Do you make these 6 mistakes when buying a video card?

| January 14, 2009 | (170)

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atinvidiaSince I’ve been a computer geek, I’ve heard many horror stories of people buying a slow video card, thinking that they were getting a fast model.

In general, people make the same several mistakes when they buy their video cards. Have they been with me, I’d have helped them avoid these 6 mistakes when buying a video card:

1- Buying a video card based solely on the amount of memory.

More is better, right? That’s their excuse when you have to justify your purchase to yourself or to your geek friend.

Well yes, but not if you base your purchase solely on the amount of RAM. A video card performance is based on many other factors, such as the GPU chip model, the frequency of the GPU/memory, the memory bus width, etc.

A good example of this would be someone buying a 8600GT 512MB over a 8800GT 256MB. Sure, it may have more memory, but every other factor will limit the card performance in comparison.

Also keep in mind that you won’t need the extra memory unless you play at very high resolutions, such as 1920×1080 and/or with AA/AF quality filtering. Why? Because your video card won’t need/use it.

2- Buying a lower-end new generation model over a higher-end old generation model.

It’s newer, so it must be faster!

Not so quickly. When in the majority of cases, this is true, it is not always true. So? Well, you might miss out on a really good deal, as stores tend to lower prices on older generations, to get rid of their old stock, to make space for the new stock.

Now, the mistake some of you make is to choose your card by using the generation number first. You’d think that a 4xxx card from ATI is automatically faster than a 3xxx model. If you take a Radeon 3870, it’d trash a Radeon 4350 or be faster than a Radeon 4650.

Let me quickly explain how model numbers work, using ATI’s 4850 model as an example.

4850: The first number refers to the generation of the card. A higher number there means that the video card is based on a more recent generation, which always brings in improvements over the previous generation.

4850: The second number refers to the range of that card. Same here, higher is better. In Ati’s case, for the 4xxx series, it goes mostly like this:

  • 3: Low end
  • 6: Mid range
  • 8: High performance

4850: The last two numbers refer to the place of that model, within the hierarchy of that range of video cards (See second point, for the “8″); within a generation (See first point, for the “4″). In the vast majority of cases, a higher number means higher performance, but both ATI and Nvidia tricked people in the past with crippled GS/SE models, so keep an eye open for the suffix if there’s one. No, SE does not mean special edition!!

Although ATI don’t really use suffix on their newer models, Nvidia still are. Here’s a quick reference, from slowest to fastest, when you compare two identical models otherwise:
GS<GT<GTS<GTX . Now, even this is not always true, if you take the 8800 model example. Some of the older GTS models are slower than the newer GT. Confusing, isn’t it?

Just keep in mind that many older generation, higher-end models are often faster than some of the newer models, so make sure to google benchmarks and to compare prices!

3- Not considering the space/power requirements.

So you’ve avoided the two first mistakes, ended up buying a Geforce GTX280, are eager to play the newest games…only to realize that it doesn’t fit in your case! Good job =P

This is especially true when you have a small format case, a HTPC or if you buy a high-end video card.

Lesson here: Measure the space available for the video card in your case (Usually from the back of the case to the hard drive cage) and double-check the length of the card, which is usually found under the specs, before buying it. Check reviews and/or contact the store if you’re unsure.

You’ve bought a great card, it fits in your case, but now you’ve one or several of the following problems? :

  • Your video card needs extra power connectors and you don’t have them.
  • Your computer won’t boot.
  • Your computer boots but crashes under games.

I’m afraid that your power supply may not up to the task of powering your new video card.  Now, that’s most probably it, but it might not be it, make sure to troubleshoot before buying a new power supply.

4- Teaming a powerful video card with a slow Cpu

Yay, you’ve got that new Radeon 4870X2 and you’re ready to dominate the virtual world. Only to see that you’re framerates are no where what you expected to be, according to all those reviews.

Well, if you’re using such a powerful gpu with a slow cpu, lik an Intel E4300, it just won’t work as you want it to. Your cpu will bottleneck your video card performance, which mean that it won’t be able to keep up with it and your video card performance will be reduced as it always waits on the CPU.

Simply try to keep your cpu performance in balance with your video card. If you get a midrange video card (9800 GTX, 4850) , try to team it with a midrange CPU (E7400 and such).

If you use SLI/Crossfire or even better (or worse in this case), make sure to team up your video cards with a blazing fast quad-core CPU. Most games may not benefit from quad-core yet, but the video drivers and the cards themselves will. The new Core i7 cpus are a perfect fit here.

5- Buying an overkill video card for the games that you play.

If you play is Counter-Strike 1.6, WoW or the majority of games that are 2 years or older, you probably don’t need the lastest and fastest video card.

If you play on a 17″ or 19″ screen, you probably don’t need the lastest and fastest video card.

This is just like someone who buys a Mustang simply because they want more horsepower. Could they travel to work and do their everyday activities with a Honda Civic? Most probably.

You will waste a lot of money, both on purchase, power consumption and on upgrading the rest of your system (Cpu and power supply) if you buy a video card that is overkill for your needs.

Learn to listen to your wallet, think with your head and figure out how much power you really need for the games that you play!

Now, some of you may not agree with this, as you’ll say that it’s good to have headroom for future games. I don’t think so. Why? By the time that the new game is out, your video card will still be able to handle it, perhaps at lower settings but newer video cards that offer higher performance for the same price will most probably be out by then.

I think that it is better to upgrade at a low cost every so often than to buy some of the most expensive video cards all the time. Not to mention that higher-end cards tend to devalue faster than mid-range video cards. Just like higher-end cars.

Now, if you absolutely need the fastest and most powerful video card with every new release, just to strike your ego and brag about it, go ahead, just be prepared to pay the price!

6- Listening to the recommendations of only one person.

The last, but certainly not the least of the common mistakes done when buying a video card: Listening to the opinion of a single person. What’s wrong with that?

  • The person may be a fanboy, who would recommend an inferior product from Nvidia or from ATI simply because they prefer that company.
  • The person may not have a clue of what they’re talking about. Not everyone have vast knowledge on video cards.
  • That person’s information may be outdated. After all, new video cards are released on a regular base (every couple of months, or even less)

Always make sure to get the opinion of many trusted people, ask around on forums, contact me, read plenty of reviews and comparisons. You’re going to spend a lot of your hard earned cash on that card, so make sure it is the right one for you.

Same goes for me. Don’t just listen to me, I’m human too hehehe.

Conclusion:

Buying a video card requires thoughtful thinking. With such a variety of cards available on the market, it may be confusing, so remember to avoid these mistakes, ask as many opinions as you can and shop around for good prices!

What has been your experience when buying video cards? Have you made any of the mistakes or were you going to? Do you have any tips to share with us or any mistake that I’ve not mentionned that you think we should know of? Let us know in the comments section just below!
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Category: Choose PC Parts, How to, The Best PC Parts For Your Money

About Mathieu Bourgie: HR Founder - Computer expert with 13 years of experience in building, fixing and modifying PCs. Over the years, I’ve developed a passion for PC hardware and now I enjoy helping others build their own PCs! In April 2008, I launched Hardware Revolution and ... Read more at my about page .

  • velior

    That was a realy helpfull post!
    There’s no point on buying the latest technology without checking our needs first, unless we want to be sponsors of the video card industry!

  • http://www.fiddyp.co.uk Andy Bailey

    sorry to swear but that was a bloody useful post! I can’t count the amount of times I didn’t buy a card because I couldn’t tell if it would be good enough at the right price. now I have all this information, I can spend even more time choosing! lol

  • James Feragola

    Very good article.

  • http://www.webgyver.com Web Design & Development

    Awesome stuff! Wish I would have known all of this before I purchased the super-duper video card online, and then it wouldn’t fit inside the tower. Plus, I had to return it for a 15% re-stocking fee.

    Yes, careful thinking and planning ahead is always a good thing. Thanks for pointing all of this out.

    WebGyver

  • http://www.demogeek.com DemoGeek

    This came at the right time when I was looking for to upgrade one of my desktop’s video card. My initial plan was to go with higher memory but this article educated me that it’s beyond just memory. Thank you for sharing this.

