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Help with Video Card Selection

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Hey All,

I've lurked here for a while, but now I have a legitimate question I'm having a problem with and this forum seems like it has a lot of knowledgeable folks and few trolls.

So to set this up, I'm building a multi-purpose HTPC to serve three purposes. Primarily it is to be an HTPC. I also render 3D animations/renderings, so it's to be used as a render node on occasion. Lastly, I'd like to do a bit of gaming on it. I use an xbox now, but I'd like to have the capability to run games at reasonably high quality without issues.

So my question is this: What video card should I get that will be quiet, yet powerful enough to run games (BF3, Skyrim, etc) and possibly handle 3D BR movies if I go that route?

These are the two video cards I'm looking at now that fall close to my $200 budget, but I am wide open to other suggestions that keep in mind: Noise, Performance, and Cost
Gigabyte GTX 560 Ti 1GB
HIS IceQ X Radeon HD 7850 2GB

I'm used to workstation graphics cards, so I'm not familiar with the plethora of gaming cards out there. I've always used Nvidia, but I'm not opposed to ATI/AMD if it's obviously a better choice. From AnandTech comparisons,

At some point, I may have to look at the power consumption as well. I've got a Seasonic 750W power supply feeding an AMD FX-8350 (125W) and 32GB Corsair Vengeance RAM. Both of the video carsd I'm looking at require at least 500W.

I have a ton of other questions, but I'll save those for later wink.gif

Thanks so much for any help you can offer :beer:
post #2 of 22
newegg has a zotac 4gb ddr3 cards for under $80 bucks right now. thats the card im currently eyeballin... im running a nvidia gt520 2gb card in my htpc, no complains in the movie dept, but i also play games and the 2 gb card struggles a bit in that dept.
post #3 of 22
Getting a fairly low end card with lots VRAM isn't beneficial. Your card struggles to game because, well, it's a low end card. Don't waste your money on the 4GB card.

OP, what's your budget? Out of the two you mentioned, I would get the 7850.
post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by amarshonarbangla View Post

OP, what's your budget? Out of the two you mentioned, I would get the 7850.

My budget is around $200. Even though I use Nvidia in my workstation, I was actually leaning towards the 7850 because they tout the quiet aspect of it. Is there any particular reason you would choose that card over the other? Any card you'd choose over both of these (within the budget of course)?
post #5 of 22
For a budget of $200, I wouldn't get any other card but the 7850. It's the best performing card in that price range and is fairly efficient too.
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by amarshonarbangla View Post

For a budget of $200, I wouldn't get any other card but the 7850. It's the best performing card in that price range and is fairly efficient too.

Sounds like a plan, man! Thanks for your help smile.gif
post #7 of 22
Bioshock Infinite and Tomb Raider are free with the 7850, that's reason enough.
post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by stusic View Post

Sounds like a plan, man! Thanks for your help smile.gif

You are welcome smile.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by macks View Post

Bioshock Infinite and Tomb Raider are free with the 7850, that's reason enough.

+1
post #9 of 22
Noise: Avoid a single fan cooler. It can't be quiet at load.
post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 
See, that just messed me up. The IceQ series from HIS is designed to be quiet, but the Radeon has two fans. The logic of two fans being quieter makes perfect sense, but now I don't know anymore. The benchmarks I've seen don't account for modifications made by third parties, so it hard to get true specs...
post #11 of 22
Check Newegg customer reviews. A lot people say the fan is loud at load...
post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 
... so the GTX560? This Gigabyte flavor seems to be one of the quietest I've seen.
post #13 of 22
A question is, why 560 Ti now? GTX 660 is 25% better in performance and consumes 30W less at load. ASUS GTX 660 Direct CU II ("DC2" in model number) is very quiet even at load.

TechPowerUp! has reviews of lots graphics cards that includes fan noise measurements.
Edited by renethx - 3/7/13 at 4:52pm
post #14 of 22
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post

For $50 more you can get 2 extra fans and 25% more stream processors smile.gifhttp://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?nm_mc=AFC-TechBargains&cm_mmc=AFC-TechBargains-_-NA-_-NA-_-NA&Item=N82E16814125418

That's my style ^
post #16 of 22
post #17 of 22
Thread Starter 
Well, okay!

Gotta say, I really like the 660 renethx suggested. And the Gigabyte 7870 aint' too shabby either. However, I just realized a problem. My case won't support a card over 10" long. The 660 is 10.2", while the 7870 is 11". The HIS IceQ X Radeon HD 7850 I was looking at is only 9.5", and the Gigabyte 560Ti is only 8.4". I didn't really think about the size limitations until now. There is this Gigabyte 660 that fits the size limits... just gotta see how loud it is.
post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by stusic View Post

Well, okay!

Gotta say, I really like the 660 renethx suggested. And the Gigabyte 7870 aint' too shabby either. However, I just realized a problem. My case won't support a card over 10" long. The 660 is 10.2", while the 7870 is 11". The HIS IceQ X Radeon HD 7850 I was looking at is only 9.5", and the Gigabyte 560Ti is only 8.4". I didn't really think about the size limitations until now. There is this Gigabyte 660 that fits the size limits... just gotta see how loud it is.

Watch where the power connectors are located at.
post #19 of 22
post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by macks View Post

Watch where the power connectors are located at.

Yeah, that's something else to look into. I could only find one picture showing the power connector in MSI's 660; it looks like a single 6-pin connector situated on the top along with the heatpipes near the end of the card. It may work. I have a feeling I need to line up a couple of cards that look like they'll work and figure it out through trial and error... I'm already expecting to have to cut out the soundproofing where the card is going to sit.
post #21 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:

That looks sweet! I wonder if it'll be quiet.
post #22 of 22
Thread Starter 
Okay, based on your advice, I ordered the MSI N660 TF 2GD5/OC GeForce GTX 660 2GB. It fits the case, has great reviews, and seems to have a good performance/noise ratio. And it's $200, so it fits right in my budget. I don't think I would have selected this without your advice, so I thank you.
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