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Looking for a new graphics card

Discussion in Hardware Hangout started by dillinger, Jan 2, 2013

  1. Feb 1, 2011
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    I've had nothing but trouble with my HD Radeon 6800's - lately the problem being that the only driver that will install without bluescreening my computer is the CD that came with the card, which doesn't include Catalyst Control Center that allows me to tweak my settings. They've also been prone to overheat on me.

    So I'm thinking I should go back with NVidia, but I don't want to spend more than I need to. The HD 6800's performance seemed fine for me, so I guess I'm looking to get something on par with that that is more reliable.

    Here are my system specs if needed:
    EDIT: Finally got Catalyst working by some miracle, but I'd still like to see what my options are. If I can get a good NVidia card for under 300 or so I'd be inclined to go for it.
  2. Jan 11, 2012
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    Maybe try the GTX560 Ti, nice performance and not that expensive
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • Mar 12, 2008
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      Taters, Jan 2, 2013 Last edited by Taters, Jan 2, 2013
    • May 14, 2011
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      Actually you may be in luck cause my friend had this exact same issue with the catalyst drivers.

      Update your motherboards bios and drivers and then update catalyst.

      To keep temps down install MSI Afterburner and set a custom fan curve that is just more aggressive then the stock one.
    • Jun 4, 2006
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      I'm surprised you had issues with catalyst. Even though you apparently got it working it might not be a bad idea to try the beta drivers and app profiles (cap2): AMD Catalyst™ 12.11 Beta Driver

      Also in catalyst ensure xfire is enabled for apps that have no profiles. Not sure how much this will help your specific situation, but for the overheating you might want to try installing MSI Afterburner, letting it run at startup and using it to control your gpu fans. You can make a custom curve for how fast it should speed up your fans based on its current temp. Here's mine to give you an idea: http://i.imgur.com/D6E3A.png

      Though I only started using this recently due to OC'ing, and I've never had overheating issues with my 6870's whilst I've had them so this may not solve your issue, but it couldn't hurt (unless of course you made a dumb curve that ran your gpu fans slower than they already do...). If you end up messing with this you can also use Afterburner to monitor your gpu temps / use whilst stress testing / playing a game.

      Offering troubleshooting tips instead of advice for a new card as I think if you had yours working as they should you'd be satisfied as they have plenty of oomph in them to run new titles maxed out (presuming you don't have a bottleneck elsewhere like CPU (if you ever want to OC this I can help you with it btw)) and you can save yourself some $ before you really need to upgrade to a better video card setup in the future. I doubt you're going to find a single nvidia card for under $300 that out performs a 6870 crossfire setup, but it's been a while since I've looked at the video card market so don't take my word on it. Lately AMD's drivers aren't great, even their beta drivers, so I'm really hoping the next update fixes a lot of the reported issues.
      • Like Like x 1
      • Apr 9, 2012
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        It's known that the HD6000's were the worst version out of the HD series.
        It's funny but when I wanted to go to FORCOM, computer specialists, I told them if I should upgrade from my HD5870 to the HD6870.

        They laughed and flatly told me that I should keep my HD5870 since the HD6000's were worse than mine. As a result it seemed to be right, as other friends' their computer don't run as smooth as mine while having arguably the same specs and a GPU of the HD6000's.

        The only bright side of the HD6000's is that they were made to perform better with Xfire, but I don't like Xfire so I had no use buying 2 HD6870's
      • May 14, 2011
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        They were very high on power draw, which is why they ran hot. So Crossfire was expensive to run.
      • Mar 12, 2008
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        just open the side and put a fan on it, everything will be k
        • Useful Useful x 1
        • May 14, 2011
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          Watch out for dust!

          And for the 6xxx series 9~C is an ok temp.
        • May 20, 2011
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          Hey dill.

          I'm running a HD6850 myself and had overheating problems myself when OC'ing (none without tbh). I didn't have to install Afterburner, I just went into the Cata Centre and had a manual fan speed put on. Even though, my PSU is not powerful enough for OC'ing my card so I disabled it until I get a new one. As Brian suggested, you're better off trying to tweak your current card and see what performances you could get out from it until you upgrade, then you'd be a 100% sure you are marked for an upgrade. I haven't really had any problems with any drivers as I'm still running the 12.10 version, not really sure if an update came out in the meanwhile.

          I could go ahead and give you a cracked version of Driver Genius Professional, that'll update all of your drivers for all components to the latest stable builds, just let me know.
          • Informative Informative x 1
          • Mar 16, 2008
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            You've honestly had issues with your graphic cards since you got them. Good riddance once you replace them.
          • Jul 1, 2010
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            I went from a single 5870 to a single 6870 and definitely noticed a good bit of difference.. I have personally loved my single 6870. Overall performance increase of a machine when switching a video card isn't necessarily only on the video card and has several factors. I'm not sure what CPU you or your friend have though.

            -

            Have no idea about the blue screen with the catalyst driver suite, although its good that you got it to work. I also haven't taken a look at the NVidia market for way too long so I'm also no help there.
            • Agree Agree x 1
              Dharkk, Jan 2, 2013 Last edited by Dharkk, Jan 2, 2013
            • Jun 11, 2012
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              I have a 680 and truly adore it. Sure it seems a bit too much but I've been using a 250 for the longest time and needed a upgrade, so with the release of their new chipset it seemed logical. Bit of a heat but that being dispersed by the overkill amount of fan on my case.

