Need help buying a new vid card

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Need help buying a new vid card

Postposted on Sat Aug 23, 2014 10:25 am

I'm sure there are alot of these recommend vid card questions that pop up, but it's been a while since I bought a vid card (2005) and upgraded myself.

My question is there anything to look for or check before buying a new vid card these days? Plus any recommended cards for the money. The main games I'm looking to buy it for are splinter cell blacklist and conviction.

My current system is:
Desktop windows 7 64 bit
i3-4130 cpu @ 3.40 ghz (looks like there's 4 of em)
8.0 GB Ram
Intel HD Graphics 4400

I'm thinking the geforce gtx 750 or gtx 560 seem a good value for the money. Want to stay in the $150 range.

Any words of caution greatly appreciated.
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Re: Need help buying a new vid card

Postposted on Sat Aug 23, 2014 10:39 am

I am guessing you are using a 1080p monitor. Also your CPU is a dual core with Hyperthreading but is has a decent clockspeed so it should work fine.

Stay away from the 560ti is a power hog and a very old design.

Since it is probably a prebuilt system I am guessing. I would go with a GTX 750TI 2GB card with the highest clockspeed you can find at your budget.
The GTX750ti is a good card for 1080p gaming and it uses very low power. Also they do not throw off a ton of heat so no major case ventilation is needed.

In my opinion the EVGA line of Nvidia card are the best and you get a great warranty along with the 90 day step up program where if you feel you need a more powerful card you have 90 days to trade in your current EVGA card for a upgrade and you just pay the difference. I think shipping also but I am not sure.

EVGA FTW and Superclocked 750 ti cards have high base and boost clockspeeds. You pay a slight premium but it is well worth it.

Also down the road if your CPU is not up to the task you can easily upgrade and pop in a i5 or i7 CPU that is supported by your motherboard. But your CPU is fine to get you gaming right away that is for sure.
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Re: Need help buying a new vid card

Postposted on Sat Aug 23, 2014 10:57 am

Best value for money right now on a typical 1080p monitor is going to be an AMD card - R9 270 which you can find from $150 and up. The R9 270X is about 10% quicker so worth picking up if you see one one sale too.
If your budget is tight, the R7 260X is about as fast as a 750Ti but usually runs $40-50 cheaper.

If you must have Nvidia, the 750Ti is pretty lousy value unless you have specific requirements such as a small case and limited power supply. At $150 you shouldn't be looking at a card which performs similarly to a $100 R7 260X unless you have no other choice.
My advice for an Nvidia is to wait a few months because new cards are coming out which will disrupt the whole Nvidia lineup. The GTX 760 is a pretty close match for the R9 270X but they're typically closer to $250 which is pretty expensive when you consider that an R9 270 is in the same ballpark for $100 less.

Unrelated to gaming, I've been struggling with driver issues at work using the 750Ti cards. I've noticed that the older 560Ti don't have the issues, nor do any of the Quadros/Radeons we have. We run a variety of things from Autodesk, McNeel, Bentley Systems and also make use of Unreal Engine and Unity. For whatever reason our particular mix of software doesn't play well with Maxwell graphics cards. Take that info with a grain of salt though since we're not running games and that's where Nvidia likely focuses the effort of the Geforce driver team.

Whatever you end up with, the things to check are largely the same:
1) Make sure it has at least 2GB of GDDR5. 1GB is not enough these days, and DDR3 is a big mistake.
2) If your budget isn't tight, it's worth checking reviews of specific models that come with uprated coolers, because they'll be quieter and better built.
3) Factory overclocks are worthless, you can pay up to 25% more for a card that may not have more than a 10% overclock, and it's not as if vanilla cards can't be overclocked easily.
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Re: Need help buying a new vid card

Postposted on Sat Aug 23, 2014 12:18 pm

Wait. Until. Second. Gen. Maxwell.
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Re: Need help buying a new vid card

