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Cheap PC Upgrade for Skyrim


I'm tweaking out about Skryim and have the hair brained idea to do a cheap (read: very cheap) upgrade to run Skyrim on High settings or at the very least, better graphics than my Xbox.

My current rig is in my signature.

My thought is to stay under $250 (plus or minus a few bucks) but to set myself up to upgrade at a later point should I desire. So I would keep my case, drives, HD, and power supply but replace the mobo, cpu, ram and graphics card (which I'm struggling to pick).

4Gb Ram

BioStar micro-Atx

Core i3 2100


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  1. you already have a setup that will perform better than the xbox... but to be honest your looking at a cpu and gpu upgrade as both are getting on now.
    truth is if you cant afford to replace both parts with good size upgrades its better to stick with what you have... it should play scyrim at medium settings which will beat out the xbox by quite a margin...

    a matching gpu for a i3 2100 would probably be a gtx550 Ti/ or gtx 560 Ti
  2. If such "cheap very cheap" upgrades were possible then y would other ppl spend so much money...truth is u REALLY need Cpu and gpu upgrades and there is no way u could get both of them in 250 usd...other stuff u chose is fine but u need a decent gpu...+1 to 560 Ti from my side...although u could alwayz buy a gud gpu and upgrade to a better cpu later but u will have to stay a gud 100 miles away from Gta IV, BFBC 3 etc
  3. That CPU is actually a very good choice. It performs amazingly well and basically at the level of a i5 or even an i7 in most games (mostly because alot dont optimize for multiple cores). As for a gpu, your not going to get one and keep it all under or arouond 250. You should really look for nothing less than a 550ti or a 6850. Both of those should run skyrim maxed based on what theyve released about the game so far. But as for other games youll have to turn down some settings. Id say your good with your current 3 choices but your going to have to splurge a bit to get a worthy graphics card. good luck!
  4. For $250 you can get a HD6950 that can be switched to HD6970, which is far better then a 560Ti.

    The system that you have now is by far adequate to run Skyrim with an updated video card.

    You might find better performance by adding an extra 4gb of ram also for around $30 along with the video card.

    EDIT: I have a feeling you meant to say that you had 250 left over for a video card after selecting those other parts.

    if that is the case then yeah get a HD6950 that can be switched to a HD6970 and you might also consider upgrading your ram from 2x2gb to 2x4gb since the price difference is about $15 dollars between the two sets.
  5. ^^Ah yeah that makes more sense, I just misread it the first time. For 250 I'd still say its safer to go with a 560ti and use the extra money to get the 8 gigs of ram. Its just not quite reliable enough to unlock to a 6970 to justify recommending it IMO. Even though 8 gigs isnt necessary you might find it useful later on.
  6. Best answer
    im not looking at the price of the gpu im looking at the balance of the cpu to gpu... go to far and you will destroy performance with bottlenecks. i wouldn't recommend anything more powerful than a 560ti for this reason alone. better to have slightly less eye candy and a solid frame rate than all the eye candy but a frame rate that bounces from 0-60 and back again every 5 seconds.
  7. Thanks for all the feedback. I'll try and clear things up.

    I was looking to spend $250 total, CPU, GPU etc.

    I would love to just swap into a new GPU into my current rig but my mobo is only PCI x16 not PCI 2.0 x16. I've tried looking (albeit not very hard - Newegg only lists two PCI x16 cards) for a better GPU but I think they're just not made anymore. Plus for the money of a better GPU for my current rig, I could upgrade almost the entire thing with newer components.

    From what I'm seeing price-wise it would be

    CPU i3 2100 ~130
    GPU 6850 ~150
    RAM ~25
    Mobo ~50 (for a cheapy one to upgrade later)

    Total ~350

    Another thought is to steer clear of the i3 and go with an X4 645 and a 6850. Again it'd run around $350 all together.
  8. Ive built 3 systems in the past quarter with I3 2100/2120's and matched them with Gigabyte Windforce 3 570's and haven experienced a bottleneck from the CPU in any of those systems.

    I don't think any modern CPU will be a bottleneck to any single card GPU setup on the market today. That includes C2D.

    I understand the issue being your board is PCIe 1.0 and that itself is probably the cause of the bottleneck with a modern GPU not the CPU itself.

    I would suggest saving an extra 50-60 dollars and getting a quality Motherboard from the get go. But I also understand financially that may not be the way to go.

    Another thing to look for is Combo DIY deals on Newegg, there can generally be pretty good deals on lower end parts, saving you 50-60 bucks on a 300-350 dollar bundle.
  9. Best answer selected by mousemonkey.
  10. This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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