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Seitsuki 2012-09-27 22:52

Gtx 480
I recently impulse brought one, seeing it at a much lower price than normal, and thinking I got a bargain. After getting home and reading up about it however, I'm not so sure.

From what I've seen there are endless complaints about the card, from temperature to noise to power consumption. It's all pretty depressing really. My question is, should I bother keeping it? I think I can get a decent aftermarket cooler for a decent price if it comes to it, but that only addresses some of the problems. What are your suggestions? Alternatives?


iceyfw 2012-09-29 07:54

the 480 still packs plenty of horsepower for the games out today but i fear the vram will be the bottleneck for future games depending on mods or the monitor resolution you're playing on. i suggest you return it and get a gpu like the msi twin frozr 7950. its performance is very attractive for its current price drop.

Alchemist007 2012-09-30 02:03

Yeah the price is a big point I'd say. You might be able to get something better for equal.

problemedchild 2012-09-30 04:21

Well, how much did you buy it for? A 7850 would be a better card at this point if you got it for $200.

Seitsuki 2012-09-30 06:09

I got it for the equivalent of ~250 USD. I live in NZ, and a lot of our things are stupidly overpriced. Case in point: cheapest 7950 I can find is 500 USD. Shipping from overseas isn't terribly feasible due to the ridiculous fees and taxes and whatnot. What're some of the equivalents in the market at the moment?

Also: should I start considering upgrading my other hardware as well? Currently on a Pentium, with 2 gb RAM.. is this likely to cause any significant bottlenecks?

iceyfw 2012-09-30 06:46

ouch. i forget you people in New Zealand have it rough with the prices for gpus. stick with the 480. great card besides the cons you already mentioned. your pentium for sure will cause a bottleneck but i can't tell you how much as you will need to check your FPS on a demanding hardware game.

what monitor resolution are you currently using, and do you have any plans in the next two years to upgrade to a higher resolution?

sa547 2012-09-30 10:41

If you don't mind about screen resolution but more on gameplay, it's satisfying to play either Battlefield 3 or Skyrim on lower resolutions, even at 800x600.

Seitsuki 2012-09-30 15:53

Haha, my screen is a titchy 19 inch SD thing. It works fine for now though, so I'm looking to upgrade my performance components first before moving on.

Haven't tried it out yet- still looking for a new PSU cos my old 320W one is apparently not enough lol. Been considering a GS600, any other budget ideas?

Alchemist007 2012-09-30 21:11


Originally Posted by Seitsuki (Post 4375152)
Also: should I start considering upgrading my other hardware as well? Currently on a Pentium, with 2 gb RAM.. is this likely to cause any significant bottlenecks?

Depends on the Pentium (4?) and which games you want to play and at what quality. I'd say the 480 is overkill for that might be better off with a completely new build.

Seitsuki 2012-09-30 21:41

What CPU do you recommend than? I'd been thinking at least i5, but is there any notable difference from i3 - i5 or i5 - i7? (I'm not considering AMD at the moment because from what I've heard the Intel lineup is pretty much superior. Is that the case?)

Alchemist007 2012-09-30 22:22

You should let us know your overall budget and what you plan to play. I don't know much about NZ prices or places but I could tell you what hardware you should strive for depending on your needs. For example, you don't need a 480 if you're just browsing and playing solitaire. But if you want Skyrim to run at max, that's another story.

The i5 is a nice cpu (I have the 2500 version) and it takes care of anything thrown at it right now.

-KarumA- 2012-10-01 00:00

i5 is enough for gaming, if you have no clue on where to start nor the expenses;

Use it as a guideline, not literally.

Seitsuki 2012-10-01 00:26

Hm. Well I don't exactly have a 'budget': what I do have is like 20$ in my account and a weekly income of ~110USD (sucks being a student orz). OTOH I'm freeloading off my parents meaning my other expenses aren't very high atm so I'm happy to spend most of that, although obviously I'd like to not have to save up for months so.. say ~300-400 USD? I don't plan on playing anything fancy, but would like a reasonably future proof rig that I can hopefully not have to upgrade again for a few years. Also I'm tired of playing most modern games at ~10 FPS lowest settings with my GT 7200.

i5 then? Also, how much memory is appropriate? Is the motherboard very important? I'm running Windows XP, is that likely to cause any more problems?..

