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Upgrade video card or mobo/CPU?

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April 5, 2010 9:26:11 PM

Greets Forum, I'm contemplating a decision here and I'm not sure which path to take or if I should take either path in the first place. My current system specs out as follows:

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale @ 3.00GHz and 1333 FSB
Memory: 2048MB OCZ DDR2 RAM (2 x 1 GB) + 2048MB Corsair XMS DDR2 RAM (2 x 1 GB)
Hard Drive: 500 GB Western Digital 32MB cache SATA II + 320 GB Western Digital SE16 SATA II both @ 7,200 RPM
Video Card: EVGA GTX 260 PCI-E 2.0 896 MB DDR3
Operating System: Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
Motherboard: EVGA Nvidia nForce 750i FTW


So I'm considering slapping another GTX 260 in SLI to my current GTX 260 - I've noticed this gives a big performance boost and many cases it doubles the FPS. Tiger direct has a new BFG Tech GTX 260 OC 216 core (Mine is only 192 though) for $200 plus free game coupon. I had considered the ATI Radeon 5850 which would ultimately cost me the same after selling my card to buy it, but despite performing better than the GTX 260 solo when the 260's were in SLI they beat the 5850 most times (I'm a little preferrential to Nvidia anyway but I compared to be fair - the 5870 is too much more). I could afford one of the GTX 470's but I see people are apparently recommending against that now - so anyway that's option 1 to consider.

Option 2 is upgrading the CPU and mobo to Core i7. I would grab up a Core i7 920 socket 1366 for $290 (There are WAY too many of these sockets for me to understand them now...and the difference between 1156 Core i7's and the old 1366 socket - which is the newer/better one? GAH confusing!). I'd also pick up this MSI X58 SLI/Crossfire mobo for $200 (I'm not sold on the mobo so this could be changed to another nice one that is within $20 of the $200 price mark. I'd pick up some of this memory too for $107.

Option 2 is assuming I can get like $350 for my motherboard, CPU, and memory - I added it all up using the lowest web prices and came up with $440 to buy all the parts I have right now new. I'd put it on Craigslist or something (Still have all the boxes for all the stuff), but I'm trying to decide which is the better upgrade path to go. And if I went with an 1156 socket I'd need to look at a different mobo. What do you all think is the better upgrade option? Or should I wait for newer GTX 400 series and just stay with my setup as is now until then? I don't have to upgrade, but I have the funds to do so if I want to.
a b U Graphics card
April 5, 2010 9:28:52 PM

depending on your power supply i'd get another gtx 260 and a cpu cooler aon ovrclock that cpu 3.6+
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a b U Graphics card
April 5, 2010 9:40:40 PM

I would sell the GTX 260 and get a HD 5970 and OC that CPU to 3.8 my old E 8500 ran 24/7 @ 3.8 without problems

I ment the HD 5870

Your CPU is still a good gaming CPU
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April 5, 2010 9:40:56 PM

Oops, I thought my PSU was in there - it's an ABS Tagan ITZ 800 watt PSU, 6 +12 volt rails @ 64 Amps. I think plenty sufficient. However overclocking is a no no, I can't do it and I'm on a stock HSU. The aftermarket HSU I'd want is I think $80 and I don't want to OC, let alone on stock HSU.

Option 2 will leave me penniless but I know the foundation is a solid one (Wish we could keep some of this same old tech for more than a year or two - when I built my system it was pretty darn nice! Only a little away from top end, back when there was just a GTX 260 and GTX 280 - but that's not the way of the PC world eh?).

P.S. ...I really don't like ATI...I was being fair and giving it the comparison, but I don't understand how ATI rates their cards and what not...I'm not quite an Nvidia fanboy but I'm not far off from one either. And the 5970 is $700! That's bragging rights price, I don't need that (I'd buy a GTX 295 rather, but that's also way too much money). I can't see spending more than $300-ish on a video card ever, and I only spent $200-ish on my last two video cards (Amazingly, a 6600 GT which was $200 when I bought it - still nice at the time - and my GTX 260).
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April 5, 2010 9:49:32 PM

obsidian86 said:
the difference be tween what you want and what you need is $40

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

HOWTO: Overclock C2Q (Quads) and C2D (Duals) - Guide v1.6.1

Trust me, I read a lot of HSU reviews - this was one of the top of the line HSUs. When it comes to something like this I will either spend the extra dough or not do it at all. Although now that I think a little more I think it was actually $60.

