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#1 CelticWhisper

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 15:10

Hi all,

Thanks again to those who helped me out with my fan/cooling/silencing questions. Antec 300 case is up and running, and definitely quieter than the old one.


That having been said, I'm looking next to upgrade my video card. I'm running an EVGA Nvidia 8600GTS that's served me fairly well over the years, but is not really practical for running any newer games. Being that this is my gaming PC, I feel it is time to remedy that.

I've been looking at NVidia's newer offerings and am down to deciding between a GTX 560 or a GTX 480. I've found a couple that are comparably priced and am curious as to which one is recommended.

I know these are not the newest in NVidia's GeForce GTX series, but to be honest, bleeding-edge is too expensive for someone with a mortgage, car payments, and other expenses. The cards I've found come in at just under $200, so they're reasonably easy to save up for and acquire. I'm not the kind of gamer who has to have perfect framerates with everything turned all the way up - if I have to dial down FSAA or AF, I'm okay with that to a certain degree and the 8600 is old enough that just about any-damn-thing will be a visible improvement. I'd prefer to be able to run games at my display's native 1920x1200 as I find I can tolerate slight jaggies better than lower-res fuzzyvision.

That said, my background is in network security and so I also have been playing around with WPA cracking with Pyrit and would like a GPU that can accelerate this and run other GPGPU tasks (folding@home, etc.) respectably well. To this end, I'm under the impression that the GTX 480 would be superior due to a larger CUDA core count for better parallel processing. If this isn't right, could someone give a little guidance as to what I should be aiming for? I don't have a super-high-end mobo so SLI/CrossFire are not options for me. This rig will have to be single-GPU only.


That addresses the video card question. My other question: I'm running a 480W PSU (Thermaltake, I believe) that's been fine for as long as I've been running this PC. I'm wondering if I need to upgrade it in order to upgrade the GPU.

It's currently powering:
1x AMD Phenom 9850BE, quad-core, stock-clocked
1x Thermaltake V1 cooler with 120mm fan
2x 4GB DDR2 800 RAM modules
3x 7200RPM SATA HDDs
1x BD-ROM optical drive
1x GeForce 8600 GTS GPU
1x DiamondMax cheapie sound card that I bought for SPDIF capability and to take the burden of sound processing off the CPU. No advanced mixing or surround or anything that takes a lot of juice to process
3x 120mm case fans
1x 140mm case fan

Newegg's PSU calculator tells me I'll need 503 watts to power a GTX560 (not counting the fans) with what I've got here. I'm wondering if that's exaggerated to sell more PSUs or if that's accurate and I do need to upgrade.

I do know that I have no 8-pin PCIE connectors on this PSU, and that the cards I was looking at are either 8-pin or 2x6-pin. I'm not sure if it's possible to adapt a spare molex power connector to a PCIE connector or, if so, if that's a stupid thing to do. Common sense says it is, but I haven't played around with power supplies much so I may just be uninformed.

In the event that I need to upgrade, can someone suggest a good, reliable, and reasonably quiet PSU to pop in so I can get the requisite wattage?



Many thanks once again.


#2 BigDavy

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 16:55

I'd personally avoid the GTX 480, as it's pretty power hungry and runs quite hot - the 560 is probably a better choice, but I'd advise you to look at the new GTX 670 cards (I recently treated myself to two!)

Corsair PSUs are very quiet and extremely reliable - just upgraded to an 850w unit to power my two GTX 670s (they both require 2 x 6-pin PCI-E connectors). This is the model I eventually went for: http://www.scan.co.u...2v-quiet-fan-at

You can utilise molex power splitters (most graphics cards include these adapters), but I'd recommend a decent PSU with native connectors.

For your needs, I'd say around 550w should suffice - something like this, for example: http://www.scan.co.u...fan-atx-v23-psu

#3 OP CelticWhisper

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 19:00

Thanks very much! I looked up a few benchmarks and it looks like Pyrit users running CUDA attacks on GTX 460s were getting around 17000-19000 PMKs per second, so I figure a 560 should be at least as good and probably a bit better. The 8600GTS is nowhere near that so I'll see an improvement no matter how I slice it.