Postposted on Sat Aug 23, 2014 1:17 pm

As much as I love what Maxwell is going to do for efficiency, it probably won't have much impact on performance and even less so at the sub-$150 range--those cards are already here. It's going to be a contest between the 750 Ti and the R9 270, I personally like EVGA but red team has the performance advantage at these price points. Note that a lot of GPUs come with games so it may be worth looking through some offers to see if the bundle justifies going up to $180-200 as that gives a substantial jump in overall GPU performance. If that's the case than it's probably worth waiting for the Big Maxwell 760 successor, if only to drive down prices on stuff like the 770/270X/280.
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Re: Need help buying a new vid card

Postposted on Sat Aug 23, 2014 5:14 pm

Although it costs slightly more than your $150 budget (at least until you get the mail-in rebate), Radeon R9-270X or R9-270 provides the best bang for your buck in the $100-$200 price range.

$180 -10MIR Radeon R9-270X 2GiB
$170 -20MIR Radeon R9-270 2GiB
These two cards use the same GCN1.0 Curaçao/Pitcairn GPU as Radeon HD7870. The chip in the R9-270X has a higher default clock speed, but it is otherwise the same as the GPU in the R9-270.

$175 -30MIR GeForce GTX660 2GiB
This card uses either the Kepler GK106 GPU or a cut-down Kepler GK104 GPU with 37% of its shaders disabled.

$150 Radeon R7-265 2GiB
This card uses a cut-down GCN1.0 Curaçao/Pitcairn GPU with 20% of its shaders disabled, as was used in Radeon HD7850.

$150 -10MIR GeForce GTX750Ti 2GiB
This card uses the Maxwell GM107 GPU.

$113 Radeon R7-260X 2GiB
This card uses the same GCN1.1 Bonaire GPU as Radeon HD7790

You can see in this review that Radeon R9-270 significantly outperforms GeForce GTX660:
http://techreport.com/review/25642/amd- ... d-reviewed

If you are absolutely set on $150 and don't believe in rebates, you can see in this review that Radeon R7-265 significantly outperforms GeForce GTX750Ti:
http://techreport.com/review/26050/nvid ... -processor
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Re: Need help buying a new vid card

Postposted on Sun Aug 24, 2014 10:15 am

thanks for all the replies in a short amount of time.

Also, dumb question, but how do i know if it's a 1080p monitor? Any issues if it's not? My monitor is so old (i'm almost embarassed to say how old it is). I will get a new one, but for now am living with what i have. Is there a min resolution for these cards or anything?
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Re: Need help buying a new vid card

Postposted on Sun Aug 24, 2014 10:54 am

tmdgm24 wrote:but how do i know if it's a 1080p monitor? Any issues if it's not? My monitor is so old (i'm almost embarassed to say how old it is). I will get a new one, but for now am living with what i have. Is there a min resolution for these cards or anything?
Read us the model number of the monitor? Is that a LCD monitor at least? How many inches?

Your config did not list the power supply. If you can open the chassis and read us the wattage and the amperage number for the "+12V" column(s) in the chart (see this for an example). If the computer is indeed a prebuilt as another poster suggested, then just read us the model number and any customization that you may have included when you ordered it.
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Re: Need help buying a new vid card

Postposted on Sun Aug 24, 2014 11:34 am

ok, you ready for this....it's an old CRT monitor (bracing for laughter). Had since 2001. So i only have a vga connector plug out of this thing. I plan to get an lcd or 1080p or whatever, but for now budget dictates vid card first to get the game working.

On the power supply, looks like +12va is 12.0 Amps, +12Vb is 16.0 Amps. Total 103W MAX. At the bottom is Total 300W MAX@25C. Total 260W MAX@50C.

It's an HP off the shelf computer, no mods. Hmmm, that seems low for a power supply? I built my own system back on 2005 and i remember getting a 350W supply for a GT6800 card.

Other thing I noticed is it's a small case. And the PCIE slot (or at least i think it is the PCIE slot, last card i did was AGP), the PCIE slot is right next to teh processor exchanger. Plenty of room on other side.
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Re: Need help buying a new vid card

Postposted on Sun Aug 24, 2014 1:12 pm

There's no minimum resolution aside from maybe 800x600 or whatever your operating system determines is right.

