Need a new graphics card, I need some assistance!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by heart-of-wessex, 18 May 2015.

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  1. heart-of-wessex

    heart-of-wessex Established Member

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    Hello all,

    I currently have a nVidea GeForce GT630 graphics card, but I've been told a few times that really I should get a later one, preferably a GTX series. It is about time I invested in one, but I'm useless at models, I end up getting the much older ones!

    I don't really want to spend over £100 if I can help it, but I don't want to buy something that won't work on my PC (Made that mistake before!) I *think* my connector is a PCI-E. What's a good card that I could get? I play a lot of Flight Sim X and Railworks so anything that can handle those is fine!

    Any suggestions and/or ideas would be most appreciated :)


    James.
     
  2. TheKnightWho

    TheKnightWho Established Member

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    So I wouldn't look at any of the GTX and GTS stuff - it's all marketing.

    The real meat and potatoes are the first two numbers: the first denotes the series, with the current latest being 9, but these generally increase in performance slowly and steadily; the second being the model within that series which is the biggest indicator of performance difference. GTX and GTS are the slightly better and worse versions of each model if it's offered in both, but make little real difference. A GTX580 is miles better than a GT740 even though the number is lower, as an example.

    For you, I'd recommend something like the GTX 950 when it comes out. If you don't mind a (slightly) older model which you can buy now, the GTX 750 which you can get for ~£90. (There is no 800 series.)

    I have a feeling your computer probably has a PCI-E v2.0 port in it, and the GTX 950 (and I think 750) both work on PCI-E v3.0, but not to worry it's backwards compatible and will make no difference to any mid-range cards like that. The thing you *should* check is the physical space you have. A lot of mid-high range cards are double width, which in a lot of computers can take up more room than you have available - they still run on one port though, but obviously you can't use the port directly below as the card will get in the way. That being said, I'm not sure if the 750 and 950 have this issue as they might be single width.

    The second issue is card length - really compact PCs will have issues with average length graphics cards, and (no surprises) they get longer with performance (woof woof). Again, though, you shouldn't have too many issues with a 950 or 750 so long as you don't have a micro-PC or anything.
     
    Last edited: 18 May 2015
  3. mbonwick

    mbonwick Established Member

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  4. David

    David Established Member

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    How about a change of brand?

    A Sapphire Radeon R9 270, although a little bit more expensive than your budget, is a pretty damned good card (I have 1 in this PC). It comfortably runs Skyrim, complete with the High Res Texture Pack at max settings.
     
  5. mbonwick

    mbonwick Established Member

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    The advantage of the GTX 750Ti is that it's only 75W TDP, so doesn't require any separate power connections etc.

    Given that heart-of-wessex currently has a GT630 (TDP 65W), his PSU may not be able to handle the Radeon (TDP 150W).
     
  6. TheKnightWho

    TheKnightWho Established Member

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    Most PCs are given a reasonable amount of leeway, although an extra 85W might prove too much on an extreme budget PC. It'll certainly shorten the life on anything where that's a significant jump.
     
  7. GB

    GB Established Member

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    I don't know about RW, but FSX is a lot more CPU dependent than it is GFX dependent.

    Unless the card has more video RAM you won't see much of a difference between the current 900 series card and older 500 series card.
     
  8. heart-of-wessex

    heart-of-wessex Established Member

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    Cheers guys :)

    I couldn't remember what size one I bought, was ages ago from a computer shop who I remember saying 'this is a proper gaming graphics card, will run anything' etc, I took his word as it was an independent rather than PC world.

    I just looked in DXdiag, it's 4095MB, so it's a 4GB card. I don't have a micro PC so space isn't much of an issue, plenty of space with the 630 in there.

    Yes, RW isn't too bad on this machine, although room for improvement (especially when I want to use FRAPS) FSX isn't too bad but it does stutter a little bit in some places, especially where payware detailed scenery is used (and that's with sliders down).
    FSX also takes ages to load, might need to re-install it though.

    Will providing PC specs be of any use?
     
  9. TheKnightWho

    TheKnightWho Established Member

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    I wouldn't trust the word of dxdiag. As of Windows Vista Windows will use ordinary RAM in addition to the graphics card's VRAM and count it all together - this is great, but the dxdiag number is misleading. I most definitely do not have a 12GB graphics card, even though dxdiag tells me I do :p Checking online a GT630 is 2GB (although they can vary), but absolute memory size isn't a good performance indicator for graphics cards. If you want a good comparison website look here. If you want to see your card vs. a GTX 750 look here, and against the Radeon R9 270 mentioned above look here. The two cards can be compared here, although note that the Radeon is coming up to double the price. (Scroll down for the comparison charts.)

    If you really want to speed things up in terms of loading and resource-heavy things (such as FSX and RW) I'd invest in a small SSD (solid state drive) in addition to your hard drive. You can then install Windows and games on there, and leave the main hard drive for everything else. It drastically improves loading times for everything on it, and as RW and FSX are procedural (and therefore loading things in the background all the time) it will hugely help their performance too.

    It'd be useful to look at your PC specs though.
     
    Last edited: 19 May 2015
  10. Barn

    Barn Established Member

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    Seconded. One of the best things you can do to speed up a PC.
     
