efficiency. Also, this does not explain how a cheap PSU can damage parts as stated by someone above. So I'm still not convinced to take this back and spend a premium on what I originally thought should be one of the cheapest parts of the PC.
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a b U Graphics card
January 5, 2012 1:14:37 AM

grumman said:
Well, I'm not sure how to test consistency, and this one delivers 78% efficiency. Also, this does not explain how a cheap PSU can damage parts as stated by someone above. So I'm still not convinced to take this back and spend a premium on what I originally thought should be one of the cheapest parts of the PC.

It has been said before that faulty or cheap PSUs have caused hardware failures however i have never had this happen to me but when building my rigs I get quality not the cheapest I can find. Crap PSUs that do not deliver what they claim can and will do things like cause frequent and unexpected shut downs and some have even lit up in flames. My recommendation to you is try your PSU out for the hardware you want to use and if it works and does not seem to be heating up hotter than the hubs of hell than congrats you saved some coin on the PSU.
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a c 199 U Graphics card
January 5, 2012 1:49:30 AM

Read the competent technical reviews of cheap PSUs at sites like HardwareSecrets, jonnyguru, and HardOCP. If your own reading and research does not convince you, I would suggest you are better served by buying a Dell. It won't be easily upgraded, and will cost more than it's worth, but the PSU will have been sized appropriately for the included parts, and won't be utter junk, otherwise Dell would not be as successful as they are. Otherwise, TBH, you can expect little sympathy from this group when your cheap PSU destroys your system as it dies.

Peace, out.
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a b U Graphics card
January 5, 2012 1:56:45 AM

Onus said:
Read the competent technical reviews of cheap PSUs at sites like HardwareSecrets, jonnyguru, and HardOCP. If your own reading and research does not convince you, I would suggest you are better served by buying a Dell. It won't be easily upgraded, and will cost more than it's worth, but the PSU will have been sized appropriately for the included parts, and won't be utter junk, otherwise Dell would not be as successful as they are. Otherwise, TBH, you can expect little sympathy from this group when your cheap PSU destroys your system as it dies.

Peace, out.

One day he may learn first hand what happens when you go all cheap on an integral part such as the PSU but all the best to him and hey his cheapo PSU might just work out for him if he wins the luck of the draw LOL.
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January 12, 2012 12:17:10 AM

Best answer selected by grumman.
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