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Newbie - Whats the best we can do?

My friend has this computer ... http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c01859861&cc=us&dlc=en&lc=en&product=4006002 ... sad? I know :( we've all been there before.

Well, he wants to get a new Graphics Card. The budget for the card is whatever the best card will be.

I've been looking all night, but between the 250 watt power supply, mid sized atx case, and motherboard, I can't find a single thing!

Could you suggest the a good graphics card? ANY help will be very helpful, thanks.
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  1. What's his budget? If he can afford a cheap PSU he can get a decent GPU. Otherwise a 6570 might do the trick.
  2. That's a pretty brutal power cap. If at all possible, I'd suggest a new PSU before getting a video card.

    $45 ($25 after mail in rebate)
    CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 V2 (CMPSU-430CXV2) 430W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139026&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-RSSDailyDeals-_-na-_-na&AID=10521304&PID=4176827&SID=1umn04p89q4rk

    Without a better PSU, the most powerful card I think that system could manage would be a 7750.
  3. quilciri said:
    That's a pretty brutal power cap. If at all possible, I'd suggest a new PSU before getting a video card.

    $45 ($25 after mail in rebate)
    CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 V2 (CMPSU-430CXV2) 430W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139026&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-RSSDailyDeals-_-na-_-na&AID=10521304&PID=4176827&SID=1umn04p89q4rk

    Without a better PSU, the most powerful card I think that system could manage would be a 7750.


    ..........

    ... if this PSU will work with the system I'll definitely get it! thanks! One problem solved!

    The budget for the card itself is $180-300 MAX, not including the PSU. What's the best I could get for around there, that will work with this system and the CX430 ?
  4. striker410 said:
    What's his budget? If he can afford a cheap PSU he can get a decent GPU. Otherwise a 6570 might do the trick.



    With help from quilciri ... I will have we will have a better PSU to use with the system, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139026&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-RSSDailyDeals-_-na-_-na&AID=10521304&PID=4176827&SID=1umn04p89q4rk ....

    so, if using that one (430 watts) what's the bets I can do that will work with this motherboard? Max budget is 300. we really wanna stay below. thanks for the help
  5. Here's the problem.
    -You have a dual core system (Athlon II X2 is pretty weak)
    -You have limited options for upgrading CPU

    So, you can upgrade the GPU but in intensive games like BF3 your CPU will severely bottleneck you.

    The CX 430 and a 5770 would be the highest I'd go without an upgrade on the CPU side. it's all about balance.
  6. striker410 said:
    Here's the problem.
    -You have a dual core system (Athlon II X2 is pretty weak)
    -You have limited options for upgrading CPU

    So, you can upgrade the GPU but in intensive games like BF3 your CPU will severely bottleneck you.

    The CX 430 and a 5770 would be the highest I'd go without an upgrade on the CPU side. it's all about balance.



    Oh Gosh! Do you think there's any chance I could find a better CPU ... that wont completely murder the budget? :sweat:
  7. Best answer
    After doing some research http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?cc=us&lc=en&docname=c01701270#N90 it looks like we can upgrade you safely to a CPU like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103889 Assuming you can use the fan of course. I'll check into that in a bit.

    That knocks out $100.

    PSU $37 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139026

    That leaves us a lot of wiggle room, actually.
    High end: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814131374
    middle end: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161402
    Lower end: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125396

    Any will work, although the pricing spread is pretty close.
  8. striker410 said:
    After doing some research http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?cc=us&lc=en&docname=c01701270#N90 it looks like we can upgrade you safely to a CPU like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103889 Assuming you can use the fan of course. I'll check into that in a bit.

    That knocks out $100.

    PSU $37 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139026

    That leaves us a lot of wiggle room, actually.
    High end: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814131374
    middle end: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161402
    Lower end: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125396

    Any will work, although the pricing spread is pretty close.



    I don't think you have any idea how easy you just made this for us! THANK YOU SO MUCH! :) One more thing... I just started learning about the whole 'just because the video card has a higher number doesn't mean it's better' thing ... if you had to choose between the 7770, and the 6850 which would you go for... I mean like, which will do better for games?
  9. According to this benchmark: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/539?vs=536 The 6850 outperforms the 7770 in some cases. That said, the 7770 has lower heat and power consumption. I think I'd go 7770, just because you'll be working in such a confined case.

    The only thing I'd worry about is the heatsink from the current processor is not enough for the new one. I'll see, they may all include the same stock fan.

