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Budget GPU upgrade

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January 31, 2013 5:04:02 PM

Hello. I have played around with the thought of upgrading my Nvidia Geforce 9600 GT because even after I have cleaned out the heatsink and reapplied the thermal taste the GPU still idles at about 90 °C (194 °F) and can climb up to 135 °C (275 °F) during load (gaming) and have even been nearly as hot as 150 °C (302 °F).

But before I get to the GPUs I have been considering, I have some questions first. Let me first present my PC specifications:

Computer model: Fujitsu Siemens Scaleo Pi 2680
Motherboard: Fujitsu Siemens MS-7379VP
CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9300 (2,5 GHz, FSB speed: 1333 MHz, 6MB L2 cache)
RAM: 4 GB DDR2 (I believe) and probably a DRAM Frequency of 667 MHz (according to CPU-Z)
PSU: 400 W – I do not sure about the specifics, but it is enough to support a Nvidia Geforce 9600 GT which requires a minimum 400W PSU with 12V and 26A, so it should be around that
OS: Windows Vista 32-bit

More info: http://uk.ts.fujitsu.com/rl/servicesupport/techsupport/... (a .doc-document)

If you want to see how the case looks like, just do a Google image search on “Fujitsu Siemens Scaleo Pi 2680”.

So I am looking around for a budget GPU and like most other people, I want the most performance for the money. For now, I am primarily considering a Nvidia Geforce GTX 650 Ti card. Either the Gigabyte Geforce GTX 650 Ti 1 GB OC (GV-N65TOC-1GI) or the EVGA Geforce GTX 650 Ti 1 GB SSC (01G-P4-3652-KR) or perhaps the 2 GB SSC (01G-P4-3653-KR) variant if it gives a noticeable difference over the 1 GB.

I am torn between the Gigabyte and the EVGA GPU because the Gigabyte GPU runs very coolly even under load (a bit over 50 °C) and the EVGA GPU tend to have a bit better general performance over the Gigabyte, but can tend to run a little hot (65-72 °C) when under load. Which of them should I consider if I should pick one?

My budget is at around 180 dollars or less. What GPU should I buy? Feel free to suggest other GPUs other than the three I have mentioned previously.

I also have a question about the VRAM. If I want to play all kinds of games (both older, newer and titles to be released) on a resolution of 1680x1050, would 1 GB make a difference over 2 GB if I refrain from increasing the resolution? And would getting a 2 GB GPU make a difference or would the bottleneck rather be the 4 GB (3.2 GB under Vista 32-bit) RAM or the CPU than the amount of VRAM?

Since I have a prebuilt PC, I have thought that maybe the case has bad airflow. Do prebuilt PCs usually have bad, decent, or good airflow?

Furthermore, I have heard that reference GPUs like my Nvidia Geforce 9600 GT blow hot air out of the case while non-reference GPUs blow hot air into the case which I have some concerns with if my case have bad airflow and upgrade to an non-reference GPU.

I have monitored the temperature around my PC and found that only my GPU gets up the temperatures around 90-135 °C (194 °F / 275 °F) when idling or under load while the other parts like the CPUs and the motherboard hangs at around 50 °C (122 °F) even when under load. If only my GPU is running hot, could my case have bad airflow or would a case with bad airflow affect the temperature of all hardware within it?


Thank you for reading.

More about : budget gpu upgrade

a b U Graphics card
January 31, 2013 5:19:42 PM

Seplod said:
Hello. I have played around with the thought of upgrading my Nvidia Geforce 9600 GT because even after I have cleaned out the heatsink and reapplied the thermal taste the GPU still idles at about 90 °C (194 °F) and can climb up to 135 °C (275 °F) during load (gaming) and have even been nearly as hot as 150 °C (302 °F).