  • John Jones

    Wow its just too crazy dude. I Dont get it.

    Jess
    http://www.Privacy-Center.net

  • HardBoot

    Points 1 to 3 are true… same with 5 and 6.
    Here’s where the geek RAEGGGGGGEEEEE comes into play.
    “make sure to team up your video cards with a blazing fast quad-core CPU. Most games may not benefit from quad-core yet, but the video drivers and the cards themselves will”
    You do realize DirectX and OpenGL isn’t multithreaded… 1 core or 8 cores in a 2P will offer the same graphical performance, if you’re already meting the CPU requirements of the rest of the game.

  • bruce kay

    “Measure the space available for the video card in your case (Usually from the back of the case to the hard drive cage) and double-check the length of the card, which is usually found under the specs, before buying it. Check reviews and/or contact the store if you’re unsure.”

    The length of the card is NOT found anywhere in the specs.I remember looking everywhere, even called places and not getting anywhere when I was trying to breathe life into my old aging AGP system and wanting an x1950 agp. Got it anyway and was wayyy too big.
    Good article tho!

  • http://blog.losercoalition.net fractalbrothers

    useful article.
    I never buy newest, but I never buy lower than top-end for the specific model. Seems to work out pretty well.
    Also, I never become a fanboy for any particular company. Sometimes, ATI is better, sometimes NVidia is better. Right now I prefer ATI.

  • steve

    Great list. I have made some of those mistakes myself in the past. #3 especially.

  • http://www.studenomics.com Studenomics

    I must admit that at the moment I am a large ATI fan and supporter of their products. Does anyone dislike the company? If so I really want to know why.

  • b3ar

    Good article!

    One of the most eye-opening things I have learned about GPU’s, and frame rates specifically, is that the monitor is most likely to bottleneck the system (taking into account what you had to say about CPU’s). Anything over 60fps isn’t getting past the 60Hz of the monitor.

    …and really, anything over 35 or 40 fps isn’t getting past yer eyeball, either.

  • Joe

    Great list. Just one missing though. Make sure you check your available slots to see if they’re AGP, PCI or PCI-e. I was dumb enough and did not know what the hell this meant.

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  • http://productivelylazy.wordpress.com Sriram

    Thanks a lot mate. I’ve been so confused in deciding upon a card. If only they didn’t have so many models in the market!! Or a proper website with benchmarks and comparisons would be awesome!

  • http://www.cautionwater.com Richard H

    Great post, slightly disagree on part of point 1 though, “you won’t need the extra memory unless you play at very high resolutions, such as 1920×1080 and/or with AA/AF quality filtering.”

    I’ve got an NVidea 8600XT with 256Mb RAM, I ticked all the above boxes and got the later version with the faster memory rather than the 512Mb version with the slower memory.

    BUT – one game in particular screws you in this aspect – GTA4 requires truckloads of memory for good graphics settings. I’m running 800×600 with graphics quality set to very low, as with only 256Mb of RAM it severely limits the graphic detail you can put on. It disregards the fact I’ve got a dual core Athlon 5000+ with 2 gigs of RAM.

  • http://www.litrca.com/ Bojan

    1, 5 and 6 are good advices I suppose, but very obvious even to a non technical person. As for the other ones:

    Buying a newer mid range card is certainly better then an older top range one…ALWAYS. A lot of games won’t run on older cards at all (they might require a newer pixel shader for example). It Won’t support features newer cards do, and despite the actual power might not preform that well in newer games. A newer card will allow you to play new games as they come out longer then an older one would (what I pointed out earlier).

    Extra power connectors are not a problem. A LOT of cards actually come with a Y splitter of some sort and if they don’t buying one is very cheap. Power supply wattage – good advice but pretty obvious to, check what the card needs vs. what’s in the box. Stronger power supplies are not that expensive these days anyways. Card length is a no brainer.

    A stronger card is always a good thing no matter what the CPU speed. Sure a slow CPU will be the bottleneck of the system, but the benefits you get from a top range card will still be obvious and the speed difference compared to a slower card will be very noticeable. Plus if you eventually buy a better CPU you will have a card to go with it (which you will have to do sooner or later if you have an outdated and slow CPU)

    As for buying overkill videocards this is one pretty obvious to. If you have a system where everything you do runs well, you won’t feel the need to upgrade in the first place.

    Look at the amount of cash you have available, read a few reviews, look at a few comparison charts. Check price vs performance. And you’re set.
    Spend 30 minutes doing some research before you buy and even if you’re not a technical person with little or no experience you’ll have a good picture of what card to go with.

    Do some research before you buy anything for that matter. A lot of people fail to do that even these days, where all the information to make a good choice is available at our fingertips. 30 minutes of research can save you a lot of money … and hassle.

  • http://www.myspace.com/djblic Carlin

    I’m a sales person at circuit city, excuse me Technology Product Specialist lol, and you would not believe how many people would purchase a video card based on memory Q_Q.

    “Hey son, I want a 512 memory card.” “Excuse me?” “You know 512MB!, the thing i have right now is a PoS 256mb.”

  • Aaron

    “If you play is Counter-Strike 1.6, WoW or the majority of games that are 2 years or older, you probably don’t need the lastest and fastest video card.”

    While I completely agree with this general statement, I have to take specific issue with WoW as an example. The most recent World of Warcraft expansion increased the hardware requirements quite a bit due to greatly increased draw distances, much denser ground clutter, increased texture detail, and nifty new shaders. In some circumstances the revamped engine can bog down my 4850 to ~15fps (1440×900, max detail settings, no AA).

    And I would be more specific than “If you play on a 17″ or 19″ screen, you probably don’t need the lastest and fastest video card.” Monitor size is a poor proxy for native resolution, and it’s the resolution that can decide where in a GPU family your dollar is best spent.

  • http://softkillerz.com John

    Great list. I have made some of those mistakes myself in the past. #3 especially.

  • TechWeasel

    Great post.

    Regarding the card’s dedicated graphics memory, some games are more apt to need a certain amount (generally if they render environments out to long distance). Games’ recommended system requirements will generally tell you how much is necessary.

    Richard H, I would bet that if you add an extra gig or two of RAM to your system, you would notice a lot of improvement. Two gigs has become standard for mid-range gaming and will suffice for games like World of Warcraft or HalfLife2, but for cluttered environments like GTA4, you’re better off with more. If you run a 32-bit OS your system will recognize and utilize a max of about 3.5 GB but that will be a huge improvement for about $50-$100.

  • Scott_T

    Dont forget fan noise! The sound of a jet fighter might be cool in a game but not if its coming out of your case all the time.

  • http://www.myworldtoday.co.cc World Gaming

    Glad I read this, I’m looking to buy a computer. I initially had thought about buying this quad core for $750 but the graphics card was integrated intel crap, so I wanted to buy a Zotac 9800 or Geforce 9800 for $190 and then have it installed but the warranty on the comp will be voided if I do.

    So I’m looking for something with inbuilt and found one at 1500 with geforce 9800 gt – from what i’ve read it’s a good card, price is a bit steep but i’ve looked at the reviews and it looks to be the best on the market without having to spend $2000.

    Would like your opinions on it.

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  • Cokehead

    I always recommend the 8800GT from XFX. You pay a little more, but you get a double lifetime warranty (you can sell the card and the buyer will get the warranty too). It’s a solid card – it acts like a high end card for the cost of a mid-range.

    That said, for higher resolutions, a newer card may be more your style. Check around and see what reviews say. Since I run at 1920×1200, the 9800GX2 was a good fit. Your mileage may vary.

    As for the 9800GT: I have no experience with it personally, but I’m under the impression that it’s better for lower resolutions that still want high-def gaming. Keep in mind, I’m an nvidia fanboy. It’s mostly because of XFX’s awesome support and warranty. I got my 8800GT actually from their warranty service – my 7950GX2 died. They sent me a new 8800GT – I registered it, and I shocked the thing to death by mistake – and they fixed it! Amazing service.

    But you may find a good ATI retailer. I just haven’t dabbled with ATI much.

  • carny

    Well stated, and a tutorial that the card manufacturers probably won’t want people to see.

