hey guys, i currently have

intel e7400 2.8ghz
asrock 4coredual-sata2 board
2 gb ddrII 667
evga 7600gt AGP

i have a pci-express slot, and im wondering which video card i should upgrade to.
i'm looking for a card that won't bottleneck because of my cpu.
19 answers Last reply
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  1. Welcome to the forums!

    What resolution are you gaming at, what is you budget and what PSU do you have (brand, wattage, +12v amperage)?
    An E7400 is plenty powerful enough for any current GPU, especially if you overclock it.

    If your budget is large enough, I would defiantly upgrade the motherboard also.
    That PCIe 16x slot is only running at 1.0 4x link speed which can bottleneck many newer cards.
    Your 2Gb RAM limit is not helpful either.
    Even the most inexpensive Intel 3x or 4x based motherboard will be better suited to your current CPU and a new GPU.
    You would even be able to reuse your current RAM.
  2. thanks for the welcome!

    ahhh, so its my motherboard thats causing a bottleneck if anything.
    i do plan on upgrading the board and memory down the road, but im thinking of waiting that out when memory gets a little cheaper.

    im currently using a

    ocz modstream 520w

    my budget is $80-$200.
    i'm looking to play diablo3, starcraft2 and ff14 when they come out and i'm hoping i can play those games chopless at low-moderate settings. i'm not looking for something crazy but i know at those price ranges i cant get anything THAT crazy.
  3. Yeah, your budget is a bit tight but still doable!

    In the $80 range I would suggest a 9800GT ($75 after $25 MIR) on your current motherboard.
    For about $150 after promo code 'VGA1214', you can get a 5770.
    For $190 after a $10 MIR you can get a New Motherboard and GTS250.

    I would recommend either the GTS250/Motherboard combo or stretching your budget to $230ish for the motherboard with a 5770.
    This way you will have an upgraded platform along with much stronger graphics.
    You would be able to reuse your current CPU and RAM on this motherboard and could upgrade to more/better RAM in the future.
    You would also be able to quite handily overclock your CPU to get more free performance.
  4. Not all 2.8Ghz dual core CPU's perform the same.
    The one in your linked review is an old Athlon x2 7850, which, being based on the first phenom, is about 25% slower clock for clock than a Core 2 based CPU.
    The E7400's Gaming Performance at stock is still pretty decent, around what an Athlon II x4 or lower end Phenom II x4 can do.
    When overclocked, it should have no issues keeping up with just about any GPU out there.

    While a full upgrade to an AM3 or LGA1156 platform could give him better performance, his budget limits this.
    At least with an inexpensive motherboard he will get a proper PCIe 2.0 16x slot (up from a 16x PCIe 1.0 slot running at 4x link speed), the ability to run more than 2Gb of RAM and the possibility for some good overclocking.
    Dead platform or not, there are still quite a few CPU's on it that can handily beat the competition.
    Anything Q9400 or higher can easily match or beat anything from the red team and, despite relatively lacking somewhat in productivity apps, makes a good showing in gaming performance against the newer i5's and i7's.
    All in all, it is still not a bad option for the price.
  5. No, I was recommending that he take his limited $80-200 upgrade budget and get a decent GPU along with a fairly inexpensive LGA775 motherboard that will let him use his existing hardware to its full potential.
    His current E7400 is not all that bad, especially once it can be overclocked with a decent motherboard, but a maximum of 2Gb RAM and PCIe 1.0 at 4x link speed will kill any GPU only upgrade he makes.

    The best motherboard/CPU combo he would be able to get with his limited budget would be another dead end AM2+ platform with an Athlon II x4 or Phenom II x3 at most.
    IF he had a larger budget, he could probably get a more future proof AM3 motherboard and some DDR3, but his budget is limited.
    As any new platform he gets will not have an AGP slot, he would be limited to an IGP which would defiantly be slower than his current 7600GT.

