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Upgrading my ATI 4890 graphics card without changing PC

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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March 2, 2014 1:05:07 PM

Hi guys,

Hope all are well! I've currently got a 4890, but with the latest games coming out, my PC is starting to struggle and I'm considering getting a new, DX11 graphics card to get better performance without being bottlenecked by my processor. I would also consider upgrading the RAM too, but my mobo will not let me go above 4gb so would have to be for faster RAM if permitted.

Buying a new PC is currently out of the question as I'm a student and can't afford it. I've had this PC for 4 years now so ideally don't want to break the bank as I feel I will buy a new PC in a 2-3 years when I will hopefully be working. My budget is around £150/$250. I was considering the ati 6850 or 6870 but thought I would get some opinions on the matter.

My current specs:

OS: MS Windows 7 64-bit SP1
CPU: AMD Phenom II X2 550 @ 3.1 GHz
RAM 4.0GB Dual-Channel DDR2 @ 401MHz (6-6-6-18)
Motherboard ASUS M2N68-AM SE2 (AM2)
Graphics ATI Radeon HD 4800 Series (ATI AIB)
PSU: Cyberpower 700W power supply

Cheers for your time!
March 2, 2014 1:17:56 PM

stick with a PCIE2 gpu... your motherboard likely does not push the new cards...
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a b U Graphics card
March 13, 2014 10:54:56 AM

Do you only want AMD cards?

Nvidia offers some good cards in your price range as well, if not cheaper.

Also, a newer graphics card will likely get hindered by your slow ram :/ 
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March 13, 2014 5:26:27 PM

Any recommendations on cards? I'm easy regardless of NVIDIA or AMD. I was looking at the NVIDIA 750 TI as it seems quite ideal with the power to performance ratio, but not sure if it's better than the 4890, in particular due to 2 things: a) the 4gb DDR2 RAM bottleneck and not being able to add more due to the mobo b) compatibility issues with the mobo being PCI-E 1.0 but the 750 TI being PCI-E 3.0.

Changing the mobo would hike up the price as it makes sense to get a better processor and more RAM as well. Therefore in a bit of a pickle in terms of what card upgrade would be worth it and make a difference gameplay wise.

Cheers for the replies :) 
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a b U Graphics card
March 14, 2014 7:18:39 AM

souljacker13 said:
Any recommendations on cards? I'm easy regardless of NVIDIA or AMD. I was looking at the NVIDIA 750 TI as it seems quite ideal with the power to performance ratio, but not sure if it's better than the 4890, in particular due to 2 things: a) the 4gb DDR2 RAM bottleneck and not being able to add more due to the mobo b) compatibility issues with the mobo being PCI-E 1.0 but the 750 TI being PCI-E 3.0.

Changing the mobo would hike up the price as it makes sense to get a better processor and more RAM as well. Therefore in a bit of a pickle in terms of what card upgrade would be worth it and make a difference gameplay wise.

Cheers for the replies :) 


Yeah you're gonna have a hard time finding any worthwhile upgrades with your current hardware limitations. I'd say just save up about 300-400 pounds and buy a "new" computer.
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor (£77.99 @ Aria PC)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler (£25.44 @ Aria PC)
Motherboard: Asus M5A78L-M LX PLUS Micro ATX AM3+ Motherboard (£75.95 @ Amazon UK)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£36.18 @ CCL Computers)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB Video Card (£118.99 @ Amazon UK)
Total: £334.55
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-03-14 14:18 GMT+0000)
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March 14, 2014 10:00:55 AM

That sounds like the best course of action - those parts are really good for the price! I may save up a bit more and push for a better CPU, GPU and more RAM as well.
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March 14, 2014 10:47:39 AM

Just wanted to ask - would getting a second hand 6870 and possibly and upgrading the CPU to a phenom X4 955 or 945 worth going for? In terms of years, how much would I be able to get out of a system like that?

Cheers
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a b U Graphics card
March 14, 2014 11:33:51 AM

I'd personally save up for a new system as JAmes Mason suggested. A 6870 is quite old at this point, as is the 955 cpu. You would be looking at low-medium settings for newer games if you were to use those components.

Also, keep in mind that the list of parts posted DOES NOT include a Case, Power Supply, Hard Drive, or DVD drive, because it's assumed you could re-use your current ones. I'd hope you have a good quality power supply though, but it's not super important seeing as the 750ti draws so little power.
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a b U Graphics card
March 14, 2014 3:22:21 PM

trogdor796 said:
I'd personally save up for a new system as JAmes Mason suggested. A 6870 is quite old at this point, as is the 955 cpu. You would be looking at low-medium settings for newer games if you were to use those components.

Also, keep in mind that the list of parts posted DOES NOT include a Case, Power Supply, Hard Drive, or DVD drive, because it's assumed you could re-use your current ones. I'd hope you have a good quality power supply though, but it's not super important seeing as the 750ti draws so little power.


hence why I suggested it. i assumed it would use less power than his current card anyways.

One thing I should mention, is if you reuse your old hard drives, you will have to reinstall windows because windows installs are keyed to your motherboard. And you would also have a lot of drivers for a bunch of hardware you didnt have anymore that could cause issues.
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a b U Graphics card
March 14, 2014 10:25:16 PM

James Mason said:
trogdor796 said:
I'd personally save up for a new system as JAmes Mason suggested. A 6870 is quite old at this point, as is the 955 cpu. You would be looking at low-medium settings for newer games if you were to use those components.

Also, keep in mind that the list of parts posted DOES NOT include a Case, Power Supply, Hard Drive, or DVD drive, because it's assumed you could re-use your current ones. I'd hope you have a good quality power supply though, but it's not super important seeing as the 750ti draws so little power.


hence why I suggested it. i assumed it would use less power than his current card anyways.

One thing I should mention, is if you reuse your old hard drives, you will have to reinstall windows because windows installs are keyed to your motherboard. And you would also have a lot of drivers for a bunch of hardware you didnt have anymore that could cause issues.


He could always format or clean up his HDD though.
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March 16, 2014 3:26:10 PM

Hi guys, just to let you know I ended up spending £300 on Ebay and ended up with this:

CPU - AMD 6 Core FX-6300 Black Edition, 3.5 - 4.5 GHZ Socket AM3+
Graphics Card - XFX AMD Radeon 7850 2GB gddr5 Memory DD Edition
RAM - 8GB DDR3 RAM dual channel, 2x Crucial Ballistix Sport 1600MHz, 4GB sticks.
Hard Drive - Western Digital Caviar Blue SATA III 6Gb/s, 500GB, 7200rpm Hard Drive
Optical Drive- LiteOn 24x SATA DVD Drive
Case - CiT Knight Midi ATX Gaming Case
Power Supply - CiT 500W Gaming PSU
Mother Board - ASRock 960GM/US3S FX Gaming Mother Board AM3+
Operating System- Windows 7, 64bit Pro with license and disc

I'm now thinking to change that PSU though. That mobo should give me some headroom for a few years, both in RAM and CPU.

Just wanted to say thanks for the help guys, much appreciated for the advice!
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a b U Graphics card
March 16, 2014 6:34:09 PM

Yeah, I would probably change that power supply, seeing as it looks like it just came with the case and I've never heard of it. The rest of it looks good though, happy gaming.
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March 21, 2014 4:58:17 AM

Okay, I'm having a few problems with this pc (not upgraded anything yet). I was playing Battlefield bad company 2 online, the first time I started getting weird artifacts on the screen - random colours flickering in and out. The second time I tried playing it the game ran okay but I tried exiting and the screen just went black. I think the GPU may be faulty but wondering if it could be a PSU or heat issue?
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