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Finally upgrading my 2 year old rig.

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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May 4, 2012 2:14:58 PM

Hello guys, I finally have enough cash to upgrade the graphics card on my Gateway FX6840-03E, I have $400+ (less than 500 with taxes) to spend, and I would like your expertise, since I am quite ignorant about the subject matter (hence the pre-built rig) these are my current system specifications. The power supply is going to be a problem isnt it?

CPU-2.8GHz Intel Core i7 860
Motherboard chipset-Intel H57
Memory-8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM
Graphics-1GB ATI Radeon HD 5770
Hard drives-1TB, 7,200rpm
Power Supply- 500w
Operating system-Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)

My shops are Compusa (have a local store) and well, newegg, since from what I've heard they offer the best prices.
a c 162 U Graphics card
May 4, 2012 2:21:23 PM

Even with a 500 watt power supply, you should be able to get a card a couple of steps over the 5770. A 7850 should be pretty good for you http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-car...

It's two tiers over the 5770, fast and low power usage. And will give you some extra cash for pizza. No need to upgrade the power supply with that card. Anything higher and you will need to.
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a c 214 U Graphics card
May 4, 2012 2:27:23 PM

What is the make/model of your PSU?

What is the make/model of your motherboard?

What games do you play and at what resolution?

The i7 860 is still a good processor but since it is quite a bit outdated your going to need to O.C. I would suggest getting a aftermarket heatsink and start O.C.ing.

For around $400 I would suggest going for a 7950.I would recommend the MSI Twin Frozr III 7950 but it seems to be out of stock everywhere.In that case the second best thing would be to get the Gigabyte one.

Gigabyte 7950

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Gigabyte 7950 Review

http://www.techspot.com/review/496-amd-radeon-7950/

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May 4, 2012 2:28:19 PM

i didnt know gateway was still making computers
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May 4, 2012 2:28:26 PM

Seeing as to how I really wanted something in the range of a gtx580, would it be smart to just upgrade the PSU? I saw this at compusa: Thermaltake W0382RU Modular Power Supply - 750 Watt, 140mm Fan, 80 Plus Bronze, Active PFC for $69.99.

I'm confident in my ability to manually install a graphics card. However, I have no clue as to what I would need to do installing a PSU... is it plug and play?
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a c 214 U Graphics card
May 4, 2012 2:31:38 PM

The process itself isn't complicated.Just memorize what your current PSU is plugged into and match it with the new one.Their are plenty of "how-to" guides on youtube.

What would be your max spending limit for a new PSU?
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May 4, 2012 2:34:38 PM

purple stank said:
The process itself isn't complicated.Just memorize what your current PSU is plugged into and match it with the new one.Their are plenty of "how-to" guides on youtube.

What would be your max spending limit for a new PSU?


I only have less than 500 dollars to spend with taxes included
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May 4, 2012 2:44:34 PM

I would definitely replace the PSU. It seems that the weakest link of the most brand PC is PSU, since manufacturers employ low-cost PSU as average consumers don't and can't see its quality. Also, when you upgrade your system, make sure to clean the inside of the system with dust off spray. A lot of PC failure come from heat building inside due to accumulated dust, and it is a good time to clean it when you upgrade.

Most cable connectors are keyed, so if you try to put one into a wrong slot, it won't go in. Be careful not to apply brute force to fit the connector in. When you have modular PSU, things are a little bit easier as you don't need to juggle with bunch of cables at the same time.
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May 4, 2012 2:47:40 PM

MKBL said:
I would definitely replace the PSU. It seems that the weakest link of the most brand PC is PSU, since manufacturers employ low-cost PSU as average consumers don't and can't see its quality. Also, when you upgrade your system, make sure to clean the inside of the system with dust off spray. A lot of PC failure come from heat building inside due to accumulated dust, and it is a good time to clean it when you upgrade.

Most cable connectors are keyed, so if you try to put one into a wrong slot, it won't go in. Be careful not to apply brute force to fit the connector in. When you have modular PSU, things are a little bit easier as you don't need to juggle with bunch of cables at the same time.


Yea I try to dust off the inside every 3 months or so, once I upgrade the psu to something along the lines of a 750 watt will I be able to upgrade to a gtx580?
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Best solution

a c 214 U Graphics card
May 4, 2012 2:49:17 PM

Here's what I'm thinking...

