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Best GPU for $250?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 11, 2012 10:43:39 PM

Hey Guys,

I'm building a new gaming PC with ~$1000 budget. Here's the link to the rest of the rig:

www.tomshardware.com/forum/331864-31-gaming-first-time

My budget for my GPU is around $225 but I can push it to $250 (before any rebates). I would like to SLI it down the road, but probably not for another year. The original graphics card I was looking at was:

GIGABYTE GV-N560UD-1G GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

But after doing some more research, I thought about trying to go a little more expensive and came across this EVGA 560 Ti (which now is like $230 with mail-in rebate):

EVGA 01G-P3-1561-AR GeForce GTX 560 Ti FPB (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Just looking at the 2 I can't really tell a difference, so I'm wondering if I should jump up to the EVGA, which seems to have really good reviews on newegg, or is there an even better option for my budget?

Thanks in advance for any input.

More about : gpu 250

January 11, 2012 10:46:57 PM

For a little more info, I plan on overclocking my i5 2500k to around 4.3, my case is an Antec 900 (will these fit?), I run single monitor, and play Starcraft 2, SWTOR, and hopefully Diablo 3.
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January 11, 2012 11:09:10 PM

For the price, I'd go an HD 6950. The reason I say this, is because you can bios flash them, and basically make them into 6970s, for under $250 dollars. The only difference would be it having 1GB of ram, instead of 2. Which wouldn't make a difference, unless you intend on playing games above 1080p.

As for those two cards you posted. The EVGA is SLIGHTLY (28 Mhz) overclocked (which is negligible at best) The gigabyte cooler is actually very good, having 2 big fans like that allows the RPM of the fan to stay low, thus reducing noise levels.

Though if you plan on overclocking, be cautious as to which Gigabyte card you pick, because some don't allow Voltage tweaks, thus limiting your overclocking parameters for the card.
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a b U Graphics card
January 11, 2012 11:19:43 PM

The gigabyte Ti is a great cooler model, and the 560Ti overclocks better than the 6950.
There are a couple games that use over 1g of vram with a single monitor at 1920x1080; Metro 2033 at some points and BF3 quite often. BF3 ive seen use 1.4gb of Ram
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January 11, 2012 11:22:39 PM

exeedorbit said:
For the price, I'd go an HD 6950. The reason I say this, is because you can bios flash them, and basically make them into 6970s, for under $250 dollars. The only difference would be it having 1GB of ram, instead of 2. Which wouldn't make a difference, unless you intend on playing games above 1080p.

As for those two cards you posted. The EVGA is SLIGHTLY (28 Mhz) overclocked (which is negligible at best) The gigabyte cooler is actually very good, having 2 big fans like that allows the RPM of the fan to stay low, thus reducing noise levels.

Though if you plan on overclocking, be cautious as to which Gigabyte card you pick, because some don't allow Voltage tweaks, thus limiting your overclocking parameters for the card.



Thanks for the input. Do you mean overclocking the GPU? I really don't have any plans to do that since I've never done it before. I was planning on overclocking the CPU since the SB's seem so easy to do.

As far as the resolution, I'm not going to be running anything above 1080p, so that shouldn't be an issue.

Do you have a recommendation as far as a particular 6950? If I was going to go with the 2 I posted, which would you go with?
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January 11, 2012 11:38:00 PM

I agree, In the $250 range the 2gb 6950 is the best bang for your buck card. Just make sure you get a 2GB reference design card with the bios switch. And read online how to flash it. It's not gauranteed to work but seems about ~85% seem to unlock.

There are also different bios that can be used like some only unlock the extra shaders and leave the stock 6950 clocks, some unlock shaders and go to the 6970 clocks, and some unlock and overclock the 6970. So usually your card will handle one of those options with no risk to the card. And if all that doesnt work you still have a great card.

I have a Sapphire 6950 2gb Flashed with an asus 6970 bios which is overclocked, and the only issue I've noticed is that it has a slight cold bug every now and then where when the computer has been off for a while I'll get slight artifacts on the desktop, I can just move my mouse over the artifacts and they go away and has never artifacted while in a game or movie only when the computer is cold and only on the desktop like the icons around the start menu. This doesnt bother me so I left it. I thought when I first saw it that my card wasnt going to unlock and that it was going to crash, but hasnt yet and Ive had it for about a year now.

