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First Graphic Card; What should I get? (200 to 500 dolars)

Discussion in 'Graphics Cards' started by CharlO, Mar 3, 2009.

  1. CharlO New Member

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    Hello, I´m kinda new here, I´ve been around for maybe ten or twelve months but I think I haven´t posted, must admit I mostly read and took stuff to inspire myself for the machine I´m building. First of all I´m from Argentina, kinda away and third worlded, I work to pay my studies but as I go to public university (Here actually is the best) I get a preety good share of my salary to spend in myself therefore maybe in my pc. I started almost a year ago, knowing little but willfueled :p I bought myself a really preety Phenom black edition mmm 2.6 ghz, 4 gigs of ram (Do quite a lot of PS and cadding), a 500 gb WD (Actually that was like two months after when I started working) a mother to fit the stuff I had and turned it on. Was preety funny, I had this pc i bought like '95 with a PIII and was white turned gray case, little 15" tube monitor, old someletersmissing keyboard and a maybe 200 w PSU :p In the months coming I bought a ToPower PSU of 950 W cause i got it for really little money, a 22" monitor, a confortable mouse and keyboard, a sound system, and started some modding for the case, basically I've removed the gray plastique front, and turned backwards the roof with a hammer to make it silver instead and the withe part inside, the sides y left them empty, my idea is to build an entire acrylic case I´m cadding now and getting cut this week.

    The thing is I badly need a Graphic card, I have the Gforce 7100 that's onboard and really sucks (Had problems to set 1680 * 1050), I wanna play Mirror's Edge, a little Crysis and maybe GTA IV, I'm willing to spend from U$S 200 to 400 maybe and if it's wotrh 500 (Not the Idea because is almost everything left I have from my salary) and I would love to know the best way to spend it. I'm inclined to a HD 4870 (Maybe X2) but dunno if it would be best to buy a GTX or two or three Gforce 9800 and connect them in SLI or maybe 2 4850 in crossfire, really don't know, please help me because I don't want to regret it :)

    Ah, OC is not really an issue, I like it and have done it a few times, I'm almost done with my self done LC and when I get my case I'll install it and will cool the V card to, so if it's better two 4850 oc tell me :)

    Else, sorry if not the right place to post, thougt it was most about Graphic cards though I've told you almost my life story :p

    Many thanks in advance.
  2. wolf

    wolf Performance Enthusiast

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    wow nice post, my money is on a GTX260 (for the $200-ish area) or up towards a GTX285 or 295 for $400-500 segment if you really want something beefcake.

    GTX260 will handle anything at 1680x1050 or below with AA

    GTX285 shows a mite more muscle and will champ out 1920x1200+ with AA

    really a GTX295 is too much unless its 1920x1200+ with lots of AA and you just love staring at a frame counter that reads over 100fps.... like me :)

    The ATi counterparts to the cards i mentioned ( HD4870 and HD4870X2 ) are very good and compete very well, however i have found the 4870 to on average be worse than a GTX260 in terms of performance. and the two HD4870's i owned i absolutely despised the build quality, and lackluster performance in crossfire.
  3. hat

    hat Maximum Overclocker

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    what is your motherboard's chipset? if you don't know what your motherboard make and model is, you can use cpu-z to find out. just download cpu-z, take a screenshot of it running with the motherboard tab selected, and upload it here so I can take a look at it. if you don't know how to take a screenshot in windows, all you need to do is press print screen, go to paint and go to the edit tab, paste and your screenshot should appear. then just save it and upload it to techpowerup.org and post it here.
    Crunching for Team TPU
  4. SerenadeRB

    SerenadeRB New Member

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    After weeded through that block of text ...
    I would recommend the HD 4870. They're lowering the price of it now to $150, so you could run two in Xfire for $300. Also I'd recommend OCing your phenom to 3.6Ghz or buying a new CPU as you want to play with eye candy, your CPU will bottleneck your new gfx card.
    Is your mobo Intel chipset or Nvidia?
  5. Duffman

    Duffman New Member

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    GTX 260 216. Great performance and you don't have to blow your entire wad
  6. Binge

    Binge Overclocking Surrealism

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    +1
  7. 3870x2

    3870x2

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    No to all. Wait for the ATI 4890, you will be amazed. It will be out very soon.
  8. RevengE