  • Zimmer

    As others have said, WoW is very hard on graphic cards.

  • Laurence

    Excellent list, really sums it up well. I did already know these things, but still very good read.

  • Frank

    I agree completely with your points, and as a person who is sometimes asked for advice in these matters I always hate to see when friends waste money on systems far above what they will ever need. Still, your analogy about the cars is slightly flawed. You said…

    “This is just like someone who buys a Mustang simply because they want more horsepower. Could they travel to work and do their everyday activities with a Honda Civic? Most probably”

    Well, the guy in the Mustang will probably get there quicker – which is what most people will think when they read your analogy. The one I usually use is similar, but with an important difference…

    “This is just like someone who buys a snazzy sports car just to sit in the morning traffic jam for 45 minutes every day just as they did in their old car.”

    If this doesn’t get the point through then I might follow up with…

    “Meanwhile the new car payments are so much higher that there was no money for a decent AC, good stereo or cruise control, so the they have to sit there for 45 minutes listening to intermittent FM radio.”

  • http://sleepys.com/Sealy-Posturepedic sealy mattresses

    Great post, I work at an electronics retailer where most customers fall into mistake category #1 and #5 – all they see is that MB # because they always relate it back to the little bit they know about computers, that more RAM = better. And just like in in #5, most of then come in wanting to get an Nvidia 8800 GTX just to play WoW. Im not commission based or anything so I’ve no problem steering them away from purchases like that to something a little more appropriate. Lots of misinformation out there.

  • http://chrispenner.info Chris

    Great list.

    This goes along with your suggestion to listen to more than one person: I always suggest people check out the VGA charts at tomshardware.com. They are a great graphical comparison of many cards, and the accompanying articles explain nicely how and why different cards perform differently.

  • MacD

    I just have to comment on what you say about video card memory. You are WRONG.

    You’re right in so far as what you say about screen resolution; taht’s one place where video memory comes in handy. But you state that that is all video memory is used for.

    It isn’t.

    Video memory also is used to store textures. The larger the video memory, the larger (higher resolution) texture sets can be used there. It makes a huge difference, as trying to squeeze a too large texture set into too msall amount of video memory will cause the game to stutter horribly as the extra textures which don’t fit in video memory have to be swapped out from main memory or (shudder!) virtual memory.

    So: memory does matter, and it matters beyond screen resolution. In a big way.

  • lonmax

    For 10 years of crappy drivers that caused more computer problems than ANY OTHER SINGLE device or company from the 486-P2 days.

    Not to mention the making it almost impossible to find drivers for many models during the RAGE days, or mislabling drivers so you had to try 3-4 different downloads until you found the right one.

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  • http://sirjorge.com/blogx sir jorge

    this is great advice, I can’t believe how many people don’t take it though.

  • http://ewanm89.co.uk/ Ewan Marshall

    @b3ar

    “One of the most eye-opening things I have learned about GPU’s, and frame rates specifically, is that the monitor is most likely to bottleneck the system (taking into account what you had to say about CPU’s). Anything over 60fps isn’t getting past the 60Hz of the monitor.

    …and really, anything over 35 or 40 fps isn’t getting past yer eyeball, either.”

    it’s not that simple, if the CPU can handle the getting the graphics card to render more frequently it often increases the game loop performance and allows the physics and gameplay engines more CPU time to do their stuff improving the feel of the game as a whole. This of course depends on a whole host of factors from bandwidths of various communications buses to latency of RAM and hardrive and how the game loop was coded.

  • Nushi

    Great article with some valid points, thank you.

    2 years ago I bought my first GPU that I paid for myself. I went for a 7950GT just because an 8800GTX wouldn’t fit in the case. The 7950GT fan soon failed and the card got replaced by an 8800GTS.
    Being able, for the first time in my life, to play some games at full settings opened my eyes. There was no going back.
    After 2 years, and an upgrade to a 24″ 1920×1200 monitor, I have no regrets for buying a high end card. It’s totally worth it. However, with the monitor upgrade, some games are already beginning to struggle at that resolution and I have to turn down AA/AF and other quality settings, or play at 1280×800. It’s almost time for me to get something better.

    I’m not sure how much better they’ve become since the 8800GTS. It’s an old G80 model, with 640MB memory. I’d respect anyone’s comment on teh matter. Is there a single card upgrade that would last another 2 years or should I get a new mobo and go SLI and Quad-Core?

  • Jrad

    Interesting read, I never knew how their naming conventions worked. That being said, generally you can also tell which cards perform better by how much they cost. Not always accurate, but more often that not it is. You tend to get what you pay for.

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  • Dom

    Yup, done three of those with one card once.

  • P/L

    4): my experience is that people tend to overestimate the importance of the cpu. especially in modern games the video card is the most important part and spending 50$ less for the cpu and 50$ more for the video card is better in most cases – unless you’re playing with 800×600 and low details the video card will be the bottleneck.
    Even an amd 4450e can be sufficient for high-end games if you have a good video card and you will barely see a difference to a quadcore, but you will feel the difference between a 4850 and a 4870.

    http://www.computerbase.de/artikel/hardware/prozessoren/2008/test_intel_core_2_duo_e8600_e0/21/#abschnitt_crysis

  • William Throop

    How about an article on how to compare video cards, maybe include stuff like # of piplines , core clock speeds, memory clock speed, memory types ie. DDR2/DDR3, openGL 2.1 or 3 maybe define some of these terms and how they really apply to gaming.

  • Bryce Edwards

    This is usefull. I have an Nvidia/EVGA 8800 Ultra with 6 gigs of ram and a 2.4 ghz amd am2 proc with a 750 gig sata hard drive. If you replaced any of these components such as my ram with only one gig the entire system would be slow not to mention horrible orrible lag in games. READ IT… LOVE IT

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  • http://www.trapsolutions.com Dan

    Great Post, i needed that after a few mistakes

  • http://daddytorrents.com steaven

    As others have said, WoW is very hard on graphic cards..

  • parheliaeax

    funny.e2200 won’t bottleneck your HD4870,if only you overclock it.when it comes to the conroe,oc is as easy as a pie.

  • jermy

    More memory is useful for more than just higher resolutions. The memory is used for textures and a slower 512mb card may perform better in some applications than a faster 256mb card. But the title of the point is still true

  • http://apppz-news.com Gibi

    Interesting read, I never knew how their naming conventions worked. That being said, generally you can also tell which cards perform better by how much they cost. Not always accurate, but more often that not it is. You tend to get what you pay for..

  • goatsgomoo

    A few months ago, I made a bunch of mistakes which mostly came from one initial mistake: lack of research.

    I was at a Best Buy, and saw a nVidia 9800GT for about $120. I remember hearing excellent things about the video card from a while back, so I decided it was a good idea to purchase it without looking around elsewhere, figuring I could just return it later if I found a better deal elsewhere. It was a huge upgrade from what I had before, another nVidia card in the 8000 range that ended in TC. Anyways, I paid in cash and when I got home, I threw away the receipt (I still cannot think of any reason I had for doing this). The next morning, I decide to perform the upgrade. But first, I wanted to check prices online. I found a better version of the same model for about $100 on Newegg. So, I called up Best Buy to see if I can return the video card. I went to look for the receipt in the paper recycling, only to find that the recycling had been taken to the recycling center. Apparently Best Buy doesn’t accept returns for items paid for in cash if the customer doesn’t have a receipt. Oops.

    Well, then I decided that since Icouldn’t return it, I would just install it. It was large enough that it covered up the PATA ports on my motherboard, so I had to unplug my DVD drive, which I didn’t use too often anyways. After installing the card, I plugged the computer back in, hooked up everything, and turned it on. Well, I pressed the power button. I had a 430W power supply, which was insufficient to power the video card. On top of that, I needed an additional power connector for the video card.

    In the end, I upgraded my power supply and DVD drive, but only after researching features and prices. On the plus side, however, I can run modern games on high settings now! Or, rather, I could, if my motherboard wasn’t screwed up.

    So kids, remember:
    1. Research the video card before buying.
    2. Compare prices from different retailers.
    3. Keep your receipt!
    4. KEEP YOUR RECEIPT!

