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Graphics card upgrade advice.

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 6, 2012 3:58:04 PM

I built my first rig earlier this year and am now looking to make a few changes. At the time I was building to a very tight budget specs are:

Mobo: msi  ZH77A-G43
CPU:  i5 2500k 3.3ghz
GPU: ASUS ENGTS450/DI/1GD5
Ram: 8gb DDR3
PSU: 400w
HDD: 500gb sata

I now find myself having to make big reductions in graphics settings to get playable levels of performance from newer games so I want to upgrade my GPU ( and PSU accordingly).

My new budget is around £200 and I will happily go a little over to get something that will last BUT I don't want an overkill card for my needs. I just want to play games at high to ultra presets at 1366 x 768 (moniters res)or a little higher (1080p is not a high prio for me) the kind of games I have in mind are:

The witcher 2, max Payne 3, Dishonoured, dark souls  ( with a decent res and the texture fix) crysis 2 and battle field 3.

I have tried some of the above games with my current set up and they are perfectly playable at low and medium settings and lower resolution but I really don't feel I am playing them as should be intended.

I would prefer nvidia over ati if possible but I will keep an open mind.

Thanks!
a b U Graphics card
September 6, 2012 4:05:05 PM

What is your monitors native resolution??

If your monitor is 1366x768, you can't play at 1080p.
September 6, 2012 4:36:15 PM

Yea just checked it out, that's my native res. so 1080p s not only not a prio it's not a possibility :) 
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a b U Graphics card
September 6, 2012 4:38:51 PM

I seriously would think about upgrading your monitor first. There's no better gratification than a nice monitor, even a 22" 1080p would be a HUGE step up.

Spending that much money on a video card for that little monitor would be a waste because you would never use the cards potential, if your planning on keeping that monitor even half that much money would buy a card that wouldn't be fully used.
September 6, 2012 4:41:41 PM

Ok, is there a card you would suggest for my native res though? I am having to tone down the settings to use 1366x768.
a b U Graphics card
September 6, 2012 4:52:53 PM

geekapproved said:
I seriously would think about upgrading your monitor first. There's no better gratification than a nice monitor, even a 22" 1080p would be a HUGE step up.

Spending that much money on a video card for that little monitor would be a waste because you would never use the cards potential, if your planning on keeping that monitor even half that much money would buy a card that wouldn't be fully used.

+1

Not a day goes by that I don't regret buying a 1440x900 monitor instead of full HD. SPLURGE and get a $150 monitor, and pick up an HD 7850 (best price/performance ratio right now).

If you've only got about $130-$170 to spend, then pick up a GTX 560 or at least an HD 7770. Also, make sure your PSU can handle these, and make sure you have enough room in your case for a longer, 2-slot card.
$140: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$165: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

@geekapproved, I see you got a new card - nice! I'm tempted to trade in my monitor and video card for 1080p/HD 7850, but my wife won't let me spend any more on my rig, since I just did a platform upgrade in July :fou: 
a c 175 U Graphics card
September 6, 2012 4:55:02 PM

A GTX560 or HD6870 would offer a good improvement over your GTS450. Either will run on a decent 500W PSU. Seasonic, Antec, Corsair, XFX, FSP, and Enermax/LEPA are among the better PSU brands.
September 6, 2012 5:02:52 PM

Ok hang on here. Your res is pretty poor quality. Your games won't look very good in high quality settings at that res. The pixels are too large the game will never be as sharp as it should bee. Upgrading your monitor to a 1080p monitor will also upgrade the game graphics. Simply because you now are displaying in 1080p. I play swtor on a laptop and big desktop. My laptop can't handle 1080p play very well but when i set it for 1080p its looks great at minimum settings. but i have to tone it down to 1400 X 900 and it still looks good but things are clearly worse. 1080p monitors are fairly cheap. I recommend either an asus or samsung around 20-23 inches. I use asus 23 inches and i will never go to anything less. Tv watching gaming anything graphical is a wonder. You should score one for around 100$ i did 3 years ago. make sure the refresh rate is at least 5 ms or lower preferably 3. that will have less blur effect on motion sequences such as panning the camera. There is not really a point in a quality card if you don't have the ability to use its full potential. In summery your display is a graphical bottle neck.

