Worth upgrading my graphics card?

Discussion in 'Computer Components' started by Tech_Boy, Sep 7, 2007.

  1. Tech_Boy

    Tech_Boy
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    Hi I currently run a 3.4GHz P4 with a 256MB ATI Radeon X600 Pro graphics card. I've started watching HD content and was wondering if I'd get much of a benefit upgrading this card to one of the newer HD 2600XT cards? I don't play any games on the PC so the reviews I've read about these cards not being very good for gaming don't concern me much as long as they can do the business when it comes to HD material I'm happy. I currently use Zoom Player with it's multiple codecs for watching movies and don't really experience many problems when watching HD content apart from my computer sometimes sounds like it's about to take off and I had a few instances of jumping during LOTR: Return of the King last night. The picture looked good to me but would I get better with the newer card? I can see one of the big benefits being the HDMI connection which will free up my VGA for my Xbox 360.

    Does anyone know if the GDDR4 version is that much better then the GDDR3 version as you pay a ~£20 premium for GDDR4. Lastly what's the difference between all the manufacturers? Is one better then the others as I've seen HIS do versions which come with better cooling and improved GPU Core speed and Memory speed at 1908MHz as apposed to 1800MHz. Sorry for all the questions but I'm pretty clueless when it comes to this kind of thing.

    Thanks

    Alex
     
  2. Decadent Fool

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    Try running task manager while watching a bit of film; if your cpu usage is 100%, then perhaps a new one may help.

    Perhaps one of the new ati jobs, of which I am an owner, but still cutting my teeth on :D
     
  3. sptburty

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    upgraded couple of weeks ago from a Radeon X700 to a hd 2600xt with gdr3 mem, works great fo me on athlon 4200 dual core with 2 gb ram.
    a 720p works about 25% cpu and a 1080p about 55% cpu this used to be around 95% cpu so card is doing a lot more work
    ps mine is a Sapphire make not sure of differences but you get all software upgrades from ati site allso using mediaplayer classic with fdshow and ac3 filter (great for outputting dd to amp)
     
  4. Tech_Boy

    Tech_Boy
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    Thanks for that, it's exactly the info I was after. I think I'll also be going with the Sapphire one too as it's one of the few that include the DVI-HDMI adapter while the majority of others say it's optional. Anyone know the cheapest place for graphics cards? Thanks again
     
  5. sptburty

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  6. Tech_Boy

    Tech_Boy
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    Thanks again they do free delivery as well which is a bonus and therefore they are actually the cheapest I've found.
     
  7. UnTruE

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    Hi Tech_Boy, i run the x600xt card in my latest gaming pc. It runs games sweet and no problems at handling any game as yet, but if you are going to watch hd films then i would upgrade to a higher memory card. I know the 512Mb XFX 7900GTX is great for hd quality films

    ( http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=364166 )

    I hope this is of some use to you, if you do decide to upgrade maybe we could sort a deal out for the x600 pro card :thumbsup:
     
  8. badbob

    badbob
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    Bad advice. The difference between your card and the 7900GTX for video playback will be EXACTLY THE SAME on CPU load. The ATI X600 is a budget gaming card that is several generations old. A 1950 Pro or 1800XT will slaughter it.

    Looking into 7900GTX v 8800GTS performance..
     
  9. Tech_Boy

    Tech_Boy
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    Thanks guys, I've read alot of the comparisons and this is why I've chosen the ATI HD 2600XT for HD playback as it takes the majority of processing on it's own GPU so the CPU works far less. The X600 was more then capable when I used to play games on the PC but obviously has been surpassed over and over. If you still want the card UnTrue I'm sure we can come to some sort of arrangement :D
     
  10. UnTruE

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    Hi yeah im interested in the card at a good price tech :D
     
  11. Tech_Boy

    Tech_Boy
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    Ok I'll let you know as soon as I've replaced it as I've just gotta wait till pay day (end of month).
     
  12. Uridium

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    Obviously via the trading forums though please. :smashin:
     
  13. Tech_Boy

    Tech_Boy
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    No probs I will definitely do it that way.

    Thanks
     
  14. PD_BARBS

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    I also have a problem and I am seeking some advice.

    My current card is a Radeon X1550, but some of the new games coming out will work on 1650 or greater cards. Now my machine is a DELL with a PSu kicking out 304 watts. But I heard somewhere that alot of the newer cards require a PSU of 500 watts or more.

    I do not want to have to shelve out 100 for a new card plus £60 for a PSU as my machine is less than a year old.

    Can someone advise me on whether this is the case or on cards that will run with the 304 PSU.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks
     
  15. badbob

    badbob
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    Using a gaming card with a off the shelf no-name 300W isn't such a good idea. A 450W quality PSU will be enough for mid-end gaming cards, or even X1800XT.

    If you want a to fit a gaming card you'll need a PSU. It's also possible your Dell PSU is non-standard, so might not fit your motherboard.

    Just buy a new machine.
     
  16. PD_BARBS

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    Thanks

    I may as well hang up my keyboard and start playing with my kids.

