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Mid rande graphics card advice

andyarmitage

Standard Member
Hi all,

I am a complete noob with hardware for computers so here goes
I use my pc to play team fortress classic 2 I currently have an
ATI X1900 my pc has 2 gig ram an asus motherboard I have no idea which model it is, and I have an AMD 3800 x2 dual core cpu before you laugh I know it's a bit old :) I jsut think it might be an idea to get the game running
better, although I feel it runs well on my pc but I do get down to 20ish FPS in certain areas. I don't want to spend much at all so is there a midrange card that I could put in that would fit the motherboard I have that would give me a big improvement on the X1900? would I need to slot a bigger amd x2 in it or will the 3800 be ok hope i made sense
Thanks in advance

Andy
 

AnthonyG

Distinguished Member
Firstly you need to find if your motherboard graphics slot is PCI express 16x, and not the older AGP.

Download GPU-z, and run this to see what this states.

If its PCIe16x, then depending on your price range, either the ATI 4650, or ATI 4670.

If you can afford it, you've mentioned no price range then I would also look over the new 40nm ATI 4770.

If you feel you need more oomph from your AMD dual core CPU you could overclock it, but I would buy a high quality third party CPU cooler.

Just make sure your motehrboard graphics slot is PCIe16x and not AGP. As if its AGP you are severly limited in your options.
 

andyarmitage

Standard Member
Hi Anthony,

thanks for that i did the GPUz and it says bus interface PCI-E [email protected]
I am sure this asus M/Board only supports ATI could that be the case?
I just looked on overclockers and they have a 4670 512meg GDDR3 at £60.94
that is the sort of money i am looking at as I don't want to spend much, how much better is that card compared to my X1900 as I haven't got a clue?s it worth an upgrade

Many thanks

Andy
 

AnthonyG

Distinguished Member
Yeah that is the interface that you would've been hoping to have got.

Your motherboard will support either ATI or Nvidia without any problems.

ATI in the 4xxx series though have outclassed Nvidia so its really a good choice to stick with the ATI anyway.

The 4670 would be a massive improvement on your card.

The 4670 basically (just) outperforms last generations high range 3870 card that this time last year retailed at ~£200.

So at £60 it really is a bargain.

Regarding where to buy, I have read a few horror stories about Overclockers after sales service if anything goes wrong with the card, so looked and you can get the 4670 cheaper at Scan (as an AVforums member you can get free delivery with Scan)

Here is an example the Sapphire 4670 is £54.

11138-13-20R - 512MB Sapphire HD 4670, PCI-E 2.0 (x16), 2000MHz GDDR3, GPU 750MHz, 320 Cores, D-Sub/ DL DVI-I/ HDMI - Scan.co.uk

As I have said if you want to overclock your CPU you could get alongside this a decent third party CPU cooler

If so have a look at Frostytechs Top 10 AMD coolers for a good one that you can afford

FrostyTech - Best Heat Sinks & PC Cooling Reviews
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
The 4670 basically (just) outperforms last generations high range 3870 card that this time last year retailed at ~£200.

You're inflating your numbers a bit there, the 3870 is slightly faster than the 4670 and was around £120 a year ago, not £200.

Nvidia haven't bothered to release new low-end cards this generation, so the only real competition to the 4670 is the 9600GT, which is faster but also a tenner more.

Back on topic your CPU is likely to be a limiting factor in a lot of games so I wouldn't go for anything faster than the 4650/4670/9600GT, sometimes you can find performance guide articles for specific games where different system specifications are tested to find out how a slower CPU or less memory limits a game. I did have a very quick look and couldn't see one for TF2 but you may want to have a better search.
 

AnthonyG

Distinguished Member
You're inflating your numbers a bit there, the 3870 is slightly faster than the 4670 and was around £120 a year ago, not £200.

Are you sure on this, from my recollection the 3850 was the £120 price range mark, and the 3870 was the price range bracket the 4870 is now. I.e ~£200 RRP (but can be had much cheaper if you shop around).

PC World are selling the ATI 4850 for £150 now, they are not going to be adding money onto the RRP - £150 will be the 4850's RRP.

