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Upgrade from GT240 below $200

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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June 2, 2012 11:46:21 AM

Hi.

A year ago I got a new rig, which I think it's pretty decent. It's an AMD Phenom X6 1090T at 3.20 gHz with 6 gb of RAM. The graphics card is rather modest for gaming, though, a GT240 with 1GB DDR2.

When playing demanding games, like GTA4 or Far Cry 2, I get poor framerates (around 18-20 FPS) using moderate-high settings with low resolutions (1024x768). I really hate to lower the settings, since that kills the experience for me in those games that are so visually compelling.

So I'm planning to get a new graphics card. I'd like to be able to play those games at the highest settings (or almost) at a higher resolution, maybe 1280x720 would be enough for me at this time (although my monitor's native is 1920x1980), but I see that the most powerful cards are pretty pricy. Would I get a dramatic performance increase with anything in the GTX series? There's a MSI N550GTX-TI Cyclone II 1GB GDDR5 for 140€ (170$) in a local store. That's around what I'm willing to spend. There's also a GIGABYTE GTX550Ti 1GB GDDR5 for 120€ (140$). I've also seen that the GTX 560 are much more expensive.

Is it wise to buy one of those cards? Will they provide good performance with more demanding games like Crysis? Will they be obsolete in a year? What's the difference between the two? What's nice in the ATI side of the scene? Should I better spend a little more for a GTX560?

My power supply is a Tecnimax HTFA700AT, in case it helps.

So, to sum up: What I want is a dramatic improvement in relation to the GT240 and I hate sacrificing eye-candy.

Thanks a lot.

More about : upgrade gt240 200

a c 291 U Graphics card
June 2, 2012 11:59:33 AM

Could you post any links to your local online shops? For 140€ you could get an HD 6870, which is around 3-4 times faster than GT 240 around 40% faster than GTX 550 Ti. Furthermore, if you cannot find any HD 6870s priced at that, you may go with HD 6850 OR GTX 460 which are both around 20% faster than GTX 550 Ti. GTX 550 Ti are generally bad buy, due to low performance/price ratio.

Lastly, could you post amperages written on your power supply and tell us how many 6-pin connectors it has? I couldn't find any info about it on google.
June 2, 2012 1:20:51 PM

This is the place where I bought the pc. http://www.efecto2000.es/shop/index.php
It's in Spanish, and the web site is quite poorly designed, so I hope you don't get lost. It seems, though, that the HD 6870 is not available there. I found it in other shop (http://www.appinformatica.com/tarjetas-graficas.htm) for 180€, a similar price to that of a GTX560 here http://www.efecto2000.es/shop/4218860701-tarjetas-grafi....

The specs for the power supply are here. http://www.high-techspain.com/ffuentes/fuentes-03.php
It must be a Spanish product, because I only found it on Spanish websites. If you have trouble understanding anything I'll try to help. About the amperages, it says quite some things. I don't know what data is actually needed so I'll post everything.

DC Output-------Output current(MAX)-------Output current(MIN)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
+3.3V------------18A---------------------------0.3A
+5V--------------28A---------------------------2A
+12V-------------27A---------------------------0.5A
-12V--------------0.3A---------------------------/
+5Vsb------------2.0A---------------------------/

**EDIT** It has a 6+2 pin connector for VGA PCI Express.

According to this site, the 6870 looks like a good choice. I'm willing to put in an extra buck to make sure I get the results I expect.

Related resources
a c 291 U Graphics card
June 2, 2012 2:13:11 PM

Oh damn, HD 6870 requires two 6-pin connectors. So if it has only one, chances are it is too weak. I take your budget is too low for both power supply and HD 6870..

GTX requires two connectors as well, but HD 6850 requires only one connector, however, I cannot find it on the site you linked. Do you think you could buy from www.amazon.es? Or maybe some other website?

http://www.amazon.es/Sapphire-Radeon-HD-6850-PCI-/dp/B0...
a b U Graphics card
June 2, 2012 2:23:36 PM

I have that Sapphire HD6850. It's a very good card, especially for the price its at now.
a c 235 U Graphics card
June 2, 2012 2:31:31 PM

your power supply is of rather poor quality. I think its a rebranded anydson or some other chinese make from 90's overstock. the dead give away is the 27a on the 12v rail. you would find that on a modern 400w unit. In fact in one of my PC's, I have an antec 400w PSU with 30a on the 12v rail (that rail powers the GPU, CPU, and HDD). A modern 700w unit would have twice the 12v rail power you have, 54a+ (which I have on my corsair 650w).

Any GPU upgrade should also come with a PSU upgrade for you.
June 2, 2012 2:40:39 PM

Thanks everyone for your advice.

What exactly should I look for in a new PSU, in case I decide to upgrade that too? I'll check if I can get a good one without raising my budget a lot.

Is the difference big between the 6850 and the 6870? If not, I'll just go with the 6850, if it's compatible with my PSU.
a c 291 U Graphics card
June 2, 2012 2:56:15 PM

Hd 6850 is around 14% slower than HD 6850.

When looking for a power supply, first of all look at brand. Quality brands are Antec, Corsair, Seasonic, XFX, and others, you can check the quality here:

http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?1080...

I wouldn't get anything below tier 3. Also, avoid no name brands that you cannot find anything about on google.

What happens when you buy cheap no brand PSU with 750w rating:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/low-cost-psu-pc-pow...

Lastly, there is efficiency certification called 80 PLUS. Power supplies which have it are usually good build quality. You can read more about it here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/80%2B

Of course, when making a decision you need to look at its specifications (especially 12V amperes rating) and what cables it provides (like 4 6-pin connectors).

Hope I helped :) .
a c 235 U Graphics card
June 2, 2012 3:02:04 PM

baquintraz said:
Thanks everyone for your advice.

What exactly should I look for in a new PSU, in case I decide to upgrade that too? I'll check if I can get a good one without raising my budget a lot.

Is the difference big between the 6850 and the 6870? If not, I'll just go with the 6850, if it's compatible with my PSU.


here is how I look for a new PSU

1) is the PSU or its platform well reviewed by trusted independent sites? if so go to step 2

2) does the power supply provide enough power for the PC? if so go to step 3

3) does the PSU have the features/connectors the PC needs?

reviewing PSU is hard because it costs money to buy the right gear. many sites will stick it in a PC system, run a stress test and say "its great", that's not a proper review. a few web sites will even give passing grades for free PC hardware (or a nice size add on their web site). trusted web sites that I like for reviews
jonny guru
hardware secrets
techpowerup
bit-tech
kit-guru
anandtech

a few brands are know for solid to quality PSU; pc power and cooling, ocz, corsair, seasonic, antec, xfx, enermax, silverstone are among them. still, check the reviews.

for the AMD6870, i would recommend a quality 500w + PSU with 34a on the 12v rail. you can run the AMD 6850 off a quality 430w+ with 30a+ on the 12v rail.
June 2, 2012 3:02:08 PM

You helped a ton. Thanks.
!