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Is a sub-$200 upgrade worth it for my System/Wants?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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March 4, 2010 1:17:42 PM

Hello. It's been a long time since I was savvy in the GPU area. Looking for community help.
A - Need advice on IF it's worth upgrading
B - Need advice on Power

Current System:
Dell XPS 410/9200
Quad Q6600 2.4Ghz 8MB
4GB PC2 6400 (4x1 GB) - Maxed (System only Supports 4GB)
EVGA 8800GT 512MB 256-Bit GDDR3 PCI-e 2.0 x16
Win 7 64-bit Home Premium
Western Dig 320GB SATA 7200RPM
Dell DVD/CD Burner
Very Few USB periphs (Logitech Headset, occasional iPod).
Running 1600x900 max (today).

The most graphics intensive game I own is the new release of BF: Bad Company 2; bud I'd like to get the most of out it. But I'm sure more are coming. I haven't done much benchmarking, but I'm sure I can upgrade one more time before the CPU is my bottleneck, maybe not.

Caveat: I don't want to spend more than $200

Question 1:
Is it worth upgrading my Video Card?
If not today, prediction when?

Question 2:
If answer to #1 is "yes", will your recommendation require me to upgrade the stock Dell Power Supply.
Listed at 375W in the Dell manual. I'm reading conflicting reports that really that's avg, and peak is 450.
Don't want to blow up the system! ;) 

Any help/advice is greatly appreciated!
Thank you, in advance, for your time/consideration.
a b U Graphics card
March 4, 2010 1:43:03 PM

Hey shh70,

What resolution is your monitor? The 8800GT is good for something small, an upgrade would help a lot if you are using higher resolutions.

So, Yes--You could get a decent performance boost from an ATI 5770. They are about $140-150 on newegg.com. Unfortunately, there arent really a lot of competitive cards between $150 and $200. I dont know of a good chart offhand--but I think it would be a little less than double the 8800GT performance.

While dell PSUs are somewhat decent, you should still probably upgrade it for a 5770. (If you want to post the numbers from the side of the power supply we could all debate it here)

This is a pretty good deal at the moment, or you could spend more to get a very good one that you would use in your next computer as well. (with a 5770 it would still be under $200!)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

(Edit: Is it an ATX system? double check that its not BTX this before getting a new PSU)

Finally, to get a little more life out of your processor you could consider overclocking a small amount. I know many people here run Q6600s much faster than 2.4 ghz.
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a b U Graphics card
March 4, 2010 2:22:36 PM

I would recommend getting this one instead of the 500w up there. It's only $4 more once you take into consideration free shipping vs the 500w's $5.99 shipping.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Also the 5770 is a great upgrade.

The HIS 5770 is on sale@ $142 for today but you should be warned. They're RMA (replacement) service is supposed to be horrible.

If you can spring up $18, more any of these brands are good (I would personally go for the Sapphire):
Sapphire
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
XFX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Asus
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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March 4, 2010 2:32:53 PM

@ DLW

See how long I've been out of the loop. I have never heard of BTX.

Based on searching (Dell is no help) I'm 95% sure that it IS BTX.
However, all searches say that while case/MB is BTX, the PSU is ATX.

Edit: I'm not at home, so can't post PSU numbers right now.

In fact, I found this quote on Antec.com: "There is no BTX power supply specification. Future BTX chassis will incorporate ATX12V v2.0 power supplies. So don’t worry—Antec has you covered." Maybe this is outdated? Either way, it seems to hold that the Dell will take an ATX PSU; perhaps with right adapters.

@ AAA

Thanks for the advice. I'll definitely take into consideration

@ALL

Is ATI the "new fav?". I'll be honest, I've been a NVIDIA guy for a long time. The only ATI I've owned that I liked was my 9800PRO.
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a b U Graphics card
March 4, 2010 2:48:24 PM

Hey,

I dont know much about dell and BTX either. I'm pretty sure the power supplies are compatible--but wanted to play it safe and make certain.

Yes, ATI has a pretty significant lead at the moment. Nvidia hasnt released any new cards above the $100 mark since midway through last year. In the last 6 months ATI has already transitioned their entire lineup to new, more power efficient, DirectX 11 cards.

The GTX 260 is the only Nvidia offering in this range. Its a tiny bit more powerful than the 5770, uses vastly more power(+heat), and is priced at $210ish. The GTS 250 at $120 still relies on an improved version of the technology in your 8800GT.
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March 4, 2010 2:57:25 PM

Thanks so much again DLW and AAA.

I'll study the PSU tonight, and make a decision. Perhaps it's just time to bite the bullet and build a new system. Something I know will be more flexible (upgrade wise) in the future.
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March 27, 2010 11:40:34 AM

Best answer selected by shh70.
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