  • Nikolaj Borg

    Very nice list. Just a small addition to the first item: Sometimes you’ll find two cards with the same model number, where the 512MB version actually is faster than the 640MB version, because they used faster RAM in the 512MB version. I think this is the case for some 8800′s.

    Noone said buying a gfx card had to be easy :)

  • http://roulettesecretsuncovered.co.uk Martin Lewis

    Glad to have stumbled this site before making my next card purchase. Good comments too. Very helpful.

  • Chris

    the word bloody isn’t a fucking swear word.

    Anyways, awesome article, I didn’t understand ATI’s labeling system till I read this.

  • Travis

    Point 4 of Teaming a powerful video card with a slow CPU is Bogus. Only a select few games like Supreme commander can truly be bottlenecked by the CPU.

    My system:
    22″ Monitor
    e6300 1.86Ghz core 2 duo
    8800GT 512mb (BFG OC model) <- this card was the best money I ever spent on a computer component

    Games I play with 4x AA and 16x AS, max resolution and full effects with 30+fps:
    Call of Duty 4, & World at War
    Mass Effect
    Lord of the Rings Online
    Fear
    Prey
    Half life 2 ep 2
    many many others

  • Qman

    Well said.

  • http://www.gadget5.com/ Gadget5

    Very well said and all your points are true. Buying video card is not as simple as getting the latest one, we have to look into our system and our requirements before buying a video card.

  • Shawn

    Good article and I basically agree with all of your points, but would like to add 2 more:

    1. Consider the driver quality. You can have the best hardware in the world, but if drivers are garbage, it’s wasted. I can’t run several apps on one of my machines right now due to the bugginess of Nvidia’s drivers.

    2. Consider reliability. I was without my laptop for a month because the video controller failed.

  • Macgyver

    Great article! Being self trained on computers however through trial and error, I learned early on that faster isn’t better or that software will make my computer jump through hoops. Point being do the research as with the example of a slower CPU and the fast card. Best thing to do is check with your friends and buddies to what hardware they are running and get the usual bitch and moans from them and go from there.

  • FabreFaction

    Look you bunch of wannabee geeks………..

    Check out the VGA charts on Toms Hardware (website).
    This will help you choose a video card.

    Getta life, or a PS3, or both…………….

  • http://www.cyclechaos.com/4um/forumdisplay.php?f=41 Goldwing Guy

    fuck i made all of these mistakes.

  • teddy

    thank you. thank you. very informative. i got a great treat. very easy to read and super organized. the ideas just flowed from ur head to mine. i feel like i know soo much now. thnks

  • http://pooleu6j.megamusicrush.ru Zegoexece

    http://www.hardware-revolution.com – now in my rss reader)))

  • Carl Waring

    An excellent article; thanks.

    @Shawn. How you can “consider driver quality”? Surely you need to download and install the drivers before you know how good they are?

    Or was that just a crack at Nvidia? ;-)

    And how do you know if they, for example, could be better even after you’ve installed them?

  • Carl Waring

    Hey! It picked up my Gravatar. No fair! Didn’t ask it to do that!!! :-D

  • Mathieu

    @Carl The blog is designed to do so automatically when your e-mail match with Gravatar database.

  • adibaha

    Thank you very much for this informative post.
    I’m about to make a purchase of a new computer system and upgrade the old one and hand it over to my cousin.
    We wanted to upgrade from the old video card – GeForce 5200, to a 9800GTX 1GB, and I now realize that this is not a smart thing to do.
    The Computer is Pentium-D CPU with PCI-e 1.0 and 512MB RAM.
    Its very easy to make at least one of the six mistakes at best.

  • http://www.anfinitinetwork.com Sean

    I do have one question, and it’s probably stupid.

    My motherboard seems kinda odd, because I tried to install a wireless card in it and the blasted thing wouldn’t fit in the PCI slot without taking the backplate off of it.

    I have an Asus P5N73-AM mobo (it’s micro atx but the case is an atx) and I was wondering if there’s a way to find out if the video card will fit on the mobo with all the little backplates and things on it.

    I knew some of those but definitely a lot made me go “Oh, I guess I should ask..”

  • salanos

    I typically check out reviews and stuff till I decide which company has done better with their generation.

    I recently got my hands on a 4870X2, because I decided that I felt R700 was the winner of the current generation.

    Along with it, I’ve picked up the Dragon platform, (Phenom II X4 940BE, MSI DKA790GX-Platinum).

  • jwpowers5

    3 all over. Bought ECS Geforce 7050M-M v2. No problems, but when I looked toward the future, I noticed that my Geforce 9800GX2 covered ALL the SATA ports! Don’t just look at what you need now. Check that what you may use in the future is easily accessible.

  • Kevin

    As a Linux user, my ATI/Nvidia preference is usually based on their Linux driver support. In my experience, Nvidia has done a better job of making easy-to-install, up-to-date, reliable (albeit binary) Linux drivers. ATI has promised open source drivers (or at least the documentation for them to be written), but has yet to deliver in any meaningful way. When quality open drivers are available for either platform, that will be the platform I use.

  • Aleksander

    I think you would better buy the 9600 gt, but as far as i know that card is going to be replaced by other 40nm video cards of ati company. For the cheap price it has and cuz it had lasted so long i think you should wait, or buy it.

  • http://NA GHANA

    I OWN A ASUS P4G8X MOTHERBOARD. MY AGP CARD IS NO LONGER WORKING. I AM IN PROCESS OF REPLACING THIS VIDEO CARD. I WOULD LIKE TO REPLACE IT WITH ATI CERTIFIED CARD FROM SAPPHIRE. I WOULD BE VERY GRATEFUL IF YOU COULD HELP ME CHOOSE ONE.
    THIS MOTHERBOARD REQUIRES A VIDEO CARD WHOSE VOLTAGES DOES NOT EXCEED -+1.5VOLTS AND CAN FIT A AGP PRO SLOT.

  • Gary

    I have not been able to get a really simple straight answer out of anyone, including Nvidia technical support and certainly not various computer vendors technical support. My mistake has always been: “more money than common sense”. Perhaps you can clear up some questions for me.

    1. I do not play games. For a hobby I do ultra high-end 3d graphics, using programs such as Studio Max, Maya, Houdini, etc. I have always bought high end Nvidia Quadro graphics cards, typically ranging in the 3-$4,000 range. I have friends that use the same programs on their laptops with integrated graphics cards that probably are a $10 chipset. Is there any practical purpose for these high end cards for a hobbyist?

    2. Having historical always been “buy the best money has to offer” kinda guy, I just bought an Alienware computer equipped with a supermarket video card, the Radeon 5870. This is supposed to be among the best single gpu gaming cards. Although dirt-cheap by Quadro standards, I just did a side-by-side comparison watching identical HD movie trailers on a identical monitor on my wifes computer. She has a two year old Acer compact, with integrated video chipset. We both run at 1920 x 1200. I have an I7 quad core while she has a dual core. I could not see one iota of difference in the image quality (and I know what to look for being a high end audio/videophile). This begs the second question: Of what beneifit do any of these higher-end video cards have for average users? (average being defined as internet browsing, perhaps watching some YouTube videos, doing graphics as a hobbyist, multiple windows, like having Word, Excel, and Internet all open at the same time, etc).

    I bought my first computer in 1986. It was a mini-computer. It had 10 mb of hard disk space and 64k memory. It was almost $200,000. Since then I have bought surely well over 200 computers (between home and office), and my personal PC's have always topped out over 10k. My current Alienware Aurora was $1,700. I think it is the best computer I ever bought. My previous computer statistically should have been able to kick this Alienwares butt. Quite honestly, I can't see a bit of difference in performance.

    After all these years, I have come to the conclusion that we psychologically construct perceived differences to rationalize our purchases. I see this all the time in high end audio. You can buy a Meridian DVD player for about 10k. You could also buy a Burmiester DVD player for 40k. If YOU were the one that spent the 40k, you would see a difference, but you would perhaps be one of the only few in the world that could!

