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Thread: Video card recommendation




  1. #1
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    Default Video card recommendation

    i just built my first system and need to buy a video card in order to support dual monitors (my existing CRT and a new LCD). the LCD will run off of the motherboard using the HDMI port on each and the CRT will run off of the video card using the DVI port (and using DVI/VGA adapter)

    my question is how powerful a video card should i get. i've never been a big gamer but would like to try some since i now have more free time. i want to try a flight simulator game (Flight Simulator X) and possibly some sort of basic first person shooting game that has missions. i will not be playing anything online if that matters.

    i currently run the CRT at 1280 x 1024 for normal work and plan on running the LCD at its native 1980 x 1080 resolution.

    here is my current setup:

    Case: Corsair Carbide 400R
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD4
    Power supply: Corsair CMPSU-650TXV2 (650 watts)
    Memory: Corsair CML16GX3M4A1600C9 (DDR3 1600, 16GB)
    Processor: i5-2500K (not currently overclocking but will in the future)

    since there is a GPU built right into the processor i don't even have an idea as to whether or not the built in GPU can handle these types of games easily. if the built in GPU is powerful enough then i would probably just buy a cheap card to handle the CRT and play the games on the LCD. if the feeling that this GPU is not powerful enough then i would buy a card that could handle these types of games and play them on the CRT.

    i would prefer using an nVidia chipset since i have used these in the past on pre-built systems and have been happy with them. plus it cuts in half the amount of cards i need to look at. :>) :>)

    i would also prefer to stick with the eVGA or XFX as i have read in some posts that these are two of the top video manufacturers as far as quality, reliability, and support.

    looking at the numbers on the PassMark videocard benchcard site they list the i5-2500K GPU with a score of 437. two of the cards i was considering were the GeForce GTS 450 GPU (score of 1427) and the GeForce GTX 550 card (score of 1881).

    what gets confusing to me is the rated speed of the Intel GPU is 850Mhz but the speeds of the 450 and 550 cards are 783Mhz and 951Mhz respectively. so the Intel GPU speed is between the 450 and 550 cards but benchmarks much slower. i know that the Intel GPU lists 12 "execution units" and nVidia cards have "stream processing units" so i don't know how much these play into it. plus the fact that the nVidia cards list a shader clock speed. all very confusing for someone who has never bought a separate video card before.

    according to the benchmark the 550 card is 4 times as "powerful" as the Intel GPU but how much does this translate in real-world applications since benchmarks can sometimes be artificial.

    both of the video cards i was looking at come with 1GB, GDDR5, SLI-ready, PCI-E 2.0 x16 with the 450 at 128 bit and the 550 at 192 bit.

    so the main question is, do i really need to buy a decent video card to play the types of games i've listed or can i get by with the Intel GPU and buy a cheap card. or do i need a better card to get decent frame rates? and if so, would the GTS 450 or GTX 550 meet my needs for these types of games with some room to grow for a game that might require more horsepower.

    i would like to keep the cost below $100-125 before rebates if i do have to buy a better card. also looking to buy within the next few days since i have newegg has some discounts going.

    Cross-posted to: Tom's Hardware: Hardware News, Tests and Reviews forums
    Technology content trusted by users around the world :: TweakTown USA Edition forums
    Last edited by gwa000; 12-10-2011 at 05:10 AM.

  2. #2
    profJim's Avatar
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    Default Re: Video card recommendation

    Read video card reviews that include detailed gaming benchmarks and you'll find that the cards you listed will have scores near the bottom of range. If you're willing to spend about $175 - $200, you'll find that you will be able to play games with much higher quality settings/presets and still have excellent frame rates. If you really get into gaming, your can later buy a "matching" card for an SLI or CrossfireX (AMD) setup.

    Check out MSI N460GTX Hawk (1GB) Overclocking Results, where I perform several graphics demo benchmarks using a single GTX 460 card, and repeat the tests with two cards in SLI. Both of my MSI Hawk video cards have been excellent and I was able to buy each card with a significant mail in rebate. Setting up SLI was easy and I didn't have any problems with SLI setup and operation. The thread is excellent for graphics card beginners because I was a video card beginner at the time and never had a really nice, upper mid-range enthusiast setup.

    If I were buying today, I'd go with a GTX 560 Ti card for about $200. I think that the AMD Radeon 6950 is about the same price and offers similar performance. I wouldn't rush into a purchase right away unless you find a real killer deal. Newegg has many excellent deals during and right after the holiday season. The GTX 560 Ti is about 25% faster than the best GTX 460 1GB models.

