Upgrading from 7950GT


I'm thinking about upgrading the graphics card in my (it's a custom built one not a branded off-the-shelf one). Currently I have an NVIDIA 7950 GT 512MB. Can't remember what CPU I have exactly but would have been a pretty decent one about 2 years ago. Plus 2 gig RAM. Running Windows XP Pro, screen resolution 1440*900. Think I have a fairly robust 500W PSU.

Sorry for the vaguery, am at work and don't have the precise details with me, but if they're essential I can add them to this thread tonight.

Anyway, main game I play is World of Warcraft, which I know on it's own isn't very demanding at all, but I run with quite a lot of UI customisation and addons which drag the FPS down significantly, and although I might not need them I want to keep them. In a 25 man raid when there's a lot going on I can end up <20FPS which can get pretty tedious.

1) I'm looking at the hype for the ATI 4770 which sounds like a great card, and from what I gather shouldn't require a PSU change. I'm trying to get an idea of how much of an upgrade this is over the 7950. It's considerably cheaper than the 7950 was when I got it so I just want to make sure it wouldn't be a side-grade or a trivial upgrade. I've been looking for direct comparisons but unable to find any.

2) Would increasing the amount of RAM in my system really have any significant improvement in performance?

3) Anything else I should be aware of or consider?

Many thanks
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More about upgrading 7950gt
  1. AFAIK WoW is fairly hard on the CPU, drop us a line with its specs when you get home.
    As for the card: The HD4770 is a good upgrade and probably uses less power than your existing one.
    One point: I'm not sure if this is accurate, but we seem to get a few questions about WoW with low framerate problems, often after a change of card, usually after a change of maker, perhaps you might want to consider an Nvidia upgrade instead. Unless of course I am totally wrong.
    Anyway, here is a chart showing where the cards place relative to each other:

  2. OK great - and thanks for the link, that's handy!
  3. The more UI addons you have, the more CPU and RAM you need. I would be inclined to say your GPU is not whats holding you back at this point.

    Get us some details on your CPU and we'll go from there.
  4. Righto - I have an Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 5200+ which I had thought was pretty meaty.
  5. Just did a quick test and disabled the majority of my addons, certainly all the big ones and despite it loading into game considerably faster it doesn't seem to actually improve my frame rate much in the main city (a low FPS hot spot).
  6. Fenris78 said:
    Righto - I have an Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 5200+ which I had thought was pretty meaty.

    As meaty as lentil soup. [:mousemonkey]
  7. Mousemonkey said:
    As meaty as lentil soup. [:mousemonkey]

    Right then - so I'm likely to see better improvement from replacing that than the gfx card?

    Any recommendations what to go for? Preferably without having to switch out the mainboard (ASUSTek M2V) as that's a PITA job.
  8. A CPU around 3.0 Ghz and a fast internet connection is all WoW seems to need (from what friends tell me, I don't play the game).
  9. So actually you didn't come to offer any advice relating to my question - just to tell me my processor isn't that great?

    It was pretty decent when I got it was all I really meant, and I assumed it was up to the job, which you've just confirmed.

    So really i am back to wondering what is likely to give me the better increase in performance - gfx card or CPU?
  10. Stick with your CPU, get a faster card that will be held back by that CPU and don't complain about crappy framerates in what some feel is a CPU intensive game, enjoy.
  11. Right so you're in fact suggesting that upgrading the CPU would be the best option. Your reply really wasn't very clear, so I apologise if misunderstood.
  12. Fenris78 said:
    Right so you're in fact suggesting that upgrading the CPU would be the best option. Your reply really wasn't very clear, so I apologise if misunderstood.

    coozie7 & B-Unit also pointed at the CPU, and for a quick test, start task manager, click the performance tab and then fire the game up for a few minutes then alt-tab out of the game and see what the processor usage is, if it's hovering around 90% then that's your problem right there.
  13. About 55-60% at the mo mid-raid, so still not sure. In less graphically intensively areas I get 60-80 FPS but not if that proves anything either way.

    Cheers for the answers though, sorry if I got a bit defensive :)
  14. @ Fenris78: Was n't Fenris the wolf who ate the moon at the end of the world according to Viking mythology?
    Anyway, a few ideas: Check for programs/services that are running and either disable them before play, or stop them from loading. Make sure you have any unwanted Vista (you did n't say) features, particularly Aero, off and you only have icons and shortcuts on the desktop, you would be surprised how much Windows hates having large files on the desktop.
    If you have a nice, friendly local store, perhaps they will let you try out an updated card, with sales getting hard to find you might find they are agreeable-sort of sale or return-sort of thing.
    Or you could delve into the dark and sinister arts of overclocking;)
  15. At that usage level the GPU becomes the main suspect, but as WoW is an online thing I have to wonder about connection\server speed. If you do get a newer more powerful card keep an eye on your processor usage as you may end up with a CPU that can't keep up, a problem I ran into when I replaced 2 7900GT's with 2 8800GT's in my 3800 x2 rig.
  16. Aye Fenris is from Norse mythology :) It was the Sun he's going to eat at Ragnarok!

    Cheers guys - I'm running XP (Vista looked pretty horrible imo in terms of resource use), and keep a fairly tidy ship/well maintained PC. I used to be a PC engineer but that's going back a few years now and my hardware knowledge is pretty out of date - last PC I built would have probably been about 5 years ago. I paid someone else to build this one - /shame.

    Connection I am pretty sure is ok, usually run about 150ms, and a lot lower if I play stuff like CS. I binned my wi-fi connection and now run using those Homeplug adapters which I have to heartily endorse :) Now get really good throughput using them.

    I think I might try for the gfx card as it's only about £80 and by far the easiest thing to actually swap out but I'll try and keep an eye on CPU and if it looks like it's getting throttled then I'll look at upgrading that as well.

    Thanks again gents.
  17. ^*laughs* Serves me right for trying to be smart;)
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