Card for older Dual Core?

So, I don't have the money to build a new PC. Right now this box is great for media and internets and such. But I saw the "kill your console" episode, and since I don't want to buy an Xbox One, and don't like to pay for Live, I was considering getting into PC games. I'm not a hardcore gamer by any means. I like FSPs like Call of Duty, Battlefield, Halo and games like GTA, Saint's Row, and driving games like Forza and Need for Speed.

I remember how fun Half Life was, and heard about Black Mesa. I have an Nvidia GeForce GT 240 which I bought a while back because it was cheap and better than my onboard graphics. When installing Black Mesa it told me to take a hike cause my card isn't good enough! But you already knew that.


I'm running an Intel E2200 Dual Core 2.2ghz on an MSI G41M-E43. I have 8 gigs of 1600mhz, and an Antec 500w ps. I want to see if I can OC this CPU to at least 3.0ghz. At that point, what relatively inexpensive graphics can I get. I have been reading about the different GPUs and all, and I know that there is no reason to go overboard with graphics if my CPU is the bottleneck.


If this is too much to ask for, then I guess I'll just stick with Unreal Tournament and the original Half Life, or forget PC gaming all together. As I said, I don't have the funds to build another PC. And anyways, it will be obsolete in a few years, (let alone months!)


Yeah, that CPU is going to suck. The good news is that 3GHz is a fairly realistic goal, and will provide a substantial increase in performance. The bad news, it will still be pretty weak compared to today's standards. I think the sweet spot would be something the R7 260X. It's capable of medium to high graphics settings at 60FPS on most games you mentioned, and will probably crap all over Black Mesa, but I think you'll be hindered by CPU. Black Mesa does throw me for a loop - the recommended GPU for Black Mesa is a 7600 GT, and the GT 240 (even the DDR3 version) is leagues faster. Even for HL:Source, the GPU requirements are modest, and a GT240 would make it. It would appear you're actually CPU limited, as their own wiki page states that low-frequency processors won't perform well (well, the said low frequency quad-cores < high frequency dual-cores), and HL:S requirements are 2.8GHz (dual-core presumably) CPU.

I think the 7770 will be a safe bet. Or something similarly performing like the 7790 or rebranded equivalent. Like the R7 260x. Anything in the lower bracket of modern GPUs. They still perform quite admirably.

GTX 750 or 750ti is my suggestion. It's been proven by numerous reviews and tests to be one of the strongest GPU's in the budget main-stream segment. Should be able to find one for $150 or less, depending on where you look.  

I got a e7400 at 3.3ghz with a gtx 650 overclocked 100mhz, and my CPU gets to around 75%-95% when gaming. I don't think you could go over a 760 or 770 without the CPU being a huge bottleneck. 

Edit: also I recommend a 750 or 750ti 2GB card. Please don't get a 1GB card. You'll regret it. I know I do...

Ok, kinda what I figured. But first: Jerm1027, Sorry for the stupid question, but is 60fps even noticeable? I mean, we can't see a difference with anything more than 30fps right? Or does the more fps just make for a smoother video? And yeah, weird with Black Mesa. I have another card I was thinking of putting in here, so I checked the specs. It's an Xfx 8500GT. I pulled them both (the GT240 and the 8500GT) up and saw how much better the 240 was. Oh, well. Maybe after I overclock. I'll ask about that in the correct forum. That 260 looks wicked though.....

Second: what's with all the numbers? How come some 7xx are cheaper than the 6xx? Then there are the four digits like 7770 and 8500. I know the 8500 is older. I had a 420Ti (IICR) and then the four digits came out. like the 7300 and 8500. But then they went back to the three digits? And when looking for a video card, what should I look for. Obviously not the number! Like most of the cards on Newegg that I see around $100-$130 are all 1 gig. But TheAlmightyBaconLord, you said not to get the 1 gig card. Should I look for a 2 gig?

At this point, I don't even know if I can spend $100 for a new card. I've been spending too much lately!

1GB is fine. 2GB won't make the card a higher performer, that's not how RAM works.

The R7 260 is a rebranded 7770 or 7790. The 260x is like an overclocked version of the 260, and with a couple of extra features.

