Video Card Suggestions

Wandering HeroWandering Hero Registered User regular
Ok, so I have a confession to make.

My graphics card apparently sucks and I am tired of having crappy lag on the newer games. I even get on and off lag while playing Fallout 3.

Current card is: Nvidia GeForce 9300 GE

The only problem is, I know next to nothing about graphics cards nowadays. Last time I built a computer was nearly 8 years ago and I feel like I have forgotten everything or what I do remember is horribly outdated. I've recently been being cheap and lazy and haven't updated my computer in about two years.

My current comp setup:
Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Quad CPU Q8200 @ 2.33GHz 2.34 GHz
RAM: 8 GB

That being said, I need a recommendation on a card. I think if I update that then I should be pretty ok for gameplaying for a while. My budget would prob be about 300 dollars at the moment though if there is a really solid widely recommended card for less that should last me a while I am fine with that.

Please help and thank you in advance :)

Not today.
Wandering Hero on

Posts

  • PirusuPirusu Pierce Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Radeon 6950 2GB, or if you can stretch your budget and are an nVidia man, a GTX 570.

    Tom's Hardware's Best Graphics Cards for the Money

    Pirusu on
  • corky842corky842 Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    If that is a prebuilt computer you'll probably have to upgrade the power supply too.

    corky842 on
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  • DarkwyndreDarkwyndre Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    The two cards suggested above are (imo) overkill. The GTX 460 performs quite well in all current games. My wife uses one of the 768mb video ram ones and plays RIFT on all max settings (except supersampling) and has no troubles at all.

    I usually recommend EVGA for their lifetime warranty, and if your case has no extra cooling features, get an EE model (external exhaust) and let the GPU air get blown out the back, imo. You can get it for $180 after rebates and such.

    For $50 more you can get the 560 Ti, which is quite a nice card, but does not come in External Exhaust model from EVGA that I can see.

    Darkwyndre on
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  • PirusuPirusu Pierce Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    The reason I generally will recommend something as close to aomeone's budget as possible, is that while a 460 or a 560 are fine now, by getting something more powerful now, it will remain "good enough" far longer, and you'll end up having to upgrade less. They were just suggestions, though!

    Pirusu on
  • EliminationElimination Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Pirusu wrote: »
    Radeon 6950 2GB, or if you can stretch your budget and are an nVidia man, a GTX 570.

    Tom's Hardware's Best Graphics Cards for the Money

    Those are way overkill, especially since he only has a core 2 quad (an older one.), that CPU is going to be a bottleneck with those cards.

    I'd suggest the GTX 560/560 Ti, maybe even the 550. The GTX 460 is also an excellent choice. All of them will be $200 or under except the 560 Ti which will run you only slightly more than the normal 560 for a few more cores. All of these will run modern games swimmingly, the 560's in particular can run all modern games on maximum settings. Keep in mind though that older core 2 quad is really going to cramp your style in some newer games, so dont sped too much on the overkill cards if you aren't planning to upgrade any other parts any time soon. I'd say for that system the 460 or 560 would be the best choice imo.

    Also the 560 Ti overclocks to nearly the same speed as the GTX 570, at nearly $100 cheaper. It really hits the sweet spot and is the best deal in gaming right now.

    Elimination on
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  • DhalphirDhalphir don't you open that trapdoor you're a fool if you dareRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    GTX460 1gb is probably the most bang for your buck right now.

    Dhalphir on
  • chr1sh4ll3ttb3chr1sh4ll3ttb3 A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Pirusu wrote: »
    The reason I generally will recommend something as close to aomeone's budget as possible, is that while a 460 or a 560 are fine now, by getting something more powerful now, it will remain "good enough" far longer, and you'll end up having to upgrade less. They were just suggestions, though!

    Yeah I was considering SLI-ing some 560s for my socket 2011 build, but now I'm thinking it'd be better to grab one 580 then, and save for a while to get a second 580 to make a rig that will play games for years.

    chr1sh4ll3ttb3 on
  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    If you want to stick with Nvidia (which you may not want to), I really recommend picking up something from EVGA.

