Lots of great thoughts here on awesome GPUs that drive the games that need the best stuff. I'm looking for the other end of things ... performance for a simple, general use PC ... and maybe integrated graphics are good enough?!
APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: next 30 days
USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: ESPN3, Internet, Netflix/HuluPlus, MS Office (big Excel files), DVD movies
The PC has Intel Graphics, what I assume is the 7th tier from the bottom on the Tom's Hierarchy chart. My current PC has ATI 200 graphics (2005) (which is so sad I don't see it listed). The cheapest cards I see now are HD 5450 GPUs with the chart indicating this is equal to Intel HD Graphics 3000.
So I get to a few questions ...
1) For my intended use is a GPU even needed? I'm OK with a GPU in the build if I will see something significant from it but I don't need to have a GPU just to have a GPU. On the chart the HD 5450 would be 4 tiers above the integrated graphics ... about the minimum jump recommended.
2) From what I can tell the next tier I can buy a GPU at is 5 higher than the HD 5450 ... the HD 6450. This is above Intel HD Graphics 4000 performance, which seems to be all I would need. So if a GPU goes in the build would a HD 6450 be a huge improvement over a HD 5450? If so, how (PC will be used for simple things but when I am watching football on ESPN3 I don't want freezing, pausing, stuttering, fuzziness, blockness, etc.
3) If I add a GPU to the list what brands are quality parts. I don't want to save $10-$15 bucks only to have something that is a POS ... and I don't want to get on a first name basis with anyone's customer service!
I have an Intel Celeron G530 paired with my GTX460 and it is a pretty good budget build, and for just doing stuff, that would be perfect. You might want to take the jump to the G630, but thats up to you.
And you dont need a 212 EVO, the stock cooler does just fine.
My budget is "the least amount possible" ... but I think I'm looking at $50 more or less. From all the feedback it seems like the best approach would be to build with no card and see if the video performs well enough.
Having said that ... a GPU would be an improvement for sure. So if I went for something $50 or less in the 5450 or 6450 class of cards which brands would be better (less problems, less rmas, cooler, quieter)? Would a GeForce of about the same performance be a better choice ... and what would those brands be?
Lastly ... the card hierarchy lists a 5450 and Intel HD Graphics 3000 on the same tier. If a CPU supported that would there be any benefit to adding a 5450? It appears the performance is about the same and assuming the mobo has the same connections as a GPU what would I get from adding a GPU to the build?