    RevengE

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    Well first off welcome to Tpu glad to have you. I would recommend a Gtx-260/280. A 4870 is a great card as well..and of course a 4870x2 is even better. If your looking for a cheaper setup go with a Gtx-260/4870 if you wish to spend more get a 4870x2/Gtx-280/285/295 the higher priced cards are extreame and you will not regret it.
    CharlO says thanks.
  9. KainXS

    KainXS

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    a 4870 if you want to game with aa

    or a gtx260 if you don't

    or you could just wait
  10. monkeyfetus New Member

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    Hello. This is my first post as well. I'm in a similar position, and my friend who does tech work told me to ask TPU. I'm not very experienced with computer hardware, so please excuse any face-palm inspiring misuse of technical terms and general ignorance. Anyway, here it goes:

    I need a graphics card. My current GPU (GeForce 6100 nForce 405) is no longer tolerable for gaming; with the recently improved particle effects, my average FPS on Team Fortress 2 has dropped from a bothersome 12-18 FPS to an unplayable 5-12. Unfortunately, I have no clue how to shop for a graphics card. I don't know how to tell whether the graphics card will be compatible with my motherboard or whether my power supply can support it. Furthermore, I haven't found an easy way to compare graphics cards. Anyway, I came here hoping for some help figuring out metrics for comparing graphics cards and/or suggestions as to what chip-set to purchase. As for price range, I really doubt I'll go over $200, but I really don't know how much a "good" video-card costs.

    I've attached a text file with some system specs. Any help would be much appreciated, and I'm sorry if I posted this in the wrong place or am otherwise being a pain in the ass.

    Two of the DVD drives in the system specs are virtual drives, BTW.

    Edit: Oh, wow. This thread had no replies when I typed this...

    Attached Files:

  11. RevengE

    RevengE

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    Okay sure thing, first off monkey what kind of power supply do you have now, also what are you looking to spend?
  12. mrw1986

    mrw1986

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    monkey, you have the best avatar ever.
  13. m4gicfour

    m4gicfour

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    Before I start, I don't mean to "talk down" to you, I just figured it'd save time if I be as simple as possible, and if you already know what I'm talking about, you can skip over what you don't need.

    Open your computer case, and look for the powersupply. It'll most likely be in the top-rear section of the case and will have a sticker on it that looks something like THIS

    Look for brand-name, and max wattage. (in the case of my example, FSP Group INC. and 300 watts.) That'll help people know how much your PSU can support. (PSU Power - CPU Power - 50watts is a good estimate)

    I'm looking up your motherboard now.
    [EDIT]
    Here is your motherboard. It says you have a PCIe x16 slot, so you should be good getting any current PCIe (the newest standard for graphics cards) graphics card that your powersupply can handle. (so long as it fits in your case)

    I noticed from the Sandra report that you only have 2 sticks of 512MB DDR2-666MHZ memory. A good cheap upgrade would be to buy a 2GB kit (2 sticks of 1GB each) of a good brand DDR2 800Mhz memory. That would greatly increase the overall "feel" of quickness when using your computer. Good DDR2 is cheap these days!

    Oh, and in case you needed any more info about your computer, here is the product page for it. Lists all the parts, and any drivers or other things you may need. Don't bother with gateway tech support though, they suck, in my experience.

    I Agree :D
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2009
    monkeyfetus says thanks.
  14. wolf

    wolf Performance Enthusiast

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    we will, will we?

    was anyone amazed at what the GTX285 did over a GTX280?

    not really, yet what that brought about changed more than the 4890 will, as it seems to be simply better binned 55nm cores.

    from the scores of an existing 4870 stock, compared to 850mhz core, you can take projections on how well 4890 will do. amazing? no.

    also, how can you say we will be amazed when its not even out, you have no idea, for all we know when it lands you yourself could be dissapointed.

    he wants a gfx card now, and right now the best choice is either a 512mb 4870 at 150 USD (which i wouldn't buy cos its only 512) or a GTX260.

    bang for buck thru the friggen' roof.
  15. Binge

    Binge Overclocking Surrealism

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    GTX260 was more nice to have than my 4870x2. I'll sing that song until I die.
    CharlO and wolf say thanks.
  16. m4gicfour

    m4gicfour

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    Monkeyfetus; I just went and took a second look at the product page for your computer. Its only listed as being a 300W unit (several different brands, but all are 300W). Keep that in mind when shopping for your vid card. Unfortunately that will limit what you can (safely) use.
  17. monkeyfetus New Member

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    Delta electronics Model DPS-300-AB -15 B. It's 300 watts.