    My 2 cents
    Last edited by profJim; 12-10-2011 at 10:27 AM.
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    P35-DS4 [rev: 2.0] ~ Bios: F14
    4x2GB OCZ Reaper PC2-8500 1094MHz @5-5-5-15
    MSI N460GTX Hawk Talon Attack (1GB) video card <---- SLI ---->
    Seasonic SS-660XP2 80 Plus Platinum psu (660w)
    WD Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB (data)
    Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSD (boot)
    SLI @ 16/4 works when running HyperSLI
    Cooler Master 120XL Seidon push/pull AIO cpu water cooling
    Cooler Master HAF XB computer case (RC-902XB-KKN1)
    Asus VH242H 24" monitor [1920x1080]
    MSI N460GTX Hawk (1GB) video card
    Logitech Z-5500 Digital 5.1 Speakers
    win7 x64 sp1 Home Premium
    HT|Omega Claro plus+ sound card
    CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD UPS
    E6300 (R0) @ 3.504GHz [8x438MHz] ~~ P35-DS3L [rev: 1.0] ~ Bios: F9 ~~ 4x2GB Kingston HyperX T1 PC2-8500, 876MHz @4-4-4-10
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    Samsung 830 128GB SSD MZ-7PC128B/WW (boot) ~~ WD Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB (data) ~~ ZM-MFC2 fan controller
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Video card recommendation

    doesnt the built in gpu support dual monitors? hdmi and dvi output? should be able to handle games like left for dead with minimum settings i would have thought? heres link with that game and intel hd graphics

    Left 4 Dead 2 sur Sandy Bridge - YouTube
    Gigabyte z77x UP4-TH F11c Modded Bios
    Intel i7 3770k 24/7@4.8ghz 1.38v Turbo llc +0.165v dvid multithreading enabled
    Samsung Green(MV-3V4G3D/US) 8GB @2133mhz 9-10-10-21-1t 1.55v
    Thermalright Silver Arrow Cpu Cooler
    1xSamsung 840 pro 256 Gb SSD windows 8.1 pro 64bit
    1xSamsung f4 HD204UI 2tb hard drive Storage
    Powercolor 7970 3gb V3 @1150mhz core/1700mhz mem,1.150v Accelero aftermarket air cooler 55c max
    Razer Lycosa Keyboard
    Logitech X-530 5.1 Speakers
    Lite-On iHAS124-19 24x Sata DVDRW
    K-World Hybrid DVB-T 210SE Digital T.V Card
    L.G E2260V L.E.D 1920x1080 Monitor
    Xfx Pro 750w silver rated Psu 80+
    Fractal Arc Midi Case

    http://i38.tinypic.com/14myvfa.jpg x58 ud5 <=3.8ghz + 4.2ghz Overclock Template!!
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Video card recommendation

    Quote Originally Posted by wazza300 View Post
    doesnt the built in gpu support dual monitors? hdmi and dvi output? should be able to handle games like left for dead with minimum settings i would have thought? heres link with that game and intel hd graphics

    Left 4 Dead 2 sur Sandy Bridge - YouTube
    If he can game with minimal settings, fine.
    The question then would be how much is he willing to pay for smoother game play, especially with high, very high or ultra game settings. I've seen what it's like when the cpu and/or gpu isn't powerful enough to provide a quality experience.
    Q9650 @ 4.10GHz [9x456MHz]
    P35-DS4 [rev: 2.0] ~ Bios: F14
    4x2GB OCZ Reaper PC2-8500 1094MHz @5-5-5-15
    MSI N460GTX Hawk Talon Attack (1GB) video card <---- SLI ---->
    Seasonic SS-660XP2 80 Plus Platinum psu (660w)
    WD Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB (data)
    Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSD (boot)
    SLI @ 16/4 works when running HyperSLI
    Cooler Master 120XL Seidon push/pull AIO cpu water cooling
    Cooler Master HAF XB computer case (RC-902XB-KKN1)
    Asus VH242H 24" monitor [1920x1080]
    MSI N460GTX Hawk (1GB) video card
    Logitech Z-5500 Digital 5.1 Speakers
    win7 x64 sp1 Home Premium
    HT|Omega Claro plus+ sound card
    CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD UPS
    E6300 (R0) @ 3.504GHz [8x438MHz] ~~ P35-DS3L [rev: 1.0] ~ Bios: F9 ~~ 4x2GB Kingston HyperX T1 PC2-8500, 876MHz @4-4-4-10
    Seasonic X650 80+ gold psu (650w) ~~ Xigmatek Balder HDT 1283 cpu cooler ~~ Cooler Master CM 690 case (RC-690-KKN1-GP)
    Samsung 830 128GB SSD MZ-7PC128B/WW (boot) ~~ WD Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB (data) ~~ ZM-MFC2 fan controller
    HT|Omega Striker 7.1 sound card ~~ Asus VH242H monitor [1920x1080] ~~ Logitech Z-5500 Digital 5.1 Speakers
    win7 x64 sp1 Home Premium ~~ CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD U.P.S
    .


