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The Best Cheapest Video Card For Skyrim

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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March 11, 2012 5:20:43 PM

Hey ppl, I'm new to this site. I've been wondering what Graphics/Video Card I should get for skyrim. I can play the game on low with quite a bit of lag. If you need my specs, here:

Processor: Intel(R) Pentium(R) CPU G840 @ 2.80GHz
Memory: 4.00GB
Manufacturer: Hewlett-Packard Company
Model: p6-2120t

Thanks for taking your time to read! :sol: 
March 11, 2012 6:21:18 PM

What resolution, settings, and fps do you want to be playing at?

Without that info, there's no way to recommend a GPU to you.
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March 11, 2012 6:27:57 PM

GTX560 minimum.

GTX580 preferable.

Next question?
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a b U Graphics card
March 11, 2012 6:28:11 PM

also need PSU & BUDGET!!!
-Bruce
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March 11, 2012 6:42:59 PM

PCgamer81 said:
GTX560 minimum.

GTX580 preferable.

Next question?


Huh?

A 560ti would do everything maxed out at 1080p just fine, so why is a 560 minimum and a 580 preferable?

If he is gaming at <1080p and doesn't care about ultra settings with tons of AA, then both those cards are major overkill for his needs.

I had an 8800 GTS 320 (which is equivalent to like a $75 GPU right now) and played pretty smoothly at 1080p high settings with no AA. Skyrim is not a GPU-demanding game.
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a b U Graphics card
March 11, 2012 6:47:38 PM

It has a 300W PSU, and the info on their site is:

Quote:
Must select one of the following options:

Intel Graphics Media Accelerator HD Integrated Graphics
GeForce GT 520 (1 GB)
Radeon HD 6450 (512 MB)
Radeon HD 6450 (1 GB)
Radeon HD 7350 (512 MB)
Radeon HD 7450 (1 GB)


Unless you upgrade the PSU too, you can't do much. :p 
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a b U Graphics card
March 11, 2012 7:08:36 PM

Quote:
GTX560 minimum.

GTX580 preferable.

Next question?


Dafuq?

We're talking about Skyrim, not BF3 :D 

Now really, a lot of websites suggest a gtx 260 as recommended. So I'd say a gtx 275 or gtx 260 core 216, just to be on the safe side.
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a c 541 U Graphics card
March 11, 2012 7:10:18 PM

Without a power supply upgrade, the best card that doesn't require a PCIe power connector, is the Radeon HD 7750.

If you don't turn on AA you might be able to achieve 30 FPS at 1920 x 1080.
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a b U Graphics card
March 11, 2012 7:15:09 PM

weak psu but my old gtx 460 could max out skyrim without a problem.Not sure why people think bf 3 is like the benchmarks of all benchmarks its not even close.my gtx 460 could run bf 3 in ultra minus the aa at 30 fps smooth.arma 2 is the only game i could not max out.bf 3 is actually really well optimized.25 fps on bf 3 feels very smooth unlike arma 2
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a c 358 U Graphics card
March 11, 2012 7:17:11 PM

300w PSU?

Your best bet is the Radeon HD 7750.
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March 11, 2012 10:10:02 PM

auntarie said:
Quote:
GTX560 minimum.

GTX580 preferable.

Next question?


Dafuq?

We're talking about Skyrim, not BF3 :D 

Now really, a lot of websites suggest a gtx 260 as recommended. So I'd say a gtx 275 or gtx 260 core 216, just to be on the safe side.


BigMack70 said:
Huh?

A 560ti would do everything maxed out at 1080p just fine, so why is a 560 minimum and a 580 preferable?

If he is gaming at <1080p and doesn't care about ultra settings with tons of AA, then both those cards are major overkill for his needs.

I had an 8800 GTS 320 (which is equivalent to like a $75 GPU right now) and played pretty smoothly at 1080p high settings with no AA. Skyrim is not a GPU-demanding game.


If you want to play Skyrim at high visual quality and at 1080p then you are going to want a GTX 560 at minimum. The 560 is about like a 6870. I disable crossfire when I run Skyrim and get about 50-80 fps totally maxed out in Ultra and in 1080p.

If you want to experience the game as it's meant to be played, and not have to worry about lowering the settings or resolution or a sub 60 frame rate, then you better go with a 560/6870 at the minimum.

And if you want to enjoy the various mods and texture packs that are out now and will continue to be released over the next several years, then I would suggest a 580/7950.