Corsair 650watt $110=$95 after MIR + Free Shipping

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

7870 MSI Twin Frozr III $370=$350 after MIR + Free Shping

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Cooler Master Hyper 212+ EVO $35+ Free Shipping

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Without the rebates it's just a little over your budget at around $515.With the rebates it comes to around $480.
Although we still need to know what type of motherboard you have to see if you can even O.C.
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a c 143 U Graphics card
May 4, 2012 2:49:33 PM

pentiumradeon said:
Yea I try to dust off the inside every 3 months or so, once I upgrade the psu to something along the lines of a 750 watt will I be able to upgrade to a gtx580?

HD 7950 is faster than GTX 580 by a little margin, and when OCed it gets to the levels of HD 7970.
All you need is a quality branded 500W PSU. No more wattage needed.
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May 4, 2012 2:50:39 PM

pentiumradeon said:
Seeing as to how I really wanted something in the range of a gtx580, would it be smart to just upgrade the PSU? I saw this at compusa: Thermaltake W0382RU Modular Power Supply - 750 Watt, 140mm Fan, 80 Plus Bronze, Active PFC for $69.99.

I'm confident in my ability to manually install a graphics card. However, I have no clue as to what I would need to do installing a PSU... is it plug and play?



Don't think you'll have enough money leftover for a 580. I have the same 860 chip, and I chose to get a 570 instead of a 580. You should be able to get the PSU along with a 570(I recommend the MSI Twin Frozr Power Edition), for about 400 total.
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a c 214 U Graphics card
May 4, 2012 2:52:55 PM

MKBL said:
I would definitely replace the PSU. It seems that the weakest link of the most brand PC is PSU, since manufacturers employ low-cost PSU as average consumers don't and can't see its quality.


That is the case with most OEM makers but Dell is one exception.They almost always include quality units.More or less they provide PSU's that can deliver their rated wattage without blowing up.And are just as good as some aftermarket PSU's.
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a c 214 U Graphics card
May 4, 2012 2:54:23 PM

The GTX570 is poor choice,imo.The 7850 is just as fast for $50 less.
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May 4, 2012 2:58:58 PM

purple stank said:
The GTX570 is poor choice,imo.The 7850 is just as fast for $50 less.


Good call, I don't know much about the ATI side of things, since I've always used nVidia. Should be more power efficient too. 7850 is 28mm, no?
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a c 214 U Graphics card
May 4, 2012 3:00:15 PM

Nearly 100 watts less.
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a b U Graphics card
May 4, 2012 3:01:39 PM

I'm a Nvidia fan, but a do agree that AMD VGAs are the smarter choice this time.
Motives:

1- He already have an AMD card. Transition seems easier.
2- Performance/price seems better at this moment too.

I would say: Go HD7850 or go HD7950. Depends of how much money you will have after a new PSU.
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a c 162 U Graphics card
May 4, 2012 3:01:58 PM

In a Gateway, I really doubt you can overclock the CPU, and a top of the line card would out-strip your CPU so you will likely be bottlenecked in many games to be able to use the full potential of the card. The catch here is do you spend the extra money on a top card now with a PSU, then move that card to a faster system later. But then by that time, the new top of the line cards will be 30% faster than yours for the same price or cheaper.

If this was my money, I'd buy a mid-range card that was still faster than the 5770, skip the money on a new power supply and a higher end card, and when this seems slow again with new games, upgrade the whole thing with current specs in a couple of years.

Plus what resolution are you running at? A mid-range card would be able to pretty much max out the settings in any game at regular monitor resolutions. You need to go to a triple screen or some expensive monitor to be looking at higher-end stuff.
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May 4, 2012 3:01:59 PM

purple stank said:
Nearly 100 watts less.



Should be an excellent choice for OP as well.
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a c 143 U Graphics card
May 4, 2012 3:05:42 PM

hang-the-9 said:
In a Gateway, I really doubt you can overclock the CPU, and a top of the line card would out-strip your CPU so you will likely be bottlenecked in many games to be able to use the full potential of the card. The catch here is do you spend the extra money on a top card now with a PSU, then move that card to a faster system later. But then by that time, the new top of the line cards will be 30% faster than yours for the same price or cheaper.

