Tech Stocking Stuffers: 18 awesome gifts under $50

GPU Questions

By matchu ยท 36 replies
Aug 9, 2009
  1. Hiya! My first post here at techspot =) pleased to make your acquaintances

    My current computer is getting to be 4 years old now (see siggy) and I'm thinking of building a desktop sometime soon.

    I'm not a hardcore gamer -- i don't really mind having my settings at Low/Medium and don't need crazy-*** FPS for my games. However, I would like to be able to use this computer for a good 4~5 years without too many issues (too much to ask for?)

    I like shooters like Teamfortress2 and Cod4 as well as RTS like Starcraft (I'm expecting to get SC2 when/if that comes out). I've always wanted to play Left4Dead as well. Ahem.

    This being my first time building a desktop, I'm not too sure what kind of hardware to get. As far as the GPU goes, what do you guys suggest? I'm willing to stretch my budget to 250 for a card, but preferably closer to the $200 range. The entire system, I'm thinking 1000~1200 without a monitor. Sound reasonable?

    Thanks in advance for your feedback :) i appreciate it.

    [edit] and since i can't see my own siggy....
    Current configuration (Dell Inspiron 6400)
    Intel Core Duo (2ghz) /// Ati Mobility Radeon x1400 /// 1GB memory
  2. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    Does this include mouse, keyboard, phericals, or OS?

    For now, look into the [​IMG], 4890, 4870 (specifically the Saphire vapor-x 1gb 4870 available at newegg at $150) as good graphics card choices, you should be able to play any game at good settings with any of these. They go in order of price.

    As for a processor, I recommend the AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor - Retail $120
    CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 ... - Retail $100
    ASUS M4A78T-E AM3 AMD 790GX HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail $140
    OCZ Reaper HPC 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ3RPR16004GK - Retail $84
    Pioneer CD/DVD Burner Black IDE Model DVR-118LBK LabelFlash Support - OEM $28
    Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail $100

    That adds up to $575 excluding the harddrive, sound card, graphics card, and shipping.
    You can look into your own hard drive, and/or sound card.
  3. matchu

    matchu TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 100

    Ehh. Good question.

    I have all the peripherals I will need (as far as I can foresee). But an OS i completely forgot about. I'll probably need to buy that one =\. I'm a student, so I can likely get a deal on that... but I'll have to look into it when I start in September.

    I've been looking at the Radeon 4870 for a while. Does the Vapor-X cooling system make a huge difference? The pricing seems really good. (By the way, I'm a Canadian resident, so deals aren't available to me... *sad*... the Canadian site does offer the 4870+vaporx for 160CAD though)

    I will look into these parts for sure! Thanks hellokitty =) your feedback was great
  4. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    The vapor-x is better than a standard cooling, but I recommend it because its also the cheapest 1gb 4870, a great deal. On newegg at least :(.
  5. matchu

    matchu TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 100

    Icic. That sounds cool. 160 bucks is still pretty good.

    Actually, a more general question. I've heard that the next series of graphics cards (5000-series for ATI) is coming out "soon". If I wait for them to come out before buying smth like the 4870, would I see a huge reduction in cost?
  6. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    Hi matchu,
    Gpu prices are really phenomenal right now. and DX 11 cards are going to take a while to gather support from the game companies,witness how long it has taken for DX 10.0 and 10.1. just my opinion, but i would not delay a build based on a huge price drop from the upcoming DX 11 cards. :)
  7. matchu

    matchu TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 100

    Thanks, Red~ that's a good point! FYI, the time frame I'm thinking of is to have this thing completed by mid-2010. (Yeh, you can tell i'm not in that huge of a hurry).
  8. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    For your budget, I recommend these parts:
    Grand Total = $1150 approximately, not including shipping. Your entire NCIX order will ship free, since its below 150lbs. This offer comes with the WD HDD. Also, register the card on XFX's website to be eligible for their Double Lifetime Warranty. More details on the latter here.
  9. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    I don't think that the AMD Phenom II X4 920 will be supported on the given AM3 motherboard as the processor is an AM2+. You might want to look into the X3 720 as stated above. Or maybe even the X4 955.
  10. canalzonie

    canalzonie TS Rookie


    i see someone has already suggested it, but i'll say it anyway, if you are looking at $250 or so for graphics card skip the Radeon HD 4870 or 4890 because GTX 275 outperforms these cards with no effort.

