The Best Graphics card for a non gamer with an i7 4770K CPU and Gigabyte z87-d3hp MOBO

jmterry2014 used Ask the Experts™
I'm looking to upgrade my computer (it's my toy/hobby).  And I'd like to address the Graphics Card.  I'm looking for a great card (that will show improvement and performance gains over my current Nividia GTX 570).  NOTE: I never, never play a video game.... I do a lot of research, business writing, and some surfing the web.  


I have a dual display with two Hanns G 32" montiors on HDMI

Windows 8
i7 470K OC to 4.4GHz
Gigabyte z87-D3HP
Nvidia GTX 570 Video Card
16GB RAM:  2 x 8GB sticks of Corsair Vengeance Pro DDR3 2133 Ram
Hydro H 50 liquid cooler

Three questions:  
1 - I'm looking for a better video experience (at a reasonable price).

2. I'm thinking about changing my MOBO to the ASUS Z97-PRO (Wi-Fi ac) LGA 1150 Intel Z97 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard... (but don't have a specific reason other than Gary Case told another person if he were building a system today he'd use that mobo -- actually the one before this one came out)

3. I feel I should upgrade the Hydro 50 to the Hydro 100 or Hydro 100 i.... (or another liquid cooler -- IF IT WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE)...

Also, I just learned the I7 has an onboard video card - I'm assuming that is less than the Nividia GTX 570?  Or would removing the Nividia be worth while?  I just feel the GTX is "old."

Answers today would help, I plan on buying today and tomorrow.
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Most Valuable Expert 2013
OK, just to pick up on "I never, never play a video game" ...

Maybe you should, or at least you already have a spec in your current machine that many casual gamers would be very happy with!

The only reason for pointing that out is to ask you to think about what you want from your graphics that your GTX 570 doesn't already deliver given the role you've identified for it.

Don't get caught in a trap of upgrading just because you can.  Yes it is "old" but if you ignore the Titans (gaming) and Quadros (CAD) it still rests comfortably in the top 20 cards under $1000
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Top Expert 2009
I see NO reason to upgrade anything in the system you've outlined !!

An i7-4770k is near the top of the Socket 1150 i7's ... without considering the added performance you're getting with the overclock, it scores 10261 on PassMark ... only a small bit behind the current top-of-the-line Socket 1150 i7 -- the 4790k, which scores 11304.   You'd have to move to a Socket 2011-v3 system to get appreciably better CPU performance, and a top-of-the-line i7-5960 (with a PassMark of 15980) would cost over $1,000 just for the CPU.

Using a better liquid cooler also seems unnecessary -- you're already pushing the CPU a good bit, and a tiny bit more isn't going to make a lot of difference, while at the same time increasing the likelihood of damaging the CPU.   [Personally, I don't overclock at all]

As Masq said, you already have a nearly top-of-the-line video card.   It's surprising you bought this level of graphics support when you "... never, never play a video game ."

r.e. "... I just learned the I7 has an onboard video card - I'm assuming that is less than the Nividia GTX 570? "  ==>  Yes, that's a significant understatement !!    The GTX 570 scores 4384 on PassMark's G3D Mark;  the Intel HD 4600 on your i7 scores 730.    Note that 730 is still a very respectable score ... it's on a par with cards that only a few years ago were considered very good performers -- e.g. a GeForce 8800GT scores 756.     The simple fact is that for "research, business writing, and some surfing the web" it's PLENTY.

WHAT do you do that makes you feel you need higher graphics performance ??

Bottom line:   Your system specs are SUPERB ... the only thing that you haven't listed is your disk complement.    If by some chance (seems unlikely) you don't have an SSD for your primary drive, THAT would be the best update you could do now.    SSD prices have dropped dramatically in the past couple years -- you can now get 480GB units for well under $250, and 1TB units for under $450.     If you're not using an SSD, that alone can make your system "feel" like a new PC ... especially with the specs you've already got !!

But unless you really want to spend some serious $$ to move to a high-end Socket 2011v3 board with a top-of-the-line 14 or 18 core Xeon, I just don't see much reason to upgrade what you already have.    The 25,192 PassMark score on a Xeon E5-2699v3 is certainly impressive ... but so is the nearly $5,000 pricetag for just the CPU chip !!


The information provided is thorough, and precisely addresses the questions asked.  The logic that warrants the claims is what really helps establish both men as professionals you can rely on.  They aren't selling anything -- but provide knowledge and then a bit of wisdom to the paradox.  The paradox:  "when is enough enough already."
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Oh, I forogot -- I have a Corsair Obsidian 800D case.
One of the nicest pieces of the puzzle I stumbled into.
Gary CaseRetired
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Top Expert 2009

The Obsidian is indeed a very nice case -- I've seen one, but don't personally have one.   It would definitely be my choice for a full tower build.