Furthermore regarding the speed of the ATI 4670/3870, its too late and am too tired to look at the benchmarks but I believe for certain games the 4670 comes out on tops, and others the 3870 comes out on top.

Here is the summery for the ATI 4650 and 4670 review

Although these two GPUs are a huge improvement over the more expensive HD 3850 and HD 3870, they still don't have enough grunt to play every game smoothly.

http://www.custompc.co.uk/labs/605486/ati-radeon-hd-4650-and-hd-4670.html
 
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EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
Are you sure on this, from my recollection the 3850 was the £120 price range mark, and the 3870 was the price range bracket the 4870 is now. I.e ~£200 RRP (but can be had much cheaper if you shop around).

PC World are selling the ATI 4850 for £150 now, they are not going to be adding money onto the RRP - £150 will be the 4850's RRP.

Well I was talking about the actual prices, not RRPs. See here for example. Of course, the price plummeted further when the 4850 was released at £125 which wasn't much less than a year ago.
 

Paul Shirley

Established Member
The 4770 at stock speeds is roughly equivalent to a 4850 and overclocks nicely beyond it and the 9800. Arguing about how much the 4850 costs now or last year is a little pointless with the 4770 so much cheaper...
 

AnthonyG

Distinguished Member
The 4770 at stock speeds is roughly equivalent to a 4850 and overclocks nicely beyond it and the 9800. Arguing about how much the 4850 costs now or last year is a little pointless with the 4770 so much cheaper...

The 4770 is a fantastic card, and the one I would recommend people to buy, and also if I needed a new card, would buy myself.

But in this situation as EndlessWaves suggested above the CPU the OP has would definitely bottleneck that card, unless the OP did a pretty larger overclock to the CPU to at the least 2.5Ghz.

Another thing to consider would be that the ATI 4770 needs a separate PCIe PSU power connector something that the OP's PSU probably wont have.

The ATI 4670 is powered entirely through the PCIe16x motherboard bus connection.

So while the ATI 4670 may not play the likes of Crysis it would be a good choice, especially for £54.

Just my opinion though.
 

booyaka

Moderator
keep your eyes peeled for a 8800gt in the classified - they are stonking good cards and 2nd hand are going for £50-£60.

my 8800gt runs TF2 and most other games on full @ 1680x1050 ressy.
 

Paul Shirley

Established Member
Another thing to consider would be that the ATI 4770 needs a separate PCIe PSU power connector something that the OP's PSU probably wont have.
Mine came with a molex adaptor - reviews suggest they all do. Worry more about the 450W PSU requirement. If the OP has a lesser PSU then his options are pretty limited, the 4770 is one of the more power efficient midrange cards.
 

andyarmitage

Standard Member
Thanks for all the replies guys :eek: i was reading a magazine today and they said the best value mid range card is the Radeon 4770 they said it was about £78 i don't know who has the best price and who is good to deal with :confused: I am sure my power supply is 450w and my cpu is an AMD 3800 x2 dual core are you saying that my psu and cpu aren't good enough to run the card :( this was quoted below is that true?

" Another thing to consider would be that the ATI 4770 needs a separate PCIe PSU power connector something that the OP's PSU probably wont have."


It's all very confusing for a noob like me :) I thought the 4770 was the answer but now I just don't know. Do I need a bigger power supply and how much of a better cpu can I put in it in the AMD dual core, without getting a new mother board?

Thanks Guys

Andy
 

iac304

Standard Member
I expect your old x1900 card is using a PCIe power cable. Should have 6 pins, its something you'll just have to open up your case and hunt for. And whilst you are doing that you can check how many watts your psu is (should say on it) :clap:

After that try using eXtreme Power Supply Calculator v2.5 to calculate how much power your new system is likely to draw. But I think a HD 4770 will draw less than your old card, and also its a great card - just see http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/display/radeon-hd4770_17.html#sect0 if you need reassurance

As to the amd upgrade question im afraid I dont know much on that topic, will have to leave that to someone else to answer

Ian
 
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broona

Moderator
My money would be on a 4770 too, and if your PSU's man enough to power an old X1900, it'll easily power a 4770, and although the CPU will be a slight bottleneck, it won't be too bad, and you'll still see a massive improvement over your old card.

