Graphics card upgrade for newb

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Captain Elson
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Graphics card upgrade for newb

Postby Captain Elson » Fri Nov 23, 2012 6:49 am UTC

I have a Lenovo H420 PC, and sometime in December I'd like to install a GeForce GT 430 graphics card. This is my first time messing with hardware, and the card is all I'd be doing - don't have money for much else.

Anyway, would I have to worry about power or cooling issues with the new card? Would it, in fact, not fit in the case? Am I getting the wrong card? Is this entire goal, in fact, pointless? And such questions.

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Sizik
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Re: Graphics card upgrade for newb

Postby Sizik » Mon Nov 26, 2012 8:13 pm UTC

I suppose the most annoying problem (and the easiest one to check for) is to see if anything is plugged into the PCIe x16 slot on your motherboard (based on the pictures available on Newegg, you only have one of them). Just check the topmost PCI slot (the four slots at the bottom of the back of the case). If it's just metal and has no ports or anything on it, you're good.

The second most important thing is to check if your power supply can handle the new card. The GT 430 has a minimum power requirement of 300W, so you should check your power supply to see if it can supply that much. Based on a quick google search, it's likely you have a 280W power supply, so it's possible that it could work, but upgrading might be a better idea.
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Re: Graphics card upgrade for newb

Postby Tango 51 » Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:32 am UTC

The GT 430 requires 49 watts of power. The PCI Express standard says that the slot has to provide 75 watts of power. The case appears to be standard profile, so you wont need to get a low profile, or low profile ready card. according to the PSU calculator, the minimum for your system is 203 watts, including the card.

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Re: Graphics card upgrade for newb

Postby screen317 » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:42 pm UTC

Captain Elson wrote:Am I getting the wrong card? Is this entire goal, in fact, pointless? And such questions.
This depends mostly on what card (if any) was there previously, and how much you are paying for this one.

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Re: Graphics card upgrade for newb

Postby Captain Elson » Thu Nov 29, 2012 2:43 am UTC

This depends mostly on what card (if any) was there previously, and how much you are paying for this one.

screen17, there was only the integrated graphics that came with the computer.

I suppose the most annoying problem (and the easiest one to check for) is to see if anything is plugged into the PCIe x16 slot on your motherboard (based on the pictures available on Newegg, you only have one of them). Just check the topmost PCI slot (the four slots at the bottom of the back of the case). If it's just metal and has no ports or anything on it, you're good.

The second most important thing is to check if your power supply can handle the new card. The GT 430 has a minimum power requirement of 300W, so you should check your power supply to see if it can supply that much. Based on a quick google search, it's likely you have a 280W power supply, so it's possible that it could work, but upgrading might be a better idea.

Right... thanks very much for that, I'll look into the slots and power supply as soon as I am able to get a good look at the tower. We (rather unwisely) have it encased in a desk where it's very difficult to get at without unplugging everything.

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Re: Graphics card upgrade for newb

Postby Captain Elson » Thu Dec 20, 2012 3:26 am UTC

For various reasons of my own, this isn't going to happen. I'm not installing the card. I don't know if there's a way to hide this topic, but if not then it'll fade away eventually.

I thank everyone who made suggestions. Happy holidays to you all.

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Re: Graphics card upgrade for newb

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Jun 21, 2013 1:29 pm UTC

Necroing thread as it seemed most appropriate place for it;

Me: "Blech, why is this game running so slow? My desktop is powerful, mighty, only a few years old! Videowasanow? Uh, the Radeon 6450, I dunno, lemme look it up- Oh... Ewwwwwwww"

Is this a reasonable upgrade? Or is it worth springing for something beefier? What's a step down from newest?
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Re: Graphics card upgrade for newb

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:04 pm UTC

Don't buy something older. Its almost universally better to buy a more recent Graphics Card than an older one. (With exceptions of course: the 5970 which was unusually good at BTC mining / Folding at Home, and may still be the best BTC mining GPU). Gaming wise however, the newest cards are almost universally better.

For AMD, your options are as follows:

* 7750 -- $105
* 7770 -> Far Cry 3 and Blood Dragon are free with purchase
* 7790 -> Approximately the XBox One / Gets Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider, and Blood Dragon for free
* 7850 -> Approximately the PS4 / Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider, and Blood Dragon
* 7870 -> Same free games as 7850... + Crysis 3
* 7950 -> Same Free games as 7870
* 7970 -> ditto
* 7970 GHz Edition -- $450, still got them free games
* 7990 <--- Stupid Expensive, has frame stuttering issues. Not recommended. Does come with 8 free games though...

