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Upgrading from an ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT, but on a budget...

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
January 21, 2012 6:46:13 AM

Howdy folks,

So, as the title might suggest, I'm looking to upgrade my now tired ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT, but I'm clueless as to what to look for next. I'm on a tight budget (Aren't we all!), but I'm not looking to play Skrim at 4800x1200 with FSAA and a band of drunken monkeys following me around.

I am a gamer, but I've never been massively bothered about getting highest settings. At present, I run Skyrim, CoDMW3 at *reasonable* settings. My card is rated as insufficient for BF3, though, which sucks :( 

Currently, I've looked at the Radeon HD5770 1GB and the HD 6570 1GB. I currently run a dual monitor setup and would prefer to continue doing so. The rest of the PC is as follows...

32b Vista on an Intel core 2 Quad (Q6600) @2.4ghz x4, 2gb ram.

Would either of the above cards be a worthwhile upgrade? If not, what would you recommend I move toward. I would be keen to stay with ATI, but I'm not "against" nVidia by any means.

Thanks in advance,

January 21, 2012 7:07:19 AM

The 6770 would be a very nice upgrade. Just be sure to check your power supply to see if it has at least 20 amps on the +12v rail. This will be on a label on the side of the power supply. Some older PSUs were made with more amps on the +3.3v and +5.5 volt rails regardless of wattage.

If the +12v number is 16-18 amps, a 6670 card would still be a nice upgrade. Your games would run in the mid settings range.

If it is indeed an older PSU, I would avoid Nvidia as they are power hogs at a given performance level compared to AMD.
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January 21, 2012 7:12:48 AM

Thanks for the rapid replies. I'm looking around for one of those available in the UK right now. Does this card require any external power, or is it powered from the slot?
January 21, 2012 7:26:11 AM

There are two readings... 12vA and 12vB... 12vA is 12amps, 12vB is 18amps
January 21, 2012 7:34:34 AM

Just checked, it does have a 6pin connected that matches the image on that link, so I assume that's right (Square-ish, 2 rows of 3 pins)
January 21, 2012 7:46:15 AM

I've often found Maplin to vary wildly, so I always have a gander. There's a maplin store (With this one in stock) only 20 minutes away... And at that price, I can get BF3 on Steam and be playing by tonight. :D 

Still confused about the 12v rails... Do the two rails mean that it changes dynamically for the devices as it needs to - in which case having one 18amp would be ok, right?
January 21, 2012 7:50:17 AM

The whole rail thing is a bit misleading and can get very confusing, what PSU do you have?
January 21, 2012 7:53:18 AM

It was shipped as standard with a Dell Inspiron 530 if I recall
January 21, 2012 8:01:22 AM

It's only a 108 - 110w card so there's a good chance that it will work just fine and dandy.
January 21, 2012 8:02:59 AM

So, in short - and I'm not gonna come back and rape your kittens or anything if it turns out otherwise - do you think I would be satisfied with this upgrade? A good one to go for?
January 21, 2012 8:08:52 AM

I'm not the one to ask when it comes to ATi/AMD cards as I try to stay away from them as I dislike their drivers with a passion.
January 21, 2012 8:11:04 AM

LoL, ATI drivers and software suck harder than a Dyson, I agree. But I'm stupid and set in my way with them :(  From all the information, though, I'm going to give it a go. 7 day statutary return if all else fails. Massive thanks for the help and advice, though, to all :) 
January 21, 2012 2:18:02 PM

Well.... Impatience won out, and a quick trip to the local Maplin (Via Subways and GAME, I might add), and I'm back home, card installed and running. I tested with CoD:MW3, and the improvement is shockingly high. Even my missus commented on how much sharper it was all looking. I haven't tested it with Skyrim yet, since BF3 is now busy installing (Woot!).

Incase anyone searches the forums and comes up with this thread, if you purchase this product from Maplin (Asus one), it includes a PCI-e power adapter (The one you said I might need) and an HDMI/DVI adapter. Install was quick and easy, although the size difference made it a squeeze getting this one inside the case.

Again, a massive thanks to all those who've helped me select this card. Hopefully everything goes well!
January 22, 2012 6:15:44 AM

A quick follow-up to the follow-up... Runs BF3 almost smooth on everything set to 'High'. Obvious bottleneck is the system ram now, as I can hear the hard-drive struggling with virtual. Still, that's one nail removed from the coffin :D 
March 9, 2012 9:08:19 PM

Having read BDerwent comments I decided to buy the Asus HD 6770 from Maplins for my Dell Inspiron 530 and can confirm it works great. Note if you've got a second hard disk installed in your Inspiron there won't be enough room to fit this card - it's very long. Also, it's important to note that it's the Inspirons with the quad core CPUs like the Q6600 that have the 350w PSU with the appropriate PCI-E 6 pin connector. Other Inspirons have a 300w PSU and I wouldn't risk trying the 6770 in them.

BDerwent, if you're reading this reply, you might be interested in over-clocking the Q6600 from 2.4 to 3.0 Ghz using the electrical tape trick. I did this on mine and got an extra 4 or 5 fps in Skyrim at 1440x900 resolution with details set to high. See this link for more info: