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Old 06-28-2012, 05:52 PM   #1
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Default Yet another video card thread

Just tell me which one I should buy, dammit.


Ok, so maybe a back-story is required.


I know nothing about these fancy graphics cards. The last video card I paid more then $50 for had a VLB connector on it, to give you some idea of how long it's been. I think that was in my '486.

I'm not a hardcore gamer. I don't want to spend a ton of money. I just want something to make TF2 run a bit more smoothly- using PyroVision for the first time last right really exposed what weaksauce my current display adapter is.


I've read (here and elsewhere) that the 6850 is the price / performance champion, and at $130-$150 they're at the upper end of what I'd prefer to spend. Is this still true?


Of course, silly me thought that "ATi 6850" referred to a specific graphics card. Who knew that chipset vendors were now outsourcing production to all sorts of little companies I'd never heard of, and that there are about a dozen different video cards which can all be described as being a 6850.

I start reading customer reviews. All that I've gathered from that is that every single video card in production today is an unreliable piece of crap which overheats, locks up, has poor driver support, sounds like a Saturn V rocket taking off, and something to do with a thing called "Skyrim" that I'd never heard of before. So the reviews aren't being especially helpful.

I've also learned that all ATi cards suck and that NVidia is better, except that all NVidia cards suck and ATi is better.

(This is why I hate people.)

And the manufacturer's naming conventions aren't helping either. I've found that all cards seem to be numbered, and that higher numbers indicate lower performance, except for when they don't. I think they're deliberately doing this to confuse me.

All I want is something that's reasonably quiet when not "in use", isn't a piece of crap, doesn't cost a fortune, and sucks less than what I have now. I'm not paying $200 for a graphics card, so don't even go there.


Just tell me what to buy, and I'll buy it. Maybe this one, which is in stock at the Fry's near me?

I also saw some folks here talking about the GTX 460, which I can get even more cheaply at Geeks, which is also a few miles from here: http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?inv...024-CO&cat=VCD
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Old 06-28-2012, 06:22 PM   #2
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Best Graphics Cards For The Money: June 2012 : Best Graphics Cards For The Money, June Updates

Seems like a Radeon HD 6790 for around $115 would fit your needs.
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Old 06-28-2012, 06:27 PM   #3
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Alternatively, I just found a Matrox Millennium video card in my PC parts box that you can have for the cost of shipping.
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Old 06-28-2012, 06:30 PM   #4
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Be glad you don't also have the requirement that it runs a CAD program like SolidWorks or Inventor. That gives a whole new meaning to confusion.
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Old 06-28-2012, 07:16 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by rleete View Post
Be glad you don't also have the requirement that it runs a CAD program like SolidWorks or Inventor. That gives a whole new meaning to confusion.
Here at the office, we have one guy who uses Solidworks. He has it very easy. Just call the corporate IT department and say "I use Solidworks" and a week later, a new seventy-core Xeon machine with eleventy exabytes of RAM shows up that has nine Cray XT5s wired in parallel as a graphics chipset.

Or something like that.

So we're still talking about chipsets rather than cards, which is kind of not helping me. I'm assuming that it actually matters which company builds the card itself, insofar as part quality, layout, driver support, etc.
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Old 06-28-2012, 07:20 PM   #6
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Two questions, Joe.

Do you want the best price/performance ratio, or just the best performance at a reasonable price?

Secondly, do you just want to throw it on, or do you want to be able to play with it at all (I.e. being able to software mod a card into a higher variant of itself.)?
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Old 06-28-2012, 07:26 PM   #7
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Ah ---- it. Go with something like Newegg.com - Galaxy 56NGH6DH4TTX MDT GeForce GTX 560 (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Mult-Display Video Card

It's in your price range, and a hefty step above the 460.

Alternatively, Newegg.com - GIGABYTE Super Overclock Series GV-N56GSO-1GI GeForce GTX 560 (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

In your price range after rebate, and blows the first one out of the water imnsho.