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Video card recommendation

    Quote Originally Posted by wazza300 View Post
    doesnt the built in gpu support dual monitors? hdmi and dvi output? should be able to handle games like left for dead with minimum settings i would have thought? heres link with that game and intel hd graphics

    Left 4 Dead 2 sur Sandy Bridge - YouTube
    i'm not really sure if the built-in Intel GPU (on the i5-2500K) supports dual monitors or not. the bottom line however is that the motherboard only had a single video output port, HDMI. because of this is why i need to buy a video card.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Video card recommendation

    ahh i see,i think it does support dual monitors though,i know the older i3 540 chip does but its no good if you only have one output,you could go cheap and buy a gtx 460 or ati 5770 or spend a little more and go for what prof suggested,if playing high def res then go for the latter
    Gigabyte z77x UP4-TH F11c Modded Bios
    Intel i7 3770k 24/7@4.8ghz 1.38v Turbo llc +0.165v dvid multithreading enabled
    Samsung Green(MV-3V4G3D/US) 8GB @2133mhz 9-10-10-21-1t 1.55v
    Thermalright Silver Arrow Cpu Cooler
    1xSamsung 840 pro 256 Gb SSD windows 8.1 pro 64bit
    1xSamsung f4 HD204UI 2tb hard drive Storage
    Powercolor 7970 3gb V3 @1150mhz core/1700mhz mem,1.150v Accelero aftermarket air cooler 55c max
    Razer Lycosa Keyboard
    Logitech X-530 5.1 Speakers
    Lite-On iHAS124-19 24x Sata DVDRW
    K-World Hybrid DVB-T 210SE Digital T.V Card
    L.G E2260V L.E.D 1920x1080 Monitor
    Xfx Pro 750w silver rated Psu 80+
    Fractal Arc Midi Case

    http://i38.tinypic.com/14myvfa.jpg x58 ud5 <=3.8ghz + 4.2ghz Overclock Template!!
    http://www.youtube.com/user/warren304#p/u Visit Me On Youtube

    Lots Of Gaming Videos With X58 Ud5 System And Gpu On My Youtube Channel!!
    Just Uploaded New Battlefield 4 Video!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Video card recommendation

    Quote Originally Posted by profJim View Post
    If he can game with minimal settings, fine.
    The question then would be how much is he willing to pay for smoother game play, especially with high, very high or ultra game settings. I've seen what it's like when the cpu and/or gpu isn't powerful enough to provide a quality experience.
    and that's the question i was hoping i could get answered. :>) :>) i would prefer not to have to use minimal settings but on the same hand i would like the game to be as realistic as possible. i would like to try Flight Simulator X (played FS 2000 minimally years ago but now with more free time...) on my new system as it just doesn't seem right to play the 2000 version on a beefier system. i'm guessing that since FS X came out a few years ago (?) that the built-in GPU should have no problem playing that, at least on my CRT. and the GTX 550 Ti card which benchmarks 4x over the Intel GPU should be able to play at the highest settings. but i'm only guessing since the game is a few years old and GPUs have gotten faster in that time overall.

    i definitely have no interest in spending over $100-125 before rebates/discounts since i've never been heavy into gaming and most likely will only play minimally.

    this turns into a question that maybe game manufacturers should be paying attention to as far as minimum and recommended requirements as far as GPU horsepower needed. a simple benchmark number (similar to what is on the PassMark) site would go far in allowing someone to determine if they could play a game with decent quality.

    i saw the one post where the Intel GPU was used to play a first person shooter type game but i have no idea (unless i missed it) as to what the resolution was, the settings, etc. at this point i guess i'm leaning towards getting a 550 card and hoping that i can play FS X at maximum settings as well as some entry level first person shooter games.

