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Worthy upgrade?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 8, 2008 7:28:06 PM

I have a gaming system that has an A8N-SLI Deluxe Motherboard with dual 7800GTX in SLI, socket 939 4400+ cpu, 2gb DDR ram, and 520W power supply. I know the MB uses nForce4 chipset, but would there be any hardware incompatibility if I upgraded to one 4850X2 since the dual chips in crossfire are on the same board? I'm sure the fps gain would be pretty big over the dual 7800gtx's...right? The reason I opt for the 4850x2 is because I need support for at least 3 monitors (I do software development and testing on this machine too). The 4870x2 only has 2 dvi's whereas the 4850x2 has 4dvis, so that would give me both the upgrade I need plus support for 3+ multimonitors when I don't game.

Do you think this would still be a good gaming system if I upgraded to 4gb DDR ram, vista x64 (for dx10), and the sapphire 4850X2? Just trying to stretch my gaming system a while longer before I'm ready to drop a few thou for a sick core i7 system.

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December 8, 2008 7:50:38 PM

Really, you should look into upgrading the entire system. The DDR is going to cost you a premium since it's outdated and getting harder to find. You could build yourself a budget Intel Core2Duo rig that would very much outperform your current setup. However, if you want all of the DVI inputs and don't want to upgrade the rest the 4850x2 is deffinitely a good card for that, however it will be very much bottlenecked by the rest of your system.
December 8, 2008 9:26:00 PM

I disagree with the statement about the RAM, should be easier to find and less expensive to get an extra 2gb DDR2. What will bottleneck your GPU is the CPU and monitor, needs to be 24" min to see full potential of the 4870x2.
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December 8, 2008 10:11:30 PM

My main monitor is the 28" Hanns-g and I typically game at 1920x1200 or 1680x1050 if it can't handle the higher res. I usually have to disable shadows or set to low and 0xAA/AF in order to play games at a playable framerate at those resolutions. I know the CPU is the main bottleneck. But if I want a core i7, then I need new cpu, new ram, new motherboard, updated graphics..well, a new system. I'm just trying to see if its worth this upgrade to squeeze out another 6-12 months or so of gaming before I build a new one. I'd like to be able to play games on this system at 1920x1200 with 2/4xAA on max graphics with 40+fps. I can't get that right now because of these old video cards. But if thats not achievable because of the CPU, then I might as well go ahead and start making a new system.
December 8, 2008 10:18:39 PM

Go ahead and get the HD 4850 X2, it will definitely improve your system by A LOT. May I suggest that you also try your hand at overclocking that CPU? See if you can ease the CPU bottleneck... it will be worthwhile.
December 9, 2008 2:28:46 AM

Lol, if I go with this and take your suggestions emp of overclocking should I get something simple like H20-120 Compact liquid cooling to help with the overclocking? I wonder how much people have been able to achieve successfully OC'ing these processors.
a b U Graphics card
December 9, 2008 2:34:54 AM

Peaks said:
I disagree with the statement about the RAM, should be easier to find and less expensive to get an extra 2gb DDR2. What will bottleneck your GPU is the CPU and monitor, needs to be 24" min to see full potential of the 4870x2.

It isn't DDR2, it's DDR. That's quite a bit more expensive than DDR2.
December 9, 2008 2:46:53 AM

yeah. just did a quick compare of ddr, ddr2, and ddr3 for 2gb of corsair prices on newegg.

$54 CORSAIR XMS 2GB (2 x 1GB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 TWINX2048-3200
$10 after rebate CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 TWIN2X2048-6400C4
$42 after rebate CORSAIR 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 TWIN3X2048-1333C9

so the ddr is the slowest and yet the most expensive. lol. though if i'm dropping 375 for a video card, whats another 50 bucks?
December 9, 2008 4:25:02 AM

holy crap $10 after rebate for 2gig of DDR2! thats insane!
December 9, 2008 4:41:47 AM

Don't bother with liquid cooling unless you're prepared to drop $400-500 at least, that's my recommendation. High-end air cooling often approaches if not beats low-end / midrange liquid cooling setups.

I suggest you get a good CPU cooler like SunbeamTech Core-Contact Freezer (I bought this one for myself), Xigmatek HDT-S1283, Zerotherm Zen, or Thermalright Ultra 120-Extreme. All five perform at about the same, but the Core-Contact Freezer and HDT-S1283 are the better ones of the bunch because they use the newer Heatpipe Direct Touch design for better cooling than the older TRUE 120.
December 9, 2008 5:33:19 AM

Nevermind. I don' t think this would work, err fit, with my motherboard. We're talking about the A8N-SLI Deluxe, which has that faulty chipset cooler. I've replaced that with a ZALMAN ZM-NB47J Aluminum Heatsink. My 7800GTX, ie single slot card, barely fits next to this heatsink, which is sandwiched between both the 7800gtx's. Since the 4850X2 is a full dual-slot card, it would never fit if the 4850X2 goes in the main PCIe slot. The only way that would fit is if I place this card in the 2nd 16x PCIe slot. But is that even possible? I've never looked into this before, but if you have a motherboard with dual slots for SLI isn't one of them primary and you have to put the video card in there if you are using a single card configuration? Or can I use the 2nd 16x PCIe slot for the 4850X2?
December 9, 2008 2:19:05 PM

I believe you can use the second, but don't quote on me that. Do some research in google to find out.
December 9, 2008 2:36:06 PM

yeah. it's kind weird. If I switch the settings to single VGA mode, then the primary PCIe is 16x and the secondary PCIe is 1x. I'd have to keep the settings in SLI mode for the secondary PCIe to remain 8x. I think I'm deeming that this is all way too much trouble for a system this old. It's time I start building a new system.
!