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I currently have a Core i5-2500k processor and a Gigabyte Z68x-UD3H-B3 motherboard. I've been using the integrated Intel graphics, but was thinking that getting a separate graphics card would provide some increased performance. I don't do much gaming, but do use my computer for writing software. The most intensive graphics software I run on a regular basis is a Linux virtual machine through VMWare Player.

I just bought a HIS Radeon HD 6450, but after installing it and running the Windows Experience Index, my graphics score dropped from a 6.4 to a 4.2. However, Tom's Hardware ranks this card a few levels above the i5's graphics in their current hierarchy chart.

Did I just waste my money, or will I see benefits from this discrete graphic card?

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Well the card will have dedicated memory so you will free up some RAM. Dedicated vram will also help with Vsync and anti aliasing. Graphics memory is also tends to be faster than ddr3... –  Kyle Feb 28 '12 at 21:01
    
@Kyle you should post your comment as an answer. –  Moab Feb 28 '12 at 21:36
    
@moab good point, I guess it does kinda of answer his question. I didn't have the time before to actually look at his card so I was speculating about his memory speed and bus width... –  Kyle Feb 28 '12 at 21:54

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The card has dedicated memory so that should free up some of your system RAM. Dedicated/more video RAM will help with Vsync (requires more pre-rendered frames) and anti aliasing.

Graphics memory also tends to be faster than standard DDR3 and have a larger bus width (however this is not the case with your card: gddr3 and 64 bit bus width).

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I wish I had the hierarchy chart from Tom's before I bought this. It seems like I might be best off spending a little more to get something better. –  elevine Feb 29 '12 at 1:05

Yes. I think the benefit won't be reflected in the Experience ranking, but in usability; it allows you to connect multiple terminals - more useful in programming than in gaming. I'm surprised at the low-ish score. Have you used the latest video driver from AMD?

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note that z68 supports up to two monitors. –  bamboon Feb 28 '12 at 21:48
    
Looking at the specs - gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=3853#sp - it doesn't mention that directly. Unless its the item about "support for multi-graphics" using a separate PCI-e ATI/Nvidia card? –  jdh Feb 28 '12 at 23:15
    
I do have the latest drivers installed. I ran the Experience Index again and wound up with the same score too. –  elevine Feb 29 '12 at 1:03
    
@jdh that is a chipset feature not something special to a motherboard. –  bamboon Feb 29 '12 at 8:17

If you don't game, it was a waste of money. Concerning your experience index you may not have installed drivers yet.

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