But before I get to the GPUs I have been considering, I have some questions first. Let me first present my PC specifications:

Computer model: Fujitsu Siemens Scaleo Pi 2680
Motherboard: Fujitsu Siemens MS-7379VP
CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9300 (2,5 GHz, FSB speed: 1333 MHz, 6MB L2 cache)
RAM: 4 GB DDR2 (I believe) and probably a DRAM Frequency of 667 MHz (according to CPU-Z)
PSU: 400 W – I do not sure about the specifics, but it is enough to support a Nvidia Geforce 9600 GT which requires a minimum 400W PSU with 12V and 26A, so it should be around that
OS: Windows Vista 32-bit

More info: http://uk.ts.fujitsu.com/rl/servicesupport/techsupport/... (a .doc-document)

If you want to see how the case looks like, just do a Google image search on “Fujitsu Siemens Scaleo Pi 2680”.

So I am looking around for a budget GPU and like most other people, I want the most performance for the money. For now, I am primarily considering a Nvidia Geforce GTX 650 Ti card. Either the Gigabyte Geforce GTX 650 Ti 1 GB OC (GV-N65TOC-1GI) or the EVGA Geforce GTX 650 Ti 1 GB SSC (01G-P4-3652-KR) or perhaps the 2 GB SSC (01G-P4-3653-KR) variant if it gives a noticeable difference over the 1 GB.

I am torn between the Gigabyte and the EVGA GPU because the Gigabyte GPU runs very coolly even under load (a bit over 50 °C) and the EVGA GPU tend to have a bit better general performance over the Gigabyte, but can tend to run a little hot (65-72 °C) when under load. Which of them should I consider if I should pick one?

My budget is at around 180 dollars or less. What GPU should I buy? Feel free to suggest other GPUs other than the three I have mentioned previously.

I also have a question about the VRAM. If I want to play all kinds of games on a resolution of 1680x1050, would 1 GB make a difference over 2 GB if I refrain from increasing the resolution? And would getting a 2 GB GPU make a difference or would the bottleneck rather be the 4 GB (3.2 GB under Vista 32-bit) RAM or the CPU than the amount of VRAM?

Since I have a prebuilt PC, I have thought that maybe the case has bad airflow. Do prebuilt PCs usually have bad, decent, or good airflow?

Furthermore, I have heard that reference GPUs like my Nvidia Geforce 9600 GT blow hot air out of the case while non-reference GPUs blow hot air into the case which I have some concerns with if my case have bad airflow and upgrade to an non-reference GPU.

I have monitored the temperature around my PC and found that only my GPU gets up the temperatures around 90-135 °C (194 °F / 275 °F) when idling or under load while the other parts like the CPUs and the motherboard hangs at around 50 °C (122 °F) even when under load. If only my GPU is running hot, could my case have bad airflow or would a case with bad airflow affect the temperature of all hardware within it?


Thank you for reading.


As you have a very weak PC, I would worry more on a bottle neck, a dual core 2.5Ghz processor imo would probably bottleneck a 650 Ti. If your planning on paying that much I would lower it down to a 550 Ti.

As to your question regarding pre built PC's air flow, that entirely relies on the cable management and of course the size of the case. A smaller compact case wont have much air flow and things will tend to get much hotter. But your GPU having those temps is something else not the air flow. Yes airflow helps with temps of components but not to the extent of what your having. But those temps are common to happen with older PC's on Hardware monitoring programs. I would try using speedfan and see if its the same thing.

http://www.almico.com/sfdownload.php
January 31, 2013 5:38:23 PM

Okay. Thank you. I was using CPUID Hardware Monitor to see the temperatures.

Would the CPU still be a bottle neck even though it does have four cores and not "dual core" as in two (I am not sure if you refer to the brand "Dual-Core" or just refering to 2 cores)?

Any other suggestions on what to get?
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a b U Graphics card
January 31, 2013 5:58:46 PM

Seplod said:
Okay. Thank you. I was using CPUID Hardware Monitor to see the temperatures.

Would the CPU still be a bottle neck even though it does have four cores and not "dual core" as in two (I am not sure if you refer to the brand "Dual-Core" or just refering to 2 cores)?

Any other suggestions on what to get?