If you are shooting for Xbox quality, fine. Go with a weaker card.
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March 12, 2012 12:45:44 AM

PCgamer81 said:
If you want to play Skyrim at high ultra visual quality and at 1080p then you are going to want a GTX 560 at minimum for 60fps.


Fix'd. Any sub $100 GPU will get you far better than Xbox quality (i.e. high settings without AA, 1080p, 40+ fps average). The game only needs substantial GPU muscle for AA and graphics mods.

It doesn't matter anyways - he needs a new PSU before he can do any GPU upgrading.
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March 12, 2012 3:12:51 AM

BigMack70 said:
Fix'd. Any sub $100 GPU will get you far better than Xbox quality (i.e. high settings without AA, 1080p, 40+ fps average). The game only needs substantial GPU muscle for AA and graphics mods.

It doesn't matter anyways - he needs a new PSU before he can do any GPU upgrading.

Hey, he asked for opinions. The title of the thread is best cheapest card for Skyrim.

The 560 is extremely cheap. But I guess the word "cheap" is subjective.

560/6870 = low end
570/6970 = mid range
590/6990 = high end

Anything past that is what I call a beast.

Anything less than the 560/6870 is what I call unacceptable.

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March 12, 2012 3:22:25 AM

BigMack70 said:
Huh?

A 560ti would do everything maxed out at 1080p just fine, so why is a 560 minimum and a 580 preferable?

If he is gaming at <1080p and doesn't care about ultra settings with tons of AA, then both those cards are major overkill for his needs.

I had an 8800 GTS 320 (which is equivalent to like a $75 GPU right now) and played pretty smoothly at 1080p high settings with no AA. Skyrim is not a GPU-demanding game.

He is referring to the 560 non ti.
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March 12, 2012 3:24:50 AM

azeem40 said:
He is referring to the 560 non ti.


Grazie.

:ange: 
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a b U Graphics card
March 12, 2012 3:48:01 AM

Instead of arguing why not let the OP respond?
What is your budget? Resolution?
By cheapest you could say anywhere from $50 to $250, so no real answer unless told what to work with.
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a c 192 U Graphics card
March 12, 2012 4:09:46 AM

On your existing PSU, a HD7750 is the best you'll do. You need to post a budget, so we can recommend both a PSU and a GPU; and a location, otherwise you'll get a lot of Newegg links which may not be relevant.
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a c 147 U Graphics card
March 12, 2012 4:43:13 AM

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Pentium+G...

I would say a GTX560Ti would be the most you could support.

PSU:
It's NOT just the overall Wattage, it's also the AMPS required by the graphics card. Your +12V rail must provide more AMPS so you MUST obtain the specs for both your +12V rail and the graphics card.

I would be surprised if your PSU would supply enough Amps.

If you shop around, start with NCIX, you can find a good PSU that will meet your needs for as little as $60 (look for sales):

So my advice is:
1) HD7750 or HD7770 (I recommend the HD7770 from Sapphire Tech)
http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=68715&vpn=11201-00-20...
2) PSU
http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=35456&vpn=OCZ700MXSP&m...

The graphics card is about $160 for HD7770, $120 for HD7750, and the PSU I chose was on sale for $45 after rebate.

So the way I see it you have three choices:
1) HD7750 and NO PSU (if your PSU has enough Wattage and +12V amps. I doubt it)
2) HD7750 and PSU
3) HD7770 and PSU

Cheers!
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March 12, 2012 5:02:54 AM

Quote:
+1 to you.

Skyrim is not demanding on gpu's.
It requires a beefy cpu.


It does not require a beefy CPU. It is limited by the CPU. That is not the same thing.

A beefy CPU would be an utter waste on Skyrim. Only 2 threads can be utilized at any given time. The only advantage a quad-core CPU would give you in Skyrim is that it would run cooler, seeing as how the 2 threads are tossed around all 4 cores to reduce heat. The clock-rate of the CPU is far more important in Skyrim as long as it's a dual-core.

Skyrim runs much better when you have a strong card behind it.

