Video card questions from a noob

By SayWhaat · 29 replies
May 17, 2010
  1. sorry if this is a repost:

    Hi, i have some questions about video cards. i REALLY dont know a lot about computers when it comes to taking them apart and adding/removing hardware. actually i dont know anything.

    Im obviously a gamer and want to get a new video card to support the games i want to play.

    I looked it up and found that i need a video card that is pci-e 16x and a few other things.

    Right now im considering getting a radeon 1gb hd 5750. but im confused about a few things.

    1)Will the Radeon 5750 be what i need?

    2) whats with the ATI, sapphire, ASUS, Diamond radeon cards? Whats the real difference between all these different prefixes to the Radeon 5750 video card?

    3) I see pci-e 16x "2.0". What is the difference between 2.0 and 1.0?

    Im running a Emachines Et1831-03 with these following specs:

    Again sorry if this has been discussed already, but i really dont trust my ability in judging computer parts and really want to be careful with my money.

  2. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    The first thing you need to tell us, SayWhaat, is your budget for the upgrade. Also, what games are you intending to play and at what resolution?
  3. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    For most folks, there are few differences between Radeon and NVidia except that the Radeon is significantly less costly, and the NVidia is better for gaming or where you need a great deal of speed under high heat. With a few exceptions, they are about equal in reliability. For the eMachine, I would go with what is the least expensive... but I would also replace the eMachine power supply with something more substantial as part of the deal.

    But are you considering throwing good money after bad? Where we worry about your decision is on upgrading the eMachine... too often any problems in an eMachine are not going away... I suspect that the eMachine computers remain the number one computer for early failures... You may have had good luck so far, but I would be surprised if that luck continues as you upgrade.

    If you are looking at upgrading your video graphics, do it on another motherboard...

    Spend any scarce dollars on another system, rather than on the high failure eMachine...

    Then worry about the video graphics on the more reliable system.
  4. SayWhaat

    SayWhaat TS Rookie Topic Starter

    sorry, i plan not to spend a lot. Which is very vague description.

    im looking at prices on ebay and seeing the total for the card is around $150 and the power supply im aiming for is around $20

    i can do a little more but i really dont want to spend more than $170 on a video card.

  5. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

  6. Relic

    Relic TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,379   +16

    As Rit said before you should tell us what games you want to play and at what resolution like 1280 x 1024. It will help us make a better determination on what's overall the best buy. Also you should never consider cheap power supplies, those $20 dollar ones are not designed for gaming and a bad PSU can put your entire system at risk. The one Rit suggested is a perfect PSU and a great price. This might hurt your budget a bit but you do not need to go with a 5750 if you don't want too. You could look at some cards from last generation like a 4850 or 4770, granted they are slower but it depends on what you plan to play.
  7. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    The 5750 and the Corsair PSU is a good combination for your budget. You should definitely NOT buy a $20 600W PSU.
  8. red1776

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

    The difference between the brands are that the different vendors can manufacture their version of the card. this usually is a difference in cooling solutions and amount of memory, different PCB etc. also they offer varying warranty lengths.
  9. hellokitty[hk]

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

    No matter, just get the cheapest. XFX or Saphire preferably.

    Hey, just fill up your budget, otherwise the 5750 is a great card.

    ATI manufactures the graphics processor and ships them to other companies, who slap it onto a PCB and add their cooling solutions and stuff.

    2.0 has twice the lanes, but that doesn't matter the 5750 won't even saturate a x16 1.0.
  10. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    I agree. Reliability is about the same, regardless of price or brand name.
    However, cost is not.
    Don't forget there is a high failure rate on video cards... some tech shops place the failure rate as high as 12 percent, others at least 3 percent... So if you have trouble, contact your seller or manufacturer quickly for a replacement.
  11. SayWhaat

    SayWhaat TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Those look good ill deff look more into it, except on problem. the card has 2 outputs stacked on top of each others. i dont think i can fit that in my tower.

    as for the psu i think ill go for a 500w, course will most likely be pricey but ill bite my tongue for that...

    actually i cant seem to find one. does crosair make a 500w? or even a 450w? i want to have some extra watts above the recommended the card says.

    also the output for the cable to the monitor is different then what i have, i assume they sell adaptors for that correct?

    I plan to play most current games such as left 4 dead 1/2, Starcraft 2, TF2, etc etc. basically the games that are out "now".

    i actually dont play my games with high graphics or large resolution. i set everything on low so id get smoother game play. my logic atm is if i get a card that supports smooth high graphic gameplay then playing on low will be even smoother or crisp.

    thanks for the replys
  12. Relic

    Relic TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,379   +16

    You only have one slot free for a card? That might make things a little trickier, especially since most cards use up two slots. If you have a digital camera take a picture and upload it either here or elsewhere and share it so we can see exactly how much room you have.

    That isn't really necessary, the PSU Rit suggested is a very good 80 PLUS certified unit that shouldn't have issues with your system. While the watts may seem low it has 30 amps on a single 12V rail, which should be more then enough. 12V rail is just as important if not more then the total watts as it carries the heaviest loads, and you really don't need an overkill on watts unless you go with a no name brand PSU that might not perform very well.

    If you still want something more powerful here is a Corsair 450W option.

