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Windows 7: Looking for a Graphics Card recommendation

26 Jun 2010   #1

Windows 7 Professional / Windows 7 Professional
 
 
Looking for a Graphics Card recommendation

Hi,

I'm looking to upgraded my graphics card (currently running a ATI Radeon HD 3650, to enable me to use dual monitors. I mostly use the PC for Photoshop CS5 and Dreamweaver CS5 plus the odd bit of gaming (very rarely).

I've been looking at getting either the XFX ATI Radeon HD 4870 512MB or the BFG Technologies GeForce 9800 GT 1 GB as I am limited to smaller cards due to my case and because they are both have two DVI connections. Has anyone had any experience with these cards? Is there something better I could buy in the £70-£90 price bracket?

Thanks in advance.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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26 Jun 2010   #2

Vista 64 Ultimate, Windows 7 64 Ultimate, Ubuntu 9.10
 
 

The 4870 can often be a long card, the one that came in my DELL 435T-9k is 11 1/2" long and takes up the width of 2 slots but only uses 1 slot, it also uses 2 of the 6 pin Molex connections from the PSU. I just upgraded to the XFX 5870 XXX Edition and it is 9" long, still takes up the width of 2 slots and 2 6 pin Molex connections but power consumption is less and it is much quieter than the 4870 and working with LightRoom 64 bit is a breeze and even the persnickety 32 bit Nikon NX2 flies in comparison. A good alternative would be the 5850 many who bought the 5870 have seen the 5850 over clock reviews and it is a real winner.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jun 2010   #3

Windows 7 Pro X64 SP1
 
 

How long a card can you use? 4870 and 9800GT cards are often quite long. (The nice thing about the 4870 is that it usually has its two PCI-E power connectors on the top of the card. rather than the end. That makes fitting it in a case easier. A 4850 is less expensive, and probably shorter, but its single PCI-E connector is typically on the end.)

I'd be a bit reluctant to buy a BFG card, as they have announced that they're getting out of the graphics card business:

BFG Bows Out of Graphics Card Business, Continues with PSUs, Laptops/PCs | Maximum PC

(That may not affect their excellent service.)

I wonder whether whether any card would improve performance in Photoshop or Dreamweaver over you current card. (Games would improve.)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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26 Jun 2010   #4

Windows 7 Professional / Windows 7 Professional
 
 

Thanks for the replies.

I can easily fit a 9 inch card in the case and an 11 inch at a push (by changing the position of the HDD).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jun 2010   #5

Win7 & XP Pro
 
 

I just bought an Nvidia GTX480 and it's great!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jun 2010   #6

Windows 7 Professional / Windows 7 Professional
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gingem View Post
I just bought an Nvidia GTX480 and it's great!
I wish I could justify buying an expensive card like that, but for what I use my PC for mainly I just can't.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jun 2010   #7

Windows 7 Pro X64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Ross View Post
Thanks for the replies.

I can easily fit a 9 inch card in the case and an 11 inch at a push (by changing the position of the HDD).
Looks like you have no major restrictions, then.

A quick check of some online reviews suggests that the 4870 is a significantly more powerful card than the 9800GT. The 4850 may also be worth considering; it's less expensive than the 4870, although the price differential isn't alll that large at the moment (in the USA). The 48xx cards were the best single-GPU cards from the previous generation (58xx is newer), but the 9800GT is supposed to be essentially the same as the 8800GT, which basically makes it two generations old (GTX2xx is newer, GTX4xx series is the latest.)

I tend to prefer the nVidia ecosystem, but I've used ATI and nVidia cards.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jun 2010   #8

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

Since you work mainly with 2D apps ... FWIW, this review was about 5 or 6 months ago, Toms Hardware did a 2D acceleration review on various cards. The some of the 5xxx cards scored low in Windows 7 w/Aero, and they let ATI/AMD know, and they soon released a Hotfix (I think it was CCC 10.1?)

edit: I think the slow performance before the hotfix might also be with the lower memory & core clock speeds in 2D.

2D, Acceleration, And Windows: Aren't All Graphics Cards Equal? : Part 1: Laying A Theoretical Background

Part 2: 2D, Acceleration, And Windows: Aren't All Graphics Cards Equal? : Introduction: Why GDI Output For 2D Graphics Remains Relevant

Interesting read, it's funny that older onboard GPUs performed best.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jun 2010   #9

Windows 7 Ultimate 32 bit
 
 

That is a good read. Thanks for the link.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Jun 2010   #10

Windows 7 Professional / Windows 7 Professional
 
 

Thanks for all the replies.

I think I am going to go with the XFX RADEON HD 4870 (512 MB DDR5), as the ATI 5XXX series and the Nvidia GT2XX series are over priced in the UK at the moment (they seem to be about $50-$70+ more expensive in the UK at the moment) and also it has the dual DVI I have been looking for.

Thanks again for all the help
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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