Ask Maximum PC: Which Videocard Should I Buy?

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Grimdrix

Choosing the chipset has never been the difficult part. That takes zero expertise and about 5 minutes of googling. The difficult part is choosing between the fifty different incarnations/brands of that chipset. OC'd, not OC'd, different fan/heatsink setups. They benchmark differently. They operate at different noise levels and temps.

Telling someone what chipset GPU to get is like telling someone looking for car buying advice "get a sedan, say, under 20k." I guess it's a start...

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alex_dh9

I want a card that will play games perfectly. I want Crysis 2 maxed out and I want BF3 maxed out.  I need to do this on a single monitor, probably 24-27". What GPU should I get? Will the GTX570 do this for me? Would the 580 be overkill on a single monitor?

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DR_JDUBZ

570 isnt powerful enough at full, and nvidia cards are terrible at antialiasing. you either need a 580 or for 150$ less a 6970 to do it at full.  though thats for crysis 2, bf3 needs way more power. a 6970 will run it at high but not ultra or max, or 580 at ultra for 150$ more. if your motherboard supports crossfire 2 6870 will do bf3 at ultra or for 50$ more 2 560 ti 1gb in sli will do a little better

hope this helps

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BonzTM

Good read.

 

For HTPC users, I suggest AMD HD5xxx or HD6xxx series.  The low end ones (5450/6450) are very cheap and can decode full Bluray as well as bitstream TrueHD/DTSMA.  They are nice cards.

I don't know how the new i3's are with Home Theater, but AMD's Zacate is a HTPC in a box essentially.  You get all the HTPC goodness of the 6xxx gpus in 1 package.  For most HTPC enthusiasts, bitstreaming HD audio is a must... Zacate will take care of that.  Don't get me wrong, I'm an intel fanboy at heart, but AMD takes the cake with everything Home Theater.

 

For mid range gaming, 560ti and HD6950's are great bang for the buck.  The 6950 has more RAM and supports 3+ monitors.  It's great for eyefinity/multi monitor gaming.  Nvidias comparible cards are a little faster, but AMD offers 3+ monitors on a single card as well as HTPC perks on all their cards.  I use my gaming PC for both eyefinity gaming and home theater, so AMD is what I went with.  But I'm a specific case.  

 

Obviously high end folks aren't looking for bang for the buck.  580(s)/590 or 6990(s) it is.

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Kaze

When I'm using the onboard video card on the Z68, can I simply add a Radeon HD and use all the monitor outputs on all cards simultaneously? So, in theory, I could run the 3 onboard outputs and pair them with three additional outputs for a total of 6 monitors?

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Fragtastic28

I run a AMD Phenom II x4 965 BE 3.40ghz,2 Evga Gtx 460 1gb SLI, 8gb DDR3 ADATA 1600 ram. Run all games on 1920x1080 on full settings this things screams like a beast! best 1k i spent ever....now just waiting for a game that i can really test her on....

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maleficarus™

I just finished a full system upgrade from a 3GHz dual core to an i5 2500K@4GHz with the new Asus P8Z68-V Pro motherboard. I also have a GTX460 video card. Every game I play runs smooth as butta in 1680x1050 max deatils 16x AF...I am all set for BF3 and Duke Nuken Forever!!

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szore

I just jacked my system up as well: i7-2600K 3.4 oc to 4.6, mushkin 4gb, corsair H70, MSI P67A-GD65, i dropped in a BFG GTX 570 and never looked back... Getting the proc on surprise sale at Microcenter for just $279 made me splurge a little on the vcard, its really nice...

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maleficarus™

Not a bad price for a 2600K. I paid $220 CAD for my i5 2500K.

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SikeMo

So if I were to pair an i5-2500 with an ASUS EAH6570, would I be wasting my money? I am going to be building a new micro-ATX HTPC rig in a couple of months and this is what I had in mind. Are the embedded graphics in the i5 as good as the 6570? Anyone have any idea what kind of resolutions I would be able to run with the 6570 on a FPS type game?

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loyd

Depends on what you're doing. If you're gaming, that 6570 will spend some time waiting on the CPU. In that scenario, it will be unbalanced. If it's mainly for an HTPC, then it should be fine -- but then, so will that 2500K just running on Intel HD graphics.

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SikeMo

Thanks Loyd,

This will primarily be an HTPC for XBMC, TV recording, transcoding, and audio recording (guitar via external interface). I would consider spending a little extra $$ for gaming, but that's not my priority. I am really looking for a quiet/low power machine to be paired with a QNAP NAS. I am also considering a mini-ITX box, but I haven't seen a mini-ITX mobo with firewire, which I require for my audio interface. Hmmm, things to consider.

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BonzTM

Sike,

That machine looks like a very good build.  Mild gaming with focus on home theater and encoding.  The 2500 will perform very well.

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SikeMo

Hmm, I just found an MSI micro-ATX Z68 board with Realtek ALC892 (which can bitstream DTS-HD and TrueHD). Looks like that may well be good enough for me. Should be a killer combo with the i5-2500K. Perhaps no need for the video card then.

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Biceps

Upgraded recently to a 570 and an Intel Core2Quad Extreme (raging discount on the motherboard and the processor with the i7 coming out).  I'm sure I'm missing out a little by going with the older processor, but am quite happy with the setup as a whole. :)  Even Metro 2033 plays beautifully on higher settings - though 3D vision isn't usable with that games.  Every other game I have I can run with 3D Vision and get very playable frame rates at high or highest settings. YAY!

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noobstix

For me, I can stand to run "mid-range" hardware since I don't use 1080p resolutions (I'm currently running at 1440x900 which is probably a fairly uncommon resolution nowadays).  Although I can crank everything to the max and turn everything on in most games out today (without much of a lag in performance), I usually leave AA off completely since the high details can usually focus my attention from the jagged edges from a distance.  I normally look for cards that have great "mainstream" performance, has the quality to last for at least a few years (unlike a certain brand), and don't break my cash reserves in the time I need it.

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kixofmyg0t

The GPU I use everyday is Tegra2....

 

The GPU I use for gaming is a 7800GTX...in my PS3....

 

The excuse for a GPU I have in my most current laptop is a Radeon HD3200 that I only use to play StarCraft 2, cuz thats the only PC game I care about. 

 

Eventually once I build my next desktop(Waiting for Bulldozer) i'll get a 6870...maybe two. That maybe overkill for Diablo 3 though....

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rawrnomnom

Im running a 560 Ti Currently paired with an i7, previously paired with a phenom 2 x4 and an athlon 2x4, and i can run run any of my games at max settings at 1920 x 1080, Enjoyable playable settings with 4-8x MSAA and 4-8x AA depending on game. thats ~230 - 250. Its more card than i thought when i bought it. I go through quite a few components because I do reviews for a couple websites, and i have friends that plunk down cash for any new thing that comes out, often resulting in me getting some pretty awesome hardware for a pretty awesome discount. Going from a ~200 card to a ~250 card yeilds some extremely noticable performance increases. 

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