    If the CPU fan you have will work, you'll need some cheap thermal paste like this stuff: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835100301

    Overall, going with a quad and 7770 is going to be a HUGE performance increase. You could easily play most modern games on reasonable settings, BF3 included.
  10. Best answer selected by NolenUmar.
  11. striker410 said:
    According to this benchmark: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/539?vs=536 The 6850 outperforms the 7770 in some cases. That said, the 7770 has lower heat and power consumption. I think I'd go 7770, just because you'll be working in such a confined case.

    The only thing I'd worry about is the heatsink from the current processor is not enough for the new one. I'll see, they may all include the same stock fan.

    If the CPU fan you have will work, you'll need some cheap thermal paste like this stuff: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835100301

    Overall, going with a quad and 7770 is going to be a HUGE performance increase. You could easily play most modern games on reasonable settings, BF3 included.



    Thank you so much for your help. Everything is decided and we're about ready to order it. One last thing, will PCI slot will support that card (we're going with the 7770). On newegg it says PCI Express 3.0 x16 ... and I know it had PCI Express x16 but 3.0? Do you think it will work?
  12. PCI Express 3.0 is backwards compatible with 2.0 which means that PCI Express 3.0 cards will work fine in a 2.0 slot but will perform better in a 3.0 slot. PCI Express 2.1 is another story... a 2.1 card will only work in a 2.1 slot and vice versa.

    Only the latest motherboards support PCI Express 3.0 and I wouldn't worry if your mobo doesnt support 3.0 and your card does if the card falls into your price range, it will still perform comparable to similar PCI-Express 2.0 cards but give you the possibility that maybe in the future you'll get a new computer that supports PCI-express 3.0 and move the card over and notice a slight bump in performance (along with the rather large bump the rest of the system specs on the new computer would offer)

    On a side note: I recently found myself in a similar albeit slightly better situation. I have the following computer:
    http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c01969879&tmp_task=prodinfoCategory&lc=en&dlc=en&cc=us&lang=en&product=4120648

    Fortunately my overall specs were slightly better and I got away without a CPU upgrade. I bought the Corsair TX650W power supply and an EVGA GTX 560 TI and my system seems to be running great!
  13. with a $300 budget I'd suggest dropping the processor down a notch, $100 is a little harsh for an OEM processor on that budget.

    I'd use an x3 455 ($80)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103911&Tpk=x3%20455

    That frees up enough for a 560 Ti
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130604

    You could also pick up a 6950, but the cheapest on newegg is $230, a little over budget.

    Or if you're willing to trade dx11 support for raw performance, newegg's got 4870x2 card's for $160, which is utterly monstrous performance for the money. They perform on par with 6970's

    Normally I wouldn't recommend a refurb'd card, but it comes with a 1 year warranty, which is more than most new card's do (evga being the exception, their cards have limited lifetime).
  14. quilciri said:
    with a $300 budget I'd suggest dropping the processor down a notch, $100 is a little harsh for an OEM processor on that budget.

    I'd use an x3 455 ($80)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103911&Tpk=x3%20455

    That frees up enough for a 560 Ti
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130604

    You could also pick up a 6950, but the cheapest on newegg is $230, a little over budget.

    Or if you're willing to trade dx11 support for raw performance, newegg's got 4870x2 card's for $160, which is utterly monstrous performance for the money. They perform on par with 6970's

    Normally I wouldn't recommend a refurb'd card, but it comes with a 1 year warranty, which is more than most new card's do (evga being the exception, their cards have limited lifetime).



    That would be a good idea, I mean a slightly lower processor, seeing as a higher level one will inevitably create more heat.

    How do you think the following would fair with a game like Gta Iv ... I'm not expecting max settings... but still.

    CPU - The Athlon you suggested
    Psu - The one you suggested
    GPU - the 550 ti ...
  15. quilciri said:
    with a $300 budget I'd suggest dropping the processor down a notch, $100 is a little harsh for an OEM processor on that budget.

    I'd use an x3 455 ($80)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103911&Tpk=x3%20455

    That frees up enough for a 560 Ti


    Personally if youre going to spend 79$ on a processor it'll be well worth it to spend an extra 20$ and grab the quad core processor proposed before; however I'm also an nVidia fan (i dont like ATI/AMD's graphics cards) and I am also an owner of a 560 TI

    GTX 560 TI is 30$ cheaper here: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=7191450&CatId=3669

    You could also save another 5$ if you go for the KR version of the card over the AR version... but if the difference is only 5$ its worth it. KR /AR on the box refers to the same card but the AR ones come with a lifetime warranty while the KR come with only 3 years.
    EVGA 01G-P3-1561-AR
  16. NolenUmar said:
    That would be a good idea, I mean a slightly lower processor, seeing as a higher level one will inevitably create more heat.

