Question on upgrading GPU/PSU

aupad

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Feb 27, 2012
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jtenorj

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I agree with everything djangoringo typed. However, you may want to consider a hd7850 2GB. They can be found for as low as 175 and overclock like beasts, notably surpassing gtx660. In that price range, you might also consider a hd7870. They too can be overclocked quite a bit. most gtx660s are limited in the overclocking department. hd7870 is generally a little faster to start(more so when you OC).

Here's a link to a 2GB xfx hd7850 at ncix for 169.99 after 20 MIR and free shipping: http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=77602&vpn=FX-785A-CNL4&manufacture=XFX&promoid=1285

Here's a xfx hd7870 at newegg for 199.99 after 20 MIR and free shipping: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150604&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-na-_-na-_-na&AID=10446076&PID=3938566&SID=

I might also mention that the xfx 550w has a 5 year warranty while the cx600 has only a 3 year warranty. It will power an overclocked phenom II x4 (say 160w) and an overclocked hd7970(say 300w) with room to spare(the rest of the system uses far less power than these part, and these tdp numbers are only if you do something like run prime95 and furmark at the same time. while actually gaming, you will use substantially less power).

Edit:forgot this. at a similar price point, amd is a little faster in win 7 and a little slower in win 8. FYI.
 

aupad

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Wow! Thanks for the response, the one thing that i liked about the original card is that it is already overclocked to my understanding, and doing that myself; I know its great but i don't the slightest idea on what/how to do it.

 

jtenorj

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Overclocking a graphics card isn't that tough. You want to have a relatively intense test program like furmark(which is free to download) and to monitor temps. adjust fan speed, clocks and possibly voltage with either uitlities supplied by the chip maker(nvidia or amd) or free vendor software(msi afterburner is popular. there are others as well). Set fan to fastest speed where you can tolerate the noise. adjust driver settings to alllow for a higher power envelope(tdp) and raise core clock by 25 mhz. test with furmark. If temps are ok(70s or lower is decent) and you get no errors, raise another 25 and test again. tests should be say 20 minutes. If you get errors but temps are ok, try nudging the voltage up a bit to stabilize that overclock. Test again. no errors and decent temps, keep going. don't exceed 110% of base voltage or an extra .1 volts, whichever comes first. You will eventually reach a point where either temps get to high or reach safe voltage limits that fail to stabilize an overclock to the point of not failing the test. When that happens, back of 25mhz and test overnight. If temps are ok and no failures, this should be a good safe overclock. If temps got high or there was a failure, back off another 25mhz and test overnight again. do this until you get that good safe overclock on the core. Then start working on the ram. It works a little different since these newer dx11 cards (since hd5000 series and gtx400 series) use error correcting ram. When it throws errors, performance starts to slow down so it can correct them . There fore, look for the point where performance starts to drop when you overclock and back off. Otherwise testing is the same. Hope this helps.

Almost forgot. You want at least equal cool down time between the shorter tests(20 minute breaks between tests. Basically, it takes a few hours to get a decent overclock, then letting the system run the test program overnight while you sleep to very the stability of the overclock. That bit of effort can be very rewarding and give you a notably better performing card for less that can run at that speed for years. If you are careful, you won't push your hardware to the breaking point.
 

aupad

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Very helpful! Mind if when i get the parts if i have any questions to PM you? :)

Thanks!
 

jtenorj

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Sure you can pm me if you wan't. I'm not really an expert, but have read a fair amount about overclocking and have a decent understanding of the process(ie increase in clock is linear power increase, increase in voltage is exponential power increase, if you combine an increased clock with an increased voltage they compound to make even higher power draw/heat to dissipate). There are a number of good resources about overclocking to be found on the web, from more general ones to guides about a specific cpu or gpu.
 

aupad

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Feb 27, 2012
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Thanks! I know the basics of building and upgrading, just wanna make sure i know for sure how to do everything before i make the purchase. :) !