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Best upgrade from 9800gt?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 12, 2010 3:57:35 PM

I've been running a medium/budget gaming system for a while now, but I think it's about time for an upgrade.
The specs are:

Athlon 64 x2 6000+ (Socket AM2)
Nvidia 9800 gt
3Gb DDR2 RAM
500W X-power PSU

I'm getting mediocre performance on medium/low settings in Modern warfare 2 and would like to fix that. My question is: Which needs an upgrade more: my GPU or CPU? I don't want to break the bank, but I've got in the ballpark of $200 to spend on graphics and $100 on a processor, give or take.

Thanks for your help :D 

More about : upgrade 9800gt

January 12, 2010 4:14:47 PM

thats a tough question and i also wana see the answer. i would think CPU because my friend uses a 9600gt in call of duty mw2 and he gets good performance(sort of)..

if i were you i would get a new display card, i recently bought a XFX HD 4890 for $195 from amazon(newegg also have this price).. and in the near future buy a new CPU
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a b U Graphics card
January 12, 2010 4:17:43 PM

A 9800GT should be able to handle medium setting unless you are running a really large monitor--so I think it has to be the aging CPU

Shouldnt this AM2+ be compatible? $155 Phenom II X4 940 Black Edition Deneb 3.0GHz
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

(someone else jump in here plz. I know the 9800 well, but--im not an AMD socket expert)
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January 12, 2010 4:17:58 PM

I don't think there's a single sub $200 GPU out there that is dramatically better than your current one...

http://www.techspot.com/review/209-ati-radeon-hd-5770/p...

Look over those benchmarks... your card isn't THAT far behind a 4870/5770...

If you're absolutely dying to spend $300 on your upgrade, just pick up a 5770 for $170 - http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=GA-5770_1G&src=FR&p...

And put the $130 towards the fastest processor you can get that is compatible with your board.

Alternately, spend a little more on the 4890... and you have a little less to spend on your processor.

For me? This wouldn't be a big enough upgrade to justify the cost... but it might be for you.

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January 12, 2010 4:49:24 PM

deadlockedworld said:
A 9800GT should be able to handle medium setting unless you are running a really large monitor--so I think it has to be the aging CPU

Shouldnt this AM2+ be compatible? $155 Phenom II X4 940 Black Edition Deneb 3.0GHz
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

(someone else jump in here plz. I know the 9800 well, but--im not an AMD socket expert)


Yes, an AM2+ processor will work in my mobo, just with lower Hypertransport or whatever-it-is.

So the concensus so far is that a better cpu is in order? I had considered getting a 9800 gx2 (reconsidering now) with a phenom x4 from newegg or something. I'll look at the ati cards, although I'm not as used to their offering as I am with Nvidia. (or their naming system)
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a c 376 U Graphics card
January 12, 2010 4:59:28 PM

We need to know your native resolution before making any recommendations for video cards. Something like the HD5770 would be approximately 50% better than your 9800GT at higher resolutions.
Also we need to know the brand/model of your motherboard to make any suggestions about CPUs.
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January 12, 2010 5:08:15 PM

jyjjy said:
We need to know your native resolution before making any recommendations for video cards. Something like the HD5770 would be approximately 50% better than your 9800GT at higher resolutions.
Also we need to know the brand/model of your motherboard to make any suggestions about CPUs.


Certainly. I've stated that I've got a socket AM2 board, but its full model name is the Gigabyte M61VME-S2.
Also, I generally try to run my games at at least 1024x768.
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a c 106 U Graphics card
January 12, 2010 5:19:42 PM

At 1024x768 I'd say your CPU is holding you back more than your 9800GT. Check for BIOS updates for your board to see if it can support any of the Athlon IIs or Phenom IIs. If it only supports the older Phenoms the performance increase won't be as great :D .
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January 12, 2010 5:21:24 PM

I'm using a E5200 dual core cpu with a GTX 260 216shader. Moderm warfare 2 runs at max setting for me at 1680x1050.

If you're getting poor performance then it's most likely your video card since Modern Warfare 2 is more video card dependent.

I run modern warfare 2 flawlessly and games like Crysis like crap.
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a b U Graphics card
January 12, 2010 5:26:35 PM

I don't understand, the 6000+ is 3GHz, while it's not fast it certainly shouldn't be holding back the 9800GT.

For Socket AM2+ (not AM2) you could upgrade to a Phenom II if you have the money.

$200 Card:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$100 CPU:
Quad-Core
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Dual-Core
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The quad will be better if you OC it to 3GHz & your games are threaded well.
If you don't want to OC/beginner at it then the X2 BE will be great as you can pump it to 3.6GHz easy, better for older/less threaded games.
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a b U Graphics card
January 12, 2010 5:27:46 PM

tuesday0180 said:
I'm using a E5200 dual core cpu with a GTX 260 216shader. Moderm warfare 2 runs at max setting for me at 1680x1050.

