[SOLVED] How do I know if a graphics card is compatible with the rest of my pc? (need to upgrade from a Asus 1GB D5 X HD7770)

Nov 16, 2019
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Hi,

I have a pc with the following components:

Motherboard: Asus B85M-E
Processor: Intel Core i5-4440 (1150 socket)
PSU: Cooler Master B600 (600W)
RAM: 16GB DDR3
HD: 2 x 1TB (WD blue + black)
Disc drive: LG GH24NS
And up to last week:
Graphics card: Asus 1GB D5 X HD7770

Built in December 2013, worked flawlessly until last week, when the graphics card gave out.

I want to replace just the card for now, and my in-house gamer kid requested "something with more than 1GB, preferably more than 2GB, higher is better, would be nice to play games on max graphics". (especially for games like Subnautica, Ark, Dark Souls, Witcher 3)

I have enough space for a GPU that uses multiple slots, and I'd like to have a minimum of 2 HDMI ports.
One of them will be for a regular screen that is used for gaming, the other one for a graphic drawing display.

I know the rest of the system is technically outdated (can't find any 1150 socket in the shop anymore, all are 1151 now), but it's still working well. So, I'd like to buy a card that is the best (but not overkill) for the current system, but which would also be compatible with a newer system when inevitably, something else will break next week, next month, or next year.

A random pick for example:

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1050 Ti OC Low Profile 4G

I have no idea if it's any good, but more importantly, I have no idea if it is at all compatible with my current system, or with any future system.

What do I look for in the long lists of cards that will tell me whether or not there would be a compatibility issue? It's easy enough (well, not impossible anyway) to compare cards online and read reviews, and pick "the best value for money" out of a small group of cards. But that's no use if I'm looking at cards that aren't even compatible, or which are overkill for the rest of the system I'm using.

Can anyone give any advice on this? How do I narrow down the list of options so I can start reading reviews and comparisons?

Thanks in advance.
 
Here's a rough performance breakdown of the tier of cards you're looking at so you can gauge pricing. Battlefield is fairly neutral to AMD & Nvidia cards because it's so popular that both companies do a lot of driver optimization for it. Not sure why the RX580 didn't make it into that mix, but it sits between the GTX1060 and GTX1660.

There are a few things to discuss when talking about system "balance":
  1. The CPU generally sets the upper limit on FPS you can achieve. Since the CPU is in charge of telling the GPU roughly what each frame should look like (rough character and environment positions, then the GPU makes it pretty) the GPU can't work on the next frame until the CPU tells it what that frame should be. There are a couple factors that dictate how well a CPU can keep up with dealing out frame draw requests:
    1. Frequency and IPC determine the performance of a single "thread". The faster a command gets processed through the CPU, the faster it goes through the system.
    2. Cores/Threads (one "core" generally = approx 1.5 "threads" hence why the 8C/8T i7-9700K is equivalent to the 6C/12T i7-8700K for example)- most games use/want 3-6 CPU threads. Also, online gameplay generally tacks on 1-2 more threads for talking to the server and drawing the higher quantity of dynamic characters (players). So, you're sitting at 4-8 threads required for decent online gaming experience (just for the game). Then you can tack on stuff like background processes, programs, streaming, etc etc. If you don't have enough cores, performance will take a hit. If you have more cores than you need, you're not going to get a performance boost though either.
    3. Note frequency/IPC and cores/threads are two parts of an equation. Having more of one thing doesn't mean you're better if you've got less of the other comparatively. Also CPUs are designed with a power budget in mind. Keep in mind each core uses a certain amount of power. More cores = more chip power draw. At some point you hit a limit, so to keep adding cores, you have to reduce frequency to stay inside your power budget. This is why HPC CPUs (Threadripper/Xeon/etc) with huge numbers of cores are generally outperformed in consumer loads such as gaming by consumer CPUs (Ryzen, i5, i7) with less cores but higher frequency.
  2. The GPU generally determines what detail settings you can use at your target FPS. Once you've got the CPU feeding frame draw requests to the GPU, the GPU performance dictates how much detail can go into each of those frames. The more detail you include, the longer it takes to draw, and your FPS goes down.
Most people would recommend you into the range of a GTX1650/GTX1060/RX570 up to a GTX1660/RX590 or so with your current system and gaming at 1080p. If you're planning on upgrading CPU+mobo+RAM in the near future and/or get a 1440p monitor, an argument could be made to overshoot a bit past that level. For example, if you've got a lot of money to spend, an RTX2060 tier card would be way more performance than you'd need, but enabling ray tracing (in games that support it) makes things look prettier and tanks FPS.