    Despite LGA775 being EOL, it is still quite competitive with AMD's offerings at the moment.
    Yes, AMD's CPU's are less expensive but they also perform 5-20% worse than Intel's LGA775 counterparts.
    Not saying it is a better value, just that it is still very competitive with the competition.
    Also, as Intel is still releasing New CPU's for the platform so I am not sure if it can truly be considered EOL or not :/

    Unless you can show me a better solution within his budget, I am going to stand by my recommendations.
  6. he/she just want to upgrade his/her vga guys.
    maybe youre right lga is slowly dying, better be upgrade your vga and save the rest to upgrade your motherboard and processor later on.
    you dont say anything about your monitor resolution, but the game you play isnt very gpu demanding so i recommend gts 250, shouldnt bottleneck your system(see,2469.html)
  7. Quote:
    OP, use your own common sense. You cpu is NOT fast enough to keep up with the latest cards. LOL

    Your first upgrade should be your memory (to 4gb) and a cooling fan to massively overclock your processor. Then you can think about something as fast as a HD5850 (which isn't even close to top of the line by the way).

    Until then I'd recommend nothing faster than a 4870 1GB/5770.

    His Motherboard supports a maximum of 2Gb RAM.
    It has a VIA PT800 Chipset and I would not expect him to be able to overclock 10Mhz.
    It also only has a PCIe 1.0 16x slot that runs at 4x link speed.
    Unless he upgrades his platform, there is really not much he can do here.

    The GPU's recommended above where a 9800GT, GTS 250 and 5770.
    Not sure where you are getting the 5850 and 5970 from, lol.
    I have no idea how he would be able to fit either of those in his $80-200 budget.

    I would shudder to see how either of those cards, or any that I recommend, would perform on at PCIe 1.0 4x link speed.
    Perhaps you should review the PCIe 2.0 Scaling Review Toms did a while back.

    Keep a few things in mind while reading it.
    4x PCIe 1.0 has as much bandwidth as 2x PCIe 2.0, directly between the 1x and 4x results in this review.
    The 3850, being about as powerful as a 4670, is less than half as powerful as a 5770/4870.
    The 9800GX2 on the other hand is about as powerful as a GTX280.
    More powerful than a 5770/4870 for sure but I doubt more than 15-20% more powerful.
    With this in mind, I would estimate his performance hit would be a little the high side of the 1x and 4x results for the 9800GX2.
    So the Q9550 goes for $260 and it's on par performance wise with the X4 955 at $165, that's $95 more for the same performance. So that would not be a wise path.
    You could get a AM3 mobo and 955 for the same price as a Q9550 and have a upgrade path.

    I'm also not sure where you heard that C2Q is 5-20% faster than a Phenom 2, that's also untrue garbage.

    I am going to take this a little out of order.

    First off, did you follow any of the links in my above posts?
    If you had, you would have located the Anandtech Review where it shows the Phenom II running 5-20% slower than a similarly clocked Core 2 Quad.
    While the Phenom II arch is a defiant improvement over the original version, it still falls behind the Core 2 arch in clock to clock performance.
    The Phenom II x4 955 you are holding up against a Core 2 Quad 9550s is a 3.2Ghz CPU vs a 2.83Ghz CPU.

    Also, take another look at the Gaming Performance Benchmarks you linked.
    Do you see how that $260 Q9550 performs about the same (sometimes a little up, sometimes a little down, more of the time nearly the same) as a $1000 i7 Extreme?
    With that in mind, why would you need a highly overclocked i7 Extreme (as you recommend above) for a good GPU when the older CPU works just fine?
    Even if a high end GPU setup is somewhat (not majorly) CPU limited that is not always bad.
    As long as you are getting 60+ FPS it just means you can turn up the AA/AF/eye candy/resolution with no performance hit.

    If you take a look at the Gaming CPU Hierarchy Chart you will see that the $190 Q9400 along with a few dual core CPU's are on the same level as the $175 Phenom II x4 955, both of which being only two tiers above his bought and paid for E7400.

    Now also consider that he will need an AM3 motherboard, CPU and DDR3 RAM to make this a true upgrade with a further upgrade path (an AM2+ DDR2 motherboard will not cut it as it is only one BIOS update away from loosing support for new AM3 CPU's).
    He may be able to afford a Athlon II x4 (on the same tier or the one just above his current CPU) and a decent motherboard with his $200 MAX budget.
    He will not, however, be able to afford the DDR3 RAM or a new GPU.

