Best budget graphics card

Hi all,

I've just bought an IBM Thinkstation D10 Quad Core 2.5GHz with 4GB memory, but the graphic card that came installed with it leaves a lot to be desired (ATI FireMV 2250). I'd like to upgrade, but I haven't done this in years and after a few hours of research my head is spinning.

My question is: with my computer's specs what would be the best GPU I could get for around $150-200 (less being better)? I might be willing to spend more, but I have a feeling my computer would bottleneck some of the higher-end cards anyway and I don't want to waste the money. I was looking at the GeForce GTX 560's and 560 Ti's, and also at the Radeon 6870's and 7850's, but again, not sure if I could even take advantage of the higher-end cards.

Physical size of GPU should be no prob, as this Thinkstation case is massive and has lots of PCI-E slots on the motherboard, and power isn't an issue either, as it has a 1000W PSU. It's sad to have this much potential with the processor and then have to play Shogun 2: Total War at the very lowest graphic settings. Please help!
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  1. Just read the "how to ask for advice" thread, sorry! More info:

    BUDGET RANGE: USD $150-250

    USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Internet surfing, gaming (right now Shogun 2, but would like to get Diablo 3 and Civ 5 eventually).

    CURRENT GPU AND POWER SUPPLY: ATI FireMV 2250 and 1000W factory-installed PSU

    OTHER RELEVANT SYSTEM SPECS: IBM Thinkstation D10 Quad 2.5, 4 GB memory.



    PARTS PREFERENCES: None, whatever would work best

    OVERCLOCKING: No, unless I relearn how to do it (been 8 years since I bought a computer)


    ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Needs to run quiet
  2. at 150/160 its the 6850/6870
    at 200, its the 6950
    at 220, its the 560 ti
    at 250 its the 7850
  3. Best answer
    Performance wise, the 7850 falls between the 560 Ti and the 560 Ti 900 Mhz, the latter 2 of which are the same price ATM.

    In Guru3D 2011 Game Test Suite (common games tested include COD-MW, Bad Company 2, Far Cry 2, Metro 2033, Dawn of Discovery)

    7850 gets - 363 fps total
    560 Ti 900 Mhz - 372 fps total

    $200 560 Ti 900 Mhz

    $260 7850

    So call it a draw on performance but $60 savings is nice.
  4. Yeah, trust me I read that "Best Cards for May" article already, but I wanted to check and see what range of GPU's my computer can even handle. I could probably buy a $400+ card, but it would be a waste of money as I don't have the specs to even unlock it's full potential.

    Will a quad-core 2.5 with only 4 GB RAM get value out of a 7850, for example?

    DAROBA said:
  5. Ok, would this card be better than a 7850?

    It's a lower price than most of the 7850's I've seen, and according to some performance reviews it runs a little better. However, it might run loud and hot, and my case isn't set to handle a really hot GPU. Would a 7850 still be the way to go?
  6. Best answer selected by csvernon.
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