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Graphics Card Upgrade Help!

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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August 6, 2014 9:55:23 AM

Hello,
This is my first time of this forums hopefully this applies to the right people.
I am upgrading my current PC, these are my specs.

P5N32-E SLI Asus motherbourd
Geforce 7900 graphics card (upgradeing)
Intel core 2 duo

Those are my basics if you need any more please ask. Back to the point, I am thinking of upgrading my graphics card, and I have 2 choices.

Geforce 760 or the Sapphire Radeon R7 260X

Or if there is a better graphics card you guys reccomend I would love to hear it. My budget for this upgrade it £180.

Thanks guys and if you need any more info please ask, I would be happy to help.

More about : graphics card upgrade

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August 6, 2014 10:02:47 AM

You'll need to take note of a few limitations concerning your Motherboard and CPU.

The P5N32-E SLI is a Socket 775 Motherboard with 2 PCIe x16 1.0 slots. The Graphics cards you're looking at really want a PCIe x16 2.0 slot to do them justice, with a PCIe x16 3.0 being absolutely optimal. As such, you can expect either of the cards you've listed to bottleneck and run considerably slower than their maximum potential.

Furthermore, your CPU, being a Core 2 Duo model, is a further bottleneck as the cards you've listed really want i3/i5/i7 generation CPUs to run optimally. If you have 4GB or RAM or less that will be a further bottleneck.

Lastly, I'd ensure you have at least a 600W PSU (With a more powerful one to be on the safe side) to ensure these cards are fully supported.

Given your present rig I think there are some problems and perhaps would advise starting a new build before considering a Graphics Card upgrade. Maybe consider a minor upgrade of a 2-year old card to tide you over until you can afford an entirely new build.

You can install and run those cards but you will barely see 50% of their true potential with that setup.
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August 6, 2014 10:03:49 AM

Honestly you really should upgrade your CPU as well because it's a dead line and it will bottleneck the new GPU.

Get a new CPU and GPU if you can. The Pentium G3258 and a simple H97 motherboard will only be around $120, and then you can try and go for an R7 250/R7 250x.
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August 6, 2014 10:10:49 AM

What do you suggest I do first? I spoke to a nvidia agent and he said that the setup would work fine and the sockets can support both cards. I need to upgrade but not sure which one to do first, do you think a i5 would work well? Thanks for you help!
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August 6, 2014 10:14:28 AM

CPU upgrade will be more important in modern games. The CPU will bottleneck your GPU by far because it's so old. The Pentium G3258 can be overclocked and matches the i3 for like half the price. The motherboard can just be like a basic $50 - 60 motherboard.

After that you should have around $80 - $100 left.

You could try looking at the R7 250/ R7 260 (don't know the price on the latter, would assume it's around $100, $120).
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August 6, 2014 10:14:42 AM

SubZeroFlsh said:
What do you suggest I do first? I spoke to a nvidia agent and he said that the setup would work fine and the sockets can support both cards. I need to upgrade but not sure which one to do first, do you think a i5 would work well? Thanks for you help!


An i5 would be fine with either of those cards. Keep in mind that entails a Motherboard upgrade to a Motherboard featuring the correct Socket Type:

The Intel® Core™ i5-6xx / i5-7xx Processor Series use a LGA1156 socket
The Intel® Core™ i5-2xxx / i5-3xxx Processor Series use a LGA1155 socket
The Intel® Core™ i5-4xxx Processor Series use a LGA1150 socket

You'd want more than 4GB of RAM, although that would certainly be functional. Depending on your PSU it's probable that would need upgrading also.

I'd personally recommend saving a little extra cash and going for a significant upgrade that's more likely to stand the test of time. The cards you've chosen are solid and a good choice, it's the rest of the same system that's iffy at present.
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August 6, 2014 10:16:06 AM

I don't have a tone of money, but I don't mind upgrading my Processor and graphics card, but I would go over my budget if I upgraded the motherboard. Is it needed? because the nvidia agent said that this setup would work fine together and the port for my motherboard would support the Geforce 760.

