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Buying video card on a low budget


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#1 Katarn1

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 07:59 AM

I am looking for a card that would be powerful in reference to my computer.

 

System specs:

 

Intel Core 2 Duo E7300 @ 2.66 GHz

2 x 2GB DDR3 RAM

HDD – 500 GB (irrelevant imo, but just in case)

Decommissioned GPU: Nvidia Geforce 9600 GSO 768mb RAM

Temporary GPU: Nvidia Geforce GT 610 1024mb RAM

 

I’m saying this to ensure the proper understanding of what I’m looking for. Core 2 Duo and 4GB RAM is in no way high-end. So there is no point in having a high-end video card when the rest of the computer can’t handle the game.

What I’m looking for is a video card that would be powerful within the borders of my computer’s overall performance.

 

I am in no way a hardcore gamer, and gaming is not the only thing I need a solid video card for. I’ll need a good card for 3D rendering, as I make models, textures and animations in ‘Blender 3D’. So yes, good RAM is definitely on the list. CUDA is of outmost necessity.

 

I have a 22” monitor at 1920:1080 native resolution. Which means two things:

 

  1. a video card that boasts with higher resolutions has absolutely no advantage in that regard.
  2. I’ll need the video card to be capable of playing games at 1080p (1050 is the absolute, desperate lowest I could descend to).

 

And I’ll need that resolution sustained at a solid fps, at least 50. I am used to having little to no post-processing, so AA, AF and similar settings do not matter to me. All I need is HD resolution, high textures and lighting, possibly good shading.

I’m looking for a card that can top the 9600 GSO’s performance. And just for reference, here’s what the GSO could do, described in one of the best methods for comparing graphics cards. Video games.

 

Except for certain post-processing effects and the definitely outdated memory cache, the 9600 GSO has been able to render games 1080p and high detail while maintaining a solid 50+ fps. It ran a maxed out ‘Crysis’ at about 45, which says a lot about the power it holds within its generation; did great with 2011’s ‘Rage’ – also a very demanding game, not to mention the genertion gap; and 2013’s ‘Batman: Arkham Origins’ – 1080p, dynamic lights, high texture quality, 60 fps.

There are other (Crysis 2, Stalker series, Metro 2033, GTA IV, Mafia II, Far Cry 2, Far Cry 3) demanding games which were handled exceptionally well (GTA4 and FC3 not at 60fps, but still smooth).

 

I’m on a budget of about $75. I’m not sure as to what would be a better choice:

 

  • a current low-end video card, as it has newer technology and is possibly better optimized. On the downside, likely of bad quality and performance.

 

  • an ex medium-high end card, as it would be quite powerful (especially in reference to the rest of my system) and at a low price due to dated technology. The downside here is of course, dated technology.

 

An analogy of my dilemma would be the choice between a Kar98k and a Glock 19 for city warfare.

 

Seeing as a frequently dictating factor is the games to be played with the new GPU, here are the games on my list. The plus sign next to a title means it has beaten the GSO; Minus indicates unsatisfactory performance due to optimization.

 

Injustice: Gods Among Us

Deus Ex: Human Revolution –

Sniper Elite 3

Just Cause 2 +

L.A. Noire

COJ: Gunslinger +

Team Fortress 2 –

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

Shadow Warrior +

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (enhanced edition) +

Saints Row: The Third +

Max Payne 3

 

 

Any ideas?

Thanks in advance



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#2 jonuk76

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 09:37 AM

OK so CUDA being a requirement for you means it has to be Nvidia.

 

Next look at the cards in your budget.  This narrows it down a lot.

 

The best of the current series in your budget is the GT730.  There appear to be no reviews of this card that I can find anywhere, but going by the specifications,  I think it will be a disappointment for what you want.  Some of them are even further crippled by using a 64bit memory bus, which should be avoided in any performance application.

 

Going back a generation, I found a GTX 650 2Gb slightly over the budget, or the 1Gb version at within.  This will significantly outperform the GT 730.  There are also plenty of GT640's in the budget range, but again the GTX650 is far better.