I've gotta GTFO now, unfortunately. Later folks!
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Old 06-28-2012, 07:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blaen99 View Post
Do you want the best price/performance ratio, or just the best performance at a reasonable price?
Best *quality* for a reasonable price.

Quality includes:
  • Reasonable performance as compared to my current $30 GeForce 210.
  • Not a buggy piece of crap.
  • Doesn't consume 1.21 GW at idle.
  • Fan is completely inaudible at idle.




Quote:
Secondly, do you just want to throw it on
Yes.

Quote:
, or do you want to be able to play with it at all (I.e. being able to software mod a card into a higher variant of itself.)?
Couldn't care less. The last computer I overclocked or modified in any serious way had an 8 Mhz CPU and 512k of RAM.



So I'm gathering you like the 560, then.

What about any of these?

Newegg.com - ASUS ENGTX560 DCII OC/2DI/1GD5 GeForce GTX 560 (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

Newegg.com - EVGA 01G-P3-1460-KR GeForce GTX 560 (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

Newegg.com - PNY VCGGTX560XPB GeForce GTX 560 (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

I ask because they're all three in stock at my local Fry's in the $140-$160 price range.
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Old 06-28-2012, 07:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
Here at the office, we have one guy who uses Solidworks. He has it very easy. Just call the corporate IT department and say "I use Solidworks" and a week later, a new seventy-core Xeon machine with eleventy exabytes of RAM shows up that has nine Cray XT5s wired in parallel as a graphics chipset.
I wish. I'm running a 5 year old Dell with an aging ATI card. My home system is more up to date.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
So we're still talking about chipsets rather than cards, which is kind of not helping me. I'm assuming that it actually matters which company builds the card itself, insofar as part quality, layout, driver support, etc.
I'd personally go with the one mgeoffriau said (it is first on the list at the bottom of the page he linked) for one simple reason: cost. If you put a fancy card in, then next you'll need to upgrade memory. Then a new processor, which means you might as well get a MB. And you'd better upgrade that old P/S by now, too. It's a never ending cycle. Nickels and dimes, a hundred bucks a pop.

Upgrade to the cheaper card, and by the time that's falling flat, you'll need a whole new rig anyway.
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Old 06-28-2012, 09:31 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by rleete View Post
I wish. I'm running a 5 year old Dell with an aging ATI card. My home system is more up to date.
Don't get me wrong- the rest of us suffer with mediocre hardware. It's only the mechanical engineer who gets the fancy machine. A couple of my computers at work are actually Pentium 4's with a 2G ram limit. The only Core-series machine I have at the office is one I bought at Fry's and filed an expense report for.




I'd personally go with the one mgeoffriau said (it is first on the list at the bottom of the page he linked) for one simple reason: cost. If you put a fancy card in, then next you'll need to upgrade memory. Then a new processor, which means you might as well get a MB. And you'd better upgrade that old P/S by now, too. It's a never ending cycle. Nickels and dimes, a hundred bucks a pop.

Upgrade to the cheaper card, and by the time that's falling flat, you'll need a whole new rig anyway.[/QUOTE]Which one, the AMD 6670?

I'm starting to get the impression that it really doesn't matter at all so long as it looks fancy and has a big fan on it...

Ironically, the rest of my home PC is already pretty up to date. i5 processor, 8 gigs of RAM, beefy power supply...
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Old 06-28-2012, 10:00 PM   #11
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Which one, the AMD 6670?

Ironically, the rest of my home PC is already pretty up to date. i5 processor, 8 gigs of RAM, beefy power supply...
That's the one I was suggesting, but if you've already upgraded the rest of the rig, it's probably better to go more middle of the road.

That one from Fry's you listed in the OP should be a good one, although I am always leery of stuff like the "eyefinity" thing. Proprietary stuff tends to go the way of the dodo, and leave you hanging.