I think your current PSU is sufficient for the tier of GPUs we're talking about. Since your CPU isn't overclockable, we don't have to worry about much there. For reference, my system (in signature) draws ~270W (measured using a Kill-a-Watt meter)
 
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Are you in the USA?

You're looking for PCIe x16 GPUs (pretty much the only type that's sold new anymore) so "compatibility" is more about balancing performance with what your CPU is capable of and not exceeding the capability of your power supply.

An AMD RX570 4GB costs about $125 on sale and is 30-40% faster than a GTX1050Ti.

Can you wait till next week since that's black Friday week?
 
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Nov 16, 2019
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Hi, thanks for you reply!

I'm not in the US, I'm in the Netherlands. I can probably wait for black friday with buying, but I'd like to make a choice of which one I want before then.

Indeed, all the cards I'm seeing are PCIe x16, so it's good to know that technically they should all be compatible (if they fit in the space in the box, but luckily the cards do have their physical dimensions listed, and I do own a measuring stick ;-))

The card you mention is available here, for not much more than the GTX 1050 Ti, but it does not come with 2 HDMI ports.

The RX580 8GB on the other hand, does. Yes, it's more expensive, but i'm not necessarily going for the cheapest option. Would it still be good? and knowing it's probably overkill, would it still make sense to buy it if I expect to upgrade the rest of the system in a year or two?

The thing is though, as you say, "about balancing performance with what your CPU is capable of and not exceeding the capability of your power supply." How do I figure that one out?

The seller I normally use does mention the power that's needed for the card, but that's just the card, and doesn't take into account the rest of the system. How do I know whether my 600W PSU can handle a 225W card?
(the RX580 comes with a mention of "minimal PSU supply 450W", and I would kind of expect that with the rest of my system, this wouldn't suddenly be too much for my 600W PSU?)

Can you also go a bit more into balancing with the CPU? I do understand there's a balance, and one can't do its full work if the other is not powerful enough, but how do I know? What do I compare? The i5-4440 is a 3.1 GHz quad-core CPU with 6M cache. How does that balance with the RX570 or RX580?
 
Here's a rough performance breakdown of the tier of cards you're looking at so you can gauge pricing. Battlefield is fairly neutral to AMD & Nvidia cards because it's so popular that both companies do a lot of driver optimization for it. Not sure why the RX580 didn't make it into that mix, but it sits between the GTX1060 and GTX1660.

There are a few things to discuss when talking about system "balance":
  1. The CPU generally sets the upper limit on FPS you can achieve. Since the CPU is in charge of telling the GPU roughly what each frame should look like (rough character and environment positions, then the GPU makes it pretty) the GPU can't work on the next frame until the CPU tells it what that frame should be. There are a couple factors that dictate how well a CPU can keep up with dealing out frame draw requests:
    1. Frequency and IPC determine the performance of a single "thread". The faster a command gets processed through the CPU, the faster it goes through the system.
    2. Cores/Threads (one "core" generally = approx 1.5 "threads" hence why the 8C/8T i7-9700K is equivalent to the 6C/12T i7-8700K for example)- most games use/want 3-6 CPU threads. Also, online gameplay generally tacks on 1-2 more threads for talking to the server and drawing the higher quantity of dynamic characters (players). So, you're sitting at 4-8 threads required for decent online gaming experience (just for the game). Then you can tack on stuff like background processes, programs, streaming, etc etc. If you don't have enough cores, performance will take a hit. If you have more cores than you need, you're not going to get a performance boost though either.
    3. Note frequency/IPC and cores/threads are two parts of an equation. Having more of one thing doesn't mean you're better if you've got less of the other comparatively. Also CPUs are designed with a power budget in mind. Keep in mind each core uses a certain amount of power. More cores = more chip power draw. At some point you hit a limit, so to keep adding cores, you have to reduce frequency to stay inside your power budget. This is why HPC CPUs (Threadripper/Xeon/etc) with huge numbers of cores are generally outperformed in consumer loads such as gaming by consumer CPUs (Ryzen, i5, i7) with less cores but higher frequency.
  2. The GPU generally determines what detail settings you can use at your target FPS. Once you've got the CPU feeding frame draw requests to the GPU, the GPU performance dictates how much detail can go into each of those frames. The more detail you include, the longer it takes to draw, and your FPS goes down.
Most people would recommend you into the range of a GTX1650/GTX1060/RX570 up to a GTX1660/RX590 or so with your current system and gaming at 1080p. If you're planning on upgrading CPU+mobo+RAM in the near future and/or get a 1440p monitor, an argument could be made to overshoot a bit past that level. For example, if you've got a lot of money to spend, an RTX2060 tier card would be way more performance than you'd need, but enabling ray tracing (in games that support it) makes things look prettier and tanks FPS.

