Question Graphics card upgrade for oldish system

tangotonyb

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I currently have a 1Gb Radeon HD 7850 but want to upgrade to a card with more RAM - I don't do much gaming, in fact until lockdown hadn't played a game in years - the system is built for work usage rather than graphics, an Intel Core i5-3570 3.8GHz, 32Gb RAM. The MOBO takes a PCI E v.2.x graphics card - most of the modern ones seem to be up to v3.x - pointless me getting one that's going to be bottlenecked by my MOBO or CPU.
Been looking at the GTX 1050 - good buy or not for this system?
 
Was this for gaming? Your post seemed a bit vague on that point. : P As far as most non-gaming uses go, your existing card would likely be fine, unless you make regular use of certain kinds of applications that can have their performance accelerated by graphics hardware.

For gaming, I don't think a 1050 would be enough of an upgrade to be worth considering. The 1050 first came out as a lower-end card about four years ago, and while the HD 7850 came out about twice as long ago, it was more of a mid-range model at the time of it's release, so it holds up fairly well against the 1050. The 1050 does have some other advantages, like lower power draw under load, but performance-wise it tends to be only a little faster on average.

What sort of pricing were you looking at for a 1050, and where you looking to buy one new or used? As far as new hardware goes, you may be able to find a newer model like a GTX 1650 or 1650 SUPER for not much more. A 1650 SUPER can be over twice as fast as a 1050 in graphically-demanding games, and even the regular 1650 would be a decent amount faster. Normally the two are priced rather close to one another (starting around $160-$170 in the US), making the 1650 SUPER the better choice (as it's around 30% faster). Availability and pricing of many models of these cards isn't as good as it usually is at the moment though, at least at online retailers in the US, so the regular 1650 might be worth considering too if you can't find the SUPER version priced near its MSRP.

PCIe 2.0 isn't likely to limit performance much though. If the card is installed in a full-length PCIe 2.0 x16 slot, that will perform like a card in a 3.0 x8 slot. That technically results in there being half the bandwidth over the PCIe bus, but games are not constantly maxing that out anyway, so the actual performance hit isn't likely to be more than a few percent on a card around this performance range.

And an i5-3570 is actually still reasonably capable as well, since per-core performance of CPUs hasn't improved a whole lot in recent years, even if the core counts have increased. It's only a little behind the current 4-core, 4-thread i3 processors, around 20-25% behind an i3-9100 for example. Some recent games will run smoother on a processor with more cores and threads, but I wouldn't worry too much about a graphics card in this performance range being bottlenecked by your CPU in most existing titles.
 
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What is the problem you are trying to solve?
1gb of vram, by itself is not a problem.
The vram on a card will be appropriate to the performance of the card.
GTX1050 will be an upgrade, but not significantly better.
If you need a card for fast action gaming, then I would go stronger.
Much stronger, and your power supply might limit your options.
A list of the make/model of all of your parts might help.
 

tangotonyb

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Thanks for some useful intel guys - I used to (10 years ago) be fairly knowledgeable about what was what in the hardware world, but I've not needed to pay attention for a long time so I'm rather out of date lol.

The problem arose because I wanted to play DeusEx Mankind Divided which unfortunately requires a min of 2Gb VRAM. Reading around I understand a number of games will require more than 1Gb, although few if any specify a minimum of 4Gb.
As I don't know how long my current gaming phase will last (largely driven by lack of alternative options during lockdown) I certainly don't want to invest big money to build a modern gaming system, but I hope to spend under £200 and significantly upgrade the graphics capabilities in order to open up more recent games.

So my system is:

Intel Core i5-3570 3.8GHz
Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD4H Motherboard
32Gb RAM
MSI AMD Radeon HD 7850 OC 1GB GDDR5
Corsair Gaming Series 2013 Edition GS 700W ATX/EPS 80 PLUS Bronze PSU

Now that's weird - bought the MOBO from Amazon and on there it states it's PCI Express 3.0, but I believe this is wrong.

Note - whatever card I go for, I need 3 monitor support
Second hand or new makes little difference to me.
 
Modern motherboards do support pcie 3.0, including yours.
Check the authoritative spec on the gigabyte web site.
It is a moot point since pcie2/3 are both forward and backwards compatible.
Performance difference is negligible for all except the strongest of cards.

The minimum recommendations do suggest a 7870 card which happens to have 2gb of vram.
The amount of vram is a performance factor not so much a functional thing.
A game needs to have most of the data in vram that it uses most of the time.
Somewhat like real ram.
If a game needs something not in vram, it needs to get it across the pcie boundary
hopefully from real ram and hopefully not from a hard drive.
It is not informative to know to what level the available vram is filled.
Possibly much of what is there is not needed.
What is not known is the rate of vram exchange.
Vram is managed by the Graphics card driver, and by the game. There may be differences in effectiveness between amd and nvidia cards.
And differences between games.
Now, it is possible that a game is so poorly coded that it will not function at all with insufficient vram.

Regardless, the 7870 is a stronger card than yours, hence the suggestion to upgrade. GTX1050 is a modern card that is slightly stronger than the 7850.
Tom's GPU hierarchy chart will give you the relative strengths of cards:
https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gpu-hierarchy,4388.html

If you want three monitor support, check on what outputs your monitors can accept and match that up to what the graphics card can output.
GTX1050 will have a dvi, dp and hdmi output.
Adapters may be necessary if the outputs do not match.
 
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tangotonyb

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OK so I found a MSI GTX1060 OCV1 for a reasonable price on ebay so I'm set to go, next issue though is the monitor connectors.

Currently I have 3 monitors connected to my 7850 as follows
Monitor Out Computer In
DVI-D HDMI
DVI-D miniDisplayPort
VGA miniDisplayPort

If I recall I had issues getting the 3rd monitor recognised and found this solution in a forum somewhere, but I don't remember the details - like why DVI_D to mini-displayport didn't work as I'm sure I tried this first???

Do I still need to do this with the 1060? (Win 7x64) or can I just have the following set up

Monitor Out Computer In
DVI-D HDMI
DVI-D DisplayPort
DVI-D DVI-D


??
 

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