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Economical, Eco-friendly, mid-range gaming card

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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May 26, 2012 2:06:20 PM

I currently have a system I built at the end of 2008... Phenom 9550, 4gig of RAM. Everything is working just fine, except the video card that I bought from Best Buy- a PNY Radeon 9600 GT. I've repeatedly tried to underclock it, put everything into a new case with 4 fans (front/bottom pulling in, top/back pushing hot air our) and even put a VGA card fan blowing on it. When I've run diagnostic tools, it never gets "extremely" hot... I believe in the 80C range *note: I haven't looked in a few months* Drivers are all up-to-date (updated I believe last week). The only way I can play pretty much any non-browser game is by sticking a box fan blowing directly into my case, which isn't practical for me. I know it's the video card because games I could run all day on max settings will die in less than 10 minutes on either default or even low settings.

While I've been waiting until Windows 8 to rebuild most of my system, I've decided I really can't go on much longer with my screen going black and moments later the monitor goes without a signal. This happens shortly after playing most modern games. WoW would usually run for quite a while on all the lowest settings. My wife is into "green" living and I'm into economical living. Do I have any options in the sub-$100 range, ideally even in the $50-75 range, that isn't a power-hog, yet still capable of playing games like WoW, Batman Arkham Asylum, Dungeon Defenders, Torchlight, Civilization V, The Sims 3, etc?

Thanks! Sorry my thoughts are kind of all over the place. I'm just really annoyed and don't want to spend any money on computer hardware right now! I could use an old ATI Radeon 9550 (256 mb), but I don't think that will get me much more than Dungeon Defenders to be playable.
May 26, 2012 2:15:43 PM

Just get an AMD RADEON 7850 HD ...
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May 26, 2012 2:40:32 PM

You never told us the country you were from. However, HD 6670 is your best bet at that price range, it's about twice as powerful as 9600 GT and uses little power.
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May 26, 2012 2:59:10 PM

The 6670 is a great choice for under $100. If you're willing to put down a bit more money for lower consumption and better performance, the Radeon HD 7750 can be found for just over $100 from most retailers. If you go that route, I'd recommend looking at a Sapphire card, but anything will work.
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May 29, 2012 12:53:37 PM

My apologies for the delayed response, being a holiday weekend. I'm from the US. After posting this, I got out the ol' can of air, removed my current card and sprayed until I couldn't spray anymore... actually, just until I could see no dust from any angle. I can NOW play Dungeon Defenders if I use MSIAfterburner(I think that's the name) to underclock it to about 75% of normal...this is with the fan set to 100% at all times. This will buy me some time!

I do like the idea of the Radeon HD 7750, if only because it's the current generation. Now I have to ask if my motherboard, with it's PCIe 2.0 slot, can support the PCIe 3.0 interface of the 7750? At a later date when I upgrade the rest of the guts, I would think it would have PCIe 3.0.

Since I can at least play a game I'm interested in at present on my computer once again, I don't have to be in a rush to upgrade right now anyway. If I have to wait until October/November as I originally planned for a Windows 8 system overhaul, I suppose I can wait longer now. I had tried previously to dust my video card in a similar fashion, but didn't have the same results. I'm thinking it's the underclocking...
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May 29, 2012 1:02:34 PM

PCIe express is backwards compatible. That means 3.0 cards will work on 2.0 motherboards and vice versa. Futhermore, having 3.0 card in 2.0 board will have ZERO performance loss when compared to 3.0 board.

I'd personally suggest this card, because its big fan makes sure that there's as little noise coming from it as possible.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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May 29, 2012 10:17:03 PM

Either way it goes, I can't imagine either 7750 being too terribly demanding of its fan, so I doubt that noise would be an issue either way.

To note some differences between the Gigabyte and Sapphire cards:
- Gigabyte has 880Mhz core clock, Sapphire has 800Mhz
- Gigabyte has larger fan
- Gigabyte has HDMI, D-Sub, and DVI ports; Sapphire has HDMI, DisplayPort, and DVI ports.

They cost the same, have the same shipping, and come with the same DIRT Showdown gift. Both solid choices.
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