    Synthesis on
    Orca wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote:
    Isn't "Your sarcasm makes me wet," the highest compliment an Abh can pay a human?

    Only if said Abh is a member of the nobility.
  • Dark ShroudDark Shroud Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Pirusu wrote: »
    Radeon 6950 2GB, or if you can stretch your budget and are an nVidia man, a GTX 570.

    Tom's Hardware's Best Graphics Cards for the Money

    Those are way overkill, especially since he only has a core 2 quad (an older one.), that CPU is going to be a bottleneck with those cards.

    I'd suggest the GTX 560/560 Ti, maybe even the 550. The GTX 460 is also an excellent choice. All of them will be $200 or under except the 560 Ti which will run you only slightly more than the normal 560 for a few more cores. All of these will run modern games swimmingly, the 560's in particular can run all modern games on maximum settings.QUOTE]

    The GTX 550 is garbage and the GTX 560 isn't worth it compared to the TI model.

    The GTX 560 TI or the HD 6950 1GB model are the ones you want if on a budget.

    If you can spare it the HD 6950 2GB is the best overall value right now. It will also be a good card for a few years.

    Dark Shroud on
  • EliminationElimination Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    2GB of video ram is really only useful if hes running at really high resolution or planning to use multiple monitors with AMD's Hydravision. Otherwise 1gb on a single 19-22incher would work just fine.

    Elimination on
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  • Dark ShroudDark Shroud Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    It's ok now for most games. Once the next gen of consoles hit 2GB will not be enough for gaming.

    So if you don't mind replacing your card in a year then go right ahead.

    Dark Shroud on
  • EliminationElimination Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    It's ok now for most games. Once the next gen of consoles hit 2GB will not be enough for gaming.

    So if you don't mind replacing your card in a year then go right ahead.

    I doubt the new consoles will have 2gb of memory. Maybe 1200, but not 2gb. They tend to be built like mid-range gaming PC's with half the ram and a lot of custom parts thrown in. They aren't really even comparable to be honest. Also aren't the consoles aiming for 8-10 year life spans right now?

    I really cant see the GTX 560 Ti outdating in only a year. By that logic the 460 is out of date now, and thats obviously not true, as many people are still kicking it with them right now and happy running things at high settings. But if someone would rather spend $400 on a video card now that will run games for 4 years, but by the 3rd year will seriously show its age, rather than spend $200 now, and $200 again in 2 years for something twice as powerful as that $400 card, than by all means.

    Not saying the 2gb is a bad idea. It just depends on what he is doing. 1gb would suffice for the price difference. All i mean is in this generation its overkill under certain circumstances. Regardless, the 6950 IS a great card though, and is great bang for the buck indeed. I just feel that 560 Ti is even better bang for the money, and browsing around the net a lot of reviews and such also agree with that.

    Though it also comes down to if you perfer Nvidia drivers or ATI, i've had both and went Nvidia with my last card purchase due to driver issues and build quality concerns with my last ATI card. Each generation is different though. Keep in mind also his aging processor, will he be using that for another 4 years? Or does he want to boost his current system with some new tech for a reasonable price for now and will upgrade/buy a new system a year or two down the road? If thats the case he may as well go for the mid range good deal.

    Elimination on
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  • chr1sh4ll3ttb3chr1sh4ll3ttb3 A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    With the way RAM prices are at the moment, and the way consoles are becoming much more of an entertainment centre, if you don't think the next gen of consoles will have at least 2GB of RAM, you're delusional. I think it's much more likely to be 4 gigs.

    chr1sh4ll3ttb3 on
  • Dark ShroudDark Shroud Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Honestly with the way Sony & MS are streatching the life spans I don't think 8GB is out of the realm of possibilty.

    Dark Shroud on
  • captainkcaptaink TexasRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I have a question: If I'm looking at spending $200 on an EVGA card, do I choose a 2GB 460 series, or a 1 GB 560 series? What is going to be the difference? What questions do I need to answer to make the choice?

    captaink on
  • PirusuPirusu Pierce Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    The difference is going to be in the video memory, which represents your frame buffer. If you've got what has now become the standard in monitors (1920x1080) or lower, I'd go for the 560.

