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Whats to upgrade?. . .

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March 14, 2012 2:37:14 AM

I am trying to spend on a decent and budget friendly type of thing for whichever are needed to upgrade... [listed below] Playing BF 3 on Med/Low setting :( .

*CPU: AMD AthlonTII X2 250 Black Edition Dual-Core CPU w/ HyperTransport Technology

*MOTHERBOARD: GigaByte MA770T-UD3P AM3 DDR3 770 Chipset 1666 /1333/1066 with PCIe slot SATA RAID MB w/GbLAN

*MEMORY: 4GB (2GBx2) PC1333 DDR3 PC3 10666 Dual Channel Memory (Corsair or Major Brand)

*VIDEO: ATI Radeon HD 4670 512MB DDR3 PCI-Express DVI-I & TVO (Major Brand Powered by ATI)

*POWERSUPPLY: 700 Watts Power Supplies [ 7] (SLI/CrossFire Ready Power Supply)

:sweat:  Anything that need an upgrade please stated your opinions and why. Thanks in advance!

More about : whats upgrade

March 14, 2012 2:41:15 AM

What is the upper reach of your budget?
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March 14, 2012 2:44:45 AM

I would like to spend under 300 dollars. Unless nessecary to get the recommended items. There're so MANY graphic cards and Processors to choose and its making it difficult to choose and compare the pros and cons if you know what I mean?
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March 14, 2012 3:03:00 AM

Well up to a certain point, you get what you pay for. The main issue is that things like a processor upgrade usually amounts to a mobo change as well, and there goes 250-400 bucks right out the door.

I think* that the phenom ii x4 955 BE cpu is compatible with your mobo. I would say make sure that is the case, and maybe look to grab one of those, and upgrade your GPU to an AMD 6950 gpu. That would put you at about 300 dollars after rebate.

After those upgrades, next 50 bucks I would put into another 4gigs of system memory personally.
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March 14, 2012 3:15:25 PM

Which one is a must first? What about my power supply, i heard it's important for gaming.
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March 14, 2012 3:34:47 PM

You said you have a 700w power supply which is plenty of power, so long as it's of decent build quality. If you can post specifically what it is that would be helpful.

With your setup I would say that the GPU is the first thing to go, but your CPU will bottleneck anything of the 6950's caliber so it becomes the next change.
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March 14, 2012 4:33:31 PM

I'll have to look at it when I get home. Once I get the graphic card, can I play it at high setting till I get new CPU? Or, its requires to get CPU to be able to play at high-ultra setting?
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March 14, 2012 4:36:43 PM

BF3 in particular not horribly CPU bound, I would presume with enough overclocking of your dual core you could run all high settings on a 2gb 6950 from the get go. The more immediate choke point might be that you don't have 6gb of ram, as sys ram gets used pretty heavily when you have BF3 going with any common processes in the background.

Basically overall, and in order of upgrade importance:

1rst. GPU-recommend an AMD 6950 2gb model personally, about 200 after rebate.
2nd Recommend phenom ii x4 955 BE, so long as it fits your socket which I believe it does (double check me here
3rd. another 4gig ramkit preferably the same make/model as what you currently have installed for compatibility purposes. never want to mix and match ram-types

Including the ram you come out at 350 approx, but you can hold off on the ram. The immediate purchase would be the gpu and the cpu imo.
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March 14, 2012 5:04:17 PM

I'll let you know soon enough. Anything you want me to check while checking PSU?
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March 14, 2012 5:05:12 PM

Nah just a make/model and google can answer the rest =)
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March 14, 2012 5:20:02 PM

skele said:
I'll let you know soon enough. Anything you want me to check while checking PSU?


