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Higher End Video Card vs Older Processor.. A waste ?

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March 11, 2009 2:23:38 AM

I have a Dell Dimension 8400
Single Core P4 3.2 ghz w HT (Is turned On)
3 Gigs of Mem
Nvidia 8600 GT 256mb
320GB Sata w/16mb cache
PC Power and Power and Cooling 500 watt PS with single +12 Volt rail 35 amp (2) 6pin, (1) 8 pin
XP Pro 32 bit


QUESTION:
I want to get a newer video card. Right now, I am considering a Nvidia 9800 GT. I would like something bigger but am wondering if Id be wasting my money. If I buy a higher end card , will my single core 3.2 processor keep the higher end cards performance limited.....


Games I play:

COD4
COD WaW
BF2
BF2142




Hopefully BF1943 later this year and COD Modern Warfare 2 as well.

Yes, Id like to buy a new computer , but maybe in a year.
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March 11, 2009 3:32:52 AM

Well partly yes...u r correct...at little higher resolutions, the CPU will bottleneck the graphics card, so u will see drop in frames more often...
Well the 9800GT or the ATI 4830 is a gud option, don get any higher than tis...sure ur CPU will bottleneck other cards...
And ur powersupply is a very gud one, which can easily power the graphics card...
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March 11, 2009 3:33:44 AM

The single best increase in performance a gamer can upgrade is his gpu. A higher end gpu and a low end cpu is better than a higher end cpu and a low end gpu. Even if youre "bottlenecked" by your cpu, a better gpu may give you better results than a lower gpu+lower cpu. I dont know the cpu demands for your games, and thats what you really need to concentrate on here, as theres just no way youll balance your rig with that cpu. Having a better gpu will benefit you, but to what degree does depend on your games. For 150US, the 4870 has to be considered, as by even next year, itll be at least a midrange product for your new rig, and youll benefit from it, unless you also plan to upgrade your gpu at that time as well
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March 11, 2009 3:41:59 AM

JAYDEEJOHN said:
The single best increase in performance a gamer can upgrade is his gpu. A higher end gpu and a low end cpu is better than a higher end cpu and a low end gpu. Even if youre "bottlenecked" by your cpu, a better gpu may give you better results than a lower gpu+lower cpu. I dont know the cpu demands for your games, and thats what you really need to concentrate on here, as theres just no way youll balance your rig with that cpu. Having a better gpu will benefit you, but to what degree does depend on your games. For 150US, the 4870 has to be considered, as by even next year, itll be at least a midrange product for your new rig, and youll benefit from it, unless you also plan to upgrade your gpu at that time as well


Well partly I disagree going wit the 4870 because for nw he can get the ATI 4830, which by no means is a weaker card....and later when he upgrades his PC, he can add one more 4830 in crossfire, which will be powerful than a single 4870...
When he plans to upgrade am sure there will be better cards...and simply spending double the money on the card nw doesnt make sense...
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March 11, 2009 3:44:30 AM

U can get a 4830 nw for abt $90 abt $75 less than a 4870...and te 4830 will be able to play those games at gud resolutions too...
March 11, 2009 5:13:31 AM

gkay09 said:
I disagree going wit the 4870 because for nw he can get the ATI 4830, which by no means is a weaker card...


Uhm... yes it is, and buy a dictionary. Honestly, it's easier to type and read english than it is to encrypt and decrypt that odd language you're using.

Anyway, jaydeejohn was right in saying the best upgrade you can do is having a big graphics card. ATI 4870 gets my vote too. The only thing you want to make sure of is that your motherboard has the required PCI-E slot for the card. It doesn't matter if it isn't PCI-E 2.0, it'll still work, it'll just have less bandwidth to play with.

This time next year the 4870 will still be a very good card, so if you decide to get a new CPU (which means you really should get a new motherboard and RAM with it, because Pentium 4 is so 2-generations-ago) ;) 

As far as your PSU goes it should be fine with a 4870, PC Power & Cooling make very high quality PSUs, some of the best in fact, and shouldn't have a problem delivering the juice to get your frame rates rocking.
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March 11, 2009 5:36:12 AM

Kraynor said:
Uhm... yes it is, and buy a dictionary. Honestly, it's easier to type and read english than it is to encrypt and decrypt that odd language you're using.