My card recommendation are however all nvidia. Most game are designed for nvidia as it is.
GTX550 TI Aprox 130$ Minimum card you should upgrade too. Wife has this card. She plays Guild wars 2 and Swtor 1080p at max settings with 30+fps. Got mine for 114 on newegg last week.

GTX 560 TI Ideal card to upgrade too for 1080 p. Aprox 200-250$

GTX 660 ti. Best card to consider upgrading to. AProx 300$ over budget but extremely powerful card no matter the game or the monitor for a long time. no more buying a new game coming home and frowning because your system can't run it.

I hope this helps and that i don't sound like a rambling idiot. I've been gaming all my life and ran a computer shop for the last 5 years. I believe i know my stuff. But I can still be wrong.
September 6, 2012 5:13:26 PM

I'm really thankful for the advice guys. So even though I am having performance issues at this res you would recommend upgrading my moniter first? Might be quite a while before I could save the pennies for both....
Also I am new to the forum do I need to rate posts or something for the useful ones?
a b U Graphics card
September 6, 2012 5:14:28 PM

Get the best gpu you can afford and get a new monitor later. GTX660Ti or HD7850 would be my choice.
-Bruce
a b U Graphics card
September 6, 2012 5:48:19 PM

My GPU suggestions from cheaper to most expensive:

HD7770: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GTX560: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HD7850: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (recommended by far)

for monitors check (again from cheaper to most expensive):

LG IPS235V-BN

Dell UltraSharp U2312HM (recommended)

Dell UltraSharp U2412M (recommended)

If u want to upgrade all at once you may opt for the cheaper choices, but if u only take one part at a time (starting from the monitor, otherwise GPU will be somewhat wasted) u should take the best choices if u can afford them.

EDIT: I actually recommend against 7770 because the improvement in performance wont be so notable. For 1080p gaming 7850 is the perfect candidate

If u need a new PSU try this
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


a b U Graphics card
September 6, 2012 7:40:36 PM

You can pick up a decent 22-23" 1920x1080 monitor for as little as $130 (US). Acer, Samsung, LG, etc.

What brand is your psu? If you go with anything over a 7770 (6850, 6870, GTX560, 7850) your gonna need a new psu too.

September 6, 2012 7:59:13 PM

After all the advice here I think I will buy a new moniter then get a new graphics card in a few months.

Although I would have to further lower the graphics setting for the higher resolutions with my current card the general consensus is I will see improvements even at lower settings by doing so.
a b U Graphics card
September 6, 2012 8:05:44 PM

@ Jesterman21, my 22" is only 1680x1050, but I'm not going to upgrade it until this one takes a dump. Then it'll be a nice 24".
September 6, 2012 10:16:18 PM

Yes a better monitor will have graphical improvement. You may have to lower some settings for 1080 but things will be natural sharper and lines will be less jagged. Text will be noticeably clearer. Usually you can have high textures if anti alising is turned off. that just sharpens lines but puts a big stress on graphics cards. And with a hi res monitor lines clean themselves up as it is due to the higher pixel density.
a b U Graphics card
September 7, 2012 2:14:29 PM

Yeah I kind of like Acer. The 24" LED I'm looking at is $179 right now on Newegg. They also have a 10% off deal right now.
a b U Graphics card
September 7, 2012 2:37:09 PM

yes 7850 is the gpu that you should buy. but first upgrade the monitor. even if you do buy the card first its not exactly a bad choice as it will atleast allow you to play your favourite games at maxed out settings for the time being. and then soon buy a new monitor. even 1600*900 monitor is good though 1080p is recommended
September 7, 2012 8:01:02 PM

There's a lot of suggestions for ATI cards here. Having never used one before is there anything I should be aware of changing from nvidia to an ATI card?
a c 175 U Graphics card
September 7, 2012 9:50:45 PM

Yes, remove all the old nVidia drivers before swapping the cards.
!