Might want to take your "+1" back.
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March 12, 2012 5:13:25 AM

requirements
http://www.systemrequirements.in/system-requirements-fo... not sure if outside links are aloud, i go on to many forums its hard to remember
Minimum System Requirements

* OS: 7/Vista/XP PC (32 or 64 bit)
* CPU: Dual Core 2.0GHz or equivalent processor
* RAM: 2 GB
* HDD: 6 GB
* Graphics: 512 MB card
* Sound Card: DirectX 9 Compatible
* DirectX: Version 9.0c
* Internet for Steam activation

Recommended System Requirements

* OS: Windows 7/Vista/XP (32 or 64 bit)
* CPU: Quad-core Intel or AMD CPU
* RAM: 4 GB
* HDD: 6 GB free disk space
* Graphics: 1 GB Graphics Memory
* Sound Card: DirectX 9 Compatible
* DirectX: Version 9.0c
* Internet for Steam activation

Supported Graphics Cards:

Minimum – nVidia GeForce 8800 / ATI Radeon HD 3850
Recommended -Nvidia GeForce GTX 260 or higher; ATI Radeon 4890 or higher
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March 12, 2012 6:08:23 AM

Quote:
* OS: Windows 7/Vista/XP (32 or 64 bit)
* CPU: Quad-core Intel or AMD CPU
* RAM: 4 GB
* HDD: 6 GB free disk space
* Graphics: 1 GB Graphics Memory
* Sound Card: DirectX 9 Compatible
* DirectX: Version 9.0c
* Internet for Steam activation


Again, the quad-core is beneficial but for purely heat related reasons.

I am telling you, Skyrim uses two threads at most. Period.

What each gamer expects and is comfortable with is purely subjective, so the system requirements mean nothing to me. I recommend to the OP at the minimum a 560/6870, and I stand by that with all the confidence in the world based on everything I have heard, seen, and experienced first hand.

I see no reason why anyone would settle for less, or should settle for less.

If you can show me one video of Skyrim being run at high visual settings and in HD at a good framerate with a GTX260 or 4890, I will reconsider.

Until then, your refutation of my assertion fails to hold water.
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a c 192 U Graphics card
March 12, 2012 2:44:32 PM

Getting a quad has nothing to do with heat, but with providing extra threads for all the background tasks that Windows likes to run; plus probably Steam, an A/V program, and possibly other things.
The OP still has not provided his resolution, but just looking here: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/fx-4100-core-i3-210... it looks like a HD6850 can keep FPS above 30 on "Ultra;" a HD6770 on "High."
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a b U Graphics card
March 13, 2012 12:48:37 AM

Why argue with each other needlessly when it provides no real contribution to the thread? The OP has yet to make any contribution besides starting the thread.

(although just to mess with him, he doesn't have any graphics badges ;) )
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March 13, 2012 1:34:17 AM

I played skyrim on high at over 30fps on a 5870mobile GPU.... For Ultra? Maybe a mid level 6000s or 7000s. That paired with an i3 or 2500k would get you to Ultra on skyrim for maybe 250 in upgrades, add another 50 if you need a 500 watt PSU to handle it.
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a c 147 U Graphics card
March 13, 2012 5:01:47 PM

Let's be CLEAR:
This guy is UPGRADING his current system. He basically wants a half-decent graphics card and doesn't want to spend too much. Let's stick with a discussion of what would be the best bang-for-the-buck for him.

In my opinion, he would be best to get an HD7770 and a suitable PSU as discussed in my post above. Remember, the PSU not only supply enough overall Wattage but also enough AMPS on the +12V rail for the graphics card.

He can upgrade his system with the HD7770 and a better PSU for roughly $210 + tax. I recommend NCIX and looking at sales on the PSU, such as the one I linked to above (if it's still on sale).
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March 13, 2012 7:13:57 PM

photonboy said:
Let's be CLEAR:
This guy is UPGRADING his current system. He basically wants a half-decent graphics card and doesn't want to spend too much. Let's stick with a discussion of what would be the best bang-for-the-buck for him.

In my opinion, he would be best to get an HD7770 and a suitable PSU as discussed in my post above. Remember, the PSU not only supply enough overall Wattage but also enough AMPS on the +12V rail for the graphics card.

He can upgrade his system with the HD7770 and a better PSU for roughly $210 + tax. I recommend NCIX and looking at sales on the PSU, such as the one I linked to above (if it's still on sale).


Actually, the 7770 does make a lot more sense, especially with him needing a new PSU; from what I hear the 7xxx series has far lower power demands.
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a c 192 U Graphics card
March 13, 2012 9:17:12 PM

The HD7770 is not a bad choice, however the HD6850 is cheaper, a little stronger, and can run on a 380W Antec Earthwatts PSU.
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March 14, 2012 2:36:41 AM

Onus said:
The HD7770 is not a bad choice, however the HD6850 is cheaper, a little stronger, and can run on a 380W Antec Earthwatts PSU.


Very good point.

