I'm looking for a cheap (less than 70£) GPU for a leftover ThinkCentre M57 6066 W14. The unit has a 280W PSU and a Core 2 Duo E4500.
I have my eyes on a MSI AMD Radeon 6570 at 52£ and a Sapphire AMD Radeon 6670 at 72£.
First off, I'm going to need a new PSU for either one, right?
And is the 6670 really worth the extra bucks?
I have to admit that I have been avoiding gaming for a while which seems to work for me, but I want to be able to play things like UT99, CS 1.6 and occasionally games like Portal 2 and AoE 3 with friends. Other than that, I like to use 3D modelling software like Blender and VHE.
What are your thoughts? Should I just forget the whole thing and stick to the Intel GMA 3100?
Pick the 6670 with DDR5 memory. The 280W PSU is too low for a 6670. Get at least a 400W PSU from a decent brand (Corsair, Seasonic, Enermax...or maybe even XFX and Antec). Make sure the PSU has at least one 6 pin PCIE connector.
The Radeon HD 6570 (OEM) 1GB makes use of a 40 nm design. ATi has set the core speed at 650 MHz. The GDDR3 RAM is set to run at a frequency of 900 MHz on this model. It features 480 SPUs as well as 24 TAUs and 8 Rasterization Operator Units.
Compare all that to the Radeon HD 6670 (OEM) 1GB, which uses a 40 nm design. ATi has set the core frequency at 800 MHz. The GDDR5 memory works at a frequency of 1000 MHz on this card. It features 480 SPUs as well as 24 Texture Address Units and 8 Rasterization Operator Units.
That Mean A 6670 is A perfect Buy And also a 3100 is a crap card
If you're wanting to do anything other than browse the internet, it's rarely a good idea to go with bare minimum. Your CPU certainly isn't a game changer, but it's a decent CPU. The PSU really is too low, but if you feel like rolling the dice it might do.
How much RAM do you have? What type?
Basically my recommendation (though the RAM question is important) would be the 6670 and a new PSU. Anything less than that and you should just keep avoiding gaming.
The RAM is 2GB, DDR2 I think. I can't tell until I have the thing with me though, but it's an office computer from 2008. I plan on upgrading to 4GB, probably with a new PSU in the deal.
If it can run the Source engine, maybe apart from the latest release, on an enjoyable level, along with being able to run VHE 4.1 and something like Blender for making models at a similar level, then that's all I need. Frankly, I don't mind not having the option to play the newest games.
But when you say I should avoid gaming if I stick with this decision, what games are you talking about?
HD 6670 DDR5 memory, overclock it by 10%, and it takes power from the motherboard, not the PSU that requires a 6-Pin connection. It can also BF3 on High with Skyrim maxed out but I also have a i5 3570K as well. =)
In that case I would recommend the 6670. It's not the bare minimum to accomplish what you need, but it is right in the sweet spot. CS isn't too taxing, but games like Portal 2 (especially when you get into the fluids) can be a bit more so, and the 6670 should be able to handle it much better than the 64xx. You've got a plan for RAM and PSU, so I'd say you're set after that.
With regard to my comment about avoiding gaming, anything less than say ... the 6570 you mentioned, and it just isn't worth the money because you're not going to be able to play the games or get the level of enjoyment out of them to make it worth the money. Bare minimum tends to lead to frustration. It lets you experience it, but it's not a very good experience. Usually a step or two up will greatly improve the overall experience and leave you much happier with your decision.