In my experience, marginal upgrades almost never improve gaming experience. Even with suggested upgrades you will likely continue to play on medium/low settings. You may be better of waiting a couple of months so that you can save up another $200 or so and get a new computer. There are some out there which are fairly strong and cost around $500-600. For example this HP (I grabbed the first one that I saw on the site just as an example. You may want to research this a bit)

http://www.shopping.hp.com/webapp/shopping/computer_can_series.do?storeName=computer_store&category=desktops&a1=Category&v1=High+performance&series_name=h8m_series&jumpid=in_R329_prodexp/hhoslp/psg/desktops/High_performance/h8m_series

If you happen to find a model that suits you, you can also Google 'model' coupons and end up getting a fairly decent new system on the cheap.
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March 14, 2012 5:42:47 PM

I'm sorry, are you calling 4670 to 6950 a marginal upgrade?

I will assume the link and comment there after was a joke...
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March 14, 2012 6:52:51 PM

AntiZig said:
I'm sorry, are you calling 4670 to 6950 a marginal upgrade?

I will assume the link and comment there after was a joke...



My comment is an idea he should explore. The link I included is arbitrary, as I mentioned – just an example of a budget PC. While some games/apps benefit more from a video card others benefit from other components. I am talking about overall system balance. After all, the system is only as good as its weakest component. I stopped building my own PCs a few years ago but before that I had tinkered quite a bit. Upgrading the video card when the rest of the system is lagging behind is a marginal upgrade.

Since it was suggested that he upgrade the GPU, the CPU and RAM it seems logical that he consider getting a new PC altogether. As I previously mentioned, he should do additional research.
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March 14, 2012 7:07:34 PM

He wants to get the most out of 300 dollars and already has a 700w PSU and a mobo that will support a quad core unlocked multiplier CPU, and a case.

Also you never get the best bang for your buck from a pre-built computer. Those are for people who aren't willing to trust themselves with assembly, or simply don't care for more than a PC that turns on, browses the internet, and works within the bound of reason.

The computer that you linked is twice-over out of his budget range and doesn't offer a single gaming-GPU as an option. Antizig is right to question your logic here.

Moreover, dollar per performance when it comes to gaming, the 955 BE is a better CPU than the FX 6k bulldozer. The bulldozer isn't a real hex-core, and is built on tech principles that almost no program (and absolutely no games) currently take advantage of.
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March 14, 2012 7:12:13 PM

casualcolors said:
He wants to get the most out of 300 dollars and already has a 700w PSU and a mobo that will support a quad core unlocked multiplier CPU, and a case.

Also you never get the best bang for your buck from a pre-built computer. Those are for people who aren't willing to trust themselves with assembly, or simply don't care for more than a PC that turns on, browses the internet, and works within the bound of reason.

The computer that you linked is twice-over out of his budget range and doesn't offer a single gaming-GPU as an option. Antizig is right to question your logic here.

Moreover, dollar per performance when it comes to gaming, the 955 BE is a better CPU than the FX 6k bulldozer. The bulldozer isn't a real hex-core, and is built on tech principles that almost no program (and absolutely no games) currently take advantage of.



Again you are talking about the link. I said TWICE it was an arbitrary link pointing at a budget PC. The PC linked is not a gaming PC. He could Google 'budget gaming PC' and take it from there.

You made your suggestion, I made mine. He can look into both and pick the one he believes is a better one for him.

More importantly, since he has no idea what to upgrade, I imagine he is not supremely skilled at tinkering with hardware components. In his case it may be a better idea to research and get a pre-built.
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March 14, 2012 7:16:10 PM

Slava said:
Again you are talking about the link. I said TWICE it was an arbitrary link pointing at a budget PC. The PC linked is not a gaming PC. He could Google 'budget gaming PC' and take it from there.

You made your suggestion, I made mine. He can look into both and pick the one he believes is a better one for him.

More importantly, since he has no idea what to upgrade, I imagine he is not supremely skilled at tinkering with hardware components. In his case it may be a better idea to research and get a pre-built.


So what you're saying is that you supplied an arbitrary link to a computer that won't perform the task that he requests in the OP, just to show him that "budget pc's" are overpriced and won't function as well as something he could build himself? If so I agree, and thanks for supporting the views of every single poster on tomshardware.

But since that isn't what you were going for...