That's also, of course, to say nothing of the improvements to games. Hopefully I can play Skyrim without having to decide between 640x480 or 5 seconds per frame. :-P


Here's the 500-series card I was considering: http://www.newegg.co...N82E16814130660

And the PSU: http://www.newegg.co...N82E16817371031

I'm sorry - I probably should have posted these in my original message. The PSU is a 620W, which is a bit of overkill based on your projected need of 550, but was also less costly than the one you linked. Should it work as well, or would I be better off going with Corsair as a brand over Antec? I've used Antec's EarthWatts PSUs in builds here at the office where cost and efficiency are crucial and they've seemed quite decent, but maybe Corsair excels at higher wattages where Antec doesn't?

Either way, thanks for the feedback you've already given, and I'm hoping you can advise on the items I linked.

#4 tsupersonic

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 19:12

You can upgrade the GPU, but your CPU is going to hold you back now... Also, 503 watts seems really high, even though the older AMD CPU's were power-hungry.

#5 threetonesun

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 19:12

If you're trying to stick to a budget, I think that EVGA 560 is a good buy right now.

#6 Astra.Xtreme

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 19:14

I'd highly recommend getting a modular PSU. You'll really thank yourself for doing so. Here's one that's rated really well and is nice and cheap:
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16817341017

Regarding the GPU, you should spend an extra few $ and get this one instead:
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16814130604

#7 demon_speed

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 19:21

What pricerange are you interested in, a max price..? I would recommend you a fully modular PSU due to it's sweetness if you in the near future thinking about changing the cables to other colors etc :).

Examples: OCZ ZX Series 1000W, Xilence SPS-XPXQ-850.R4 850W or Corsair HX850 v2 850W :).

#8 OP CelticWhisper

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 19:36

Tsupersonic: Really? I figured a quad-core Phenom would be good for a while yet, since my understanding is that most games are GPU-bound and the CPU doesn't handle all that much anymore. Are we talking deal-breakingly, don't-even-bother-trying slow here or is it more of a "AI/physics takes a second or two longer to compute" slow? The Phenom was an upgrade from an Athlon64 X2 a couple years ago so it seems quite a bit faster as is.

I'm eventually planning a new build (my first Intel build ever and an excuse to treat myself to the Lian-Li PC-x2000f) and that'll be a powerhouse build, but for now I'm trying to go for bang-for-buck without putting unreasonable strain on my finances.


Astra.Xtreme: Seeing that that card is still less than $200 after rebates, I see no reason not to go with it. Thanks!


Astra.Xtreme and demon_speed: I've seen a few modular PSUs and was under the impression that they were somehow less reliable than fixed-cable PSUs. Something to do with single-rail being a more robust design. Unless modular cabling and power rails have nothing to do with each other, which maybe they don't. That said, I do like the idea of modular cabling if only because I can disconnect unused cables to keep clutter under control.

As for budget, I'd like to keep the GPU under $200. The PSU is something I'm willing to be a bit more flexible on - 80PLUS is a great feature and I like the idea of saving on electric costs by improving efficiency. I think a kilowatt PSU (or anything more than 650W) is probably overkill with regard to my realistic usage expectations compared to cost. The PSU doesn't necessarily have to be suitable for installation in a 100-foot nuclear-armed Kill-Bot (though if a 1000W killbot-compatible unit can be had for the same price as a 500-watter, might as well).

Ideally I'd like something that can:
-Power what I've got with no problems,
-Give me a little room for growth with no nasty surprises when I try to power up after installing new drives (I still have 3 HDD bays free and would hopefully like to throw in a controller panel, card reader, or some other 5.25" bay device, undecided for now)
-Not increase noise or temperature by an unreasonable amount. That last one doesn't worry me as all these seem to have a single 120mm or 140mm fan, whereas I'm currently using a PSU with 2 80mm fans, so I estimate fan noise will drop with the replacement.

Really it's all about the reliability for now. I want to be able to come home from work, fire up a game, and not worry about overtaxing components or juggling power-drawing devices. Hopefully that can be had for less than $100 (as PSUs in general seem cheaper than GPUs in general).

Thanks a TON for all the help. The input is greatly appreciated.

#9 threetonesun

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 19:38

If you're budget is under $200, then yes, the Ti version is a better choice. I wouldn't worry about your CPU yet, it's good enough compared to any AMD replacement on the market now.

#10 OP CelticWhisper

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 19:56

Thanks! Just a thought - Ti versions aren't known for running too much hotter than their non-Ti siblings, are they?

