Good GPU Update for this system

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Good GPU Update for this system

Postposted on Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:30 pm

My current system runs pretty good, so I'm really not looking to replace it all, but was curious if there exists a video card upgrade that would fit within my system parameters and give me a boost. I started looking at some, then realized some of them would most likely require me to update my power supply as well. So first, I'd just like to check with those of you who are much more knowledgeable on the subject.

Just as an FYI, my current system is the "Econobox" from this very site..albiet back in 2008 :-?

Current:

Video Card: XFX PVT96GYDF4 GeForce 9600 GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express
Power Supply: 380W Power Supply
Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-EP35-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard
CPU: Intel Pentium E2180 Allendale 2.0GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor
RAM: 4GB
OS: Windows 7 64-bit

I tend to lean toward nvidia chip sets, as I've never had a Radeon. I haven't overclocked my CPU, although from what I hear, its a very overclocking friendly chip to do so.

Thanks everyone!
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Re: Good GPU Update for this system

Postposted on Thu Jan 05, 2012 9:08 pm

We should start to see new graphics chips fabricated on the 28nm process node very soon. These GPUs will use less power than similarly-performing GPUs fabricated on the older 40nm process.

Among the currently-available GPUs, the Radeon HD6850 would provide a significant performance improvement.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814102908
Last edited by JustAnEngineer on Thu Jan 05, 2012 9:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Good GPU Update for this system

Postposted on Thu Jan 05, 2012 9:12 pm

Concur with the 6850 as an upgrade for your system.
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Re: Good GPU Update for this system

Postposted on Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:33 pm

etilena wrote:Concur with the 6850 as an upgrade for your system.


Even with my 380W power supply?

From the Radeon page:

http://www.amd.com/US/PRODUCTS/DESKTOP/ ... iew.aspx#3

500 Watt or greater power supply recommended
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Re: Good GPU Update for this system

Postposted on Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:42 am

Lobes wrote:
etilena wrote:Concur with the 6850 as an upgrade for your system.


Even with my 380W power supply?

From the Radeon page:

http://www.amd.com/US/PRODUCTS/DESKTOP/ ... iew.aspx#3

500 Watt or greater power supply recommended


AMD is just being careful with the wattage rating. Nvidia does this, too. They are catering to the crowd who buys the 500w Best Buy branded PSU.

What make PSU do you have? A good 380w unit like an Antec Earthwatts could probably run a 6850, but a cheap-a$$ Logisys probably couldn't.

A Radeon 5770/6770 would be a pretty big step-up from your 9600GT.
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Re: Good GPU Update for this system

Postposted on Fri Jan 06, 2012 6:49 am

Yeats wrote:AMD is just being careful with the wattage rating. Nvidia does this, too. They are catering to the crowd who buys the 500w Best Buy branded PSU.

What make PSU do you have? A good 380w unit like an Antec Earthwatts could probably run a 6850, but a cheap-a$$ Logisys probably couldn't.

A Radeon 5770/6770 would be a pretty big step-up from your 9600GT.


The power supply came with the case:

Antec NSK4480 Black/ Silver 0.8mm cold-rolled steel construction ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 380W Power Supply.

From looking at the product details, it is as follows:

High-efficiency 380 Watt ATX12V v2.0 Active PFC power supply
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Re: Good GPU Update for this system

Postposted on Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:49 pm

I would wait till the end of January and grab a AMD 7xxx or Nvidia Kepler gpu. Like JAE said, these new GPU's will consume less power at similar performance levels so you can squeeze more GPU into your 380W PSU. A 6850 and 95W CPU come in right around 380W required power supply. (here is a power supply calculator you can plug your system into) For your reference, currently Nvidia GPU's suck more power than similar performing AMD GPU's.

Also keep in mind that your CPU is going to become a bottleneck when you upgrade your graphics card. (If it isn't already) I have an Intel E8400 overclocked to 3.6GHz and an AMD 6850 and I'm definetly being bottlenecked by the CPU on many games. I'm personally waiting until April to get an Intel Ivy Bridge rig up and running, I would suggest you looking at doing something similar. As far as your current CPU is concerned an AMD 6770 or GTX 550 is probably the max that it can efficiently/cost effectively handle. A new quad-core system would be able to handle better graphics cards though. Keep that in mind when purchasing your new graphics card

Here is an article that does a good job at illustrating CPU bottlenecks in games. TR used a GTX 460 for the graphics card in this article. Your closest CPU equivalent is that Core 2 Duo E6400 down at the bottom of the chart.
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Re: Good GPU Update for this system

Postposted on Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:25 pm

Lobes wrote:
Yeats wrote:AMD is just being careful with the wattage rating. Nvidia does this, too. They are catering to the crowd who buys the 500w Best Buy branded PSU.