    If you have a larger monitor with a larger screen resolution, you'll see more benefit from the extra frame buffer.

    Pirusu on
  • captainkcaptaink TexasRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I have a wacky 1680x1050 monitor, which is even smaller.

    captaink on
  • DarkwyndreDarkwyndre Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    captaink wrote: »
    I have a wacky 1680x1050 monitor, which is even smaller.

    Then the 560Ti with the 1GB of video ram is the best bang for your buck.

    Darkwyndre on
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  • EliminationElimination Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    With the way RAM prices are at the moment, and the way consoles are becoming much more of an entertainment centre, if you don't think the next gen of consoles will have at least 2GB of RAM, you're delusional. I think it's much more likely to be 4 gigs.

    Talking about Video ram, not conventional system ram, the are different things.

    Elimination on
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  • chr1sh4ll3ttb3chr1sh4ll3ttb3 A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    That is also what I was talking about.

    I'd expect an Xbox 720 or a PS4 to have about 8 gigs in total.

    chr1sh4ll3ttb3 on
  • EliminationElimination Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    That is also what I was talking about.

    I'd expect an Xbox 720 or a PS4 to have about 8 gigs in total.

    I know the xbox 360 was based off of a prototype of the 3870. I could see them doing no more than 1gb of video ram personally, or else the costs would just be too much. Nobody wants to pay $900 for a console, the whole point of consoles these days is that they are cheaper to buy and you dont have to diddle with upgrading things. I'd make the assumption that that trend of going cheap would probably continue. The current consoles even now do reallly well, and those only have what...512MB of shared video ram? Possibly less. I cant see them using 8gb of video ram, that is so beyond overkill I cant even describe it. I'd say probably 2 gigs of conventional ram and 1-2gb of video at max, and most likely less due to cost. Consoles also dont work the same way as a PC, and dont require nearly as much of these things as a PC does.

    Edit: Corretion, the 360 has 256mb of dedicated video memory, and 512mb of system ram. 1gb would be quadrupling it.

    Anyways, thats all im saying on that topic now, because its way off topic.

    Elimination on
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  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Darkwyndre wrote: »
    captaink wrote: »
    I have a wacky 1680x1050 monitor, which is even smaller.

    Then the 560Ti with the 1GB of video ram is the best bang for your buck.

    I, until quite recently, also had one of those monitors. I didn't realize that it was "wacky" until I replaced it with a run-of-the-mill 1080p LED that was on sale.

    :( I like 16:10.

    Synthesis on
    Orca wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote:
    Isn't "Your sarcasm makes me wet," the highest compliment an Abh can pay a human?

    Only if said Abh is a member of the nobility.
  • VicVic Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I too am considering upgrading my video card after realising tha my current one can't run the Witcher 2 on even the lowest setting without chugging. Though considering I fulfill the recommended specs that may have more to do with the game than with my rig.

    Currently running 4 GB of memory, Intel i5 and a Geforce GTX 260. How much do you reckon my GPU is bottlenecking my system?

    Vic on
  • chr1sh4ll3ttb3chr1sh4ll3ttb3 A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    That is also what I was talking about.

    I'd expect an Xbox 720 or a PS4 to have about 8 gigs in total.

    I know the xbox 360 was based off of a prototype of the 3870. I could see them doing no more than 1gb of video ram personally, or else the costs would just be too much. Nobody wants to pay $900 for a console, the whole point of consoles these days is that they are cheaper to buy and you dont have to diddle with upgrading things. I'd make the assumption that that trend of going cheap would probably continue. The current consoles even now do reallly well, and those only have what...512MB of shared video ram? Possibly less. I cant see them using 8gb of video ram, that is so beyond overkill I cant even describe it. I'd say probably 2 gigs of conventional ram and 1-2gb of video at max, and most likely less due to cost. Consoles also dont work the same way as a PC, and dont require nearly as much of these things as a PC does.

    Edit: Corretion, the 360 has 256mb of dedicated video memory, and 512mb of system ram. 1gb would be quadrupling it.

    Anyways, thats all im saying on that topic now, because its way off topic.

