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Bang for buck for non-gamer user

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 18, 2012 9:45:31 PM

Hello,

I am replacing a computer and need a recommendation for new video card. The computer is used to watch TV/movies, surf and general application work. Occassional gaming is done, but usually with older games (maybe 2005) or online games. There are current two 24" monitors running 1920 x 1200 resolution. Both connect via DVI. There is some thought that a third 24" monitor could be added in the future or possibly larger monitors with bigger resolutions (for application work).

The users wants the video performance to be superfast, but does not want to overpay for performance that is not going to be used. This person does not like to upgrade very often, so the card should last a couple of years (might not be much of an issue because their usage is not likely to change).

What do you recommend and why?

Thanks,

J

P.S. The new system will likely be based on P9x79 board.

More about : bang buck gamer user

a b U Graphics card
September 18, 2012 9:54:27 PM

I think an AMD 6670 would be a good fit here. A slightly cheaper 6570 would also work well. Either (and cards below too) would be capable of handling multimonitor, low intensity gaming, but these two would do better on the longevity thing.

More than that and you would need to start worrying about power supply and ventilation (although you should post that too).
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a c 270 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
September 18, 2012 10:40:25 PM

Even integrated graphics will be sufficiently fast for your purposes.
The ivy bridge duo's like the i3-3220 with HD2500 graphics will support two displays and decode HD movies just fine.
The i3-3225 has HD 4000 graphics which is comparable to a 6570 or GT240 class discrete graphics card.

If you want a third monitor, or 2560 x 1600 display support, then a discrete graphics card can be added.
Actually, I think ivy bridge can support three monitors and 2560 x 1600, but the attachment must be via displayport. More than one dp seems to not be available.

For a superfast desktop experience, base it on a SSD.
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September 19, 2012 4:43:58 AM

A few folks asked about the other specs of the machine. They have not been decided, but the user was thinking Ivy Bridge 3770, 16gb ram, twin 512GB SSDs, detached NAS storage, Fatality Sound card, 750W power supply. It is overkill, but apparently it is bit of a challenge to access the computer once it is in place.
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September 19, 2012 4:54:07 AM

deadlockedworld said:
Also, if you haven't read, this is a good resource to get started with - particularly the chart on the last page.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-car...



Deadlockedworld,

I saw the article. It does not really answer the question because it assumes you have a known budget and the content is mostly aimed at gamers (it says so). The user is dead set opposed to onboard video (not sure why). The other clue I got from the user is that a 9800 GTX is showing its age. What would be the rough equivilent of that card in Nvidia's would today.

J
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September 19, 2012 5:03:54 AM

jwl2 said:
Deadlockedworld,

I saw the article. It does not really answer the question because it assumes you have a known budget and the content is mostly aimed at gamers (it says so). The user is dead set opposed to onboard video (not sure why). The other clue I got from the user is that a 9800 GTX is showing its age. What would be the rough equivilent of that card in Nvidia's would today.

J


A comparable card to the 9800GTX might be a GTS450 or 7750.
I think one of the newer 28nm based GTX600 cards would be better, perhaps a GTX650.
They run cooler and take less power.
There is no problem installing as many cards as you have x16 slots.
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a b U Graphics card
September 19, 2012 1:56:55 PM

jwl2 said:
Deadlockedworld,

I saw the article. It does not really answer the question because it assumes you have a known budget and the content is mostly aimed at gamers (it says so). The user is dead set opposed to onboard video (not sure why). The other clue I got from the user is that a 9800 GTX is showing its age. What would be the rough equivilent of that card in Nvidia's would today.

J



All video cards can play video and basic games (even onboard video) So "gaming" is really the only real world test to differentiate performance between models above that. The ones I suggested were already overkill for the usage you described. However, this additional information you provided helps - the 9800GTX that the user thinks is showing its age is still a pretty powerful card -- meaning my initial suggestions might have been to low. When he says "showing its age" does he mean the lack of DX 11 capability and other features, or does he mean the raw power of the card?

Honestly, it sounds to me like you and this person need to have a longer talk. Neither of you seem sure of what it is you really want to do here. The specs you suggested above are not even remotely near what I would expect for a PC with this usage description.

The 3770K and twin 512gb drives belong in a high-end PC, like video/graphics editing workstation ... but you told me this person is only going to use it to watch videos, do low end gaming, and some application work. Do they want a part that matches the others in performance/quality, or is he trying to save money on the graphics?

I think you need to reexamine your project with this person, then expand your question here and seek advice on the entire rig ...


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September 19, 2012 3:11:41 PM

A number of people have commented that some of the components are overkill. What is different about this machine is twofold.

1. The user already has the periphereals and is just moving them over.
2. The person does not like to upgrade part by part - they like to replace the box every few years.
3. Some of the applications they use are CPU and RAM intensive.


