Choosing a new GPU: Q's about Heat & Power Consumption

New to the boards and could use some advice from the greater minds here. After a couple days of researching an upgrade to a new GPU, my head is spinning. My primary question is how concerned should I be regarding power consumption and the heat generated by the GPU? My current setup has in the past had issues with overheating and shutting down. I've added two more fans (one in a 3.5" bay that vents to the front and one next to my currect GPU that vents to the rear). That has seemed to do the trick but my current GPU still idles at around 60 degrees and I still have the occassional crash, usually during gaming. By way of background, I'm definitely a novice but have managed to put together a couple desktops, including my current setup. I'm not an overclocker.

PARTS PREFERENCES: I've narrowed down my choices to the Radeon HD 5770, Radeon HD 5750, or a refurbished Radeon HD 4870. The 4870 seems to be the most powerful card of the bunch, but I'm concerned about it being a space heater like the 8800gt and its power consumption. Not sure if I'm making too big a deal of that or not. The 5750 appears to fit my needs, but I'm concerned about being underpowered down the road. Also is DirectX 11 important today?

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: I plan to upgrade my GPU as soon as I find a good deal. and get some good advice here!

USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: My kids and I do some gaming, right now playing Crysis and World in Conflict. (one of my favorite things about PC gaming is how inexpensive slightly older games can be.)

CURRENT GPU AND POWER SUPPLY: Currently running an 8800GT 512MB (I think its an XFX Alpha Dog). My PSU is 650 watts.

OTHER RELEVANT SYSTEM SPECS: I have a quad-core CPU 2.66ghz, 4GB memory, three hard drives (in case that matters from a PSU perspective). Dual-monitors - primary one is 1600x900 native resolution.



MONITOR RESOLUTION: Monitor is 1600x900 native resolution, would love to max that out.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Main questions are: How important is power consumption (the computer is on nearly all day long) and heat generated by GPU. How important is DirectX 11 today?

Appreciate any and all comments!
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  1. Best answer
    How important is power consumption?
    As long as your PSU can handle the load, that really is up to you - whether or not you are concerned about the added cost or are environmentally conscious

    That is a different issue - heat is the enemy of any electrical system, especially a PC. It is a good reason to avoid the 4870 and go with more modern cards that operate at lower temperatures.

    DirectX 11?
    Not that important today - but over time its importance will increase.

    I recommend the GTX 460 768MB card. It is a solid card that can be found at a discount right now because it is being replaced by the GTX 550 Ti, but the new card is slower. The 768MB version of the GTX 460 is only slightly slower than the 1GB version, but costs substantially less. See the slight performance difference in this article:,2684.html

    That review also shows that the GTX 460 768MB card is about 20% faster than the HD 5770. It also shows that it uses about the same power as the HD 5770 at idle, about 10% more power under full load, but runs about 20% cooler at idle and under load.

    Note that on the THG Best Card for the Money article linked below, the GTX 460 1 GB is one of the cards recommended at the $200 price level. This card is almost as fast and as shown in the review above, and costs quite a bit less..,2879.html

    For a specific card, I recommend the MSI Twin Frozr because of its effective but quiet heatsink/fan, factory overclock, and good price – only $130 after rebate.

    You can find more information about determining system requirements and limitations when upgrading video cards choosing features at:
  2. Best answer selected by Dcourtne.
  3. Thanks for the information. I steered clear of the 4870 and ended up with the 5770 since I found one for $100. Ive had it installed for a few days now and I'm amazed at the improvement in performance. I always thought my 8800 gt was keeping up pretty well!
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