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  1. #1
    Network Hub MD!'s Avatar
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    Budget graphics card

    Hi all, it's forced upgrade time again. Just looking for a cheapish video card.

    My current specs:

    Motherboard: Gigabyte G41MT-ES2L
    RAM: 2GB (one stick, not sure of the details but probably fairly low-end)
    CPU: Pentium E6500 (2.93GHz dual core)
    Monitor: Samsung 2233RZ (22", 1680x1050, 120Hz)

    Video card, now broken: ATI Radeon HD4650


    I don't want to spend much, but I'd like to find the lowish-end gaming sweet-spot, if there is one.

    At the moment replacing the motherboard and CPU is out of the question, but I will buy another 2GB of RAM if that would be worthwhile.

    The HD4650 was struggling a bit to run games at 1680x1050, so I'm pretty sure there's some room in my other components for a video-card upgrade. Any recommendations?

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus The JG Man's Avatar
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    I can recommend the Radeon HD6850, through personal use. Whether or not you want another ATI card considering they don't seem to be amazingly supported, I'll leave up to you. Regardless, it's a DX11 card, good price, good performance and if you want to, can be run in Crossfire. I can run BF3 on high with good, steady frames at 1080. Sits somewhere between the 550 and 560, leaning slightly towards the latter.

    The problem is, I think the rest of your system may start to bottle-neck whatever new graphics card you put in. I recommend you do go for the extra ram regardless.
    Last edited by The JG Man; 31-05-2012 at 12:49 PM. Reason: No-one expects the Spanish Inquisition! And edited 6's.
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  3. #3
    Network Hub MD!'s Avatar
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    Thanks for the tip, I'm checking it out now. Standard price here in Australia seems to be $140+, which is pushing it a bit, but I might be able to get one for $115. (Or a 6870 for $140, but I'm guessing the jump might not be worth it given my other components.)

    I'll definitely get some more RAM. Looks like the 2GB stick I bought for nearly $60 now costs less than $15. If it turns out that one is out of stock or something, should I get a different brand with the same memory type and speed? I can't remember what the rules are for getting sticks of RAM to work together.

    edit: Just to clarify, I'm assuming '6860' was a typo for '6850'? The latter is what you linked to, and as far as I can tell the former doesn't exist. :P
    Last edited by MD!; 31-05-2012 at 04:31 AM.

  4. #4
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    Try to dispose of your existing RAM stick, and get good ones from reputed manufacturers, like Corsair.

  5. #5
    Network Hub MD!'s Avatar
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    Does Kingston count as reputable? It's Kingston DDR3-1333. (Not a trick question or sarcastic or anything. I just know that I've heard of Kingston, but I don't know whether they have a good or bad reputation.)

  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus The JG Man's Avatar
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    From a quick Googling, I can't see anything wrong with the brand. So far as I'm concerned, if it's priced similarly to other products in the range, has features that are about the same, it's probably safe to go with. Of course, what would be a more effective method would be to decide upon a few and then specifically search for those.

    Indeed, I was referring to the 6850. I don't know how I let that one slip in. The problem with graphics cards is that you can always spend a little bit more for something better, but when you decide on that, you can always spend a little bit more for something better and so on. As your system stands, no, I don't think the 6870 would be worth it, but then when you eventually upgrade everything else, depending on when you do, it may come into play then. Heck, I'm sure you're aware of all of this stuff...Reading back on your first post after my initial posting, I did think that the 6850 would be a tad over what you'd want price-wise, but if you can stretch it out, it should be a good investment for some time. Hopefully some more knowledgeable folks will come along and provide something more accurate!
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  7. #7
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    the thing here causing the issues really is the processor and motherboard combo.

    up until 3 months ago or so, I was using a Core 2 Duo E6600 @ 3.4GHz, 4GB of *matched* RAM and a HD4890, and that was beginning to struggle with games @ anything above 1680x1050.

    adding a 6850 really won't help. you might get an extra 5 frames in say, Skyrim, but it isnt going to make it playable with eye candy.

    save the money and go for a bigger upgrade when you can afford it.

  8. #8
    Network Hub MD!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The JG Man View Post
    From a quick Googling, I can't see anything wrong with the brand. So far as I'm concerned, if it's priced similarly to other products in the range, has features that are about the same, it's probably safe to go with. Of course, what would be a more effective method would be to decide upon a few and then specifically search for those.