    I didn't make it, but thanks.


    Edit: Okay. Thanks.
  18. JrRacinFan

    JrRacinFan Served 5k and counting ...

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    @monkeyfetus
    If you dont feel like upgrading your power supply right away, look into an HD4650/70, But I highly suggest you should switch it out sooner than later.

    EDIT:

    Anyone know what power draw is on oone of those new small PCB 9600GT's?
  19. wolf

    wolf Performance Enthusiast

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    its really low as it can draw all its power from the pci-e slot, so im thinking sub 75w

    i had 2x4870 in CF, and i sing the very same song.
  20. CharlO New Member

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    Well many thanks to everybody! Really fast answers.

    'Bout the mother I'm using a poor one, gonna upgrade it too, and it depends on wich option I choose (Ati or Nvidia) wich mother I'm gonna buy.. Think have a Msi K9n6pgm2-v, dunno, not at home.

    About the Oc of the phenom, course I'm doing it, just a matter of time. Many thanks to everybody, I will keep reading your suggestions, so far I think il get a gtx :)
  21. monkeyfetus New Member

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    Do you have any suggestions as to what graphics card I should get, assuming I replace my power supply? I don't really know what specifications I should care. It seems like a simple question, but after twenty minutes googling it I've gotten nowhere. I know core clock is important, but it certainly isn't everything. So, how do I tell a good graphics card?
  22. ShadowFold

    ShadowFold New Member

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  23. wolf

    wolf Performance Enthusiast

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    things like memory type and bus width, for example 1 gigabyte of 2ghz 512-bit GDDR3 is better that 1 gigabyte of 2GHZ 256-bit GDDR3, as you get half the bandwidth between the gpu and its memory. watch for GDDR5 however as it runs very very fast, and can make up for a narrow memory bus with sheer speed.

    how many shader cores the graphics cards have affects performance greatly, for nvidia from best to worst we have

    240x2 = GTX 295
    240 = GTX280/285
    216/192 = GTX 260
    128 = 8800GTX/9800GTX

    to name some high end ones, then theres 112 shader cards, 96, 64, 48, 32 and 16.

    for ati theres

    800 = 4870/4850
    640 = 4830
    320 = 38X0/46X0

    and 120 and even 40 i beleive.

    and so on, the less shaders, the less raw power the card has. the numbers are completely different for each brand, that is simply because each has a different approach to stream computing. per shader ATi's compute less (it takes 5 to compute what one nvidian Shader can, maybe 2 im not sure) and nvidias shader speeds are different to core speeds, usually double the speed or higher.

    thats a quick rundown of technology to look for...
    CharlO and monkeyfetus say thanks.
  24. CharlO New Member

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    Is that for real? Mean, if so, a Nvidia core of 240 would be almost better than a 1000 from Ati..

    Think I'm gonna ask my broh to buy one for me, (he es going to USA for a course) and that will be around april, so I'll get the picture like in a month of the prices, now, have another question, a little more tricky maybe, dunno if I should open a new post, you tell me.

    The question is: X2 or 2X, mean, a card that is X2 or similar or if SLI/XFire? Would love to know both theorycal aspect and in case you have, your experience. Thanks again!
  25. wolf

    wolf Performance Enthusiast

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    yeah shaders from each company are very different so dont get to bogged down in thought by it, however for reference ive pulled a couple of sniplets.

    The first quote is from Guru3D, second from techreport.com

    so basically an X2, or GX2 style card means that 2 GPU's have been slapped together in the same "single card solution". sometimes they come together on one PCB, sometimes on two PCB's, but they always connect to the computer by one PCI-E slot and conform to full length gfx card sizes.

    basically its SLi/Crossfire one one card.

    a 4870X2 is easy, its two 4870 1GB cards one one pcb, a GTX 295 is a two pcb setup, sandwiching a cooler. easyest way to think of that card is GTX260 SLi in a box.

    help at all?
    CharlO says thanks.

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