    My wife's Best Buy $600 all-in-one, dual core Acer does not seemingly (to the naked eye) run any slower than my 1 day old Alienware with all the latest DDR3 1333 mHz memory, I7 hyper-threading CPU, and super duper ATI 5870 for 'everyday' computing (as defined above). (I will notice the difference in render times, as 3d rendering is CPU intensive).

    On a positive note: The Alienware is infinitely more attractive!

  • Gary

    I have not been able to get a really simple straight answer out of anyone, including Nvidia technical support and certainly not various computer vendors technical support. My mistake has always been: “more money than common sense”. Perhaps you can clear up some questions for me.

    1. I do not play games. For a hobby I do ultra high-end 3d graphics, using programs such as Studio Max, Maya, Houdini, etc. I have always bought high end Nvidia Quadro graphics cards, typically ranging in the 3-$4,000 range. I have friends that use the same programs on their laptops with integrated graphics cards that probably are a $10 chipset. Is there any practical purpose for these high end cards for a hobbyist?

    2. Having historical always been “buy the best money has to offer” kinda guy, I just bought an Alienware computer equipped with a supermarket video card, the Radeon 5870. This is supposed to be among the best single gpu gaming cards. Although dirt-cheap by Quadro standards, I just did a side-by-side comparison watching identical HD movie trailers on a identical monitor on my wifes computer. She has a two year old Acer compact, with integrated video chipset. We both run at 1920 x 1200. I have an I7 quad core while she has a dual core. I could not see one iota of difference in the image quality (and I know what to look for being a high end audio/videophile). This begs the second question: Of what beneifit do any of these higher-end video cards have for average users? (average being defined as internet browsing, perhaps watching some YouTube videos, doing graphics as a hobbyist, multiple windows, like having Word, Excel, and Internet all open at the same time, etc).

    I bought my first computer in 1986. It was a mini-computer. It had 10 mb of hard disk space and 64k memory. It was almost $200,000. Since then I have bought surely well over 200 computers (between home and office), and my personal PC's have always topped out over 10k. My current Alienware Aurora was $1,700. I think it is the best computer I ever bought. My previous computer statistically should have been able to kick this Alienwares butt. Quite honestly, I can't see a bit of difference in performance.

    After all these years, I have come to the conclusion that we psychologically construct perceived differences to rationalize our purchases. I see this all the time in high end audio. You can buy a Meridian DVD player for about 10k. You could also buy a Burmiester DVD player for 40k. If YOU were the one that spent the 40k, you would see a difference, but you would perhaps be one of the only few in the world that could!

    My wife's Best Buy $600 all-in-one, dual core Acer does not seemingly (to the naked eye) run any slower than my 1 day old Alienware with all the latest DDR3 1333 mHz memory, I7 hyper-threading CPU, and super duper ATI 5870 for 'everyday' computing (as defined above). (I will notice the difference in render times, as 3d rendering is CPU intensive).

    On a positive note: The Alienware is infinitely more attractive!

    • Lucifer

      movies aren’t difficult to play at their top quality on laptops. Games, however, will look much different from 1000 to 2000 dollar price range.

  • MD

    @Gary OMG! *jaw dropping*

    Anyways, awesome article, extremely informative. I too have learned most of these points(the hardway) and made some of these common mistakes. I openly admit to being a Nvidia groupie just because in the past Ati had such flakey..ok lets just be honest craptastic drivers, but now they have seemed to change pace and are beginning to pique my interest, so we'll see. Oh, and its true Tom's Hardware is a great source for PC tech reference.

  • http://feeds2.feedburner.com/hardware-revolution MathieuB

    Hey MD,

    Thanks for the kind words on the article, much appreciated.

    I think that we all learned along the way with experiences and the vast majority of us (including myself) made these mistakes at one point or another.

    Personally, I'll be the fan of whoever offers the most performance for the money, while being reliable too of course.

  • MD

    @Gary OMG! *jaw dropping*

    Anyways, awesome article, extremely informative. I too have learned most of these points(the hardway) and made some of these common mistakes. I openly admit to being a Nvidia groupie just because in the past Ati had such flakey..ok lets just be honest craptastic drivers, but now they have seemed to change pace and are beginning to pique my interest, so we'll see. Oh, and its true Tom's Hardware is a great source for PC tech reference.

    • http://www.hardware-revolution.com/ MathieuB

      Hey MD,

      Thanks for the kind words on the article, much appreciated.

      I think that we all learned along the way with experiences and the vast majority of us (including myself) made these mistakes at one point or another.

      Personally, I'll be the fan of whoever offers the most performance for the money, while being reliable too of course.

  • http://thecannibiszone.com/ luke

    im starting realize how stupid people are. this would be helpful to people that dont know shit and are just wanting to buy a graphics card just by its looks. maybe if you posted something telling you how much memory you would need to run this or something like that and tell them that even if the price was low it dosent mean it isnt better than the other.

  • http://thecannibiszone.com/ luke

    also go to newegg.com good warehouse full of comp parts

  • http://thecannibiszone.com/ luke

    im starting realize how stupid people are. this would be helpful to people that dont know shit and are just wanting to buy a graphics card just by its looks. maybe if you posted something telling you how much memory you would need to run this or something like that and tell them that even if the price was low it dosent mean it isnt better than the other.

    • http://www.hardware-revolution.com/ MathieuB

      Double-posted, my bad.

    • http://www.hardware-revolution.com/ MathieuB

      Haha, people are not necessarily stupid, most of them just don't know/understand. But yes, there are stupid people who make their purchases based on looks, which is a very bad idea for PCs.

      Most games will run fine on 512MB, except if you play the few exceptions (For example GTA) or play on a high resolution monitor/tv (1920 x 1080p or higher). Although with future games, you are better off getting 1GB to be future-proof right now. I agree though that 2-3 years ago, 1GB was useless.

  • http://thecannibiszone.com/ luke

    also go to newegg.com good warehouse full of comp parts

    • http://www.hardware-revolution.com/ MathieuB

      Agreed for NewEgg. Amazon, Ebay and Zipzoomfly are also excellent alternatives.

  • http://feeds2.feedburner.com/hardware-revolution MathieuB

    Haha, people are not necessarily stupid, most of them just don't know/understand. But yes, there are stupid people who make their purchases based on looks, which is a very bad idea for PCs.

    Most games will run fine on 512MB, except if you play the few exceptions (For example GTA) or play on a high resolution monitor/tv (1920 x 1080p or higher). Although with future games, you are better off getting 1GB to be future-proof right now. I agree though that 2-3 years ago, 1GB was useless.

  • http://feeds2.feedburner.com/hardware-revolution MathieuB

    Haha, people are not necessarily stupid, most of them just don't know/understand. But yes, there are stupid people who make their purchases based on looks, which is a very bad idea for PCs.

    Most games will run fine on 512MB, except if you play the few exceptions (For example GTA) or play on a high resolution monitor/tv (1920 x 1080p or higher). Although with future games, you are better off getting 1GB to be future-proof right now. I agree though that 2-3 years ago, 1GB was useless.

  • http://feeds2.feedburner.com/hardware-revolution MathieuB

    Agreed for NewEgg. Amazon, Ebay and Zipzoomfly are also excellent alternatives.

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  • Mboya

    Very Nice post! #4 Teaming a powerful video card with a slow Cpu – this one got me… i bought a graphics card that a CPU couldn't handle very much.. Im thinking about overclocking my processor or buying a new processor :) Tnx for this very nice article

    • http://www.hardware-revolution.com/ MathieuB

      Mboya,

      What's the CPU/Video Card that you have?

  • Keef_k

    My dell dimension 3000 has an integrated video card. Windows 7 needs a newer one, can I add another video card to this system?

    • http://www.hardware-revolution.com/ MathieuB

      Yes, you can, as long as you stick to AGP based video cards, unlike most recent video cards which uses PCI-Express.

      My recommendation would be this card: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161308

      Do note that you'll have to plug a power connector in the card, for it to function.

      Take care,
      Mathieu

  • Gary Rocks!!!