But I'm more interested in the Core i7/DDR3/Mobo upgrade versus SLI'ing my current video card.
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a b U Graphics card
April 5, 2010 9:50:38 PM

RavinRivie said:
Oops, I thought my PSU was in there - it's an ABS Tagan ITZ 800 watt PSU, 6 +12 volt rails @ 64 Amps. I think plenty sufficient. However overclocking is a no no, I can't do it and I'm on a stock HSU. The aftermarket HSU I'd want is I think $80 and I don't want to OC, let alone on stock HSU.

Option 2 will leave me penniless but I know the foundation is a solid one (Wish we could keep some of this same old tech for more than a year or two - when I built my system it was pretty darn nice! Only a little away from top end, back when there was just a GTX 260 and GTX 280 - but that's not the way of the PC world eh?).

P.S. ...I really don't like ATI...I was being fair and giving it the comparison, but I don't understand how ATI rates their cards and what not...I'm not quite an Nvidia fanboy but I'm not far off from one either. And the 5970 is $700! That's bragging rights price, I don't need that (I'd buy a GTX 295 rather, but that's also way too much money). I can't see spending more than $300-ish on a video card ever, and I only spent $200-ish on my last two video cards (Amazingly, a 6600 GT which was $200 when I bought it - still nice at the time - and my GTX 260).




I meant the HD 5870 :) 
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April 5, 2010 9:53:00 PM

Niklas_13 said:
I meant the HD 5870 :) 

Ah, still not much better for me financially - $400 is the cheapest I see a 5870 and my max budget on buying a video card is $350. But I would prefer not to spend that, always like to have a little spare cash for what have you.
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a b U Graphics card
April 5, 2010 10:06:04 PM

What are you trying to do with the PC that you cant do now ? as i see it you still have a nice system and should play games OK ,my last system was about the same as yours can i could get 30 to 40 FPS in crysis @ 1680x1050 high setting not max with no AA

The i7 920 930 are grate but IMO it would be better to upgrade the GPU ( if higher FPS is what your looking for )



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April 5, 2010 10:19:59 PM

Niklas_13 said:
What are you trying to do with the PC that you cant do now ? as i see it you still have a nice system and should play games OK ,my last system was about the same as yours can i could get 30 to 40 FPS in crysis @ 1680x1050 high setting not max with no AA

The i7 920 930 are grate but IMO it would be better to upgrade the GPU ( if higher FPS is what your looking for )

Mostly just gaming like you say, but I like being able to max out the settings and get good FPS. I have a 1920 x 1200 res 24" monitor, Crysis doesn't run so smooth when I leave the stuff turned up. So what benefit is there for anyone to go to something like a Core i7 system, more future proof? I had also considered upgrading my ram, I have 4 GB now but I thought about swapping out a pair of my 1 GB sticks for 2 GB sticks and bump up to 6 GB - but I'm unsure how noticable this improvement would truly be. I'd also thought about bumping up to 8 GB - but again not sure how much that would help in-game performance. I'm leaning towards the video card path now - any suggestions as far as options to do besides an extra GTX 260? I'm mostly leaning to that choice because given the benchmark scores, two GTX 260's in SLI perform up at the top with all the other dual card setups - but where perhaps the 5970 has 130 FPS the GTX 260's have 117 or something - I don't need record breaking speed, just speed that's so fast I can max everything out without fear that it will run great.

Thanks for all the helpful words so far everyone! :) 
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a b U Graphics card
April 6, 2010 12:43:00 AM

For gaming 4 gigs of ram is all you need ( you wont see any FPS with 8 gigs vs 4 in games, + your mobo is dual channel so stay with 4 gigs or go 8 gigs.

A CPU upgrade will give you some FPS but not like a GPU upgrade will. I7 920 930 i7 860 i7 750 AMD 955 ect will only give + - 8 to 15 take a look @ this http://www.gamespot.com/features/6182806/p-6.html you see @ a higher rez high quality even a E6600 CPU is good because crysis is so GPU demanding

I7 920 quad core with HT will shine in more CPU intensive software like photoshop / muiti tasking / rendering /

I will post somebanchmarks of GPUs so you can see whats will be a good way to go for yourself and your budget

http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...
http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...