    As the machine is less than a year old, this option will be a non starter. I will just have to stick to my boring BF2142.
     
  17. Tejstar

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    I recently upgraded a Dell machine and stuck a Corsair HX520 PSU and Sapphire X1950Pro 256MB graphics card. They seem within your budget and I see no reason why it wouldn't work.

    Which Dell do you have btw?
     
  18. PD_BARBS

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    I have a Dell dimension E521. I have read some posts on Dell community use groups, that updating the PSU is not always necessary, so I am somewhat confused as to whether I need a PSU or not.

    I am also confused as to why my existing card will play BF2142, but is not capable of the Quake Wars demo :suicide:
     
  19. Barbs

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    Don't you mean PSU? :D
     
  20. PD_BARBS

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    Yes

    A bit more details, on doing some research on the Dell community website, alot of people are saying that the PSU on the dell is understated and is capable of supporting cards upto 8800 GTS. Although in some cases a splitter is required.

    http://www.dellcommunity.com/supportforums/board/message?board.id=dim_upghw&thread.id=110776

    But I think I know someone who can give me a 6600 GT to get me going in the meantime.

    So hopefully that will help.
     
  21. Tejstar

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    My Dell PSU did not come with an extra molex connector to power a X1950Pro or above. Therefore a new PSU was needed. Just open your PSU and check to see if it has one for the graphics card, i fit does you can always try and buy a new graphics card to see if it works okay.

    My guess is still though that a new PSU will be needed.
     
  22. PD_BARBS

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    I think a suck it and see approach is the best way forward. Hopefully I may be alright
     
  23. psikey

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    I've done a lot of investigation and came to the same as many others that this: http://www.ebuyer.com/UK/product/128946 is excellent value for money and should not use much power. I read someone was using it on a good quality 250w dell supply.

    My system has a 350w in a small case & the GDDR3 version is also shorter than the GDDR4 one so great for limited space yet only around 10% less fps performace but £25 cheaper!! (GDDR4 ~£85 , GDDR3 ~£60)

    This takes all it's power from the PCI-E slot & doesn't need an extra power supply feed to it.

    I'm replacing an old 6600GT with this to play Bioshock.
     
  24. UnTruE

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    ok tech_boy, u let me know when your ready m8 :smashin:
     
  25. PD_BARBS

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    Can you let me know how you get on, I read some posts on the dell forum of people who have done this. It looks promising. This is a good price for this card, but I certainly don't want to start changing my PSU.

    Thanks
     
  26. psikey

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    It comes tomorrow & my copy of Bioshock arrived today. Will hopefully try it out tomorrow night & I'll leave you some feedback.

    I tried the demo of bioshock last night on my P4 3.4GHz HT, NVidia 128MB 6600GT and 1GB RAM and even at 640x480 on high quality I only go between 20-30fps (still looked suprisingly good on my HDTV but crap on my LCD monitor).

    Only way it was playable at 1024x786 was at low quality & It's not worth playing as it looks crap.

    Will try the actual game out tonight with the machine then can directly compare tomorrow or Saturday morning by just fitting the 256MB HD2600XT.

    Like you, I don't want to spend too much upgrading this old machine as next year I'll either build my own rig or buy another box that can handle Crysis etc. I'm still using WinXP MCE2005 over Vista but looks like I'll need Vista to play the likes of Alan Wake.

    .
    .
    .
    I was seriously considering the 512MB X1950Pro but I'm sure my PSU will not handle it & think its' too big/long to fit in my box otherwise thats the price/performance choice.
     
  27. psikey

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    Fitted the HD2600XT in my PC with 350w power supply with no issues.

    Went from 4-10fps at 1366x768 to 34-45fps in Bioshock on high quality. Playable at this resolution at High Quality and going higher than 60fps in Medium quality (forced dx9 mode).

    I'm happy with it for £60 anyway & it's actually shorter than the 6600GT I took out!!
     
  28. insomniak123

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    Don't tell me that about Alan Wake! :eek: I like my XP

    I have that card, but then I do have a 520W Corsair PSU. Compared to other new range cards, its shorter and quite thin, but PSU is definately the deciding factor.


    edit- now i look silly coz i missed the post directly before this one
     
  29. PD_BARBS

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    So how much of an improvement has the new card been over the 6600GT, worth the investment?

    I am currently running a 6600GT as a temporary measure, but I think the upgrade is on the cards. This certainly looks like a cost effective move.

    Thanks for the feedback
     
  30. psikey

    psikey
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    As I said above: "Went from 4-10fps at 1366x768 to 34-45fps in Bioshock on high quality" after fitting the HD2600XT 256MB GDDR3.

    Also takes a big load off the CPU playing DVD's (means it runs with less noise as the CPU fan doesn't go to high speeds.)

    I think the P4 & only 1GB RAM holds it back from even better fps figures but it has made Bioshock playable for me now where it wasn't with the 6600GT except at 640x480!!!

    I'm looking to build a Shuttle HTPC based on the SG33G5M with E6750, 2GB RAM and the HD2600XT with should make gaming that much better (but nothing like you get with 8800 series cards).
     

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