So that sounds like a 300W power supply, that's going to rule out a lot of the better GPUs especially on AMD's side unless it's a form factor that can be upgraded (sometimes the case on prebuilt machines, sometimes not). It also probably takes Big Maxwell off the table, as they'll be efficent but still higher draw than the ~100 watts you have to play with.

If the case is small you'll need to be sure the card can fit. Maybe you could measure the distance between the slot where the monitor ports stick out and the far end, or post a picture so we can see how much room we're working with. Or, as JAE suggested, if we can get the model number--usuallly next to the Windows key sticker--we can look it up online and get all the relevant specs.
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Re: Need help buying a new vid card

Postposted on Sun Aug 24, 2014 1:18 pm

tmdgm24 wrote: It's an old CRT monitor.
Most CRTs were built at 4:3 aspect ratio rather than the 16:9 (1920x1080) ratio found in most 21st-century displays. We're probably looking at 1152x864 as the target resolution. The good news is that this low resolution doesn't require nearly the performance from the graphics card that a higher resolution would.

tmdgm24 wrote: On the power supply, looks like +12va is 12.0 Amps, +12Vb is 16.0 Amps. Total 103W MAX. At the bottom is Total 300W MAX@25C. Total 260W MAX@50C.
This is not good news. It's a good thing that Flying Fox thought to ask you about it. Your power supply is probably not up to the task of driving a mid-range gaming graphics card (which uses as much power as the rest of the computer combined). This might steer you toward a power supply upgrade or aiming for a particularly low-power graphics card (GeForce GTX750Ti or possibly even a weaker GTX750).

tmdgm24 wrote: It's an HP off the shelf computer. I noticed it's a small case.
Can you give us the HP model number? If the case is low profile, it may only accept half-height graphics cards (which again forces you to a low-end GeForce GTX750, but a specific few models that are made for low-profile cases).
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Re: Need help buying a new vid card

Postposted on Sun Aug 24, 2014 4:43 pm

Yea, i should've thought of the power supply as well. The old machine from 2005 has a 350W power supply and I was worried that would be enough for the 6800gt. Can't believe this thing only has a 300W supply.

The computer is an HP pavillion Model #500-267c.

I think the power supply may be an issues, but I was thinking of getting the 2GB 750Ti anyway due to the price. So if that one would fit and work the PS, then I'm good with that. i'm only using it for splinter cell blacklist and not really cutting edge games.

Thanks again for all your help.
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Re: Need help buying a new vid card

Postposted on Sun Aug 24, 2014 4:53 pm

tmdgm24 wrote: The computer is an HP pavillion Model #500-267c.
http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/docu ... ct=6716371
http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/docu ... c=en&lc=en
Your case is a standard micro-ATX tower. It will accept regular-height expansion cards.

The power supply is definitely a weak point. A better one wouldn't have to break the bank.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817139026
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817139027

With either of those, you could install a Radeon R9-270X without a problem.
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Re: Need help buying a new vid card

Postposted on Wed Aug 27, 2014 1:09 pm

wow, thanks. Didn't realize power supplies were that cheap these days.

K, one final quesiton. looking at the 750 ti, there's no VGA connection. I assume you can get a simple adaptor somewhere. I figure it is simple, but doesn't hurt to ask.
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Re: Need help buying a new vid card

Postposted on Wed Aug 27, 2014 3:25 pm

My unscientific sampling of the first 2 cards from JAE's 750ti link showed DVI-VGA adapters included - you should be set.
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Re: Need help buying a new vid card

Postposted on Wed Aug 27, 2014 5:29 pm

tmdgm24, you've gotten a lot of good advice from some very smart people. I agree with almost everything said above.

