Advice on Graphics card upgrade

Hello all.

I am looking to upgrade my graphics card and need some advice. I just purchased the Unreal Pack on steam, and am struggling with UT3. (not really a shock :-)

Current System:

AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+
Gigabyte M57SLI-S4 (nForce 570 SLI)
6GB Ram
2 x Geforce 7900 GS in SLI
(Vista 64bit)

Unsurprisingly, UT3 struggles at 960*600 res and low detail with the old graphics cards.

I am looking to stick with NVidia at the moment and was thinking of either a Geforce 9600GTX+ or (go all out) a Geforce GTX 260.

The issue is both of these cards are PCI Express 2.0 and I am pretty sure my motherboard is PCI Express 1.0.

Are either of these cards compatible with my current board? (Do 2.0 cards just clock them selves down to a PCI Express 1 port?)

The fast PCI Express 1.0/1.1 card I can find is a Geforce 9600GT. I am thinking a single one of those probably wont be enough for UT3.

Any advice would be great.

Thanks, Tim.
11 answers Last reply
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  1. Yes, any PCI-e card will work with a 1.0 connection.

    Your AMD CPU is a bottleneck, even a $75 e5200 would destroy it.

    I replaced a 7600gt with an overclocked 9600gt and it handled Crysis fine at 1024x768 w/ a 2.25ghz AMD dual and 1.5gb of ram. UT3 is relatively easy to run compared to Crysis and CoD4 and 5.
  2. Got to tell you there is something wrong with your system than. My Geforce 7600 GT played UT3 on low settings with 20-30 FPS, my 7950 GX2 and 8800 GTS (320 MB) which is really close to what you have MAXED UT3 with 30-40 FPS, haven't played UT3 with my new 4850 but there has to be something wrong.
  3. i searched google with this benchmarks 2 x Geforce 7900 GS in SLI UT3
  4. Ok, I went back into UT, pushed the res up to 1280*720. It runs at 40-60fps. So I guess it was just looking really crap at 960*600. I am still getting some artifacts on the screen, and i notice it when it drops to 40.

    I don't think the CPU is a huge bottleneck here. This is not the time or place for a AMD vs Intel grudge match, but a 2.6ghz dual core amd will hold its own against a 2.5ghz Pentium Dual Core (even if it is the worfdale architecture).

    Thanks for all the really quick replies, I think I will look at getting a 9600GTX+ as an upgrade.
  5. I think the whole artifact thing is solely on the 7XXX series, EVERY game i ever played i got artifacts on with a 7XXX series.

    DONT GET A 9600 GTX, you will have the same performance with that maybe even slightly worse (or slightly better). My Geforce 7950 GX2 maxed alot of games, and when i got my 4850 i didn't notice a lot of differences (except i could max everything and never went below 60 FPS). Dont get anything less than a 4850/GTX 260, or else it wont be a upgrade.

    You would be surprised, i promise you that's a huge bottleneck, had a Pentium D 805 2.66 GHZ with a 8800 GTS 320MB and when i OC'ed it to 3.8 GHZ i got 10-15 FPS extra on oblivion and BF2. You basically have the same setup i used to have, if you can oc it to 3.2 you will prob max out your performance.
  6. OC your 5200+ and get a GTX260, 4850 or 4870. I would get the 4870 if i could afford it. if you are on a budget the 4850 will be an upgrade.

    do you have a good psu?
  7. I think u are better off with the 9800GTX+ because 1st of all its a sli board so no ati here and i think the best card which can offer the performance similar to 4850 is 9800GTX+ and they are in the same price segment...

    so as urs is a sli board u can buy a nxt one later and go dont get confused and go for the 9800GTX+
  8. My power supply is only a 430W. I think I would rather stick with what I know and go with the 9800GTX+ I would probably need to get a new PSU for a 9800GTX+ anyway.

    But I am beging to think the CPU could do with an upgrade. I just didn't want to get a new M/B+PSU+RAM etc.

    In terms of being ready for an SLI rig with two 9800GTX's would a 650W Antec be enough?
  9. Get a GTX260 now, so you don't have to change anything else in your computer, than sli it later, there is nothing a GTX260 cant max out, so sli'ing it would be pointless at the moment.
  10. newegg is having a sale on powercolor 4850
    Original Price: $159.99
    You Save: $15.00
    ($124.99 after $20.00 Mail-In
    Rebate pdf )
    Free Shipping*
    a little better performance then the 9800gtx ATI Radeon HD 4850 Versus NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX+
    you probably might need a little better psu ? 500w with at least 30a on the 12v rail or rails
  11. Go with an 750 800+ Quality PSU or you will regret it later PSU's work best at about 75% load and wait on the GPU upgrade if you can till the 3Q the new 45nm GPU's will be coming out then. Check out the PSU calculator. and set your TDP cap aging and sys load all the way up. Take what that gives you and add 100w for the future.
    X2 5000+ Blk @3.2Ghz
    4Gb DDR2 800mhz ram @ 853
    8600Gt DDR3 @ 732, 1751, and 770
    2 WD Raptors raid0
    1 1TB Segate
    Powerd By BFG 650W
    And I'm running very close to the edge need to upgrade PSU before I get a New card
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