  11. alex17595

    alex17595 Member

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    I recommend at GTX760.I got One for £120 second hand a few month ago. Was a very capable card for things like 1080p. AMD cards are fine but are very warm and power hungry, they are alot cheaper though. I upgraded now but only because I want to play things in 4k.

    What cpu do you have?

    SSDs are fine to speed your loading up but Train sim takes up a far bit of space if you only have a small one. I use mine as a boot drive so the whole pc loads up in under 10 seconds.
     
    Last edited: 19 May 2015
  12. bignosemac

    bignosemac Established Member

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    If you want more bang for your bucks then (don't sneer folks) look at what's on offer in CeX. My last three graphics cards have all come from there and I've never had issues with them.

    I'm currently running a GTX 760 4GB - cost £120* - having recently upgraded from a GTX 460 2GB. Runs Train Simulator 2015 at highest settings. As others have said, a Solid State Drive is worth it for games that load graphics procedurally such as Railworks/TS and FSX.

    For around £100 I'd suggest the GTX 750 Ti. £112 on Amazon for the 2GB model. £95 in CeX.

    Again, as others have said, it'd be useful to know your full system specs, CPU, RAM, monitor size etc, and particularly your PSU.


    *Mis-priced item in CeX. They'd priced it as a 2GB model. Kerching!
     
    Last edited: 20 May 2015
  13. TheKnightWho

    TheKnightWho Established Member

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    Oh god, are we going to get onto card manufacturers now ;)
     
  14. Yew

    Yew Established Member

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    I'd offer assistnace, but I've been out of the loop for too long, until last year I was running an old Nivdia 8800 GTX, which must be getting on to 10 years old. I think I have a 550 ti now? unfortunately it doesnt like playing planetside.

    A whole new system is in order, if I can ever find the funds for it..
     
  15. heart-of-wessex

    heart-of-wessex Established Member

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    Intriguing, I've heard of SSD but never really looked into what it is, but I guess running off an external hard drive wouldn't make much of a difference if I tried that?

    My PC is a half build from Maplin, the kit is:

    - Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (according to the disc, my folders a x86 though which IIRC is 32 bit??)
    - Foxconn E6700 Pentium Dual Core
    - 3.2GHz processor
    - 4GB RAM
    - SB Audigy 24 bit soundcard

    Nothing is modified, overclocked or anything like that.

    I shall have a look at the PSU label when I've got the PC shut off late
     
  16. TheKnightWho

    TheKnightWho Established Member

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    An external hard drive will massively slow you down due to the low bandwidth of USB (or any external ports, really). The beauty of SSD is less the bandwidth of the cables and more the way it can access multiple pieces of data simultaneously, making fragmentation and "disk grinding" a thing of the past.

    With regards to your computer, you'll probably find that your processor will be slowing you down the most with stuff like FSX and RW. A new graphics card and (certainly!) an SSD would speed things up, but the processor will be the new bottleneck at the end of the day.

    (Btw - you'll have a x86 folder in addition because that's where 32-bit programs on a 64-bit system go. It sounds like yours is definitely x64.)
     
  17. bignosemac

    bignosemac Established Member

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    Eh? I didn't mention manufacturers.

    For the record, mine's an EVGA. :p
     
  18. alex17595

    alex17595 Member

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    Pfft Evga. Oh wait so is mine ;)
     
  19. TheKnightWho

    TheKnightWho Established Member

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    Pretty sure mine are too. Honestly can't remember.
     
  20. bignosemac

    bignosemac Established Member

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    Can't really comment on that rig as it's Intel based.

    I've been with AMD for 9 years now (since I first started self building my PCs) for motherboards and processors. AMD keep their CPU sockets backward compatible for far longer which makes upgrading in stages far easier (and cheaper).

    Despite my preference for AMD Motherboards/CPUs, I've not bothered with ATI/AMD based graphic cards since a noisy, power hungry, less than 3 month old from new, ATI 4870 burnt out on me while playing Crysis.

    Since then it's been nVidia for graphics all the way.
     
    Last edited: 21 May 2015
  21. heart-of-wessex

    heart-of-wessex Established Member

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  22. TheKnightWho

    TheKnightWho Established Member

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    Hmmm, that's a little lower than I'd hoped. You should be fine with anything consuming less than 80W or so considering graphics cards are one of the biggest power consumers in any PC.

    The nVidia cards mentioned should all be within that envelope. However, I would check with any card you buy whether it can be powered fully by the port it's plugged into. A lot of mid and all high end cards require being plugged into the PSU directly in addition, which your PSU doesn't seem to support. However, what you can do to solve this is buy a converter like this which allow you to use a couple of ordinary power plugs instead. Just check you have at least 2 that aren't being used!
     
    Last edited: 21 May 2015
  23. alex17595

    alex17595 Member

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    Dont buy that cable though, look at the reviews.

    My graphics card had a 8 pin and a 4 pin (something along those lines) connecting it to the PSU. 400w PSU restricts you to Nvidia to be honest. Some of the high end amd cards use like 500w on their own (only if you want to fork out a fortune on a 295x2)

    Just check connections before you buy a card.
     
  24. SpacePhoenix

    SpacePhoenix Established Member

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    One thing that you should keep in mind is how the size and position of a new graphics card could change the airflow inside the case, you don't want to find that a change in airflow causes something to cook
     
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