Oh I apologize, I didnt read the post fully, I saw Core 2 and just assumed it said Duo I guess, thinking that you have DDR2 memory I thought it was Dual core. As far as bottleneck on your CPU now no. Even though its a low Core Clock you should be fine with getting a 650 Ti. And you should be ok with just a 1GB card if thats what you prefer. The only time VRAM causes a performance boost, is when your using higher resolutions monitors, or even multi monitor setup. So now I would worry more on your power supply, the 650 Ti needs a minimum of 400w so you should be ok, but it also needs a 6-Pin connector if you dont have one the card will most likely come with a molex to 6-pin adapter. If its the PSU the computer came with I would suggest getting a new one. Newegg has some pretty good deals right now for high quality PSU's 500+ for 30-40$.
January 31, 2013 6:01:48 PM

Okay. I am glad we got that out straight. Okay, if I get a 650 Ti what do you think I should value more: The bit better performance from the EVGA 650 Ti or the better cooling/temperatures from Gigabyte?
a b U Graphics card
January 31, 2013 6:06:40 PM

Seplod said:
Okay. I am glad we got that out straight. Okay, if I get a 650 Ti what do you think I should value more: The bit better performance from the EVGA 650 Ti or the better cooling/temperatures from Gigabyte?


I did edit my last post and added in some more detail, depends if you want to OC the card the cooling would help in your favor as you would be able to OC past the performance of the EVGA card. But as I said in my edit, that would require more power to be drawn to the card and I'm not sure if your PSU can handle it. Having the "Minimal" amount to run anything in a system isnt something that I would recommend.
January 31, 2013 6:16:47 PM

I won't be overclocking the card and I will run a single monitor. I should be able to plug in the GPU because my 9600 GT is currently connected with a 6-pin connector. So if I do not OC the GPU, I should be better off with the EVGA card then in terms of performance.

I probably won't be switching my PSU and unfortunately I live outside the US and don't have access to Newegg. So I think I should research a bit and see which the two cards draws more power and probably pick the lesser one since my PSU is having the minimum amount to run a 650 Ti.

Just a general question: If the GPU blows hot air into the case, how does that hot air get out of the case if I only have the CPU stock cooler fan and the PSU fan?

a b U Graphics card
January 31, 2013 6:39:44 PM

Seplod said:
I won't be overclocking the card and I will run a single monitor. I should be able to plug in the GPU because my 9600 GT is currently connected with a 6-pin connector. So if I do not OC the GPU, I should be better off with the EVGA card then in terms of performance.

I probably won't be switching my PSU and unfortunately I live outside the US and don't have access to Newegg. So I think I should research a bit and see which the two cards draws more power and probably pick the lesser one since my PSU is having the minimum amount to run a 650 Ti.

Just a general question: If the GPU blows hot air into the case, how does that hot air get out of the case if I only have the CPU stock cooler fan and the PSU fan?


You have no case fans at all? If that is the case you need to get a blower version of the card (if they have that option for the GTX 650 Ti), otherwise you are going to turn your comp case into an oven. Err I don't think they make any gtx 650 ti's that blow the majority of the air straight out the back.... You might want to look into adding fans to your case if you have open spots for them. If you don't - you might want to think about getting a new case lol.
a b U Graphics card
January 31, 2013 6:40:36 PM

Seplod said:
I won't be overclocking the card and I will run a single monitor. I should be able to plug in the GPU because my 9600 GT is currently connected with a 6-pin connector. So if I do not OC the GPU, I should be better off with the EVGA card then in terms of performance.

I probably won't be switching my PSU and unfortunately I live outside the US and don't have access to Newegg. So I think I should research a bit and see which the two cards draws more power and probably pick the lesser one since my PSU is having the minimum amount to run a 650 Ti.

Just a general question: If the GPU blows hot air into the case, how does that hot air get out of the case if I only have the CPU stock cooler fan and the PSU fan?


