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Buying low/mid-level card, need advice

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und3rscor3

Junior Member
Mar 20, 2011
23
0
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Thanks for all the help everyone. I think it wouldn't hurt if I gave some more info about my computer:

Model: Dell Dimension E521
OS: Windows XP Home Edition 32 bit
Processor: AMD Athlon 64 X2 dual core processor 3600+, 1.9 GHz
RAM: 2.5 GB DDR2
PSU: 305 watts
+12V A: 18 amps
+12V B: 18 amps

As you can see, my computer is a bit out-dated, and my OS holds me back a lot cuz I can't use DX 10 or 11. As much as I would love to have Windows 7 (or an entire new computer), I most likely won't get it. So DX 11 capability in a card isn't vital.

As far as the power consumption of the card, I plan on buying a new PSU along with the new card. It will probably be a 450W or so, because most cards in the low/mid range recommend you have a 350W-400W.
 

aldamon

Diamond Member
Aug 2, 2000
3,280
0
76
As far as the power consumption of the card, I plan on buying a new PSU along with the new card. It will probably be a 450W or so, because most cards in the low/mid range recommend you have a 350W-400W.
With a new PSU, the 4870 will be a no-brainer. At your resolution, it will tide you over for quite a while with most of the bells and whistles enabled. It will be a huge upgrade instead of a meh one. Just make sure the new PSU has two 6-pin connectors, which shouldn't be a problem unless you have to get an oddball PSU for that Dell.

You cant go wrong with 130 dollar 460 768MB or 150 for 460 1GB .. gl
Well, you can go wrong when the card you recommend is at least twice the posted budget.
 

und3rscor3

Junior Member
Mar 20, 2011
23
0
0
That refurbished 4870 is a monster! I'll take a look at it since it's only $65, but from what I've read about it, it's probably not the type of card I'm looking for.

OP - you don't need a new PSU
Are you sure? My current PSU isn't all that bad I suppose, but a lot of these cards, especially the ATI ones, recommend a ~400W PSU. Of course it would be nice if I could skip the new PSU and save $45, but I don't want my new card to be starved of power from my 305W PSU.

I actually looked at a few GT 240 cards before and was interested by them, so I'll definitely give them a second look. I'll check out the HD 5670 and GT 440 too. The reviews that have been posted here are very helpful; I wish they included the GT 430 in the comparisons though, cuz the 430 still seems decent to me, though I'm beginning to think it may be more of an HTPC card compared to the 5670, 440, and 240.

I'm pressed for time lately, but I'll look all these cards over and hopefully pull the trigger on one of them before all these rebates end.
 

Vette73

Lifer
Jul 5, 2000
21,503
8
0
^

Your power supply will work for the GT240 and 5670 cards just fine.

Make sure what ever card you get has DDR5. Some have cheaper DDR3 and holds them back.
 

und3rscor3

Junior Member
Mar 20, 2011
23
0
0
GT 240:
I checked out the Gigabyte GT 240, and it definitely seems more gaming-oriented than the GT 430, for similar price. I have concerns though; in the reviews on Newegg, there are several complaints about how loud the fan is. That's not such a big deal I guess. My other concern is that Gigabyte recommends you have a 450W PSU with this card, and one reviewer said that he experienced sudden shutdowns with a 350W PSU. So despite the assurances here that my 305W PSU is sufficient for a GT 240, I am still skeptical. Why do you think 305W is sufficient?

I also found an EVGA GT 240 on Tiger Direct. The price before rebate for the EVGA makes me wince, and we all know how rebates can be... you may never get it. I don't know what its power consumption is either. What do you all think of the EVGA card?

GT 440:
I looked at the Galaxy GT 440. I like it. Disregarding rebates, the 440 is only $5 more than the Gigabyte 240, and the 440 has a higher core clock speed and shader clock speed than the 240, though the 240 has a little higher memory clock speed. Other than that, the 440 and the 240 that I looked at are about the same. The 440 has almost no reviews on Newegg, but someone posted a review of an Asus 440 with 1gb DDR5, and that reviewer was somewhat unimpressed. The review showed that the 440 has similar noise levels and power consumption to the 240. But I lean towards the 240 because of price.

HD 5670:
In a lot of the reviews that have been posted, the HD 5670 performs better than the GT 240 and the GT 440. I am very interested in this card. I looked at the Sapphire HD 5670 and the XFX HD 5670. Both seem essentially the same. My main concern is that they only have a 1000 MHz effective memory clock, vs. ~3200 MHz on the Nvidia cards. Also, the price is pushing my limit. I also have no experience with ATI cards.
 