What make PSU do you have? A good 380w unit like an Antec Earthwatts could probably run a 6850, but a cheap-a$$ Logisys probably couldn't.

A Radeon 5770/6770 would be a pretty big step-up from your 9600GT.


The power supply came with the case:

Antec NSK4480 Black/ Silver 0.8mm cold-rolled steel construction ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 380W Power Supply.

From looking at the product details, it is as follows:

High-efficiency 380 Watt ATX12V v2.0 Active PFC power supply


Can you open up the case and give the actual details of the PSU?
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Re: Good GPU Update for this system

Postposted on Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:44 pm

Google says that's a good ol' Earthwatts 380. Not sure which revision, though.

Lobes, you could also look into overclocking the CPU, even if you're using the stock fan. It'll probably yield a nice performance increase in newer games.
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Re: Good GPU Update for this system

Postposted on Sat Jan 07, 2012 2:38 am

I agree that a worthy video card upgrade for your system would be a HD 6850 but if the PSU can't cope, then a HD 5750 or w/e rebrands they have for that.
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Re: Good GPU Update for this system

Postposted on Sat Jan 07, 2012 9:53 am

The EarthWatts 380 is enough for a Radeon HD6850. The EA-380D is rated at 336 watts (28 amperes) on the +12 volt line.

Even if your CPU provides a bit of a bottleneck in some games, you can still turn up some graphics features (like anti-aliasing) to get better-looking images with a capable GPU without affecting the fps.
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Re: Good GPU Update for this system

Postposted on Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:21 am

The advice I give friends in this situation is to look up the power draw of their old card and stick to somewhere around that figure when hunting for a replacement.

In your case the 9600GT has a rated TDP of 95W

The 6850 is rated at 127W,
The 6770 is rated at 108W,
The 550Ti is rated at 116W.

In other words, the 6850 is 32W more power draw than your currently stable system, and a 6770 is 13W more than your currently stable system. It depends how far you want to push your luck really.

For the record, That same PSU as yours powered my C2Q and a GTX 460 just fine through gaming, though I assume it was at the upper end of acceptable since the PSU fan was ramped up noticeably higher than I'd ever heard it before.
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Re: Good GPU Update for this system

Postposted on Sat Jan 07, 2012 11:13 am

Look at the total system power draw from the wall of just 177 watts in the chart on this page:
http://techreport.com/articles.x/20715/8

In this later review, TR measured 186 watts from the wall for the system with the Radeon HD6850:
http://techreport.com/articles.x/20957/9

Because the power supply used in TR's Core i5-750+P55 test system was about 82% efficient, the actual power draw for the components inside the case was about 18% less than the 177 or 186 watts from the wall. This is well within the 336-watt (+12-volt) capacity of the Earthwatts EA-380D power supply, even if we allow a 30% safety margin.
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Re: Good GPU Update for this system

Postposted on Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:11 am

Chrispy_ wrote:The advice I give friends in this situation is to look up the power draw of their old card and stick to somewhere around that figure when hunting for a replacement.

In your case the 9600GT has a rated TDP of 95W

The 6850 is rated at 127W,
The 6770 is rated at 108W,
The 550Ti is rated at 116W.

In other words, the 6850 is 32W more power draw than your currently stable system, and a 6770 is 13W more than your currently stable system. It depends how far you want to push your luck really.


Mmmmm....usually that statement is untrue. Use a power supply calculator, even they are conservative as JAE has explained. Unless you have a dell (or equivalent pre-built) system or happened to max out your PSU with your first/current GPU there will generally be some headroom left over to utilize towards a GPU upgrade.

Also, I would advise to overclock your current processor. A few articles I've seen have said you should be able to get your 2180 to around 2.6Ghz without increasing voltage. That should give you a little boost in gaming performance.
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Re: Good GPU Update for this system

Postposted on Mon Jan 09, 2012 2:12 pm

I.S.T. wrote:Lobes, you could also look into overclocking the CPU, even if you're using the stock fan. It'll probably yield a nice performance increase in newer games.


First, thanks to everyone in this thread...I've learned a ton just reading posts from those of you much more "in-the-know" than myself.

I'm definitely going to overclock the CPU, but I have no desire to push it. I want to be within the limit of my current stock cooling. I've read the TR guide to overclocking several times, and am still trying to get brave enough to try it out. I've been told my CPU is very friendly to OC. Will do it in very small increments.