I wonder why the OP hasn't responded so much as once since the thread was started...
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a c 147 U Graphics card
March 14, 2012 10:06:40 PM

The HD7770 is a newer architecture and will have better benchmarks in the future relative to older cards once games support it better. The card should also consume HALF the power as a similar HD6xxx card so a good cooling solution will be FAR less noisy.

There's no point in getting only a 380Watt PSU when I found one on sale that is 700W (and enough Amps) for $45. (don't forget to get enough AMPS on the +12V rail for the graphics card.)
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a b U Graphics card
March 14, 2012 10:31:18 PM

Yes but I would bet that, the $45 700w is a crap brand, please post it instead of just making a statement.
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a b U Graphics card
March 14, 2012 11:26:18 PM

Oh, okay that is a good one for the price. Only problem is that it only has two PCI-E connectors and can only power one video card so IF the 380w handles the same card it will be much more efficient.
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a c 192 U Graphics card
March 15, 2012 12:30:45 AM

OCZ is ok, but not in the same league as Seasonic (or anything built by them, like XFX, some Antec, and a lot of Corsair).
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a b U Graphics card
March 15, 2012 3:55:29 AM

Not sure if the case for HP p6-2120t could fit other PSUs. Based on my experience, PSUs equipped with HP desktops are smaller than usual sizes. If not, then he will be stuck with cards without PEG connectors required.
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March 15, 2012 5:08:48 PM

Onus said:
FSP has an 80+ bronze 400W micro-PSU with a PCIE power connector: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... and a 450W version with two of them: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Since you seem to know quite a bit about PSUs and seeing as how the OP has abandoned his thread, let me pose a question...

How would my PSU fare if I did a rebuild with an ASUS Rampage IV, i7 3930k and a 6990 for quad-fire? I will probably ditch this crappy ram for 8GB of vengeance 1866. I am about to get into eyefinity and want to future proof my system. I think all things considered I may have to settle for tri-fired 6970s, but thought I would ask anyway...
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March 15, 2012 6:11:57 PM

PCgamer81 said:
GTX560 minimum.

GTX580 preferable.

Next question?


I've been looking at the Geforce GTX 560s for a while. I'm not sure if I need the 580 , 560, or 560TI. Plus i've been looking for a card under $250, as this is my first card.
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March 15, 2012 6:15:07 PM

PCgamer81 said:
If you want to play Skyrim at high visual quality and at 1080p then you are going to want a GTX 560 at minimum. The 560 is about like a 6870. I disable crossfire when I run Skyrim and get about 50-80 fps totally maxed out in Ultra and in 1080p.

If you want to experience the game as it's meant to be played, and not have to worry about lowering the settings or resolution or a sub 60 frame rate, then you better go with a 560/6870 at the minimum.

And if you want to enjoy the various mods and texture packs that are out now and will continue to be released over the next several years, then I would suggest a 580/7950.

If you are shooting for Xbox quality, fine. Go with a weaker card.

Well, first of all, I have Skyrim on my XBox 360 and now PC. Second, Im looking for a great starter card that won't take $500 out of my wallet.
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March 15, 2012 6:19:08 PM

photonboy said:
Let's be CLEAR:
This guy is UPGRADING his current system. He basically wants a half-decent graphics card and doesn't want to spend too much. Let's stick with a discussion of what would be the best bang-for-the-buck for him.

In my opinion, he would be best to get an HD7770 and a suitable PSU as discussed in my post above. Remember, the PSU not only supply enough overall Wattage but also enough AMPS on the +12V rail for the graphics card.

He can upgrade his system with the HD7770 and a better PSU for roughly $210 + tax. I recommend NCIX and looking at sales on the PSU, such as the one I linked to above (if it's still on sale).

You are the only one on this forum with common sense to actually know what im saying. Thank you for understanding!
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a b U Graphics card
March 15, 2012 7:48:48 PM

Now that we have a price range we can give a proper answer.
Firstly you will need a new PSU. Either of these will work great only difference is that the corsair is on sale and if that ends will be more expensive.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Secondly this 560Ti will run Skyrim good and is currently a great price.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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a c 192 U Graphics card
March 15, 2012 9:54:25 PM

PCGamer81, did you plug all your components into the PSU calculator at http://www.extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.js... ? I can't imagine a 1KW Seasonic being insufficient for you. If you're about to throw down serious upgrade cash though, it might not be a bad idea to wait a week or three to see what Fermi brings to the table, and/or how it affects the prices of AMD cards.