+1
Most OEM machines have locked BIOS, so you won't be able to OC the CPU and a bottleneck will arise.
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May 4, 2012 3:10:00 PM

wow you guys already saved me from getting the 580, im seeing the specs on the 7950, its a lot better. Im trying to see what the make of my motherboard is but I cant find it with belarc
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a c 162 U Graphics card
May 4, 2012 3:13:06 PM

A 7950 will be too fast for your CPU and probably your monitor resolution, and you will need to upgrade your power supply. Up to you if you want to get it, but you will see pretty much 0 difference between that and a lower end card unless you get a new CPU and run the thing at higher than 1920 resolution.
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May 4, 2012 3:14:37 PM

I run my games on 1080p by the way...
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May 4, 2012 3:20:27 PM

wow, some of these posts are pretty discouraging.... I see no point in upgrading to anything less than a 7950, I can run my games allright on the 5770, I just wanted to be able to run them really high settings. I can run bf3 at about 30fps on medium settings, and I run sc2 on high settings no problem at about the same framerates... should I just try and sell the whole rig and see if I can build one from scratch with the 500 dollars? how much cash does one need to get a system that can handle a top end single gpu card with possibility to sli or crossfire in the future?
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May 4, 2012 3:26:14 PM

pentiumradeon said:
wow, some of these posts are pretty discouraging.... I see no point in upgrading to anything less than a 7950, I can run my games allright on the 5770, I just wanted to be able to run them really high settings. I can run bf3 at about 30fps on medium settings, and I run sc2 on high settings no problem at about the same framerates... should I just try and sell the whole rig and see if I can build one from scratch with the 500 dollars? how much cash does one need to get a system that can handle a top end single gpu card with possibility to sli or crossfire in the future?



We understand, but you won't be utilizing the card's full potential if you use it with an vanilla clocked 860. :(  In the current scenario, I'm pretty confident to say that the GPU was the limiting factor for your FPS, but if you upgrade too high up the GPU chain, your CPU will become the bottleneck, and you cannot overclock it since it's OEM. Tough situation. Good luck! ;) 
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a c 143 U Graphics card
May 4, 2012 3:29:01 PM

At your resolution with high graphics settings a lot of load is put on your CPU, if your CPU isn't fast enough to render and handle these graphics..it will slow down your GPU.
That's what hang the 9 was trying to say, and at the end you'll feel like you have a mid range card instead of a high end card.

But that's the case only in CPU intensive games such as Skyrim and WOW, in most GPU intensive games the i7 860 will just do fine.

That's why we asked at first for OCing the CPU with after market cooler, but your machine is OEM that have a locked BIOS.
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a c 162 U Graphics card
May 4, 2012 3:30:33 PM

You need need more than 500 by a lot to upgrade what you have. Just the high end video card and power supply would cost you that much. Add in the case, motherboard, fast cpu, ram. But like I said, you can always get the card now, and upgrade the CPU later, and the monitor. If your monitor is not a very high res one, upgrading over mid-range is a waste really, even with a fast CPU. Running something at 100fps vs 60 is not worth any extra IMHO. If you want to run games at higher settings now, going to a $200-250 card will do that for you. Going to a $400 card will get you the same speeds unless you get a faster CPU and a high-res monitor or a triple monitor display.

Let's put it this way, do you want to spend $500 to find out the rest of your system is not up to par, or $200? If you really are itching for an upgrade, get a mid range video card now. If you really want to spend every cent you have, get a high end one, but without spending another 4-500 on a new CPU and monitor, you will see no difference.
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May 4, 2012 3:33:56 PM

Can anyone recommend me a course of action? whats the best way I could spend my money and see a noticeable difference in my games?
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May 4, 2012 3:43:18 PM

hang-the-9 said:
You need need more than 500 by a lot to upgrade what you have. Just the high end video card and power supply would cost you that much. Add in the case, motherboard, fast cpu, ram. But like I said, you can always get the card now, and upgrade the CPU later, and the monitor. If your monitor is not a very high res one, upgrading over mid-range is a waste really, even with a fast CPU. Running something at 100fps vs 60 is not worth any extra IMHO. If you want to run games at higher settings now, going to a $200-250 card will do that for you. Going to a $400 card will get you the same speeds unless you get a faster CPU and a high-res monitor or a triple monitor display.

Let's put it this way, do you want to spend $500 to find out the rest of your system is not up to par, or $200? If you really are itching for an upgrade, get a mid range video card now. If you really want to spend every cent you have, get a high end one, but without spending another 4-500 on a new CPU and monitor, you will see no difference.



what card is considered mid range nowadays that gives good bang for buck? also would i need to still upgrade the psu with a mid range upgrade?
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May 4, 2012 3:54:58 PM

what about adding a second 5770? would that give me a big boost?
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a c 162 U Graphics card
May 4, 2012 4:43:10 PM

pentiumradeon said:
what card is considered mid range nowadays that gives good bang for buck? also would i need to still upgrade the psu with a mid range upgrade?


The one I listed in the first post. No need to upgrade the power supply.