    Yes, but most GPU's provide appropriate DVI to VGA adapters assuming that's what you have. Just look at the specs of the product or accompanying screenshots to see if it includes what you need.

    Those are not very demanding games by today's standards, Valve games being based off Source engine which are very hardware friendly as well as SC2 which from all indications will be the same. So a 5750 should have no issues whatsoever, and don't worry you should be able to turn up the graphics to a more enjoyable level :grinthumb .

    I personally many years ago especially during competitive play used to turn down all my settings to get the best possible game play. But games look so nice nowadays and hardware has come such a long way that unless the game is so demanding their really isn't a need to run it on low.
  13. SayWhaat

    SayWhaat TS Rookie Topic Starter

    unfortunatly this forum is setup so i can not post any pictures or links until after my 5th post. and i dont know enough about computers to contribute anything to help any one elses post.

    ill try to describe it.

    the only slot i see for a video card is the pci-e 16x slot.

    there are 3 other perphial slots but the 3 are empty. 1 is a pci express x1 and the other 2 are pci. again all are empty

    the way the 5750 card looks, the output thing (where i would connect the monitor cable too) looks like it would end up bumping into the pci slot.

    but now that i look at it and the design, i might end up on top of the slot, not touching it, and out the tower.

    i wish i could give more information on what my motherboard looks like. but i cant seem to find anything useful in google.

    i appresiate the help and also the suggestion and information on the psu.

    my only concern now is if it the card will actually fit and stick out of my tower correctly.

    also quick question: All psu are the same right? no spesific size needed for my tower or in general any correct?

    thanks again!


    i actually found what im talking about, i cant post links because of the forum restriction but, BIOSTAR VA5775NHG1 Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit DDR5 PCI Express has both outputs (sorry if this is not the correct term) to connect the cable from the monitor side by side on the card as oppose to stacked ontop like the other card we are talking about. but it still has that extra metal part where on the 5750 the other output is on.

    that kind of design doesnt conflict with the average tower (or my emachines one) will it?

  14. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    How many expansion slots does your tower have on the back?(i.e. metal things which you can push out) It doesn't matter if the video card covers any other pci slots on the motherboard if they're not in use.

    All PSU sizes are the same (apart from maybe some super high end ones)
  15. Relic

    Relic TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,379   +16

    Here is a basic picture of what most PC layouts look like even if its a bit old, that GPU takes up one slot and its cooling fan doesn't extent to the below slot. Most of today's GPU's take up two slots or one slot and the cooler extents to the one below.

    If I'm understanding you correctly you are afraid that your GPU will hit the below PCI slot? If that's the case, don't worry as it won't. The GPU won't be pushed in that far and their should be just enough room.

    You also mentioned you don't like the stacking video outputs? Like on the 5750? Being stacked on top of one another as opposed to next to one another like last generations cards shouldn't make a difference. If I'm not mistaken pretty much all of the 5xxx series cards use this design to accommodate eyefinity (3 monitors).

    Most PSU's are designed for ATX form factor, but there are some proprietary designs or slim cases that a normal PSU wouldn't fit in. From looking up your E-Machine it looks like a normal mid-tower case and not some slim design. I'm not sure if your PC comes with any proprietary inside case design however like many major vendors use, which basically makes them a pain in the *** to take apart.
  16. SayWhaat

    SayWhaat TS Rookie Topic Starter

    thank, my concern now is that on the stacked video output the top output wont be able to stick out of my tower.

    but looking at the picture you provide it does look like it will be able to stick out and just appear like another card is using that slot on the back.
  17. hellokitty[hk]

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

    Hey, looks like your fifth post now right?
    Its not necessary, but if it isn't too much a hassle.
    You can also measure your case and compare with the card size, which will usually be listed at newegg.

    The corsair 400w is great o.o, one of my favorites.
  18. Slux773

    Slux773 TS Rookie Posts: 32


    if you are gunna run the 5700 with a integrated 24MBT wired FTI you will have to get a upgraded RAM by at least 1 GB bro your looking at a fried mobo for sure.
  19. hellokitty[hk]

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

    Sorry, what does MBT and FTI mean?
    It looks like he has 4gb of RAM, and even if he doesn't, it won't fry his motherboard.
  20. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,264

    What it means is complete BS. Check Slux's (Steve's) previous non-sensical posts-plenty to choose from.
  21. hellokitty[hk]

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

    I'm calling you out on that one!

    Aw...I missed out, maybe I should read the introductory posts.
  22. red1776

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

    lets play pretend......

    you just beat me to it DBZ, check this one out

    and then his specs

    Gaming / Designing PC
    CPU: Intel Core i7-950 3.06GHz Quad-Core
    Mobo: ASUS" Dual LGA 1366 Intel 5520
    Mem: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3
    Video: dual EVGA GeForce GTX 280 Superclocked 1GB SLI
  23. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,264

    I'll see your WoW thread, and raise you "Hello my name's Steve"
    Poor Steve got in quite a state when myself and the captain entered the dialogue.
  24. red1776

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

    good god....I see with all of your technical prowess, you still have not convinced him that the Dual LGA 1366 Intel 5520 is Xeon only ROFL.
  25. Relic

    Relic TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,379   +16

    I wouldn't say complete sounds like something from television ;) .
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