Modest vid card upgrade, been out of the loop

suszterpatt

Senior member
Jun 17, 2005
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System Specifications:

I. Processor/CPU:
Core 2 Duo E8400 (2x3.0 GHz), 2x2GB DDR2 RAM @ 400 MHz

II. Current Graphics Card:
Gigabyte 8800GT

III. Display Resolution:
1680x1050

IV. Power Supply Unit Specification
Corsair VX450W (33A on the 12V rail)
http://www.corsair.com/vx450w.html

V. Case Specifications
CoolerMaster Centurion 534 +Plus (mid tower)
http://www.coolermaster.com/product.php?product_id=25

Purchase Details:

I.
Budget
More concerned about value (bang for my buck, as it were), but let's say $150 max. Preferrably less.


II.
Any particular preferences
No real preference, though low noise is a priority.

III. Do you plan to have any Multi-GPU solutions such as Crossfire or SLI?
Nope

IV. Have you previously looked at a product(s) which you feel would fit your needs?
The reason I'm asking is because my usual method of googling for benchmarks was inconclusive. Based on that one alone, I think I'm shooting for something between the GTS 450 and GTX 260. (I lost track of the numbering systems ages ago)

V. What are your needs for this GPU? Which games(If any)do you intend to play? If you have this information at hand, what are the desired detail levels?
Gothic 4, Arkham Asylum/City, Tribes: Ascend, Mass Effect 2 (possibly 3), stuff like that, on medium-ish quality. Don't need all the eye candy, mainly concerned about long view distances and non-blurry textures.

VI. Do you plan on overclocking the card you intend to purchase?
Nope.

Additional Notes
Basically, I'm looking to get the best card under $150 that the rest of the system won't bottleneck. Low noise is a priority.
 

nenforcer

Golden Member
Aug 26, 2008
1,767
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I have very nearly an identical system to yours and last fall (October) I upgraded from dual 9800GT's to a GTX 460 768MB video card.

You can now purchase GTX 460 1GB cards from anywhere from $109 to $139 which is a steal.

I'd recommend it for running the latest games at your resolution. I'm at 1600x1200 or sometimes 1600x900.
 

Mars999

Senior member
Jan 12, 2007
304
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Ditto on the 460GTX 1GB version if you can get a MSI Hawk or something like that good choice...
 

Stuka87

Diamond Member
Dec 10, 2010
6,240
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You are more CPU bound than anything, so don't spend too much on a card as it will ultimately end up sitting there twiddling its thumbs.

But I say a 6870/460 would work fine, and still allow for more headroom if you ever upgrade your CPU to a quad core.
 

deadken

Diamond Member
Aug 8, 2004
3,193
2
81
Just be careful which 460 you get. Most of the 1GB versions have a 256bit bus. But now, they've added more memory to the 768MB 192bit version, so there is also a 1GB 192bit version. I've seen those as low as $90 or so.

I like the 6870, but I wouldn't turn down a 256bit 460.
 

suszterpatt

Senior member
Jun 17, 2005
927
1
81
Just be careful which 460 you get. Most of the 1GB versions have a 256bit bus. But now, they've added more memory to the 768MB 192bit version, so there is also a 1GB 192bit version. I've seen those as low as $90 or so.

I like the 6870, but I wouldn't turn down a 256bit 460.
All other specs being equal, how much does 768MB vs 1GB matter?
 

Mars999

Senior member
Jan 12, 2007
304
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higher resolutions and mutli monitors or AA, high resolution texture packs, more VRAM the better
 

DominionSeraph

Diamond Member
Jul 22, 2009
8,391
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Just be careful which 460 you get. Most of the 1GB versions have a 256bit bus. But now, they've added more memory to the 768MB 192bit version, so there is also a 1GB 192bit version. I've seen those as low as $90 or so.

No, those are not just a 768MB GTX 460 with more RAM. They're using a GF114 core (GTX 560) clocked ~135MHz higher than a GF104 and are using 4000MHz RAM.

If there are no penalties with whatever setup Nvidia is using to hang 1024MB off 192 bits, those should be substantially faster than a normal 1GB GTX 460 in any core/shader bound game and should still be faster than a 768MB GTX 460 in any memory speed bound game. (96GB/s at 4000MHz vs the 768MB GTX 460's 86BGB/s at 3600MHz. Still lower than the 256 bit's 115GB/s, though.)
 
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suszterpatt

Senior member
Jun 17, 2005
927
1
81
No, those are using a GTX 560's GF114 core clocked ~135MHz higher than a GF104 and are using 4000MHz RAM. So they're not just a 768MB GTX 460 with more RAM.

If there are no penalties with whatever setup Nvidia is using to hang 1024MB off 196 bits, those should be substantially faster than a normal 1GB GTX 460 in any core/shader bound game and should still be faster than a 768MB GTX 460 in any memory speed bound game. (96GB/s at 4000MHz vs the 768MB GTX 460's 86BGB/s at 3600MHz. Still lower than the 256 bit's 115GB/s, though.)
The matter is further complicated when you throw in various out-of-the-box-overclocked versions. For instance, which would be the best between these three editions?
 

DominionSeraph

Diamond Member
Jul 22, 2009
8,391
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The matter is further complicated when you throw in various out-of-the-box-overclocked versions. For instance, which would be the best between these three editions?

Well, the third isn't even in the running. The GTX 460 SE only has 288 cores. Being clocked 2% higher than the other GF104 doesn't mean much when you're missing 15% of your cores...

As for the other two, they're probably pretty darned close to each other. The v1 may have better resale in the future due to its ability to SLI with its MUCH more common brothers. The v2 can only SLI with other GF114's. (I wonder if it could SLI with a GTX 560, though?)
 
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suszterpatt

Senior member
Jun 17, 2005
927
1
81
One last question, just to weigh my options: although it definitely looks like the GTX 460 is well worth the money, it's a bit over my original budget. What would be the next step down, and how does it compare to the GTX 460?