    8 gigs total being 4 gigs of system RAM and 4 gigs of video RAM. Because the engineers want to stay well ahead of what is coming up this time around, I am fairly confident they'll go for overkill.

    chr1sh4ll3ttb3 on
  • Dark ShroudDark Shroud Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Vic wrote: »
    I too am considering upgrading my video card after realising tha my current one can't run the Witcher 2 on even the lowest setting without chugging. Though considering I fulfill the recommended specs that may have more to do with the game than with my rig.

    Currently running 4 GB of memory, Intel i5 and a Geforce GTX 260. How much do you reckon my GPU is bottlenecking my system?

    A lot, Core i5s are pretty good quad cores and 4GB is plenty of system memory. I have 8GB and even when converting HD video I don't use all of it.

    I would personally recommend a HD 6950 2GB, you'll get a few years use out of it if you're running normal 1080p resolution. If you want to stay in the Nvidia camp nothing less than a GTX 560 TI.

    Dark Shroud on
  • VicVic Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Vic wrote: »
    I too am considering upgrading my video card after realising tha my current one can't run the Witcher 2 on even the lowest setting without chugging. Though considering I fulfill the recommended specs that may have more to do with the game than with my rig.

    Currently running 4 GB of memory, Intel i5 and a Geforce GTX 260. How much do you reckon my GPU is bottlenecking my system?

    A lot, Core i5s are pretty good quad cores and 4GB is plenty of system memory. I have 8GB and even when converting HD video I don't use all of it.

    I would personally recommend a HD 6950 2GB, you'll get a few years use out of it if you're running normal 1080p resolution. If you want to stay in the Nvidia camp nothing less than a GTX 560 TI.

    I have used Nvidia cards for quite some time but I have absolutely no brand loyalty, if the HD 6950 gives clearly better performance for the money then that is the one I will shoot for.

    Which still leaves the choice of which of the ten and counting HD 6950 2G cards to take. There are two ASUS, two MSI, two Gigabyte, two Sapphire, one XFX and one Powercolor in my favourite store, all of them looking essentially identical while ranging greatly in price.

    Vic on
  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Sapphire is, apparently, the premiere ATi brand (I used two of their cards about 6 years ago, an X800Pro and then an X1900XT, and they were both the least problematic parts of those computers). Basically, what EVGA is to Nvidia.

    I've also use ASUS, and while they're not as famous as Sapphire, they honestly make very good GPUs, last I checked.

    Try and get a brand that will offer a lifetime warranty--EVGA does this, though with specific models of their GPUs (usually cost about $10 or $20 more for a $270 card). I'm sure some ATi brand must have this.

    Synthesis on
    Orca wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote:
    Isn't "Your sarcasm makes me wet," the highest compliment an Abh can pay a human?

    Only if said Abh is a member of the nobility.
  • PirusuPirusu Pierce Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    XFX offers lifetime warranties, and I've used their cards for a while now and have had zero issues.

    They're also generally pricier cards.

    Pirusu on
  • captainkcaptaink TexasRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    This looks like the card for me. Can get it for ~$230 shipped, with a $30 rebate. 3 year warranty, which is plenty.

    captaink on
  • GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Synthesis wrote: »
    Sapphire is, apparently, the premiere ATi brand (I used two of their cards about 6 years ago, an X800Pro and then an X1900XT, and they were both the least problematic parts of those computers). Basically, what EVGA is to Nvidia.

    I didn't know this when I bought my Sapphire Radeon 6850, but I'm glad to hear it if it's true.

    Gaslight on
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  • Dark ShroudDark Shroud Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Yeah I've been using Sapphire for years, my x1950 512mb Pro still works and I bought a HD 6970 the day they launched from Sapphire. I have a few HD 4700 cards in various PCs running strong from them as well.

    FYI Sapphire has the same parent company as Zotac.

    Dark Shroud on
  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Gaslight wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote: »
    Sapphire is, apparently, the premiere ATi brand (I used two of their cards about 6 years ago, an X800Pro and then an X1900XT, and they were both the least problematic parts of those computers). Basically, what EVGA is to Nvidia.

    I didn't know this when I bought my Sapphire Radeon 6850, but I'm glad to hear it if it's true.

