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Advice on Graphics card upgrade

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 1, 2009 1:51:46 AM

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.
January 1, 2009 2:17:22 AM

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.
January 1, 2009 2:27:38 AM

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.
Related resources
January 1, 2009 2:39:07 AM

i searched google with this benchmarks 2 x Geforce 7900 GS in SLI UT3
January 1, 2009 3:04:17 AM

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.
January 1, 2009 3:40:27 AM

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.
January 1, 2009 4:31:11 AM

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?
a b U Graphics card
January 1, 2009 5:33:11 AM

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 sli...so dont get confused and go for the 9800GTX+
January 1, 2009 8:54:32 AM

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?
January 1, 2009 2:07:31 PM

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.
January 1, 2009 11:38:42 PM

newegg is having a sale on powercolor 4850
Original Price: $159.99
You Save: $15.00
$144.99
($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+
http://www.legitreviews.com/article/731/1/
you probably might need a little better psu ? 500w with at least 30a on the 12v rail or rails
January 2, 2009 4:07:25 PM

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. http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp 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
!