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Upgrading my GPU and PSU for better gaming experience

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August 11, 2013 3:44:42 AM

Ok, so for a while now I've been noticing that the computer that I built (originally not for gaming purposes) is really struggling to cope with even standard and simple games, or older games, very well at all. So I have decided to investigate and perform an upgrade to the GPU (which I feel, and has been suggested to me, is the weakest part that is really slowing down performance).

Here is my current system, along with the changes I am planning to make:

CPU: Intel Core i5 3550
Motherboard: Asus P8H61-MX USB3
RAM: 8GB Corsair 1600mhz Vengeance (2x4GB)
Hard Drive: 500GB S-ATAIII 6.0Gb/s
Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce GT 610 1GB -> Asus NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660Ti
Case: Zalman Z11 Plus
PSU: 400W Xigmatek -> XFX P1-550S-XXB9 PRO550W Core Edition Power Supply

So, what I would like to know is this:

    Do you think this upgrade is worth the money? (~£230)
    Do you think that this upgrade will work with the rest of my system?
    Can you see any issues with it?
    As far as you can tell, will it fit the case?
    Also: how big is the Asus GTX 660Ti, because Amazon claims it is 40cm x 35cm x 6cm?
    Lastly, could you suggest a better, more cost effective upgrade for the same kind of performance in games like Skyrim?

Thanks in advance for any answers!
a b 4 Gaming
August 11, 2013 4:07:31 AM

instead of 660Ti you should look for a 760, it perform's slight'y better due to a bigger memory bus. and it will be a perfect match for the system.
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a b 4 Gaming
August 11, 2013 4:10:55 AM

callumquick said:
Ok, so for a while now I've been noticing that the computer that I built (originally not for gaming purposes) is really struggling to cope with even standard and simple games, or older games, very well at all. So I have decided to investigate and perform an upgrade to the GPU (which I feel, and has been suggested to me, is the weakest part that is really slowing down performance).

Here is my current system, along with the changes I am planning to make:

CPU: Intel Core i5 3550
Motherboard: Asus P8H61-MX USB3
RAM: 8GB Corsair 1600mhz Vengeance (2x4GB)
Hard Drive: 500GB S-ATAIII 6.0Gb/s
Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce GT 610 1GB -> Asus NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660Ti
Case: Zalman Z11 Plus
PSU: 400W Xigmatek -> XFX P1-550S-XXB9 PRO550W Core Edition Power Supply

So, what I would like to know is this:

    Do you think this upgrade is worth the money? (~£230)
    Do you think that this upgrade will work with the rest of my system?
    Can you see any issues with it?
    As far as you can tell, will it fit the case?
    Also: how big is the Asus GTX 660Ti, because Amazon claims it is 40cm x 35cm x 6cm?
    Lastly, could you suggest a better, more cost effective upgrade for the same kind of performance in games like Skyrim?

Thanks in advance for any answers!


Well firstly your system is a decent one, with a good CPU. Your prob in games is most definitely the low end GT610. Its purely low end.

Both PSU and GPU you've specced are good. XFX make good PSU, and the 660ti is a very decent midrange gaming card. It will get you 1080p at high to ultra depending on which game your playing, with newer games like Crysis 3, Far Cry 3 etc at high settings, but with good FPS, maybe not quite touching the 60 FPS (which is smooth gameplay) but close enough to be an enjoyable experience. Saying that, a GTX760 will give slightly better performance, and should costs less than the 660ti, but maybe not where you are. Your CPU however, is a good one, and wouldn't have much problem driving something like a GTX770/780. But for your budget the 660ti/760 are good choices.

Shouldn't be any problem fitting either in your case.
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August 11, 2013 9:56:46 AM

keith12 said:

Well firstly your system is a decent one, with a good CPU. Your prob in games is most definitely the low end GT610. Its purely low end.

Both PSU and GPU you've specced are good. XFX make good PSU, and the 660ti is a very decent midrange gaming card. It will get you 1080p at high to ultra depending on which game your playing, with newer games like Crysis 3, Far Cry 3 etc at high settings, but with good FPS, maybe not quite touching the 60 FPS (which is smooth gameplay) but close enough to be an enjoyable experience. Saying that, a GTX760 will give slightly better performance, and should costs less than the 660ti, but maybe not where you are. Your CPU however, is a good one, and wouldn't have much problem driving something like a GTX770/780. But for your budget the 660ti/760 are good choices.

Shouldn't be any problem fitting either in your case.

Thanks for your comprehensive answer! It's good to know that both of you think the 660Ti a good solid purchase, and I am also grateful for your suggestion of the GTX 760. I had assumed that since the GTX 680 was so expensive, that 700 series cards would be even more wallet crushing. A quick Google search has shown me they can be bought in the region of £230? Could either of you or someone else suggest a model or make and link the Amazon page. My budget is a stretchable £200, for the GPU, plus £50 for the PSU (the XFX for now).

