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What to upgrade?

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May 20, 2011 9:18:25 PM

Hi, and already thanks for reading,

A while ago I got a prebuilt PC from my parents. I wanted to play games on that PC, so I decided to upgrade my rig. I changed the PSU and GPU (to a HD5770).
Now I want to upgrade my PC again for better performance in games, but I'm not sure what to upgrade.
First I wanted to get a new motherboard, so I would be able to run a second 5770 in crossfire (it felt like a waste to stop using this one year old GPU already). But because I have some crappy components that need to fit, upgrading my MoBo seems like a bad idea. (I have DDR2 RAM and a CPU with socket LGA775). If I was to upgrade the MoBo now, I would probably need to update the MoBo again if I want to update my CPU.
Now I looked into getting a better GPU to replace my current, so that I have to spend less cash for almost the same improvement in games.
What would you guys advice me to do? I don't have a huge budget, so I rather not replace a lot of parts at the same time.

My current specs:
CPU Type QuadCore Intel Core 2 Quad Q8300, 2500 MHz (7.5 x 333)
Motherboard Name Acer MCP73PV
System Memory 4096 MB (DDR2-800 DDR2 SDRAM)
3D Accelerator ATI Radeon HD 5770 (Juniper) (1GB)

Games like Crysis and Bad Company 2 just don't play smooth enough, even when I tinker with the settings (lowering everything gives just a little FPS boost)

More about : upgrade

May 20, 2011 9:54:03 PM

What is your approximate budget? :) 

From where I'm standing, my first port of call would be to upgrade the mobo so I could get a newer CPU. I realise this would require a CPU, and possibly a RAM change (unless you got a 1155 MB with DDR2 slots) all at once, but I personally think the CPU+MoBo are your weakest listed components.

Your RAM is ok at 4GB, even though I personally feel anything below 1300MHz is a little outdated, but I think that's just me being elitist. Regardless, your RAM is still a strong point in your rig.

Equally, your card is no pushover, even if to you it doesn't feel like the best component (which is often what people try to blame/upgrade first.) A good gaming rig is like a builder doing a job - he needs the right tools (RAM, GPU), but the builder himself needs to be good enough to use them (CPU). Crappy analogy, but hopefully you get the point - you need a decent CPU and GPU. Unfortunately this often means you need to change the mobo, which is a pain in the ass as upgrading that often requires other upgrades. However, I'd strongly advise against upgrading your GPU in favour of your other listed components :) 

In your case, I'd set my sights on updating the CPU as soon as possible, even if that does mean having to switch MoBo first or at the same time. At the end of the day doing this will not only increase performance, but also extend the life of your rig (as a new MoBo will not only perform better, but accept newer parts.)

Just my two pence, hope it helps. Don't be afraid to show your parents these sort of threads - I remember trying to persuade my parents that the costs I was incurring were in fact necessary, and if mine were anything to go by then your in for a struggle :p 

Good luck though, hope you get what you want :) 

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May 21, 2011 12:22:42 AM

thats pretty odd my bro inlaw has the q8300 oc'd to 3.0 and his gaming is smooth.
check your ram ratios and if you have a 3rd party cooler bump your cpu clocks.
also bad company 2 will only manage medium settings on that card with hsao off. even i dont use that setting on my 5870 as its just not worth the performance hit...

both games you mention are pretty much cpu bound so the faster you can get your cpu the better the games will play. and i think you'll agree its better to spend £30 on a cooler to oc to 3.0 and get 10 fps or more than spending 400 to get 20...

you gotta remember the 5770 isnt a stellar card its an ok card for low mid gaming.
maybe you had to much expectation from it. but 1 things for sure there are better cards out there in its price bracket so its not really worth getting a second 1 for crossfire.
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May 21, 2011 12:05:51 PM

Thanks all for your responses.
OC'ing isn't an option with this MoBo, so if I want to do that, I need to get a new MoBo first. Isn't this socket kind of old (LGA775)? Getting a new MoBo just to OC seems like a waste then, since I'll need another new MoBo if I want to upgrade this CPU.
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check your ram ratios

Where/how do I check that?
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also bad company 2 will only manage medium settings on that card with hsao off.

Even if I put everything on low, the game still has a pretty low FPS. The difference between high settings and low are 5-10FPS. That still means I have to put up with 30FPS max, average 25FPS.
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hmmm, make sure all your drivers are up to date...

My drivers are up-to-date
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what is your resolution?