Stealthtank 2012-10-01 00:36


Originally Posted by Seitsuki (Post 4375765)
Haha, my screen is a titchy 19 inch SD thing. It works fine for now though, so I'm looking to upgrade my performance components first before moving on.

Haven't tried it out yet- still looking for a new PSU cos my old 320W one is apparently not enough lol. Been considering a GS600, any other budget ideas?

I assume your 19 inch (48 cm) monitor is an LCD of which it's native resolution is 1280x1024 which technically isn't standard definition as far as TV's go at least. That's what I have using for the past few years myself.

So the Fermi architecture is notorious for being a electicity-hog with it's resulting heat and noise problems. Fortunately Nvidia has moved on from that. With the price differences you are describing in New Zealand however, having the latest and greatest hardware seems prohibitively expensive. Well anyways it most certainly helps to define a usage scenario for the PC you are building and a budget. I assume since you bought a Nvidia GTX 480 you are looking to game on the PC. Ahem, I glean a great deal of my computer wizardry from since I got nothing better to do most of the time.

Okay, need a quality but affordable PSU? I suggest Corsair's CX Builder Series V2 if they are available. It is 80 Plus certified which is something I never compromise on, no matter what the budget of the PC is. I used this in the PC I built for my friend. Made a funny buzzing sound when the PC was turned off which was due to me turning on ErP in the BIOS. Turned ErP back off and now works flawlessly.

So about the CPU, I assume you're referring to Intel's modern Core family. That is those of the Sandy Bridge/Ivy Bridge microarchitecture. I strongly suggest if you're getting an Intel CPU that you buy one of them (2000-3000 series). The improvement from last generation is huge. Anyways the difference between i3/i5/i7 is that i3 is dual-core with hyperthreading (SMT), i5 is quad-core without SMT, and i7 is quad-core with SMT. The best gaming value is in the i5 series. A more expensive i7 does nothing for gaming. As for the i3, modern games can and will continue utilise more than two cores. You could go for an AMD processor if you wish. I had to keep my friends PC as cheap as possible so I got a FX-4100 which is AMD's best gaming value Bulldozer-based CPU. I don't wanna go into more detail but Intel's Sandy/Ivy Bridge family outclasses AMD's lineup at this time. AMD is still a legitimate option though.

GPU's are more difficult to nail down. It depends entirely on how well you expect your games to run or whatever it is you use the GPU for. Looking at a graphics hierarchy chart at Tom's Hardware I can see that the GTX 480 is still up there. Cards of comparable performance from Nvidia include: GTX 295, and GTX 570. From AMD: HD 4870 X2, HD 6970, and HD 7850. I would say the HD 7850 would be a good replacement if you can find it at a good price.

Need more help? Just query us some questions.

Stealthtank 2012-10-01 00:57

Okay okay, I just read your post that you wrote while I was writing. Having a low budget is so much "fun". Don't worry, you're doing (much) better than I am. So anyway, where do you purchase your PC components from? Online? Retail brick-and-mortar? It'd help if you gave a URL I could look up so that the price landscape can be better established.

A somewhat future-proof PC eh? Hmm, it's open to interpretation. I built my PC gradually from mid-range parts over a few months in 2008 and it still works fine. Doesn't stop me from fantisizing I had a Falcon Northwest PC though (someday... if I win the lottery). This is the kicker; building a PC with some longevity requires some investment. A low-end computer becomes obsolete very quickly.

Are you intending to start a whole new build? Determine what if any components can be reused from your old system and if it's worthwhile (optical drives, RAM, etc.).

