Shopping for a new graphics card

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Hey - 

My computer was built by me almost 9 years ago. When I made it I bought a Radeon x800 card which has served me well for many years. However, the graphics card fan is starting to make noise so I fear it's on its death bed.

two questions

(1) Some people online suggest replacing the fan - any idea if this is actually feasible/where to buy replacement fans
(2) my inclination is to buy a new card. As you can tell I'm not a heavy gamer anymore since I haven't upgraded my card. However, I do occasionally play (Starcraft 2, Portal, FTL which need no graphics) and I also use dual DVI monitors (and perhaps would like to upgrade to a 27' setup). I haven't kept up with what graphics card is where and I was looking for a recommendation for a modern graphics card that is the equivalent to what the x800 was when I bought it (hopefully for no more than $100). My PSU is an Antec earthwatts EA430 430W, my PCI slot is x16 (Other less relevant information, I'm running Win 7, have 8gb ram, AMD 3x CPU)

Thanks for the feedback

 

Member Summary

replacing the fan would be an easy option, or it could just need the dust blown our of it, if you want to replace the card on the cheap, and like ATI cards, look at Radeon HD 7770

When replacing an older video card, there are several things to consider: Processing Power, Wattage and Compatibility.

Processing Power - The x800 was a beast back in the day, but now any $25 card will smoke it quite handily
Wattage - Wattage is important, Your PSU has 2 +12 rails with 17 amps each/ Should be able to run most budget - low/midend cards

Compatibility - This one is tricky, You have an PCIe x16 slot, but what version. Most cards these days use 2.1. It is backwards compatible with 2.0, but not 1.1/1.0. Based on age of PC, I suspect you have 1.0 slots. I suggest you look for cards that are PCI 2.0 or less to ensure compatibility. That takes most new cards of the table.

I would go with a GT 610 if you just want something passable. If you want to maximize your build, get the best 2.0 card under 100 watts that your budget allows.

ATI 4650 or Nvidia 640 gt are about the best that are still being manufactured for old boards. They benchmark in the 350+ range. Your card benches about 75 on the same scale. The GT 610 benches 150, so even the cheapies will beat what you have.

Thanks for the info @dmccall4, after some hunting I was able to figure out my board is a GA-MA770-UD3 which has a PCI-E 2.0 16x slot. Does that change your recommendation at all? I'd ideally like to get something that will last me as long as my X800 has.

Thanks again!

Yes, it does. PCI 2.1 cards are backwards compatible with 2.0. That means you can buy as much card as you can power/afford and it should work. In the 100 price range I like the 7770 (or maybe a 7790 if you are lucky you can catch it on sale for about the same as 7770). Both sip power at about 80-85 watts. On the Nvidia side the GTX 650 (not TI or Boost editions) competes nicely with a 7770 and uses only 65 watts power. There are many cards close to these prices, but their power usages jumps to 150 watts+, so you will have to be careful with a 430 watt psu.

dmccall4 said:   Yes, it does. PCI 2.1 cards are backwards compatible with 2.0. That means you can buy as much card as you can power/afford and it should work. In the 100 price range I like the 7770 (or maybe a 7790 if you are lucky you can catch it on sale for about the same as 7770). Both sip power at about 80-85 watts. On the Nvidia side the GTX 650 (not TI or Boost editions) competes nicely with a 7770 and uses only 65 watts power. There are many cards close to these prices, but their power usages jumps to 150 watts+, so you will have to be careful with a 430 watt psu.
  PCI-E 2.0 vs. 2.1, yes, but PCI 2.0 vs. 2.1 or even 2.2, apparently not.   I think the problem with 2.0 vs. 2.1 is lack of a power voltage, but 2.2 wireless network cards didn't work with any 2.1 I tried.

PCIe 2.0 and 2.1  are essentially identical for everyday use. They are the same speed and the same power. 2.1 was a maintenance that added troubleshooting routines that are essentially useless  to the end user.

PCI is and older standard as is a different story from PCIe,  PCI 2.2 was made in 1998 and is quite old now.  

The difference is that PCI had two standards for power. 3.3v and 5v.  If the card has a notch near the connector plate of the card, it is 3.3v, if the notch is on the other end it is a 5v card. If it has two notches it is a universal card. 

PCI 2.3 started phasing out 5v cards and only had 3.3v or universal cards.  PCI 3.0 only has 3.3v cards.

 

Just get a new card. There are lots of cheap but good low end cards from both nvidia and amd nowadays that will not only run circles around the x800 but that also support the latest directx and opengl versions.

on a side note. I got a new card and it was causing my computer to overheat (with the same usage and no gaming). An older but cooler card would probably not have had as many issues.

I ended up getting a new case with better airflow which helped substantially.

Ok this maybe crazy but I just went through the same issues with the exact same hardware.

I built a decent gaming PC in 2005 with a x800. In 2010 I build another new desktop with the exact same GA-MA770-UD3 motherboard that AvatarZ is using. I carried over the x800 since I was not longer gaming. I even have a AMD 3x CPU like AvatarZ (I unlocked the 4th core btw).

I recently wanted to run 3 monitors and my x800 could not do it. I also got into playing a few PC games and really noticed the x800 couldn't handle them. I ended up buying a MSI HD 7770. Newegg has them for 60-70 with MIR every few weeks.

OP- I don't think you will get the life span that we got out of the x800 without spending $200+. Remember this is what the x800 (and its line of models) cost when we bought ours. I think I paid $190 after MIR for my x800XL in 2005 from zipzoomfly.

Zuke76 said:   Ok this maybe crazy but I just went through the same issues with the exact same hardware.

I built a decent gaming PC in 2005 with a x800. In 2010 I build another new desktop with the exact same GA-MA770-UD3 motherboard that AvatarZ is using. I carried over the x800 since I was not longer gaming. I even have a AMD 3x CPU like AvatarZ (I unlocked the 4th core btw).

I recently wanted to run 3 monitors and my x800 could not do it. I also got into playing a few PC games and really noticed the x800 couldn't handle them. I ended up buying a MSI HD 7770. Newegg has them for 60-70 with MIR every few weeks.

OP- I don't think you will get the life span that we got out of the x800 without spending $200+. Remember this is what the x800 (and its line of models) cost when we bought ours. I think I paid $190 after MIR for my x800XL in 2005 from zipzoomfly.

  Wow that is kind of crazy,

I was thinking of the MSI 7790 at Newegg here. Thoughts? I am particularly concerned because I think I may one day want to run two 27' high res monitors. Its unclear to me if the card can drive two of those (I recall reading something about dual link dvi vs. regular which I wasn't able to figure out)

I think one of the reasons our x800 lasted so long is the 256bit memory bus. I would look for one with the that if you are looking to get many years out of a gpu again.

The HD 7850 is the lowest priced one you will find with prices around 120 after MIR. The HD 7870 would be the next step up with prices around 150 after MIR.

I was shooting to get a 7870 but couldn't swing the extra cash.



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