    Only going by what I heard. My experience with either flagship brand's a little limited in this area.

    Funny side note: ASUS is the only company I'm aware of that makes both Radeon and GeForce cards. And since they make a huge number of motherboards (what they're best known for), all sorts of optical drives, other peripherals, monitors and I'm fairly certain keyboards, it's possible to have a desktop that is entirely composed of ASUS components, except for the case, I suppose.

    Synthesis on
    Orca wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote:
    Isn't "Your sarcasm makes me wet," the highest compliment an Abh can pay a human?

    Only if said Abh is a member of the nobility.
  • Dark ShroudDark Shroud Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Asus, MSI, & Gigabyte all make cards for both brands.

    Dark Shroud on
  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Really? Huh, goes to show how out of the loop I am.

    Still, ASUS makes all that other stuff. Though GIGABYTE makes cases, but not those other components.

    Synthesis on
    Orca wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote:
    Isn't "Your sarcasm makes me wet," the highest compliment an Abh can pay a human?

    Only if said Abh is a member of the nobility.
  • Dark ShroudDark Shroud Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Gigabyte makes motherboards as well, I have one in my Core i7 2600k build. MSI also makes motherboards and laptops.

    Dark Shroud on
  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    ASUS makes laptops, I think they're starting to catch on in the US (they're extremely common in Taiwan, where ASUS is based out of).

    Synthesis on
    Orca wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote:
    Isn't "Your sarcasm makes me wet," the highest compliment an Abh can pay a human?

    Only if said Abh is a member of the nobility.
  • rndmherorndmhero Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    So I know this thread's been quiet for awhile now, but I was wondering if you chaps could toss some advice my way. I built my computer a couple of years ago, and with several games I'm really looking forward to coming up in about 6 months time, I taking another look at my setup.

    What I'm currently running:
    Intel Core i7 clocked at 3.2GHz
    6 Gb system ram
    EVGA GTX 285 2 Gb
    Dual 21" 1600x900 monitor setup

    I've been mulling over picking up a new video card for awhile now, but I'm not sure a) how much my current card is bottlenecking my system right now or b) what a reasonable upgrade would be. Any thoughts you have would be appreciated.

    rndmhero on
  • BlendtecBlendtec PittsburghRegistered User regular
    edited June 2011
    I can highly recommend XFX video cards. A few years back I got one and ran it like a rented mule for a good 2 years before it finally died. Lifetime warranty, sent it in. Turns out they couldn't repair the card and the model wasn't being made anymore, so they gave me a brand me card 2 models up, again with the lifetime warranty. I will admit, the process of returning the card and getting in contact with them was a bit of a pain, but I feel that's any electronics customer service.

    After seeing some of the trailers and specs for BF3 I really want to upgrade my system again. I've got an older model AMD dual core, 4 gigs of ram and an ati 4890 (not sure of the exact specs, I'm at work), but I know I need to upgrade basically everything to avoid bottlenecking. Any suggestions?

    Blendtec on
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  • Dark ShroudDark Shroud Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Right now the optimum card is the HD 6950 2GB model. You'll want the extra RAM if you're running duel monitors.

    Dark Shroud on
  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON IndiaRegistered User regular
    edited June 2011
    rndmhero wrote: »
    So I know this thread's been quiet for awhile now, but I was wondering if you chaps could toss some advice my way. I built my computer a couple of years ago, and with several games I'm really looking forward to coming up in about 6 months time, I taking another look at my setup.

    What I'm currently running:
    Intel Core i7 clocked at 3.2GHz
    6 Gb system ram
    EVGA GTX 285 2 Gb
    Dual 21" 1600x900 monitor setup

    I've been mulling over picking up a new video card for awhile now, but I'm not sure a) how much my current card is bottlenecking my system right now or b) what a reasonable upgrade would be. Any thoughts you have would be appreciated.

    What games are you having issues running? Because if it's only these hypothetical games coming out in the next 6 months that you're worried about, I would wait for those to come out before dropping more money on a system that I imagine runs pretty much everything at max.

    TychoCelchuuu on
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