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What to upgrade

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February 15, 2010 2:41:37 AM

Just need some insight -

I built my first computer a few years back (I'm a noob so help me out here), and I want to upgrade the video card to a Radeon 5770 to help accommodate some gaming (prince of persia was struggling, and i plan to play more modern warfare 2/crysis type games).. Plus for some reason I get artifacting when I play warcraft 3 (only on the 2 dimensional stuff, e.g. starting menu). I'm gonna run memtools and prime 95 to see if i have any failing components tonight, but the video card and ram has already been RMA'd once before and they tested fine then. Assuming i figure that out (I'm guessing defective ram), do you think the upgrade is worth it, or am i gonna experience bottlenecking from the other components?

Rig:
Windows 7 64-bit
Asus P5k P35 Mobo
Intel E4400 2.0 Ghz Core 2
2 GB Ram OCZ gold (can't remember timing right now, but at stock)
Geforce 7900GS 256Mb
Creative X-fi Xtremegamer soundcard

No overclocking

More about : upgrade

a b B Homebuilt system
February 15, 2010 2:53:02 AM

You have a few choices really, sort of budget dependent. Your board supports the C2Q, which would vastly trump that E@2. But, really, you need that 7900 out of there. What's your budget?

Find an affordable Q, +2GB of ram and a 5770, and you're back in the game.
February 15, 2010 2:53:45 AM

First off if you had to RMA the 7900 for mem issues, the PSU is marginal now and the 5770 is way beyond it's ability, the video card will fix the issues you are talking about, the current card was overwhelmed, but the 5 series ATI cards have issues with grey screen, so check it out and be sure before you jump
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February 15, 2010 2:55:58 AM

Or a more cheaper option, overclock that CPU to 2.5 at least, get a 4850 as a minimum and add a extra 2gb of ram, and you should be sweet
February 15, 2010 3:02:39 AM

Wow, fast replies

@jack-attack: I don't really have a budget in mind (I'm a poor grad-student tho), although i'd really like to just drop the 150$ on the card and hope it covers me well enough.. Ram seems to be super expensive these days so i was gonna hold off if 2 Gb could get me by.

@number13: The 7900 wasn't RMA for mem issues, BFG kinda figured out that i had ram (the 2 gb i had) issues and they decided to rma the card just in case. PSU is a Rosewill 550W Turbo series. Grey screen?? I'll check it out..
February 15, 2010 3:03:35 AM

I suck at overclocking.. tried it and could never get a stable system, even with minimal clocking... maybe i'll hire help on this forum for that tho..
February 15, 2010 3:08:18 AM

That grey screen thing has been fixed with the latest hotfix catalyst patch thingy
You probably couldnt get it stable because temps were too high or you didnt has the vcore voltage?
February 15, 2010 3:13:30 AM

Anyway back to the question, I understand that i could do a lot with upgrading each part rather than just one, but could i get away with just upgrading the video card?
a b B Homebuilt system
February 15, 2010 3:13:31 AM

Oh, there will be overclockage. With a FSB of only 800, there should be some headroom to squeak some more cycles out of that thing. I hear ya on the RAM, but with a x64 OS you could really benefit from another 2. A 5770 and ~2.6 or so should buy you some time until you can get into some of the newer hardware.

EDIT: Sure, you can do just one. Your performance might be lagging a little, but I'm sure that just a 5770 in there will net you a significant performance gain in games as well as HD video.
February 15, 2010 3:15:16 AM

Lets take a step back... what resolution will you be playing at?
February 15, 2010 3:19:27 AM

as high as it can run stably with decent fps.. but i guess since i'm used to 800X600 it doesn't necessarily have to be anything particularly great as long as the investment shows some worth
February 15, 2010 3:26:40 AM

In that case id recommend just getting a 4770 for around 100$...
whats the max resolution of your monitior? at 800x600, you are most likely CPU bound
February 15, 2010 3:31:03 AM

I have a dell 19" resolution of 1280X1024

Sorry i meant 800X600 when playing somewhat graphic intensive games (or maybe not... i think i play that on COD4)
February 15, 2010 3:33:02 AM

Pineapple express was an interesting movie btw.. After watching i couldn't tell if i liked it or hated it.
February 15, 2010 3:34:58 AM

Oh right, at that resolution your prob gonna be CPU bound mostly... Try OCing your CPU to 2.2, very modest OC and easy for OC nubs like me xD see if that makes a noticable difference in frame rates... if not, OC some more, perhaps to 2.5 if possible.. also youll need a new GPU, for that reso... 5770 wouldnt really recommend, kinda overkill, a 4770 will suit you fine
February 15, 2010 3:42:24 AM

Thanks you guys - I guess I'll try a modest OC and get back to you.. if I still suck, i may go for the 5770 and upgrade the processor/mem down the line to match.

@pineapple: would you still just do the 4770 even with future upgrading in mind?
February 15, 2010 4:00:25 AM

future upgrading? you want future proofing? in that case 5750, you dont really need a 5770 at the reso
February 15, 2010 4:01:21 AM

Ah - but I could only find 5750 for only 20 bucks cheaper..
February 15, 2010 4:04:00 AM

If you can afford it then go for it, but that 20$ would be better spent upgrading your CPU cooler to OC it some more probably
February 15, 2010 4:07:30 AM

duly noted, although i am using a ZEROtherm CF900 92mm CPU Cooler rather than a stock cooler..
February 15, 2010 4:13:23 AM

Also, i'd rather not play at 800X600, especially if i get a nicer graphics card.. Will probably also upgrade the monitor too
February 15, 2010 4:13:29 AM

in that case go ahead and spend the extra cash on the 5770, just OC that CPU of yours and see if it affects your frame rates at all
February 15, 2010 4:14:50 AM

Sweet thanks a lot - I may bug you about how to overclock correctly later if thats okay with you
a b B Homebuilt system
February 15, 2010 4:18:17 AM

Wait wait wait. If you game at 1280x1024, pineapple is right. Any 5 series card is going to murder any game you play, and you'll only be limited by CPU, if at all.
February 15, 2010 4:22:40 AM

Ooh ok - actually reading over maybe i'll go for 4770
!