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Upgrading and bottlenecking (CPU holding back GPU)

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July 17, 2008 2:10:35 PM

I'm planning on upgrading my computer this fall/winter during co-op. Because of tuition, I'm a bit uneasy paying ~$900 for a new computer all at once, so I was wondering if the following would work:

Please read the whole thing

My current setup is an a64 3200+, 1gb PC3200, 300W PSU, and an x800. I was thinking of upgrading the PSU and video card to a 4850 and whatever a well recommended PSU is (totalling ~$185 + ~$100(?)) and then, once I get a new computer, transfer them over. I was just wondering if my cpu and ram would be too much of a bottleneck until I had the funds for a new full setup, in which case I would just wait and upgrade all at once.

note: I will mainly just be playing STALKER, STALKER:CS, DMC4, and maybe COD4 and Oblivion on 1280x1024.
July 17, 2008 2:38:09 PM

Hey man

what socket are you running? Just curious because I believe you will run into bottlenecking issues. That cpu just is not what it used to be. I'm running a AM2 5600+ and my cpu is still holding me back on games like Mass Effect. If you have a 939, look into getting the fastest X2 you can if you want to keep the system viable for games for another year. If you have an AM2 socket (Edit: nevermind, I just saw your memory speed), your choices are going to be alot better. I believe a X2 5000 BE would be an excellent choice.

If you have a socket 754, like I did with the CPU below that one, you are kind of screwed and need to look into memory, cpu, and motherboard upgrades. While the 754 was a good platform (I had a 3000+ on that socket), it is quite outdated.

Finally, you should up the RAM to at least 2 gig. It is cheap for DDR2, so I am assuming it would be cheap for DDR.

The video card is an excellent choice. I am running two of them in crossfire right now and loving it. The drivers suck right now but they will come around. If you do buy that card and run into problems, try uninstalling the drivers a couple of times until you can get it to work.

To sum it all up, I am running two of those cards in crossfire with a 550w power supply with 3 18amp 12v rails. I have no power issues and that psu cost me around $80.

Would it be bad to upgrade piecemeal like you are planning? No, it seems like a good method of upgrading your system. Just do not expect the performance increases people get when their running decked out systems with Core 2 Duo's, Quads, or Phenoms.

Good luck
July 17, 2008 2:49:46 PM

Sorry, you need a pcie slot...I doubt your old rig has that, you need to find that out first. most likely you have AGP, but let us know so we can help you.
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July 17, 2008 2:57:31 PM

To crashed97t si
Yeah, I've read a lot about the 4850 and I'm planning to get a 2nd one down the line. I was thinking of upgrading my processor to an x2 4200 a while ago but, at this point it seems like it would be a better idea to wait maybe a year (max) and upgrade to a core2duo E8400 or whatever is good at the time. Who knows, I may just upgrade everything before the end of the year. I might make a temporary upgrade on RAM if it's cheap enough, though.

To royalcrown
It's PCI-e, for sure.
July 17, 2008 3:06:39 PM

RAM will help a little with games and overall responsiveness. I have 4GB but in my opinion 4GB is overkill unless you are running Vista. Another Gig of similar memory should be fine.

If you're computer is functioning fine right now, I would just wait until you can buy everything at once. The 4850's will definetly drop in price in the future, as will eveything else. Who knows, ATI might release something even better 6 months down the line.

I believe both Intel(new architecture, nehalem) and AMD(45nm Phenoms???) have some form of new processor coming out which should drive the prices for current processors lower. A year is a long time also. Even the mighty Core 2 Duo's might be considered a little obsolete by then. IMHO, you might want to consider a Quad Core for your next upgrade as multi-core cpmputing seems to be where the industry is heading.

Other than that, it is completely up to you. Just keep doing research and keep an eye out for those deals that you just can't pass up.
July 17, 2008 3:45:04 PM

4850 would be a serious over kill for the games u mentioned with ur monitor.......get a 9600 or a 3870 and up grade ur CPU

NOTE: sory for double post
July 17, 2008 3:48:22 PM

4850 would be a serious over kill for the games u mentioned with ur monitor.......get a 9600 or a 3870 and up grade ur CPU
July 17, 2008 4:15:24 PM

sarwar_r87 said:
4850 would be a serious over kill for the games u mentioned with ur monitor.......get a 9600 or a 3870 and up grade ur CPU


I see what you mean, but I'm planning on playing more games in the long run, and would like to have a card that will last me a few years. The games I listed are the ones I would be playing between upgrades. If you still think the 4850 is still overkill for me, I'm all ears.

edit: I just checked some prices on the 9600gt and the 3870, and they're not that much cheaper than the 4850 (about $160 for the 9600/3850 and $185 for the 4850 from directcanada.com)
a c 103 B Homebuilt system
July 18, 2008 8:22:38 PM

I would continue with your plan of a new psu and the 4850 GPU this time around and then later on move them into a new build (MB/CPU/Ram).
Upgrades can be done gradually and a better GPU is going to be the most satisfying step for a gamer.
July 18, 2008 11:27:45 PM

Thanks for the advice, guys. There seems to be a new developement, though. In games, I've been recently getting some wierd visual problems. According to a few people, it might be my video card dieing. Looks like I might end up with a new card faster than expected.

As for the PSU, I'm not sure what to look for. I'd like to get something that will handle 2 cards and a quad core with 2hdds, etc. so I can future proof it over the next few years. Could someone please recommend a good PSU for me?

Also, just to be sure, PSUs are pretty much one-size-fits-all and are compatible with any standard computer, right? Or am I wrong?
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