Video Card vs CPU

My current configration
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 3000+ (1.8Ghz) Overclocked: 330 x 8 = 2640 Mhz
RAM: 1GB DDR 400 (3-3-3-8 @ 2T) Overclocked: 440 Mhz
Video Card: ATI Radeon x300Se
Power Supply: 450 Watts (12V - 19A)
Motherboard: ASUS A8N-E

I plan to install a new video card as the current video card sxxksbig time.
I plan to go for ATI Radeon HD3870 (PCI-E 2.0)
So all I wanna know is do i NEED to upgrade my CPU as well?
I wouldn't mind upgrading my power supply if required.

Also I would like to know (for future reference), how to figure out that a CPU upgrade is needed?
19 answers Last reply
More about video card
  1. a 3000+ with a 3870 would bottleneck the GPU greatly, so yes, upgrade the cpu to avoid bottlenecking
  2. Question: How to determine that a particular CPU would be a bottleneck?
  3. I agree. If your motherboard supports a dual-core, I wouldn't get anything less especially with a card like that. I think you are stuck with a 939 processor so your options are limited. According to Newegg, the only Socket 939 dual-core processors available are Opterons and go for $150 a crack.

    If you can manage it, you might be better off spending a few more $$ and upgrading to an AM2 board with DDR2 memory which should help keep your computer more up-to-date and upgradable for a while.

    Here is what I've come up with:

    Processor: 2.2GHz AM2 X2 4200+ $54 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103214

    Motherboard: Gigabyte AM2 MicroATX (lots of good reviews which we all know are 100% reliable) $80
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128056

    RAM: Crucial Ballistix Tracer DDR2-800 2x1GB (2GB) $50
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148076

    Total: $184


    So either $184 for a 2.2GHz dual-core, motherboard, and 2GB DDR2-800 vs. $150 for the only 939 processor you can find online today (unless you E-Bay it).
  4. You may also want to upgrade your PSU to something with a little more amperage (30amps or more) for better efficiency with a dual-core and that video card.

    And it's hard to determine if a processor is going to be bottlenecked by mere specifications. The best way to find out is to look up existing benchmarks. But in your case, being that it's a relatively old single-core processor, it's easier to say that you will be bottlenecked. A dual-core processor is supported by many games now days and even if it isn't, the 2nd core can offload background/OS operations while the 1st core runs the game thus increasing your FPS regardless of how the code was written. The older the CPU, the more bottlenecked it will be. Yours is a couple generations behind so it will be bottlenecked by the latest video card partly due to speed (stock speed) and number of cores.
  5. I'd say get a PGA 775 mobo, an E2160, 2gb ddr2 ram and a 3850. The cost of all that won't be far off of the cost of a 3870 and an opteron and will give way better performance
  6. Yea if Intel was an option for OP then I'd go for that too.
  7. Even with a decent OC, you are still on a single core. So often in new games your a little shy on the CPU end. Not a terrible match, but dual core is better for sure. I'm with Leo. S939 X2's are rare and expensive now. You would probably be better off grabbing an AM2 or S775 mobo, 2GB PC6400, and a dual core chip. Why pay twice the price for a 939 dual core than what the AM2 costs? Difference would pay for a new mobo. Also, 2Gb PC6400 costs about what another 1GB PC3200 would cost. All in all after selling the old mobo, cpu, ram you would be better off IMO. This route isn't for everyone, but for those willing and able to do it, it's worth it.
  8. I'd get the 3870 and just see for yourself. It's not like you'll have to throw it out if the CPU starts bottlenecking it. I've got a 3800+ 939 and I can still run most of my games close to max using a 1900xtx
  9. Go for the card. There will likely be some bottlenecking issues, but it won't prevent you from getting a nice performance boost.

    Just do it, see how it goes. If anything, you buy a new CPU/Mobo after that.
  10. Regardless, the biggest gain this fellow is going to get in one swoop is the videocard. Even with his current CPU, he's going to see a huge increase in performance with the 3870.

    After than, someday, he can get a new Mobo/CPU. But since socket 939 X2s are so hard to find, I'd say the 3870 is the obvious choice.
  11. @OP: If you get the 3870 you will need a new PSU.
  12. Yep, just because a GPU will be bottlenecked doesn't mean it won't work. Now, if that PSU is too low, that must be remedied immediately.
  13. yeah, of course a new GPU would help vs the X300se :). I only commented on the CPU as it seems the HD3870 was a given.

    But is the HD3870 the right choice for a single core CPU and 1GB RAM? If sticking to that combo, I would want to put la bit less into the GPU. A 9600GT, HD3850 or 8800GS would save money and still provide amazing gameplay for that system IMO. If dual core CPU and another gig of mem are in the works, then sure go for the 3870 or even 8800GT as it's priced so good now. (USA anyway).


    And I agree, 19 amps isn't enough for the 3870 or probably any of these cards really.
  14. Shadow703793 said:
    @OP: If you get the 3870 you will need a new PSU.


    +1
  15. That card will shine. Get an Opty, and get another gig of compatible ram, plus youre skating on thin ice with that psu, depending on the make, plus the age
  16. Quote:
    and get another gig of compatible ram


    +1
  17. JAYDEEJOHN said:
    That card will shine. Get an Opty, and get another gig of compatible ram, plus youre skating on thin ice with that psu, depending on the make, plus the age


    Nah dont throw any more money at that system...

    ddr400 piff....

    E2180 $80
    Gigabyte 650SLI-DS4 $80
    OCZ Platinum 2GB PC 6400 $50
    MSI N9600GT OC $145

    Overclock cpu to 3.0ghz and your set....
  18. Thats true, but Im going with his requests. To OP : There used to be an article that showed at what point a AMD processor would begin to bottleneck your v-card. Cant find it now, but it went like this, anything lower than 2.2GHz would bottleneck a 1900XTX. Being as thwe 3870 is better, Im suspecting that no longer holds true, though if you got something that went to 2.4 or better, youll be fine, just make sure its dual core. Also make sure your mobo can handle dual core
  19. pauldh said:
    yeah, of course a new GPU would help vs the X300se :). I only commented on the CPU as it seems the HD3870 was a given.

    But is the HD3870 the right choice for a single core CPU and 1GB RAM? If sticking to that combo, I would want to put la bit less into the GPU. A 9600GT, HD3850 or 8800GS would save money and still provide amazing gameplay for that system IMO. If dual core CPU and another gig of mem are in the works, then sure go for the 3870 or even 8800GT as it's priced so good now. (USA anyway).


    And I agree, 19 amps isn't enough for the 3870 or probably any of these cards really.


    While the 3870 is not the best "match" for his CPU, he can take it with him when he does upgrade. It will still work, much much better than an x300. It may not run at it's full potential, but it will be awesome for him.
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