A second 5770 will up the speeds, but the power supply may not be able to run it well, plus can the computer run CrossFire?
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May 4, 2012 5:37:52 PM

well there are two slots ive checked, so it should right?
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a c 214 U Graphics card
May 4, 2012 5:54:45 PM

pentiumradeon said:
I run my games on 1080p by the way...


ilysaml said:
At your resolution with high graphics settings a lot of load is put on your CPU, if your CPU isn't fast enough to render and handle these graphics..it will slow down your GPU.


At 1080p almost all of the processing power comes from the GPU.

In games such as BF3 and Skyrim you will run into a GPU bottleneck long before the CPU becomes a problem.Clock for clock the 2500k is only 15% faster.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/108?vs=288

CPU benchmark in BF3

http://en.inpai.com.cn/doc/enshowcont.asp?id=7986&pagei...

Here's my advice,buy what I listed above.Then when you have enough money again upgrade your CPU and your motherboard and you'll be good to go.You will see a huge improvement even with just the GPU upgrade alone.

*Also guys I figured you would be a little bit more knowledgeable.He has a i7 860.Not a i5 and not something from the socket 775 platform.*And as far as I can tell the i7 from 1156 is still faster than anything AMD has to offer clock for clock.
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a c 162 U Graphics card
May 4, 2012 5:57:53 PM

pentiumradeon said:
well there are two slots ive checked, so it should right?


No, that just means that it will hold two cards, not that they will work together.
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May 4, 2012 6:00:32 PM

purple stank said:
At 1080p almost all of the processing power comes from the GPU.

In games such as BF3 and Skyrim you will run into a GPU bottleneck long before the CPU becomes a problem.Clock for clock the 2500k is only 15% faster.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/108?vs=288

CPU benchmark in BF3

http://en.inpai.com.cn/doc/enshowcont.asp?id=7986&pagei...

Here's my advice,buy what I listed above.Then when you have enough money again upgrade your CPU and your motherboard and you'll be good to go.You will see a huge improvement even with just the GPU upgrade alone.

*Also guys I figured you would be a little bit more knowledgeable.He has a i7 860.Not a i5 and not something from the socket 775 platform.*And as far as I can tell the i7 from 1156 is still faster than anything AMD has to offer clock for clock.


Somewhere I heard that HT is detrimental to gaming, and it actually can lead to slightly inferior performance to the non-HT CPU with similar clock. If that's true, i7 doesn't guarantee always better gaming experience. It's not what I experienced, just read in many reviews, though.
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a c 214 U Graphics card
May 4, 2012 6:02:39 PM

I wasn't referring to HT.The i7 is always naturally faster by some margin.It's just an overall stronger CPU.
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May 4, 2012 6:06:39 PM

how about the HD7950? I read the Minimum wattage required is 500, so I could run it as well no?
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a c 162 U Graphics card
May 4, 2012 6:21:02 PM

pentiumradeon said:
how about the HD7950? I read the Minimum wattage required is 500, so I could run it as well no?


It should run, but it's costs almost twice as much as a 7850 and for your resolution and CPU you will not get any benefit from that card. Or very little over the 7850. Your money though. Since you seem to really want to spend $400 on a card, the 7950 should run on your power supply. Keep in mind that the 7950 needs two power plugs to run, and a Gateway power supply may either not have that or they may be a bit weak on the power output side.
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a c 117 U Graphics card
May 4, 2012 6:38:32 PM

pentiumradeon said:
Can anyone recommend me a course of action? whats the best way I could spend my money and see a noticeable difference in my games?

there have been some very good suggestions for right now.

i'm going to throw "what about 6-9 months down the line" into the mix.

IF you can fore see having $600-$800 in the near future for a CPU, heatsink, mobo, ram and case (might as well think about a SSD too :)  )

then spending $450-500 on a excellent PSU and a high end 7xxxx card now and deal with any bottlenecks until then.

wisely spending $1050 - $1300 on a rig can get you a fine gaming machine, just not overnight.
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a c 162 U Graphics card
May 4, 2012 6:51:39 PM

The catch with that ^ is that in the future, the same or faster card will a lot cheaper. It's kind of a catch 22, spend money on a faster CPU now, CPU will get cheaper/faster, spend money on a fast card, that will drop in price. It's really up to the person spending the money at the end. In this case, the 5770 as is, is a decent card, paired with a decent CPU. I would leave both as is and upgrade in about a year after getting 1k together for a full upgrade.

But since the OP wants to get something faster now, spending $400 on a video card that in a year will probably be 300, and in two will be 200 may not be the best thing to do. Spending $200-250 now though, that card will also run pretty fast in anything in the next few years, so it's not that much of a hit in price vs performance loss.