Well no one here asked for an english class :p 
And I think this is not a forum for "How to write in proper Eng"...Its jus a technical forum and for giving suggestions, i don think u have to give it in very accurate language...
So rather than commenting on how others write, comment on what is required...
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March 11, 2009 8:50:45 AM

Go with the 4870 as it's one less thing to get when you do your next upgrade. If you always try to match what you've already got performancewise, you'll never feel like you're getting anywhere.

+1 for proper typing!
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March 11, 2009 9:04:44 AM

mi1ez said:
Go with the 4870 as it's one less thing to get when you do your next upgrade. If you always try to match what you've already got performancewise, you'll never feel like you're getting anywhere.

+1 for proper typing!


Ohhh... come on...dont start it all over again... :pfff: 
hereafter will type properly :whistle: 
Its just that I dint like the way he said...
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March 11, 2009 10:19:13 AM

At $150, a 4870 is tough not to buy, that is simply excellent value/performance.
The 4830 would do your system fine for now, but in 6 months you are going to want to upgrade the CPU to something better, and then the 4830 is going to be a little on the weak side. You'll be looking at another GPU purchase.
I'd say if you have the money, get the faster card. If you are on a tight budget, and the rig you have must last you another year, get the 4830.

Correct spelling and grammer go a long ways to making a persons opinion or point look valid, it doesn't have to be perfect, but it needs to be better than this. It makes the impression of whether you are experienced and educated, or an uneducated, ignorant buffoon.
Yeah, it makes a difference, so lets try a little harder!
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March 11, 2009 10:21:21 AM

The advice for a 4870 is good, but there is actually a better deal right now dollar-to-framerate. Also, I have the arrogance to believe I can explain things a bit clearer (AND in better English.)

People think that you hit a performance wall when a CPU is a lot older than a GPU. They also think the opposite holds true, and that, for instance, upgrading an old CPU to an overclocked i7 will have no impact on games if your video card is a TNT2 Ultra.

It's much better to think of the two parts as what they are, processors. They both contribute to frame rate and either one can pick up some of the slack left by the other.

So, what happens looks more like a curve. As you go up you'll get diminishing returns certainly, and eventually you might be spending $500 for 5 FPS. The part that will be effected most by your CPU is MINIMUM framerate. The bits of the game that really choke down for you may still do so, although hopefully a bit less.

Currently, the GTX 260 core 216 is a better deal than the 4870. The performance is very much the same, and the 4870 is supposed to come down a bit more, but for now the Nvidia product wins:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
XFX has a good, even the best, warranty and support.

Probably, you'll only get a small performance boost over a 9800GT in some titles. However, you'll have a card that can migrate to the new system you'll have to get soon.

Your processor was new during Christmas of 2003. :)  The best video cards then were the FX 5000 series, which were really awful.




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March 11, 2009 11:24:03 AM

Kraynor said:
Uhm... yes it is, and buy a dictionary.


+1

And OP, get the Radeon HD 4870 if it is within your budget.
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March 11, 2009 11:35:29 AM

...you want to run a 4870 with a single core P4? Don't expect any increases in performance, as I'm calling a major CPU bottleneck here.
March 11, 2009 12:57:41 PM

The 4870 is also massive looking as well as needing over a 500 watt PS.

The Dimension 8400 case is on the medium to smaller range. The 8600 GT I have now is about 7 Inches deep, at around 9 inches I just pass below the SATA connector going into the board.

I do have a another few inches beyond that possibly. I am also considering the 9800 GTX, not really sure I want to spend much more on a card for that computer.

The GTX 260 requires at least a 500 watt PS, which I have but wants a 36 amp rail to my 35.

I also have the older PCIe x16 1.0 format, not the newer 2.0 , So that too will decrease the specs od the card such as bandwith.


I do appreciate everyones input , English or not.


Anymore input still welcomed, will have another week before I can make the purchase.
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March 11, 2009 6:03:19 PM

PCI 2.0 doesn't matter for the most part, although I would like to see a comparison using a 295GTX...