...you're floundering in the midst of absolutely no logic. I could probably stop posting now because I'm sure Antizig is going to grace this thread again and be completely confused with where you're trying to go.

Edit: I hate to have to come back and edit my posts, but often it's necessary. Didn't you tell me in private messages that you're a self-professed tech-expert? If so I can only assume that a suggestion as literally awful as recommending someone on a limited budget with viable components, should instead explore buying a new pre-built PC, is something that you're doing out of malice. That is how egregiously inappropriate your advice is.
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March 14, 2012 7:26:03 PM

casualcolors said:
So what you're saying is that you supplied an arbitrary link to a computer that won't perform the task that he requests in the OP, just to show him that "budget pc's" are overpriced and won't function as well as something he could build himself? If so I agree, and thanks for supporting the views of every single poster on tomshardware.

But since that isn't what you were going for...

...you're floundering in the midst of absolutely no logic. I could probably stop posting now because I'm sure Antizig is going to grace this thread again and be completely confused with where you're trying to go.

Edit: I hate to have to come back and edit my posts, but often it's necessary. Didn't you tell me in private messages that you're a self-professed tech-expert? If so I can only assume that a suggestion as literally awful as recommending someone on a limited budget with viable components, should instead explore buying a new pre-built PC, is something that you're doing out of malice. That is how egregiously inappropriate your advice is.


Well, it seems you are unable to tolerate alternative ideas. Whatever.

Here's where I am going and what I am saying: Had he been good at replacing hardware he would have a vague idea that he should begin with the video card. It does not appear that he is good at building/upgrading the PC on his own. Any number of things could go wrong and he could end up spending more money while also experiencing major headaches. Say his one or more of his RAM upgrade chips comes defective. Will he know how to diagnose it and get it replaced? Probably not + a major headache. Say he does not sit his new video card properly or messes up power connections or something. Will he know what to do? Judging by the questions he asks – probably not. Have you seen the inside of his case? Nor have I. Is it possible that the upgrade CPU will not fit or he fails to install/connect it properly? Possible. Definitely. Say he breaks something in the process and becomes unable to RMA the item. He will then have to buy a replacement item.

Bottom line is this: It IS possible to find a decent gaming PC on a budget. Yes. I am aware he wants to stretch his $300 as far as possible but it may blow up in his face. I have seen this happen to many people bazillions of times. It happened to me a couple of times over the last 10 years or so.

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March 14, 2012 7:40:49 PM

I'm good with PC in some sorts but after researching, that's where I decided to sign up for this site and hopefully that will reduce my headache. All of you guys opinions matters to me so whichever you stated tour opinions I will look into it. Thank you. I am still getting onto the PSU part when I get home. I bought the PC and custom built it into my budgets from CyberPower.
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March 14, 2012 7:45:48 PM

Thats where I got the PC(Cyberpower) from 3 years ago is what I meant to say. Google is our friend, if I need knowledge, I go to that site. If I need expert opinions I'll come to you guys which comes with varieties of opinions.
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March 14, 2012 7:51:56 PM

skele said:
I'm good with PC in some sorts but after researching, that's where I decided to sign up for this site and hopefully that will reduce my headache. All of you guys opinions matters to me so whichever you stated tour opinions I will look into it. Thank you. I am still getting onto the PSU part when I get home. I bought the PC and custom built it into my budgets from CyberPower.


You are welcome. I am glad that you are comfortable with replacing hardware. If so, then upgrading components may be your best bet. However things can and on occasion do go wrong.

Give you two examples:

1. A good friend of mine has been building his PCs all his life. He knows what he is doing. Recently, instead of going with a top of the line single card he chose to SLI two lesser cards which would actually outperform the single card solution. He also decided to go with an AMD CPU and planned to overclock it like there's no tomorrow. For that he chose a liquid cooling system. Well, he ended up RMAing one of the video cards and either the cooling kit was defective out of the box or he messed something up as a couple of weeks later it leaked and fried his motherboard.

