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Upgrading my video card

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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June 30, 2012 3:45:06 PM

I have a home-built PC (configuration in my signature) and I want to upgrade my video card. I have two main questions...

Firstly, will my motherboard support PCI Express 2.1 or 3.0 cards? I'm having trouble finding this out. I know it will support 2.0, and I have found a 2.0 card that I like, but I am not sure if the upgrade is worthwhile.

This leads me to my second question, is the card I've selected better than my current card, overall? Obviously most of the specs are an upgrade, but the 448bit vs 384bit is one spec that is not better, and I'm not sure how important this is compared to the other specs. What does this particular rating do?

Links to the relevant hardware:

Current card: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Current motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Potential new video card: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

More about : upgrading video card

a c 125 U Graphics card
a b V Motherboard
June 30, 2012 3:57:09 PM

Hello

The card you've selected as the potential card is considerably better than you current card, though it is power hungry (not necessarily a problem as your PSU can handle it) and runs hot.
The GTX480 is compatible with your motherboard.
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a c 145 U Graphics card
a b V Motherboard
June 30, 2012 3:58:35 PM

Quote:
Firstly, will my motherboard support PCI Express 2.1 or 3.0 cards? I'm having trouble finding this out. I know it will support 2.0, and I have found a 2.0 card that I like, but I am not sure if the upgrade is worthwhile.


PCI-E have backward compatibility so that's really an issue for you.

Quote:
This leads me to my second question, is the card I've selected better than my current card, overall? Obviously most of the specs are an upgrade, but the 448bit vs 384bit is one spec that is not better, and I'm not sure how important this is compared to the other specs. What does this particular rating do?


one spec alone does not dictate the whole performance of a card. so you shouldn't be worried about that. what matters are how well it will perform in real games. is there any other cards in your mind? try looking for 7850 or 7870 as well
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a b U Graphics card
a b V Motherboard
June 30, 2012 4:10:11 PM

To answer your first question, yes your motherboard will work with a PCIe 2.1 or 3.0 video card. Some motherboards that had PCIe 1.0 have issues with cards that were 21. and above but yours is 2.0 and I don't know of any issues there.

The GTX 480 card that you selected is better than the GTX 275. Please refer to the following article from Tom's hardware for more information: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-car... I falls 4 tiers above the GTX 275 on that chart. The only caveat is that the power usage of the GTX 480 is quite high so you may see significant increase in your power usage. However your power supply is adequate for it.

You might want to consider one of these: XFX Core Edition FX-785A-ZNFC Radeon HD 7850 1GB http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... for $219.99. It's in the same performance range and has significantly lower power usage.

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June 30, 2012 7:18:05 PM

Thank you all for all your input, i'm glad to hear about the backward compatibility; now i can research 2.1 and 3.0 cards as well, i have not even looked at them so far. i have not looked into other cards so this is the only one i have in mind so far.

i'm not terribly concerned with power consumption (my 850w psu can handle it) or noise (i'm only in this room when i have game or tv noise anyway) ... i do wish this card didn't run so hot, i already have temps over 90 deg pretty often with the card i have now, perhaps i'll try to find another that is not so hot.

thank you both for your radeon suggestions, however i'm a believer in staying consistent in cpu/gpu pairing, keeping ati with phenom or nvidia with intel, and as much as i'd like to, i'm not upgrading my cpu/mobo anytime soon, so i'm going to stick with nvidia for now

i understand that one spec does not make or break a card's quality, but for my own knowledge, how does 448bit differ from 384bit, what exactly am i losing there?
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a c 145 U Graphics card
a b V Motherboard
July 1, 2012 1:08:56 AM

Quote:
Thank you all for all your input, i'm glad to hear about the backward compatibility; now i can research 2.1 and 3.0 cards as well, i have not even looked at them so far. i have not looked into other cards so this is the only one i have in mind so far.


so far only AMD cards using PCI-E 2.1 standards (5k and 6k series).

Quote:
i'm not terribly concerned with power consumption (my 850w psu can handle it) or noise (i'm only in this room when i have game or tv noise anyway) ... i do wish this card didn't run so hot, i already have temps over 90 deg pretty often with the card i have now, perhaps i'll try to find another that is not so hot.


just don't leave the fan speed on auto. with fan profile you might be able to keep the temperature below 90c for GTX480. also make sure you got good air flow for your case.
i suppose GTX480 with non-reference cooler should have thermal. if temperature is really a concern for you then you can look cards like 7850 and 7870. GTX570 also a good choice. it perform as fast GTX480 but use less power and run way cooler than GTX480

Quote:
thank you both for your radeon suggestions, however i'm a believer in staying consistent in cpu/gpu pairing, keeping ati with phenom or nvidia with intel, and as much as i'd like to, i'm not upgrading my cpu/mobo anytime soon, so i'm going to stick with nvidia for now


nvidia gpu works just fine with amd cpu. the same goes with amd gpu and intel cpu.

Quote:
i understand that one spec does not make or break a card's quality, but for my own knowledge, how does 448bit differ from 384bit, what exactly am i losing there?


nothing actually. remember GTX275 were using GDDR3 and GTX480 were using GDDR5. with GTX275 nvidia have to use wider memory interface to yield the desired bandwidth. GTX480 might only using 384 bit memory interface but since it was paired with GDDR5 it has higher bandwidth than GTX275. but then again available bandwidth does not translate directly into gaming performance. for examples the Radeon 7970 have significantly higher bandwidth than nvidia GTX680 (264GB/s vs 192 GB/s) but GTX680 able to perform a bit faster than 7970
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July 1, 2012 4:58:19 PM

thank you for your additional input, that helps me to better understand the memory interface vs performance a lot better, and puts to bed my concern, and even eases my hesitance to consider 256bit options that I had previously excluded from my search.

what is a non-reference cooler? do you mean like replacing the backplate with a better cooling solution? i'm not sure i'm comfortable doing that myself, but i do see a couple on ebay where it's already done
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