Thanks again!
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August 6, 2014 10:17:17 AM

Honestly getting an upgrade for one part at this time is not worth it, as you'll either have a bottlenecked GPU, or a bottlenecked CPU.

SAVE!
Save your money and buy an i5/GTX 760 later. That is one of the most recommended combinations in terms of CPU/GPU.
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August 6, 2014 10:18:46 AM

SubZeroFlsh said:
I don't have a tone of money, but I don't mind upgrading my Processor and graphics card, but I would go over my budget if I upgraded the motherboard. Is it needed? because the nvidia agent said that this setup would work fine together and the port for my motherboard would support the Geforce 760.

Thanks again!


The PCI-E port will support it, but because it's a 1.0 slot it will have slower bandwidth. Don't ask customer support. They'd tell you everything fits if they sold it.

You'll need a new motherboard. The new CPU will not fit into it, because unlike AMD, Intel changes its socket every 2-ish years.
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August 6, 2014 10:18:50 AM

SubZeroFlsh said:
I don't have a tone of money, but I don't mind upgrading my Processor and graphics card, but I would go over my budget if I upgraded the motherboard. Is it needed? because the nvidia agent said that this setup would work fine together and the port for my motherboard would support the Geforce 760.

Thanks again!


You can't effectively upgrade your CPU without upgrading your motherboard since modern CPUs won't fit your Motherboard's CPU Socket Type.

Your setup will indeed work as it is, just keep in mind your graphics card will not run anywhere near it's full potential due to other components holding it back. That includes the PCIe x16 slot and the CPU.
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August 6, 2014 10:20:06 AM

Ok, what I might do is upgrade the processor to I5, then save money for the graphics card and the motherboard. Sound like a good plan?
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August 6, 2014 10:21:29 AM

SubZeroFlsh said:
Ok, what I might do is upgrade the processor to I5, then save money for the graphics card and the motherboard. Sound like a good plan?


Just remember, you can't use your i5 CPU in your current motherboard. I'd just save and purchase all needed components at the same time. The passage of time could see price drops that you'd miss out on if you buy components you can't use straight away.
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August 6, 2014 10:23:20 AM

If you buy a CPU + Motherboard and not a GPU, your CPU will be held back by your awful GPU. If you only upgrade the GPU, everything will be slow because your CPU is not very good, and the GPU will be running at low speeds.
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August 6, 2014 10:23:45 AM

Ok, would it be sensible to upgrade the motherboard, fit it, then save up for the processor and so on...
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August 6, 2014 10:25:08 AM

SubZeroFlsh said:
Ok, would it be sensible to upgrade the motherboard, fit it, then save up for the processor and so on...


I must recommend: save and purchase all components simultaneously.
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August 6, 2014 10:25:37 AM

Shadowblade2652 said:
If you buy a CPU + Motherboard and not a GPU, your CPU will be held back by your awful GPU. If you only upgrade the GPU, everything will be slow because your CPU is not very good, and the GPU will be running at low speeds.


Ok, I will take that into consideration, also will the Geforce 7900 work in a modern motherboard with the newer slot?


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August 6, 2014 10:40:10 AM

yes. They are backwards compatible slots.
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August 6, 2014 10:44:23 AM

ok good, Thanks guys!
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August 6, 2014 10:52:59 AM

I don't intend to repeat what everyone has already mentioned, however I'll post it clearly and account for other factors too.

Your entire system is quite old to be honest. If you upgrade the GPU to a GTX 760, your existing CPU and RAM will bottleneck the GPU (hold the performance of the GPU back). So if you upgrade the GPU, you may not notice a major difference in performance due to the weaker components (motherboard, CPU and RAM) restricting your system. If you are planning on playing modern games indeed an upgrade is necessary, as mentioned your system would now be considered obsolete.

The GTX 760 requires a 500W power supply (PSU) with 2x6-pin connectors. Assuming due to the age of your system, your current power supply may not have 2x6-pin connectors hence you maybe required to purchase molex to 6-pin adapters. With that said, your current PSU may not be produced from a decent manufacturer or 500W hence you could require a PSU upgrade too unfortunately.