2. About six years ago, not willing to upgrade my the CPU in one of my machines but wanting more performance, I decided to overclock the CPU but I needed a better than stock sink/fan, so I did some research and chose some monstrous copper sink/fan from Gigabyte. I measured everything and figured it would fit in my case. When it arrived, it was too large and did not fit. I had to move some of my cards into different slots. One of the slots on the motherboard (which had never been used before) turned out to be dead. So I ended up with a nice paperweight of a heat sink and ended up upgrading the CPU.
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March 14, 2012 7:58:08 PM

Slava said:
Well, it seems you are unable to tolerate alternative ideas. Whatever.

Here's where I am going and what I am saying: Had he been good at replacing hardware he would have a vague idea that he should begin with the video card. It does not appear that he is good at building/upgrading the PC on his own. Any number of things could go wrong and he could end up spending more money while also experiencing major headaches. Say his one or more of his RAM upgrade chips comes defective. Will he know how to diagnose it and get it replaced? Probably not + a major headache. Say he does not sit his new video card properly or messes up power connections or something. Will he know what to do? Judging by the questions he asks – probably not. Have you seen the inside of his case? Nor have I. Is it possible that the upgrade CPU will not fit or he fails to install/connect it properly? Possible. Definitely. Say he breaks something in the process and becomes unable to RMA the item. He will then have to buy a replacement item.

Bottom line is this: It IS possible to find a decent gaming PC on a budget. Yes. I am aware he wants to stretch his $300 as far as possible but it may blow up in his face. I have seen this happen to many people bazillions of times. It happened to me a couple of times over the last 10 years or so.


Messes up the power connection to the GPU, doesn't seat it correctly? Do you even read the things that you post? You're talking about him like he's an infant, as opposed to a human being living in a world with thousands of websites and instructional videos dedicated to the installation and maintenance of every single component in a standard desktop. For christ's sake my own 70 year old mother with next to no technology-background just built a computer herself last year. And she even used cable-ties to clean up the interior. She didn't even have to call for any help. She just used youtube lol.

And beyond that (which is already enough to convince me that you have literally no idea what you are talking about) you're suggesting that he purchase a pre-built PC to run ***Battlefield 3*** when his budget is ***$300.00***. You can't find a prebuilt PC under even Six Hundred Dollars that will run the game adequately enough to justify the investment.

Hands down, of all the tech sites I have ever visited and contributed on you are one of the most absolutely crazy, and ill-informed people that I have ever come across.
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March 14, 2012 8:09:42 PM

... I don't even... :pfff: 

@OP: I'll try to explain, if your immediate upgrade in question is not an urgent matter, you should consider to wait a little bit, save up some more money and get a new build done, via whichever venue you feel more comfortable with (prebuilt or homebuilt).

that said, if waiting isn't really an option, going with casualcolors has outlined so far is your best bang for the buck.
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March 14, 2012 8:09:53 PM

casualcolors said:
Messes up the power connection to the GPU, doesn't seat it correctly? Do you even read the things that you post? You're talking about him like he's an infant, as opposed to a human being living in a world with thousands of websites and instructional videos dedicated to the installation and maintenance of every single component in a standard desktop. For christ's sake my own 70 year old mother with next to no technology-background just built a computer herself last year. And she even used cable-ties to clean up the interior. She didn't even have to call for any help. She just used youtube lol.

And beyond that (which is already enough to convince me that you have literally no idea what you are talking about) you're suggesting that he purchase a pre-built PC to run ***Battlefield 3*** when his budget is ***$300.00***. You can't find a prebuilt PC under even Six Hundred Dollars that will run the game adequately enough to justify the investment.

Hands down, of all the tech sites I have ever visited and contributed on you are one of the most absolutely crazy, and ill-informed people that I have ever come across.


You should listen to yourself. It is none of your business what I suggest. It is Skele's business. Moreover, Battlefield 3 is not the only game in the world. Three months from now something else will come out and he may have to upgrade again. So, it may be better for him to wait a little (as suggested in my original reply to him), save up some cash and get a new PC. He cannot get a top of the line machine on a budget but it is very possible to get a decent prebuilt on a budget. It should be his decision whose suggestion to follow. If you don't see any merit in what I say whatsoever, then go have your head checked. I am really getting tired of your attacks.