The bigger the number, the stronger the GPU. You have pretty much every price range available to you. The "Newest" processor in this lineup is the 7790, the strongest GPU is the 7970 GHz Edition. I expect the 7790 to be the best deal... by nature of it being the newest. But if you want something faster... you'll have to pay up. Either way, keep an eye out for your free games. The 7870 (and above) have Crysis 3, Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider, and Blood Dragon free with purchase. IMO, a great deal if you want a graphics card of that level.

Details of the free games are here: http://sites.amd.com/us/promo/never-set ... dedlu.aspx

----------------

NVidia's numbering scheme is as follows:

* GTX 650
* GTX 650 Ti -- Approximately the XBox One
* GTX 650 Ti Boost
* GTX 660 -- Approximately the PS4
* GTX 660 Ti
* GTX 670
* GTX 680 <--- Bad purchase. The GTX770 is cheaper and faster
* GTX 690
* Titan <--- Most expensive card on the market. Not recommended.

NVidia has also started to come out with their 700 models:
* 770 <-- A little faster / cheaper than the GTX 680
* 780 <-- Cheaper version of the Titan. Still stupid expensive.

-----------------------------------

Before you buy, be sure that you have the proper power supply for your graphics card.
Last edited by KnightExemplar on Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:34 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Graphics card upgrade for newb

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:33 pm UTC

I'm going to demonstrate a bit more ignorance here;
A ) how do I check the wattage provided by my power supply?
B ) I've included a photo of my box, because there's something under the GPU that I'm not entirely sure about, and it makes me vaguely worried that a newer, sexier, beefier card will physically not fit.
C ) Is there reason to stay with a given brand? What's the cut between AMD and NVidia? Ford vs Chevy (I.e., who cares?)
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Re: Graphics card upgrade for newb

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:40 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:I'm going to demonstrate a bit more ignorance here;
A ) how do I check the wattage provided by my power supply?


Usually, its written on it somewhere. The 6450's main advantage is that it doesn't require any fancy power supply (and is really really cheap!). So... you probably have some bottom-of-the-barrel crap power supply. You might need to purchase a power supply in addition to a new graphics card.

B ) I've included a photo of my box, because there's something under the GPU that I'm not entirely sure about, and it makes me vaguely worried that a newer, sexier, beefier card will physically not fit.


The sexy cards are all "dual-slot". They take up... two slots worth of width. So you'll need to somehow free up that second slot. Maybe if you move that other card down, or remove it entirely? (do you really need... whatever the heck that thing is?). If you aren't using it, you can probably take it out without any issues.

They only take up one PCIe16x port, but they'll be as wide as two slots.

C ) Is there reason to stay with a given brand? What's the cut between AMD and NVidia? Ford vs Chevy (I.e., who cares?)


AMD has free games right now... lots of free games.
NVidia has better drivers right now. While the physical hardware is roughly on par with AMD... their superior drivers delivers a more consistent frame rate.

The frame rate difference is minor with single cards... but if you go Crossfire or SLI (which... you can't, because you don't have the space for it >_<), then NVidia is straight up better than AMD. I'd rather get the free games right now. Crysis 3, Tomb Raider, and Bioshock Infinite all cost over $50 right now, so its like you're saving $150 if you actually play those games.
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Re: Graphics card upgrade for newb

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Jun 21, 2013 3:09 pm UTC

The 6450 calls for a 400 watt power supply, and upgrading to a 600 watt seem to only be a 50-60 dollar investment, so that's good. It's possible the power supply isn't uber crappy. This is what I get for inheriting computers.

KnightExemplar wrote:The sexy cards are all "dual-slot". They take up... two slots worth of width. So you'll need to somehow free up that second slot. Maybe if you move that other card down, or remove it entirely? (do you really need... whatever the heck that thing is?). If you aren't using it, you can probably take it out without any issues.
Ah, yeah, I see looking at the other cards on newegg that they are dual slot. I have no idea whats below my dinky card, but if I can get away with just moving it down (which given the space, seems more than feasible) no problem right? Are these like comm ports, and changing them around can cause problems for the computer with respect to knowing whats where?

So maybe go with NVidia? The thing that's throwing me for a loop is why there are so many different cards in each category.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814162118
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814121768

Those are both GTX670s, but totally different cards.
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Re: Graphics card upgrade for newb

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Jun 21, 2013 3:52 pm UTC

Ah, yeah, I see looking at the other cards on newegg that they are dual slot. I have no idea whats below my dinky card, but if I can get away with just moving it down (which given the space, seems more than feasible) no problem right? Are these like comm ports, and changing them around can cause problems for the computer with respect to knowing whats where?


