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CPU or Video Card...Which first???

Last response: in Systems
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January 2, 2010 12:26:10 PM

After about 2 years, I'm finally upgrading my 1st ever home built PC, & I'm really torn as to which component I should upgrade first. My budget constraints do not allow buying all parts at once, so I have to do it one at a time over a couple of months. I know I need a new CPU, & a new video card, & I'm pretty sure I have the ones I want picked out. I just need to know what will show the most improvement in games & stuff for now until I can scrape the cash together to buy the other?
My specs are:
Asus M3N72-D mobo
Athlon 64 X2 4600 oc to 2.8Ghz
OCZ Reaper HPC 800Mhz DDR2 (4GB)
EVGA 8600 GTS 512mb
Win 7 x64
Hec XPower Pro 650w PSU (12V @ 52a)

I'm planning on the Phenom II 955 for the CPU upgrade & GTX 275 for the video card. I know asking this might seem silly as I'm eventually upgrading both, but I dont get to do this very often, so I'm trying to make the experience as pleasant as possible. Any and all advice will be most appreciated :-) Thanks

More about : cpu video card

a b B Homebuilt system
January 2, 2010 12:50:10 PM

What's your budget?

What's your usage?
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January 2, 2010 1:30:07 PM

Mostly looking for improvement in gaming, it does ok already with average everyday use, ie: internet, cd/dvd burning, music, movies, etc...

As stated above, I have enough to buy one component right now, but I cant get the other one for some time (~$250) so I need some advice as to which one will help the most for now, CPU or Video Card.
Thanks for the quick response.
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a b B Homebuilt system
a b U Graphics card
January 2, 2010 1:34:53 PM

I'd say go nuts on the graphics card. Tom's Hardware did a study on the matter, and to judge by those results (even though your exact stuff isn't there), your present CPU is plenty good enough to serve a better card. Tom says, "There is no obvious advantage to quad cores over dual cores" and "Without a clock rate of at least 2400 MHz, you will lose a considerable amount of graphics performance" He's talking about 8 and 9, not 200 series, but much of the graphics processing occurs in the GPU in all those--the CPU just has to be able to keep up speed-wise, and it looks like you're already OK there.
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January 2, 2010 1:38:45 PM

Thanks, that's exactly what I was looking for, but was unable to find. I've heard so many stories about the cpu bottlenecking the video card & what not that I was a little confused as to which way to go.
This helps a lot.
Thanks again.
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a b U Graphics card
a b à CPUs
January 2, 2010 8:07:34 PM

ok, this is my opinion. upgrading the video card would give you better performance than upgrading the cpu, but not by much, and not on all games. but, i would still upgrade the cpu, and this is why, new video cards are out, and coming out very soon, like the 5000 series, and 300 series, and those will be much more future proof. the 275 is worse than the 285, which is mauled by the 5850:

http://www.hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1451714

the 5850 is about 50$ more the 275, and has dx11, so i would get that soon, like when a pricing war starts, or just prices go down.
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January 3, 2010 12:40:44 AM

Well the cheapest 5850 on Newegg is still over $300 so it's a little out of my price range at the moment. Besides, I'm not looking for the "best" card on the market today, just a significant upgrade to my 8600 gts. As far as DX11 goes, I'm not too concerned right now, as I dont think that DX10 is going anywhere anytime soon. Maybe by the end of next year when newer 300 series cards are more affordable & price/performance can compare to what's available now I'll think about it. For now, a GTX 275 will suit my needs fine, & maybe in a couple of months a new quad core cpu will top things off nicely.
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 3, 2010 1:15:39 PM

Even when GT300 is out, the game developers want to maximize profits by targeting DX9/10/11 gamers. So yeah, get the GTX. Your mobo supports PCI-E. The 275 can be reused if you upgrade the other core parts to the next gen.
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