EDIT:
There is a reason why I stopped building my own PCs a while back. In the good old days you could save massive amounts of money if you bought all top of the line components and built the machine yourself. I recall I built some monster (at the time) for around $1500 while comparable prebuilds went for nearly $3000. That was totally worth it. These days, the difference in price between prebuilds (especially budget prebuilds) and what you can build yourself is far less than 100%, so it becomes questionable whether building your own machines makes as much sense as it used to, unless you do it for fun and bragging rights.
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March 14, 2012 8:37:09 PM

I am willing to pay more than 300 as long its necessary, but for me, I would rather to pay budget wise, if there isn't a good cards/CPU within my budgets then I guess that leave me no choice but to pay what has to be done. Yeah I am going to save up money for something I actually will save up for. That's why I want to know what to get then save up ahead of time knowing what exactly to get. I usually wait till the new items come out and the one I will like to get will have price dropped. Hope that make sense.
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March 14, 2012 8:44:00 PM

Slava said:
These days, the difference in price between prebuilds (especially budget prebuilds) and what you can build yourself is far less than 100%, so it becomes questionable whether building your own machines makes as much sense as it used to, unless you do it for fun and bragging rights.


This is completely and utterly wrong.

@Skele, 300-350 will get you a quad core cpu with an unlocked multiplier for overclocking, a 6950 2gb graphics card (good card, one of the best price vs. performance you will see in the sub 250 range and also specifically it is good in BF3, which you mentioned by name), and on the upper end of that 350, get you a little extra system memory as well. Slava at this point is just trying to salvage his stance so that he doesn't look completely incompetent. It's your money, but my best advice would be to pay attention to what people on this website overall will have to say and disregard Slava. He really doesn't have the background or the knowledge to adequately inform you on this topic. His first link to an alternative computer was completely under the threshold for gaming, twice-over out of your budget, and he linked it anyway because he is neither a good nor responsible contributor. Best of luck with your build, and get back to me about what PSU you have specifically when you can.
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March 15, 2012 12:09:23 AM

Ok I came home and just checked PSU, MODEL: ATX-CB700W AC OUPUT: 115V/230V~ 12/6A 50-60Hz
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March 15, 2012 12:57:19 AM

skele said:
Yeah that looks exactly the same (I think) It does lit blue tho. So Yeah I do think it is APEVIA. Is it bad? :( 


That is a loaded question. I haven't read enough about that particular make to tell you if it has a good or bad track record. Usually people opt for buying single-rail PSU's but even in that case, sometimes single-rails (even from reputable companies) are a multi-rail PSU with a solder bridge from another make. Anyway, if someone else can give a specific answer about this PSU that would be helpful but I think that you should be good to go with your build. The 6950 takes 2x 6pin connectors and you have them (x2).
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March 15, 2012 1:03:42 AM

Hope you got my mail with a list of my computer infos. If you don't mind me asking, can you give links (Cheapest preferred) of Graphic and CPU, so I can save it in my browser and get it when I can.
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March 15, 2012 1:14:45 AM

Prices fluctuate all of the time on computer hardware, and currently newegg is sold out of a lot of AMD products, so I would check back there in a week. No point linking when different makes and models of graphics cards go on sale from one week to the next. Just keep an eye on different models of the AMD 6950, and even the GTX 560ti. When one drops close to the 200 dollar range with MIB, that would be the time to grab it. AMD phenom ii x4 955 BE's are currently sold out on newegg but as I recall they were about 20 dollars cheaper there than on Amazon, so I would wait for their stock to come back in.