    How do you think the following would fair with a game like Gta Iv ... I'm not expecting max settings... but still.

    CPU - The Athlon you suggested
    Psu - The one you suggested
    GPU - the 550 ti ...

    There is a big leap between the GTX 550 TI and the 560 TI. Recently having found myself in a similar situation I decided ultimately the 560 TI was well worth the price difference; however I didn't require a processor upgrade...
  17. Quite honestly too, if you are going to go out and spend money on a new CPU/GPU/PSU I would grab the following CPU: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=5692033&CatId=4431

    Its only 20 - 40$ more depending on which CPU you were thinking of before but it really maxes out your system and will fit really nice with a GTX 560 TI.

    or if you want to save another 10$ grab: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819113007 instead of the one I suggest above..... [EDIT] actually dont do that since this one doesnt come with a fan... The one above does. [EDIT]

    The Phenom 2 X4 series is a quad core processor which also has a cache the athlons dont.

    I would go for the cheapest Phenom 2 X4 series quad core processor with a clock speed greater than or equal to 3.0GHz.
  18. geogolem said:
    Quite honestly too, if you are going to go out and spend money on a new CPU/GPU/PSU I would grab the following CPU: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=5692033&CatId=4431

    Its only 20 - 40$ more depending on which CPU you were thinking of before but it really maxes out your system and will fit really nice with a GTX 560 TI.

    or if you want to save another 10$ grab: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819113007 instead of the one I suggest above... The Phenom 2 X4 series is a quad core processor which also has a cache the athlons dont.

    I would go for the cheapest Phenom 2 X4 series quad core processor with a clock speed greater than or equal to 3.0GHz.


    Seeing as the budget for everything is 300, I know I'll have to make some sacrifices. In the end I know the computer will be better (thanks to you guys) but out of all the things suggested what do you think would be the best combination for such a (horrible horrible horrible) budget? If you think it's worth it to try and squeeze the pockets a TINY bit more I'll try my best to come up with extra, but this is gonna be a tight one!
  19. Guys, I would drop that stuff. First of all he can't get a Phenom II x4 965 as it's a 125w part. He only has a 95w board. that's a NO NO!

    Second, the GTX 560 Ti would require a substantially stronger PSU, which would up the budget even more.

    OP, I would go with my proposed plan. You can't go any higher on the CPU and you can't go any higher on the GPU without spending more on the PSU.
  20. NolenUmar said:
    Seeing as the budget for everything is 300, I know I'll have to make some sacrifices. In the end I know the computer will be better (thanks to you guys) but out of all the things suggested what do you think would be the best combination for such a (horrible horrible horrible) budget? If you think it's worth it to try and squeeze the pockets a TINY bit more I'll try my best to come up with extra, but this is gonna be a tight one!


    I understand your situation. I'll just kinda offer my knowledge but in the end you'll have to decide etc. ;)

    Does your $300 budget include the power supply?

    I would definitely not cut corners on the power supply. A reliable power supply is extremely important and when a PSU fails it can take other components out with it. Info on PSU's: http://www.eggxpert.com/forums/thread/323050.aspx

    Keep in mind while the wattage on the PSU is important it is not as important as the brand/reputation of the PSU itself. Furthermore often the wattage is less important then the amperage on the 12V rail. I personally like the Corsair TX line of CPU's for these types of systems/upgrades but they are more expensive than the no-name cheaper PSUs.


    Info on GPUs: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-card-review,3107-7.html

    Regarding CPU's: You have a choice of athlon x3 (triple core no cache)
    I wouldnt settle for anyting less than a quad core processor at 3.0 GHz. regarding the phenom vs. athlon etc. the only difference is the L3 cache which can be good. More info: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/286854-28-athlon-phenom
  21. striker410 said:
    Guys, I would drop that stuff. First of all he can't get a Phenom II x4 965 as it's a 125w part. He only has a 95w board. that's a NO NO!

    Second, the GTX 560 Ti would require a substantially stronger PSU, which would up the budget even more.

    OP, I would go with my proposed plan. You can't go any higher on the CPU and you can't go any higher on the GPU without spending more on the PSU.