    My old card i.e Nvidia Geforce 7200 GS ,256mb is no longer working .I removed it from the mb and now I'm using onboard card.However I'm planning to buy a new graphic card that will support my system.I have lenovo 3000h series, 2 years old and my specs are intel core 2 due e4400, 2gb ddr2 ram,win 7.My question is which is the best card for money that will play most of the recent games without causing any conflict among peripherals.I have pciex16.Help me out guys !!!

    • Andrew J

      I recommend the GeForce GT 220 1GB.

      http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127498

      Is it the best card on the market? No, however, it's miles better than the 7200 GS.

      It should also have a slightly lower power consumption than the 7200 GS, so you don't have to worry about upgrading your power supply.

  • Blahrny

    I want to update my video card for FPS and mmo gaming (boxing 2 accounts) and occasionaly use it to output to HDMI w/ sound to my new yamaha AVR so i can stream southpark episodes or play games off my 1080p tv, saw the Radeon HD 4870 1GB and began salivating…but after reading this article i'm wondering if my cpu is going to bottleneck…is there a formula to knowing what the cpu to gpu ratio should be? I want to upgrade my moniter to an ASUS VH226H Black 21.5″ 2ms, and want a card that can do it justice…I would love niothing more than to drop 1k on your $1000 gaming build, but my GF shot that dream down before liftoff.

    Mainboard : Asus P5WD2-E Premium
    Chipset : Intel i975X
    Processor : Intel Pentium 4 630 @ 3GHz
    Physical Memory : 4096 MB (4 x 1024 DDR2-800MHz )
    Video Card : Nvidia Corp GeForce 7900 GTX
    Power Supply: CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W SLI/CrossFire/80 PLUS
    Monitor Type : DELL M990 – 18″ …but I want an ASUS VH226H Black 21.5″
    Operating System : Microsoft Windows XP Professional 5.01.2600 Service Pack 2
    Sony Bravia 42″ HDTV
    Yamaha RX-V475

    • Andrew J

      Two things I'd like to say:

      1) The Radeon HD 4870 is a bad buy, The Radeon HD 5770 may be about 5% slower in some games however it uses significantly less power, supports DirectX11, and can be overclocked to get performance higher than the 4870.

      2) Yes, the 4870 and the 5770 will be bottlenecked by your CPU most likely, consider getting a Radeon HD 5670.

    • http://www.hardware-revolution.com/ MathieuB

      Blahrny,

      As Andrew pointed out, your CPU will bottleneck pretty much any current gen. video card.

      However, even a Radeon HD 5670 would be bottlenecked by your CPU. A faster video card won't make much, if any, difference in performance.

      Also, if my memory serves me right, the Radeon HD 5xxx series doesn't support Windows XP.

      Quite frankly, instead of upgrading your monitor, I'd put that money on a new motherboard and CPU.

      Something like the GIGABYTE GA-MA74GM-S2 ($50 – Supports your current RAM) and the Athlon II X3 445 ($78) will set you back $128. Throw in an XFX Radeon HD 4870 ($120 – $90 after MIR, supported by Windows XP) and you've got a newly upgraded, powerful PC for about $250. Pretty sure that you have a better shot at convincing your gf with that sort of budget ;)

      Hope this helps,
      Mathieu

  • Gisle

    Might I add something? Laptops which seem to have the gfx and CPU that your game requires, might not be the best for gaming, but having the possibility to move the computer is a plus for many. The problem however, is that your computer is going to get hot and to avoid melting or destroy itself, it cripples the processor to cool down and then you might notice your spells or potions on Dragon Age get a delay, thus making the game harder, expesially if that potion was a last resort beofre your healthbar renders empty.

    TL;DR – Laptop seems good enough, consider they heat up easily, causing AI or other problems within games.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/5E3CUC4V5Q2QKQO72QGQCVO6QI Jerry

      Laptops get overheated, yeah… not mine.
      ASUS G55VW

  • Noelhz

    I have a hp media pc it has an amd x4 athlon and 8gigs of ram. I would like to upgrade the video card and the power supply. Which video card would you recommend? I will not be playing games but I do work with photoshop allot and correl painter.

  • Rikko

    Nice article!!

    This reminds me when I had to buy my Geforce 9500 GT (My country is years behind tech and prices) because it was the best thing I could buy. I thought I was buying a pile of crap, while I can't say it's the greatest purchase ever, I forgot my monitor is just 19″ and with a screen size of 1440*900. As long as I don't go crazy with AA it can play EVERYTHING. @__@

    • http://www.hardware-revolution.com/ MathieuB

      Yup, as long as you play at a low enough resolution, you don't need an ultra-powerful video card. These days, you can even play most games maxed out at 1080 Full HD (1920 x 1080) with a mainstream card such as the Radeon HD 6850.

  • Jasonlava

    I have a Dell XPS 720 system.

    Core 2 Quad Q6600
    3gb ram
    750gb hdd
    Geforce 8800gt
    19″ monitor 1440×900, but I’m wanting to upgrade to 24″, 1080p
    Windows XP but I will go Windows 7 if I need to (student discount)

    I want to upgrade the video card.

    Should I get a 6850 or 6870? Will I see a significant gain by paying the extra $50 for the 6870 or will I be happy with a 6850?

    Thanks.

  • GOOG

    I have  :
    ASUS M3N78-VM  motherboard
    3 Gb of RAM 800 mhz
    Nvidia 8200 fused with the board ( i want to upgrade it )
    AMD processor Phenom X3 435 (3.00 ghz)

    Should I buy a ATI Radeon HD 6750 ?

  • Coolgaurav13

    I play cs. My system’s configuration is Mobile intel(R)  45 Express chipset family , 2 GB RAM,Windows7(32 bit) ,core2 duo, 2.1 Ghz ,
    My CS fps(Frame per second) rate is 34-34 . but i want it to be 100 or 100+ …so which Graphics card should i buy, my friend who also play cs has GTX and fps is 100 . I buy that one or else…plz help me .

  • Brandvik91

    i have a intel core i7-2600 CPU at 3.40GHz, 8GB RAM and operating windows 7 home premium 64bit version. right now my GPU is a Nvidia GeForce GT 420. my pc is a stock HP and i would like to put in a EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti. 

    (im a noob at this stuff)

    1. Can i put a new GPU in a stock desktop?

    2. Will my CPU handle that GPU?

    3. Seems like my GPU atm is kinda crap, is the GTX alot better?

    4. will the GTX work in my desktop at all?

    • Jerry

      1. What is your model?
      2. Yes.
      3. Yes.
      4. Depends on your model

  • Aco_V

    Hey i got just a little question u most likely will know the answer im just a noob and have no idea i got GF 9400 GT grafic card and i want to upgrade it to one of the X (Nvidia)series cause they are all nvidia i was told dunno where that they were all the same. but im not sure if they will fit on my motherboard do u know where i can check if they are the same so i can buy one without worry :)
    THanks

  • George

    “4- Teaming a powerful video card with a slow Cpu”
    I worked as a session player at a wedding, got paid 50 pounds for less than an hour. Was pretty decent for that amount of time. I decided to spend all that money on a new video card, and to my horror, when I fitted it, it worked like a charm, but didn’t really improve my performance. I’ve gotta say that these steps are all brilliant, and I’ve learned a lot from them. I’m very wary when it comes to buying video cards now, and it’s actually quite a frightening and apprehensive experience even looking for them! Dunno why I’m looking for cards, I should be looking for a new CPU, clearly!

  • Maneesh

    Well I have an Intel Core 2 Duo E7300 @2.66 and 2.67 ghz, 2 GB System RAM, Windows 7 64 bit, 450 W PSU, PCI Bus. Im going to get either an ATI Radeon HD 5670, HD 5450, HD 6570 or nVIDIA GeForce GT 520. I have a Gigabyte motherboard. I bought this system in June 2009. So will all these cards work on my CPU smoothly?

