Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question
Closed

Need advice on GPU to serve as bridge between builds

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
Share
July 12, 2012 3:32:38 PM

My computer is getting up there in age, but it's served me fairly well until recently. Most games ran at acceptable settings at acceptable frame rates until recently, but I am now officially hitting the point where games just aren't running at all, let alone running in a manner that is conducive to playing a video game and not watching a slide show. I fully intend to build an entirely new machine within the next 6 months, but as I'm poor I'm going to have to save up because pretty much nothing from my current build can be ported over to the new one outside of the power supply and optical drive (which I doubt I'm even going to bother with since I haven't actually used a CD or DVD in months and have a USB one if I really need to). I'd like to upgrade the video card now so I can play D3, Skyrim, etc, with a card decent enough that I will be able to port it over to a more modern build. My problem is, I've been out of the loop for over 4 years now so I have NO IDEA what cards are good, brands are good, etc, and there are tons of opinions out there, so I need some advice.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within the next month

BUDGET RANGE: Between $100-$200, but closer to the $100 mark unless it's a REALLY good deal

USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming. Not looking for high/max settings on my 4 year old computer because I know that's unrealistic, but I'd like at least a console-equivalent experience playing games like Skyrim and Diablo 3 (also going to be picking up Borderlands 2 when it's released; Borderlands worked just fine on my current build but I'm worried the new one won't be the same). I don't do anything else with my PC but consume media so that's not an issue.

CURRENT GPU AND POWER SUPPLY: Currently I'm running two Radeon HD 4670's in Crossfire, but I have never really been very impressed with Crossfire so I intend to go back to a single card. Power Supply is 800 Watts so I'm sure I can probably handle most anything reasonable out there currently.

OTHER RELEVANT SYSTEM SPECS: Core2Quad Q6600 2.4 GHz, 4 GB DDR2 800, ASUS P5K Deluxe Wifi-AP mobo.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: U.S.

PARTS PREFERENCES: Only interested in ATI (I guess AMD now, huh?) cards. I've had bad experiences with Nvidia cards in the past and just prefer Radeons. No manufacturer stipulations really other than quality, obviously.

OVERCLOCKING: Possibly in the future, but not with my current build, so maybe? Not a priority, at any rate.

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: I don't plan on it unless there is some major compelling reason to do so in the future (extending life of my build for less than purchasing a new card). Current build, not at all.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080 main display, 1360x768 secondary (older 32" LCD TV, primarily used for Netflix/movie watching).

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I really have no stipulations outside of being as viable in the long-term as possible (which I realize is probably everyone's wish), since I plan on bringing this card over to a newer, more modern build (i7, DDR3 system memory, perhaps SSD for a system drive if prices come down enough to justify the expense). If ANY card I buy today that is compatible with my current build is going to bottleneck the hell out of my future one, I'd rather just get the cheapest thing I can that will work now (5000 series, probably?) and save the money up for a better card that won't have those issues. In the past, I've always just replaced the CPU/Mobo/Ram and Video Card at the same time, so the additional criteria of needing to work decently on two different builds at different capabilities is really throwing me for a loop.

Thanks for any help you guys can give, I really appreciate it.
a b U Graphics card
July 12, 2012 3:45:08 PM

I recommend the radeon 6850 at $120. It will be able to play D3 and Skyrim at higher settings on 1920x1080. The 6870 is also within your budget at $180. You'll be able to max out D3 and Skyrim, and a lot of other games as well.
Score
0
a b U Graphics card
July 12, 2012 3:55:02 PM

Chairman Ray said:
I recommend the radeon 6850 at $120. It will be able to play D3 and Skyrim at higher settings on 1920x1080. The 6870 is also within your budget at $180. You'll be able to max out D3 and Skyrim, and a lot of other games as well.


I think that while a 6850 might perform a tad better, it would be a better idea to get a HD7770 instead, since its the new line and you can count on continued driver updates, it has a higher core clock while still being a 1 GB vram card, and in general its the same price if not cheaper than the 6850.

I would consider these two.

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

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Score
0
Related resources
July 12, 2012 4:03:23 PM

Thanks for the suggestions guys. Another quick question that I'm getting various answers to in my research, I believe my motherboard is just plain on PCI-E x16. I know that PCI-E 2.0 was backward compatible with 1.0 (I think my 4670's were PCI-E 2.0 cards actually), but just to be 100% sure, will a PCI 3.0 card work with a PCI 1.0 slot? Some reviews on Newegg for say yes, some say no, but they don't give any hard information over what EXACTLY it is that makes the card backward compatible, whether it's even the card itself or the motherboard that is the reason the backwards compatibility is broken in those cases or what. Most people just return the card and get a different one in their followups.
Score
0

Best solution

July 12, 2012 5:14:35 PM
Share
a b U Graphics card
July 12, 2012 5:38:59 PM

Alright, simple answer first. Yes, PCI-E 3.0 capable cards are backwards compatible with PCI-E 2.0 and PCI-E 1 slots.

The difference between the versions mostly has to do with the amount of information that can be transferred over the bus. As of right now, for a single card, not even the HD 7970 saturates the amount of information that can be transferred over PCI-E 2.0 hardware.

Aside from that, all of the cards out today will say "PCI-E 3.0 capable" or "compliant." Thats because PCI-E 3.0 is still a very new technology and despite the e-peen battle it will not make any difference whatsoever on a single GPU setup.
Score
0
a c 184 U Graphics card
July 12, 2012 5:51:26 PM

Something like the 7770 is probably a decent bet, do n't let the 'limited' 128 bit bus fool you, it's quite fast enough at medium/high settings, besides, the games you're playing are far more likely to be CPU rather than GPU bound.
I'll also suggest you get a nice, mid range aftermarket CPU cooler (you can swap it into the new build as well ;)  ) and give the Q6600 a good dose of the overclocking stick.
Given a half decent GPU and a reasonable overclock I think you'll be surprised how much life is still left in the existing system.
As fo the PCI-E compatability issue: I'd steer clear of PCI-E 2.1 cards, just to be sure.
Score
0
July 13, 2012 3:14:28 AM

coozie7 said:
I'll also suggest you get a nice, mid range aftermarket CPU cooler (you can swap it into the new build as well ;)  ) and give the Q6600 a good dose of the overclocking stick.
Given a half decent GPU and a reasonable overclock I think you'll be surprised how much life is still left in the existing system.


It's funny you mention it because I was thinking about doing that but I didn't know if it was worth the $100 or whatever for a decent aftermarket heatsink and fan since the Q6600 has really seemed like it's been chugging lately. Plus I didn't think there'd be too many out there that would work with both the LGA775 and the LGA1366 (and now LGA1155) socketed mobos. I'll take a look into it, though...I'm intrigued. If I could squeeze another year out I could save up a pretty nice nut towards my next build...

Thanks, everyone, you've all been very helpful.
Score
0
a c 184 U Graphics card
July 13, 2012 11:38:16 AM

There's a lot of decent coolers out there, some universal like this :

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

It's not a super cooler but it's not too bad, either.
Obviously you're going to do some research into overclocking before taking the plunge, may I suggest you swing over by our Overclocking Forum as a starting point?
The GPU question is a little more difficult to pin down, as your plans seem a little fluid, but I'd look towards the 7770 GHz class, even without an overclocked CPU it'll give the system a decent boost without breaking the budget.
Score
0
February 2, 2013 2:52:40 PM

Best answer selected by angrydeuce.
Score
0
!