Ah, an oldie with technology I see :-) You don't have to worry about any of that crap anymore. Its all plug and play. If it fits in the slot, the OS / Motherboard automatically takes care of the rest.

Those are both GTX670s, but totally different cards.


NVidia and AMD only make the chips for the graphics cards. The actual cards are assembled by different groups. Gigabyte, Asus, Zotec create the graphics cards, and may have additional features. The main difference would be cooling-system, RAM, fans, level of testing, and possible "factory overclock". Think of it as "Dell" vs "HP", there are differences in the computers they make, but they're both basically x86 Intel systems with similar levels of performance.

You want GDDR5 RAM, and as much of it as possible.

Fans affect how much the chip can go turbo, and how noisy the system will be overall. So.. the cooling system is IMO the 3rd most important thing to a graphics card, after the chipset and RAM. Fan Design is where most of the differences come in. In general, NVidia cards are more quiet than AMD cards... but the selection of fan parts is the real difference between say... a Gigabyte or a Zotec.

So maybe go with NVidia? The thing that's throwing me for a loop is why there are so many different cards in each category.


Actually... I was recommending AMD right now. 4 free games with purchase? Three of them AAA-titles?? That is absolutely insane. Do you like $165 worth of games with purchase of a $250 graphics card??

Crysis 3, Tomb Raider, and Bioshock Infinite are not games that you typically see released for free. (Blood Dragon is meh... but whatever, the other three games are insane)
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Re: Graphics card upgrade for newb

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Jun 21, 2013 4:05 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:The actual cards are assembled by different groups. Gigabyte, Asus, Zotec create the graphics cards, and may have additional features.
Ahh, gotcha gotcha. So the chassis and fan the primary differences, otherwise it's more or less the same?

KnightExemplar wrote:You want GDDR5 RAM, and as much of it as possible.
Whatnow?

KnightExemplar wrote:Actually... I was recommending AMD right now. 4 free games with purchase? Three of them AAA-titles?? That is absolutely insane. Do you like $165 worth of games with purchase of a $250 graphics card??
I mean, it's all fungible; a 250 card with 150 dollars worth of games is nice, but I'd rather a 100 dollar card and the option to buy what games I want. I'm not a huge fan of FPS, and I already played Tomb raider, so, meh? It's like "Want this 20 dollar sandwich and a free 10 dollar mug? But man, look, this mug is totally awesome!" Since the card itself is ~250 though, I guess I'll take the free games?
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Re: Graphics card upgrade for newb

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Jun 21, 2013 4:24 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:The actual cards are assembled by different groups. Gigabyte, Asus, Zotec create the graphics cards, and may have additional features.
Ahh, gotcha gotcha. So the chassis and fan the primary differences, otherwise it's more or less the same?

KnightExemplar wrote:You want GDDR5 RAM, and as much of it as possible.
Whatnow?


The three primary differences (in order of importance):

1. RAM
2. Fan
3. Chassis

Graphics Cards use their own RAM. There are two kinds in use recently: GDDR5, and DDR3. GDDR5 is better (but uses more power, which you probably don't care about because this is a desktop system). Cheaper vendors give you cheaper and less RAM. Generally speaking, if you see a system with lots of GDDR5 RAM, its probably a quality system.

If your GPU doesn't have enough RAM, then it won't play the game at certain settings. 2GB is enough for today, but you'll need more if you want to future proof your purchase. XBox One and PS4 have 8GB of RAM loaded onto them, and future games are rumored to use 3 or 4 GB of RAM for graphics.

If you look at the Asus card, it only has 2GB of RAM, so it comes in at $70 cheaper than the other card. It will play most games just fine... but when a future game comes in that uses 3GB of RAM, then the Asus 2GB card will fail to play the game at a decent level.

KnightExemplar wrote:Actually... I was recommending AMD right now. 4 free games with purchase? Three of them AAA-titles?? That is absolutely insane. Do you like $165 worth of games with purchase of a $250 graphics card??
I mean, it's all fungible; a 250 card with 150 dollars worth of games is nice, but I'd rather a 100 dollar card and the option to buy what games I want. I'm not a huge fan of FPS, and I already played Tomb raider, so, meh? It's like "Want this 20 dollar sandwich and a free 10 dollar mug? But man, look, this mug is totally awesome!" Since the card itself is ~250 though, I guess I'll take the free games?