  • eastcoast

    I have Core I7 920 @ 2.67 ghz, RAM of 8gbs DDR3, using dual OS xp/W7 ultimate and a video card of nvidia GTX 260 twin frozr as you said crashes under games I run most of my games in “XP” .So I did troubleshoot it the temperature of my processor increases rapidly so I bought a cooler for it.” still 
    crashes under games.  I think I may lack of power somehow I really don’t know my power supply is 500watts I am planning to buy a new card probably with new power supply. Please help me I need tips and what to do cause I really don’t know what is happening in my PC, I can play most games smoothly and what card should best pick for? :)

  • GeorgeDavisC

    Is the Radeon HD6670 Good !! Check and let me know please.. And I heard there are many companies using the same GPU Which do you think will work best ?? Thank You.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pratyushrambo Pratyush Das

    “I’m afraid that your power supply may not up to the task of powering
    your new video card. Now, that’s most probably it, but it might not be
    it, make sure to troubleshoot before buying a new power supply.”
    trouble shoot what do you mean? How am I supposed to do that?I am a total newbie so please help,..I am thinking of buying a Radeon 6670,and have a 250W power supply,so I wil buy a new one 450W maybe…

    • GAFerreira

      you must use the new one

  • Issac

    I’m building a computer to make Youtube videos (aka. using Sony Vegas Pro 11) and on the side I game once in a blue moon. I was going to get a GTX560 Ti 448 but seeing as how my computer was already around $1,350 I decided to just use my i7 3770k’s integrated graphics (Intel HD 4000) for my purposes. One of the best decisions I made to cut down on the costs imo.

    Great article Mathieu! I listened to my wallet as suggested and came to this decision. Saved me ~$200.

    • Jerry

      wow your computer is pretty expensive mine came with a i7 3610QM and a GTX 660M and its a LAPTOP and it cost only 1100 dollars

  • mark m

    hi iv got a computer with 2gb ddr 2 dual channel ram and i am upgrade in cpu to core2 duo i have a pci-e x16 slot i dont play a lot of game but i have not had chance before any help would be great thanks mark

  • mark m

    i forgot to put what graphics card should i get

    • GAFerreira

      gtx 210/220

  • Nick13216

    I have a intel i3 3220(3.30GHz) Dual core CPU, 8GB RAM, and a 300W PSU. I wanted to know what I could get that could play medium to high range games. I was thinking about buying An Nvidia geforce gtx 650ti 1GB and getting a 500w PSU.

    • GAFerreira

      cpu will bottleneck a little bit… To verify it use Windows performance índex. the CPU and GPU performance numbers must be as close to each other as possible…

  • shadow comment

    one mistake i think some people make (i dident make it) is checking that your card even works witht he rest of your build, will it even plug into your motherbord?

    and even if you have the right amount of power from your power supply does have the right conector? i made this mistake, not with my gpu but with my motherbord and it can be made with any part

    now most motherbords will support most GPUs of the same or close to the same releese time and most power supplys will have the right conectors, but you should always check

  • Emilio Lombardo

    Hi, my cpu is a Pentium 4 550 (single core, 3.40 GHz) and i’d like to know what’s the best graphic card i could buy without having the bottleneck problem.
    Consider that on my PSU is written “Total power on +3.3V & +5V is 140 Watt max” and that i rarely play games with huge graphic load (the games i play more are Trackmania Nations Forever, Minecraft, Test Drive Unlimited and Civilization 5)
    (i already tried Thermaltake Power Supply Calculator, but it says i need almost 300 Watts!!)I’d also like to see YouTube videos in HD or, maybe, FullHD (with my 7800 gtx i can barely see HD only if i pause avast from monitoring and activate Game Booster 3 and Speed Fan)I would appreciate to have an answer as soon as possible

    • Emilio Lombardo

      Edit: i read wrong on my PSU, it’s 500 Watts
      I also tried again the Power Supply Calculator, this time more precisely, and now it says that i’m using 345 Watts

      • GAFerreira

        amd radeon 54xx, nvidia gtx 210/220

  • Pedigojimx

    That was a lot of good information – thanks.

  • Nikhil

    i have an intel pentium dual core e5300 cpu @378e592fe709e165f863219ae24eef72:disqus  2.6ghz . i want to buy a graphics card which will be good for gaming. please recommend some of the graphics card that are useful.

    • GAFerreira

      Mmm, maybe AMD Radeon 54xx? or maybe Nvidia GTX 210/220.

  • Ankit Raj

    mine pc’s configurations are as shown so which graphica card shuld i buy for playing and enjoying all action games or other types my budget is Rs 3000

     

  • SomeGuyNamedMark

    One good idea when building your own system is to look for hardware sites that have already built and tested demonstration systems with your desired MB or VC (video card).  They will likely find out for you what power demands the build has, benchmarks, compatibility issues, etc before you spend a lot of money.

  • Alex

    i looked for the memory, the band width and bits and i ended buying an ati radeon 6670 1gb drr5 128bit, which i still don’t know if it’s the right choice… i knew that my 450w psu is enough for it, i bought a fx 4100 and overclocked it, but now since crysis 3 apeared i wonder how it was if i had bought an 6850 or 6870… for my needs it was ok until now, and i have bought it 4months ago. i’m playing on 1360*768 (my native monitor res) with ultra settings all the games, including bf3,crysis 2 and other demanding games, but i can’t play crysis 3 at such a low res with everything on ultra and AA and antistropic at max, i just have to give up some eye candy for performance ending up playing at 1360*768 high settings, no AA, andtistropic – trilinear.
    my question is: should i upgrade my gpu to a better 7850? or is not worth paying the money on a mid to high-end gpu for the res i am playing at, since i’m probably going to bottleneck it at that res. give me an advice on which card to buy next time for my settings (i remention : 1360*768, AA x8, antistropic x16, everything on ultra)

  • Jose

    Thank you for your wise words=]

  • Sameer Jamsutkar

    I have intel core 2 duo E7500 with gigabyte G41M-ES2L and 500 W psu ….i am planning to buy nvidia gtx 650 ti boost…..what should i do???please help….

  • suyog

    I have Intel(R)Pentium(R)Dual CPU E2140 @1.6GHz
    2GB RAM and 64 bit windows 7 OS.
    I am thinking of buying Zotac nvidia geforce gt610 synergy edition 2GB ddr3 graphics card.
    What would u suggest and i am concerned about the dimensions and whether it’ll work smoothly on my system or not!
    I would like 2 play games like crysis 3,COD: modern warfare,
    fifa 14, hitman: absolution, far cry 3 so on………!
    please help…!

    • Blablub

      Sorry, but your cpu was not very fast 6 years ago and now it is
      just slow, a 610 will also not cut it. Id recommend upgrading to
      a core 2 quad (about 50+ Dollars ebay), 4 gb ram (30 ebay),

      a 460 1 gb if your resolution is lower then 1080p (70 dollar ebay)

      or a 560 ti 2gb (100 ebay) if you play at or above 1080p. Youd want a psu that can deliver at least about 400w on the 12v rails for that.

      You could also visit a forum or google to look for a recent gaming pc build that fits your budget.

  • Jack

    Brilliant article mate! You gave very good advice, I agree with you 100%.

  • Andrew Alisuag

    love love love the article. The title caught my attention and oh so everly pleased to read some spot on mistake scenarios worded exactly how I would have worded it. It’s just a topic I obsess about you have my approval!!!

  • bob

    Gtx 650 ti boost on a 1600×1200 monitor with a phenom x4@ 2.4 ghs? Sound about right?

  • Amadues

    I have an dell optiplex 620 mobo MT edition with Intel Pentium D 2.80 GHz i want to buy a new graphic card i’ll check the power supply, but yeah i dont know what video crad i’ll have to buy so i need a feedback :3

  • Akshay

    Any other Graphic card with the same specification as of ATI Radeon HD 5570 1GB DDR3 HDMI?

  • Amjad Khan

    Hi, I read your article its very helpful for me i have Query if you please response me i will appreciate.
    I have Intel DH61WW motherboard,
    Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-3210, 3.20 GHz,
    4 GB Ram,
    And i have also Cooler Master Extreme 525 power supply,
    64 bit OS installed.
    I want to buy one of these Graphics Card Brand/Product (”msi”) Nvidia Geforce GTX N760,N770 or N770 TF.
    Which one i should buy or there is no match for my pc ??
    please its Urgent Suggest or Answer my query…
    Thanks in advance :)

  • Guest

    Hi, I read your article its very helpful for me i have Query if you please response me i will appreciate.