I had them show me what they meant by the 9800 showing its age. What they are experiencing is ever so slight differences in screen refreshing. This is "blink of eye" stuff, but it gives them the impression that they are surfing the web slower. It is just enough slower than a newer laptop they have to be noticeable if you pay close attention. I think the problem here is that they know it is there and cannot get past it. Since they do not like to due small upgrades inbetween, their thinking is that they should put a better card in now. The one upgrade that they would probably make in the future is to replace the current monitors with 3 larger ones each using resolutions of 2560 x 1600.

J
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a b U Graphics card
September 19, 2012 3:53:05 PM

jwl2 said:
I had them show me what they meant by the 9800 showing its age. What they are experiencing is ever so slight differences in screen refreshing. This is "blink of eye" stuff, but it gives them the impression that they are surfing the web slower. It is just enough slower than a newer laptop they have to be noticeable if you pay close attention. I think the problem here is that they know it is there and cannot get past it. Since they do not like to due small upgrades inbetween, their thinking is that they should put a better card in now. The one upgrade that they would probably make in the future is to replace the current monitors with 3 larger ones each using resolutions of 2560 x 1600.
J


Ah - this is very helpful! So they aren't actually straining the card processor- just maybe its memory. So the big challenge here is the resolution on a potential new monitor setup. It looks like 6670 I suggested earlier can only output 2560 x 1600. So you do need a better card. More than 1 gb of memory on the card would likely be helpful too.

I'm going to admit my limitations here and let someone else tell you if this output is better done with a single better card or two lower end cards.
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a c 270 U Graphics card
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September 19, 2012 4:27:04 PM

Perhaps I can help here.
I am using two 2560 x 1600 Samsung 30" 305T monitors, and have done so for a long time.
The added real estate is wonderful, and the lincreased size and resolution are nice for games.
Currently, I have them attached to a EVGA GTX680.
They require a special dual link cable that will come with the monitor.

If I wanted to attach a third, it can be done, but The GTX680 only has two dual link dvi adapters. As does every card I know of except for one GTX690.

I also have an older XFX 7600GS card that has two dual link dvi connectors. It is no longer made. It works fine, at least for static stuff with the two 305T monitors attached. Such a card would be entirely suitable for attaching a third, or even a fourth 2560 x 1600 monitor. Perhaps for a trading system.

At one time, I bought a cheap HD3450 card. My intent was to drive my gaming monitor off of my stronger gaming card, a GTX260, if I remember correctly, and the side monitor off of the 3450. The intent was to free up all of the gaming card resources to drive the single primary monitor for gaming. It worked well enough, but the color and the quality of the 3450 was not good. Also, I found that there was no detectable improvement in gaming, so I went back to attaching both monitors to the main card.

If you go to newegg, and filter on max resolution of 2560x1600(DL-DVI) and 2 x dvi, you will get this result set:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

It would seem that a GTX670 from that list would be the best choice, particularly if the $400 cost is not bothersome.
The GTX670 will attach a third 2560 x 1600 monitor, but it must be via a displayport connection. In the past, such connectors were not available.
I did a quick check, and today, there are some nice 30" 2560 x 1600 monitors that include both dual link dvi and displayport connectors. Yes, they are expensive, but there is nothing better. Here is one example:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I would also suggest that the user consider buying all of the monitors,exactly the same. That way, the colors and sizes will allow a seamless transition when dragging windows from one to another.

Hope this helps.
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September 19, 2012 7:40:36 PM

Assuming we are working with just the two 1920 x 1200 24" monitors, does it change anything for anyone if the user typically work with a 50-100 open browser sessions at a single time?

Geofelts comments suggest that changing the monitors to 3 2560x1600s requires a very different solution, so I will split that off from this discussion.

J
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a c 291 U Graphics card
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September 19, 2012 7:46:35 PM

I would just suggest hard drive reformat and windows reinstall. It should make the stutters on websites go away, especially since I doubt the newer laptop has more powerful graphics card than 9800 GT (unless it's an expensive gaming model). That is not a new card, so the system must be 4 years already. In 4 years there's so much stuff that can end up wasting computer resources be on it, that reinstall usually looks like a brand new system.
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September 19, 2012 8:16:47 PM

jwl2 said:
Assuming we are working with just the two 1920 x 1200 24" monitors, does it change anything for anyone if the user typically work with a 50-100 open browser sessions at a single time?

Geofelts comments suggest that changing the monitors to 3 2560x1600s requires a very different solution, so I will split that off from this discussion.

J


The main requirement for lots of open tasks is plenty of ram. How much does the user have now?
I suspect 8gb may be marginal, and 16gb would be good.

The graphics load of two or three 1920 x 1200 monitors is trivial if not gaming.

Of interest, today I saw a review of the newly announced GTX660 compared with a 9800 GT.
The premise was that a 9800GT was great 4 years ago, and such a user may be considering updating to a GTX660.
What a difference 4 years makes!
http://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/geforce_9800_gt_vs...

I was not necessarily recommending 3 2560 x 1600 monitors, unless sspace is available, and funds are no problem.
I was pointing out that if the plan might include such monitors, the solution may be much different.
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