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Phenom II X4 945 currently, what is the best video card upgrade for emulation? Do I need to upgrade chip?

My newly 12 year old (his birthday is today!) does a lot of emulation (Dolphin specifically). He got a Phenom II X4 945 last Christmas, with this motherboard-- GIGABYTE AM3+ AMD 760G Micro ATX AMD Motherboard and 8GB of RAM. At the time he was mostly surfing with occasional forays into Minecraft so he didn't need a lot of power. That has changed considerably this year, and he is having some issues with the system.

I have been looking at chip/motherboard combos, and video cards, and I may bite the bullet and order either this chip--
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=8688689&sku=M69-00000

or

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=8567495&sku=M69-0946

My first question is this---

1) Would we see considerable improvement over the Phenom with a FX-6350, or would we have to move to the FX-8350 to notice a big difference?

2) Is there a good video card in the 100-150 dollar that would work with the Phenom to boost performance now, and maybe we could upgrade the chip at a later date?

Thanks so much for your help!
Heather
16 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about phenom 945 video card upgrade emulation upgrade chip
  1. Here's a shellshocker deal right now on a video card: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814500286 . You didn't mention one, so I'm assuming he's using the IGP on that motherboard. This will be a BIG improvement.
  2. I don't see a link? At Newegg I am assuming?

    Also, yes, he is just using the onboard
  3. 1) Emulation doesn't really benefit from multi-threading, apart from very few exceptions, so in that regard you won't get any perceivable difference between the 6core and the 8core FX processors. That said, emulators benefit mostly from higher cpu clocks so you will get better performance from a 3.9ghz processor than a 3ghz one, unless the Phenom II is overclocked and if that is the case, you won't see that big of a difference.

    2) You did not mention what kind of videocard do you have now but if you are running of the integrated radeon 3000 gpu, any card you can find on the $150 range will perform better than that. Look for the >7770<, or the 7850, again since emulators rely mostly on cpu speed you don't need anything fancy.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007709%204017%20600100181&IsNodeId=1&name=AMD
  4. Oops, added...
  5. what is your current graphic card..?
    with a strong graphic card, difference between 8350 and 940 is huge..
    but if your current graphic card is a weak card, then delta performance between fx 8350 and 940 is negligible..
  6. I had been looking at the Sapphire raedon 7750 and 7770's that Tiger Direct has. I can build a basic machine, but I know very little about video cards, so I thought I might need a bit of assistance :)
  7. Both are good cards, the 7770 is somewhat faster so it consumes slightly more power, you might want to take your PSU in account.
  8. The GTX650Ti is stronger than the HD7770 or HD7750.

    HD7750 < HD7770 < GTX650Ti < HD7790 < HD7850 <= GTX650Ti Boost Edition.

    Make sure his PSU is up to the job. Any of the cards I list there will run on a 380W Antec Earthwatts or Antec VP-450 or 450W Rosewill Capstone.
  9. So the shell shocker card is better than the Sapphires that I have been looking at ? Are they going to work well with the current chip and motherboard until we can upgrade?

    Since I am linking you to everything else, this is the case that he has -- http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=4435046
  10. Yes, the Shellshocker card is stronger. You'll want to replace the PSU though. Coolmax is known for PSU-shaped objects that aren't good for anywhere near what's on their labels. Note how many of them appear here: http://www.johnnylucky.org/power-supplies/psu-lemon-list.html . Follow his links to his recommended list. Not there but also good would be the 380W Antec Earthwatts. On the list, you'll also find the Rosewill Capstone, which is more efficient and also not expensive.
  11. Onus said:
    The GTX650Ti is stronger than the HD7770 or HD7750.

    HD7750 < HD7770 < GTX650Ti < HD7790 < HD7850 <= GTX650Ti Boost Edition.

    Make sure his PSU is up to the job. Any of the cards I list there will run on a 380W Antec Earthwatts or Antec VP-450 or 450W Rosewill Capstone.


    Sorry that I have been replying to the thread and not directly to you :) I read the forums pretty often but haven't ever posted before!

    We have this power supply-- http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=3843505

    And this case--
    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=4435046

    Will the shell shocker card run well on the current system?
  12. herc0923 said:

    You should replace the PSU before upgrading the video card. I would not trust that one for any more than 300W.
  13. Onus said:
    herc0923 said:

    You should replace the PSU before upgrading the video card. I would not trust that one for any more than 300W.



    The antec is 29 after rebate-- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371045

    The Rosewil is 59 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817182066

    Is there a difference in them? Both seem to be recomended-- is brand the only price difference?
  14. The Rosewill is GOLD certified.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/80_Plus
  15. Best answer
    The Rosewill is 80+ Gold, so it is more efficient. It also has two PCIe power cables for graphics cards, and more of its output on +12V so it could handle more powerful cards than the VP450 can.
    Personally, I like efficiency and would most likely choose the Capstone, but you'd be getting a perfectly competent PSU if you choose the Antec. It has been used by some of the Tom's Hardware editors in SBM builds.
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