    Ya ur right about the phenom I posted - won't work. Don't even know if 95W Phenom II X4's are on the market... the specs page listed says his mobo supports phenom II X4 but also specifies 95W only.

    Looks like this is the ideal processor his board could handle: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=6620914&CatId=4919
  22. A 550 Ti will handle well if you're gaming at a resolution of 1280x1024. On low to med settings, 1650 would be do-able as well, but the card will struggle at 1920.


    For gaming, four cores are mostly wasted.
    Even Battlefield 3, which seems to be the example most often held up as a quad core game, doesn't really use all 4 cores.

    http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2011/11/10/battlefield-3-technical-analysis/7

    It accesses all 4, but doesn't actually put a load on all of them.

    Most games use 2 cores, and even then they cheat. The A.I. is offloaded on one core while a 2nd runs everything else. Parallel programming is hard as hell to begin with, and figuring out how to parallelize a process where the next iteration depends on the results of the previous (i.e. gaming) is a holy grail of programming right now.

    On top of that, I'm trying to build an optimal game machine, where the processor doesn't far outstrip the video card. While I think the 965 be is a great processor, even a 560 Ti won't use that CPU to it's fullest. The cache on a processor is factored into it's overall performance, so it's fairly irrelevant on it's own.

    An x3 455 is still more than a 560 Ti needs, but it's closer to balanced.
  23. ^ Agreed on X3 vs X4. You COULD step down to an x3 without a problem most likely. However with quads becoming more and more common, developers will be coding with that in mind.

    The 550 Ti I would stay away from personally. The 7770 and 6850 are cheaper and offer more performance.

    The 560 Ti is a good buy but I'm concerned about the sheer size of the card in a cramped little case like that, especially with all the heat it's going to be circulating. You'll also need a 500w+ PSU.
  24. I have a similar case and bought that exact EVGA 560 TI model.

    I was concerned about temps as well. It does get hot but the temps dont get anywhere near concern. I put in a Corsair TX650. My CPU is a 2.6GHz Athlon II X4 and I'm quite happy with the upgrade. The only thing I'm not happy with on my system is the CPU: AMD Athlon II X4 620 @ 2.6GHz. I wish it was 3.0GHz and/or a phenom. but its not that big of a deal. For gaming, if I had to choose a lower clocked quad core vs. a 3.0GHz clocked triple core. I would go for the triple core but I would definitely prefer a quad core @ 3.0GHz.

    The only other significant difference between my system and his is the speed of the memory... But with his mobo he cant do anything about that.

    Just another piece of info to aid in a decision: If you plan to build a new system in the short term.. triple core CPU is fine... 560 TI and a nice PSU would be great. You can always carry the 560TI and PSU forward into a new system while most likely you would be buying an Intel CPU/mobo for the new system and the AMD cpu you buy now wont come with you.

    If you plan to use this for a while... Try and grab a quad core CPU if you can (and the price is just like 20$ more or something)
  25. striker410 said:
    You'll also need a 500w+ PSU.


    You don't need a higher wattage psu that the corsair recommended. The total wattage of a PSU is somewhat meaningless in a gaming system. The strength of the 12v rail is the most important factor in a game machine's PSU.

    the 560 Ti uses 220w under full load
    http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Zotac/GeForce_GTX_560_Ti_448_Cores/25.html

    the corsair 430w above has a 28a 12v rail (12v * 28a = 336w) enough to power nearly any card in existence.
  26. quilciri said:
    You don't need a stronger psu that the corsair recommended. The total wattage of a PSU is somewhat meaningless in a gaming system. The strength of the 12v rail is the most important factor in a game machine's PSU.

    the 560 Ti uses 220w under full load
    http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Zotac/GeForce_GTX_560_Ti_448_Cores/25.html

    the corsair 430w above has a 28a 12v rail (12v * 28a = 336w) enough to power nearly any card in existence.

    Fair enough. I do feel a little uneasy about recommending that, though. While it is possible, I don't like it. But hey! That's fine. OP can make his decision.
  27. quilciri said:
    You don't need a higher wattage psu that the corsair recommended. The total wattage of a PSU is somewhat meaningless in a gaming system. The strength of the 12v rail is the most important factor in a game machine's PSU.

    the 560 Ti uses 220w under full load
    http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Zotac/GeForce_GTX_560_Ti_448_Cores/25.html

    the corsair 430w above has a 28a 12v rail (12v * 28a = 336w) enough to power nearly any card in existence.