You may require a new power supply (PSU) to support the GTX 760. Your existing CPU and RAM will bottleneck the GTX 760, hence upgrading the CPU and RAM is ideal first. Upgrading the CPU requires a new motherboard, due to your existing LGA 775 socket now being obsolete (no longer supported/end of life). Intel introduces a socket almost every 2 years, we're currently on socket 1150. The current socket only supports DDR3 RAM, you currently have DDR2 hence will require new RAM. Furthermore your current motherboard supports SATA and PATA/IDE; if you have any drives utilising PATA/IDE, you'll need to purchase new drives unless you already have SATA drives. (You should be using SATA anyway due to it providing better performance over PATA, hence being the successor to the now obsolete PATA.)

To conclude in order to upgrade your could require a new: PSU, motherboard, CPU, RAM and drives (hard/optical disk drives and/or solid state drives). If you wanted you could create a new computer all together, however that may not be possible with your set budget. Regardless if you want to upgrade your existing system with £180, I would recommend the following:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel Pentium G3220 3.0GHz Dual-Core Processor (£38.10 @ Aria PC)
Motherboard: ASRock H87M Pro4 Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard (£56.09 @ Amazon UK)
Memory: Corsair XMS3 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£28.99 @ Amazon UK)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply (£46.93 @ CCL Computers)
Total: £170.11
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-08-06 18:46 BST+0100

The above components are solid to get you started. The 550W PSU should allow you to upgrade to a better GPU in the future, the motherboard will allow you to accept Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 processors and up to 32GB RAM if you ever want to upgrade further (8GB RAM is more than enough for most, if not all gamers anyhow). Don't get it wrong, this Intel Pentium is a new Pentium based on the Haswell architecture and packs a huge performance gain over your existing system. I have not included a graphics card due to your budget, however the integrated graphics of the Intel Pentium is almost similar in performance to your GeForce 7900 GT; hence I would use the integrated graphics until you can save up more funds and purchase a dedicated GPU.

I have also not included any new hard drives or optical disc drives, assuming you already have them in SATA. If your existing drives are in PATA, you'll need to purchase new drives in SATA.

UPDATE:
SubZeroFlsh said:
Ok, would it be sensible to upgrade the motherboard, fit it, then save up for the processor and so on...

No. If you purchase a new motherboard your existing CPU or RAM will not be compatible; hence your system will not function. Your current processor is on socket 775, a new motherboard would be on socket 1150; your socket 775 CPU is not compatible with a 1150 motherboard. Only CPU's designed for socket 1150 are compatible.

775 denotes that there are 775 (seven-hundred and seventy-five) pins the processor should connect to on the motherboard; your current CPU only has 775 connectors. The new socket requires 1150 connectors/pins. Hence your existing CPU is not compatible with any other socket, not even a new 1150 motherboard. Motherboards are not backwards or forward compatible with CPUs.

A new motherboard would also require DDR3 RAM, you currently have DDR2. Then you need to consider your drives, SATA v PATA. If you want more details on this, read my entire post from the start. I personally believe it's ideal for you to upgrade the PSU, motherboard, CPU, and RAM now then save up for your other parts (that way you can slowly upgrade); unless you're planning to build an entirely new system.

All the best. :) 
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August 6, 2014 11:05:38 AM

My power supply hold 500W btw, which is good enough for most graphics cards
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August 6, 2014 11:06:18 AM

I'd suggest the G3258 because that can be overclocked to the same performance of an i3.
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August 6, 2014 11:07:00 AM

SubZeroFlsh said:
My power supply hold 500W btw, which is good enough for most graphics cards


What manufacturer/model?
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August 6, 2014 11:07:37 AM

Also I am going to save up my original budget was for the graphics card, i am going to save up my money for these parts.
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August 6, 2014 11:08:38 AM

I am considering an I5 after i upgrade my motherboard, wait i will just go and look
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August 6, 2014 11:09:21 AM

Antec
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August 6, 2014 11:14:31 AM

Ah then your PSU should be 100% capable of powering that computer without problems, but overclocking could be a strain.
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