Seeking new video card for $200 or less

By ¼ of a hotdog · 16 replies
Aug 5, 2011
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  1. I have some money and would like to get a new video card, my budget is about $200 and I will be playing games at 1680x1050.

    System specs

    Motherboard: gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H
    PSU: BFG tech LS-550 550 watt (Did BFG tech really go under?)
    CPU: AMD 720x3 at 3.4ghz
    Current video card: XFX 4850
    I have the rest of my specs in my profile.

    I took a measurement my case and I think I could fit anything under 10.5 inches as long as the power connector is not on the end of the card. I could fit a much longer card in there if I removed the hard drive cage and found another place for the hard drives.

    I'm leaning towards AMD because of my motherboard but I doubt I will ever buy a second card so I think Nvidia is still an option. I was considering either a 6870 or a gtx 560 but would those even be worth it at my resolution? If one card will do better then the others when overclocked I do have a nice cooler so that is an option. Should I upgrade now or just try to hold off until the next generation comes along?
  2. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +96

    If you can hold off for few months I think it wouldn't be bad idea, as nVidia and AMD ( were planning to start mass production of HD 7xxxx series in Q2 11) are going to release their next generation cards by the year's end

    Otherwise, at that resolution even a 6870 will do the job. However, if you want to push things up a notch say 1920x1080 I'll go for 560 Ti in that case.
  3. klepto12

    klepto12 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,115   +9

    it looks like all the new cards will not be out till 2012 so i would get the 6870 really great card and will play all games maxed at 1080P resolutions no problem. you could even get the 6850 which is a nice card and at your res will play anything.
  4. red1776

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

  5. ¼ of a hotdog

    ¼ of a hotdog TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 188

    Ok I guess I will wait for the next generation, thanks for the advice everyone!
  6. rockyjohns

    rockyjohns TS Rookie Posts: 80

    If you want to be a ittle adventerous, why not drop in another HD 4850 for now? You can probably find one at eBay or Craigslist for about $60-80. That will give you tremendous power and you can then wait till later for a more permanent upgrade.

    Will your power supply support it? Does it have the power connectors for two video cards? I did not see your PSU listed with the other system specs on your profile. The two HD 4850s would be faily power hungry.
  7. ¼ of a hotdog

    ¼ of a hotdog TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 188

    That sounds interesting, I have a BFG tech LS-550 (550Watt) and it does have 2 6 pin connectors (there is a link to a review of it the first post in this thread). Do you think it could even handle a second 4850? I guess I could fit a second one there If I can figure out where to put the fans on the accelero S1. I have no experience buying from ebay, do either of these seem reasonable? I think I would need to buy a crossfire bridge for the first one.
  8. rockyjohns

    rockyjohns TS Rookie Posts: 80

    I would try Crossfire.

    This review - from one of the most respected sites about PSUs - shows the test system using 421w total power under load. This is 76% of your PSUs rated capacity, higher than I would want when building a new system but should be manageable for an upgrade.

    Note that this assumes you have not and will not overclock your CPU or video cards and don't have other power hungry components.

    Your PSU is good one, capable of delivering 500w to the 12v cicuits. By the way - to answer an earlier question - BFG did not go out of business, they just stopped making video cards.

    When selecting a particular brand - I would try to match what you have - although they should be interchangeable.

    I have a lot of experience buying from eBay - including a video card and lots of memory over the years - and have alway been satisfied. That being said - there is always a small risk with any used components and I have always purchased from sellers with high favorable ratings.

    Just to give you an idea on price, here are the recent but ended listings on eBay for HD 4850 cards, note that prices in red mean the card did not sell:

    Regarding the two cards you listed, note that the first card requires two slots (although probably as a result has better airflow - does a better job of expelling the hot air out of the case) while the second only requires one slot. Both brands are good. For more information about the best brands of video cards:

    Other things being equal, I would be inclined to go with the second, assuming you could get it for a decent price and have two available slots in your case, since the two slots allow for better airflow and reduced temperatures. The seller provided little information about the overall condition of the card so you might email them (see the link near the bottom of the page for asking questions) and ask if the card is in excellent working order.
  9. ¼ of a hotdog

    ¼ of a hotdog TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 188

    Sorry for the delayed reply. I think I will be getting that second 4850 after I hear back from the seller. In the mean time I have a couple power supply related questions.