I have a few things to add:

- With an old CRT monitor, games are going to be much easier to drive than with a modern monitor due to the lower resolution. Meaning less graphics potency required.
- When you do upgrade your monitor, aim for something that is listed as 1080p or 1920x1080 (they mean the same thing). Anything lower is subpar, anything higher will be needlessly expensive and much more difficult for your graphics card to drive. Expect basic models to cost $130-160 depending on the size you buy (21.5" - 24").
- JustAnEngineer is a great guy and a tribute to this website and this thread, but he's exaggerating the performance difference between the R7 265 and the GTX 750 Ti. The 750 Ti is almost as good according to the TR benchmarks. The difference is maybe 7-8%, or only a few frames per second when it matters.
- One advantage of the 750 Ti is that it doesn't require a PCIe power connector that you almost certainly don't have. The AMD competitors and anything bigger will require you to replace your power supply.
- Another advantage of the 750 Ti is that the minimum recommendations for power supplies are a mere 300 watts according to Scott Wasson himself. Everything else requires more.
- If you choose to wait: even if Nvidia doesn't replace the 750 Ti directly right away, new cards with better performance push down the price of all cards. So the next generation out in a month or two can only help your situation regarding purchasing power.


If you choose you want a bit better performance and want a bigger card, your current power supply is sure to limit you, case space likely will limit you, and cooling (and therefore noise) will also be an issue. Getting a 750 Ti is cheap and easy. Getting something bigger is a lot bigger headache.

But the good news is that the 750 Ti gets 44 frames per second in Tomb Raider (2013) on "Ultra" at 1080p, and more if you set it down to "High". (Which is better, smoothness or eye-candy, depends on your preferences.) This is good enough for any attentive gamer that isn't a true enthusiast. But enthusiasts aren't going to be using stock builds from HP: they're going to be using custom built or boutique manufactured PC's that cost a lot more, with monitors higher res than 1080p. In short, you're in a prime position to get good bang for your buck, but if you want more, you're going to have to replace a lot or start from scratch (a wonderful project if you have the time, money, and interest).

My advice: get the 750 Ti now, or wait until Big Maxwell is out in a couple of months, at which point you buy the 750 Ti or equivalent.

Let us know what you decide and how it turns out!
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Re: Need help buying a new vid card

Postposted on Wed Aug 27, 2014 6:11 pm

Nice links provided by JAE. Some of those cards don't have a VGA port but there are VGA to DVI converters. I'm also keeping an eye for a good deal so this is a nice place to keep going back and checking.
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Re: Need help buying a new vid card

Postposted on Wed Aug 27, 2014 6:43 pm

tmdgm24 wrote:Yea, i should've thought of the power supply as well. The old machine from 2005 has a 350W power supply and I was worried that would be enough for the 6800gt. Can't believe this thing only has a 300W supply.

The computer is an HP pavillion Model #500-267c.

I think the power supply may be an issues, but I was thinking of getting the 2GB 750Ti anyway due to the price. So if that one would fit and work the PS, then I'm good with that. i'm only using it for splinter cell blacklist and not really cutting edge games.

Thanks again for all your help.

The pre-builts are very specifically designed so that the lowest possible components go it.
I had an HP that actually came with a 600W but that thing was a beast for the time I got it.
Good news is that most HPs use standard power supplies and you may be able to replace it.
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Re: Need help buying a new vid card

Postposted on Wed Aug 27, 2014 7:40 pm

tmdgm24 wrote: Looking at the 750 ti, there's no VGA connection. I assume you can get a simple adaptor somewhere. I figure it is simple, but doesn't hurt to ask.
My apologies! I meant to link to this in my previous post, but I got distracted. Here's a $3 solution to connect the DVI-I port on your new graphics card to your existing old analog DB15 VGA cable. This item is included in the box with some (but not all) new graphics cards.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814998101


Milo Burke wrote: One advantage of the 750 Ti is that it doesn't require a PCIe power connector that you almost certainly don't have. The AMD competitors and anything bigger will require you to replace your power supply.
The GeForce GTX750Ti 2GB cards that I looked at DID require a 6-pin PCIE power connector. The lesser GeForce GTX750 cards did not have this connection.
Here's the $2.31 solution if your power supply lacks the appropriate PCIE connector:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6812200106