Hope this helps any.
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a b U Graphics card
January 11, 2012 11:54:39 PM

I would go with the twin fan model of the ones you posted. where is everyone getting the 2gb 6950 is 250 bux? the 1gb is 250 bux, and in that case i would go with the 560Ti.
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a b U Graphics card
January 11, 2012 11:58:57 PM

yeah but although 2gb of vram... the actual card isnt as fast as the 560Ti.
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a b U Graphics card
January 12, 2012 12:08:19 AM

As far as it goes, the 560Ti and the 6950 1gb, its more of a matter of preference of brand or color or whichever you can get for a better price because they both perform similarly in that price range. Drivers form nvidia tend to be more reliable than AMD. The 560Ti can overclock more, but since thats not your thing, thats inadmissable. Nvidia also supports physx if youre into that type of thing, although only a handful of games support it.
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a c 92 U Graphics card
January 12, 2012 12:09:37 AM

the 6950 is more powerful than the 560 ti so unless you OC or want physx I'd take it over the 560 ti.

the 1 gb models do not unlock but a few 2 gb models will unlock to be 6970s. this is not a garrentee so I don't think its not a big point and you'd need to check the card before you buy to make sure it can unlock, most cards are bios locked now.

the 6870 will be a much cheaper card with less performance but might be worth considering since it has great value.
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January 12, 2012 12:12:09 AM

Ok that was my main concern. If the performance is the same, I'll try to grab whichever I can for the better price. I just have a hard time deciphering the minute differences between all these cards

That EVGA one has outstanding reviews on newegg, so I might grab that one (I've always had nvidia, but don't have anything against AMD)

Thanks alot for the advice guys I really appreciate it.
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a b U Graphics card
January 12, 2012 12:16:52 AM

phantompenguin said:
Ok that was my main concern. If the performance is the same, I'll try to grab whichever I can for the better price. I just have a hard time deciphering the minute differences between all these cards

That EVGA one has outstanding reviews on newegg, so I might grab that one (I've always had nvidia, but don't have anything against AMD)

Thanks alot for the advice guys I really appreciate it.

Good luck on whatever you decide. The performance per price is only a couple frames in favor of nvidia or a couple frames in favor of ati it all depends on the game.
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January 12, 2012 1:32:40 AM

So while doing more research I stumbled across this OC'd MSI which alot of people seem to like:

MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II 2GD5/OC GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Now, at this point I'm looking at $270 (before rebates), so is there any reason not to just jump up to $300 and get the 448 core such as this:

EVGA 012-P3-2068-KR GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 448 Cores Classified 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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January 12, 2012 1:35:33 AM

Ideally I'd like to keep it around $250, but to future proof my PC a little more I think I can stretch to $300 if need be (if I'm really going to see a gain in performance)
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a b U Graphics card
January 12, 2012 1:53:57 AM

That would be my choice in cooler designs. You may be able to find a 570 or a 448 core 560ti for 300 but and they are around the same speed 15-20% faster that the normal 560ti. That 448 core with the 1280mb of vram and cooler model Evga you chose is a very good card if you have the money for it. It is just as fast as a 570.
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January 12, 2012 2:32:37 AM

So if I bump the budget up to $300 you think that's my best bet? I can't find any other 570's for that price (without jumping up to like $340), so now I think I'm deciding between the OC'd MSI and the 448 EVGA.

It says its 10.5" long, do you see any problems with that fitting in an Antec 900?

Also, it seems like I won't be able to SLI it down the road, so would I just be better off doing the MSI knowing I could throw another in there, or will one 448 core be just as good?
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January 12, 2012 2:35:56 AM

Sorry I know I'm a pain I'm just so overwhelmed by options, and when spending $1200 on a pc (I know that's not alot for some people) I really want to know I'm making the best decisions. Especially considering I don't want to replace it in 3 years, I want to be able to just upgrade parts as needed
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a b U Graphics card
January 12, 2012 2:44:30 AM

That's fine. Imo if i couldn't find a 570 at a good price, the 448 560ti benches right there with it alove the reg 560ti. The only issue is ou are trading 50 but for about 15-20% more performance. If that is worth it to you then go for it. You can also sli at a later date when you need more juice
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a b U Graphics card
January 12, 2012 2:54:57 AM

The antech 900 can fit any card as long as you remove the internal drive bay which would most likely be unnecessary for that card. There are still slots for the hdd but you will lose the cage to store more if oy have many hard drives
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January 12, 2012 3:01:44 AM

Yeah I think I might have to jump the budget up to $350 and get a 570, since "future proofing" seems to be my main concern. I won't have a problem finding them later for the same price (or cheaper) when I want to run SLI.