I think your current PSU is sufficient for the tier of GPUs we're talking about. Since your CPU isn't overclockable, we don't have to worry about much there. For reference, my system (in signature) draws ~270W (measured using a Kill-a-Watt meter)
 
Last edited:
Reactions: LM-Els

Dreamevil55

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May 4, 2016
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Ok the highest probably you could go without getting bottleneck on that CPU is probably rx580/GTX1060. Price to performance choice would be the rx570 or rx580. Or you could wait for the 1650 Super which launches in maybe 3 days or the low end Navi rx5500 series which should launch maybe in December. Both cards will be better than the RX 570 in a sub $150 price range.
 
Reactions: LM-Els
Nov 16, 2019
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There are a few things to discuss when talking about system "balance":

[snip]
Thanks, that's really helpful, I'll dive into that info a bit more when I get some time this week, so I can make an informed choice.

If you're planning on upgrading CPU+mobo+RAM in the near future and/or get a 1440p monitor, an argument could be made to overshoot a bit past that level. For example, if you've got a lot of money to spend, an RTX2060 tier card would be way more performance than you'd need, but enabling ray tracing (in games that support it) makes things look prettier and tanks FPS.
RTX2060 is about double the price of the others, but I'll still keep an eye out next week, see if there are any good discounts for those higher end cards. I'm not planning an upgrade per se, but with the system being nearly 6 years old, I kinda expect it to die in the near future, and that automatically means an upgrade :)

Thanks again, this is a lot of very useful info!
 
Nov 16, 2019
5
0
10
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Ok the highest probably you could go without getting bottleneck on that CPU is probably rx580/GTX1060. Price to performance choice would be the rx570 or rx580. Or you could wait for the 1650 Super which launches in maybe 3 days or the low end Navi rx5500 series which should launch maybe in December. Both cards will be better than the RX 570 in a sub $150 price range.
I'm not really familiar with the "super" versions of cards, but would a 1650 Super not be more expensive than a 1650-not-super? That last one is not sub $150 here, but maybe our prices are higher over all anyway. I can see a "mini" for 169 euros, which is the cheapest of all the 1650s at the moment. Still within my budget though, so I'll check the price when it comes out. Thanks for the heads up on these cards yet to come out, will keep an eye out.
 

Dreamevil55

Reputable
May 4, 2016
186
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I'm not really familiar with the "super" versions of cards, but would a 1650 Super not be more expensive than a 1650-not-super? That last one is not sub $150 here, but maybe our prices are higher over all anyway. I can see a "mini" for 169 euros, which is the cheapest of all the 1650s at the moment. Still within my budget though, so I'll check the price when it comes out. Thanks for the heads up on these cards yet to come out, will keep an eye out.
Ah yes, the 1650 Super would probably be 10-20$ more pricey. Super cards are revamped and upgraded versions of their respective cards. According to Nvidia, 1650 Super will be 50% faster than the 1650. Anyway, if the 1650 Super price is close to the price of RX580, which it will probably be, at that point RX580 would be the much better option.
 
Nov 16, 2019
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Ah yes, the 1650 Super would probably be 10-20$ more pricey. Super cards are revamped and upgraded versions of their respective cards. According to Nvidia, 1650 Super will be 50% faster than the 1650. Anyway, if the 1650 Super price is close to the price of RX580, which it will probably be, at that point RX580 would be the much better option.
20 coins more for 50% faster sounds like a no-brainer. But if it's still no better than the RX580, then I don't really have to wait for it. So, in the end I kind of decided to look at the RX580, perhaps RX590 (if I can find one that fits in the box), and now just waiting for next week to see if there are any good discounts. (While Amazon and other companies have Black Friday weeks, the company I usually get my components from is old-fashioned: only actual Black Friday, and Cyber Monday :))
 
Reviews are coming out today. GTX1650 Super is ~35% faster than the vanilla GTX1650. Still impressive. Roughly equivalent to the RX580 (slightly slower, but close enough). Depending on price, it certainly could be worth considering. Most listings today are sitting around $160-170, so similar to the RX580 in pricing, but consumes less power.

Skip to 11:15 for averages
 
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