I still think the P4 is going to (and possibly is) limiting the GPU. If you go with a 4870, dont be surprised if your performance is less then what others here get.
March 11, 2009 6:37:45 PM

Don't worry about having only PCI-E1.0 thats not going to make any difference on any games right now so don't let that be the deciding factor for you. Just look back in the past at AGP x2,x4,x8. Using the same graphics card in the newer slot bought you nothing in performance, its the same thing now it will be nice and benefit down the road some though.
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March 11, 2009 6:38:33 PM

Here's a little example for you. I tested almost EXACTLY what you're questioning. Look at my Sig below, that is currently what i have in my Rig right now that i am using to relay this message.

I took the 8400 CPU out and replaced with a Pentium 4 630 3.0Ghz CPU and the results were ASTONISHING! I also had an extra ATI x1300 card lying around so i decided to test with that as well and here's as goes... (keep in mind that the only components that changed in this rig during this testing phase is the CPU and VID CARD, everything else stayed the same...)

E8400/4870 = average of 101 FPS @ MAX settings in WOW
Pentium 4/4870 = average of 25 FPS @ MAX settings in WOW
E8400/x1300 = average of 55 FPS @ MAX settings in WOW
Pentium 4/x1300 = average of 15 FPS @ MAX settings in WOW

I did not test any other games.

In my opinion, the best bet would be to buy the best card you can afford, then when it comes time to get a new rig, you can just bring that card over to the new rig and use it for either XFire or SLI... options here would be a 4870 1GB or a 260 core 216, both are great cards...
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March 11, 2009 11:49:59 PM

TY, Jonpaul37, and its exactly as Id thought, but wasnt sure. The best gpu is always the way to go for gaming. Looking at Jonpauls findings, its only about 70% or so better using a better card. It wont be as high a difference as that, but it will be a known difference. It could possibly mean the difference of playable fps, or, better eyecandy. Oh yes, the G260/216/namemeonemoretimebaaaaby edition is also a good buy, he (the OP) mentioned ATI tho
March 12, 2009 12:30:59 AM

You took out the Core 2 Duo processor and installed a Single core 3.0...I thought they were a different class of processors and chipset ?


And you are saying that the CPU changed the overall FPS by 40 or more using the same card. So the CPU processor is bottlenecking the GPU according to your findings.
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March 12, 2009 2:45:54 AM

And using a lessor gpu wont stop the "bottleneck", itll give you less perf is all, plus the cpu slow down. Id guess youd see 30% better perf with a 4870 vs a 4830, even with your cpu. It usuallyl stays consistant. Balancing a system is great if you can afford it
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March 12, 2009 1:07:23 PM

After seeing Jonpaul37's stats below, going with a more beefy CPU is the way to go:

Quote:

E8400/4870 = average of 101 FPS @ MAX settings in WOW
Pentium 4/4870 = average of 25 FPS @ MAX settings in WOW
E8400/x1300 = average of 55 FPS @ MAX settings in WOW
Pentium 4/x1300 = average of 15 FPS @ MAX settings in WOW


As the 8600GT is better than the x1300 (by quite a bit), he could potentially double his fps by upgrading his CPU. Although the card won't be enough for CoD:WaW, anything else he puts in won't be either, due to the P4.

This is an obvious CPU upgrade. Anyone who says otherwise needs their brain examined by a doctor. I'd take 55 FPS with a E8400/x1300 over 25 FPS with a P4/4870 any day of the week.
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March 12, 2009 1:52:35 PM

