The $150 GPU round up!

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The $150 GPU round up!

Postposted on Mon Jun 04, 2012 9:09 am

My old system--put together maybe 4 years ago--is struggling to keep up. BF3 and Diablo 3 both overheat the system, and have to be played on the lowest settings to avoid stuttering. This simply will not do.

The system is a q9450 quad core clocked to 3.2 GhZ with 4 gigs of RAM running along with a Radeon HD 4850. The Radeon HD 4850 seems to be the bottleneck of the whole production.

After looking around a bit and reading some reviews, I've decided to take a closer look at the following cards:

Power Color's Radeon HD 7770 noted in the Memorial Day guide.

Nvidia's GTX 550 ti from a nearby Microcenter.

The 560 and 560 ti, depending on the card, fall into the budget as well.

My key needs are that the card have relatively low power consumption. My system runs on a 500w power supply, but I'd rather not find out that I need to replace it and end up having my $150 video card upgrade turn into a $300 system change.

So, what do you all think is the going goodie for ~$150 (or less!) USD?
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Re: The $150 GPU round up!

Postposted on Mon Jun 04, 2012 9:19 am

Little old, but relevant!

Hope you're okay buying from Newegg, and if so, here's a 560. $130, $7 shipping, 450 W required.
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Re: The $150 GPU round up!

Postposted on Mon Jun 04, 2012 9:45 am

After some further reading, it would seem that the HD 7770 is really the card that I am looking for. Lower power consumption, great frame rates on most games and a price to die for.

Speaking of, the Price Plot Thickens! (I'm sorry, that was super punny... I couldn't resist!)

Has anyone had experience with GadgetNeeds.net? They have a range of HD 7770s for ~$112 plus free shipping!
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Re: The $150 GPU round up!

Postposted on Mon Jun 04, 2012 9:52 am

superjawes wrote:here's a 560. $130, $7 shipping


Just an FYI, thats a 560SE which has 288 Cuda Cores, 776, 1552, and 3828 MHz core, shader, and memory clock respectively compared to an actual GTX 560 with 336 Cores, 810, 1620, and 4008 MHz core, shader and memory clocks. Obviously the 560 SE will have lower performance.

My vote goes toward a 6870 which, if you let me include mail in rebate, can be had for $149 The 7770 can't touch that and according to TR's 99th percentile frames, the 6870 even outperforms the $200+ GTX 560Ti

The 6870 will use about 50W more under load than a 7770 but more performance costs more power. Also there isn't anything in that performance bracket in the new 28nm fab yet. Nvidia still doesn't have anything below the $400 GTX 670 and AMD has a hole between the 7770 at $120 and the 7850 at $250
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Re: The $150 GPU round up!

Postposted on Mon Jun 04, 2012 10:41 am

This thread is relevant to my interests.

I would really like to upgrade from my uber ancient 9800GTX, but I really don't want to spend that much money to upgrade a Core 2 Quad system. $150 is pretty much what I want to spend. Based on my own research, the best you can get WITHOUT mail-in rebates (which is what I'm interested in) is going to be the HD6850 on the red team, and the GTX550Ti on the green team. Given that the HD6850 hands the GTX550Ti its arse, thats going to be the card to get.
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Re: The $150 GPU round up!

Postposted on Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:02 am

The 6870 uses 2 PCIe power connectors so it will depend on the actual model of the power supply. Can the OP tell us what it is? Chances are if that system was built using the collective gerbil wisdom in PSU selection then it may make it.

However, I would say that if the GPU is $150, there is no need to get an adequate CPU for another $150. So the fear of a $300 system charge is irrelevant. With promotions/rebates, really good PSUs that fit the bill can be had between the $50-80 range.
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Re: The $150 GPU round up!

Postposted on Mon Jun 04, 2012 12:46 pm

PowerColor's take on the HD 7770--the same card (I think?) that is recommended in the Memorial Day System Guide--can be had from GadgetNeeds.net for $110.49. A 6870 may out perform the 7770, but I am not sure that the $70 buy-in cost and $40 differential is really worth it.

$110 for that much power is really hard to argue with.

re: Power Supply, the unit is indeed a result of Gerbil Wisdom. I believe it is an Antec Earthwatts 500W power supply. It came with an Antec enclosure that was from a circa 2008/2009 Sweet Spot.
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Re: The $150 GPU round up!

Postposted on Mon Jun 04, 2012 7:22 pm

Powercolor GPUs are notorious not being the quietest of the bunch but they also offer the lowest cost and I am thoroughly impressed with their tech support. I can attest to that (see system specs in signature)

Between the 7770 and the 6850, yes, they cost rougly the same, and while the 6850 has a slight performance advantage, it also uses 20% more power to achieve it. I would support a 7770 decision if you're ok not playing the most demanding games at ultra high details. You might have to settle with high or med-high detail at 1080 resolution, especially as the card ages. Saving $40 on a 7770 compared to a 6870 also puts you 1/3 of the way toward a future GPU upgrade as well.

Here's a comparison from anandtech's benchmark charts between the 7770 and 6870 if you're interested.
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Re: The $150 GPU round up!

Postposted on Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:57 pm

Hey, I saw this thread earlier this week - I've been looking at the 7770s also. Then, newegg sends me a link to this MSI card which has a $30 rebate.