    i'm still hoping that i can get a thumbs up/down at least as to whether or not the 550 is more than enough for my gaming requirements.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Video card recommendation

    you can click my youtube link to see lots of games with the 5770,im using a second hand 5870 atm and it runs bf3,mw3 crysis2 and skyrim all on max settings and 1920x1080 res,so you could pick up a cheap second hand 5870 card or buy a similar priced new 6870,it would be more than enough to play all the modern games

    havnt tested the 5770 at hd res yet but i will when i get time,at lower res it played fine

    plus you will have dx11 with an add in card,the onboard gpu only supports upto dx10
    Last edited by wazza300; 12-10-2011 at 10:56 PM.
    Gigabyte z77x UP4-TH F11c Modded Bios
    Intel i7 3770k 24/7@4.8ghz 1.38v Turbo llc +0.165v dvid multithreading enabled
    Samsung Green(MV-3V4G3D/US) 8GB @2133mhz 9-10-10-21-1t 1.55v
    Thermalright Silver Arrow Cpu Cooler
    1xSamsung 840 pro 256 Gb SSD windows 8.1 pro 64bit
    1xSamsung f4 HD204UI 2tb hard drive Storage
    Powercolor 7970 3gb V3 @1150mhz core/1700mhz mem,1.150v Accelero aftermarket air cooler 55c max
    Razer Lycosa Keyboard
    Logitech X-530 5.1 Speakers
    Lite-On iHAS124-19 24x Sata DVDRW
    K-World Hybrid DVB-T 210SE Digital T.V Card
    L.G E2260V L.E.D 1920x1080 Monitor
    Xfx Pro 750w silver rated Psu 80+
    Fractal Arc Midi Case

    http://i38.tinypic.com/14myvfa.jpg x58 ud5 <=3.8ghz + 4.2ghz Overclock Template!!
    http://www.youtube.com/user/warren304#p/u Visit Me On Youtube

    Lots Of Gaming Videos With X58 Ud5 System And Gpu On My Youtube Channel!!
    Just Uploaded New Battlefield 4 Video!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. #9
    profJim's Avatar
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    Default Re: Video card recommendation

    A web search using: hawx benchmark gtx 550 Ti
    might give you an idea how well this card will do.

    H.A.W.X. is less demanding game than many others.
    Also search using: hawx demo download

    Check out Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge GPU Performance Review - Page 1/10 | techPowerUp to see how the integrated graphics performs with several different games. TechPowerUp has many excellent reviews.

    If you buy the GTX 550 Ti and later find out that you want to run higher screen resolutions and/or game settings, you can buy a second GTX 550 Ti and run SLI, or you can sell your card and upgrade to a more powerful single card.
    Q9650 @ 4.10GHz [9x456MHz]
    P35-DS4 [rev: 2.0] ~ Bios: F14
    4x2GB OCZ Reaper PC2-8500 1094MHz @5-5-5-15
    MSI N460GTX Hawk Talon Attack (1GB) video card <---- SLI ---->
    Seasonic SS-660XP2 80 Plus Platinum psu (660w)
    WD Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB (data)
    Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSD (boot)
    SLI @ 16/4 works when running HyperSLI
    Cooler Master 120XL Seidon push/pull AIO cpu water cooling
    Cooler Master HAF XB computer case (RC-902XB-KKN1)
    Asus VH242H 24" monitor [1920x1080]
    MSI N460GTX Hawk (1GB) video card
    Logitech Z-5500 Digital 5.1 Speakers
    win7 x64 sp1 Home Premium
    HT|Omega Claro plus+ sound card
    CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD UPS
    E6300 (R0) @ 3.504GHz [8x438MHz] ~~ P35-DS3L [rev: 1.0] ~ Bios: F9 ~~ 4x2GB Kingston HyperX T1 PC2-8500, 876MHz @4-4-4-10
    Seasonic X650 80+ gold psu (650w) ~~ Xigmatek Balder HDT 1283 cpu cooler ~~ Cooler Master CM 690 case (RC-690-KKN1-GP)
    Samsung 830 128GB SSD MZ-7PC128B/WW (boot) ~~ WD Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB (data) ~~ ZM-MFC2 fan controller
    HT|Omega Striker 7.1 sound card ~~ Asus VH242H monitor [1920x1080] ~~ Logitech Z-5500 Digital 5.1 Speakers
    win7 x64 sp1 Home Premium ~~ CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD U.P.S
    .


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Video card recommendation

    Quote Originally Posted by profJim View Post
    A web search using: hawx benchmark gtx 550 Ti
    might give you an idea how well this card will do.

    H.A.W.X. is less demanding game than many others.
    Also search using: hawx demo download

    Check out Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge GPU Performance Review - Page 1/10 | techPowerUp to see how the integrated graphics performs with several different games. TechPowerUp has many excellent reviews.

    If you buy the GTX 550 Ti and later find out that you want to run higher screen resolutions and/or game settings, you can buy a second GTX 550 Ti and run SLI, or you can sell your card and upgrade to a more powerful single card.
    a question concerning SLI should i opt for that in the future. do the games have to be programmed for SLI in order to take advantage of the two cards or is it all under the covers and handled strictly at the hardware and graphics driver level?

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