Best Video Card for my System

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Best Video Card for my System

Postposted on Mon Jul 01, 2013 10:04 pm

System Specs in my sig. I built that HTPC over the past couple months with no real intent to do much of any gaming on it, but now I'd like to boost my graphics capability a bit for some casual gaming. I'm looking in the $100 - $150 range, nothing crazy. Here's what I'm looking at so far:

http://www.microcenter.com/product/4027 ... Video_Card

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814130827

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814202011

Any advice on those or in general any other good quality video cards in that price range? Thanks in advance!!
HTPC: i3-3225, Z77 Pro4-m, ASUS HD7790 2GB, 120GB Samsung 840 SSD, 3TB & 2TB Barracuda HDDs, 2x4GB G.Skill Ripjaws, Asus BD, Ceton Infinitv4, CX430 PSU in a Fractal Define Mini
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Re: Best Video Card for my System

Postposted on Mon Jul 01, 2013 10:32 pm

This should be better choice after rebate:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 406&cm_sp=

Edit: the rebate is now over, the card is not really worth it anymore...
Last edited by JohnC on Tue Jul 02, 2013 3:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Best Video Card for my System

Postposted on Tue Jul 02, 2013 12:18 am

I second the 7850. Great card for the price.
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Re: Best Video Card for my System

Postposted on Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:12 am

so, 100-150 budget..
here's a 1 gb 7850 for 149 after mail in rebate http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814150656

or a 2gb for 159.99 no mail in rebate http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814131473
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Re: Best Video Card for my System

Postposted on Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:49 am

Staying within the $150 budget... I'd recommend the GTX 650 Ti Boost 1GB for $130 after MIR. You can view TR's review here. It performs similarly to the 7850 1GB and a bit better than the 7790. Keep in mind, they used the 2GB variant which sells for $155 and up. At 1080p, I'm not sure you'd need more than 1GB of VRAM though (see how close the 7850 1GB and 2GB are at those resolutions). The 650 Ti Boost does use a fair amount of power under load meaning they may have a tendancy to be loud(er).

[Edit:] At the moment, that Sapphire 7770 the OP linked looks like a decent value for the $100 price point if you value the free games. I bought my brother the MSI 7770 in April for $80 after MIR (FYI). I agree with Chrispy that it's perfectly capable of casual gaming (1080p at medium settings). If the free games don't interest you, this vanilla 650 Ti can be had for $105 after MIR though. As seen in the performance summary link above, that extra $10 will get you a bit more performance than the 7770 for roughly the same price. Are you an AMD or Nvidia person? You choose.
Last edited by DPete27 on Tue Jul 02, 2013 11:18 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Best Video Card for my System

Postposted on Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:50 am

At the moment a 7770 is a much, much cheaper option and it's more than potent enough for some casual gaming. It'll also run quieter and use less power.
The difference being that you're going to have to turn down the details from Very High, or Ultra to high/med instead.

Another good option is the 650Ti. Cracking low-power HTPC solution IMO.

(in case you're wondering, my HTPC has a 7850 in it, and it's clearly audible under load, but that's a compromise I'm willing to make because I game quite heavily on it).
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Re: Best Video Card for my System

Postposted on Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:42 pm

Here's another good deal for 7790 if you live near Microcenter:
http://www.microcenter.com/single_produ ... sku=498634
$100 and free games.
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Re: Best Video Card for my System

Postposted on Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:53 pm

Great find on that 7790 if the op lives near a microcenter. The games are just a bonus plus it's a good bit better then the 7770 and only uses 5 watts more. Also HIS cards are usually dang quiet.
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Re: Best Video Card for my System

Postposted on Tue Jul 02, 2013 11:08 pm

I do live near a MicroCenter. That Radeon HD 7790 looks like a pretty good deal. How much better is the 7850? I'm price conscious, but I'm also the type that can't pass up spending a few extra bucks if its really worth it. What's the difference between "Ultra High" and High/Medium" type settings? I don't think my system could handle anything too crazy anyways, only having an i3 processor. And noise level doesn't really matter to me, as currently I can't hear my system AT ALL when it runs. Appreciate the help!
HTPC: i3-3225, Z77 Pro4-m, ASUS HD7790 2GB, 120GB Samsung 840 SSD, 3TB & 2TB Barracuda HDDs, 2x4GB G.Skill Ripjaws, Asus BD, Ceton Infinitv4, CX430 PSU in a Fractal Define Mini
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Re: Best Video Card for my System

