I want a graphics card that has the capability of playing most modern PC games on AT LEAST good medium/standard graphics settings if not high quality settings. It should be compatible with DirectX 11. The max I'd likely spend is around $120 before shipping. I'm going for the BEST graphics quality I can find in that range that will still work with my system. My main obstacle is a small power supply. I have:
AMD phenom 8450 triple-core CPU 2.10 GHz
4GB DDR2 RAM
Two physical SATA hard drives (total about 1.6TB)
An LCD monitor with a native resolution of 1280x1024
A few devices without a separate power source like DVD burner, media card readers, camera and other regularly used USB devices
Windows 7 ultimate 32-bit OS
I've read Radeon cards are not very power hungry compared to nvidia, and 7700 or 7750 are some better ones that may work with a small PSU. Here's one I was looking at; would it work?
Are there better Radeon GPUs that could work with my system? Does the card's brand matter when considering performance/power usage also? If so, what are the "best" brands that are as affordable if not cheaper?
Since I'm not familiar with Radeon I'd also like to know if it's common to encounter game/software compatibility issues with these cards where nvidia cards wouldn't? Especially considering I've noticed some games that list only nvidia cards for system requirements. Or does Radeon have the exact same capabilities as an nvidia equivalent while the only difference is the brand name?
I want suggestions for what WILL work with my system, not "might". I don't want to lose money or wasted effort on returning something. Also I'm NOT looking to replace the PSU. Post the most specific suggestions you can, please! Thanks!
If you have a HP or Dell (especially Dell) computer, then your 300w PSU will be fine for the Radeon HD 7750. The Radeon HD 7770 on a 300w PSU is not recommended because it can push the PSU to it's limits (it will fail sooner rather than later), or beyond the limits if it is a cheap PSU.
It's looking like the 7750 is my best option now so I think I'll try it. One more concern though. Would it be best to get one with a fan, or one that just has a heatsink for cooling? From my understanding the fanless one has less power consumption, is this true? I was considering these:
I'd think airflow shouldn't be an issue with me, it has one case fan but is positioned so that it can "breathe" well from all sides and I dust it out regularly. Would the performance be the same with the fanless one? Thanks.
Get the one with the fan, fanless cards still need some airflow and OEM cases are not usually that well ventilated, which is likely to result in a passively cooled card overheating.
Do n't worry about the fan cooled card dumping heat into the case, the 7750 is not exactly a room heater but if you're concerned good quality case fans are only a few ( fill in local currency here) and take just minuets to install.