Decent gaming video card for Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 Rev 1 motherboard

I have a home-built system with a Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 Rev 1 that I use for business tasks.

I currently have a basic, inexpensive dual monitor video card.  I am interested in trying Battlefield 4, so I'm thinking I'll need a better video card.  

I'd like something that is quiet, and I don't need super high end--just something that won't get bogged down by a game.

My monitors are NEC MultiSync EA243WM 1920 x 1200.

The Gigabyte specs say the board has one PCI Express x16 port "running at X16" and another at X8.  

I browsed NewEgg, but I don't know the difference between PCI Express 2.0, 2.1, and 3.0, and whether that affects compatibility with the Gigabyte board.

Any suggestions on a gaming video card?
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Steve EndowMicrosoft MVP - Dynamics GPAsked:
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Sean ScissorsProgram Analyst IICommented:
That MOBO looks like it supports PCI Express 3.0. It's just the latest and greatest in terms of performance. As far as cards, if you don't care too much about graphics then you can definitely stay under $100 for a card. When you say cheap it would help if you had a max budget.

Here is performance benchmarks based off of Battlefield 4. Notice the specs that they are playing at (high resolution and medium graphics). For the record, Multiplayer looks best if played at 60fps or more. And Single player requires just 30FPS to look smooth.

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2014-vga-charts/17-Battlefield-4-2160p,3609.html
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dbruntonCommented:
A PCI Express 2.0 card is what you need.  It appears you can't run PCI Express 3.  You can probably run PCI Express 2.1

See http://www.overclock.net/t/1242211/faq-does-my-p67-z68-motherboard-s-support-pci-express-3-0 for more information as to why PCI Express 2.

You need to check your power supply rating so we can determine a card for you.  Too hungry a card will hurt the PSU and board.

Battlefield 4 requirements are here http://bf4central.com/battlefield-4-system-requirements/

so you'd be looking at either a GeForce 600 series or Radeon 7000 series card loaded with memory.  That's probably about $200 if you want that type of performance.
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Sean ScissorsProgram Analyst IICommented:
http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=3853#ov

According to Gigabytes website it supports Gen 3 PCI Express.
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dbruntonCommented:
I can't find that.

All I can find is (All PCI Express slots conform to PCI Express 2.0 standard.) from http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=3853#sp

I may be wrong but can you show where it states Gen 3 PCI Express.
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Steve EndowMicrosoft MVP - Dynamics GPAuthor Commented:
Thanks everyone.  Lots of info!  

I see the reference to PCI Express 3.0 on the gigabyte page:  "Designed for PCI Express Gen.3 Support"

But I found this thread, which claims that the Rev 1.0 board only supports 2.0, whereas the Rev 1.3 board supports 3.0.  Bummer.

And I just found this on the Gigabyte specs page:

"All PCI Express slots conform to PCI Express 2.0 standard."

http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=3853#sp

So if I am limited to PCI Express 2.0, it looks like my options are limited.  Rather than invest in an old tech graphics card for this machine, maybe I would be better off building a new gaming rig that supports the newer technology?


To answer your other questions:

1. Budget: Up to $300

2. Power supply:  Seasonic M12ii 520W  
       http://www.seasonicusa.com/M12II-Bronze.htm

In terms of the power supply, I only have two SSDs, no mechanical drives.  I have an internal optical drive that I never use, so I could unplug that if it helped.

3. Performance:  I want graphics that are smooth, and would like to run at relatively high resolution.


This would be a business expense, so I'd rather invest in new technology than buy crutches for older tech.

Maybe pick from this review?

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/build-your-own-gaming-pc,3766.html

(sorry, originally had wrong link...--should be gaming PC rigs)


Thoughts?
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Steve EndowMicrosoft MVP - Dynamics GPAuthor Commented:
I checked my current video card.  It's a Zotac ZT-50602, which appears to be an Express 2.0 X16 card with 1GB.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814500213

I guess I'll try BF4 with it and see what it's like.  If it's terrible, I'll just invest in a new gaming rig rather than paying $200 for a new card that would only provide an incremental improvement?
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dbruntonCommented:
Which processor are you running and double or quad cores at the moment.

I suspect you are going to need a quad core processor for this game for maximum performance and probably a Nvidia GTX 760 card to get the resolution and fps you might want.  What resolution were you looking at?
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dbruntonCommented:
You can still get say the Nvidia GTX 760 card that Is PCI Express 3.  This is backwards compatible with PCI Express 2.  See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PCI_Express#PCI_Express_3.x and read the first paragraph.

Also see http://www.tomshardware.com/answers/id-1765095/pcie-pci-compatibility.html

Now if the system isn't fast enough you can get another board and transfer the GTX 760 across.  Make sure you get one with 2 Gb of RAM.
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Steve EndowMicrosoft MVP - Dynamics GPAuthor Commented:
Here is the processor (purchased in August 2011):

Intel Core i7-2600 Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core
Desktop Processor BX80623I72600

I just purchased BF4 via Amazon download so I'm going to install it and see what it's like.

I don't know what the options are for resolution, so I'll see how high I can go and how my system behaves.  If it's laggy, I'll just plan to build a new system.
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Steve EndowMicrosoft MVP - Dynamics GPAuthor Commented:
Heh, I installed BF4 and at full 1920 x 1200 resolution, I'm getting 10-15 fps.

It's pretty brutal.  In the intro video and video segments, the audio is fine, but the video doesn't match--the mouth movement doesn't sync up at all.

If I drop all the way down to 1280x1024 in a window, I can get to 25-29 fps.  It's usable, but pretty hard to see guys at 100 yards with that setup..

So it looks like I should just invest in a new gaming rig.  thanks for all of the help.
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