If you're getting poor performance then it's most likely your video card since Modern Warfare 2 is more video card dependent.

I run modern warfare 2 flawlessly and games like Crysis like crap.


The 5200 probably holds back the GTX 260 in Crysis because Physics/AI take a lot of CPU-power.
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January 12, 2010 5:45:29 PM

sabot00 said:
I don't understand, the 6000+ is 3GHz, while it's not fast it certainly shouldn't be holding back the 9800GT.

For Socket AM2+ (not AM2) you could upgrade to a Phenom II if you have the money.

$200 Card:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$100 CPU:
Quad-Core
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Dual-Core
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The quad will be better if you OC it to 3GHz & your games are threaded well.
If you don't want to OC/beginner at it then the X2 BE will be great as you can pump it to 3.6GHz easy, better for older/less threaded games.


That card does seem a good deal. I'll need a new PSU though. D:
Maybe a new card+PSU with CPU upgrade later?
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a c 376 U Graphics card
January 12, 2010 6:39:30 PM

The HD4890 is truly massive overkill for 1024x768, what is your actual highest resolution? Honestly your 9800GT should be pretty great for 1024x768 already especially if you overclock it so it must be the CPU holding you back. Your board can handle a Phenom II x4 it seems;
http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Support/Motherboard/CPUSuppo...
It can probably handle Athlon II x4 chips as well and that just hasn't been updated yet and those are probably the best for the money although the Phenom IIs are nice if you can afford it.
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a b U Graphics card
January 12, 2010 6:45:33 PM

What do you mean by at least 1024x768? The 9800GT should driver 1680x1080 easily.
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January 12, 2010 7:31:36 PM

sabot00 said:
What do you mean by at least 1024x768? The 9800GT should driver 1680x1080 easily.


I mean that on 1024x768, I can only get moderate performance at medium/low settings. (at least in mw2) Should I be getting something better? I'll get a fraps if necessary to know my exact framerate.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
January 12, 2010 7:39:40 PM

Yes, you should be doing much better than that with a 9800GT at 1024x768. It should be getting around 50 fps average with everything maxed out and x4AA/x16AF.
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January 12, 2010 7:45:55 PM

jyjjy said:
Yes, you should be doing much better than that with a 9800GT at 1024x768. It should be getting around 50 fps average with everything maxed out and x4AA/x16AF.


Wow. I'd be happy with just that, as I rarely play anything at above 1024x768 anyway.
Maybe I need a better driver? I'm on a rather new installation of windows 7. What could be the reason for such low framerates? I'll do a fraps now.
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January 12, 2010 7:56:33 PM

jyjjy said:
Yeah, definitely make sure you have the newest drivers;
http://www.nvidia.com/Download/index.aspx?lang=en-us
Uninstall the old ones first then run driver sweeper before installing the new ones;
http://www.guru3d.com/category/driversweeper/
If that doesn't help I guess it is your CPU although I'd think an x2 6000+ should do better than that.


Well, I've already installed that driver. I'll go ahead and do a reinstall anyway. Just went ingame, fraps gave me up to 50-60 in very simple environments while going down to around 20 when it got even moderately busy. all this on 1024x768, medium texture quality, no AA, specular or shadows.
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January 12, 2010 7:58:49 PM

i think Intel CPUs are more reliable
you can see sites benchmarks if you like
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a c 376 U Graphics card
January 12, 2010 11:52:22 PM

Yeah, it's likely the processor. That game really isn't very GPU intensive. Do other games give you similar problems?
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January 14, 2010 12:46:38 AM

jyjjy said:
Yeah, it's likely the processor. That game really isn't very GPU intensive. Do other games give you similar problems?


Not in the ones that I play most often, but I do seem to remember substandard performance in a few spots of dragon age: origins. I'll most like get a phenom II quad or something.

Also, As far as my vid card goes, I've secured a 9800 gx2. So I suppose It's off to newegg for a new processor.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
January 14, 2010 12:57:17 AM

How much are you paying for the 9800x2?
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a b U Graphics card
January 14, 2010 1:07:15 AM

For my home comp, I have a 19" monitor and a 4830 (equal to a 9800GT) and I run MW2 maxed out with AAx4 without any problems. I get about 60+fps average although sometimes I dip into the teens (abet rarely) during scenes that include a whole lot of explosions and smoke grenades...

A 9800GT should have no issue with MW2 maxed out if you're running 1280x1024 or below. Overclock your CPU
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a b U Graphics card
January 14, 2010 1:45:25 AM

mohsentux said:
i think Intel CPUs are more reliable
you can see sites benchmarks if you like


Benchies don't bench reliability, they bench performance in specific applications.
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January 14, 2010 1:51:12 AM

jyjjy said:
How much are you paying for the 9800x2?