That's why I never get a high-end of anything, or get the LAST generation or two of high-end. I've yet to feel like I spend a ton of money on something that's out-dated in a week, as what I get is out-dated when I buy it new hehe. Still usable, just not the best. The card I'm running now is a nVidia 9800GT that I got used for $40 over a year ago. When I feel like that is slow or I get lazy with my money, I will probably get another mid-range card from the whatever the last generation is. I will never run the latest game at 200fps on super duper fancy shiny settings, but I try to hit the sweet spot so I can run on close to high settings at 40 or so FPS.

Which is how I manage to also get a laptop for every one of my 4 kids to use, and two extras to run video streaming and have a kid in college and one about to enter college and pay for the cars and food hehe. If I spend high-end money on products that have a product cycle of 6 months, I'd be broke!
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May 4, 2012 6:59:47 PM

purple stank said:
I wasn't referring to HT.The i7 is always naturally faster by some margin.It's just an overall stronger CPU.


i7-860 is Lynnfield, not Bloomfield as i7-960. There is not much a difference between i5-760 and i7-860, as both are Lynfield after all. 200 MHz in CPU is not a big deal these days. Significant difference between them is HT. If the OP had Bloomfield chip, it would've been worth keeping it, but I'm not sure about Lynnfield, when it comes to matching with the current high-end video cards.

That aside, my point was to question whether i7 actually increased gaming performance over i5 when compared on the same speed, as I found many reviews that it is not the case. I wonder if that assessment has been proven in real test.
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a c 117 U Graphics card
May 4, 2012 7:03:08 PM

hang-the-9 said:
The catch with that ^ is that in the future, the same or faster card will a lot cheaper. It's kind of a catch 22, spend money on a faster CPU now, CPU will get cheaper/faster, spend money on a fast card, that will drop in price. It's really up to the person spending the money at the end. In this case, the 5770 as is, is a decent card, paired with a decent CPU. I would leave both as is and upgrade in about a year after getting 1k together for a full upgrade.


good points.
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a c 214 U Graphics card
May 4, 2012 7:06:11 PM

Their is always something new and better over the horizon.Buy whatever makes you or your wallet happy.
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a b U Graphics card
May 4, 2012 7:42:52 PM

Remember also to measure how much length you have to fit a long graphics card. I bet an HD 7950 would be too long. I have a Dell Minitower, and my own HD 6870 barely clears my hard drive cage, and wouldn't if there was a hard drive in that slot.

And I agree that all you need is love. I mean an HD 7850.
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May 4, 2012 7:43:56 PM

I found this:
PowerColor AX7870 2GBD5-2DH Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

As for the power supply, I'm still debating, the specs say 500watt minimum which is what I have, if not I'll side with this and still be in budget.
Thermaltake TR2 RX 750W Bronze W0382RU ATX 12V v2.3 / EPS 12V v2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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May 4, 2012 7:46:17 PM

pentiumradeon said:
I found this:
PowerColor AX7870 2GBD5-2DH Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

As for the power supply, I'm still debating, the specs say 500watt minimum which is what I have, if not I'll side with this and still be in budget.
Thermaltake TR2 RX 750W Bronze W0382RU ATX 12V v2.3 / EPS 12V v2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Very nice choices. The video card upgrade is very significant. Good luck.
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May 4, 2012 7:54:29 PM

I saw this as well: ASUS HD7870-DC2-2GD5 Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This might seem like a newbish question, but do the video cards having more fans make them more stable? or more quiet (figuring they only have to work half as hard)? because this asus one has two mounted, for example I saw this one:
GIGABYTE GV-R787OC-2GD Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And it actually has 3 fans! The reviews are all positive saying how it has an aftermarket cooler, whats that all about? again guys youve been a great help thanks
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Anonymous
a c 117 U Graphics card
May 4, 2012 11:04:56 PM

pentiumradeon said:
I found this:
<snip>
As for the power supply, I'm still debating, the specs say 500watt minimum which is what I have, if not I'll side with this and still be in budget.
Thermaltake TR2 RX 750W Bronze W0382RU ATX 12V v2.3 / EPS 12V v2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

i would highly suggest:
Rosewill HIVE Series HIVE-750 750W Continuous @40°C, 80 PLUS BRONZE $89.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
15% off w/ promo code IVYPSU15, ends 5/5 (no mail in rebate thingy but does cost a few $$ more)

the TT is maximum 750w while the rosewell is continuous and it got an excellent review on johnny guru.:
http://www.guru3d.com/article/rosewill-hive-750-watt-ps...

however i believe that a quality 550w will run ANY single graphics card solution.
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