 

If you want to go older then you'll probably be looking at second hand items.  Good deals can be found, but they're unlikely to be under warranty so if they go wrong, you're on your own.

 

So in short, a GTX 650 looks a nice choice given the budget.

 

A very basic relative performance comparison but the only one of any type I could find for the GT 730 is here - Passmark


Edited by jonuk76, 02 September 2014 - 09:40 AM.

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#3 Katarn1

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 02:14 PM

The GTX 650 would be great had it been available. Unfortunately none of the stores (insert thick Niko Bellic accent here) in my country has it. I found a couple of GTX 650 Ti versions, the cheapest of which has 1GB RAM and costs $142. The cheapest GT640 is $96.

If I could have ordered one online, I would have gladly added the necessary $2 to my budget, but purchasing online means I’ll have to wait a month (which I can’t, as my current GPU is borrowed) and customs fees will raise the price too much.

 

The best the 75-80 dollar price range can get me is a GT 630 (which I know is awful – and overpriced imo) or a GT 730… and yes, the version featured on the site is the DDR3 128-bit one, meaning it has only 96 CUDA cores.

Here’s a list of the three mightiest Nvidia cards that reach the top borders of my budget:

 

$78     NVIDIA GeForce GT730 2GB DDR3-128-bit       

 

$74.57       NVIDIA GeForce GT630 2048MB-128bit             

 

$51 - $55      NVIDIA GT 610 2048MB SDDR3-128-bit         

 

Which one would you say is the best choice for the price?

 

 

I have also been checking out Radeon cards. I do need CUDA cores, but Radeon has stream processors as well. Regardless of better compatibility with Nvidia, ‘Blender’ shouldn’t have issues rendering. Again, here are the most expensive three of the lot. Would you recommend one of these over the Nvidia cards above?

 

$78   Sapphire ATI PCX R7 240 2GB DDR3 w/BOOST       

 

$77   Sapphire ATI PCX HD 6570 2GB DDR3                        

 

$65   Sapphire ATI PCX R5 230 2GB DDR3                                    

 

 

I never knew that low-end video cards can’t even match the specs of a 7 year old card. Regardless of it being high-end for its time.

I have decided not to play the demanding titles of the list above. These being The ‘Witcher 2’, ‘Max Payne 3’ and (probably) ‘Just Cause 2’ and ‘Saints Row: The Third’. And damn, most of those games ran on my GSO just fine, I just didn’t play them because I didn’t like playing at console performance and settings.

And I will say that lighting and shading are not a priority. All I ask for is 1080p and high texture quality (a very non-demanding trait) at a smooth fps.

 

I looked up second hand GPUs and…. they’re too few and either too expensive or too weak for the cost.

 

Tell me what you think of the above so I can plan my next step.

 

 

Thanks for helping

 

EDITED: Posting messed up my tables


Edited by Katarn1, 03 September 2014 - 02:16 PM.


#4 ihavanswer

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 03:02 PM

Benchmark tests dont always show real world performance, but statistically, the GT730 has the highest score of the three cards, and makes use of newer technology.

The link to the benchmark comparison can be found here: http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/compare.php?cmp[]=1431&cmp[]=2906&cmp[]=33

For comparison to the 9600GT, that card got 751 points on the scale.  If I were you, I would go with the 730.

As well, you wanted high texture quality, and the 2gigs of vram in that card should be sufficient to use those textures.


Edited by ihavanswer, 03 September 2014 - 03:10 PM.


#5 synergy513

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 04:39 PM

i think the new 730 64 bit gddr5 is on par with the older gt640. it is cheap cheap cheap but still packs a nice punch

 

there is the r7 250 gddr5,, it is relatively low budget

 

if you can scrape together a few more funds, the GTX 750 would be a great one for your PC, but it looks like that will  have to wait.

 

there is one old one  that i know of that are plentiful in the pre-owned market, the blessed 8(9)800gt. so many of those things sold a few years ago, and now are being unloaded in the pre-owned arena for cheap because of the new dx11. i got mine for $20 and it flies on an XP machine with a dual core.


Edited by synergy513, 03 September 2014 - 04:43 PM.

