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Masters of the CPU: How do I know when I need a CPU upgrade or a VCard

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Last response: in CPUs
September 14, 2008 4:00:52 PM

Long time watcher, first time poster :) 

I have a . . now on 2 years old I would say. . computer. AMD 4200+ 2.2Ghz with 2gig of ram

The video card is a Geforce 7950 GT.

So what is the good rule of thumb on swapping out my CPU (which I can't really) or the video card?

Would I gain much in FPS if I moved up the video card but left the CPU alone? Or do I pretty much need a power cpu to power the Video card?


More about : masters cpu cpu upgrade vcard

September 14, 2008 4:07:24 PM

Welcome to the forumz. :D 

I think a 4850 or 4870 plus OC the 4200+ to maybe 2.8ghz at least should keep that system good for decent FPS games.
September 14, 2008 4:20:17 PM

Good Advice, though I've got a prebuilt. . . I don't think there is a good way to unlock the overclock
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September 14, 2008 4:25:40 PM

what resolution are you playing on? a video card upgrade will definitely give you the most fps just but it will be slightly bottlenecked by your cpu...if you get a new video card and if you find a way to slightly oc ur cpu (maybe soft oc?) then you should be in good shape
September 14, 2008 4:32:48 PM

graberc said:
Good Advice, though I've got a prebuilt. . . I don't think there is a good way to unlock the overclock


Guess you should make that a hand me down, or sell it. And save up for a killer build then. :D 
a b U Graphics card
September 14, 2008 4:37:45 PM

well it matters what u play if ur having trouble with it now then, even then a gpu upgrade would be bottlenecked by the CPU unless u play at very high res.
If u arent having trouble with it then i thing that rig will serve u well for a while until u can save up for another rig.
September 14, 2008 5:10:51 PM

I have X2 4200+ and it is enough for any game I have tried, only a bit lacking on NFS Pro Street but that is poorly optimized game. Don't know if Yours is single core or X2. If it is X2 on AM2 socket with DDR2 then GPU upgrade would make more sense. 8800 GT/GTS 512Mb or HD 4850/4870 would be good choices here. If it is single core with DDR then probably better look to build a new system.
September 14, 2008 5:46:56 PM

Reduce the Eye Candy Settings.
Does FPS go up quite a bit?

If so, then a new GPU will likely help.
If not, you are likely being limited by your CPU.
September 14, 2008 6:08:46 PM

It's a dual core, the single only went up to 4000+. It won't be a severe bottleneck for a 4850, i'd go for it. Of course, an OC would help if possible.
September 14, 2008 6:15:31 PM

Okay, you got me GM5084 gateway. Foxconn motherboard. . .

Crysis demo was pretty jerky. . .and Supreme Commander slows down.

Plus I like having a decent computer and I feel as if I'm flowing to "not so good".

If I'm too lazy to build my own (I seem to emit Static electricity from my very pores and thus ended my build it own phase)

Any cheap places online where you can get a decent computer with some overclocking power?!
September 14, 2008 6:16:19 PM

Oh it is a Dual Core 64x2 4200
a c 379 à CPUs
a c 302 U Graphics card
September 14, 2008 6:28:22 PM

Turn on the task monitor, and look at your cpu utilization. If it is over 50-65%, then the cpu is a limiting factor. Supreme commander and FSX respond to faster cpu's and multi cores. Most other games don't.

Normally, a vga upgrade of a few tiers will get you more. An upgrade to a 8800GT or 4850 should be very noticeable, and serve you well whenever the cpu gets upgraded.

upgrading ram to 4gb would also be a cheap upgrade.
a b à CPUs
September 14, 2008 6:32:18 PM

upgrade ur GPU.....ur CPU wont really bottleneck cards like will be totally worth
September 14, 2008 6:36:58 PM

He has DDR, not DDR2, so upgrading to 4gb is not worth the hassle.
a b à CPUs
a c 107 U Graphics card
September 14, 2008 7:07:38 PM

You should get some decent milage out of it upgrading your card to something like an 8800GT or 4850. Anything faster will probably be bottlenecked by your CPU at most games if your resolution is around 1280x1024. You may also want to upgrade your RAM depending on your RAM type and how much RAM you have. DDR2 RAM is pretty cheap now adays.

