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Upgrading an old PC to run Skyrim on a very tight budget (GPU Upgrade?)

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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March 26, 2013 7:49:32 AM

Hi all, I have an old build which I haven't really used much since Ive had my PS3. But I recently decided I want to switch playing skyrim on my PS3 to the PC instead because I want to experience the wonder of mods.

I currently have an Athlon X2 4600+ running on an Asus M2N Workstation board and an XFX 7900GS 256MB GFX card. (650w coolermaster PSU)

Its an old rig but it does (just) run skyrim at low settings.

I have a basically non-existent budget but I am trying to squeeze for a new Graphics card. I was looking at the HD6850/6870/7770 cards as that is my top reach.

If I get one of these, do you guys think it would improve my experience greatly, or do you think my CPU will make the upgrade pointless?

Remember my lack of budget in replies please.

Thanks in advance.

More about : upgrading run skyrim tight budget gpu upgrade

March 26, 2013 7:57:39 AM

I can't speak from personal experience, but from all the stuff I've read when Tom's benchmarks the Budget PCs they do every quarter, Skyrim is a very CPU intensive game. I'd look into it more before buying a new GPU.
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March 26, 2013 7:58:32 AM

its not worth it trust me. unless you can overclock that a bit with 4+ gb of ram your cpu will be a bottle neck. i have an athlon x2 5200 and its overclocked to the max my board will let me at 3.1 ghz. it will play bf3 decently and skyrim with my old 9800gtx i had. but when i tried my 550ti in there, there was no improvement at all really. it could have just been a ram issue for me with only 2 gb of ram but it did run better with 3 gb but the 2 other dimm slots i had have a problem causing random crashes.

also if you look up your mobo for me and find your supported cpu list i will send you my cpu from my old computer for free to help you out a bit man. i even have 2 1gb sticks of ddr2 800 mhz if you want me to send you that as well just to help out a fellow gamer.

but as for a card i would say 6870 or the 7770 both are good cards. message me if you are interested in my sending you some parts, i have so many pc parts its crazy
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March 26, 2013 8:01:01 AM

For a system that old, I probably wouldn't go above a Radeon HD6670. Anything above that would be wasted as your processor couldn't keep up. For reference, I used to run my 8800GTS-640 on an old S939 Athlon X2-4800+.

-Wolf sends
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March 26, 2013 8:03:36 AM

Wolfshadw said:
For a system that old, I probably wouldn't go above a Radeon HD6670. Anything above that would be wasted as your processor couldn't keep up. For reference, I used to run my 8800GTS-640 on an old S939 Athlon X2-4800+.

-Wolf sends


sounds like my old system...........lol

still works too.
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March 26, 2013 8:20:37 AM

I agree with the other posters. You're going to need to upgrade both your CPU and GPU to see meaningful improvement.
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March 26, 2013 10:01:53 AM

LOL yup I have an old x2 6000 in my closet i just could not throw away :)  any takers haha have a1090T in that pile too hmm what to do what to do...

Thent
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March 26, 2013 10:24:18 AM

thently said:
LOL yup I have an old x2 6000 in my closet i just could not throw away :)  any takers haha have a1090T in that pile too hmm what to do what to do...

Thent


ill take that 1090 off your hands for you haha
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March 26, 2013 10:31:38 AM

I have to rma one of those. was always something wrong with it.
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March 27, 2013 1:32:53 AM

Thanks for the advice guys. I forgot to mention in the main post I have 6GB of DDR2 800MHz RAM.

Ill take either of those offers guys. :-) Either your 5200+ 06yfz450ridr, or your 6000+ thently! Either one of you willing to arrange something over pm?

If I put in one of those, or managed to get something similar and then got a 7700, would that show any significant gain?

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March 27, 2013 2:44:34 AM

being a guy who plays skyrim modded (seriously size of my skyrimfolder is 33gb cuz of the mods)... u will need a decent system as most of the cool mods r all CPU intensive... and if u plan to use high rez texture and enb mods than u will need a fairly high end pc.
if u want to update just the gpu 6870 seems like a cheap buy that will run skyrim on high settings...not sure with all the mods though.
I recently upgraded to hd7970 from a hd6950 cuz i was getting 25fps with all the mods on hd6950.
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March 27, 2013 3:29:32 AM

I have about 30 Mods, but most of them are small so I don't think they are adding that much extra to the CPU. I would like to play it in superHD with all the bells and whistles, but I know thats not possible until I have the money next year for a complete new build. I would be happy with it playing like it does on my PS3, which is roughly medium/high settings at 720p???
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March 27, 2013 3:34:54 AM

wolfshadow build above will probably play it better than yours but have doubts his can play it.
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March 27, 2013 3:59:06 AM

depends on the mods too... mods like civilwars are only afew kb in size but take a heavy toll on your cpu... try a midrange 6th series GPu like a 6790 cuz i just realized 6970 will b held back by ur cpu... Please note that i am not sure about 720p with these gpus but a hd6850 ran skyrim with 1080p with max settings fairly well.
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