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#6 Katarn1

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 06:22 AM

Okay, so I finally found some good secondhand video cards. If there is a card within budget that you think I can find as a secondhand item and is an improvement over these, do tell.

I like these, as they are a definite upgrade over the GSO (a feat previously thought unbeatable) at a very reasonable cost. Not as good as Synergy’s $20 deal, but hey, still worth it. They are all mostly superior to the brand new cards above, so yes, I am thinking of getting one.

 

$53                                         Geforce 9800 GTX 512mb ddr3 256 bit pci-e asus

 

$47                                         Gainward 8800 GTS GDDR3 640mb 320bit

 

No price assigned               SLI\ NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GT NVIDIA PhysX DDR3 1GB

 

 

And a couple of 9800 GT 512 DDR ranging from 49 to 52 dollars.

 

There are no new models, so I’ll have to choose one of the above.

 

I had my eye on the 9800 GTX as it is the most powerful regarding stats, but the 512mb RAM has me concerned. Isn’t it too inferior? I think there is a possibility that it hinders performance significantly. How much performance will be lost on the games above, hell, what happens with any game released after 2007? And what about texture painting?

 

The Gainward 8800 GTS is supposedly superior to the regular 9800 GT cards, but RAM also seems too low (or so I’m told) and I’ve read somewhere that 8800 cards tend to heat up more. And isn’t a secondhand card that’s prone to overheating a bad choice? The previous owner could have used it up to just-before-breakdown.

 

The Geforce 9800 GT DDR3 1GB seems like a good bargain. Assuming I can banter well enough. Boy, if I’d only watched more of those auction shows on the Discovery Channel… besides a good price, I could have found ancient weaponry in the casing. Dangit!

What price would you say is fair for that one? About $60 max?

 

I do not rule out the possibility of some of these cards being already sold. I have called plenty of numbers only to be told that there are no cards (and haven’t been for years). Update your sites people!

I haven’t called these yet as it is a somewhat inappropriate time right now

And I am unsure as to the quality and longevity of these. They are old cards sold by people who want to get rid of them. The 9800 GTX is an exception, as it is being sold by an online store.

 

I have also been considering the option (as this is just a temporary fix, as stated in previous post) to get a new Geforce GT 610 – 1GB or 2GB version, depends on price, and go to old games I’ve never gotten the chance to play.

Get ‘Resident Evil 4’, ‘Hitman: Blood Money’ and ‘Oblivion’. The GT 610 should be able to run these at high settings, right? I’ll stick to TF2 and FOF and ‘Smite’ for a few months, then get a new rig altogether.

 

What do you think? What is the better plan? Which secondhand card of the above best suits my needs? Are there other secondhand cards that would be better (within the $80 price range)?

 

 

Thank you all for helping me this far. Really looking forward to finally getting a new card, just gotta be certain which one’s best.

 

Katarn

 

 

 

EDITED due to OCD with tables


Edited by Katarn1, 04 September 2014 - 06:39 AM.


#7 synergy513

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 06:16 PM

keep in mind that your power supply is a player in this scenario also. those x800s will need a six pin power connection.

 

also, most models are pretty long cards, around 10 inches, so be sure the case can accomodate.. mine is long like that, but single slot width. the cards were really meant to SLI, so the slender slot profile allowed them to be installed right next to each other easily

 

the 1gb is an advantage over the 512mb in such cases as multiple displays or in-game settings that raise the resolution and effects.

 

the 8800gts has the older g80 core, which was weaker than the 9800 with the g92.

 

the new equivalent to the 9800 is the gt 640 or the r7 250, both around $100

 

the old 9800s would overheat because of their heat dissipation configurations just not being well planned.  with a pre-owned card, the first thing to check for is a clear air path over the heat sink, over the gpu itself. then of course, clearing dust and debris off of the fan itself.

 

also, you can get evga precision x and use it to increase fan speed manually. i use it for my 9800 and set the speed at 65% and the card usually hovers around 55c.

 

keep in mind that the previous owner very well could have been playing with the fan speed also, and could have wasted the fan motor . it was kind of common a few years ago.