If it's DDR and you have 4 slots then you can upgrade to 4GB. Of course 2GB of DDR 400 is around $55 bucks now. Not bad if you have 2 1GB sticks on there already, but if your going to have to buy all 4GB then that is going to run around $110 and suddenly that doesn't look as good ^_^.

You don't need to unlock the multiplier to overclock, altho it would be nice. You can overclock by increasing the Front Side Bus assuming your BIOS has any options to allow you to do so. If it's DDR and if you can lower the speed of your RAM you may also want to do that before you start overclocking otherwise the RAM speed will quickly limit your overclocking ability.
September 14, 2008 7:40:25 PM

+1 to selling that, saving up and buying a better rig from ground up.
September 14, 2008 7:43:50 PM

A modern CPU (Intel or AMD) with dual cores running 3Ghz will feed any GFX card made just fine and XP with 2GB of RAM will out preform Vista with 4GB of RAM.
a b à CPUs
a b U Graphics card
September 14, 2008 8:43:27 PM

I'd probably upgrade just the GPU, in your case. If your going to budget more than $300-400 or so, than you can afford a complete upgrade of system.
I'd look at one of these GPU's:
$70-100 4670/9600gso/3850
$100-$150 9800gt/3870
$150-$200 4850 512mb

So depending on your budget, I'd consider one of the above options.
September 15, 2008 12:15:19 PM

Thanks Great Advice.
a c 124 à CPUs
a b U Graphics card
September 15, 2008 12:50:33 PM

Major GPU upgrade on OEM computer most likely ='s power supply upgrade

(i.e., Radeon HD 4850 pulls twice the wattage of your 7950gt)
a b U Graphics card
September 15, 2008 1:15:37 PM

Not to argue, but Vista 64 actually outperforms xp with the newer cards (4xxx series) as theyve done benches on it. Also, the single best performance gain anyone will see for gaming is by upgrading your gpu. Your cpu will slow down your gpu, but think of it this way. Example, say a 2.2 cpu using a 7xxx series gpu gets 40 fps, in a game. Having a better cpu wont help your gpu much if any at all. A better cpu plus a better gpu will get you maybe 80 fps for the same game BUT using your old cpu with the newer gpu will get you 65-70 fps for the same game. Get the gpu, if you decide to upgrade your whole system later, you still have that gpu, and have been gaming the whole time in between
September 15, 2008 1:38:08 PM

Well I'm still seeing benchmarks of XP outperforming Vista SP1 in gaming, network transfer rates and encoding. At best it gets very close and under some rare circumstances you'd see vista ahead within the margin of error. So until there's some valid unbiased numbers available (even a dual booting forum member) it boils down to whether you need it, rather than a few numbers (which as I said are close but neither benchmark nor theory puts vista in the lead). Advertising is where someone forces you to need something you don't need.
a b U Graphics card
September 15, 2008 2:09:55 PM

Not sure what all that means, Ill dig up the link
September 15, 2008 3:05:18 PM

I've already decided to dual boot and see for myself. I'm getting 4GB of memory anyway so I might as well go for a 64bit OS.
September 15, 2008 4:02:49 PM

Been happy with my Vista 64 bit... just waiting for the 4780 X2 to come done in price, which won't be in the near future. :cry: 
September 16, 2008 10:36:25 AM

Personally, I don't have Vista. Crap. . .I guess that means I need to get Vista to get the most out of DX10 card? Isn't DX10 Vista only?

I'm leaning toward the 9800 GT.

September 16, 2008 10:50:59 AM

Here a 2.5GHz X2 severely bottlenecks a 8800 Ultra (roughly equal to a HD4850) in 4 out of 7 games tested (WiC, GRAW2, ET:QW and Crysis).

Even with a 9800GT you'll be CPU limited in many cases, but it'll still be a lot faster than a 7950GT, just not as fast as it would be with a faster CPU.