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Budget Graphics Card for Skyrim Ultra, Running Medium on Intel HD 2000

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
January 8, 2012 8:15:57 AM


Noob Dislcaimer: Noob here !!

This is my first post here, but seeing the number of gurus here I am sure my query will be answered here. So I've been meaning to spend a little on a graphics card I went over some of the threads here and am still sorta confused. To make it easier for y'all to answer the question I am sticking to the template here.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: in the next month BUDGET RANGE: USD $100 +_ $20

USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming ( skyrim at this point). Also some other games at varying levels

CURRENT GPU AND POWER SUPPLY: Intel Graphics HD @ 1366 X 768 with medium graphics (and large view distances for actors) and very playable ( as in you really can’t tell that I am not using a dedicated graphics card). PSU 350 W (i’d rather not upgrade that just yet)

OTHER RELEVANT SYSTEM SPECS: Intel Core i7 2600 3.4 Ghz Quad Core, 16 GB 1333 Mhz DDR3 RAM, MSI H67MA-E35

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Prefer it to be from Amazon but any other online retailer would be good too if i get a better price

PARTS PREFERENCES: No preferences - quality and price trump everything else.

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe Don’t know if I will indulge in it at this point same with SLI OR CROSSFIRE

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Using a 42 inch Panasonic Plasma as my display so 1920 X 1080 would be preferred

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: At this point I am planning on going through the entire Elder Scrolls series and some other games ( May be) as long as I can run Elder Scrolls V at highest settings I’d be happy. :) 

Thanks a lot y’all !!
January 8, 2012 8:53:52 AM

yeah man, you could pick up a 6870 for 150-160 then spend the other 50 on a PSU to run it to be safe.

but youd have to spend about 200 total.
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January 8, 2012 6:12:52 PM

I am strapped for cash so new PSU is sorta out. I checked my system and HD 6770 with the extreme power calculator and it says that I should be fine with my powersupply

I do have a green HDD will that help?
a c 376 U Graphics card
January 8, 2012 6:15:45 PM

The HD6770 is the best you are likely to do on a 350w PSU. What is the actual brand/model of the power supply?
January 9, 2012 3:41:09 AM

What about nVidia options? I saw some videos on Youtube of GT 430 playing BF3 on ultra settings. Its pretty cheap too.

Just FYI HD6770 is available for 70 right now AR
a b U Graphics card
January 10, 2012 2:25:09 AM

Does your psu have an external 6 pin pci-express connector? If so I think a 6770 could work, otherwise you'd have to go with a 6670. You really should get a decent PSU + 6870 though, because 6870 >>>>> 6770.
January 10, 2012 4:48:54 AM

I am not sure if there is one or not. How do I check ?

What about the nVidia camp? Do I have any options in the nVidia chipsets ?

I just checked with the product page for my PSU and I have the following connectors

1X 20 + 4 pin
1X Sata
4X 4 pin IDE
1X 3 pin FDD
1x 4 pin CPU

Detailed PSU specs as follows:

I know am not using any IDEs can I use a converter or something to connect one of these 4 pin to a 6 pin pcie ?
Also, the max peak out put is at 400W with 350 W as the rated output.

I tried using the extreme power calculator and this is what it shows me for 6870
and this for 6770
a b U Graphics card
January 10, 2012 3:57:43 PM

Nvidia cards need more power for similar performance if I remember correctly, that's why I'm only considering AMD. 30A on the +12V rail is enough for a 6770, but I can't guarantee your PSU won't blow up within a week since it isn't from a quality brand. The 6770 should come with a molex to pci-express power connector (never used one of those so I can't guarantee it works correctly). If you ever get a new monitor and start playing on a res like 1080p, the 6770 will struggle big time. A decent PSU + 6870 would give you peace of mind and be more future proof (around 200$ total investment). Hope that helps and good luck ;) 
January 11, 2012 8:50:26 PM

Thanks Youngster I may just have to shelve it for the time being then. I am already gaming on a 42 inch HD plasma, might as well wait a bit. Skyrim gives me about 25-30 fps with medium settings (textures and viewing distance on high) which i can live with and is perfectly playable. Frankly I am surprised that this is the onboard card thats giving me this performance.

May be when deals get better i may get a better PSU and a better card.
a b U Graphics card
January 11, 2012 10:14:14 PM

Skyrim is a very CPU dependent game and your i7 is pretty much as good as it gets, that's why it's working. If you ever wish to play a GPU dependent game like BF3, your integrated graphics won't cut it.
a c 92 U Graphics card
January 11, 2012 10:21:37 PM

get a 6850 if you can. it really doesn't draw much more power than the 6770 but is a lot more powerful.

you can find it for $130 after rebates.
January 12, 2012 7:07:46 PM

Thanks esrever I am trying to look for deals for all three at the moment

I also researched the PSU maker - turns out that almost all ASUS and a lot of Antec PSUs are rebadged Delta electronics PSUs; just wanted to put that out there.

They may not be all that bad just because they aren't the ones whose name is on the frontend. :) 
a c 376 U Graphics card
January 14, 2012 3:43:37 PM

Delta is fine as far as brands go but that doesn't change the 228w rating on your +12v rails which is simply quite low. You either need to replace it or stick with a card like the HD6670 that I originally recommended.
a c 92 U Graphics card
January 14, 2012 6:24:10 PM

you should be able to use the 6850 since you have 30 amps on your +12 which is 360 watts. The 6850 will run as long as its above 270 watts.
a b U Graphics card
January 15, 2012 11:59:52 AM

esrever said:
you should be able to use the 6850 since you have 30 amps on your +12 which is 360 watts. The 6850 will run as long as its above 270 watts.

Totally wrong! His PSU have a combined 12V@228W That means 19A only!

The combined 12V rails ISN'T the max 12V1 + max 12V2 since they share some internal circuitry. Please, do not blow up the OP computer :) 

As far I researched:
i7-2600 max TDP = 95W
HD 6670 max TDP = 66W (Do NOT require PCI-E auxiliary pin)
HD 6750 max TDP = 86W
HD 6770 max TDP = 108 W

Total for 12V (HD 6670)= 161W
Total for 12V (HD 6750)= 181W
Total for 12V (HD 6770)= 203W

I would surely sleep better if you get the HD6670, not the others, since you need to have wattage room for the PSU, AND your PSU don't have any PCI-E auxiliary pin (I'm against adaptors)
a c 92 U Graphics card
January 15, 2012 5:09:14 PM

nvm I didn't notice the max of the 2 rails 228 would be looking at a 6670.
January 17, 2012 9:52:17 PM

Bit the bullet and got the OCZ modxstream pro 700 W PSU and the XFX HD687x CNFC 2GB.

Which brings my final build to this:

i7 2600
16 GB DDR3
xfx HD6870 2GB
OCZ modxstream 700W

all on a 42" Plasma

Sound good?
a c 355 U Graphics card
January 17, 2012 10:39:14 PM

A bit overkill with a 700w PSU, but it should be fine.