 

the 610 is really a consumer card that isn't meant for any kind of graphics performance other than home theater and multiple displays.   you'd be surprised how well that market is doing, most home PC consumers aren't looking for much more than that with an upgrade..

 

$80 bucks should put you in the 550ti/5770 pre- owned class. those were nice mid-range cards back in their day with the new features like shader model 5 and the gddr5 memory.

 

there is a new budget kid on the block also, the gt 730 64 bit gddr5. it is around $70 new and is equivalent to the 9800gt and won't need an additional 6 pin connection.

 

but, as stated above, the gtx 750 would be the best one to get, for just a few bucks more.


Edited by synergy513, 04 September 2014 - 07:01 PM.

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#8 jonuk76

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 08:27 PM

It's difficult to find valid comparisons of old cards with new ones.  Understandably review sites compare products against hardware of its time, not stuff that is several generations old.  The Passmark benchmark already mentioned shows an advantage to the GT 730 over even a 9800 GTX.  But as ihavanswer says benchmarks don't tell the whole story - especially ones that combine several different metrics into one overall number.

 

In a current higher performance card, 2Gb is probably optimal for 1080p gaming with newer games.  The memory use goes up as you add more detail and enable features like full screen anti-aliasing.  However as these older cards are not likely to be able to handle new games @ 1080p with all the eye candy turned on (and also remember they do not support DX11) you'll get by with a lot less memory.

 

I had a 9800GT 512Mb until a few years ago when it failed (severe artefacts and eventually no video output).  I've still got it somewhere.  As an experiment, and as it's broken anyway I was thinking about putting it in the oven to see if that would fix it.  It seemed pretty good for 2008 when I think I got it, for example it didn't struggle running things like Crysis at 1680 x 1050 (at medium-high settings IIRC). 

 

Anyway, between the 9800GT, 9800GTX, GT730 and R7-240, on balance I'd probably go for the GT730 on the basis that it should do at least as well as 9800GTX in most things, it supports newer standards like DX11, and it's a new card with a full warranty.  I would try to get a GDDR5 version (even with the hampered 64bit bus, it has a higher bandwidth than the 128bit DDR3 version).  The GTX650 at $78 would have been better, but if it's not available then you have to make do with what you can get..


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#9 Katarn1

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 01:53 PM

I was offered a used Geforce GTS 250 1GB RAM 256-bit - Asus. It came with a three moth guarantee; so knowing it outperforms all of the above and costs a mere $64, I went out and bought the GTS 250. But hey, why simple when it can be hard, complicated and utterly irritating. The computer doesn't seem to want it.
The card fits in just fine externally.
But upon powering up the computer, just before the startup screen, I get the 'long beep, short beep, short beep' sound, which for Gigabyte boards means 'GPU error'.
I have a 550W PSU and a dual a 6 pin power connector. It requires a minimum of 450W and a single 6 pin, so It can't be a problem regarding power requirements.
The computer runs just fine with the borrowed GT 610, so I can't blame anything but the GPU.
I've uninstalled all Nvidia drivers I'd had before plugging in the GTS 250, and once again - beeeep, beep beep.

Tomorrow I'm taking the rig to where I bought the card and let them find the problem. However - out of curiosity, and other minor factors - I need to know what the culprit may be. If I do, maybe I could fix it tonight.

My biggest fear is that the card is either not functioning properly or is having compatibility issues with the moderboard. That would suck big time.
I'd need to start searching all over again, and likely find absolutely nothing of value. Sigh...

Any ideas what's causing this?

 

 

And thank you all for your support, very helpful :)

 

EDIT: The GPU's cooler works just fine; I tried both the VGA port and the DVI port with a VGA adapter (as my monitor supports only VGA);


Edited by Katarn1, 05 September 2014 - 02:12 PM.


#10 synergy513

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 03:15 PM

the gts 250 is a rehash of the 9800gtx.

 

that POST bleeping is a root  error that is hosing up the boot before it even gets started. can you get into safe mode or BIOS?

 

if you can get into safe mode with display, it may mean a driver conflict. but that probably isn't the case if you are getting POST beep codes.

