Upgrade the vidcard or cpu?

Hi guys,

I currently own a AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ Black Edition, 4GB OCZ Platinum DDR2-800 + ECS Geforce 9600GT 512MB.
I'm about to order a new 22" LCD and want to play as much games as possible on native 1680x1050.
I know my current rig will have trouble with some newer games so i'm willing to upgrade, but only 1 component and i'm in the dark as to what upgrade would give me the best performance boost : the vidcard or cpu?
The reason i'm asking is because i was thinking of upgrading my vidcard to something like the 9800GT/GTS 250 but i'm afraid my CPU will keep it from running at full potential. So maybe it's better to upgrade the CPU to bring the most out of my 9600GT?
Could you also state what brand/model you would recommend? (for vidcards i like to stick to Nvidia)

Any advice greatly appreciated,
14 answers Last reply
More about upgrade vidcard
  1. For that rez i would reccomend the ATI 4770 for 100.00 (better than a 9800gt) and it will not be limited by the processor. no matter what you get it will be limited in the long run by that proc. even OC'ed to about 3.2
    Yours is a situation that i had 6 months ago, I went out and got proc, then saved for vid card ( cards come and go at a pace that is horrible, get proc first )
  2. Card. Your CPU is fine but your card is the weakest at that rez
  3. *** ed *** ed *** ed *** ed when new titles come out wanting more power gpu wise or more power cpu wise...considering that you also can't upgrade past a dual core at 3.0-3.5ghz MAX you are screwed there as well....nice...

    cant i curse without loosing all of the good bits in my post.....
  4. 9800GT/GTS 250 are same or only a bit faster than old 8800GT and coming from my own experience it is not enough if you want eye candy enabled. You need something better to see real fps increase. I don´t know about your PSU and case (size) but this time and sticking with nvidia if I was you I would go for GTX 260 (216)...really nice price downfall. In US prices start at 150 USD...
    Your CPU is not that bad (same level as intel e6650)...oc it and you should be good for a while.
  5. Thanks for the info!

    Here's some more specs of my system :

    * PSU Enermax Noisetaker 485Watt
    * Default CPU speed 2,6Ghz
    * Asus AM2 mainboard (don't have the specific model number with me)
    * Budget : 100-150€ (i can get a new 260 here for 150€)
    * Memory @ default speeds : CAS Latency (CL) 4 | RAS-to-CAS-Delay (tRCD) 5 |
    RAS-Precharge-Time (tRP) 4 | Row-Active-Time (tRAS) 15
    * Antec Case P160W
    * Default AMD CPU/HSF
  6. Uhmmm, the 5000BE is NOT a E6650. I doubt its even a 6300.

    You don't state what your BE is overclocked to, or if it is at all. Seeing as you have a good overclocking chip, I'd start there. Overclock it as far as you can, then buy a nice GPU. A 4770 is a great idea, as is a cheap 9800GTX/GTS250. A GTX260 will work as well, but your starting to get ahead of your CPU and the requirements for 16x10.
  7. What MB? Your video card might also be bottle necked by the lack of pci express 2.0 support.
  8. Good idea from 4744545b: Have a go at overclocking the CPU, but do plenty of research first, do not just jump in or you could wreck the system.
    I disagree about the GTX260 though, I would go for that, especially if your motherboard can support a faster CPU: AM2+ and AM3 chips will run in AM2 boards but if you decide to take that route you MUST check with the motherboard maker to see if a newer chip is supported.
    Tmo_12 is wrong, only the very fastest cards; HD4870X2 and GTX295 would suffer any falloff in performance if paired with a PCI-E 1.0 or 1.1 slot, as long as they are run at X16 speed.
  9. Thanks for the info guys.

    The general consensus seems to favour a GPU upgrade so i'll prolly go in that direction.
    All the more since i now found out i did OC the CPU from day1 to 3.0Ghz, but forgot all about it lol :-)

    The mainboard is an Asus M2A-VM with following pci-e slots : PCI-e 1x, PCI-e 16x, 2x PCI 2.2
    I think it will be no problem running any of the aforementioned cards on this board safe the high-end ones which i'm not gonna get anyway (correct me if i'm wrong here).

    thanks again

  10. Yeah you can run any card no problem...and just in case you read into it you board might be Pcie 1.0...the difference is that 2.0 boards allow for more bandwith...even cards like the GTX 260 and ATI 4870 can't max out a 1.0 pcie bus so your just fine...
  11. You're not wrong, sunchaser.
    BTW, here's a CPU support list from Asus:


    Google a few reviews of the cards mentioned.
    Here is a site I like:

  12. Thanks again for the info, will take a look at that site!

  13. to 4745454b...sorry I meant e6550 not e6650 but it´s definitely faster than e6300
    to sunchaser
    485Watt Enermax is quality PSU with 38A???...GTX 260 (216) might work on it but it´s on edge and not guaranteed at all.
  14. Faster, but only if you can get yours up to 3.3GHz. If you have yours at stock, its nowhere near as fast. This is why I said to overclock it, you'll get a nice increase in speed. Seeing as he said its already overclocked to 3.0GHz, he's probably already around the 64/65 chips. This should be enough CPU for most of todays games.
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