Postposted on Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:46 am

Performance depends on different things like resolution, in-game settings and the game itself. Take a look at Bioshock as latest example:
http://techreport.com/review/24635/toda ... k-infinite
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Re: Best Video Card for my System

Postposted on Wed Jul 03, 2013 1:35 am

7850 has notably more throughput but you'll only notice it on 1080+ resolution. An i3 is probably enough to run most games at pretty high settings so the real question is what resolution to you want. If 1920x1080 or 1920x1200 then you will definitely notice a substantial difference going from "medium" to "high", if a lower resolution then a 650ti or 7790 should max out just fine. A lot of people buy more card than they can actually use.

For reference, a 7790 and vanilla 650Ti are comparable in terms of performance, as are the 660 and 7850, with the 650 Ti Boost falling between the two. My personal thought is that you should go big on the GPU to get some future-proofing...keep in mind that the next generation of consoles is in the process of launching and that will 'lock' minimum requirements to good modern hardware for 5-6 years because most developers are too lazy to make a real PC game anymore. Crysis 3, for all its legendary lust for high-end hardware, will officially run on an ancient Radeon 5770 and Athlon64 X2 5200+ and realistically probably even less because the core game targets consoles from 2006.
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Re: Best Video Card for my System

Postposted on Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:19 am

Sure the 7850 1gb will perform a little bit better at 1080p, but you would be paying 40-60 more for a card that is not 40-60% faster and the cheaper 7850s have the same 1gb frame buffer that the 7790 does.
Both the 7790 and 7850 overclock well. Also just a tidbit that in high geometry games with tessellation the 7790 with it being a newer chip then cape verde 7750/7770 and pitcairn 7850/7870 the 7790 newer bonair gpu does 2 tessellation operations per clock vs the other older chip cards 1 per clock.

Since i see you have a Cable card and a i3 along with that big 3tb drive I imagine it is a HTPC. I can vouch for the effectiveness of a hd 7750 his icooler card that has no pci-e power connection and it overclocks like a beast paired with a i3 2120 on a 300 wat psu. Your cx 430 should be plenty for a 7850 but its a shoein for a 7790. My little 7750 does 1080p with no problem just have to go with medium and no AA on hardcore games like BF3 and crysis 3 and I get average 55fps plus since I am not 18" from the TV it looks great. Add the 7790 is 2 tiers up from the 7750 I have"and i am pretty picky" so you should be very happy with it.

But if you feel you need a 7850 try getting one with 2 gb of memory. But i would go with the bargain 7790 you will be happily surprised. Plus you can Overclock it a bit if you want. I really wish the 7790 was around for 100$ when i bought my 7750 for 85$ :)
Happy shopping and gaming.
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Re: Best Video Card for my System

Postposted on Wed Jul 03, 2013 8:33 am

bostonhokie wrote:I do live near a MicroCenter. That Radeon HD 7790 looks like a pretty good deal. How much better is the 7850? I'm price conscious, but I'm also the type that can't pass up spending a few extra bucks if its really worth it.

That HIS 7790 at Microcenter is a GREAT deal, get it. This TR review summarizes performance in Tomb Raider, Crysis 3, Sleeping Dogs, BL2, Skyrim, and BF3. The 7850 is roughly 20% faster than a 7790. However, the cheapest 7850 (1GB) sells for around $140 = 40% more. That's only 20% more performance for 40% more price.....Just putting some numbers up for Vargis' recommendations.

bostonhokie wrote:Noise level doesn't really matter to me, as currently I can't hear my system AT ALL when it runs.

Good, keep it that way. That's the goal for HTPCs.
Last edited by DPete27 on Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Best Video Card for my System

Postposted on Wed Jul 03, 2013 9:58 am

Get a GTX 650 Ti BOOST or a AMD HD 7850. Do not buy anything less than those cards or you will live with regret.
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Re: Best Video Card for my System

Postposted on Thu Jul 04, 2013 9:22 am

wingless wrote:Get a GTX 650 Ti BOOST or a AMD HD 7850. Do not buy anything less than those cards or you will live with regret.


HTPC, so needs to be quiet, even when in a cramped case with limited space and airflow. Both the 650Ti Boost and the 7850 are audible under load.