Also on a side note about the fit, how many inches of clearance is safe for the card to have to the side of the case in any dimensions, and how easy is it to route and reroute cables around the new GPU and for the new PSU? Any recommendations about how the upgrade is to be achieved, be it tips on how to rewire for the new PSU, like should I replace the card first then do PSU, or card last, do I need to remove all parts and put in the PSU, etc, etc. Those would be very helpful aside from deciding the parts that will be used to replace.
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a b 4 Gaming
August 11, 2013 10:40:46 AM

here is gigabyte Windforce 3X GTX 760 for 212 pounds

http://www.scan.co.uk/products/2gb-gigabyte-gtx-760-28n...(x16)-6008mhz-gddr5-gpu-1085mhz-boost-1150mhz-1xdisplayport1xdvi-d

here's the EVGA superclocked one for 204 pound at:
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/2gb-evga-gtx-760-supercl...(x16)-6008mhz-gddr5-gpu-1072mhz-boost-1137mhz-cores-1152


if links don't work go here for windforce GTX 760: http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/part/gigabyte-video-card-gvn...

and here for EVGA: http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/part/evga-video-card-02gp427...
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August 11, 2013 12:22:59 PM

thasan1 said:
here is gigabyte Windforce 3X GTX 760 for 212 pounds

http://www.scan.co.uk/products/2gb-gigabyte-gtx-760-28n...(x16)-6008mhz-gddr5-gpu-1085mhz-boost-1150mhz-1xdisplayport1xdvi-d

here's the EVGA superclocked one for 204 pound at:
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/2gb-evga-gtx-760-supercl...(x16)-6008mhz-gddr5-gpu-1072mhz-boost-1137mhz-cores-1152


if links don't work go here for windforce GTX 760: http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/part/gigabyte-video-card-gvn...

and here for EVGA: http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/part/evga-video-card-02gp427...

I think I am going to stick with the Asus GTX 660 Ti for purely budget reasons. Even though the EVGA is only £200 I'm not sure the performance increase is sufficient for the extra £20 and money is a bit strapped here. I am also much happier with the ASUS brand than EVGA, I have heard better things. I would like your opinion on whether this is the right choice, or a convincing argument for me to go with the GTX 760.
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a b 4 Gaming
August 11, 2013 12:38:12 PM

if the £20 is a little too big for you then you can stick to GTx 660Ti, as it performs exactly the same as a GTX 760.
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August 11, 2013 1:41:14 PM

thasan1 said:
if the £20 is a little too big for you then you can stick to GTx 660Ti, as it performs exactly the same as a GTX 760.

Last question, thanks for all your help so far. The XFX PSU I suggested is not shipped by Amazon.co.uk and would take alot longer to deliver (3-18 working days), and I would rather have them arrive together and quickly. So, this OCZ OCZ-ZS550W-UK 550W ZS Series 550W 80+ Bronze PSU with 135mm Fan & single +12V Rail is shipped by Amazon, and I was wondering what you thought about it. Should I stick to the XFX because it's worth the wait or would this OCZ box be perfectly fine as well, especially considering it can be shipped quickly?
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a b 4 Gaming
August 11, 2013 10:59:54 PM

well OCZ is a reputable brand, they are owner of PCp&C which is another reputable brand and that PSU's OEM is sirtec which is also knowwn for making good PSU's so yeah that PSU will work.
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August 12, 2013 1:30:21 AM

So you don't think I need to wait for the XFX, just go with the OCZ? It will work just as well, not fail or malfunction or damage the card?
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a b 4 Gaming
August 12, 2013 2:14:52 AM

callumquick said:
So you don't think I need to wait for the XFX, just go with the OCZ? It will work just as well, not fail or malfunction or damage the card?


The OCZ is a good PSU, and won't let you down. I suppose you can never guarantee that hardware won't fail, but the 80+ certification allows these PSU to run for thousands of hours. SO it shouldn't fail anytime soon. As the other poster has said, OCZ are a reputable brand, and often see other posters on Toms purchasing them, and being very happy. I wouldn't wait for the XFX, i'd be too excited to get the parts and get them going! :)  Have fun.
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August 12, 2013 2:29:31 AM

Ok! Thanks very much to the both of you for your answers and help! Much appreciated and not to mention helpful and confidence inspiring (that I made a good choice).
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a b 4 Gaming
August 12, 2013 3:09:03 AM

callumquick said:
Ok! Thanks very much to the both of you for your answers and help! Much appreciated and not to mention helpful and confidence inspiring (that I made a good choice).


Welcome :)  enjoy.
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