    If he stays with his current CPU and RAM, he can afford a good GPU and decent motherboard with his current budget, adding more RAM and possibly a newer CPU later.
    His future upgrade path would be in a new quad core CPU which is quite comparable in price with the Phenom II x4's when you consider what he is saving on the DDR3.
    Also keep in mind that he can easily overclock his current CPU to match or outperform an E8500/8600, which is on the same gaming level as the x4 955/965, for FREE.

    As I stated before, IF he had a larger budget a more indepth upgrade may be called for.
    As he does not, and his current CPU is still a decent performer, I am standing by my upgrade recommendations.

    Instead of throwing around what he could do with a larger budget, how about you make some recommendations on what he can do with his current $80-200 one?
    If you can find a better path to get his games running smoother within budget, I would wholeheartedly back it.

    EDITed to fix the Gaming CPU Hierarchy Charts link
  8. wow you guys really expanded! its a good thing tho
    this really helped me, because of all the options and all the re-considering.
    i've never thought of an upgrade with a motherboard and video card together would make such an impact at this moment. and considering its within the budget.

    my current motherboard is basically like a step up board (hence the AGP/PCI-e and DDR/DDR2 ram options all together), ive used and squeezed as much of it as possible and i know overclocking is basically impossible for the board.

    so with that said, i do still wanna make use of my board/ram/cpu for another 2-3 or maybe 4 years if could. (as in playing those games at low-moderate settings) hopefully chopless at moderate-medium

    the 9800gt and the gts250 seems like a good way for me atm.
    the gts250 will last me a longer way, and maximize/surpass my setup atm. and be alot better on my future setup/upgrade

    i have a question about ati and their video cards, ive stepped outta the computer scene for quite some time =/ and back then, geforce was beating ati like no tomorrow. ati's has caught up...but is there any difference with compatibility, like intel with nvidia...or amd with ati? would an intel/ati setup be just as good as a amd/nvidia?
  9. I am glad you found everything helpful.
    Whichever GPU you chose will definatly be a large step up from you current 7600GT.
    Bottlenecked or not, you will still have a quite noticeable performance increase.
    Nvek said:
    i have a question about ati and their video cards, ive stepped outta the computer scene for quite some time =/ and back then, geforce was beating ati like no tomorrow. ati's has caught up...but is there any difference with compatibility, like intel with nvidia...or amd with ati? would an intel/ati setup be just as good as a amd/nvidia?

    No, as long as you are only using a single GPU (ie. no SLI or CrossFire) and your motherboard has a PCIe 16x slot, there will be no difference with compatibility.
    As long as you match the relative performance of the parts together both platforms should perform about the same.
    For example, a Phenom II x4 955 with a GTX 275 should perform nearly the same as a Q9550 and 4890.

    Just be careful about the nVidia based motherboards.
    They are generally pretty shatty when compared to an Intel or AMD based motherboard (unless you are looking at IGP performance).
  10. GTS 250 or 4850 whichever is cheaper, the newer or more powerful GPUs will be unbalanced.
  11. for your CPU hands down i'd go with a 5750
    future proof with DX11 and overclockable (you'd get about 4870 performance overclocked)
  12. Use the AGP port and get the 4670 (1gb ram ddr3) That pci slot is x4 and is not suited for graphics cards. The bottleneck is'nt really a factor in most games, in fact it blows away most of the mid-low range pcie cards out there. Oh, thanks for having me, This is my first post. (;
  13. With that motherboard the 250 GTS (512mb ram) and E7400 will do you fine for now. That 's what I'm running on it.

    Guys, you have to watch the ASROCK compatibility listing as if you stray very far off the reservation you'll be in a deep pile of monkey poop.