I'm still slightly concerned that your OEM power supply may be too weedy to drive a decent graphics card. It's definitely not up to the task of powering anything better than the GeForce GTX750Ti.
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Re: Need help buying a new vid card

Postposted on Thu Aug 28, 2014 6:06 am

FYI, most 750Ti cards with the 6-pin power connector work without the power connector (I've tried MSI, Gigabyte, Zotac, there are reports of others working if you Google)

If the BIOS throws a warning you can get a molex adapter but it's there only for overclocking headroom; The 750Ti is a 60W graphics card at stock speeds and voltages, the PCI-E slot provides up to 75W without auxilliary power connectors.
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Re: Need help buying a new vid card

Postposted on Mon Sep 01, 2014 7:03 am

Wow, thanks for all the great help! I plan to try the gtx750ti 2gb version.
Will see how it goes with the current supply. If I need another one. They are so cheap I'll get another supply.
I'm out of town now but need to check if I even have an extra power connector. I remember looking when I was home and I don't remember seeing one but I admit I wasn't looking.

Thanks again for all your help
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Re: Need help buying a new vid card

Postposted on Mon Sep 01, 2014 7:53 am

tmdgm24 wrote: I need to check if I even have an extra power connector.
If your system doesn't work with what comes in the box with the new graphics card, Rather than spending $4 for the appropriate splitter cable to provide the Molex connection for the adapter in my previous post, you might put the $6¼ for the adapters towards a new power supply like this excellent Corsair CS450M for $54 -30MIR or a basic Corsair CX430M for $45 -20MIR, or these other decent PSUs for $44, $44 or $50.
Last edited by JustAnEngineer on Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Need help buying a new vid card

Postposted on Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:11 am

beware conviction has no support for new AMD cards ive tried in r9 290 it just lagged too much IDK about nvidia though u might want to check online in google
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Re: Need help buying a new vid card

Postposted on Mon Sep 01, 2014 11:05 am

You should be fine with a 750TI card from EVGA........I am running 2 systems dedicated video cards on generic very low power PSu's

Remember EVGA has the 90 day step up program that gives you time to try the card out on your current PSU decide if you need more graphics power and also decide if you want to purchase a 550 to 650 watt PSU and use EVGA's step up program to to upgrade to the new GTX 880/870 or 980/970 since rumor has it NVidia is going to skip the 800 series altogether.

Here are my 2 Gateway systems that I bought for super cheap...$229 for the slim tower and $329 for my squat fat mini ATX tower and I added video cards along with memory fans and HDD's to both systems.

My one system has only a 220watt PSU and is running a H61 Chipset with a Sandy bridge i3-2120 with 3 2gb sticks of DDR3 1066 ram, a DVD drive along with 500gb HDD, another 1tb HDD and a ASUS Low Profile 1GB AMD HD6570 with a extra USB powered 80mm Thermaltake adjustable speed fan mounted to the side of the case to blow cool air into the case and that system is rock solid stable.

My other system only has a 300watt PSU just like yours with a H67 chipset with a Sandy Bridge i3-2125 with 4 2gb sticks of DDR3 1333 ram, along with 2 optical drives a bluray burner and DVD burner with two 1tb 7200rpm HDD's a HIS iCooler AMD HD7750 Video card overclocked from 800 on the core to over 1100mhz and the memory overclocked from 1150 to 1350 with 2 120mm fans and a 80mm fan. This system is rock solid stable also and both systems have been running 24/7 and honestly the only time they get rebooted is pretty much when Windows 7 auto update does its thing.

At least with EVGA's 750TI like I said you have 90 days to figure out if you want a faster more power hungry card that EVGA will give you the money you spent on the 750TI towards a more power hungry card that will positively need a bigger PSU. This gives you 2-3 months to get money towards a PSU, Monitor or a Faster GPU or all 3 depending on what YOU want?
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