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What should/can I upgrade for better gaming performance?

Tags:
  • Gaming
  • upgrade
  • advice
  • Computers
  • upgrading
  • Systems
  • Performance
  • Graphics Cards
Last response: in Systems
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May 7, 2013 3:52:21 PM

My computers getting to be on the older side, but there is no way I can afford a new one. I'm a tech newbie and I don't really know much about the inside of a computer. I know most of the parts, but not really on how to install them or anything.

My computer is a Dell XPS 9100 running Windows 7 (64-bit). I have 4 GB of ram, and I'm running an Intel Core i7 CPU (930 @ 2.80Ghz 2.80GHz). My graphics card is an ATI Radeon HD 5670.

Since I'm looking for full graphics gaming, I'd imagine I have to upgrade my graphics card. But I've been reading up on "Bottlenecking" and I'd rather not overpay and have that happen to me. Can anyone suggest a good (preferably easy to install) graphics card (If thats the best thing to upgrade at this point) that can allow games to run on higher graphic settings?

EDIT: I left out my harddrive. My harddrive is the Seagate ST31000528AS 1TB Hard Drive. I read some stuff about SSD's being best for gaming? No idea if mine is or not.

Edit 2: 525w PSU

Edit 3: Trying to stay $150 or less for the graphics card. Hoping to spend around $100 for the PSU (if possible). If these goals don't make sense for what I'm trying to do, let me know.

More about : upgrade gaming performance

Anonymous
May 7, 2013 4:00:20 PM

Always go with the best newest generation single card you can afford. If you want to stick with AMD go with a 7700 series or better or Nvidia go with a 660 series or better.
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May 7, 2013 4:00:32 PM

You definitely need to upp the graphic card.
Since you already have a gfc installed placing a new one will be just taking out the old and putting In the new.

You have to tell me your power supply before I can recommend you one.
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May 7, 2013 4:11:12 PM

They have 525w PSUs
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May 7, 2013 4:22:00 PM

Sagar Sammy said:
You definitely need to upp the graphic card.
Since you already have a gfc installed placing a new one will be just taking out the old and putting In the new.

You have to tell me your power supply before I can recommend you one.


Yeah, I opened up the computer but couldn't find a label to tell me. But google says the same as Rex, 525 PSU is the standard. Do I need (should I) upgrade that too? And is it expensive or very technical to do?
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May 7, 2013 4:23:28 PM

Just a lot of disconnecting and reconnecting of power leads. But its dummy proof since all the different leads are different sockets, so as long as everything that had power before gets power with the new PSU, nothing can go wrong
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May 7, 2013 4:35:34 PM

Also, I just read "This PC uses a power factor correcting (PFC) power supply that is not compatible with any standard UPS unit. You will need to purchase a Pure Sign Wave (PSW) UPS."

I don't know if that will play a factor in recommending a new PSU and Graphics card?
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May 8, 2013 8:36:40 AM

bump
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May 8, 2013 9:06:44 AM

for what its worth, an SSD will significantly reduce your load times, like unbelievably reduce. so depending on the games you play it may be worth budgeting for that as well.

I've been doing a ton of research on power supplies, your current PSU will run the card you are looking at just fine as long as all the power connectors are there, is there any particular reason why you want to replace the PSU?

Also part of my research has been looking at video cards, you should look at the Nvidia 650ti Boost, its a great card for the money, i believe even took "honors" on this site for its price/performance
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May 8, 2013 9:09:48 AM


dholster said:
for what its worth, an SSD will significantly reduce your load times, like unbelievably reduce. so depending on the games you play it may be worth budgeting for that as well.

I've been doing a ton of research on power supplies, your current PSU will run the card you are looking at just fine as long as all the power connectors are there, is there any particular reason why you want to replace the PSU?

Also part of my research has been looking at video cards, you should look at the Nvidia 650ti Boost, its a great card for the money, i believe even took "honors" on this site for its price/performance


I was only looking to replace the PSU if needed. 525 Seemed to be on the low side from looking at other people asking questions in this forum. Glad to know I don't have to.

