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New to graphic cards trying to decide

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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October 31, 2012 2:14:02 PM

Hello community

I am new to graphic cards and I dont know much.What I want is some clarifications(since wiki didnt help me much) about different parts in graphic cards and a suggestion for what I should buy.

Current setup:
intel i5 750 @2.67
gigabyte motherboard
6gb DDR3
Nvidia GT240
Win8 x64
750W power supply
FullHD 23" samsung


I want to change my graphic card for something way better(since I am a gamer enthusiast).
I have stummbled upon EVGA GEFORCE GTX550 TI 2GB and SAPPHIRE RADEON HD7770 GHZ EDITION OC 1GB DDR5 which in my country costs almost same.

I have heard about an extra 5% in efficiency if you got "stacking" card with CPU like Nvidia+Intel and ATI+Amd (i think there is no such thing)

People keep suggesting me that I should try to find a card with 256bit rate
instead of 128(that both these cards got) could you tell me why? (obviously the more the better but an easy explanation?)

What are the key aspects I should be looking when buying a video card and in what order should i look at them? Is it core clock? Is it memory capacity? Is it memory speed? Is it strem processors? Is it shaderclock? Is it Memory Bandwidth?
I have come across all of these in my search and some cards states them others not.
I choose SLI/CrossFire so in case I want to upgrade my whole rig I would at least got a card. :p 

I would appreciate it if you could share some information with me and come up with a suggestion on my dilemma.

More about : graphic cards decide

a b U Graphics card
October 31, 2012 2:35:26 PM

The reality of it is, specs are quite meaningless unless you know what they mean. You'll need to read reviews if you want to know about the performance of graphics card. Tom's Hardware has a buyer's guide each month for video card at each price point (from<$100 to >$500) and their guide is very good and thorough. I highly recommend you check them out.

There is no such thing as Nvidia+Intel is better than Intel+AMD or vice versa. APUs are a different story since they have a GPU inside the CPU and it can crossfire with certain cards. The general case is, it depends on how well the performance of the certain CPU to not bottleneck certain video cards.

In your case, since you mention the 550ti and the 7770, I would recommend the 7770. Almost everyone in this forum would agree that the 7770 triumphs the 550ti in almost every way(performance, power efficiency, performance per dollar, etc). And this is my personal opinion but I never really liked the 550ti ever since it launched. It was overpriced for the performance it delivers and there really is nothing so special or unique about it.
a b U Graphics card
October 31, 2012 2:39:17 PM

http://tpucdn.com/reviews/Gigabyte/HD_7770_OC/images/pe...

edit: thats not even including the amazing leap in performance 7000 series cards have seen from catalyst 12.11. amd is the undeclared winner of this generation of cards imo.

7770 performs better while consuming WAY less power. one thing to take note of is that there is a bit of a premium on 7770s because they are the most efficient card on the market, by a lot. if it is the same price as the 550ti though, its a no brainer.
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October 31, 2012 2:45:58 PM

You need to read the reviews of the cards as EzioAs said. And if you had the money I would get the AMD 7850. It is a very good card for the price and can be overclocked to performances just a shade lower than stock 7950s. And there is no such thing as intel+nVidia better that an intel+amd. It depends on what your cpu is and if it'll bottleneck the performances of the gpu. In your case I think it would if you opt for the 7850 it wouldn't be bottlenecked.
a b U Graphics card
October 31, 2012 2:49:19 PM

Limerick said:
You need to read the reviews of the cards as EzioAs said. And if you had the money I would get the AMD 7850. It is a very good card for the price and can be overclocked to performances just a shade lower than stock 7950s. And there is no such thing as intel+nVidia better that an intel+amd. It depends on what your cpu is and if it'll bottleneck the performances of the gpu. In your case I think it would if you opt for the 7850 it wouldn't be bottlenecked.


I really wanted to suggest something like the 7800 series as well but without knowing his budget, we can't really recommend much. But, based on the fact that he is looking at the 550ti vs 7770, I think we can safely assume that anything higher than those 2 is probably outside the budget
October 31, 2012 2:50:43 PM

I gave up on AMD/ATI cards years ago because their drivers seem to always be buggy. Nvidia isn't perfect but much better. You'll find plenty of people here to contradict me so it's your choice.
October 31, 2012 2:54:50 PM

EzioAs said:
I really wanted to suggest something like the 7800 series as well but without knowing his budget, we can't really recommend much. But, based on the fact that he is looking at the 550ti vs 7770, I think we can safely assume that anything higher than those 2 is probably outside the budget

Yeah, I was thinking he may be looking at the low end cards because he thought they would give super performance. You're probably right though.
a b U Graphics card
October 31, 2012 3:08:47 PM

ram1009 said:
I gave up on AMD/ATI cards years ago because their drivers seem to always be buggy. Nvidia isn't perfect but much better. You'll find plenty of people here to contradict me so it's your choice.


ehhh, driver issues have gone both ways and frankly i havent seen a driver problem from amd in years

amd is ahead of the game compared to nvidia right now. brand loyalty because of some driver issue you had years ago is sort of silly. ive had driver problems from both companies. your loss i suppose
a c 275 U Graphics card
October 31, 2012 3:10:47 PM

If you are a gamer, and like fast action games, then you are absolutely correct in seeking to upgrade your graphics card.