They'll both draw the same if their at stock speeds. You should be ok with what ou have it's just a heads up. Any way it can really, side vents, front vents, and I'm sure your case has a rear exhaust so most of it would exit through there. If your worried about the air flow try and clean up the cables a little bit. Zip tie whatever you can to create a better flow through the case. You could always just remove the side panel so the air is always pushed out.
a b U Graphics card
January 31, 2013 6:41:38 PM

A 7850 would be the card to get. The 1 gig version like this one has to be the best bang for buck right now:

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

The 2 gig version of the 7850 is great if you like a lot of AA but not something I'd stress about with your monitor. If you don't have newegg and the price of the 7850 is out of wack then the 650 ti is an ok call.
January 31, 2013 6:51:00 PM

Derza10 said:
You have no case fans at all? If that is the case you need to get a blower version of the card (if they have that option for the GTX 650 Ti), otherwise you are going to turn your comp case into an oven. Err I don't think they make any gtx 650 ti's that blow the majority of the air straight out the back....


Should I be worried about turning my PC into a oven by getting a non-blower card if all fans I can see in my case is the fan over the CPU and I can feel the hot air in the back of my case being blown out by the PSU fan? My gut-feeling is telling me that abCasPeRR is right about the rear exhaust (PSU fan) being enough.

And how do I see if a card is a blower-version or not in the specifications page on e.g. Newegg?
a b U Graphics card
January 31, 2013 6:54:15 PM

Ok I'll link you some examples, although i can't find any gtx 650 ti's that are like this. Here is a gtx 660 "blower" as you can see it is sealed all the way around except for the one vent that will point out the back of the case.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

here is an example of a card that does not blow all the air out the back of the case:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

When i read your first post i was shocked at how high a temp you where getting... but after you stating you had no case fans i see why it is happening... If you are only replacing the GPU because of the temps you might want to consider spending that money on a new case that has fans that will vent the heat out of the case... It will help your comp temperatures a lot.

To see if the above solution would work... as a test take off the side panel and place a fan that will blow into the open case and turn your computer on and maybe run a benchmark or game and monitor the temps. That might be all you need to fix your temp issues. I have never heard of any GPU getting to 150c lol - that is almost to the point where soldering will start to "melt".
January 31, 2013 7:09:36 PM

But is it a fault with the case when only the GPU runs so high when all the other parts e.g. the CPU runs at 50 °C even under load?
a b U Graphics card
January 31, 2013 7:12:56 PM

It is probably a combination of gpu and case... that is why i said to take the side panel off and place a small personal fan next to the computer blowing into the case and then check temps - also make sure your GPU fan is working the fan not working would explain why your GPU is getting so hot but it is not heating your case to much (due to the fact that it is not blowing the air around to other components).
January 31, 2013 7:23:34 PM

I saw a GTX 660 2gb EVGA model for $199 at microcenter. That's a pretty darn good deal if you ask me, since that card can play almost anything in existence at max settings besides like a Far Cry 3, which you need a 670+ to max because it is not well optimized.

If your comp has a 4 core processor you should be alright, for now, but an adequate power supply is and absolute necessity, so if you don't have a good one 500+ watts you're looking at about 300$ total for a 660 and a good PSU. When you say budget card the 650ti is not really a budget card at this point. budget cards probably start at around the mid-range GTX 500 series, and even the 550ti will blow your 9000gt or whatever into oblivion.

So, it comes down to whether or not you want to max games out, the 660 is probably the cheapest card that can max most current games. And there are games that get past 1gb of Vram often nowadays. It basically comes down to texture resolution and MSAA. I think that BF3 might not even let you turn the texture quality to ultra is you don't have past 1gb, but i'm not sure. Vram is not really a performance enhancer at all, it just is the amount of "space" you have for really high resolution and anti-aliased textures. So while the 1gb card performs equally to the 2gb card if they are the same model, there will be certain games that will not allow you to crank up the settings simply due to lack of video memory, not that the card couldn't handle the load.
a b U Graphics card
January 31, 2013 10:05:26 PM

It maybe a good idea to post where you may plan to buy your cards from or what country you live in so we can see the prices and give you the best bang for your buck.
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