1680x1050. Playing at a lower res doesn't change the FPS much.
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also is your card forcing AA or AF, MSAA

It's not forcing that.
These are the 3D settings @ catalyst:
http://puu.sh/29wq
http://puu.sh/29wr
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also you forgot to tell us exactly the brand model that makes your video card,

SAPPHIRE TECHNOLOGY Radeon HD 5770 - 1 Gb GDDR5 - PCI-Express 2.0 (11163-02-22R)

So getting a new MoBo+CPU would be my best bet? Any recommendations?
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May 21, 2011 8:38:43 PM

i have most of them on in my ccc pannel. only the sample menu has any real impact on bc2's performance.

also check your botherboard allows dual channel mode when 4x1 gig sticks are used.
some dont and this would hurt performance. its better to have less ram and dual channel than 4 gigs and single channel. you may get away with 3gig and still keep dual channel mode.
the ram ratio is found in bios. along with the advanced settings for overclocking the cpu.
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May 22, 2011 12:07:57 PM

HEXiT said:
i have most of them on in my ccc pannel. only the sample menu has any real impact on bc2's performance.

also check your botherboard allows dual channel mode when 4x1 gig sticks are used.
some dont and this would hurt performance. its better to have less ram and dual channel than 4 gigs and single channel. you may get away with 3gig and still keep dual channel mode.
the ram ratio is found in bios. along with the advanced settings for overclocking the cpu.

CCC panel? We are talking about RAM now? My BIOS is pretty basic and doesn't even have options for overclocking. I don't think I'll find those options there.
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May 22, 2011 5:02:09 PM

go into bios and try crtl+f1 some manufacturers hid them options. like gigabyte.
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May 23, 2011 1:55:25 PM

HEXiT said:
go into bios and try crtl+f1 some manufacturers hid them options. like gigabyte.

Tried some keys, but it didn't work.
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May 24, 2011 3:53:21 PM

I decided that I want to upgrade my MoBo+CPU (and RAM later).
I was thinking of getting these parts:

MoBo+CPU (and RAM later)
  • Asrock N68C-GS UCC € 58,99
  • AMD Phenom II X4 840 Boxed € 85,98
    For a total of 144,97

    MoBo+CPU with new RAM
  • MSI GF615M-P33 € 43,55
  • AMD Phenom II X4 840 Boxed € 85,98
  • Corsair VS2GB1333D3 (Twice) €39,32
    For a total of 168,85

    Any suggestions on what combo to buy? Are the parts alright? Is this a smart move? And also not unimportant: will this all fit in this pre-build case?
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    May 24, 2011 4:25:43 PM

    Performance between the 840 AMD and what you have is very close. You would get better bang for your buck to upgrade your MB to one that can OC your CPU to 3.0 GHz than to buy the AMD you selected.

    I played BBC2 on a Q6600 @3.0 GHz and 9800 GT on high settings and my FPS are at 32-37.

    I just upgrade my GPU to A HD 6950 2 GB and I get 70 -100 FPS. The new Video card is OC to the max. While playing both the CPU and GPU run at 95-98 %.

    CPU speed makes a big difference.
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    May 24, 2011 5:23:23 PM

    I think I rather get a new CPU, so that when needed I can OC that one ever further when needed in the future. I'm rather new to overclocking, so not having to overclock now would be a plus.
    I also like to play games on emulators, and IIRC, having a better CPU helps getting better performance in emulators.

    EDIT: I think it's a better idea to get this MoBo if though, it has CrossFire support... http://tweakers.net/pricewatch/246031/asrock-m3a770de.h...
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    May 30, 2011 3:17:58 PM

    Last bump before I buy the parts.
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    May 30, 2011 4:34:14 PM

    I use a q9550/ddr2-800 for gaming---- 1920x1200......... best thing I put on that machine for gaming was a 6950 2gig card. @1680x1050 your card is still holding you back. you might not see tons of "extra" fps but playability will improve...... BBC2.... i play that too..... maxed.
    I can't see upgrading the cpu and motherboard without having a better graphics card. Cross firing is a waste of time for low end cards. You'll need something with better architecture.
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    May 30, 2011 6:26:08 PM

    swifty_morgan said:
    I use a q9550/ddr2-800 for gaming---- 1920x1200......... best thing I put on that machine for gaming was a 6950 2gig card. @1680x1050 your card is still holding you back. you might not see tons of "extra" fps but playability will improve...... BBC2.... i play that too..... maxed.
    I can't see upgrading the cpu and motherboard without having a better graphics card. Cross firing is a waste of time for low end cards. You'll need something with better architecture.

