Question Small Form Factor Graphics Card suggestion/advice

msimon7

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Dec 8, 2012
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Hello.
I'm looking to replace my graphics card in my HTPC I built and really could use some expert advice.
I currently have a Zotac 660 Ti and it is listed as 7.53" x 4.38" x 1.39". It has served me well for the past 7 years, and only replacing it because it can't support the latest games. I'm not a huge gamer, but did buy RDR2 and the kids and I can't play it. Plus I'm hoping to get some other benefits out of a new card.

My PC specs are:
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H-WB ATX LGA1155 v1.1
CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core
Memory: G.Skill Sniper Low Voltage Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600
Case: Silverstone GD01B-MXR HTPC

Any suggestions would really be appreciated. I'm not sure what is compatible with my board. Size is the overriding factor as to what card I can get.

I've had good luck with Nvidia cards and prefer those. I'd like to get 8gb on the card, but if 6gb seems acceptable for now and future, I can go that way. Also looking into doubling my PC's memory from 8 to 16, but need to look at what is compatible and if I shouldn't replace the existing 8 (4x2) with a completely new set instead of adding another 8 to the existing (kind of a second question for you there too).

thanks very much!
 

Jason H.

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Oct 20, 2013
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Hello.
I'm looking to replace my graphics card in my HTPC I built and really could use some expert advice.
I currently have a Zotac 660 Ti and it is listed as 7.53" x 4.38" x 1.39". It has served me well for the past 7 years, and only replacing it because it can't support the latest games. I'm not a huge gamer, but did buy RDR2 and the kids and I can't play it. Plus I'm hoping to get some other benefits out of a new card.

My PC specs are:
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H-WB ATX LGA1155 v1.1
CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core
Memory: G.Skill Sniper Low Voltage Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600
Case: Silverstone GD01B-MXR HTPC

Any suggestions would really be appreciated. I'm not sure what is compatible with my board. Size is the overriding factor as to what card I can get.

I've had good luck with Nvidia cards and prefer those. I'd like to get 8gb on the card, but if 6gb seems acceptable for now and future, I can go that way. Also looking into doubling my PC's memory from 8 to 16, but need to look at what is compatible and if I shouldn't replace the existing 8 (4x2) with a completely new set instead of adding another 8 to the existing (kind of a second question for you there too).

thanks very much!
Look im just gonna be honest. your most likely going to need more than just a gpu upgrade to play Red Dead 2.

Were looking at a new mobo. New cpu. new ram, and new gpu.

You could upgrade to any gpu you want but all of your other hardware is going to bottleneck any newer gpu you decide to buy that would allow you to play the game with a good experience.

Sometimes things just get outdated brother.
 

helper800

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Look im just gonna be honest. your most likely going to need more than just a gpu upgrade to play Red Dead 2.

Were looking at a new mobo. New cpu. new ram, and new gpu.

You could upgrade to any gpu you want but all of your other hardware is going to bottleneck any newer gpu you decide to buy that would allow you to play the game with a good experience.

Sometimes things just get outdated brother.
A 3570k will be fine paired with a 580 and run RDR2 fine at 1080p. I had a 3570k setup until very recently and that paired with a 970 I could run practically anything at 1080p at high to max settings with very few exceptions.
 

Jason H.

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A 3570k will be fine paired with a 580 and run RDR2 fine at 1080p. I had a 3570k setup until very recently and that paired with a 970 I could run practically anything at 1080p at high to max settings with very few exceptions.
When you say "fine" are we talking about 1% lows of 30fps? Because imo that aint fine. if he wants a smooth 60fps, he will have to upgrade more than just the gpu.

Im running a r5 2600 and a 1060 3gb, and I highly doubt I could run the game on max or even high and maintain 60fps. I play apex legends which isnt as pretty as rd2 and Im on all low settings getting about 120fps, but dropping down to about 55 fps during certain situations. And this build is far beyond his. So our opinions may differ on whats "fine" to play. His build is 7 years old.
 

msimon7

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Dec 8, 2012
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Look im just gonna be honest. your most likely going to need more than just a gpu upgrade to play Red Dead 2.

Were looking at a new mobo. New cpu. new ram, and new gpu.

You could upgrade to any gpu you want but all of your other hardware is going to bottleneck any newer gpu you decide to buy that would allow you to play the game with a good experience.