Termie

Diamond Member
Aug 17, 2005
7,949
48
91
www.techbuyersguru.com
GT 240:
I checked out the Gigabyte GT 240, and it definitely seems more gaming-oriented than the GT 430, for similar price. I have concerns though; in the reviews on Newegg, there are several complaints about how loud the fan is. That's not such a big deal I guess. My other concern is that Gigabyte recommends you have a 450W PSU with this card, and one reviewer said that he experienced sudden shutdowns with a 350W PSU. So despite the assurances here that my 305W PSU is sufficient for a GT 240, I am still skeptical. Why do you think 305W is sufficient?

I also found an EVGA GT 240 on Tiger Direct. The price before rebate for the EVGA makes me wince, and we all know how rebates can be... you may never get it. I don't know what its power consumption is either. What do you all think of the EVGA card?

GT 440:
I looked at the Galaxy GT 440. I like it. Disregarding rebates, the 440 is only $5 more than the Gigabyte 240, and the 440 has a higher core clock speed and shader clock speed than the 240, though the 240 has a little higher memory clock speed. Other than that, the 440 and the 240 that I looked at are about the same. The 440 has almost no reviews on Newegg, but someone posted a review of an Asus 440 with 1gb DDR5, and that reviewer was somewhat unimpressed. The review showed that the 440 has similar noise levels and power consumption to the 240. But I lean towards the 240 because of price.

HD 5670:
In a lot of the reviews that have been posted, the HD 5670 performs better than the GT 240 and the GT 440. I am very interested in this card. I looked at the Sapphire HD 5670 and the XFX HD 5670. Both seem essentially the same. My main concern is that they only have a 1000 MHz effective memory clock, vs. ~3200 MHz on the Nvidia cards. Also, the price is pushing my limit. I also have no experience with ATI cards.
Be careful how you compare cards. You really have to look at all the specs: http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/GeForce_GT_440/. The GT440 has fewer ROPs, which negates any benefit it gets from higher clock speed.

Skip the EVGA at Tigerdirect. That's way too much out of pocket for a GT240, which is really just a $50 card.

If you're concerned about noise (and I wouldn't blame you), your best bet is the Sapphire HD5670. Honestly, at just a bit more than the GT240, it's probably worth it. I liked the GT240 more when it was $35AR, which was just a few months ago.

You're fine with the 300w PSU. You won't touch 200w with a 5670.
 
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aldamon

Diamond Member
Aug 2, 2000
3,280
0
76
That refurbished 4870 is a monster! I'll take a look at it since it's only $65, but from what I've read about it, it's probably not the type of card I'm looking for.
The birth of an enthusiast? ():) Good luck with your choice. You'll love them all.
 

und3rscor3

Junior Member
Mar 20, 2011
23
0
0
Well, I just got a sobering reminder of what a piece of crap my computer is. :\

I had decided to buy the HD 5670. I was just about to order the Sapphire card, but just to be safe, I checked inside my computer to make sure it would fit. Turns out, it won't. The fan on the Sapphire HD 5670 is too tall. I feel so crushed. After owning this computer for five and a half years, it has only just dawned on me: the Dell Dimension E521 is not, and never was intended to be, a gaming computer.

I have a few options. I could kick my computer out the window. I could go for the XFX HD 5670, which is truly a single-slot card. Or I could choose to not buy a card and save my money to hopefully build my very own gaming rig someday.

The XFX card is even more expensive than the Sapphire card, disregarding rebates. I am also wary of the tiny fan on the XFX card. My old 8600 GT that died was also an XFX card, and it also had a pretty small fan. I think heat may be the reason it died; a couple of the capacitors that were farthest from the fan were blown up. Plus, Sapphire seems to be one of the most reputable brands of ATI cards.

So now I seek more advice.
 

nwo

Platinum Member
Jun 21, 2005
2,309
0
71
Have you tried to RMA that XFX 8600GT? I'm sure they would send you something much better if your RMA goes through.
 

Termie

Diamond Member
Aug 17, 2005
7,949
48
91
www.techbuyersguru.com
You could definitely try RMAing your old XFX 8600GT (but you better figure out if they have a lifetime warranty on that card).

If you can't RMA it or you just can't wait, go ahead and buy the XFX HD5670 for $80 plus shipping (-$20 rebate). It's a great card, and you shouldn't have overheating problems with it.
 

TheDrake

Senior member
Dec 5, 2006
676
0
71
I picked up the XFX 5670 512MB card cause I needed a single slot, I have a half height PCI card right underneath the PCI express x16 slot and all other slots are full. The fan isnt blocked at all cause its far enough out.

After rebates its the same price as the sapphire card so I say go for the XFX. I wouldn't worry about heat either. I am sticking mine in a Car PC and its going in the trunk and I am not worried about heat in the least, humidity yes, but heat no.
 

