just came across Tom's for the 1st time and signed up. looks like yall have quite the community/knowledgebase operating here, thanks for having me! I am currently looking to upgrade my video card to something a bit more powerful. my current card is a ATI Radeon HD 5570 (1 GB DDR3) that came with my prebuilt HP HPE-410f desktop (specs listed below) that I purchased mid January 2011. I've been extremely satisfied with the overall performance of my machine, but must admit that I've been doing the majority of my gaming on PS3 recently. Looking to get back to my roots of PC gaming & figured I could use a more powerful graphics card. after browsing through some previous posts, i've picked up on a couple notable/relevant points that affect my upgrade desires : 1) my power supply is only 300w. I realize this is low. do I need to upgrade this as well? as I understand it, w/ my current psu I am limited as to what vidcard upgrade choices are legit options. I def do not want to cook the innards of my system & not real sure what this talk of "bottlenecking" refers to. PLEASE HELP! 2) I can't figure out if my motherboard supports PCI express 2.1 (x16). every page ive visited to get the specs of my PC & mb just show the PCIex slot (taken w/ my current HD 5570 card) as x16. nothing noted about 2.0 or 2.1. frustrating. I read that PCIexpress 2.x slots & cards are both forward & backward compatible. don't want to spend the extra money on a more capable 2.1 card if im only getting the benefit of it reverting back/using the 2.0 capability... 3) most users seem to prefer NVIDIA cards over ATI. can you give me some valid reasons as to why this is? I've grown accustomed to and quite fond of AMD/ATI apps/utilities/sw & would prefer to stick with ATI when I upgrade. should I get an NVIDIA card instead? looking for most bang for my back seeing as I'm a semi-broke college senior. any & all of your expertise/recommendations/feedback would be greatly appreciated. hopefully I don't come across as a complete noob, like to believe im far above average with tech knowledge. but I'm by no means an expert, which is why I turn to the forums...where you go to learn from the pros & get **** done! thanks a lot you guys & have a fabulous wknd!
P.S. -- looking to spend $100-$150 total if possible & to illustrate my desired performance gain, I'd like to be able to play most current PC games @720p w/ MED-->HIGH Settings. hopefully this helps you make some more accurate/applicable recommendations. thanks.
HP HPE-410f Desktop PC
Many people prefer nvidia because they have the most powerful high end cards like $200 and up.
In my opinion the sub $200 AMD cards are far better than the sub 200 nvidia cards. For your system and budget I would get the AMD6850 or the 6870.
The 6850 puts out a ton of power and only draws 130 watts. It would probably work with your PSU however it is cutting it close.
The 6870 draws 155 watts, again it would probably be ok but the it would be cutting it extremely close. I would get a new PSU as well.