Sometimes things just get outdated brother.
I had a feeling, and appreciate your honesty. Part of me knew this would be the path I'd head down.
I do like the case, fits/looks nice in the theater cabinet.
So my thought is that I'd start with a GPU now and then look to swap out the mb, cpu, and also upgrade the ram while I'm cleaning house in the near future. May be able to give RDR2 a go, just not maxed out settings at all. Which is OK for now and will appreciate the overall upgrade that much more later.
I got 7 good years out of the current setup, only adding new harddrives to it to support the ever expanding media collection.
So still hunting for the short card for the first item on my list... thanks.
 

helper800

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Hello.
I'm in the US, my case is a Silverstone GD01B-MXR HTPC, budget is relatively open (within reason, I know they can go from $250 to $750, and probably a lot higher). thanks
So something like this:

Video Card: Sapphire Radeon RX 580 8 GB PULSE Video Card ($184.99 @ Walmart)
Total: $184.99

or

Video Card: Sapphire Radeon RX 590 8 GB PULSE Video Card ($217.97 @ Newegg)
Total: $217.97

or

Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6 GB XC BLACK GAMING Video Card ($274.99 @ Walmart)
Total: $274.99

or

Video Card: XFX Radeon RX 5700 8 GB DD Ultra Video Card ($354.73 @ Amazon)
Total: $354.73

It all depends on what you want to spend.
 

helper800

Distinguished
When you say "fine" are we talking about 1% lows of 30fps? Because imo that aint fine. if he wants a smooth 60fps, he will have to upgrade more than just the gpu.

Im running a r5 2600 and a 1060 3gb, and I highly doubt I could run the game on max or even high and maintain 60fps. I play apex legends which isnt as pretty as rd2 and Im on all low settings getting about 120fps, but dropping down to about 55 fps during certain situations. And this build is far beyond his. So our opinions may differ on whats "fine" to play. His build is 7 years old.
When I say "fine" I am referring to better than playable frame rates (50+) with little to no noticeable 1% lows on currently released games. I basically had his system but with a 970 and the only reason I wanted to upgrade was just to upgrade. I played world of tanks maxed at 100-120 fps, Doom 75 fps, and many other games all fine. If a ps4 pro can get 60 fps with RDR2, which it does, then a 3570k paired with a 580 or better can as well. This may not be on maxed graphics like I said previously, however.
 
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Jason H.

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When I say "fine" I am referring to better than playable frame rates (50+) with little to no noticeable 1% lows on currently released games. I basically had his system but with a 970 and the only reason I wanted to upgrade was just to upgrade. I played world of tanks maxed at 100-120 fps, Doom 75 fps, and many other games all fine. If a ps4 pro can get 60 fps with RDR2, which it does, then a 3570k paired with a 580 or better can as well. This may not be on maxed graphics like I said previously, however.
Yea brother, you will get a lot of fps dips as your cpu is going to limit your gpu on RD2. So you will have a lot of skipping and such no matter which gpu you upgrade too.

I dont have the time, but if you dont mind, do me 1 small favor.

Go to systemrequirementslab on google and run the scan on your system for RD2 and see which parts of your hardware fail. And let us know. Because im 80% sure your cpu, mobo, and ultimately your psu (which dont show up on this test) will need replaced to get you to a smooth 60fps on high/max settings. On low settings the game looks like absolute garbage but thats also up for debate depending on what you want out of the game.
 

helper800

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Yea brother, you will get a lot of fps dips as your cpu is going to limit your gpu on RD2. So you will have a lot of skipping and such no matter which gpu you upgrade too.

I dont have the time, but if you dont mind, do me 1 small favor.

Go to systemrequirementslab on google and run the scan on your system for RD2 and see which parts of your hardware fail. And let us know. Because im 80% sure your cpu, mobo, and ultimately your psu (which dont show up on this test) will need replaced to get you to a smooth 60fps on high/max settings. On low settings the game looks like absolute garbage but thats also up for debate depending on what you want out of the game.
I doubt he will have any meaningful fps issues or dips like you say he will with the 3570k when playing at 1080p on medium to high settings. If he does it will be more than likely due to unoptimized port garbage that is more regularly happening in the video game industry.
 
RDR2 definitely needs/wants more than 4 CPU threads. That being said, it's a bit of a dumpster fire in terms of game engine & coding quality, so while that's the game the OP mentioned, it's not the best game to make broad generalizations from.

I too own a i5-3570K (OC'd to 4.2GHz) and a RX480. It's still plenty capable of playing at 1080p high settings on many games @ 60+ FPS. However, you start to run into issues in some multiplayer games, and CPU-bound games.

TBH, I'm very aware of my CPU limitation, but I'm just not that impressed about CPUs and GPUs this year. I'll be waiting until the 2020 release of Ryzen 4xxx

Back to the topic at hand: It looks like you've got a 5.5" width (which may need to include power cable protrusions?) and a ~9.5" length restriction in that case. Something like this EVGA GTX1660 (4.4" x 8") for $200 after MIR and promo code would fit the bill nicely.