DominionSeraph

Diamond Member
Jul 22, 2009
8,391
31
91
I've got a 9600GT in my E521. Picked it up used for $35 and it runs fine on the stock Dell PSU.
It matches well with my X2 5200+, so I wouldn't bother spending the money on anything faster for your 3600+.

GT240/4670 are both in the same performance area as the 9600GT and should use even less power. I see $50 after rebate for both a GDDR5 GT 240 and DDR3 4670 on newegg. While not smoking hot deals for either, they're not bad.
 

RussianSensation

Elite Member
Sep 5, 2003
19,458
745
126
XFX HD4850 1GB by for $47. This card also has a Double Lifetime warranty. Keep in mind that even with this card, you are pretty much CPU bottlenecked in every modern game, esp. since you are using a 1280x1024 resolution.

Performance wise, it easily beats a 5670 or a GT430/440. Of course that refurbished 4870 is faster, but with your CPU, it won't matter imho. Start saving towards a new system when you have a chance :)
 

und3rscor3

Junior Member
Mar 20, 2011
23
0
0
Thanks for the advice everyone. That HD 4850 looks awesome, but it has a tall fan. So do the GT 240 and the HD 4670 and several others. I never realized until just very recently that I may have some space constraints in my computer case.


That is the motherboard of the E521. My concern is with that square thing with all the little fins, situated right above the end of the PCI-e slot. It sticks out about an inch and is about an inch above the slot, and I am worried it will be in the way of any tall fan on a video card.

Tomorrow I'll see about sending my dead 8600 to XFX. And I'll check out the 4850. It might be too much for my computer, but it seems like such a good deal.
 

Termie

Diamond Member
Aug 17, 2005
7,949
48
91
www.techbuyersguru.com
Thanks for the advice everyone. That HD 4850 looks awesome, but it has a tall fan. So do the GT 240 and the HD 4670 and several others. I never realized until just very recently that I may have some space constraints in my computer case.


That is the motherboard of the E521. My concern is with that square thing with all the little fins, situated right above the end of the PCI-e slot. It sticks out about an inch and is about an inch above the slot, and I am worried it will be in the way of any tall fan on a video card.

Tomorrow I'll see about sending my dead 8600 to XFX. And I'll check out the 4850. It might be too much for my computer, but it seems like such a good deal.
There's probably enough clearance on your board for any of the cards we've mentioned, but to be safe, you can just get the XFX 5670. It's way more power than you need, but it runs cool and quiet, and has many modern features. Plus, it's only $10 more than other cards that are significantly slower (and have taller heatsinks).
 

betasub

Platinum Member
Mar 22, 2006
2,677
0
0
That is the motherboard of the E521. My concern is with that square thing with all the little fins, situated right above the end of the PCI-e slot. It sticks out about an inch and is about an inch above the slot, and I am worried it will be in the way of any tall fan on a video card.
Micro-ATX motherboard, and if the picture is a correct representation, reversed orientation from standard. So a PCIe graphics card heat-sink/fan faces upwards towards the chipset heatsink ("square thing with all the little fins"). No problem with a single-slot card, and a short dual-slot card should avoid the chipset heatsink; however the case backplate may not even allow a card with a two-slot backplate.
 

TerabyteX

Banned
Mar 14, 2011
92
0
0
HD 5670 is the perfect choice for you, as the HD 5570 is pretty much a underclocked and severely bandwidth limited HD 5670. There's no good nVidia solution that can be compared at the similar price of the HD 5670.
 

DominionSeraph

Diamond Member
Jul 22, 2009
8,391
31
91
That is the motherboard of the E521. My concern is with that square thing with all the little fins, situated right above the end of the PCI-e slot. It sticks out about an inch and is about an inch above the slot, and I am worried it will be in the way of any tall fan on a video card.
It does. I had to take the shroud off my ASUS 9600GT for just that reason.



 
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und3rscor3

Junior Member
Mar 20, 2011
23
0
0
So it's a definite "no" for any cards with a tall fan/heatsink. That's really a bummer. I was attached to that Sapphire HD 5670. But thanks for the heads-up, DominionSeraph.

I'm not sure what I'll do now. I don't think I can stand my on-board graphics chip any more, so I still want a graphics card. I might go for a used card, or wait for a really good deal on a new card to come along. I can get the XFX HD 5670 for $65 now, but if that card would be limited by my computer, then maybe it would make more sense to wait for a cheaper deal on a less powerful card.

My dead 8600 isn't under warranty. I'll submit a support ticket and try to find out how much it would cost me to send it to XFX for repairs. If it costs too much, then I'll hunt down a couple new capacitors and have a friend of mine replace the blown ones on the card to see if that does the trick. If it does, then I might just go back to using my 8600.
 

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