And, the OP has returned!
I'd take an Antec Earthwatts over a Corsair Builder any day, especially if there's only a $10-$20 price difference.
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March 16, 2012 12:52:11 PM

zabuscus said:
You are the only one on this forum with common sense to actually know what im saying. Thank you for understanding!

No, I knew what you were saying, it's just sometimes the answers we get aren't always the answers we want to hear. I stick by my original point. Go with a 560/6870 minimum to really get the full PC experience, or you're better off sticking with the console version.
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March 16, 2012 12:52:57 PM

Onus said:
PCGamer81, did you plug all your components into the PSU calculator at http://www.extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.js... ? I can't imagine a 1KW Seasonic being insufficient for you. If you're about to throw down serious upgrade cash though, it might not be a bad idea to wait a week or three to see what Fermi brings to the table, and/or how it affects the prices of AMD cards.

And, the OP has returned!
I'd take an Antec Earthwatts over a Corsair Builder any day, especially if there's only a $10-$20 price difference.

Thanks a lot, man. Yeah, I have ran that test many times and even changing up all the little variables from time to time it always comes out to around 1200w peak load. I know the Seasonic is a really good model but I am still a little iffy and am really having to juggle my wallet as it is without having any more costly upgrades. Fortunately I have two monitors, I just need one more. So as it stands now I need to upgrade my board, CPU, add the 6990 and one more monitor and I may be able to get a few dollars for the parts I sell but not much at all. A new PSU will be a deal breaker for me. With just adding another 6970 it is borderline 900-1000w peak load, so maybe that will be my best bet.
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March 17, 2012 2:26:30 PM

auntarie said:
Quote:
GTX560 minimum.

GTX580 preferable.

Next question?


Dafuq?

We're talking about Skyrim, not BF3 :D 

Now really, a lot of websites suggest a gtx 260 as recommended. So I'd say a gtx 275 or gtx 260 core 216, just to be on the safe side.

I'm not looking to be able to play skyrim, I'm looking for a card that is cheap and will get my graphics in the game up high
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March 17, 2012 2:28:05 PM

andrewcarr said:
Instead of arguing why not let the OP respond?
What is your budget? Resolution?
By cheapest you could say anywhere from $50 to $250, so no real answer unless told what to work with.

By cheap I mean in the $150-$215 area. This will make me sound like a noob, but where can I find my resolution?
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March 17, 2012 2:31:03 PM

andrewcarr said:
Now that we have a price range we can give a proper answer.
Firstly you will need a new PSU. Either of these will work great only difference is that the corsair is on sale and if that ends will be more expensive.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Secondly this 560Ti will run Skyrim good and is currently a great price.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Thanks I'm probably gonna go get a 560ti.
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a b U Graphics card
March 17, 2012 2:35:27 PM

Quote:
Quote :

GTX560 minimum.

GTX580 preferable.

Next question?


Dafuq?

We're talking about Skyrim, not BF3

Now really, a lot of websites suggest a gtx 260 as recommended. So I'd say a gtx 275 or gtx 260 core 216, just to be on the safe side.

I'm not looking to be able to play skyrim, I'm looking for a card that is cheap and will get my graphics in the game up high


Well the title of the thread is "The Best Cheapest Video Card For Skyrim", so I'd guess you are asking for a gpu that would run the game smoothly. Anyway, 560ti is great. I was pointing towards 260 because they're cheaper.
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March 17, 2012 2:35:47 PM

PCgamer81 said:
No, I knew what you were saying, it's just sometimes the answers we get aren't always the answers we want to hear. I stick by my original point. Go with a 560/6870 minimum to really get the full PC experience, or you're better off sticking with the console version.

Well, since I want all of those mods, and I want to be with my friends on steam, I'm just gonna go buy myself a Geforce 560ti with a PSU
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a b U Graphics card
March 17, 2012 3:47:56 PM

Okay the 560Ti should work great and for $165 it is a great price.

Either of the PSU I previously listed are nice both the same price just depends on if you want to go for the rebate or not.

To find you resolution if you have windows 7- start button- control panel- System and Security- System- Windows Experience Index- View and print detailed performance and system specifications. Now just scroll down and under graphics you will see primary monitor resolution with a resolution.

Side note- if you have a question instead of taking over this thread talk in private messages or start you own thread.
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March 18, 2012 10:41:08 PM

zabuscus said:
Well, since I want all of those mods, and I want to be with my friends on steam, I'm just gonna go buy myself a Geforce 560ti with a PSU

Good choice.


Just right click on your desktop and select "Resolution". Your monitor's native resolution will be displayed there.
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