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March 15, 2012 1:23:13 AM

Is there any way for me to keep in touch with you when I am ready to buy so I dont make a mistake buying the wrong kind.
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March 15, 2012 1:24:58 AM

Can just send me a private message if you want to correspond specifically with me, or make another thread about hardware comparison down the road when you're ready.
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March 15, 2012 1:33:23 AM

Once I get those CPU/GPU Can I play on high setting or get RAM to have that features :/ ?
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March 15, 2012 1:36:58 AM

You should be able to handle all high settings with 0x MSAA at 1920x1080 with that hardware chief. Only maybe an occasional slowdown with the 4gb sys memory which is the nature of BF3 any time it's played with 4gb sys memory. Certainly will be a huge improvement in your game experience immediately. Can grab the matching ram (or replace completely with a new 8gb kit if you can't find any matching ram) later on for about 30-50 bucks.
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March 15, 2012 1:44:22 AM

Any estimate cost with GPU/CPU altogether?
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March 15, 2012 2:40:22 AM

Best answer selected by Skele.
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March 15, 2012 2:40:57 AM

After MIB if you grab them while they're on sale you can usually get something from the 6950/gtx 560ti tier for about 200-210. The CPU of you grab it during a deal (which newegg posts it under quite often) will run about 99.99-110.
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March 15, 2012 2:45:44 AM

Which would you choose preferrably, 6950 or GTX 560ti? >.>
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March 15, 2012 2:58:01 AM

If I had my choice between the 6950 2gb version or the GTX 560ti, I'd take the 6950. If I had to choose between the 6950 1gb version and the GTX 560ti, I'd take whichever had better reviews and came in at a lower cost/had a better mib/was on sale at that time.
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March 15, 2012 4:53:54 PM

@Casualcolor; While I'm waiting on the new card/CPU, are there any possibilities that I can overclock the CPU/GPU? If so, how? and what's the risk?
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March 15, 2012 5:01:41 PM

You mean your current CPU and GPU? I'm not sure that your GPU will really have any overhead for OC'ing, at least not anything too significant. Your CPU is a black edition though which means that it has an unlocked multiplier (this is a function that makes overclocking much simpler as you do not have to adjust the FSB nor memory clocks accordingly). I would recommend that you read up on overclocking your CPU in particular, and you should get a pretty good idea of how to go through the process.

As far as the risk, without adjusting voltages the risk is fairly minimal. If you select a clockspeed that is too fast for your voltage, generally the computer will just BSOD or fail to boot entirely. In either case you can just re-enter the BIOS and lower the clock speed (or in a more advanced user's case, increase the voltage accordingly).

You should get a good idea of what the general limitations on your CPU are with a bit of reading, and part of what will determine your maximum safe voltage is your heatsink. I would recommend not playing with the voltage unless you do enough reading to where you feel like you really have a confident grasp of the potential risks, as well as an idea of exactly what kind of overclock speeds you are trying to achieve.

All of that said, CPU overclocking will only go so far in BF3. The game really isn't very CPU bound. You could try some overclocking of the CPU but it probably won't yield very noticeable results in BF3 specifically. It would have better results in some other games.

OC'ing the GPU can be done through catalyst control center Overdrive, ATI Tray Tools, MSI Afterburner, etc. It's relatively safe. GPU BIOS limits the maximum voltage in almost all cases, so really it comes down to adjusting the core clock and memory clocks in a software suite. You can give it a whirl and see if you get much overclocking out of your card. As a rule of thumb, don't bother OC'ing memory on AMD cards. Just stick to overclocking the core clock. Suggest you do some reading on overclocking your specific GPU as well to see what you could possibly expect out of it.
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March 15, 2012 5:07:18 PM

If there was a way to post a pic and you can see it and tell me how far I can go. I googled it, there are too many negativety and positivety since the AMD called it 4600 series instead of exact number -,-
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March 15, 2012 5:18:36 PM

here's the thing I think can be helpful.

High Performance GPU clock settings: Range 300-800 and it's set at 750 MHz
High performance memory clock settings: Range 873-1050 and it's set at 873 MHz
(Optional check box) >uncheck, Enable Manual Fan Control it's set at 50% from the range of 20-100
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