I really like the PNY one you linked to earlier. Always had good luck with their memory chips, and bought lots of stuff from the egg over the years.
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Old 06-28-2012, 10:59 PM   #12
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Ok, so tomorrow I am going to go to Fry's and buy one of these two cards:

Either the ASUS EAH6850 for $156
FRYS.com | ASUS

Or the PNY GTX 560 for $155
FRYS.com | PNY

Tell me how to spend my money

Frankly, I don't care about Eyefinity or any of that crap. This is my home PC. I have one 32" monitor which supports both HDMI and DVI, 3d shutter glasses give me a headache, and I will never take advantage of crossfire or anything like it. The last time I used a piggyback video processor was in the late 90s, and that was a video capture card.
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Old 06-28-2012, 11:30 PM   #13
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560 > 6850

Awesome GPU chart
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Old 06-29-2012, 12:13 AM   #14
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GTX 560. Unless you need Eyefinity, which you've said you don't.

I recommended the 560 for a reason Joe. Although you can safely ignore the Tom's chart, it's a bit....off, but the 560 is definitely the best bang for your buck.
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Old 06-29-2012, 09:51 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
Either the ASUS EAH6850 for $156
FRYS.com-|-ASUS

Or the PNY GTX 560 for $155
FRYS.com-|-PNY
The EAH6850 is exactly the video card that I have, it is pure genious for the price.

If you're not a fan of mail-in rebates, then just buy the 6850.

If, however, you don't mind mail-in rebates, your decision becomes more difficult. This benchmark site I use:

PassMark Software - Video Card Benchmarks - High End Video Cards

Lists the 6850 and the GTX 560 as one right after the other - nearly identical in performance. I believe the EAH6850 core is overclocked by ASUS though, which is going to give you a small (maybe 5-8%) bump in performance. Not sure about the PNY - though I've always viewed PNY as a budget brand, I know they have performance lines too.

Lastly, ASUS is by FAR my favorite computer hardware manufacturer - with a few exceptions, I personally would pay a 5-10% premium to have an ASUS product over most other brands, and for the single problematic ASUS item I've ever purchased, their customer service was exceptional.

So: If I were you, I'd buy the EAH6850 w/no rebate, and be done with it. It doesn't have problems with SKYRIMS either...
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Old 06-29-2012, 10:55 AM   #16
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Agreed on ASUS. Used an ASUS vidcard and ASUS wifi card on my HTPC build.
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Old 06-29-2012, 11:36 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by fooger03 View Post
The EAH6850 is exactly the video card that I have, it is pure genious for the price.

If you're not a fan of mail-in rebates, then just buy the 6850.

If, however, you don't mind mail-in rebates, your decision becomes more difficult. This benchmark site I use:

PassMark Software - Video Card Benchmarks - High End Video Cards

Lists the 6850 and the GTX 560 as one right after the other - nearly identical in performance. I believe the EAH6850 core is overclocked by ASUS though, which is going to give you a small (maybe 5-8%) bump in performance. Not sure about the PNY - though I've always viewed PNY as a budget brand, I know they have performance lines too.

Lastly, ASUS is by FAR my favorite computer hardware manufacturer - with a few exceptions, I personally would pay a 5-10% premium to have an ASUS product over most other brands, and for the single problematic ASUS item I've ever purchased, their customer service was exceptional.

So: If I were you, I'd buy the EAH6850 w/no rebate, and be done with it. It doesn't have problems with SKYRIMS either...
Although I love Asus myself (XFX or Asus video cards only here), please don't link synthetic tests as support for an argument about video card performance.

That's like trying to say "But McDonald's fries are AWESOME! So you should buy burgers every day from McDonald's!"

Synthetic tests have long held only passing similarity to real world results.
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Old 06-29-2012, 03:17 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by blaen99 View Post
Although you can safely ignore the Tom's chart, it's a bit....off
How so?
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Old 06-30-2012, 12:25 AM   #19
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How so?
Any chart that tries to pack a lot of cards into a single, readable list is going to be off no matter how you do it man. Specifically, certain cards do better at certain things than other cards, and vice versa across the list.

It's a similar problem to the synthetic benchmarking. Just because a card beats another in a purely synthetic benchmark doesn't mean it's going to win in, say, BF8.
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Old 06-30-2012, 12:28 PM   #20
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That's why they wrote a whole article discussing the best cards at each price point.
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