About my original budget, just under $200
The thing I like about this one is that I don't have to get a new PSU for it.
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a b U Graphics card
January 14, 2010 1:57:11 AM

theeyeclops said:
About my original budget, just under $200
The thing I like about this one is that I don't have to get a new PSU for it.


The 9800GX2 is 2 x 9800 GTX's (about), it's pretty power-hungry, probably around a GTX 285.
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January 14, 2010 2:04:54 AM

sabot00 said:
The 9800GX2 is 2 x 9800 GTX's (about), it's pretty power-hungry, probably around a GTX 285.

That's what I'd figured initially, but according to ol' wikipedia It takes 197w (or is that each?) which would fit my current 500w PSU after my cpu and peripherals.
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a b U Graphics card
January 14, 2010 2:13:06 AM

theeyeclops said:
That's what I'd figured initially, but according to ol' wikipedia It takes 197w (or is that each?) which would fit my current 500w PSU after my cpu and peripherals.


500W from the PSU could mean 500W peak or 500W sustained.
500W is combined rails, the 9800GX2 only draws from the 12V rail.
500W could be measured at 25C or 100C.

You're really stepping on ice.
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January 14, 2010 2:16:08 AM

sabot00 said:
500W from the PSU could mean 500W peak or 500W sustained.
500W is combined rails, the 9800GX2 only draws from the 12V rail.
500W could be measured at 25C or 100C.

You're really stepping on ice.


Well, then... maybe a new PSU is in order after all.
My friend has a "600w" that he's willing to part with on the cheap. Will this be a sufficient upgrade?
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a b U Graphics card
January 14, 2010 2:18:15 AM

What's the model? A good 500W could be better than a generic 600W.
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January 14, 2010 2:24:52 AM

sabot00 said:
What's the model? A good 500W could be better than a generic 600W.

Hmmm... not sure as to that. I'll have to ask him. Anyway, if I have to get a new PSU, then I will.
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January 14, 2010 2:33:52 AM

seerwan said:
bro, i just checked, and based on the model number u gave us, it seems ure *** out of luck cause ure mobo doesnt support the Phenom II series...

thats for revision 1.0:-
http://www.gigabyte-usa.com/Support/Motherboard/CPUSupp...

revision 2.0:-
http://www.gigabyte-usa.com/Support/Motherboard/CPUSupp...

you check to be certain...

Hmm... I checked here:

http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Products/Motherboard/Product...

A bit down the page it lists phenom support. Maybe I'll just have to settle for phenom I. Though I doubt it'd be at full speed due to its only being an AM2 board.

Edit: Well, it seems that there are Phenom II's in AM2+. I'm pretty sure that my board will run those, though with limited HyperTransport ability.
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a b U Graphics card
January 14, 2010 2:56:32 AM

Your 9800gt should be more than enough to handle at your resolution because I had an 8800gt with an amd 5600+ and it handled all games on high settings very well at 1680x1050. Then later I added another 8800gt that I got when circuit city went out of business for $50. The PC is about 2-3 years old with the graphics card being the newest part and I've yet to meet game that I can't max with it with with of course the exception of crysis.
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a b U Graphics card
January 14, 2010 3:06:59 AM

an upgrade from an athlon to a phenomI can not be considered an upgrade at all.
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January 14, 2010 3:34:40 AM

wh3resmycar said:
an upgrade from an athlon to a phenomI can not be considered an upgrade at all.


Duly noted.

I think I can swing a Phenom II, though.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
January 14, 2010 5:28:23 AM

theeyeclops said:
About my original budget, just under $200
The thing I like about this one is that I don't have to get a new PSU for it.

You will definitely need a new PSU for that card but for slightly under $200 I wouldn't recommend it. The HD4890 can be had for the same price and it's slightly more powerful, uses less power and is a single card so there will be no SLI scaling/compatibility issues. Also either of these cards should only be considered if you plan to upgrade your monitor to at least 1920x1080 imo.
An HD5770 is likely to work with your current PSU. It's only 15-20% weaker than an HD4890, DX11 compatible, runs much cooler and can be found for $150ish. However for 1024x768 you really shouldn't need to upgrade your card at all. Just get the new processor and see how it goes unless you are upgrading your monitor.
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January 14, 2010 7:52:57 AM

sabot00 said:
Benchies don't bench reliability, they bench performance in specific applications.

well if intel's performance is better it means they're more reliable man :pt1cable: 
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a c 376 U Graphics card
January 14, 2010 8:10:52 AM

mohsentux said:
well if intel's performance is better it means they're more reliable man :pt1cable: 

I don't think that word means what you think it means. Reliable means something will last a while without dieing or needing to be repaired. CPUs in general are all very reliable unless you are jacking up the voltage too high.
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January 14, 2010 6:04:45 PM

mohsentux said:
i think Intel CPUs are more reliable


I totally agreed with this statement... in 1996... and back then I was mainly referring to the motherboard chipsets.
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