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Best graphics card for a 450w power supply, $500 budget.

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  • Power Supplies
  • Graphics Cards
  • Graphics
Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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October 21, 2013 8:34:10 AM

Hello awesome people.

I have a Dell 8500
3rd generation i7
16 gigs ram
450w power supply.

Currently, I've got a Radeon 7770 2GB card in it. It's a decent card, but I'd like to upgrade it. It never seemed to put out the kind of performance that I'd expected from it.

I've used Radeon cards and GeForce cards in the past, I have no real preference either way.

Are there any cards from either manufacturer that would be a significant upgrade to my 7770, for under $500?

I'm comfortable swapping out cards n stuff, but the thought of upgrading the power supply by myself seems like it's above my skill level. It's definitely outside of my knowledge area.

Thanks for your input :) 

More about : graphics card 450w power supply 500 budget

a b U Graphics card
October 21, 2013 8:39:41 AM

I think the main reason you are not getting the performance you were expecting is because you are trying to run it on a 450watt PSU. If you could download GPU-z or other similar piece of software and post what your average % of TDP is, we should be able to determine this.

If it turn out it is your PSU, then you need'nt be so worried about replacing it, there are plenty of excellent video tutorials out there, and you can even post the question here. =) TO be honest though it really is a simple case of putting the rihgt connectors in the right sockets, as they can only go in one place, alot like a jigsaw puzzle.
a b U Graphics card
October 21, 2013 8:44:04 AM

grebgonebad said:
I think the main reason you are not getting the performance you were expecting is because you are trying to run it on a 450watt PSU. If you could download GPU-z or other similar piece of software and post what your average % of TDP is, we should be able to determine this.

If it turn out it is your PSU, then you need'nt be so worried about replacing it, there are plenty of excellent video tutorials out there, and you can even post the question here. =) TO be honest though it really is a simple case of putting the rihgt connectors in the right sockets, as they can only go in one place, alot like a jigsaw puzzle.


Not sure what you mean, 450W is plenty to run a 7770. In fact, Valves new steam machine is running a Titan on a 450W PSU.
As for a new GPU, a GTX 770 is a good card for ~$400, or on the AMD side, you can get a similar performing 7970 for $300.
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a b U Graphics card
October 21, 2013 8:56:06 AM

socialassassin said:
grebgonebad said:
I think the main reason you are not getting the performance you were expecting is because you are trying to run it on a 450watt PSU. If you could download GPU-z or other similar piece of software and post what your average % of TDP is, we should be able to determine this.

If it turn out it is your PSU, then you need'nt be so worried about replacing it, there are plenty of excellent video tutorials out there, and you can even post the question here. =) TO be honest though it really is a simple case of putting the rihgt connectors in the right sockets, as they can only go in one place, alot like a jigsaw puzzle.


Not sure what you mean, 450W is plenty to run a 7770. In fact, Valves new steam machine is running a Titan on a 450W PSU.
As for a new GPU, a GTX 770 is a good card for ~$400, or on the AMD side, you can get a similar performing 7970 for $300.


I simply meant this as a possiblity. As you can see in my post, I have asked the OP to check thier power draw from the card under load to see if this is the problem or not.

But in my personal experience I would say a 450W PSU is a little on the weak side. I would have installed a 550W to be safe. However, if this is not the problem, then perhaps there is another underlying problem that is causing thier GPU to underperform.

Perhaps the OP could define what they mean when they say 'It never seemed to put out the kind of performance that I'd expected from it.'?

Also, it could be that the PSU does not have enough power, i.e. the 12v rail could be weak. PSU brand and model?
October 21, 2013 9:14:22 AM

Clarifications:

The power supply is whatever stock power supply Dell uses.

My expectation of performance was comparing it to the previous card I had. On paper, the 7770 looked like a major upgrade, in game however it was a modest boost. I don't remember the old card, so this is more commentary than problem.

I want to be able to run games like Skyrim and Minecraft **with HD mods** and WoW on Ultra-Mega-Crispy settings, if possible. I do realize this isn't (insert FPS game here) but I do run these games with a lot of mods, and like high framerate number, in the neighborhood of 60fps.

