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Best GPU Upgrade For My Setup

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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November 10, 2009 7:40:07 AM

My Specs:
OS: Windows 7 64-bit Professional
Mobo: Foxconn C51XEM2AA - AM2 Socket - nForce 590 SLI
PSU: Enermax 500W - two 12V @ 22A - two PCI-E 6pin connectors
Memory: 4GB DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) - 4 x 1GB
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ (Overclocked to 2.889GHz from 2.5GHz)
GPU: NVIDIA XFX Geforce 7950GT 256MB (Overclocked to Core/Memory of 670MHz/800MHz from 570MHz/730MHz)
HDD: (1)Seagate 250GB HDD @ 7200RPMs SATA, (2)WD 500GB HDD @ 7200RPMs SATA
Monitor: LG 22" Widescreen running at 1600x1050

My 3dMark06 Scores:
Score: 5867
SM 2.0: 2470
SM 3.0: 2418
CPU: 1914

What video card should I upgrade to? My two concerns are:
1. My CPU bottlenecking my upgraded GPU
2. My PSU not being able to handle my upgraded GPU

I welcome all your suggestions but please back them up with reason and information.

More about : gpu upgrade setup

a b U Graphics card
November 10, 2009 8:19:49 AM

A GTS 250 would be the upper end for you, however I'd also see about upgrading your CPU too.

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...
$85 Zotac GTS 250

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...
$70 AM2 X2 6000+

although honestly I'd do a full upgrade

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$80 ASUS M4A78 (not SLI, but no onboard and can use AM3's $10 MIR)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$73 Phenom X3 8570 BE (tri-core OEM)
use the GFX card I listed above.
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November 10, 2009 8:36:26 AM

IH8U said:
A GTS 250 would be the upper end for you, however I'd also see about upgrading your CPU too.

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...
$85 Zotac GTS 250

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...
$70 AM2 X2 6000+

although honestly I'd do a full upgrade

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$80 ASUS M4A78 (not SLI, but no onboard and can use AM3's $10 MIR)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$73 Phenom X3 8570 BE (tri-core OEM)
use the GFX card I listed above.


Thanks a lot for your post. It has opened my eyes to some new possibilities. However, I do not want to go lower than a GTX 260. I also don't mind if it's ATI or NVIDIA. Either one is fine with me.

As for upgrading completely, I found this AMD Athlon X2 5000+ 2.2GHz Socket AM2+ 65W Dual-Core Processor and supposedly you can unlock two cores to make it a quad core! Seems too good to be true. I will do more research and see what the downside is (I know you have to have a mobo with ACC to unlock it).
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a b U Graphics card
November 10, 2009 8:53:03 AM

Sometimes unlocking the cores works fine, other times it causes more problems than it's worth. Although If you get the setup I listed you could also go with a 5xxx series ATI card, which is better in price vs performance.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$155 XFX HD-575X-ZNFC (out of stock atm)

or the 4xxx series

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$130 HIS 4850

Honestly I'd go with the 5xxx series when in stock.
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November 10, 2009 8:56:21 AM

Dude you have AM2 socket, CPU upgrade is just drop in. My advice is x3 720 , best gaming cpu for the money.

Then get something like 5770
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November 10, 2009 9:06:21 AM

rawsteel said:
Dude you have AM2 socket, CPU upgrade is just drop in. My advice is x3 720 , best gaming cpu for the money.

Then get something like 5770


I have an AM2 socket... not an AM2+ socket. Therefore, I cannot go with X3 chips. :non: 

@IH8U: What do you mean sometimes it causes more problems than it's worth? Can you be more specific?
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a b U Graphics card
November 10, 2009 11:07:22 AM

Blue screens, instability, temp issues ect...
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November 10, 2009 5:53:23 PM

Yeah it seems like only some people are able to unlock the 2 cores. I am not going to take my chances.
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a b U Graphics card
November 10, 2009 6:15:38 PM

I would get a 6000+ and a GTS 250 for under 200.00$ like IH8U suggested, but buy both from Newegg so you don't have to pay shipping nor tax. Tiger kinda sucks for these kind of purchases.

BFG Tech BFGEGTS250512OCE GeForce GTS 250 (lifetime warranty and trade up program) :
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ Windsor 3.0GHz :
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

A 5770 would also be a good purchase is it does fit the budget....
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Don't mind the negative reviews, just a bunch of noobs that do not know what they are doing with such a high-tech GPU.... ;) 
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December 26, 2009 8:46:57 PM

I would like to update this thread.

I got an ASUS Crosshair III AM3 motherboard, AMD Phenom II X4 955 3.2GHz cpu, and 2x2GB DDR3 1333 GSkill ram for Christmas. I put it all together last night and ran 3dMark06 again... here is what I got:

Score - 16407
SM 2.0 - 6434
SM 3.0 - 7858
CPU - 4488

Still not as high as I thought it would be but it is a definite improvement.

I was able to run COD: MW2 maxed out (with VSync on) while recording with Fraps (Full-Size) and ran at 60fps constant the whole time so I am more than happy. My CPU was DEFINITELY the bottleneck.

Thank you all for your responses... have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
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December 26, 2009 10:54:50 PM

What GPU?
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December 27, 2009 2:19:22 AM

sanchz said:
What GPU?


XFX ATI Radeon 4890 1GB
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