So ... did you decide to do any upgrades?    Perhaps a nice new 1TB SSD :-)

... For all the reasons I noted above, there's really no compelling reason to switch motherboards to the Z97 board you noted, but there IS one very nice feature it would add:  The M.2 slot.     As you may know, this would allow you to more than double the performance of your SSD, providing you use an M.2 unit with a PCIe interface (many M.2's use SATA interfaces, which won't be any faster than a traditional unit connected to a SATA port).

I'm building a system for my wife in the next couple weeks in a small mini-ITX case, using the excellent Asus Z97I-Plus mini-ITX board [ ] and a 256GB Plextor M6e M.2 SSD.   Based on previous experience with this unit (on a build I did for someone else) I anticipate boot times under 10 seconds :-)

With a unit as nicely configured as yours, if you really feel compelled to upgrade it for even better performance, switching to a motherboard with M.2 support is perhaps something you may want to consider.    Incidentally, there are a few boards with dual M.2 support :-)
Most Valuable Expert 2013

Just lurking enviously now ... :)


You guys are great!
I am not doing an immediate upgrade, but thanks GC because I am going to look into .m2 now and research that... it sounds exciting.

I feel like I just sat through the first act of Oklahoma because you were both outputting on my "love" for vaporware, vapor-products  (translation: I think I head you singing  - by subtext):
"Everything's up to date in Kansas City
They gone about as fer as they can go
They went an' built a skyscraper seven stories high
About as high as a buildin' orta grow."

Masq, as to my Graphics card being spec-ed above usage -- I have a twin brother who is an Artist and he uses Photoshop and does rendering big time.  So years ago when it was his b-day, I shopped for him and found a great Graphics card with cuda, cuda, cudas... I can't remember the card, but the second choice was the GTX 570 (half the price of the card he got) and I gave it to myself for my share of the b-day we both celebrate.  

As to games, I have serious ADD and "distractions" are avoided.  Thus, Mr. Case the O.C. of the CPU!  I "feel" the difference of a CPU where others might see the difference...

I really appreciate both of you for this.... and I add that both your knowledge(s) is/are experiential and expansive -- but your combined wisdoms is/are universal.  

Example:  a lot of experts might write (and it is acceptable); "Don't be stupid!  You got good eats.  So save your money!"  Whereas GC was compelling and thoughfully thorough: (texting in the shadow of the "Titans" Socrates and Plato - as teachers to the "young") something akin to this (which I appreciate):

"1. Time and Money are valuable limited resources.
2. the idea of upgrading the Corsair H 50 to H100 i contains a logical argument.
3 the argument is a cost benefit analysis
4.Does the investment (of time and money) "justify" the expenditure.
5. No.  The swap from H 50 to H 100/100i results in a near negligible gain [gain divided by investment of time and money]

But the WISDOM added: is derived from GC's inclusion the additional warrant "it's not a good idea" because additionally one "SHOULD" consider resultant damage to CPU - [by human error, excessive unnecessary force, bending a pin, and maybe forgetting to spread a unique high-density filling of micronized silver and enhanced thermally conductive ceramic particles onto the CPU before you put the H100i (if you buy one used without the "grease" [or an equally viable alternative] ETC.)

My argument is (admittedly less erudite and simple): you guys went the extra mile!   Thank you.

I took away from this the added value of the practical adviso: "to consider something important, not previously considered" ---- in this case -- risk!  

And that in zeros and ones is something one SHOULD THINK ABOUT -- whenever we are toying with the COMPELLING desire to upgrade just because we can!  (Masq)!

Anyway, this was fun.  Thanks.  Again.

Now: M2!!!!   Well, in the words of Alexander the Great:
"hmmmm.  maybe... that 2.  After all, the world is not enough!"  

[He talked like that.  Really.  Not in the movie... but in the stage play... In real life he just tacitly conquered - "as fer as a monarch outa go."
He had ADD.  Yeah, I'm pretty sure he did.  Or a twin?  [Anyway --LOL]  
Gary CaseRetired
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Top Expert 2009

The M.2 slot is not only a nifty way to mount an SSD, but also provides a direct PCIe interface for the SSD, instead of being limited to SATA bandwidth restrictions.   Note that most current M.2 slots have PCIe x2 bandwidth, but many newer ones support PCIe x4 ... and new SSDs that can operate at those speeds are becoming available.

If you think an SSD is a FAST "hard drive" ... consider how much better they can be if you double (PCIe x2 units) or quadruple (PCIe x4 units) their speeds !!

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