#11 Astra.Xtreme

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 20:00

If you want to stay under $200, an AMD/ATI card might have better bang for your buck. I never buy ATI, but if you want the best possible card for under $200, I'm willing to bet there is something better than the 560 Ti. Probably not be a big margin tho. If you're interested, we can probably dig up some benchmarks compared to the 560 Ti. Otherwise, I know you'll be more than happy with the Nvidia.

Regarding the modular vs non-modular, I've never heard anything in regards to reliability. The wires just conduct and transfer electricity, so whether the cable is detachable or not, it shouldn't matter. The rule of thumb is to always get a good PSU brand, so you'll definitely be fine with the OCZ.

Thanks! Just a thought - Ti versions aren't known for running too much hotter than their non-Ti siblings, are they?


The one great thing about the 560 Ti is that it doesn't use a ton of power and it doesn't get hot.
As you can see, the 480 is pretty insane compared to everything else. Big reason to stay away from those.

http://www.bit-tech....ti-1gb-review/8

#12 tsupersonic

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 20:08

If you're budget is under $200, then yes, the Ti version is a better choice. I wouldn't worry about your CPU yet, it's good enough compared to any AMD replacement on the market now.

Yeah, that CPU will be holding that GPU back, it could be less of an effect depending on the settings of the game. The Phenom 9850 Black will get wiped by even the Core i3 lineup/Llano A8. If I were you, I'd just add a motherboard and CPU upgrade as well.

#13 OP CelticWhisper

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 20:11

Sounds like the 560Ti is the way to go for me, then. I've had too many driver problems with ATI to feel confident using theirs. My Radeon 9800 Pro Mac Edition was great when I put it in my G4 some 8 years ago, but otherwise I've had much better luck with Nvidia. I appreciate the offer of benchmarks and such, though.

Also, I looked at that OCZ power supply and it looks okay, but there are some people talking about it burning out and having short cables that interfere with cable management. The Antec 300 is considered a mid-tower (by Antec) but it's definitely on the larger end of the mid-tower spectrum so I'm not sure if that's going to be an issue.

That particular model aside, you've quite effectively sold me on modular PSUs - I like what I'm seeing.

#14 tsupersonic

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 20:13

Sounds like the 560Ti is the way to go for me, then. I've had too many driver problems with ATI to feel confident using theirs. My Radeon 9800 Pro Mac Edition was great when I put it in my G4 some 8 years ago, but otherwise I've had much better luck with Nvidia. I appreciate the offer of benchmarks and such, though.

Also, I looked at that OCZ power supply and it looks okay, but there are some people talking about it burning out and having short cables that interfere with cable management. The Antec 300 is considered a mid-tower (by Antec) but it's definitely on the larger end of the mid-tower spectrum so I'm not sure if that's going to be an issue.

That particular model aside, you've quite effectively sold me on modular PSUs - I like what I'm seeing.

I also have a preference of Nvidia. My GTX 560 Ti has help up well. I have an Antec 300, and an OCZ ModxStream 700W Pro (which is modular), and the cables reach everywhere just fine. So, you really don't have much to worry about with the case...With a case like the Antec 300, you will want a modular PSU (even if it's semi-modular). There's really not much places to hide all the PSU cables, if you decide to go non-modular.

#15 Astra.Xtreme

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 20:16

Sounds like the 560Ti is the way to go for me, then. I've had too many driver problems with ATI to feel confident using theirs. My Radeon 9800 Pro Mac Edition was great when I put it in my G4 some 8 years ago, but otherwise I've had much better luck with Nvidia. I appreciate the offer of benchmarks and such, though.

Also, I looked at that OCZ power supply and it looks okay, but there are some people talking about it burning out and having short cables that interfere with cable management. The Antec 300 is considered a mid-tower (by Antec) but it's definitely on the larger end of the mid-tower spectrum so I'm not sure if that's going to be an issue.

That particular model aside, you've quite effectively sold me on modular PSUs - I like what I'm seeing.


If you're curious about any measurements of any of the cables, let me know and I'll bust out the tape measure when I get home. I bought one of those PSUs for a build and it's sitting at home right now. There will always be the select few that get a faulty one, but that's what the warranty is for. :) You won't be beating the hell out of it with your build, so I'm sure it will be perfectly fine.