Video Card For New Build - Help Please!

Hello all, I am looking for some advice on how much video card to buy. I would not be doing more than 1080p gaming, but would like to play the games on their best settings if possible. Not sure if I need something like a GTX660 Ti (or AMD equivalent) to ensure this, or can I get away with something lower and save some money?

Here is a run-down of my situation:


APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Next 30-45 days (couldn't get myself and my budget in order fast enough to pull the Black Friday/Cyber Monday trigger, sucks :cry: )

USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Photoshop CS6 (nothing crazy, Canon 7D and 40D RAW files, few layers), light video editing (Sony HX5V compact camera 720p footage, Canon 7D footage, plus possible smartphone footage), 1080p gaming on 32" 1080p LCD TV, general office computing (e-mail, Exce, Word, Publisher, internet surfing, etc.)

CURRENT GPU AND POWER SUPPLY: This will be a new PC build with either a 650W or 750W power supply (may be overkill?)

OTHER RELEVANT SYSTEM SPECS: CPU will be either 3570K, 3770K, or 3930K (depending on budget constraints), mobo will be ASUS (P8Z77 Pro or P9X79 Pro depending on CPU), 16GB or 32GB of system memory (depending on budget constraints), 128GB SSD for OS and Programs, a pair of WD Black 2TB drives - one for data, one for external backup, Blu Ray burner, external USB 3.0 memory card reader, Windows 7 Pro 64-bit

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Live in continental U.S. Familiar with Newegg and NCIX, would use other U.S.-based websites as well. Would even patronize local brick-and-mortar stores if prices are competitive!

PARTS PREFERENCES: for some reason I seem to lean towards NVIDIA cards, but have no real allegiance. No plans for multiple cards either. Not as hard-core gamer. May run dual 1080p monitors sometime down the road...

OVERCLOCKING: Probably not on video card unless I buy one that is OC'd from the vendor out of the box. Might OC the CPU and RAM, however.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Samsung 32" 1080p LCD television is my computer monitor currently

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Current PC is old - Core 2 Duo E6750 with 2GB of RAM running Windows XP Pro 32-bit. Current 1TB data drive almost full so might as well build a new rig and upgrade everything all at once!


Thanks in advance for your time and advice. It is greatly appreciated!

14 answers Last reply
More about video card build please
  1. As for games I might play, I like first-person shooters but have not done much gaming since the original Far Cry and the original Half-Life came out... I guess that was about a decade ago already! Holy crap time goes by fast. I would like to try Far Cry 3, Maybe BF3 or other similar types of games. I don't have a ton of spare time these days with a 4 year old running around, so no all-nighters for me! :non:
  2. dude, put this in the new build section. it will help you out with all your system specs, not just the GPU

    and if you are getting a good GPU for the money, the 7870 is the best way to go with things
  3. Okay golf nut this post may be a long one just warning you :p. I'm going to try and be as informative as i possibly can.

    Thoughts on CPU:
    -The 3930k is over-kill. Do it only if you feel the need to have some massive e-peen.
    -Now on to the 2 realistic options, the 3770k is a great option if you want to render a lot of photo/videos. Or even editing them as well. It should preform just as good as an i5 3570k in games, if not better.
    - The i5 3570k is still a very viable option for your rig also, you can choose this if you want to save a few bucks, or if you want to reallocate them towards a better gpu, etc.

    Thoughts on RAM:
    -16 gigs is all you need, again 32 would just be for more e-peen :p
    -However the speed does matter, and i would highly recommend 16 gigs of 1866 for your system.

    Power Supply:
    -Personally, I take the better safe than sorry approach, i would go with the 750w. This way you can always have more room for upgrades.

    -Beautiful setup you have there, makes me a little jealous :p.

    -There is really no need to buy windows 7 pro, unless you need the actual features that come with it. This bit is entirely up to you though.

    -I always buy my parts from Newegg, i can vouch for them. I love those guys :).

    -I personally own AMD cards, but I am not in the least bit biased. I'll just throw out the equivallent red team card (HD 7950).

    -Really i worry more about CPU overclocking than gpu. Gpu overclocking is very easy, just though i'd throw that out there for you :). If you do any overclocking on the cpu however, make sure you have an aftermarket cooler, like a hyper 212 evo for example.

    -Ditch the tv asap. 1080p at 32" is going to look very blurry, and most likely bother your eyes. The ppi (pixels per inch) is going to be lower than a 24" 1080p monitor, and the image quality will look a little more blurry.

    I hope i helped you out! Good luck with the build! :)
  4. Well you've got a very informative response there, so the only thing I'll add is in response to the 'can I get away with something lower and save some money?' - GTX660 delivers near enough the same performance as the GTX660 Ti (you're looking at roughly 10% difference). I wouldn't bother with the GTX660 Ti personally, but the GTX660 is a really smart purchase.
  5. no. the 7870 is a even smarter choice in terms of performance
  6. TheBigTroll said:
    no. the 7870 is a even smarter choice in terms of performance

    No. GTX660 is the smartest choice in the whole wide world.
  7. Sorry golf, I couldn't resist ^ :-) There's only one way to respond to such informative posts (other than not replying at all I suppose...).

    Anyway, 7870 delivers very slightly more performance on average than the GTX660 (depending on game - 7870 isn't always faster), but they're so close, you'd never be able to tell the difference without a framerate counter. You'll also be getting PhysX, FXAA and adaptive v-sync - with the 7870, you won't.

    EDIT: Really good roundup here to give you some idea, whole load of benchmarks -

    From the conclusion, "the GeForce trailed the 7870 by a 5% margin". GTX660 was selected as the best buy at that price range. To put that 5% in perspective, that's the difference between 40fps and 42fps. Sorry if you don't get a quick reply from me after this one - THG email notifications seem to have stopped working, maybe something to do with the new forum system?
  8. sam_p_lay said:
    No. GTX660 is the smartest choice in the whole wide world.

    honestly, this sounds like a 8 year old posting. not trying to be offensive
  9. the 7870 is pretty much tied with a 660 if you ask me. and comes with 2 games which is a value add
  10. TheBigTroll said:
    honestly, this sounds like a 8 year old posting. not trying to be offensive

    Wow. That's exactly how it was meant to sound. That was the point.


    And as for free games, everyone is doing that.
  11. Also, has anyone else stopped getting email notifications for new posts?
  12. nvidia isnt
  13. Maybe it's different in America. Here's it's not so much down to nVidia/AMD as down to the manufacturer and retailer. There are cards from both sides with as many as 5 games bundled, no difference between them. If no nVidia cards there bundle games (seems doubtful but I'll take your word for it) and you want (and don't already have) the games AMD is offering, then I guess that's an added advantage - subtract what you'd expect to pay for the game from the card's price.

    EDIT: I completely agree the two cards are near enough tied for performance, that's what I was saying before. I wouldn't put too much stock in Anandtech's benchmarking though - do you see driver versions anywhere on that page? Or a test setup? Anandtech can't be bothered with fair testing - they mix up results from different driver versions etc. Those charts are OK for a general idea, but shouldn't be used for accurate results. AMD and nVidia have both released driver updates now that give major performance boosts, so some of those benchmarks will have shifted a bit one way or the other.
  14. a 7750 should be more than enough for your needs. If you really need the fastest speeds. the 7950 is probably the best card for the money for OpenCL that is used in the adobe CS6.

    depending on how much video editing you do or how much performance you expect, an AMD FX 6300 would be the cheap option while an FX 8320 would be the midrange option and an i7 3770k would be pretty much all you should need. The 3930k is nice but not worth the money unless you are a pro in which your time rendering is costing you money.
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