 

maybe your BIOS can give a few clues, there may be menu options in there that are related to this hardware change.

 

two things come to mind, an incompatible motherboard PCI slot config or power supply 12 volt  amperage..  if you can give it a whirl in  a different PC that would eliminate a few variables. if not, that is ok.

 

 

when you uninstalled the gt 610 drivers, did you use your onboard video out port for display while you did it?

 

then, did you have the gts 250 drivers available to launch after the installation and power-up when you got that oh so desirable "new hardware found" prompt?

 

i am scrolling up and can't find what windows OS you are using,..so which version of windows are you on?


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#11 Katarn1

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 03:51 PM

 

can you get into safe mode or BIOS?

 

if you can get into safe mode with display, it may mean a driver conflict. but that probably isn't the case if you are getting POST beep codes.

 

maybe your BIOS can give a few clues, there may be menu options in there that are related to this hardware change.

 

I can't access the BIOS. The beeping occurs before the startup screen.

 

 

two things come to mind, an incompatible motherboard PCI slot config or power supply 12 volt  amperage..  if you can give it a whirl in  a different PC that would eliminate a few variables. if not, that is ok.

 

My PSU is CCivo ATX-350 C. Yes, it has a 12 V amperage. What now?

No, I can't try it out on another computer.

 

 

when you uninstalled the gt 610 drivers, did you use your onboard video out port for display while you did it?

 

Yes

 

 

then, did you have the gts 250 drivers available to launch after the installation and power-up when you got that oh so desirable "new hardware found" prompt?

 

No. Would it help if I did?

 

 

i am scrolling up and can't find what windows OS you are using,..so which version of windows are you on?

 

I am using Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit.

 

 

What now?



#12 synergy513

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 06:02 PM

what is the 12 volt amperage on this power supply? there should be a sticker on the side of it that lists amp/rail, look for the 12v

 

can you uninstall the 250 and get your display going like you had it,

 

if possible , can you put up a speccy report, i need to see your motherboard specs

 

 

Publish a Snapshot using Speccy - http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic323892.html/page__p__1797792#entry1797792 , taking care to post the link of the snapshot in your next post.


Edited by synergy513, 05 September 2014 - 06:17 PM.

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#13 jonuk76

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 06:29 PM

I've never heard of a CCivo power supply.  A Google search doesn't inspire much confidence unfortunately.  For example I found an image of the label from a ATX-450C (a 450w PSU) which has a 12v output rating of 22A.  22A @ 12V is more consistent with a 300 watt PSU than a 450 watt one.  The few of that brand I did find for sale were very cheap which is not a good sign.


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#14 synergy513

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 06:38 PM

22 amp is really shabby, that card would need at least 32.


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#15 Katarn1

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Posted 07 September 2014 - 01:18 PM

Sorry for the delay. I am writing this through the PC I'd borrowed the 610 from.

I'd handed my computer over prior to seeing this.  I could have uninstalled the 250, as I still had the 610 at the time.  So a Speccy report is not an option, unfortunately.

 

The PSU has an amperage of 27 V. Assuming you're positive about the 32 V recommendation, we can rest assured it's the PSU then? Let's just hope they conclude so as well.

 

My rig was a prebuilt PC. The only thing I'd changed upon purchase back in 200(7?) was the GPU and a stick of RAM. Didn't even notice the PSU. Saw it was 550 W and thought it good enough. It still is fully functional, so in a way it was.

The GTS 250 is functional; they said they'd tested it prior to selling, so it's definitely something regarding compatibility/PSU. I can get a new PSU, so I just hope it's not the motherboard I should worry about.

 

Assuming it is the PSU and I am to get a new one: What price/brand should I settle for if I don't intend on spending more than $85 total. I might end up swapping the CCivo and get a slight discount, so the price of the new PSU I'm looking for is probably in the $30 range.

CCivo is a popular - well, frequently sold - brand here, so I might end up getting another CCivo. If that were the case what specs should I be looking for?

 

 

Again, sorry for the delay on my part; And thanks for helping.

Should be getting the PC back this Tuesday; will stay in contact until then.

 

Katarn






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