    I absolutely agree with this; however for single graphics cards setups I like the Corsair TX550 but prefer the TX650... though the system would probably run with a CX450. Its always good to have a PSU that is rated higher than the required load because it runs more efficiently in that range and the fan doesn't need to kick in as much (and you might save on your energy bill). Also PSU's are great for carrying forward into the next system as the MTBF is usually specified as 11 years on quality units.

    The Corsair CX series PSU that was reccomended (way) above in the thread is probably fine. I haven't personally used that line of PSU's and I noticed they are tier 3 on the tier list in the link I pasted above. The TX series is tier 2 which is slightly better and I personally have had great experiences with but is probably slightly more expensive.

    The following PSU is an awesome semi-modular PSU that will meet your needs: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=580993&CatId=5438

    If you can find the non-modular counterpart it will probably be slightly cheaper. I didn't bother getting the modular model of my TX650 and kinda regret it because its hard to hide extra unused wires in the case, but its definitely possible (as I did it ;))
  28. I hate to disagree again, but PSU's run more efficiently at higher load than lower. (i.e. a 400w supllying 300w is converting electricity more efficiently than if it were only supplying 150w)

    That having been said, any 80 plus PSU with a proper +12v rail will be fine. In order to get the rating, the PSU must deliver power conversion at 80% or better efficiency at any load level.
  29. Yes, I also understand what you are saying. There actually is a certain range at which the efficiency is optimal. These are usually best described by curves. Showing the Efficiency vs. Load. At high and low loads the efficiency is less than in some "sweet zone/region".

    80+ bronze means they are >80% in any region while 80+ gold means something ~>89/90 in all regions

    Here is an awesome video that somewhat explains the basics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vnXNyh9vIg

    Most PSU's give the best efficiency around 50 - 60% load.
  30. You can actually see one of the efficiency vs. load graphs I am talking about for the TX650 at the following site: http://www.corsair.com/tx650w.html
    might need to click "tech specs" on the left menu and scroll down a bit. You can see the PSU is most efficient at about 50% load with about 87% efficiency.

    You can see a similar graph for the TX550M here: http://www.corsair.com/power-supply-units/enthusiast-series-power-supply-units/enthusiast-series-modular-tx550m-80-plus-bronze-certified-550-watt-high-performance-modular-power-supply.html

    This TX550M PSU is the one I would recommend for the OP as a step up from the CX430 but again he has to make his own decisions.
  31. That's a really low efficiency ceiling. The general consensus is that a PSU is at it's highest efficiency up to 75% utilization. (at least by wiki :) )
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_supply_unit_(computer)#Efficiency

    Truth be told, any current processor for $70+ will be enough for any card in the remainder of your budget. you'll get the best gaming performance by using as much of your budget for a video card as possible (though he does still need a new CPU)
  32. quilciri said:
    That's a really low efficiency ceiling. The general consensus is that a PSU is at it's highest efficiency up to 75% utilization. (at least by wiki :) )
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_supply_unit_(computer)#Efficiency


    Ya I guess it really depends on the specific model in question. The corsair site doesnt have a similar graph for the CX430.. but I'm looking for one... There appears to be some great info on that PSU here: http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Corsair/CX430_V2/5.html

    Again I don't have personal experience with the CX line like I do the TX line.. so thats really all the info I can provide..
  33. quilciri said:
    Truth be told, any current processor for $70+ will be enough for any card in the remainder of your budget. you'll get the best gaming performance by using as much of your budget for a video card as possible (though he does still need a new CPU)


    I pretty much agree with this. I guess it will take some time for all this info to settle in but I'm looking forward to what the OP comes back with in response to all these discussions! ;)
  34. striker410 said:
    Guys, I would drop that stuff. First of all he can't get a Phenom II x4 965 as it's a 125w part. He only has a 95w board. that's a NO NO!

    Second, the GTX 560 Ti would require a substantially stronger PSU, which would up the budget even more.

    OP, I would go with my proposed plan. You can't go any higher on the CPU and you can't go any higher on the GPU without spending more on the PSU.


    the x3 455 is a 95w part and works fine in his motherboard.

    Staying under strict budget,

    $80 455
    $45 ($25 after mail in) corsair 430w 80 plus
    $130 EVGA 01G-P3-1464-KR GeForce GTX 560 SE
    (or $160 ($130 after mail in) XFX HD-687A-ZHFC Radeon HD 6870)
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