According to their deals email, the card is $130 before the rebate, using promo code EMCYTZT1731. I go there, the card is currently $130, the promo code knocks off $5, and if the rebate comes through, there's a 7770 for under $100!

I kinda wish there was a 7 series card between the 7770 and the 7850 (both performance and price), but I'm tired of waiting, and this 8800GT is tired too.
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Re: The $150 GPU round up!

Postposted on Sat Jun 09, 2012 11:46 pm

DPete27 wrote:Here's a comparison from anandtech's benchmark charts between the 7770 and 6870 if you're interested.

Thanks for that link ! I didn't know such comparison exists !
it's nice to see the 7770 beats 6870 in Skyrim test.
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Re: The $150 GPU round up!

Postposted on Sun Jun 10, 2012 6:21 am

Do not buy your video card at microcenter unless they are having a sale on your card and it is in stock, they are way overpriced.

I second the the real 560 with 336 cuda cores if you do any video conversion they will come in handy with that old 8400.

here is a galaxy for 159$ at newegg but it does need 2 6pin connectors http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814162084
galaxy has the multi display version for 169 with 4 dvi connection plus hdmi
good luck

BTW i would take that comparison chart too literally The 560 scores better on it but they overclock well 900mhz a least, has a 256 memory bus that gives it better mem bandwidth. Add AMD is not going to do monthly driver updates unless needed i would go Nvidia.

Also I am looking forward to the Low Profile 7750 for my HTPC even though in diablo 3 with 8xaa @1080p my 6570 Oced to 867 core and 1060 ddr3 mem is pushing over 50fps once i turned off the morphilogic aa deal.
Last edited by vargis14 on Sun Jun 10, 2012 6:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The $150 GPU round up!

Postposted on Sun Jun 10, 2012 6:26 am

You've probably ordered the card by now, but just in case (and if anyone else wants a cheap GPU) neweggs shellshocker today has a 6870 from XFX for $159.99 with $30 MIR.

http://www.newegg.com/Special/ShellShoc ... singleitem
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Re: The $150 GPU round up!

Postposted on Sun Jun 10, 2012 9:41 am

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Last edited by clone on Tue Jan 14, 2014 1:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The $150 GPU round up!

Postposted on Sun Jun 10, 2012 2:10 pm

The $95 7770 via $30 mail-in-rebate, $10 instant savings and $5 promo code sealed the deal. I've a new MSI 7770 in the mail, set to arrive probably Wednesday.

Thanks for the assistance and participation. I'll post a review of the card once I get her installed and spun up.
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Re: The $150 GPU round up!

Postposted on Sun Jun 17, 2012 7:02 pm

The 7770 has been humming along for a few days now, going really well.

BF3 runs smoothly on Medium settings, with some settings moved to High and no real stuttering or frame loss. Diablo 3 cruises along on High with no problems.

The card has a smaller form factor than the HD 4850 that I replaced. Absolutely amazing. It does draw more power than the old card (fried the PSU), but not by a whole lot. Idles cool at 39C and runs at around 65 to 75C under load.

For under $100 (with rebates and promos), I am not sure that the card can be beat. It delivers 90%+ of the 6870's frame rates for 60% of the cost and power requirements. Pretty unbelievable, really. Even at $110-120, the performance::cost ratios are very, very forgiving.

Overall, loving the new card.
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Re: The $150 GPU round up!

Postposted on Sun Jun 17, 2012 10:46 pm

I have a hard time believing the 7770 was the culprit for frying your 500w PSU.

Power Supply Calculator (this recommends double the max output of your system since peak efficiency is at 50% usage)
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Re: The $150 GPU round up!

Postposted on Sun Jun 17, 2012 11:04 pm

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Re: The $150 GPU round up!

Postposted on Wed Jun 20, 2012 12:43 pm

Well, whatever happened, after slotting that card my PSU was fried during driver installation. A new PSU fixed it. So, if it wasn't the 7770, then what was it?
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Re: The $150 GPU round up!

Postposted on Wed Jun 20, 2012 1:31 pm

As DPete27 said, the 7770 draws less power than the 4850, so it's not making sense for the 7770 to have been at fault. It seems more likely that the PSU would have died regardless and you just happened to upgrade you card at the same time.
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Re: The $150 GPU round up!

Postposted on Wed Jun 20, 2012 2:40 pm

...and I've been happily running a Q9550 with a pair of 4850s on a 520W PSU for the last few years with no problems. Power draw at the wall is less than 400W under load, so less than 350W PSU output once you account for efficiency. Makes sense given the Q9550 TDP is 95W and each 4850 is 110W. I doubt your system was pulling much more than 250W-300W even with the overclocking.
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Re: The $150 GPU round up!

Postposted on Wed Jun 20, 2012 3:23 pm

noonesshowmonkey wrote:So, if it wasn't the 7770, then what was it?


Antec Earthwatts isn't by any means a "junky" PSU by todays accounts. I don't know if the 2008/2009 Earthwatts series shared the same aura though. I would expect decent PSUs that have sufficient wattage for the system they're in (like yours) to last more than 4 years unless they've been used heavily, but there's a million and one things that could have happened to it. Without knowing the extent of your usage or the circumstances of the failure, I can't make an educated guess.

Good to see you're enjoying your new GPU.
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