Seitsuki 2012-10-01 04:30

Well, physical shops here are pure murder. Online isn't much better to be honest. I mostly use price comparison sites (like this) because individual sites are far too likely to be overpriced. Well I guess overpriced is relative.. it's almost always the normal price here orz

As for future proof.. well heh, I realise that's not exactly going to happen on my budget. What I mean I guess is something that can handle current stuff as well as possible, then I can scrape by like how I have been for the past few years (at least until it gets too unbearable again.)

Looking at my components I am somewhat sad that most of them will probably need replacing. As I said my CPUs a Pentium, RAM is 2 GB of DDR2 on a Gigabyte GA-945PL-S3P mobo (which I don't even think can handle the i series). Those are definitely going to need an upgrade. My HDD is a pretty pathetic 320 GB, but I had enough external storage that I don't really care. Same for disk drives, haven't used a DVD in aaages.

So all in all new PSU, CPU, mobo and RAM on a budget of ~500. How important is RAM? Had been planning on at least 8 GB but wondering if maybe 4 GB wouldn't work alright. Same for PSU, I need at least 600W and had been planning to go higher but will probably settle for something close to 600 after all. I'll keep the 480 until the rest of the setup is running fine then sell > switch for something more efficient. Thoughts?

Jaden 2012-10-01 12:07

600W should do easily for power, a 80+ rated unit of some reputable brand is recommended though for stability.

Going from 4gb to 8gb RAM won't make a big difference, many people go 8gb just because they can. But that's an upgrade you can do at any time. The RAM you want is DDR3 @1333mhz or higher (the clock speed won't make any noticeable difference)

For Mobo Intel socket 1155 is the best choice, although right now that's a dead end. Future CPU upgrades will be on a new socket that's yet to be released. If you just want a standard gaming rig I wouldn't care too much about the features on the motherboard. You'll want:

support for Ivy Bridge processsors,
enough slots for your RAM,
SATA 3 ports for SSDs,
an audio codec that can handle surround sound if you want it,
one of the models starting with P or Z if you want to overclock,
and that's about it.

As for CPU, just get the best Core i3/i5 that you can afford. The Ivy Bridge processors are the models starting with 3. Due to the new architechture they perform somewhat better than the older ones. The "K" models are the ones that can be overclocked.

Stealthtank 2012-10-01 19:56

As Jaden stated; 600W PSU is plenty, and 4 GiB of RAM works perfectly since it's so easy to add more as long as you have free slots.

I would recommend a 2x2 GiB dual channel DDR3 kit or a single 4 GiB module rated at ~1600 MHz myself. You can get a measurable increase in performance moving up to 1600 MHz from 1333 MHz RAM although there is rapidly diminishing gains after that point. They have both reached price parity so might as well get faster modules. I prefer sticking to standard voltages to maximize compatibility which for DDR3 is 1.5V. Also you should note that Sandy Bridge does not natively support 1600 MHz RAM without overclocking and the right chipset. Bleh, it was something I found out when building a friend's PC.

Yes, Intel's socket LGA 1155 does not have a long future. Intel likes to move onto incompatible platforms whenever they roll out a brand new microarchitecture. Bah, the follies of computer technology. Sandy/Ivy bridge processors however should serve your needs for many years regardless of how potent Haswell or whatever may be. So in short: Core i5 if you can, i3 if you can't.

The motherboard should have the features you would be using. USB 3.0 perhaps and SATA 6.0 Gbit/s ports. Chipsets with 7 being the first number support both Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge (eg. Z77). Those starting with 6 may support only Sandy Bridge (eg. Q67). Refer to Wikipedia's handy tables if you want to compare chipset features:

As for the PSU, make sure it has all the connectors you need, 500-600W is more than enough, and 80 Plus all the way. Oh and you should have a computer case unless you wanna leave the system running on a table. It'd probably blow up or something though.

If you intend to overclock I can't help since I prefer everything at stock settings.

Tong 2012-10-11 00:32

4xx series are notorious for their extreme heat and power consumption.

I'd get AT LEAST a 560Ti. Same price. Or even better, the 660Ti. Bit more expensive, but WORTH.

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