Lets take a look at some facts.

The AMD 7950 is a ~$300 graphics card with $150 worth of free games.
The NVidia 660 Ti is a $300 graphics card.

Both have roughly the same performance alone (by these benchmarks, the 7950 is ~5% faster)
http://community.futuremark.com/hardwar ... on+HD+7950
http://community.futuremark.com/hardwar ... +Ti/review

The 660 Ti SLI's better, and will have a more consistent Frames-per-second. IIRC, it uses less power as well (and will therefore come with a typically quieter fan). Nonetheless, the answer seems obvious to me. AMD wins that one. (especially since your motherboard clearly does not support SLI). The 7950 model actually is superior because of 3GB of GDDR5 RAM as well, so its more future proof than the NVidia card.

Other price points are similar. AMD offers a similar graphics card, with a ton of free games.
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Re: Graphics card upgrade for newb

Postby KnightExemplar » Sat Jun 22, 2013 4:31 pm UTC

BTW: Tom's Hardware is out with their graphics card recommendations: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gam ... ,3107.html

They've gone through multiple layers of price points to make recommendations at each one. As such, this information is likely to go out of date very quickly, so take advantage of the guide while you still can. The Graphics Card market changes very quickly, as both companies constantly reposition their cards / offer new deals.

Tom's Hardware ignores the free games offered by AMD however, and focuses purely on the cards themselves. Not necessarily a bad thing, but IMO, those games seem like a good deal to me.
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Re: Graphics card upgrade for newb

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Jun 25, 2013 4:44 pm UTC

Speaking of how quickly things change, 660, 660 Ti, and 670 just all became obsolete at the same time. NVidia has released the GTX 760 today at the $250 price point. The GTX 760 and the GTX 770 mean that IMO... GTX 660 Ti and GTX 670s are bad buys now. These newer cards are cheaper and faster than the cards they're replacing.

http://techreport.com/review/24996/nvid ... d-reviewed

Various review sites are comparing the GTX760 to the $300 Radeon 7950 Boost, so $250 on the GTX 760 is a good launch price. Its almost as if NVidia saw my post earlier and just wanted to prove me wrong.
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Re: Graphics card upgrade for newb

Postby MisterCheif » Fri Jun 28, 2013 10:03 pm UTC

Also, just from experience, if you don't want to upgrade your power supply, AMD generally has lower power consumption per GPU capability. I was able to upgrade my 6 year old PC with a AMD 6770, despite the fact that the computer (a Dell Inspiron 530) had only a 300 watt power supply.

And honestly, I haven't had much of a problem with AMD drivers, and I'm currently typing this from a laptop with a 7750m. But ultimately, get the best your budget allows, even if you have to upgrade the PSU.
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Re: Graphics card upgrade for newb

Postby KnightExemplar » Sat Jun 29, 2013 2:29 pm UTC

I never like messing around with Power. The Power Supply's job is to keep you and your computer safe as it handles a very high amount of voltage / current coming in from the wall. Broken power supplies can lead to fried motherboards, CPUs, and hard drives. (or anything else connected to the Power Supply). Damaged power supplies can lead to fires as well... so its one of those things I don't want to cheap-out on.

And honestly, I haven't had much of a problem with AMD drivers, and I'm currently typing this from a laptop with a 7750m.


Lemme tell you where I'm coming from on this. For the same cost... AMD graphics cards are clearly more powerful than NVidia ones by many benchmarks. The famous Bitcoin Mining chart...

Image

A 7790 costs only $140, yet it mines twice the BTCs as the NVidia GTX 680 (which costs ~$450 right now). This is the most lopsided benchmark of course, and most gamers don't mine bitcoins with their GPUs while playing games. AMD just absolutely crushes NVidia in almost all compute-performance benchmarks. But if we move towards more "realistic" tests... like what are the FPS of a game you're playing...

Image

Here, the 7790 is roughly the same as the GTX 650Ti. So despite having much more powerful compute units than NVidia... the $140 AMD card (7790) plays games roughly the same as the $140 NVidia card (GTX 650Ti). NVidia, despite having weaker GPU Compute hardware, seems to keep up with the 7790. NVidia works very hard at making their drivers match the AMD's better hardware... and it shows with their frame-latency measurements. (Although AMD recently has patched all of their drivers to improve their frame latency marks).

Overall, AMD's stuff is stronger in general compute. NVidia probably has more specialized circuits, and specialized drivers that allows games to better take advantage of NVidia's hardware.
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