(RX580 sits between the GTX1060 and GTX1660 if you're wondering)
 
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msimon7

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Dec 8, 2012
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Back to the topic at hand: It looks like you've got a 5.5" width (which may need to include power cable protrusions?) and a ~9.5" length restriction in that case. Something like this EVGA GTX1660 (4.4" x 8") for $200 after MIR and promo code would fit the bill nicely.
Thanks again for the reply and suggestions!
I looking to get this today EVGA GTX 1660 Ti Ultra Gaming, can have it tomorrow from amazon ;)
I was originally (this morning) looking at the EVGA GTX 1660 Ti Black as it is shorter than most and assumed I needed to go that small, but opened the case to look at what it looks like inside space-wise and my current 660 Ti looks to have another inch plus for length, and this one is about 1/2" longer.

The Ti's have GDDR6 instead of 5's, higher boost clock, CUDA, and memory clock. So I'm thinking it is better to get the higher.
You agree?



 
I arrived at 9.5" length from looking at a review. Looked like the drive cages end right above the edge of the ATX mobo they were using, so I looked up its dimensions. You're obviously more accurate since you can measure the real thing. Your GTX660Ti is listed as 7.5", so if you're +1.5" free space, that's 9" allowable.

Take a gander at the benchmark chart I linked above. That's got both the 1660 and 1660Ti. I think the 1660Ti is a bit more than necessary for 1080p (and being driven by a 3570K), but whatever, future proofing!!.. The price/performance is what I was more concerned about with my recommendation. The 1660 I linked is $200. Extrapolate the extra 15% performance bump of the 1660Ti and you're at $235 equivalent. Maybe you score a great deal next week!
 
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msimon7

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Dec 8, 2012
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I arrived at 9.5" length from looking at a review. Looked like the drive cages end right above the edge of the ATX mobo they were using, so I looked up its dimensions. You're obviously more accurate since you can measure the real thing. Your GTX660Ti is listed as 7.5", so if you're +1.5" free space, that's 9" allowable.

Take a gander at the benchmark chart I linked above. That's got both the 1660 and 1660Ti. I think the 1660Ti is a bit more than necessary for 1080p (and being driven by a 3570K), but whatever, future proofing!!.. The price/performance is what I was more concerned about with my recommendation. The 1660 I linked is $200. Extrapolate the extra 15% performance bump of the 1660Ti and you're at $235 equivalent. Maybe you score a great deal next week!
I did physically measure and inspect to be sure I got one I wouldn't be sending it back for being too long. I very much appreciate your advice and for taking the time to help and suggest. I went forward with the 1660 Ti and excited to put it in and see what it can do. I also ordered a new 16gb corsair memory kit. I need to find a good gaming screen overlay that measures FPS/vram/ram/temps/etc, kind of like this guy. more for my own curiosity.

thank you, as well as the others, for their help!
 

Jason H.

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Oct 20, 2013
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RDR2 definitely needs/wants more than 4 CPU threads. That being said, it's a bit of a dumpster fire in terms of game engine & coding quality, so while that's the game the OP mentioned, it's not the best game to make broad generalizations from.

I too own a i5-3570K (OC'd to 4.2GHz) and a RX480. It's still plenty capable of playing at 1080p high settings on many games @ 60+ FPS. However, you start to run into issues in some multiplayer games, and CPU-bound games.

TBH, I'm very aware of my CPU limitation, but I'm just not that impressed about CPUs and GPUs this year. I'll be waiting until the 2020 release of Ryzen 4xxx

Back to the topic at hand: It looks like you've got a 5.5" width (which may need to include power cable protrusions?) and a ~9.5" length restriction in that case. Something like this EVGA GTX1660 (4.4" x 8") for $200 after MIR and promo code would fit the bill nicely.

(RX580 sits between the GTX1060 and GTX1660 if you're wondering)
We have to take into account the 1% and 0.1% lows to know how much stuttering will happen as well. THe gtx 1060 is just not that great of a card anymore and I promise there will be stuttering and fps drops in RD2.
 

msimon7

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Dec 8, 2012
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For sure.
Just a quick follow-up. Put the new card in last night and tried it for about 30 min. I was able to use my preferred resolution of 1920x815 and the game had its settings on Ultra, so I figured may as well try to see if it even works. I was actually able to play on those settings without issue, well it did freeze up a few times, but they were during cutscenes and it was only for a few seconds and the audio still played.
Pleasantly surprised. Not sure of the FPS yet tho, installed afterburner and configured it, but couldn't get the OSD to show when I hit the hotkey. Changed RAM to 16gb this morning too, at this point I'm not sure I need it, but can't hurt (knock on wood)
Just wanted to thank you for your insight and help!
 
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msimon7

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Probably just hitting that CPU limitation.
Have you OCd your CPU or at least enabled MCE?
Are you referring to why the OSD doesn't show?
To answer your question, no never OC'd nor enabled MCE - didn't know what MCE was until I just looked it up ;)
 
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