    1. Will taxing my PSU that much reduce its lifespan significantly or anything like that?

    2. Can I use a second PSU to power the second card?

    I have looked into using a second PSU and it seems that by either using one of these or doing this I would be able to use this cheap PSU I have lying around and and an adapter like this to power the second card. Will this work? Does anyone have any experience with this? I will have to keep the second PSU outside the case as I won't have any more room if I put a second 4850 in, will this cause any problems?
  10. rockyjohns

    rockyjohns TS Rookie Posts: 80

    Running at 76% of capacity - or even 85% of capacity for extended periood should not reduce the lifespan or create other problems.

    I would not recommend using a second PSU. It can create issues with balancing a load. I am no expert in this area, but I know some PSUs require a certain amount of power to go to the 3.3v and or 5v rails so - for instance - if it were only connected to the 12v components it has a problem. Moreover you are probably talking about having it outside the case - which could be a safety and nuisance issue in a lot of ways.

    I recall hearing something about relatively small PSUs that fit in a drive bay and provided additional power, but have never heard from anyone using it and don't even know how to follow up.
  11. hellokitty[hk]

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

    This is true. Two of the cables on the 20/24 pin motherboard must be connected to turn the power supply on. I imagine you'd just solder them, then simply plug in the power supply whenever you're going to load your graphics card. So difficult. Just wait LOL.
  12. ¼ of a hotdog

    ¼ of a hotdog TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 188

    OK, I guess will have save that experiment for when I have enough old parts to build an extra PC. I suppose if it's not going to mess up my PSU it won't matter much anyway. Thanks for the Help!
  13. rockyjohns

    rockyjohns TS Rookie Posts: 80

    I have been wondering - what happened to the other 3/4 of a hotdog. Did you eat it? With ketchup, mustard and relish - or cheese and chili? Why not the last quarter? Its been at least 6 days now since your first post and report - must be getting pretty rancid. Why are you saving the last quarter?
  14. ¼ of a hotdog

    ¼ of a hotdog TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 188

    Well I have the second 4850 in and I can now run Crysis on very high at 30 to 45fps or high at around 50fps (was only medium at 30 to 45 with just one)! I ran furmark for a while with no hitch though that single slot card does run a bit hot (80c at idle 90c under load). I put the stock cooler back on my first 4850 (50c idle 70c load) so now I just need to figure out how the hell to get an accelero S1 with a 120mm fan to fit in there. Should I just toss my soundblaster audigy aside and use the onboard sound card so I can fit the S1 and a fan in there? I just use some old HD202s, would I run into any issues using the onboard soundcard (Realtek ALC892 is what was listed on the page for my motherboard)?

    By the way that last ¼ of a hotdog is now over 3 years old, you can have the pile of mold if you would like. It was shanked to death by a bee before I could finish eating it, I hate bees.
  15. rockyjohns

    rockyjohns TS Rookie Posts: 80

    Realtek ALC892 should be good. Just switch to it in the bios, and reconnnect your speakers, and see if you notice any real difference.

    Isn't the S1 a replacement for the fan on a video card? If so would it not be better to just leave the fans on the card if it is running hot? Is there a good place to add a another fan to the case to improve temps (assuming you have another power connector for it)?
  16. ¼ of a hotdog

    ¼ of a hotdog TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 188

    I think your thinking of the little fans they make to mount on S1, as you can see here the accelero S1 is a passive cooler that's about 1.5 times larger than a 4850. It was on my first 4850 until I got the second one, unfortunately if you put a 120mm fan on it the S1 becomes a 4 slot cooler (Slot 1 4850, slot 2 S1, slots 3 and 4 120mm fan) so I had to remove to get the second card to fit.

    I have been trying out the onboard sound and it seems to sound about the same, I suppose If I ever run into any severe sound issues I can just get something like this or a PCIE x1 sound card. I guess if the noise becomes to much for me I could re-replace the first 4850s stock cooler with another S1 and use some better 120mm fans to blow air up through both of them.
  17. rockyjohns

    rockyjohns TS Rookie Posts: 80

    What I was talking about was a case fan not to blow air on the HD 4850 but to blow air out of the inside of the case. With two HD 4850s it gets very hot inside the case

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