    So you'd recommend getting the card first, and updating the rest later? Sounds like a good plan tbh, after looking at some benchmarks of 5770x2 crossfire and that 6950.
    I'm still afraid that my CPU will bottleneck with that card, though...
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    May 30, 2011 6:49:14 PM

    "I'm still afraid that my CPU will bottleneck with that card, though..."

    it does, mine does too. But I upgraded from a 5850 1gig and there was better playability in everything that needed the extra horsepower..... BBC was one of those. When I upgrade the mobo/ram/cpu in a year or so I'll have one or 2 cards to bring to my next build, not something that's going to slow it down.
    and then you have to think about BBC3 coming in the fall....... supposed to be harder on graphics cards... ????
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    May 30, 2011 7:01:38 PM

    swifty_morgan said:
    "I'm still afraid that my CPU will bottleneck with that card, though..."

    it does, mine does too. But I upgraded from a 5850 1gig and there was better playability in everything that needed the extra horsepower..... BBC was one of those. When I upgrade the mobo/ram/cpu in a year or so I'll have one or 2 cards to bring to my next build, not something that's going to slow it down.
    and then you have to think about BBC3 coming in the fall....... supposed to be harder on graphics cards... ????

    How much of the power will go wasted then? Can you compare your framerates with a benchmark online somewhere? I'd like to know how many FPS it differs.
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    May 30, 2011 7:12:10 PM

    id recommend not investing in AMD right now since there new CPU's are coming out soon. Intel will still probably be better though so maybe look at Sandy bridge cpu's
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    May 30, 2011 7:27:43 PM

    Remco32 said:
    How much of the power will go wasted then? Can you compare your framerates with a benchmark online somewhere? I'd like to know how many FPS it differs.


    FPS don't mean squat after a certain amount. and even then there are games that give good playability with low FPS ( metro 2033 ) with the RIGHT card. It's all about the cards architecture and what it will do for any certain game. That's why your 5770 "fails" in BBC2 and a 6950 2gig will prevail. ( my returned 560ti 2gig failed in metro whereas the 6950 prevailed..... maxed out )
    you have to learn to look beyond all those "benchmarks" that proclaim more FPS mean better playability. If the person doing the benchmark charts would actually sit behind their computer and play vs just running automated becnchies and then posting the numbers...... I think there would be different out comes..... and more honest reviews.

    ............. so no, I'm not going to scour the web for BS. I have tons of graphics cards spanning a decade or MORE and know what certain cards will do with certain hardware and certain games. If you don't want to take my word for it, so be it. It's your money. You make your own choices. I'm just trying to get you to go in what I believe is the right direction. Good Luck.
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    May 30, 2011 7:40:05 PM

    What you are saying is that it'll run BC2 with >60? I agree that you won't spot the difference between 110 and 120 FPS, but it's nice to know if the card can easily handle a certain game.
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    May 30, 2011 8:08:02 PM

    I don't know how many FPS it gets. I do know that it out performs my 5850 to a great degree and so far is unstoppable in anything I play at 1920x1200 in DX10+11 maxed out with my hardware. The 5850 couldn't do it. ( FarCry2-Crysis-BBC2, Shift, yadda, yadda, yadda, etc. ) Upgrade that with "better" and newer hardware and it's golden. Buy new hardware and keep the same 5770 is a losing proposition. You already said it's handicapped. 2 of those cards isn't going to help. You're still handicapped by the cards architecture.
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    May 31, 2011 1:28:28 AM

    its not the total fps that counts its the difference between minimum and maximum fps. and how well a card can maintain a steady flow of them.
    i would much rather have a card that can give 30-50 fps but with a constant average of 40 than a card that will give me 20-200 fps but cant maintain a steady output.
    you wont notice 2-6 fps drops in games but you will notice 50+ drops especially in online.
    the old 88gt was a good card in this respect. it may not have given huge fps but they were constant. even today it will play bfbc2 at medium settings and give a constant 30-35@1920/1080 where as something like a 4850 bounces all over the shop 15-55+ when paired with a 3ghz dual core.
    the best thing to do is ballance your system, balance your gpu to your cpu. that way you will get constant fps rather than massive variations.

    as swifty says buying a balanced gpu for gaming is more important than getting 1 with a huge amount of ram but very few shaders or rops...
    and as he says benchmarks dont always give the full story. often the people who supply them have an agenda pushing 1 manufacturer over the other.

    also its always better to get 1 powerfull card rather than pairing 2 weak 1s.
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    May 31, 2011 10:17:22 AM

    So getting the 6950 now, and updating the CPU+MoBo+RAM later on? I guess I'll order the card later today.
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    May 31, 2011 10:43:55 AM

    that gpu is gonna be way to much for your q8300. better upgrade the cpu first and get better gfx later. i5 2500k with a p67 motherboard and 4 gigs of ram.
    yes the gpu is way better than what you already have but really it will cause more problems than enough as your systems base will be comparativley weak. so strenthen that first then start adding the nice stuff like sweeter gfx.

    you will find you will get slightly better performance from your 5770 overall ...
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