TechSpot

So I'm looking to upgrade my Graphics card

By Arc432
Apr 7, 2010
  1. As the title says, I'm looking to upgrade my graphics card. I have a Sparkle 9500 gt right now so I really am looking to the upgrade of my card so I can play all the newest games I have on max settings (or at least very close to) with good frame rate (Crysis, Oblivion, Dragon Age, MW2, Metro 2033, ect.). So I am looking to buy into a higher range model around the 250 - 350 dollar price range (maybe a bit higher if necessary). Below is a list of my system specs which I hope you find useful.

    1. Motherboard- XFX nForce 680i LT SLI Motherboard
    2. Graphic interface - 2 PCI Express X16 Slots
    3. Memory - 4 gigs of Kingston 667mhz pc5300 ddr2
    4. CPU - Intel core 2 quad q6700
    5. CPU Speed - 2.66 ghz
    6. Power Supply Make/Model - Ultra LSP 650w
    7. Watt output/Amperage -- 650w
    8. Country -- USA
    9. If it helps I have a 22" Acer Widescreen monitor

    Originally I was thinking about switching to ATI but heard that if I do that I would have to invest in a new motherboard because mine looks like it can't use crossfire. Even though right now I'm only really interested in buying one card but in the future I will probably buy a second card if necessary. I heard that ATI's drivers don't work to well with Nvidia stuff so I'm kinda under the impression that even one card might crash a lot. Also, I was looking at the Nvidia GTX 200 card series to purchase but I am wondering if they are even worth the money that they are being sold at (GTX 285?) or if I should just wait until Fermi gets rolling in production to help (I hope) make prices go down. Now that I think about it, would I be better off just waiting for the Fermi series to come out and get one of those?

    Thanks for all the help everyone. I've been wanting to upgrade for quite some time but I've always been hesitant as to what to purchase. If you guys think I might need to upgrade anything else in my system let me know too. That way I can keep a mental note of it.

    Thanks again! I appreciate your help!
     
  2. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    You've already got a nice setup. Read this and it might help you decide:
    SLI Explained
     
  3. m3chan1zr

    m3chan1zr TS Rookie Posts: 17

    I have an EVGA board (nvidia) and an ATI Radeon 4870x2 video card with no problems. Here's my current setup:

    Cooler Master HAF 932 case
    Ultra X4 1050w power supply
    CPU Cooler - Cooler Master Hyper N520
    4 sticks of corsair XMS2 DDR2 800MHz ram totalling 8gb
    Two dvd burners
    A floppy drive ;)
    ATI Radeon 4870 x2
    BFG aegia physx card
    Hitachi 1 tb hard drive
    Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650
    Motherboard - EVGA nForce 750i SLI FTW

    Again, I have no problems using an ATI card on a motherboard with an Nvidia chipset. With the video card, I can play Crysis, MW2, BF Bad Company 2, Metro 2033, Mass Effect 2, etc on max settings on 1080HD resolution. The GTX 285 should be enough (I play the same games listed on my Mac Pro with the GTX 285 ;) in bootcamp at 2560 x 1600 resolution with only occasional frame rate drops in BF Bad Company 2 because of the high resolution. It all depends on what you want.

    Note:
    Make sure your power supply is powerful enough to supply power to the video card you want to get. Your Ultra LSP650 has 38 Amps on the +12v rail(+12v is what the video card and most of the stuff in your computer uses). Make sure the video card you want uses less than 38 Amps. Also you don't want a video card that uses 37 Amps (for example) because it'll put a lot of pressure on your power supply. My old power supply (a Corsair TX650W) produced 52 Amps on the +12v and it still wasn't enough to power my ATI 4780x2 for more than year before it burned out. My current power supply produces 76 Amps on the +12v rail. Also, keep in mind that the 4870x2 is basically TWO video cards in crossfire. YES the crossfire works on an Nvidia motherboard because the crossfire is built into the card. So if you get an ATI card with "x2" at the end, you're already running two video cards. If you get a non "x2" ATI card and want to do crossfire later, it won't work.
     
  4. m3chan1zr

    m3chan1zr TS Rookie Posts: 17

    Also, I forgot to add, make sure the card you want to get will fit in your case before you buy it. :p This is equally as important and making sure you PSU is powerful enough. There's no point in having a strong PSU and a good video card if you can't fit it in your computer. ;)
     
  5. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,258

    If you're planning on playing Metro 2033 at max settings then you'll need a DX11 capable card ...not to mention Vista or Windows 7.
    That leaves you the option of a HD 5850 ($300 for this factory OC'ed PowerColor seems the best option) or the yet to be released GTX 470 at $349 in your price range. I would personally opt for the HD 5850 since it is 1. a known quantity, 2. in stock, 3. is cheaper, and 4. has comparable performance to the nVidia card.

    The next step up the performance ladder is the HD 5870, but at $400+ is outside of your stated budget.
     
  6. EXCellR8

    EXCellR8 The Conservative Posts: 1,835

    lol Metro 2033 was awful... just saying ;)

    i would upgrade that PSU though, the LSP series is not known for reliability.
     
  7. m3chan1zr

    m3chan1zr TS Rookie Posts: 17

    Agreed.
     
  8. m3chan1zr

    m3chan1zr TS Rookie Posts: 17

    True.. and agreed. I would spend a little more and get the 5870. Also, for Arc432, a PSU upgrade is needed.
     
  9. Arc432

    Arc432 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the quick response guys! So since my power supply seems to be inadequate, what do you guys recommend? I'm not too knowledgeable when it comes to PSUs but I was looking around and found a XION Power Real 1000W ATX Power Supply on tigerdirect for around 100 dollars and I was wondering if that was a good one or not. So yeah, like I said, please recommend one for me. I might have to put off buying the card a little longer but what's the use of having a card that won't work, right?