Sagar Sammy said:
jatyro91 said:
bump


525w should be enough.. go for nvidia gtx 660
or the amd 7770,7850
i would go for this
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Any reason this one over the "regular" 660?
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May 8, 2013 9:15:29 AM

I like the 660 Sammy linked. I'm just wondering the difference between that one, and a regular 660. I did notice the one sammy linked suggests 600w. Is that going to be an issue?
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May 8, 2013 9:18:10 AM

Id also be weary of pushing the upper limit of that DELL 525w PSU -- odds are its not a Seasonic
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Best solution

May 8, 2013 9:44:32 AM

jatyro91 said:
I like the 660 Sammy linked. I'm just wondering the difference between that one, and a regular 660. I did notice the one sammy linked suggests 600w. Is that going to be an issue?


the company just produces the basic 660 model its the other manufacturers that take the full potential out of it.
it would be best if you stay out of these technicalities.

it will run on your power supply, the company has to take care of certain factors to avoid damage at consumer level.

i would not recommend the 650ti because it will probably need more power, although its a good card.
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May 8, 2013 10:06:37 AM

Sagar Sammy said:
jatyro91 said:
I like the 660 Sammy linked. I'm just wondering the difference between that one, and a regular 660. I did notice the one sammy linked suggests 600w. Is that going to be an issue?


the company just produces the basic 660 model its the other manufacturers that take the full potential out of it.
it would be best if you stay out of these technicalities.

it will run on your power supply, the company has to take care of certain factors to avoid damage at consumer level.

i would not recommend the 650ti because it will probably need more power, although its a good card.


Sammy is right, i wasn't looking at the right numbers,

650ti boost cards will max out around 220 watts, while the 660's usually max out around 180, so yes, it would be safer with your psu, plus for only ~30 bucks you will get a good 10% increase in performance.

i still highly recommend the SSD route, its done wonders for my gaming!
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May 8, 2013 10:07:02 AM

Alright. Looks like I'll be buying 660. Thank you all for your help.

I sent you a message about the SDD because its something I'd like to look into. But I don't have any Windows 7 discs, and its size is too small to replace my Harddrive. So I'd have to figure out how to run both at the same time.
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May 8, 2013 10:18:19 AM

jatyro91 said:
Alright. Looks like I'll be buying 660. Thank you all for your help.

I sent you a message about the SDD because its something I'd like to look into. But I don't have any Windows 7 discs, and its size is too small to replace my Harddrive. So I'd have to figure out how to run both at the same time.


Is it ok with you if I copy your question and my response here? I am far from an expert and would like to make sure these other guys have a chance to correct me if I am mistaken.
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May 8, 2013 10:19:27 AM

glad ive been of some help, any more questions pm me
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a b U Graphics card
May 8, 2013 10:26:43 AM

Lets do it.
First open your PC and tell us you PSU model number, usually 5-7 digit number printed on the upper portion of PSU specs list.

This can be yours, but not sure yet Dell 525W Power Supply M1J3H http://www.redplanettrading.com/Dell-M1J3H-7JVXX-D525AF...



So, can you verify, if it is yours?

Regarding VIdeo card. I see that no one mentioned MSI and Gigabyte, lets fill the gap, however I will provide reviews first so you can see that those 2 brands are bitting Asus and Zotac hands down
Gigabyte http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Gigabyte/GTX_660_OC/...
MSI http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/MSI/GTX_660_Twin_Fro...

Both can run on Dell 460 PSU for XPS 8300, so 525 watt should be OK!
What i missed?
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May 8, 2013 10:27:44 AM

dholster said:
jatyro91 said:
Alright. Looks like I'll be buying 660. Thank you all for your help.

I sent you a message about the SDD because its something I'd like to look into. But I don't have any Windows 7 discs, and its size is too small to replace my Harddrive. So I'd have to figure out how to run both at the same time.


Is it ok with you if I copy your question and my response here? I am far from an expert and would like to make sure these other guys have a chance to correct me if I am mistaken.


