Its been a few years since I have been in the PC modding world. Other then switching out components or replacing them I havent done much. I just bought a pc of a kid at work a few months ago for 400 bucks, the only downfall was it had a poor video card. Its not to bad for what I use it for now, but I want to get into more intensive games and graphics down the road and this is holding me back.
Current specs on the system:
Thermaltake TR2-430W (have a Cool Power CP-P700 power supply still in box, so could switch out)
Gigabyte EP43-DS3L Mother Board
intel Core 2 Quad CPU Q6600 @2.40ghz
8.00gb ram (not sure on the ram brand or specs at this time)
AMD Radeon HD 6450 1gb
Now I did a quick search of budget videocards, and found some older ones. The GTX 460 seemed to be a good choice at the beggining of the year, but is kind of hard to find and more expensive now (when you can find them).
Is there anything that would be comparable to or better than the GTX 460 in a 100-160 price range?
Or anything else you would recommend?
Like I said I am just getting back into upgrading PCs and its been forever since I have had to deal with graphics card and there are a lot more details I need to learn about now compared to 5-8 years ago when upgrading.
^+1 on the 6850. I know that right now on amazon you can find one for 135 after the 15 dollar rebate.
The radeon 6870 is a bit better than the 6850, and it's only 15 bucks more than the 6850, so if you think you'll ever need more graphical power, its better to spend the extra. Only now and get the 6870. The 6850 is still a VERY strong card though, and you could probably run BF3 on it (not that you'll have to, seeing as this computer is for your work).
Personally, I think that the radeon 7770 would be your best bet. It's performance is very similar to the the 460, and its only a little less powerful that the 6850. It should suit your needs very well, plus it's Only 115 bucks after rebate. The best part about it is that it uses MUCH less power than any of the other cards mentioned, so with a 430 watt PSU you should be fine. It only uses a little bit more than the PCI lane can give it, uses only 83 watts to be exact. It still takes an auxiliary six pin power connector though, so make sure you have an open one of those.
A guy I work with said I should be fine with the GTX 550 Ti for gamming. I think new egg has it for like $104, so its not to bad. He told me to stay away from ATI because he has always had problems with them, I had an older one I didnt care for either.
So any first hand experience or advice about getting the 550?
Yeah don't worry, amd makes good cards. AMD and Nvidia are pretty well matched atm.
After consulting the graphics card hierarchy chart, you can see that the 550TI is one level below the 6850. The 550ti is basically just a lesser 560. I'd go with the 6850, probably the best choice here.