Two more GPU questions if I may:

1. Is there a particular brand for the 6850 that is better than others? I see ones from Sapphire, Asus, Diamond, MSI, VisionTek, Gigabyte and XFX. I'm a big time buyer from Newegg, but happen to have a $100 gift card to Best Buy so might buy it there.

2. Do I need to worry about the physical size of the 6850? The last thing I need is to get it home and realize it won't fit in my case. My 9600 GT is 4.376 inches tall and 9 inches long. The 6850 is 9.06" x 4.96" (depending on brand I suppose). So slightly longer, and wider. Guess I need to pop open the case and see how much room is in there.
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Re: Good GPU Update for this system

Postposted on Mon Jan 09, 2012 2:39 pm

ASUS, Gigabyte, MSI, XFX, and Sapphire are all reputable companies. I would steer clear of diamondtek. Powercolor often offers the cheapest option but their fans tend to be loud. I have a Powercolor 6850 and will admit it gets at bit loud at 80%+ fan speed. The Gigabyte card should be the quietest of the bunch since it has 2 large fans. Gigabyte often takes the quiet award in reviews of various cards. One tip, I bought my 6850 from newegg open box and was able to get the current mail in rebate at the time, bringing it down to $115 total after MIR. That was in March 2011.

It looks as though ASUS has the longest 6850 at 10.24 inches. You can find this information under product details on newegg. Definetly measure inside your case.

Overclocking isn't as scary as it may seem. If you overclock too far you will get a BIOS post message saying the system is unstable and it will ask you if you would like to revert to the last stable settings. For the most part, as long as you aren't raising voltages, you're not going to hurt anything. Make sure you're keeping tabs on your RAM frequency as you raise the FSB.
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Re: Good GPU Update for this system

Postposted on Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:50 pm

Lobes wrote:1. Is there a particular brand for Radeon graphics cards that is better than others? I see ones from Sapphire, Asus, Diamond, MSI, VisionTek, Gigabyte and XFX.
XFX offers the best warranty coverage in the industry (double lifetime). I've had excellent success with Sapphire graphics cards. They have performed very well for me despite costing less than many other brands.

P.S.: I hate to muddy the waters, but you could consider a faster Radeon HD6870 for just $13 more than the Radeon HD6850. ...And yes, your power supply is fine for a Radeon HD6870, too.
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Re: Good GPU Update for this system

Postposted on Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:37 pm

If the OP is still looking at this thread, Hyperneko purportedly got his/her e2180 up to 3.4Ghz. Apparently that was without voltage increase and using a tower-style aftermarket HSF. 70% OC seems unusually high to me, but its a good testament to the OCing possibilities of your CPU.
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Re: Good GPU Update for this system

Postposted on Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:58 pm

DPete27 wrote:If the OP is still looking at this thread, Hyperneko purportedly got his/her e2180 up to 3.4Ghz. Apparently that was without voltage increase and using a tower-style aftermarket HSF. 70% OC seems unusually high to me, but its a good testament to the OCing possibilities of your CPU.

3.4ghz on stock voltage doesn't sound too outlandish to me, remember that this is pretty Conroe with less transistors to go hay-wire.
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Re: Good GPU Update for this system

Postposted on Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:50 pm

Listen To everyone JAE is spot on you can support a 6850 here is a total system power consumption chart from andantech,plus i know you are pulling a good bit less since I am sure there system minus the video card pulls more watts then yours.
http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph4002/33515.png

I would grab a stock clocked card then overclock it yourself on stock voltage.Here is neweggs current list of 6850s the asus card is not power hungry but it only has a 15mhz overclock.The sapphire card is 149.99 10$ cheaper then the Asus card but it runs at a factory 775mhz.
Now powercolor has a passive cooled 6850 if you have the room for the huge heatsink and a 40$ premium over the asus card,i would think they would run that card at lower voltages to keep TDP down but i could not find a review that included power draw.But it might not have a lower power draw at all.
Happy hunting.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductLi ... 0HD%206850
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Re: Good GPU Update for this system

Postposted on Mon Jan 16, 2012 6:48 pm

Firestarter wrote:3.4ghz on stock voltage doesn't sound too outlandish to me, remember that this is pretty Conroe with less transistors to go hay-wire.


You do know that the e2180 has a stock frequency of 2ghz right?
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Re: Good GPU Update for this system

Postposted on Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:04 pm

Yes, because it's been binned at 2.0GHz for market segmentation. It's the same silicon, being manufactured by the same fab that churns out 3.2GHz E8600's.

Intel has always implemented artificially low default clocks because they don't want their budget chips cannibalising sales of the more lucrative high-end parts.
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