Truly, I'm looking forward to playing Elder Scrolls Online, as beautifully as possible :) 



a b U Graphics card
October 21, 2013 9:24:29 AM

Well, if you take a look here and Ctrl+f to find your card:

http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/high_end_gpus.html

You can see that it scores in the mid range. I can remember from when I had my 550Ti that Skyrim was generally around 45Fps, and thats without HD mods. So I'm sorry to say I think your expectations were a little high. =( If you wanted the sort of perofrmance you are talking about you need to be looking near the top at the 4000 point range.

FYI, While I love Skyrim, it pains me to say it is a bad console port. Performance isnt as polished as it should be at the nest of times, and adding HD mods (Which I have done also, so I have experienced it firsthand) simply adds to the problem. I think I simply resigned to using the HD mods but only for textures. I had alot of the settings such as AA turned down. And this is on a dual 670 setup.
October 21, 2013 9:28:25 AM

I agree with you on the bad console port. I use some of the mods from Skyrim Nexus, the most notable being the "Unofficial Skyrim Patch". I love Bethesda, Fallout 3 being my favorite game ever, but man they put out some buggy games.

Even worse was Rift. Stand still- most glorious visuals I have ever seen in a game. Move - all goes to hell. Lol

In my puny defense, I bought the 7770 like 5 mins after it came out. Newer cards should of course be better.

Which is why I'm here pestering ya'll :) 
October 21, 2013 9:31:48 AM

Besides the power supply unit, are there any other common bottlenecks I should also be considering?

I'd hate to get a new psu, graphics card, and then find that "X" doesnt support my shenanigans.

(Dell 8500, 3rd gen i7)
a b U Graphics card
October 21, 2013 9:32:51 AM

I'm currently running a 7970 GHz and play Skyrim with the HD texture pack and a few other mods. Still rock solid at 60FPS. The new R9 280X would be a good choice as well.
a b ) Power supply
a c 197 U Graphics card
October 21, 2013 11:27:01 AM

The installed PSU will not have the required 1x6 and 1x8 pin PCI-E leads the HD7970/GTX770/R9 280 will need-sorry Shikozu, you'll have to swap out the PSU for something stronger if you want to upgrade to this level.
Like the others have said, PSU replacement is no big deal, just 4 Phillips screws to take out and replace, the internal wiring pretty well takes care of itself, the only potential stumbling block is the 4/8 pin motherboard power lead: a lot of PSUs split the 8 pin supply into 2X4 pin plugs that can lead (pun intended) to confusion.
Look for 550-600Watts with the required dual PCI-E leads from a good maker like: Antec, Corsair, Silverstone, Seasonic, XFX, OCZ, FSP or the Rosewill Capstone series. Expect to pay less than $70 US.
If you want the game bundle that comes with a HD7970, go for that, if not the R9 280 is a little cheaper and you'll only spot the performance difference by benchmarking them.
It's hard for me to recommend the GTX770 when on Newegg it's nearly $90 more than the similar performing R9 280...So I will not.
Few points on performance: The 7770 hates anti aliasing, turn it off. Check that Nvidia only options like PhysX are turned off. If possible, change the renderer, Metro 2033 ran well under DX11 on my rig but switching to DX10 had little visual impact but almost doubled the frame rate (driver updates and patches have reduced this effect but it's still noticeable).
October 21, 2013 12:01:25 PM

Very interesting about my 7770 hating anti aliasing. This is definitely one of the features that I fuss with often when tweaking my settings!

Agreed, it does seem to hate it!

coozie7 said:

Few points on performance: The 7770 hates anti aliasing, turn it off. Check that Nvidia only options like PhysX are turned off. If possible, change the renderer, Metro 2033 ran well under DX11 on my rig but switching to DX10 had little visual impact but almost doubled the frame rate (driver updates and patches have reduced this effect but it's still noticeable).


a b ) Power supply
a c 197 U Graphics card
October 21, 2013 12:10:21 PM

Main issue is that most 7770s have a 1Gb framebuffer and 128 bit memory bus, which was OK when it was released and most of us were on smaller displays but it chokes when you move up to 1080 or start playing with a lot of high rez textures.
Strangely enough the 7970/R9 280/GTX770 don't seem to have so much of this problem. ;) 
!