I'm sure the OP can decide how much he wants to compromise on noise or power, but right now:

7770:
720p high detail, 1080p medium detail

7790 or 650 Ti:
1080p high detail

7850 or 650 Ti boost:
1080p ultra detail

The more he spends the better the detail and the noisier the card will be. How much noise he's prepared to put up with is very much personal preference and I doubt any of us can strongly recommend the perfect HTPC gaming card without that knowledge. The only real emphasis we have so far is HTPC (so typically quiet and in a cramped mATX case), and casual gaming, not Crysis 5 running at 120Hz on ubermax detail settings ;)
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Re: Best Video Card for my System

Postposted on Thu Jul 04, 2013 1:45 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:The more he spends the better the detail and the noisier the card will be. How much noise he's prepared to put up with is very much personal preference and I doubt any of us can strongly recommend the perfect HTPC gaming card without that knowledge. The only real emphasis we have so far is HTPC (so typically quiet and in a cramped mATX case), and casual gaming, not Crysis 5 running at 120Hz on ubermax detail settings ;)


Pretty much nailed it with that last paragraph there. Casual gaming, nothing crazy. I watched some youtube videos of the difference between the higher quality settings and read that performance comparison somebody posted and I'm completely okay with dropping down from the "ultra" setting. The computer is HTPC first and casual gaming second. Since it was my first computer, I opted for a slightly larger case (Fractal Define Mini) so I wouldn't have to worry about cable management and airflow as much. That case is extremely quiet and plenty of room to work with. As of now, I'm probably going to go with the 7790.

Another newbie question over here, I currently have my HTPC connected via hdmi to my surround sound. With a video card, would I just go hdmi from the card to my surround sound? Or do/should I use dvi instead?

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Re: Best Video Card for my System

Postposted on Thu Jul 04, 2013 1:55 pm

No, stick with HDMI unless your SS receiver has issues passing the video onto the TV.

I'm not 100% clear on this, but I think if you use DVI and S/PDIF (or analogue) instead, there's more chance of a delay between the audio and the video due to different processing lag from each bit of kit. It does depend massively on what receiver you are using and whether it inspect the HDMI video stream or whether it is just a dumb passthrough. All I really know is that I had to mess around a lot with various options until I was happy, and others have reported that (like me) using the receiver as an HDMI "central hub" for everything is the best option.
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Re: Best Video Card for my System

Postposted on Fri Jul 05, 2013 12:00 pm

okay so i missed the boat on that deal at microcenter. is there much difference between brands for the 7790? How about this Sapphire on Tiger Direct for $110 with free shipping?
HTPC: i3-3225, Z77 Pro4-m, ASUS HD7790 2GB, 120GB Samsung 840 SSD, 3TB & 2TB Barracuda HDDs, 2x4GB G.Skill Ripjaws, Asus BD, Ceton Infinitv4, CX430 PSU in a Fractal Define Mini
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Re: Best Video Card for my System

Postposted on Fri Jul 05, 2013 1:00 pm

Sapphire makes good products from my experience with them.
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Re: Best Video Card for my System

Postposted on Thu Jul 11, 2013 12:42 pm

I'm shocked the 7750 hasn't been mentioned here - performance is in the same ballpark as a GTX 650, and it's quiet, has great video playback, and uses so little power that it doesn't even need a PCIe connector. If you can find one for less than $100 I think it'd be a serious contender given the heat and noise requirements of most HTPCs.
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Re: Best Video Card for my System

Postposted on Thu Jul 11, 2013 4:04 pm

Concupiscence wrote:I'm shocked the 7750 hasn't been mentioned here - performance is in the same ballpark as a GTX 650

That's pretty casual for gaming. You're talking about 30-40fps at 1080p and Medium settings on average. Which is by no means bad, but I doubt the 30W increase (=30%) in full-load power usage from a 7750 to 7790 is going to outweigh the >2x performance increase. You're still looking at less than 120W of total system power consumption with a 7790 (hooked up to an i7-3770K). You can see that none of these type cards really have to spin their fans up under load, and the OPs Fractal Define Mini is more than capable of handling that amount of heat. Furthermore, for HTPC-type usage, power consumption will probably be closer to 60W.

The 7750 is horribly overpriced, even at $80 which is what I bought my 7770 for in May (which included 2 free games - Far Cry 3 and Far Cry Blood Dragon). IMO, $60 for a 7750 sounds like a more reasonable price in terms of performance relative to the 7770 and 7790.
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