The PCI-E slot can provide a maximum of 75 watts to the graphics card, and AFAIK the 4770 needs 80 watts, hence needing a 6 pin PCI-E adapter on the PSU, but it's only a fraction over, so will put negligible extra strain on your PSU.

If you haven't got a 6 pin connector, which I'm sure you should have if you've been powering an X1900, I'm sure most manufacturers include a molex to PCI-E adapter in the box. :smashin:

PS, what model's your motherboard if you're thinking of upgrading the CPU too?
 

Paul Shirley

Established Member
PSU: officially needs 450W minimum for a 4770 but its an efficient card and you might be OK with less. Don't worry about power cables, if you don't have the 6 pin PCIE power connector check for 2 spare Molex connectors, the card will come with an 2 molex->1 PCIE adapter. Worst case you'll need some molex splitters.

BTW every PCIE graphics card I own came with a power adapter.

CPU: if you have a socket939 X2 you're out of luck. You might find a 2nd hand 4600 X2 but its hardly worth bothering - time for a new mboard. You'll still get some benefit even if you can't use the full power of a new card - upping the resolution, texturing and shader quality isn't very dependent on the rest of your system. You'll just need to be selective about what eye-candy you enable to get an fps boost.

Your biggest problem right now is finding a 4770, they flew off the shelves...
 
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andyarmitage

Standard Member
Thanks again guys I think you're right paul I can'ta 4770 anywhere, who are the good online suppliers as i don't want to deal with anyone who isn't reliable :)
I have just looked on overclockers and have seen an asus 4850 for £75 which is the same price as the 4770, is this a better card than the 4770?

Andy
 
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broona

Moderator
That's a bargain price for a 4870, but his 450w PSU won't be man enough to run that unfortunately, and the same applies to a GTX260.

If I were the OP, and I couldn't find a 4770, I'd get a 4850. It's consistently faster than a 4770, but it uses a little more power, but only has about the same power draw as the X1900, so it should be fine. :smashin:
 

andyarmitage

Standard Member
broona and PAul thanks both of you for your help i feel better that you say it will use the same power or less than my current card, as i say i haven't looked at the power supply yet but I am convinced it's at least a 450w broona if I can't get the 4770 then I will get the 4850 if you think my machine will be ok with it :) broona I will have no other form of cooling apart from the fan on the card will that be enough?
 
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broona

Moderator
What case do you have? No intake or exhaust fans at all?

Your PSU will act as an exhaust too, so as long as fresh air can seep in through gaps in the case, you SHOULD be OK, as this will create a small amount of airflow.

I'd look for a card that exhausts heat out of the case too, rather than one that simply has a cooler attached, ie one like this and not one like this. :smashin:
 

andyarmitage

Standard Member
broona I have a Lian Li case it has got fans in it although the guy who built it stopped some of them running due to noise but I know it does have some working fresh air can get in crikey I didn't know that cards had different fans on them :eek: I was going to go for the second one you linked there, you reckon the first one is the one to go for?
 

broona

Moderator
If you have no other airflow, then a card with a cooler that exhausts heat out of your case would be highly recommended, otherwise the heat will just build up inside the case.

If you're competent enough to change the graphics card, you could always reattach a fan or two?

Which Lian Li is it? I've got a PC-7B which has 120mm intake and 120mm exhaust fans, and it's basically silent as I changed the fans to low speed ones.
 

andyarmitage

Standard Member
broona i don't know which case it is as it doesn't say anything on the front [can you tell i am useless with all this hardware]
I have changed a graphics card before now, as for putting in fans errr i am not sure :) My machine is quite noisy and I am not sure why as I always thought it must be the power supply? Could it be the case fans i would love to make it less noisy but if you tell me how please do it in complete idiot proof verse :) I just don't want to spend a lot on the machine, yes i know it's a bit older but it does what I need it to do I just thought a new card might give Team Fortress a boost, not that it runs badly and it doesn't stutter but I do get down to 20ish FPS at times
 

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