              Also 3d is well done and not used as a tech demo piece. But don't make it the dealbreaker
            • May 14, 2011
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              Good fans are better than loads of cheap fans.
            • Jun 11, 2012
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              Trust me they are top notch, the case supported a buttload and I have set up to kick in depending on overrall temperature.
            • May 14, 2011
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              Unless they are Noctua fans they are not top. I recently bought 4 noctua fans myself and you cant get better.
            • Jan 11, 2012
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              CM (Cooler Master) , just sayn
            • Dec 6, 2011
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              @dillinger You were running crossfire with 6850's/6870's?

              Anyways, the 7000 series really improved so you shouldn't give up hope on AMD just yet. I'd recommend one strong card instead of 2 mainstream gaming ones for many reasons such as heat, compatibility, and just the knowledge that crossfire never really doubles your performance. Now, I see some people are suggesting previous generation cards. This is a huge no-no across the board because they don't really drop in price too much compared to the next generation, and they simply have older hardware that won't run as efficiently. Unless you find a great deal on a *NEW* card on Ebay or something, you want to stay away from previous generation cards.

              Now I'm not sure about the performance area you're looking for, so I'll start in the best general area of ~$300, which is the GTX 660 Ti 2GB-3GB/HD7950 3GB range.

              For Nvidia, Newegg has a great deal on a EVGA GTX 660 Ti 3GB right now. Why the 3GB version and not the regular 2GB version? The bonus 1GB will come in handy for if you want to SLI in the future and add in a 2nd card down the road so you don't have to waste more money on a whole new card. And since VRAM never doubles in Xfire/SLI setups, you will be running 3GB of video RAM with TWO GTX 660 Ti's. What exactly does this mean? It means that if you go ahead with the 2GB version and SLI later, in a year or two you'll have just about double the GTX 660 Ti power, but only 2GB of video RAM, which can max out in some upcoming games on 1920x1080 resolution or higher. Now, of course it's just a suggestion, but it's a good plan since the 3GB version only costs a few bucks more, which in the long run can save you probably 1-2 years of having to upgrade if you SLI.

              For AMD, I recommend the MSI HD7950 Twin Frozr 3GB, it runs for the same price as the 660 Ti 3GB, and is somewhat comparable in performance. Though you're going to get quite a bit better cooling on this card, since it's a dual fan cooler.

              I grabbed a comparison of the cards on AnandTech, so you can see what you're up against to decide. ----> http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/550?vs=647

              Now, you need to keep a few things in mind. First off, this shows the 7950 at a stock clock of 800MHz, with a stock cooler as well. The 660 Ti is shown with a 915MHz clock. This is basically saying the 7950 is almost underclocked compared to the 660 Ti, meaning that it can still boost some more speed with quite a bit of headroom. What does any of this mean? For example, my 7950 card with a dual fan cooler overclocks to 1100MHz easily, with 1200MHz being my max that I'll run. The 660 Ti can overclock to about 1100MHz as well, but from a closer starting point. This means the 7950 has a lot more potential than the 660 Ti to boost performance.

              Two other things to keep in mind about the AnandTech comparison, is AMD just released a great beta driver that boosts many game's FPS by 10-25%. Though it's in the beta stages so it's not official yet, but still something to consider for when it makes an official release. I've also explained before how AMD is more future-proof than Nvidia. Simply said, AMD makes a card that is more generalized for future games, while Nvidia works with the current generation of games, specializing in a few to keep FPS up, such at BF3 and Batman: Arkham City. For example, when the 600 series for Nvidia just released, all they talked about was comparing Batman Arkham City and Battlefield 3 to the AMD cards, talking about their PhysX, and how much better they were.

              So in the end, it comes to your decision on what you would like the most out of each card. Though, if you plan on running something lower than 1920x1080 resolution, and don't plan on upgrading for more than a few years, go with Nvidia. If you're already running a 2560x1440 or 2560x1600 monitor already, your best bet is with AMD, but Nvidia can still be considered.

              If you have any questions to what I explained, PLEASE ASK! I tried to explain everything in a sense, but I could be confusing somewhere.

              ***EDIT***: I wanted to add in that maybe it's time for a clean sweep of the hard drive(s), or updating other drivers or your BIOS. Try saving all of your important things and reinstalling your OS, then the newest AMD drivers right after and see if you still have trouble installing the drivers BEFORE buying a brand new card.


              tl:dr : Go back and read it. Very helpful information.
              Post Merged, Jan 2, 2013
              Um no. CM still doesn't come close to Noctua fans. Remember the Noctua saying: "The uglier the better!"
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                Brett, Jan 2, 2013 Last edited by Brett, Jan 2, 2013
              • Feb 21, 2007
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                will you be watercooling your GPU?
              • May 14, 2011
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                The 6xxx series overclock like ***** anyway. I had a 6970 and if I put to clock up it just went slower. >.<

                The cards shouldn't ACTUALLY overheat if not overclocked. They should just get really hot.