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Buying a new graphics card, have some questions

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  • Graphics Cards
  • Graphics
Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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July 16, 2012 4:57:37 PM

As the title suggests, I'm going to buy a new graphics card sometime in the near future, and I want to make sure I make the right choice.

I've got an MSI 760GM-P33 Motherboard and I'm using an ATI Radeon HD 5450 Graphics Card. (Click the two names for links to their specs).

After shopping around for a bit, the AMD Radeon HD 6850 caught my attention. Based on my limited knowledge of the subject, as well as price/product reviews, it doesn't seem like a terrible option. (Once again, click the name for a link to the specs.)

My questions are these, I suppose:

1. The card I have now supposedly has "1GB DDR3 Memory", according to the list of parts from when I ordered the computer. The card I'm thinking of has "1GB GDDR5 Memory". I realize GDDR5 is more advanced than DDR3, so I'm curious if it makes a difference in the card's compatibility. Is something that uses GDDR5 even something I can use?

2. While searching, I noticed cards with "2GB DDR3 Memory". How big is the difference between 2GB DDR3 and 1GB GDDR5? Which is better? (I assume 1GB GDDR5 is "better", is this correct?)

3. Is the card I'm looking at even worth buying? I don't have a huge budget for this card, and I'm hoping to spend less than $150 on a new one.


Sorry for the huge wall of text, but I really would appreciate any help you kind fellows can offer.

More about : buying graphics card questions

a b U Graphics card
July 16, 2012 5:03:47 PM

1 it is fully compatible
2 2Gb DDR3 cards are low end cards with added cheap memory to trick people into thinking they are good 1Gb DDR5 is better
3 A Radeon 6850 is a very good card for its price currently.
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July 16, 2012 5:35:27 PM

simon12 said:
1 it is fully compatible
2 2Gb DDR3 cards are low end cards with added cheap memory to trick people into thinking they are good 1Gb DDR5 is better
3 A Radeon 6850 is a very good card for its price currently.



Thank you very much for the quick response, mate. I'll stick with the 6850, then.
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July 16, 2012 7:00:01 PM

Since I'm sure someone will cover it, the 6850 will use more power than the 5450. Are you sure if you have the power supply juice to cover the extra power that will be consumed?
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July 16, 2012 7:06:52 PM

smakadopolis said:
Since I'm sure someone will cover it, the 6850 will use more power than the 5450. Are you sure if you have the power supply juice to cover the extra power that will be consumed?


Heh, you read my mind, mate. When I bought the computer, it came as a "barebones kit" from tigerdirect.com. It came with the motherboard, video card, fan and a 350w power supply already connected. Obviously that meant I had to buy some parts, so I bought a hard drive, second fan, and I thought 350w seemed a bit low so I bought a different one, although I can't remember what wattage it's good for. I'm pretty sure it's either 500w or 600w, and I'm sure it's not more than 600w.

Out of curiosity, what would you recommend?
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July 16, 2012 7:13:45 PM

500 or 600 should be plenty assuming it's a good quality PSU with both a spare 6pin and enough on the 12v rail to cover the load. I'd assume you don't know the brand or model? I'm impartial to PSUs at the moment since I'm shopping around for one to meet the same needs (maybe a little more) that you're addressing. From experience, the only brand I know to avoid is Diablotek. Everyone here is high on Corsair/XFX/Seasonic/Antec PSUs, generally speaking. Mostly for their quality.
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a c 106 U Graphics card
July 16, 2012 7:19:29 PM

DDR memory, or DDR ram is essentially how much(and partially how fast) it can store images in the card. in general, 1 gb of vram is enough for an average player, as there are only a few games that will utilize more than 1 gb(things like battlefield 3 at high resolutions, multiple screens etc.) the difference between ddr3 and ddr5 speeds are noticeable as well.
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July 16, 2012 7:29:36 PM

smakadopolis said:
500 or 600 should be plenty assuming it's a good quality PSU with both a spare 6pin and enough on the 12v rail to cover the load. I'd assume you don't know the brand or model? I'm impartial to PSUs at the moment since I'm shopping around for one to meet the same needs (maybe a little more) that you're addressing. From experience, the only brand I know to avoid is Diablotek. Everyone here is high on Corsair/XFX/Seasonic/Antec PSUs, generally speaking. Mostly for their quality.



Well, I suppose I'm out of luck. It is indeed a Diablotek, here's a link.

And thank you for the broken down version, dudewitbow.
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July 16, 2012 7:36:55 PM

Eh, maybe you'll have better luck than I've had. One can hope, right?!
On paper though, you're good to go.
My one and only Diablotek PSU took down the rest of my components, so I decided to never go with them again. (I'm a smart one) It could've just been a bad experience. But from what I've seen/read, they don't generally get much positive feedback.
Best of luck there!
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July 16, 2012 7:42:37 PM

smakadopolis said:
Eh, maybe you'll have better luck than I've had. One can hope, right?!
On paper though, you're good to go.
My one and only Diablotek PSU took down the rest of my components, so I decided to never go with them again. (I'm a smart one) It could've just been a bad experience. But from what I've seen/read, they don't generally get much positive feedback.
Best of luck there!


Oh wow, that's quite the defect... One day I'll learn to be as smart as you are, but for now I am not a clever man.

Thank you very much for the dialogue, mate. You've been quite helpful.
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July 16, 2012 8:01:27 PM

Bill Blass said:
Oh wow, that's quite the defect... One day I'll learn to be as smart as you are, but for now I am not a clever man.

Thank you very much for the dialogue, mate. You've been quite helpful.


It cost me an entire system to have this knowledge!
"Smarts" came at a price in my case. --And not a problem at all.
Like, I said, I wish you much better luck than I've had!
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