    This board does NOT like GPU's with more than 512 mb ram on them.
  14. Just my 2 cents.
    Get a 4850 512. they are 100 even on newegg right now, and were impossible to find at that price a month ago. Don't worry about the pci-e slot, yes it has a much lower
    THEORETICAL bandwidth maximum. But that does not mean you have immediately 1/2 or 1/4 the power. More a percentage, data is constantly being fed as the cpu/mem sends and receives from the gpu. The more balanced the system is , the less, the pci-e slot matters. You will be transferring less data than a o/c 8500 dual core /5850 combo- which would need more bandwidth from the pci slot. But your mem/cpu combo will never approach that example.
  15. Gads, not this thread again.
    I thought we let this one die more than a month ago :heink:
  16. I'm just going to drop my opinion here...

    I currently own a 4CoreDual-SATA2 R2.0, with a E7400, 2x1GB of Kingston RAM (533MHz) and a Radeon HD 3850.
    I'm using the AGP version because in this board a similar GPU would be bottlenecked by a single core, thus I evolved from a P4 and a x1650 pro to this, already had the ram. The PCI-e x4 allows the same performance that the AGP 8x does, give or take a few, and the reviews out there state that using a 4770 in that PCI-e slot only gives a mere 15% increase in the performance, comparing with the HD 3850 AGP. So, my opinion would be to get the same Graphics as mine, the Sapphire Radeon HD 3850 AGP, 'cause this will be the absolute best for this board without being a waste of performance.
    When you have the cash, go for a i7 with a serious GPU solution (at your choice) and a decent motherboard. I admit this board isn't great, but for the cash available and it's stability, it is a good choice.

    Also, this board is maxed out with this sort of config (without wasing too much money...yes, wasting...):
    CPU: Core 2 E7600 or a Quad Q6700
    RAM: 4GB of good overclockable RAM
    GPU: Radeon HD 3850 AGP (Powercolor or Sapphire, your choice)
    (This would have to be with a modded BIOS, check PCTreiber, they're in the Forum for download)
  17. Nvek,
    Hi welcome to the forums mate i just sent you a PM about this with a link i think you will find useful. Just posted in case you have the right column hidden.
    There is life in the system yet i know people running 4850's on that board. Also a Bios update would be needed for up to date cards.

    Personally if you want to change at a decent price point something like a M4A785D-M PRO with a Phenom X2 555 BE would be the way i would go. There is said to be a better than fair chance that the 555 can be unlocked to a full quad but of course this isn't a guarantee, neather is the good overclock that test sites have been getting but its teh way i would go as its not a bad X2 chip in its own right, Faster than the 7400. I'm in the UK so don't know what it is in $ but the board and CPU are £ 130 over here.

    @ outlw6669
    Why do you call the AM2+ a dead end board ? It takes AM3 CPU's doesn't it ? Also it makes more sense to me if you have DDR2 memory already, why make yourself pay out for new DDR3 ram when you don't have to ?

    Mactronix :)
  18. mactronix said:
    @ outlw6669
    Why do you call the AM2+ a dead end board ? It takes AM3 CPU's doesn't it ? Also it makes more sense to me if you have DDR2 memory already, why make yourself pay out for new DDR3 ram when you don't have to ?

    Mactronix :)

    That would be because...
    Anonymous said:
    (an AM2+ DDR2 motherboard will not cut it as it is only one BIOS update away from loosing support for new AM3 CPU's)

    IMHO, if you are buying new, an AM3 board is a much better option.

    Regardless, this thread is a bit of a zombie.
    Born on December 18th, died on December 19th.
  19. So will the Thurban.Zosma CPU's only have DDR3 support then ?
    Even knowing you are going into a dead end, if you are on a budget and are coming from a set up like the op has what I'm suggesting would bring you bang up to date as of now and would last you a long time.
    As far as gaming is concerned the set up i mentioned when using a 965 instead of the 555 budget option i offered is as good as a similar specked DDR3 option and right on the heels of an i7 set up.

    So to me the option is do you want to spend out what would be to me in the UK the extra £120-150 for the difference in price between a decent AM3 board and some DDR3 ram, which would double the cost and get you nothing extra as of today but give you an upgrade path in about a years time.
    Or do you settle for a system that will knock spots off what you have know be bang up to date for half the price and will still have another CPU upgrade left in it if needed 555-965.

    I understand where you are coming from and as a new build i agree. Upgrading on a tight budget is a different kettle of fish though and these options need to be considered.

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