gamerk316 said:
After seeing Jonpaul37's stats below, going with a more beefy CPU is the way to go:
~~~~

This is an obvious CPU upgrade. Anyone who says otherwise needs their brain examined by a doctor. I'd take 55 FPS with a E8400/x1300 over 25 FPS with a P4/4870 any day of the week.


Maybe you should ask your doctor how your brain would operate an e8400 on a Dell Dimension 8400 with an Intel 925 chipset.


To the OP: Total system power at load with either the HD4870 or GTX260 will be in the 280-300w range. IIRC a PCIe Gen1 slot itself will provide around 35w (Gen2 75w) so the power connectors to the vid card will have to push around 10 amps to the video card. If the card is undervolted it's not a big deal as long as it will work in your box.

The bottom line in all of this - buy the most card you can for your budget understanding that it will be moved to your new build.

btw - my HD4870 is around 9 7/16 inches. I believe the GTX260 is a touch over 10 1/2 inches.
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March 12, 2009 7:15:41 PM

My point is, with new cards ready to be released, it makes no sense to pay for one only a few months prior to a price drop. Heck, ATI wants to cut prices on the 4870 as we speak (although it seems individual manufactures don't like that plan...)

Besides, carring over a 8600 GT to a new build by itself would give a FPS jump, but getting a 4870 now would do next to nothing. Fix the CPU first, and then decide where to go on graphics.
March 12, 2009 11:12:17 PM

How about this, Since I cant make a big PC purchase right now...Ive seen some CPU upgrades such as the P4 3.6 ghz Intel 660 or even a 670 3.8ghz floating around for 100 bucks...would that help me any?

Or would any single core processor not help ? I am running my 3.2 in Hyper Thread mode..2 virtual processors.
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March 13, 2009 11:29:53 AM

scsouders said:
How about this, Since I cant make a big PC purchase right now...Ive seen some CPU upgrades such as the P4 3.6 ghz Intel 660 or even a 670 3.8ghz floating around for 100 bucks...would that help me any?

Or would any single core processor not help ? I am running my 3.2 in Hyper Thread mode..2 virtual processors.

Even a Pentium D (two pentium 4's) wouldn't be much help for you at this point. They simply can't feed the GPU to its potential.

If you can't afford a new PC, I'd recommend just sitting on what you have in the meantime. Save up for a cheap Duo/Quad system (or wait for i5 to come out), and then do a re-build.
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March 13, 2009 12:18:57 PM

scsouders said:
How about this, Since I cant make a big PC purchase right now...Ive seen some CPU upgrades such as the P4 3.6 ghz Intel 660 or even a 670 3.8ghz floating around for 100 bucks...would that help me any?

Or would any single core processor not help ? I am running my 3.2 in Hyper Thread mode..2 virtual processors.


You will not 'move' a processor to your new rig. You will move a new video card (unless you waste money on a cheap one). Pick the discreet card within your budget that you will most likely move to a new system.

Your 8600gt is holding you back. It has a 128Mb memory bus and 256Mb of memory.

An HD4870 will have roughly 5x the 'jam' of the 8600gt - an HD4850 processes roughly 4x the power of your 8600gt. Even an HD4830 will wallop your 8600gt.

HD4870s are as low as $155
HD4850s are as low as $125
HD4830s are as low as $75


Will your cpu push these cards to the max? NO .... but you will not have wasted your money on hardware which is of no use to you in the future.
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March 13, 2009 12:28:57 PM

I agree, plus youll have better gaming in the interim
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March 13, 2009 3:05:43 PM

I disagree. Save up for a new setup with a better CPU, then get the card afterward. A GPU upgrade now will not help much, and you will need to save longer for the more meaningful CPU upgrade. And with NVIDIA/ATI ready to release new cards, odds are something like a 4870 or a 260 GTX will have a decent price drop by the time you are ready to buy a new GPU.
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March 13, 2009 3:48:12 PM

The more meaningful cpu upgrade? OK, if he goes right now and gets a i7, with the card hes got, it wont do as well as if he keeps what he has and just gets a better card. Cpus play second fiddle when it comes to gaming. So, while he waits all that time, he will have a lower gaming experience for the duration. And he will still need to buy a better gpu anyways. Good buys are out there right now on gpus
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March 13, 2009 4:00:36 PM

scsouders said:
How about this, Since I cant make a big PC purchase right now...Ive seen some CPU upgrades such as the P4 3.6 ghz Intel 660 or even a 670 3.8ghz floating around for 100 bucks...would that help me any?

Or would any single core processor not help ? I am running my 3.2 in Hyper Thread mode..2 virtual processors.

You may get better performance by turning off HT, as it was shown HT can be a deterrent on P4's
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March 13, 2009 6:01:03 PM

I may be different then the average gamer or something , but personally I would want a better cpu. I'd rather have to turn down the visuals a little to get a good fps than discover no matter how much I drop the visuals my cpu can't keep up making the game unplayable.

I was finding some games really hard to play with my Athlon 3400 and 6600GT early 08. I replaced my 6600GT with a Radeon 3650 when it released and I still had a poor framerate, all that changed was I could turn my visuals up further.

March 13, 2009 6:21:37 PM

OP, you will get a more pleasant gaming experience with newer games by upgrading your CPU and motherboard to a dual core 2.6 ghz+ and keeping the 8600gt than you would with buying a 9800 gt or a 4870 and keeping the single core. For about the same price as you could buy a 4870 you could get an e5200 and a cheap motherboard, and that will game rather nicely.
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March 13, 2009 7:15:17 PM

Clearly the "cpu/motherboard" crowd needs a reality check.

Your new "cpu/motherboard" recommendation to the OP means a new cpu, motherboard plus RAMs, operating system and most likely case. Oops. :non: 

IIRC the Dell Dimen 8400 is a semi-proprietary case which will only take an mATX motherboard. It has this funky airflow "shroud" with incorporated non-standard cpu fan. It's a nice heavy duty case that does its job well but is not meant to be 'upgraded' by an enthusiast. That, and it takes three hands (or a firm shake) to open it.

So in addition to adding the RAMs and operating system to your 'budget' you may as well add a case - or a Dremel tool and/or cordless drill.
March 13, 2009 9:13:18 PM

Wisecracker said:
Clearly the "cpu/motherboard" crowd needs a reality check.

Your new "cpu/motherboard" recommendation to the OP means a new cpu, motherboard plus RAMs, operating system and most likely case. Oops. :non: 

IIRC the Dell Dimen 8400 is a semi-proprietary case which will only take an mATX motherboard. It has this funky airflow "shroud" with incorporated non-standard cpu fan. It's a nice heavy duty case that does its job well but is not meant to be 'upgraded' by an enthusiast. That, and it takes three hands (or a firm shake) to open it.

So in addition to adding the RAMs and operating system to your 'budget' you may as well add a case - or a Dremel tool and/or cordless drill.


add in a cheap case for 30$ motherboard cpu upgrade will still be under 200$
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March 13, 2009 10:20:28 PM

loneninja said:
I may be different then the average gamer or something , but personally I would want a better cpu. I'd rather have to turn down the visuals a little to get a good fps than discover no matter how much I drop the visuals my cpu can't keep up making the game unplayable.

I was finding some games really hard to play with my Athlon 3400 and 6600GT early 08. I replaced my 6600GT with a Radeon 3650 when it released and I still had a poor framerate, all that changed was I could turn my visuals up further.

Exactly. You hardly upgraded, if you did at all. A 6600GT vs a 3650 isnt a gpu upgrade, and its no wonder you received no fps increases. The OPs planned upgrade had already been shown to give him almost 50% better fps. If the OP wants those fps now, he/she needs to get a better gpu, and one good enough to carry over til hes ready to upgrade the rest of his system
March 14, 2009 7:39:07 AM

JAYDEEJOHN said:
Exactly. You hardly upgraded, if you did at all. A 6600GT vs a 3650 isnt a gpu upgrade, and its no wonder you received no fps increases. The OPs planned upgrade had already been shown to give him almost 50% better fps. If the OP wants those fps now, he/she needs to get a better gpu, and one good enough to carry over til hes ready to upgrade the rest of his system


how can you even say that? there will be little to no framerate changes at all.. he will gain 10 frames max in MOST NEW GAMES by upgrading his gpu only, he will be able to play with full filters and have no fps loss, THAT'S ALL... total waste of money when he could get more frames and better gameplay to boot by upgrading cpu and motherboard.. seriously I've dealed with this kind of bottleneck before when I didn't know much about computers I had a 8500 gt in a Athlon 64 3800+ single core and when I upgraded to a 9600 gt I got 10 more frames no matter how high the resolution.. OP do what you will, but don't be surprised when you're still getting bad frames if you decide to listen to the pack that are telling you to get a new GPU first.