    Techspot has a review for this: www[DOT]techspot[DOT]com/review/164-radeon-4890-vs-geforce-gtx275/

    srry bout link cant url yet :(
  11. Technochicken

    Technochicken TechSpot Paladin Posts: 729

    I think Newegg got it wrong on that one. All the Phenom II's are AM3, as far as I know.
  12. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    Thanks for pointing that out Ritwik7, link fixed. :)
  13. mako man

    mako man TS Rookie Posts: 50

    Hi Matchu

    If you are interested in the Antec 900 tower, Best Buy has a close out sale right now for $67.00US dollars. This is a great price.

    I have the Antec 900 case and I love it.

    Rage designed my system for me over one year ago. All I can say is Rage should be charging for his advice. You can't go wrong with his suggestions. Good luck.
  14. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    What do you mean SHOULD be charging!??? he didn't charge you? he charged me! why that no good *****! :haha::p:wave:
  15. Technochicken

    Technochicken TechSpot Paladin Posts: 729

    So the original CPU is actually AM2+? I didn't realize there were any Phenom II's that didn't support AM3.
  16. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

  17. matchu

    matchu TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 100

    Hey, everyone, thanks for the replies ^^ looking at all this stuff right now. lots of info. very intimidating.

    I will definitely get back to you guys with more specific questions about these parts.
  18. matchu

    matchu TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 100

    One question that comes to mind since Hello Kitty brought up the issue of cooling. A couple of user reviews point out that the gtx275 can get kinda warm. Looking at the xfx website - it says the card has a fan. Is that generally enough, or might i need to get an extra cooling device?
  19. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    The case is pretty large and comes with four fans, so cooling will not be a problem. The GTX 275 is also a dual-slot card, so it pushes hot air out of the case.

    You shouldn't have heat issues at all IMO.
  20. klepto12

    klepto12 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,115   +9

  21. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    His budget is in Canadian dollars mate, and stuff there is far more expensive than in the US. A Core i7 920, a decent mobo and a good DDR3 6GB kit will eat up half of his budget easily.

    i7 is also overkill for gaming. Games depend far more on a powerful GPU, and will continue to do so.
  22. matchu

    matchu TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 100

    Indeed. Looking at the prices for those parts, most of them much more expensive from the website. The system looks really impresive, though. Thanks Klepto for the suggestions.

    I'm curious, though. As far as gaming is concerned, is there a large performance difference between the phenom x4 and the intel quad core? Or will the GPU make most of the difference?

    Also, regarding the motherboard that Rage posted, I'm looking at the specs and I'm not sure if I'm understanding it correctly. I'm under the impression that it comes with onboard sound and networking ;; am i correct?

    The vista to win7 ugprade looks like it's only available to American residents, but that's fine. I'll see if I can get a copy from my University. *crosses fingers*

    I'll keep an eye on these parts from different retailers. I'm tempted to just buy everything now (since the parts have discounts that end in august) but I'm not quite ready to dish out $1000 right away -_- would be kind of... too quick for me.

    Thanks again everyone! You guys are awesome.
  23. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    As I stated before, gaming is far more dependent on the GPU than the CPU. That Phenom II is no weakling either. I could have suggested a faster CPU like the X4 955, but that would have eaten into your GPU budget, which would have made for a far weaker gaming system.

    You are correct. An overwhelming majority of motherboards come with those two options as standard nowadays.

    I don't think that's true. Look here on how to order your copy of Windows 7. Canada is in the list, so I'm sure you can get yours. I don't see why NCIX would list it on their site otherwise.

    Oh and BTW, you can buy the parts from NCIX's stores as well, if you have any near you.
  24. matchu

    matchu TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 100

    Hm. Unfortunately, all the NCIX stores aren't in town for me =(

    So I'm browsing around other sites for the GTX275. I never realized that the same card can come with differnet brands til recently. So much info.

    I found the MSI GTX275 at Canada Computers, and it seems to be a good $30 bucks cheaper (and I can get their by car, so no shipping).

    here are the links

    Original XFX GTX275:
    MSI GTX275 @ GTX 275
    MSI GTX275 @ CC:

    The various sites I browsed mostly point to the lifetime warranty being the biggest factor for getting the XFX. Is the MSI product worth it? Will it break in less than 4 years -_-?
  25. klepto12

    klepto12 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,115   +9

    i wouldnt trust the msi cards man noy worth it imo just get an xfx or evga card
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