30-60 FPS is noticeable. But anything above 30 FPS is playable. You might choose to lock your framerate at 30 or 35 FPS

Im gonna say either 750 ti or 265

I would agree with the proposal that the nVidia GTX 750 Ti from EVGA is the best option, with the best one being the FTW model. The cost is fairly good for the performance, and the cooling of the FTW model is substantial, and the design is also very attractive. Good luck with your computer!

Given the relatively low price difference for the massive potential boost in performance, I still recommend the EVGA 750 Ti FTW model. It actually has a 6-pin power connector and the capacity to use it.

In my own tests. A quad core q9550 bottlenecks a gtx 560. Your dual core will have a heart attack. A 750 wont work at optimal performance. Just save up and get a new machine.

My old e8600 with an HD 7850(r7 265-similar card) was slightly bottlenecking.  I would say the GTX 750/750ti or R7 260X.

There is a huge difference in smoothness, which is actually pretty important. Every time any of my games drops below 40 FPS (which is quite rare since upgrading to my GTX 760), I feel like I'm playing a slide-show. This will be especially noticeable if you play competitive FPS, such as CoD. Even going from 40-ish FPS to 60 made a difference in my BF3 gameplay, and I was consistently getting better K/D ratio.

The numbers kinda make sense, but both AMD just recently changed their naming scheme. For NVidia cards, the first digit is the generation, the second and third digits as well as any suffixes (such as Ti) indicated the class of card. An example is NV's x80 series has always been their flagship single GPU - the GTX 480, GTX 580, GTX 680, and GTX 780 were all cards for the gamers who wanted the best single GPU they could find from their respective generations. The class of card is also important to pay attention to especially within the same generation - A GTX 670 is faster than a GTX 660, but the GTX 660 is faster than a GTX 750, because the 750 is aimed at a much lower class. AMD has a similar naming scheme. The first digit is generation, with the latter two digits representing a class. However, AMD's newest naming scheme also has prefixes and suffixes to pay attention to. Let's use the R9 290X as an example. The prefix isn't too noticeable as they only have a handful - R9 series are targeted at the serious gamers, R7 are mainstream, and the R5 are more entry level basic GPU's. The 200 means second generation (in reference to the architecture I'm assuming, as both the HD 7000 series and R 200 series are based on the same GCN architecture) and the 290 means it's the top dog and best AMD has to offer. The suffix serves to further differentiate within that class as often times AMD will have multiple classes from a single GPU core. Both the 290 and 290X are built on the same GPU (codenamed Hawaii), but the 290X is faster, as the 290 has some of it's cores disabled.

Now, as for video memory, 2GB is now the golden standard for 1920x1080 gaming as a lot of games are now utilizing more than 1GB of vRAM these days at that resolution. If you play older titles, or game at a lower resolution, or lower graphic settings, a 1GB model may not be a bad choice, especially if a 2GB model of the same card has a significant premium. Typically vRAM won't make a difference in performance... until it's 100% utilized, in which case performance tanks. Here is a quick explanation:

Just to note, at the sub $100 price range, GPU competition is fierce, prices fluctuate a lot, and the price-brackets won't make a lot of sense, and there is just a lot of confusion in general. I wouldn't recommend getting anything less than Radeon HD 7770 (or R7 250x; same GPU). If you really can't spend $100, I would strongly advise saving up before buying a GPU.

Ah, excellent. I thought that may have been the case, since they are usually presented against each other with less distinction than I would prefer. I do really appreciate that nVidia is trying to provide a relatively low-cost entry-level graphics solution.

I said above to get a 2GB card because a lot of games use more than 1GB at 1080p. For example, when I play Minecraft at 1440x900 resolution (720p monitor) I run out of vram around half an hour later. Granted, I am using vista. When I use windows 7 ultimate however, I use around 70%... And that's just a 720p monitor playing Minecraft. 

I personally will never buy a 1GB card again. Also, what other people said, don't go any less than a 7770/650/750/r7260. Below that and the price/performance ratio decreases a lot. 

If you don't have enough money for one of those cards, it really is worth saving up a bit more to be able to buy one of them. 

If you can muster up enough cash it is definitely worth getting a GPU with 2GB of vram. Especially with modern mainstream games becoming more demanding. And make sure it's GDDR5 ram.

For heaven sake. If you must. Grab a second hand gtx 560 for $40 but your system is not powerful enough to run a good or even low end gpu. Just save and earn the money for an fx 6300 system if you really cant aford anything decent.