a b U Graphics card
March 14, 2009 7:48:25 AM

My point is, using his 8600, he wont get ANY fps gains with a decent cpu, no matter what. Also, youre saying going to a 4850 instead of a 9600 wont make any difference, I say it is, it will provide better fps, so the 10 you saw will be more like 20, and at 20, thats starting to make a huge difference, depending on game of course.
March 14, 2009 7:54:49 AM

JAYDEEJOHN said:
My point is, using his 8600, he wont get ANY fps gains with a decent cpu, no matter what. Also, youre saying going to a 4850 instead of a 9600 wont make any difference, I say it is, it will provide better fps, so the 10 you saw will be more like 20, and at 20, thats starting to make a huge difference, depending on game of course.


I assure you with a better CPU, that he will.. I had an 8500 gt... ok? I played at low settings on unreal tournament 3... got about 20 - 30 fps when I had an athlon 64 3800+ singlecore.. I slapped a lowly x2 5000+ in and my fps almost tripled in some cases... granted I was not playing on the highest settings and resolutions... and I clearly don't see how there will be a 20 fps gain with a CPU bottleneck... but then again it depends on if he is playing newer games, where there will most likely be a CPU bottleneck.

edit: I didn't read the games, and I'm not too sure about how CoD 4+ and how it responds to CPU or GPU upgrades, so... sorry about that.. but in general the processor is the best route imo, seeing as the 8600 gt isn't THAT BAD of a GPU.. it's decent entry level but single cores seriously need to be updated, I could understand if he had a 4 year old GPU.. but he does have about a 6 year old cpu..see what I'm getting at?
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March 14, 2009 9:12:26 AM

But it for 1, isnt what the OP wants, or is asking, and for 2, a 8600 is not that great. A 4850 is way way way better, and I know he needs a new cpu, he knows he needs 1 too, but quoting the OP
"QUESTION:
I want to get a newer video card. Right now, I am considering a Nvidia 9800 GT. I would like something bigger but am wondering if Id be wasting my money. If I buy a higher end card , will my single core 3.2 processor keep the higher end cards performance limited.....


Games I play:

COD4
COD WaW
BF2
BF2142




Hopefully BF1943 later this year and COD Modern Warfare 2 as well.

Yes, Id like to buy a new computer , but maybe in a year."

Now, unless he can get a complete upgrade for the price of a 9800GT, hes going to have to wait for awhile. The idea here is, as he asks, will it bottleneck? Yes, it will, but since its his only option without doing anything, the gpu upgrade is the way to go for the time being, and yes, he will see benefits from it, and yes, a better card will see even greater benefits, and again, yes, a better card can still be used when he does decide to go full upgrade, if he gets a decent enough card now, even tho, again yes, itll be slowed by his slow P4 single, he can carry it over to his next build, and thats the point. He gets better gaming experience, and can carry it over for much better gaming experience later.
I understand what youre saying, and although itd be great for the OP to do a system upgrade, even going to a much better cpu with his current gpu, he wont see much better improvements without a better gpu, which will be close to what he will get no matter what he does, as the ones weve recommended are much better, and in a different league than the ones others have mentioned, and what th OP currently has. So, you cant really compare your ex[erience with his, more likely itll be at least what jonpaul has shown, a 66% increase, and yes , going from 15 fps to 25 isnt that great, it could make a game playable.
In the end, going on the OPs situation, its either he stays where hes at, or gets a better gaming experience going with a better gpu, which hes willing to do. Mainly, if he does, people have said, if he does, get something thatll be worth it when he DOES fully upgrade, as that makes the most sense
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March 14, 2009 1:33:49 PM

chin311 is just being argumentative.

I wonder if he can spec out a new motherboard, cpu, RAMs, OS and case for less than $200 for that 8600gt ??


:whistle: 
March 17, 2009 1:26:04 AM

UPDATE:

After reading everyones fine opinions to my matter at hand, and I really do appreciate everyones input. I have done my taxes and received more then expected back. I am currently trying to purchase a new rig with a Intel QC9400 2.6 processor and for now, Dual Sli 9800 GT's.

I thank everyone.
!