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Upgrading the wife's computer... need GPU advice.

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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May 17, 2012 3:15:24 PM

Hey guys... my wife recently tried my Diablo 3 and she's all about it... but her little netbook only gets 9 FPS when she is standing in New Tristram. With that said, she asked me to look at her old desktop computer, salvage what I can, and rebuild it so she can play Diablo 3 at 1920x1080. I'm guessing she'll also want to take a stab at Guild Wars 2 and Torchlight 2 when they're released so keep that in mind when suggesting a card.

I looked at her stuff and I've determined I'll need to do a couple upgrades to make it work...

I'm going to try to reuse her Ram (8GB of some DDR3 1333), Optical Drive, 1TB 7200RPM HDD and her Phenom II X4 820 2.8GHz. I'm going to upgrade her Power Supply from a stock 300W to a OCZ-ZT650W, and her Pegatron Mobo to an ASUS M5A88 Evo. The case will be upgraded if I can't shove all this in one of the cases I have laying around.

So, that leaves me to the big question... what GPU do I buy her? What we want...

* The cheaper the better... something to stay below $250, but to give us the most bang for our buck.
* Something that isn't specifically 'good enough' for Diablo 3, but will be great for D3, GW2 and TL2, plus others which might come down the pipe.
* Made by a company that doesn't suck.

What to do...?
a c 153 U Graphics card
May 17, 2012 3:26:18 PM

Well guild wars 2 hasn't been bencharmked yet so I can't say for sure what a good card for it would be at 1080p. You won't need much for Torchlight or Diablo III however.

Don't get a OCZ PSU, some are good some are crap. Also 650w is more than she needs. 450w-550w of a good quality brand will be ample.

A 6850/6870 is a great great GREAT card in it's price range, it will be able to power the games you are wanting to play (sans Guild Wars I cannot comment on that).

However, that price range is much lower than the 250 price range you quoted. I dont think you need to spend that much for those games at all, but if you do...

Then you are looking at a 7850 or 560Ti (not sure why this 560Ti is so much cheaper than the others... I might be missing something but it's an EPICLY great price).

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

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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May 17, 2012 3:46:18 PM

Thanks for the reply. I'm glad you mentioned the 560ti's because that's why my gut was suggesting as I looked at benchmarks and whatever else. My friend purchased a 560ti by Zotec and he said he'll continue to use them since he's had such a good experience, so I dropped them on my list. Your two links just kinda confused the hell out of me, though, so I'm sorry for asking more questions -- it's just that I don't understand what's most important in a video card... looking at the compares of 7850 and 560ti at Newegg, it looks like the Effective Memory Clock is vastly different than the 560ti's... is that a problem or are they really comparable and the displayed number is the result of a different equation...

Also, is it better to have more CUDA Cores or higher Core/Shader clock speeds? (Asking because the difference between the most expensive 560ti on the list and the cheapest has a pretty strong swing in numbers.)

Lastly, would it be better to get a lower or standard clocked card with more memory or get a already over-clocked card with less memory?


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May 17, 2012 3:59:45 PM

Eturnal, you can't make a direct comparison based on the numbers because AMD and Nvidia use different architectures. The benchmarks tell you how they compare.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/549?vs=547

I've never bought a superclocked model but you can overclock either card if you want to. I do own a GTX 560 Ti and I can say it's a very good card.
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May 17, 2012 4:08:50 PM

eturnal said:
Thanks for the reply. I'm glad you mentioned the 560ti's because that's why my gut was suggesting as I looked at benchmarks and whatever else. My friend purchased a 560ti by Zotec and he said he'll continue to use them since he's had such a good experience, so I dropped them on my list. Your two links just kinda confused the hell out of me, though, so I'm sorry for asking more questions -- it's just that I don't understand what's most important in a video card... looking at the compares of 7850 and 560ti at Newegg, it looks like the Effective Memory Clock is vastly different than the 560ti's... is that a problem or are they really comparable and the displayed number is the result of a different equation...

Also, is it better to have more CUDA Cores or higher Core/Shader clock speeds? (Asking because the difference between the most expensive 560ti on the list and the cheapest has a pretty strong swing in numbers.)

Lastly, would it be better to get a lower or standard clocked card with more memory or get a already over-clocked card with less memory?



Their memory buses are the same, so you're going to get roughly the same memory performance. Although the 560ti doesn't have 2 gb of it, which you aren't going to need for Diablo 3 from what the benchmarks point out. The extra memory will help with high resolutions at 1080p with AA and other eye candy settings cranked. Anything above 1080p it's nice to have the extra memory.

Comparing Nvidias cuda to AMD's counterparts is kind of like comparing apples to oranges. In the end they do the same thing, which is render your games but the differences are how much work the cores do per cycle. Cuda cores tend to do more work per clock cycle, than AMD's cards. The higher your Core Clock and shader the better, obviously.


It's hard to answer what's best in a GPU, it's mostly preferential. I like good overclocking head room, and excellent cooling. Which Nvidia's 560ti is great at, and amd's 7xxx series are fantastic overclockers. but that's my preference.

Number of cores (varies from nvidia to AMD), clock rate, shader core, memory bus, amount of vram, size, cooling, power consumption are all things to consider when buying a car.
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May 17, 2012 5:29:29 PM

Hey guys - Thanks for all the replies. I think I've decided to run with the 7850 because it has more memory and, as Aaron said, the extra memory will help. Also, the 7850 performed very well in the benchmark that Desert Eagle posted. One of the things I liked is how it ran 10 degrees cooler than the 560ti and how most games it played well.

http://pcpartpicker.com/parts/video-card/#c=81&sort=a5

Of this list, is there any manufacturer I should avoid? I was looking at the length of the Sapphire 11200-01-20G and I liked how short the card is (since I don't want to buy a different case, I'm trying to find a short card) but I'm a little worried since it only has a two year warranty. What do you guys suggest?
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