CPU: AMD X2 5600+
Mobo: Asus M3A78-T
Video: Diamond Radeon HD 4870, 1GB
HD: Seagate, SATA2, 500GB
19" Wide screen monitor, 1440x900 max resolution.
So here's the deal, i have $300 for upgrades.
Should i get another Radeon HD 4870, 1GB...$300
or should i get an AMD Phenom 9950 $199, with 4gb of PC1066 Ram $100.
I have this money burning a hole in my pocket and need to spend ASAP!
Any advice would help. By the way, the mobo supports the AM2+ socket and the Phenom processor.
I am currently playing, Crysis Warhead, Dead Space, Fallout 3 and Left 4 Dead.
My system is similiar to yours and there is no way I would do either upgrade. For the resolution on your 19' monitor 1 4870 should be able to nearly max any game out. As far as processors, the one you have isnt bad but right now there is no way I would consider a current phenom (especially since you have an AM2+ board). Wait until January and get one of the new AM2+ phenoms or wait until february and get an AM3 phenom and you'll get alot more for your money. If you plan on getting a larger monitor then consider getting another 4870.
Since you are only running 2 gigs of ram I would definitely say going up to 4 is a good idea BUT you will benefit more from this if you are running a 64 bit operating system (XP 64 will work but I would stay away from this and run Vista 64.) You didnt mention what OS you are running but if its XP consider jumping up to Vista 64. With the games you are running and having a 4870 you can take advantage of directX 10 which will help boost your graphics even higher then what you are seeing now.
Right now I run 2 4850's with a 3 monitor setup. If I need extra power I can enable crossfire but so far no current game has really stressed the video cards enough to make it worth it (Far Cry 2, Fallout 3, Crysis Warhead all played thru in the last month). Instead I leave the other two monitors running and have the tv running on one with apps and gadgets to monitor my temps and a few other things on the other while gaming on my center screen (22 inch 1680x1050). With the resolution your running a 4870 will have no trouble at all and adding two would be overkill.
Processor wise I run an Athlon X2 6000+. When I built the rig last december the plan was to go quad core but I didnt think it would take AMD a year to push out the next generation of quad cores. Now that they're right around the corner there is no way I would touch a current phenom.
AdioKIP. Thanks. Great advice. I am running Vista Home Premium, 32bit, by the way. I will be waiting on the next Phenom's to come out. While playing Crysis Warhead, my system was really maxed out, but i have found out that is the case with no matter what your system is. All the other games run just fine at 1440x900 and highest quality.
You will run out of RAM if you are playing Warhead on vista with only 2GB.
I have vista 32 as well and it uses ~700MB of RAM alone. Warhead uses around 1.5GB of RAM and has been reported to use up to 2GB. I have 4GB with vista 32 (so not all of it can be used) and my RAM usage is around 95% and above while running Warhead.
With RAM being as cheap as it is, you can find a 2x2GB DDR2 800 kit for under $50. Even though you won't use it all it is still worth it for the price and it should help you run games smoother than what you are at the moment.
Since you are running Vista microsoft allows all 32-bit users to upgrade to the 64-bit version for free. If you jump to 4 gigs of ram I would definitely updgrade vista to 64-bit as the 32 bit will be limited to utilizing 3.3 gigs of ram total (including your video card). I've been running vista 64 since June and I love it.
As far as crysis, its like you said, no matter what it will stress your system. The original crysis didnt benefit at all when i enabled crossfire. I noticed a slight boost in warhead but it was minimal and i was still forced to turn down some graphic settings when things got real busy (ie the airport at the end).
Check your Vista DVD, some 32-bit copies have the 64-bit version on the DVD as well. If not Microsoft offers a program where they will send you the 64-bit version or let you download the necessary update. Mailing the cd out they do charge a fee of I think less then $20. I'll see if I can find more information on how to go about doing it for free though since I know it is possible.
Keep in mind that you can't actually "upgrade" the 32-bit version, you have to completely wipe and reinstall Vista.