    As for the 5870, it is a very tempting purchase for me but I was wondering if it would be best to wait for a price drop of some sort? I believe I've read in other forums that ATI might be doing this for the 5870 and 5850 because of the launch of Fermi. So I don't want to jump the gun and pay more now than I would have to if I just waited a few weeks. Also, how much better is the 5870 compared to the 5850? Would I really notice that much of a difference since my monitor's resolution is 1920 x 1200 (I think)? I'm thinking about maybe replacing my old monitor with a fully HD one in the future but due to space constraints not a dual set up. Again, sorry for the repetitiveness, would it matter?

    Thanks again for the help everyone, I'll keep posting and trying to respond as new questions come up.
     
  10. Arc432

    Arc432 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the quick response guys! So since my power supply seems to be inadequate, what do you guys recommend? I'm not too knowledgeable when it comes to PSUs but I was looking around and found a XION Power Real 1000W ATX Power Supply on tigerdirect for around 100 dollars and I was wondering if that was a good one or not. So yeah, like I said, please recommend one for me. I might have to put off buying the card a little longer but what's the use of having a card that won't work, right?

    As for the 5870, it is a very tempting purchase for me but I was wondering if it would be best to wait for a price drop of some sort? I believe I've read in other forums that ATI might be doing this for the 5870 and 5850 because of the launch of Fermi. So I don't want to jump the gun and pay more now than I would have to if I just waited a few weeks. Also, how much better is the 5870 compared to the 5850? Would I really notice that much of a difference since my monitor's resolution is 1920 x 1200 (I think)? I'm thinking about maybe replacing my old monitor with a fully HD one in the future but due to space constraints not a dual set up. Again, sorry for the repetitiveness, would it matter?

    Thanks again for the help everyone, I'll keep posting and trying to respond as new questions come up.
     
  11. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,219   +157

  12. m3chan1zr

    m3chan1zr TS Rookie Posts: 17

  13. m3chan1zr

    m3chan1zr TS Rookie Posts: 17

  14. m3chan1zr

    m3chan1zr TS Rookie Posts: 17

    This power supply was the one I had before the motherboard and Radeon 4870x2 burned it out. Maybe mine was a lemon but it only lasted about a year (as in my extremely lengthy post ;)
     
  15. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,219   +157

    hard to know where to start here.
    Firstly, there is not a card out there that draws 37Amps. the HD 4870 x2 draws 22A and is one of the most power hungry cards ever.
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-radeon-power,2122-6.html
    secondly if you did have a card that used 37A and used a PSU that had only 38A, It would not 'put pressure on your PSU' ....the machine would not operate. additionally, your Corsair TX650W was more than enough to power your HD 4870 X2, if your machine burned out as you say, it was from something else.

    Not true, The crossfire and or SLI support is in the motherboard as well. most support both,however, some boards do not support both. you need crossfire ready Graphic cards, and support is in the drivers,however the motherboard must support it as well.

    Also not true, Crossfire support affords the support for two or more GPU's to be used in tandem on the same system. additionally as long as you have the PCIE slots to have as many cards, you can have the 3 or 4 GPU's on 2,3,4 etc cards. if you don't believe that....I am running 4 GPU's in crossfire on this computer in a 1- HD 4850 x2, and 2-HD 4850's crossfire configuration and it works splendidly. Before that I was 3 HD 4850's, and at one time a HD 4850 x2 and one HD 4850. Although you ideally want exact matching cards, you can CF cards as long as they are from the same series for example the 48xx series using the
    R700. here is some reading on crossfire from ATI's crossfire page. http://game.amd.com/us-en/crossfirex_about.aspx
     
  16. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,258

    I wouldn't hold your breathe on that. 5850 prices have come back into line- partly due to keep the price/performance level more in line with the cards above and below (5870 and 5830), and partly, I suspect from the adverse publicity over the pricing hikes the model has undergone- since, at it's original selling point it was by far the best value single card option and proved to be a very popular choice
    Comparing stock standard cards, the 5850 is on average 12-16% slower than the 5870. The card I pointed you towards is a factory overclocked model so the difference would be in the order of 7-10% (based on your screen resolution). You would need to factor in whether the extra performance is worth the 30+% price increase if buying a HD 5870.
     
  17. m3chan1zr

    m3chan1zr TS Rookie Posts: 17

    Probably a misunderstanding. I was saying that my motherboard (and seeing the original posters) doesn't support crossfire but only SLI however when I look at the catalyst it says that I have a two 4870's linked together (crossfire within the card itself). I am aware that you can run 4 GPU's (did it before with 4 3870s). I was just saying because his motherboard is an SLI, not crossfire...
     
  18. Arc432

    Arc432 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the further input guys and for that great link on PSUs Red1776. So from looking at that article I'm guessing I don't need an immediate upgrade for my PSU right? Also, if my monitor only has a 1920 x 1200 max resolution, do you think that the difference in frame rate and quality is worth upgrading to the 5870? Sorry if this sounds repetitive guys.

    Oh and one other thing. If I ever want to use crossfire, I would have to get another mother board completely right?
     
  19. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,219   +157

    it appears that your board (XFX nForce 680i LT SLI) only supports SLI. Your PSU is rated for the needed wattage for any card you want to get ( check the amperage on the 12v rail(s) however) thats is the critical output.
     
  20. m3chan1zr

    m3chan1zr TS Rookie Posts: 17

    The 5870 is outside your initial price range... The 5850 should well be enough, but if you're willing to spend the extra money, there's no shame in buying the 5870.
     
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.

Similar Topics

Add New Comment

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...