This thread really won't help other people looking for something in the $250 range lol, but I really appreciate you taking the time to help me out. This was a big help.
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January 12, 2012 3:02:58 AM

FlintIronStagg said:
The antech 900 can fit any card as long as you remove the internal drive bay which would most likely be unnecessary for that card. There are still slots for the hdd but you will lose the cage to store more if oy have many hard drives



Awesome, that was my concern. Right now I only plan on having 1 hdd, so I don't think that will be an issue.
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a b U Graphics card
January 12, 2012 3:12:39 AM

If you want to save money you could go with a cooler master haf 912. Its 50 bux and has great airflow cable management and can fit a 570 with ease. Its what i use and i love it. Not just that but the more i see reviews.the more i see people complaining.about cable management with.the antech 900
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January 12, 2012 3:58:16 AM

Yeah I actually did notice that...unfortunately it was after I bought the Antec900 :p 
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a b U Graphics card
January 12, 2012 4:15:06 AM

phantompenguin said:
Yeah I actually did notice that...unfortunately it was after I bought the Antec900 :p 

It ok, the 10.5 inch cards should fit, just won't be able to.install a hdd in front.of.it.
I've been.looking online at pics and stuff it might be a bit tight but should fit. If you are wanting to save money the orig choices you were going back and.forth with are still viable but you will be happy no matter which you choose out of the ones everyone suggested.
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January 12, 2012 4:25:31 AM

FlintIronStagg said:
It ok, the 10.5 inch cards should fit, just won't be able to.install a hdd in front.of.it.
I've been.looking online at pics and stuff it might be a bit tight but should fit. If you are wanting to save money the orig choices you were going back and.forth with are still viable but you will be happy no matter which you choose out of the ones everyone suggested.



Yeah I'm still up in the air about it (more confused now than ever), think I'm just going to keep reading over the next week or two until I make a decision. Seems if I'm going to get a 570 and run SLI someday I would need more than the Antec 750W PSU that I'm currently planning on buying, which is gonna put me up another $30, so now I'm really not sure.

I feel like everyone has this problem, once you start upgrading you just can't stop, which is probably why most people set a limit on what they're willing to spend for a certain part. Maybe I should stick with my original $250 limit, get a 560ti and just run SLI later :p 

Those 570's do look nice though....

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681412538...
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a b U Graphics card
January 12, 2012 4:28:09 AM

phantompenguin said:
Yeah I'm still up in the air about it (more confused now than ever), think I'm just going to keep reading over the next week or two until I make a decision. Seems if I'm going to get a 570 and run SLI someday I would need more than the Antec 750W PSU that I'm currently planning on buying, which is gonna put me up another $30, so now I'm really not sure.

I feel like everyone has this problem, once you start upgrading you just can't stop, which is probably why most people set a limit on what they're willing to spend for a certain part. Maybe I should stick with my original $250 limit, get a 560ti and just run SLI later :p 

Those 570's do look nice though....

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681412538...

I can honestly say imo thats your best bet. The price per cost difference especially with an.eventual sli would be very tasty with the 560ti. Good luck.on the decision
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January 12, 2012 4:35:28 AM

If I decide to go with a 570, not playing FPS games and only running single-monitor, will I even NEED to go SLI in a 1-2 years?

That's the last question I promise :p  Thanks again for your help, you've been awesome
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a b U Graphics card
January 12, 2012 4:40:48 AM

phantompenguin said:
If I decide to go with a 570, not playing FPS games and only running single-monitor, will I even NEED to go SLI in a 1-2 years?

That's the last question I promise :p  Thanks again for your help, you've been awesome

I can't predict how games will be eventually but the 570 isn't that much faster than the 560ti that you won't.want to.sli it. Look at some real world benches to see where they all perform in the games you play and see if there's a big.enough difference.under 60 fps to warrant the extra money you will spend. Im thinking it isn't.
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