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Upgrade for gaming Video Card or Processor

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August 22, 2006 4:11:20 PM

I need a little help determining where the bottleneck is in my PC for gaming. Both my CPU and Video Card should be upgraded, but I can only afford one.

So, currently I have a socket 939 AMD Athlon 64 3000+ with a venice core which runs at 1.8 ghz. I also have a Nvidia 6800 GS OC AGP card from BFG. I know that I am going to have to get a new board either way I go, but I can only afford either a processor upgrade or a video card upgrade.

Any recommendations on which one might be my current bottleneck, thus being more important to upgrade now?

Thanks
August 22, 2006 4:16:51 PM

If you can only buy one I would definately go with the video card.
What is your budget and is that including a new motherboard?
August 22, 2006 4:26:10 PM

My budget is roughly $250 - $300. Yes I was planning on getting anew MB also, although I am limited to Micro ATX
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August 22, 2006 5:06:21 PM

If you are going to get the new mobo and cpu/video card at the same time then I would get a mobo with slot PCI-E and get a PCI-E video card. This way you can still use your computer and upgrade your CPU later. Also gives you future upgradability, considering that AGP is pretty much dead.

T_Bone
August 22, 2006 5:35:28 PM

I'd say they are a good match currently but depending on your motherboard you should be able to overcclock your cpu to 2 or 2.2 ghz or better if your cooling is up to par. If you can overclock you cpu then get either a Nvidia 7900gt or a ati 1900gt. Both are about the same with the 7900gt having a slight edge in the last review I read. Each sells for about $230 U.S. Also you need at least a gig of Ram if not that is your battleneck as well with 2 gigs being optimal.
a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
a c 120 U Graphics card
August 22, 2006 5:59:44 PM

I'd work on gettin a faster processor first. The 3700 mentioned above is a pretty good one, and will give your "aging" card, and all you do on your computer a big boost. It's only a hundred bucks at newegg right now. Save the other 200 bucks and add to it. Later on you'll be able to purchase a really, really good video card.
August 22, 2006 6:10:45 PM

i say stay with your current CPU ,OC it to 2GHz or 2.2 as Zoridon said... but as i see you have an AGP board ,on the other hand the GeForce 6800GS is pretty enough for all of the games (exceprt Oblivion) ,so i recommand to save your money ,get a good cooler for CPU & save the rest of your money and wait until you can pay for a HUGE Upgrade (Like Core 2 Duo & 7900GT & 2Gb DDR II 800MHz )...but it just a oponion , the choice is yours ... :wink:
August 22, 2006 6:18:20 PM

Ideally I would say that you really should upgrade both. If you can sell your processor, motherboard and video card for $300 or so you should be able to add it to what you have and upgrade all three (except for the ram... that might be an additional $150).

If you can only upgrade one I'd go for the video card. Most games, except for the very latest, are gpu limited so getting a 7900gt would give you the best advance over what you have. I'd also suggest OC'ing your cpu, you could probably get at least another .1ghz with your stock cooler.
August 22, 2006 7:05:23 PM

Quote:
I need a little help determining where the bottleneck is in my PC for gaming. Both my CPU and Video Card should be upgraded, but I can only afford one.

So, currently I have a socket 939 AMD Athlon 64 3000+ with a venice core which runs at 1.8 ghz. I also have a Nvidia 6800 GS OC AGP card from BFG. I know that I am going to have to get a new board either way I go, but I can only afford either a processor upgrade or a video card upgrade.

Any recommendations on which one might be my current bottleneck, thus being more important to upgrade now?

Thanks

The reall kicker in your situation is that both the graphics card slot and the processor socket are considered "outdated." Currently, there isn't much higher you can go with your video card; technically, the 7800GS may be superior, but perhaps only by a ~25% margin, hardly worth the $300US+ price.

As for your processor, you might want to upgrade it, but already, in most games, it's not going to be the bottlenecking factor; your video card is. So while you can upgrade to, say, a single-core 4000+ for fairly little money, it won't do you much good in games.

As suggested, perhaps it might just be best to hang on to your money until you've got enough for a whole system overhaul. Obviously, you'll want to replace it all anyway within a couple years, and this could just bring that a little closer; most "upgrades" for your system right now would be kinda wasteful.
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