    Indeed, I was referring to the 6850. I don't know how I let that one slip in. The problem with graphics cards is that you can always spend a little bit more for something better, but when you decide on that, you can always spend a little bit more for something better and so on. As your system stands, no, I don't think the 6870 would be worth it, but then when you eventually upgrade everything else, depending on when you do, it may come into play then. Heck, I'm sure you're aware of all of this stuff...Reading back on your first post after my initial posting, I did think that the 6850 would be a tad over what you'd want price-wise, but if you can stretch it out, it should be a good investment for some time. Hopefully some more knowledgeable folks will come along and provide something more accurate!
    Thanks, and you're spot on about the constant temptation to go one better. I'll see what the general consensus is about the price/performance 'sweet spot'.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kamikaze-X View Post
    the thing here causing the issues really is the processor and motherboard combo.

    up until 3 months ago or so, I was using a Core 2 Duo E6600 @ 3.4GHz, 4GB of *matched* RAM and a HD4890, and that was beginning to struggle with games @ anything above 1680x1050.

    adding a 6850 really won't help. you might get an extra 5 frames in say, Skyrim, but it isnt going to make it playable with eye candy.

    save the money and go for a bigger upgrade when you can afford it.
    Thanks for the advice -- going with an equivalent replacement for the 4850 would be quite a lot cheaper, so it's certainly worth considering. Can someone clarify this for me though? I always thought that if dropping the resolution gave a significant framerate boost, that was a sign that the graphics card was a bottleneck.
    Last edited by MD!; 31-05-2012 at 01:26 PM.

  9. #9
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    In regards to figuring out what is a bottleneck, you cant really think like that.

    For example, dropping the resolution also reduces the amount of work the CPU has to do fetching textures from the HDD and chucking it into the graphics memory. So, all dropping the resolution tells you is your whole system is at some point, causing slow down in the game. It doesn't give you the actual cause.

    The only thing I can say for sure is that the rig you are rocking is just getting old. Like I said, my heavily overclocked 3.4GHZ E6600 was bottlenecking my HD4890. The 4890 is pretty much in between a 6850 and 6870, so if you stick a 6850 in your system, I very much doubt you will get that much of an increase in performance. You will certainly be dissapointed.

  10. #10
    Network Hub MD!'s Avatar
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    Okay, thanks! Roughly what sort of card should I be considering, given I do need to replace the old one and I'm not ready to upgrade the CPU/mobo?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MD! View Post
    Okay, thanks! Roughly what sort of card should I be considering, given I do need to replace the old one and I'm not ready to upgrade the CPU/mobo?
    actually, when I think about it, you may as well go for the 6850/6870 now.

    I've had a look around, and there really arent any good deals on the old generation cards. For the price you would pay for say, a 5670, you might as well pay 10 more and get the 6850, and then just stick it in your updated build. It used to be that once the new gen came out, you could get some real bargains on the last gen, but it isnt worth it at the moment.

    It will be slowed down and you wont get the full performance, but it does offer a better upgrade path I guess.

  12. #12
    Network Hub MD!'s Avatar
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    Cheers, looks like the 6850 is the way to go then. Turns out I would have to shell out about $140 though, so I'm wavering a bit. There are some cheapo options that I don't think would be any worse than my old card, so I'll have a think about whether it's worth going down that route. Thanks both for the advice.

    edit: I could get a 6670 for half the price of the 6850 -- would that be a better deal?
    Last edited by MD!; 01-06-2012 at 01:33 PM.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by MD! View Post
    Cheers, looks like the 6850 is the way to go then. Turns out I would have to shell out about $140 though, so I'm wavering a bit. There are some cheapo options that I don't think would be any worse than my old card, so I'll have a think about whether it's worth going down that route. Thanks both for the advice.

    edit: I could get a 6670 for half the price of the 6850 -- would that be a better deal?
    Can I ask where you are buying from?
    I'm Australian too and I'm just about to buy a whole new rig. I'll be going the 6850 as well, just wondering where that price comes from. I've been looking online and Umart has a 6850 for $150 and Pccasegear has them for $160.

  14. #14
    Network Hub MD!'s Avatar
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    The 6670 price is from http://www.msy.com.au/ (catalogue: http://www.msy.com.au/Parts/PARTS.pdf).
    They don't have the 6850, though. (Except on their clear-out list for $115, but I emailed them and apparently they're out of stock -- I hope they checked their clear-out stock rather than just the main inventory, because that would have been a pretty nice bargain.)

    The $140 6850 was just from a search on http://www.staticice.com.au, but it might have been an underestimate. There's only one site cheaper than Umart, and it's not clear whether they have any stock left. No idea about shipping charges either, though if you're in Sydney you could probably pick it up. Here's the link: http://www.arc.com.au/pub.php?gid=23...0305&p=product
    Last edited by MD!; 03-06-2012 at 03:32 AM.

  15. #15
    hey this is of topic but i dont know ho to make a thread could u help, please pm me if u know !! i'm having a massive tech problem



    thanks

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