Hi guys - have a question for the experts out there. Currently running the following system, and planning to do some near - term upgrades, and wanted to get some input:
Current Setup - Q9450 Quad core OC to 3.0Ghz; 4GB 1066MHZ RAM; GeForce 9800 gx2 1GB video card; Nvidia 790i ultra Mobo
I want to upgrade to 2 GB of video memory. From what I have read, 2 GTX 285s in SLI config is my best bet (MoBO not Xfire supported). I was also considering upgrading to 8MB of 2000MHZ Ram, but not sure if it is worth the cost ($300).
I have a liquid cooled system, and have no interest in replacing the MoBo or processor at this time, due to the added complexity, so upgrading to an i7 is out (that will be when I do a full blown upgrade in a couple of years).
RAM: RAM speed actually matters very little. You'd be better off buying two 2x2 GB kits of 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 sticks (like these). No reason to spend more than that. Besides, (assuming this is a gaming machine) anything over 4 GB of RAM is overkill.
GPU: I wouldn't touch nVidia right now. All of their cards are really expensive. Besides, you don't really need Crossfire support. One HD 5870 would be a massive upgrade from what you currently have. If you just don't like ATI, I would highly recommend you get over it. Or wait to see if Fermi doesn't doom nVidia.
I know there was 2 GB 4870 and 4890 at one point. I just don't think they're readily available now, hence the "isn't being sold any more." The higher end of the old models are beginning to become scarce to provide extra production capacity for the new models.
@dnd: The 285 is a dual GPU card, just like the 5970. I believe that the most RAM for a single GPU is 1 GB right now.
Im having deja vu - like we've done this before. You should remember to check your facts before trying to correct me. The 285 was the most powerful single GPU before the release of the 5870, the 295 was basically a 275x2 and the most powerful single card graphics solution before the release of the 5970, which is an underclocked 5870x2.
Sapphire does some gutsy things and varies from ATI reference specs. In addition to those 2GB cards they also made the 4850x2, which ATI never designed or endorsed. Looks like they did it again with that toxic 5850.
Have a follow up question - Mad I went with the GSkill ram you suggested...I installed and when I check CPUz it shows all 4 sticks at a max bandwith of PC-10700 (667MhZ)...does this seem correct? Shouldn't it be at PC-12800? I set the system settings to 7-8-7-24 as recommended. Is there something I am missing (I am fairly new to this, so I may be missing something simple/obvious).
Thats controlled by your mothebroards settings in bios, not the RAM itself. If you get in and play with the bios settings you can probably get some more speed out of it.
The AUTO settings for my DDR3-1600 cas8 (8-8-8-24) 1.65v RAM are DDR3-1066 at 7-7-7-27 and 1.5V on my new motherboard. I just started playing with overclocking but I know I can get the RAM up to 1333 at cas7 depending on how I set the frequency and multiplier. I have to stress test to see what I can get stable. It seems like I may get 3.4 or 3.6 GHz CPU and 1333 or 1600 RAM stable pretty easily. The gigabyte motherboard has some friendly features and adjusts most of the settings for me.