    I have Intel DH61WW motherboard,

    Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-3210, 3.20 GHz,

    4 GB Ram,

    And i have also Cooler Master Extreme 525 power supply,

    64 bit OS installed.

    I want to buy one of these Graphics Card Brand/Product (”msi”) Nvidia Geforce GTX N770 LIGHTNING,N770-TF or N760 HAWK.
    All in (2 GB 256 Bit DDR5 PCI 3.0)

    Which one i should buy or there is no match for my pc ??

    please its Urgent Suggest/Advice or Answer my query !?
    I’m upload pics of these cards

    Thanks in advance :)

  • Amjad Khan

    Hi, I read your article its very helpful for me i have Query if you please response me i will appreciate.

    I have Intel DH61WW motherboard,

    Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-3210, 3.20 GHz,

    4 GB Ram,

    And i have also Cooler Master Extreme 525 power supply,

    64 bit OS installed.

    I want to buy one of these Graphics Card Brand/Product (”msi”) Nvidia Geforce GTX N770 LIGHTNING,N770-TF or N760 HAWK.

    All in (2 GB 256 Bit DDR5 PCI 3.0)

    Which one i should buy or there is no match for my pc ??

    please its Urgent Suggest/Advice or Answer my query !?

    I’m upload pics of these cards

    Thanks in advance :)

    • guessed

      go with the GTX 760, as your CPU and only 4GB ram might hold back the full performance of a GTX 770

      • Amjad Khan

        Thank you, If there is other Graphics Card in market that you Recommend me on GTX 760 HAWK or Better then 760 HAWK??

        • sarah

          GTX 760 is very powerful, your cpu need to be i5 to i7 and ram 8gb mini 16 good 32gb is perfect, else you cant have full performance if not half performance

          • Amjad Khan

            You are right, I should go with normal graphics card and thanks for the advice sarah, I appreciate :-)

  • viva775

    hey guys i have a new laptop and i want to know what i should upgrade, im useing my laptop for photoshop, and school nothing like editing, games i play are:
    Sleeping dogs, GTA V, Need for speed Rivals

    here are my specs:
    Processor
    Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-3630QM CPU @ 2.40GHz

    (RAM)
    8,00 GBGraphics
    Intel(R) HD Graphics 4000 & Nvidia Geforce GT 650m 2GBMemory
    2TB(HDD) + 250 Gb (SSD)screen Resolution
    1920×1080 ( Full HD)

  • Nillerman

    Hey folks, i’m about to buy a new video card but i don’t know which one i should buy.
    i’ve thought about buying either a msi gtx 780 lightning or an EVGA GeForce GTX 780 6GB SC w/ EVGA ACX Cooler.

    my budget do only stretch around there price class.

    Please help, and i’m open to suggestons

  • thegodfather4u

    i have a 23 inch monitor, linked with a kms switch to 1 ddr2 computer with 3.4 dual xghz core intel , and the other with amd 3/ 4 core 3.2ghz ddr3. When im on my amd computer the screen blacks out for a second. both systems have the Nvidia ddr3 gforce 210/ 1gb card, and the amd card is the oldest one. My resolution on both systems is 1980×1080.I guess its time to buy a new card for the amd, BUT….im retired and never play games just videos and photo enhancement, SO…….is this the card I should use or should I use a lower grade? (both systems have 1 tb hdd, 8-16 gb ram )………..any ideas?

    email: daddies_here@inbox.com

  • ortotype

    Hi I’m planning to upgrade my system.
    My system has a core i5 3330 , 8Gb DDR3 ram, 1080 p monitor

    I’m planning to play graphics heavy games, game development, photo shop and im an engieering student so ill be running various simulators.

    I’m choosing between a gtx 770 2 gb , gtx 760 4gb, and I’m willing to consider the 750ti if my system is to much of a bottleneck, if it’s a bottleneck at all.

    Will my system be a bottleneck for the 770, which card should I buy
    And do I need the 4gb ram that the 760 offers

    • Dark one

      Your CPU is fine for 770 and for 1080p 2 GB is still adequate tho 3gb is sweet spot in terms of value / future proofing. 750ti is good for a small case build as lowpower consumption and low heat output. Tho it will run games at 1080p fine u Wont be able to run games with all settings maxed.

      770 has a good bit more firepower than 760 but depends on what games u play as to if more vram is worth it ie skyrimv modded loves extra vram or multi monitor gaming .

  • will

    i have lots of lag on a game play… fps starts at 140 and drifts down to 20 or so throughout the game.
    could a 1tb hdd be holding back an r9 200?

    • Frank van Trotsenburg

      no. think about better cooling, a lower resolution in game or perhaps more ram.

  • keith

    hey i wanted to know whether the cool master thunder 700w will be able to supply a SAPPHIRE R9 280X TOXIC 3GB graphics card.

  • ChuchoFett

    Can anyone answer me why new video/graphic cards are not that much more powerful?? for example, whenever i try to compare Sapphire Radeon R9 280 vs Sapphire Radeon HD 6870 (1600sp) i find that in some tests and stuff 6870 is better and if not it’s behind for like 5 – 20% i don’t think it’s worth paying $250 for a new card if it’s not gonna give you at least a 35% increase in overall performance in all of the aspects .. because if not .. then why change? why not go Crossfire? i’m speculating .. i need help before i make a mistake.. and buy the wrong thing! thanks!! (my budget is around $200 give or take).

    NOTE: the way i think is because the first PC i rigged had a VisionTEK Radeon HD 3870 and that card rocked .. even though it ran pretty hot in my Antec 900 it runned games for almost 5 years with no problem whatsoever on Ultra, High and Mid/High settings at 720 and 1080p (in some games) on the 6th year of this baby idk if it was that i was already demanding more or that the card was already falling behind but it started giving me some small performance issues. When i upgraded it was to a Sapphire Radeon HD 6870 (1600sp) and i felt the difference but it didn’t felt the same way, i know games now days are getting more and more demanding but i feel that the price/performance balance between card models have change by miles… please please please help me decide if it’s worth the money to upgrade to a Sapphire Radeon R9 280.

    Thanks in advance, and sorry for the Long message ….

  • Mr. Shoe

    You missed a couple reasons:
    8: Buying two lower end video cards just to say you have SLI or Crossfire, and with the misconception that you get 100% scaling.
    9: Buying solely based on whether it’s Nvidia or ATI

    • Nathan Balfourth

      Hm not sure i agree with 9

  • UnholyV3nd3tta

    Hi, I have an i3 dual core processor with 2.5 ghz and with a 24 inch 1920×1080 monitor, with a AMD HD Radeon 6670 with 16 GB of ram and I’m looking to get a NVIDIA GTX 750 ti would this work alright with what I have?

    • Karthik Dhruva

      Wow 16GB Ram you have a beast of a memory :)

  • Adrian Lew

    I just got a 27″ full hd monitor.. but for some reason full hd does not look that crisp, I have an older radeon 4600 hd card.. Is it a graphic card thing? Or watching HD videos does not really make difference which card?

    • Karthik Dhruva

      Sir as far as I know your graphic card plays a pivotal role in displays specially while watching movies. But you need to have a good Processor as well to have the best viewing experience.

  • Karthik Dhruva

    Hello Sir,

    I made a mistake by not doing enough research. I bought a work station Graphic card, to play games (you might think what a fool) I made a silly mistake to see its specs and thought wow it will be great to play the new Fifa 15. I bought, Sapphire AMD/ATI FirePro V5900 2 GB GDDR5 Graphics Card. My question is that will it work well for any games released in the future after an year? I had HD 5700 before, is it a downgrade from my previous card? Hope you help me.

  • Kavin Raj

    which one would u say is better in terms of performance ASUS Radeon R9 280X 3gb or msi ati radeon r9 270x 4gb ddr5 ? pls tel me am confused

    • Dying_in_this_Crap_World

      280 will whip 270s ass, even with 1gb less ram.

  • Nathan Balfourth

    Does buying a strong graphics card with a not so powerful motherboard do anything? or does it not really matter