The 7770 is a bit faster than the GTX550ti, and a reasonable improvement over your GT240.
But, in actual use, you would not be able to detect the difference without a synthetic benchmark.
And, it may depend on the game. Some games do better with nvidia, and some do better with amd.
If you play only one game exclusively, then seek out benchmarks for that game.

Otherwise, since the price is the same, take your pick.

From an installation point of view, the GTX550ti would be easier because it uses the same drivers as the GT240. Just drop the new card in.
For a amd card, you will have to uninstall the nvidia drivers and clean out any residual using some sort of driversweeper program.

Your psu will power any single graphics card you may want to install.
And, I suggest for gaming you install the strongest graphics card you feel comfortable paying for.
Here is a list of cards arranged by performance tiers.
One or two tiers does not make a big difference:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-car...

Ignore the specs as a selection criteria. The product designers mix and pick in order to get the best price performance for any price point.

I like the newer 28nm based cards like the GTX6xx series, and the amd 7xxx series. They run cooler and quieter.

And, as to sli/cf, I am not much in favor.
Here is my canned rant on that subject:
-----------------------------Start of rant----------------------------------------------------
Dual graphics cards vs. a good single card.

a) How good do you really need to be?
A single GTX650/ti or 7770 can give you good performance at 1920 x 1200 in most games.

A single GTX660 or 7850 will give you excellent performance at 1920 x 1200 in most games.
Even 2560 x 1600 will be good with lowered detail.
A single gtx690 is about as good as it gets.

Only if you are looking at triple monitor gaming, then sli/cf will be needed.
Even that is now changing with triple monitor support on top end cards.

b) The costs for a single card are lower.
You require a less expensive motherboard; no need for sli/cf or multiple pci-e slots.
Even a ITX motherboard will do.

Your psu costs are less.
A GTX660 needs a 430w psu, even a GTX680 only needs a 550w psu.
When you add another card to the mix, plan on adding 150-200w to your psu requirements.

Even the strongest GTX690 only needs 620w.

Case cooling becomes more of an issue with dual cards.
That means a more expensive case with more and stronger fans.
You will also look at more noise.

c) Dual cards do not always render their half of the display in sync, causing microstuttering. It is an annoying effect.
The benefit of higher benchmark fps can be offset, particularly with lower tier cards.
Read this: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-geforce-stut...

d) dual card support is dependent on the driver. Not all games can benefit from dual cards.

e) cf/sli up front reduces your option to get another card for an upgrade. Not that I suggest you plan for that.
It will often be the case that replacing your current card with a newer gen card will offer a better upgrade path.
The GTX780 and amd 8000 series are not that far off.
-------------------------------End of rant-----------------------------------------------------------
October 31, 2012 8:58:56 PM

Thank you very much for the guidelines and everything.

If possible I would like someone to suggest me something better than these cards I mentioned taking in consideration like 60$/50Euro more budget( in my country its like 150Euro for the 7770, I could go for a 220Euro card if its gonna be a good difference than the 7770)

I read the SLI/CrossFire rant you posted and I think I got an idea about it.It seems I wont be updating to dual card anytime soon :p .

I also checked the graphs you sent and got a better idea about the cards Hierarchy at this point.
a c 275 U Graphics card
October 31, 2012 9:03:10 PM

skathelast said:
Thank you very much for the guidelines and everything.

If possible I would like someone to suggest me something better than these cards I mentioned taking in consideration like 60$/50Euro more budget( in my country its like 150Euro for the 7770, I could go for a 220Euro card if its gonna be a good difference than the 7770)

I read the SLI/CrossFire rant you posted and I think I got an idea about it.It seems I wont be updating to dual card anytime soon :p .

I also checked the graphs you sent and got a better idea about the cards Hierarchy at this point.


I can only guess that a 7870 or GTX660ti would be in that price range.
November 1, 2012 9:42:09 PM

thank you I will go for a 7870. thank you for all the info.
a b U Graphics card
November 2, 2012 4:37:35 PM

good choice
!