Yeah, that's fine with me. I did some research and it says I can run both, the only problem is learning how to set it all up, buying a new windows 7 for it, and figuring out how to mount it. So I'm starting to think its more trouble than its worth for a complete tech noob.
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May 8, 2013 10:32:52 AM

Heres my somewhat general answer to your question

Quote:
To: dholster

From: jatyro91
Sent on: May 8, 2013 2:27 AM
I had a question about the SSD. Does that replace your hard drive? Or is it like an add-on to it? I have no idea what I'm talking about here, so I wouldn't know how to install it, where to install it, or if theres even room in my tower for it.
From: dholster
Sent on: May 8, 2013 3:31 AM
For all intents and purposes it is an “addon” to your current hard drive. However I recommend you make it your main hard drive (boot, windows, specific games/applications, etc). Your 1tb hard drive will be a storage drive and to install less important applications and games.

I basically did the same thing you would be looking to do.

I started with connecting the SSD and in bios making sure it was the boot drive. Then I did a fresh install of windows. Then once it was all booted up I cleared out the old hard drive keeping only specific files I needed and only keep it as a data drive (steam auto installs games to this drive and I use a program to transfer them back and forth automatically based on what games I am currently focusing on)

Since it is only a 128gb SSD drive, i have to pay attention to what is saved there, but i only keep windows and a few games I am playing stored on that drive to optimize its space. that keeps me around 60% capacity and you never want to completely fill an SSD because of how they work.

Plus with a fresh video card, and ssd, you will find running a fresh install of windows to be a sizeable benefit.
Where your problem would come from is to get installation discs, you can possibly get them from dell, try this link to get you started
http://support.dell.com/support/topics/global.aspx/supp...

As far as figuring out where to plug it into the motherboard, you would do well to Google around for people doing the exact same thing. With the popularity of your PC I am sure there should be tons of it out there.
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May 8, 2013 10:33:26 AM

Kisianik said:
Lets do it.
First open your PC and tell us you PSU model number, usually 5-7 digit number printed on the upper portion of PSU specs list.

This can be yours, but not sure yet Dell 525W Power Supply M1J3H http://www.redplanettrading.com/Dell-M1J3H-7JVXX-D525AF...



So, can you verify, if it is yours?

Regarding VIdeo card. I see that no one mentioned MSI and Gigabyte, lets fill the gap, however I will provide reviews first so you can see that those 2 brands are bitting Asus and Zotac hands down
Gigabyte http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Gigabyte/GTX_660_OC/...
MSI http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/MSI/GTX_660_Twin_Fro...

Both can run on Dell 460 PSU for XPS 8300, so 525 watt should be OK!
What i missed?


I opened the case to look, but I wasn't able to find the label. I believe the 525 is mine, because thats what comes stock.

Are you saying both of these cards are better (in your opinion) than the Zotac?
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May 8, 2013 10:36:03 AM

There are options of imaging parts of your current install to a new SSD but that is something i have never messed with, i am a huge fan of fresh installs.

The joy of SATA is mounting (as far as software goes) bios makes that easy, physically mounting isn't terribly difficult, hell i have one machine with the ssd just resting on the bottom of the case, no moving parts in ssd means vibrations and all that aren't detrimental to its operation (but i wouldn't recommend that)
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a b U Graphics card
May 8, 2013 10:46:52 AM

Much better, take a look at any reviews and go to page 31 Temperatures and look at first table - you see that MSI is the coolest one with Gigabyte trailing, XPS case is somewhat air tight, so.
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a b U Graphics card
May 8, 2013 10:55:41 AM

Regarding SSD, I have Intel 520 180GB, but I cannot say that it helps in Battlefield 3, GPU upgrade does, RAM does, but not SSD, not in shooter games at least.
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a b U Graphics card
May 8, 2013 11:05:35 AM

dholster said:
not gonna lie, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... looks nice as well, especially with it running "cooler" it is a slight increase in cost.


I have the same one, plus MSI Afterburner fan speed controls and you have very efficient, cool and quiet GPU!
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May 8, 2013 11:09:22 AM

Sagar Sammy said:
glad ive been of some help, any more questions pm me


Tried to send you a PM asking your opinion on the MSI vs the Zotac but it says your name is invalid and won't let me send it.
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