HD5870

http://www.tomshardware.com/review [...] ,2422.html
http://techreport.com/articles.x/17618
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ATI/Radeon_HD_5870/
http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/for [...] eview.html
http://anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3643
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/v [...] d5870.html

HD5850

http://www.tomshardware.com/review [...] ,2433.html
http://techreport.com/articles.x/17652
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/HIS/HD_5850/
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3650


http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-5870,2422... in this benchmark a HD 5870 is only 3.5 FPS slower then a GTX 295 what would be way better then GTX 260 in sli but also cost more then a HD 5870



Anyways to max crysis with all the eye candy turned up you would need a HD 5970 @ 680 bucks :(  is it really worth it for one game ? IMO Hell no

So back to it if you don't like ATI much to beat a HD 5870 you will need a GTX 480 @ 550 :(  again over budget

IMO turn down the rez on that monitor set it at high not very high settings with 2X AA and be happy :) 



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April 6, 2010 2:36:27 AM

Niklas_13 said:
For gaming 4 gigs of ram is all you need ( you wont see any FPS with 8 gigs vs 4 in games, + your mobo is dual channel so stay with 4 gigs or go 8 gigs.

A CPU upgrade will give you some FPS but not like a GPU upgrade will. I7 920 930 i7 860 i7 750 AMD 955 ect will only give + - 8 to 15 take a look @ this http://www.gamespot.com/features/6182806/p-6.html you see @ a higher rez high quality even a E6600 CPU is good because crysis is so GPU demanding

I7 920 quad core with HT will shine in more CPU intensive software like photoshop / muiti tasking / rendering /

I will post somebanchmarks of GPUs so you can see whats will be a good way to go for yourself and your budget

http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...
http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...



HD5870

http://www.tomshardware.com/review [...] ,2422.html
http://techreport.com/articles.x/17618
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ATI/Radeon_HD_5870/
http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/for [...] eview.html
http://anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3643
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/v [...] d5870.html

HD5850

http://www.tomshardware.com/review [...] ,2433.html
http://techreport.com/articles.x/17652
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/HIS/HD_5850/
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3650


http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-5870,2422... in this benchmark a HD 5870 is only 3.5 FPS slower then a GTX 295 what would be way better then GTX 260 in sli but also cost more then a HD 5870



Anyways to max crysis with all the eye candy turned up you would need a HD 5970 @ 680 bucks :(  is it really worth it for one game ? IMO Hell no

So back to it if you don't like ATI much to beat a HD 5870 you will need a GTX 480 @ 550 :(  again over budget

IMO turn down the rez on that monitor set it at high not very high settings with 2X AA and be happy :) 

To be fair I don't really care about Crysis - I don't even think it's that good a game I just like being able to play it because it's so far the most demanding thing to find. I'm not going over $350 so all those others are out of consideration. I'd buy a GTX 470 but people keep saying it's stupid to buy one yet - no benchmarks yet for it it seems either, but I didn't really look hard.

I find this a bit funny though, so many people tend to treat it like Nvidia is the evil Imperial Empire with the Emperor and all that and ATI is the glorious Rebellion with Luke Skywalker. All these reviews are like "Yeah, take that you stupid Nvidia!" I'll be nice but this is why I don't like ATI. Fanboys. I remember being an Intel user back in the original AMD Athlon 64 days wherep eople were bashing stuff like my fast Intel P4 3 GHz...yeah let me tell you how SLOW it was - all they ever did was just say their stuff was cheap (If you're broke, buy cheap stuff I wasn't so I didn't, but I digress). Once upon a time I used to not care who made what, but I've had too many bad ATI cards and have never had a bad Nvidia card. Not to get into more hot stuff here but I've always had a thing against AMD too, and AMD owns ATI now...so yeah my dilemma becomes ever more one sided. The fact reviewers are quick to put down Nvidia loses them credibility in my eyes and lends me to just go with my own instinct to continue buying nothing but Nvidia.

I've always wondered why ATI cards had such low memory sample rates - always 256-bit for a 1 GB card where an Nvidia with 896 MB would be 448-bit or 1 GB would be 512-bit. I don't usually get into the deep seated workings of video cards, but side by side comparos might make the ATI look so superior with it's exponentially higher stream processors, yet I frequently see Nvidia cards besting them. So if it was a matter of one being greater, ATI would be but despite that it does not work out that way. I have too many negative associations with ATI to buy them though.

So my ultimate decision here right now is: Buy an additional GTX 260 and SLI it for $200 or sell my GTX 260 and buy a GTX 470 for $200. Given this, which would you say is the better choice?

BTW, You all can call me an Nvidia fanboy if you like, but I do have to say - I always thought the Imperials were way cooler than those crummy old Rebels! :D 
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a b U Graphics card
April 6, 2010 3:20:26 AM

I can see where you come from and its OK with me, i will swing both ways Intel AMD ATI or Nvidia it dont madder to me.

I was able to sell my old system to a friend and only pay 200 bucks for my new system that's why i have what i have.

old
p45-UD3P
E8500 OCed to 3.8
Corsair 620
GTX 260 192 :) 
WB Black 640
Corsair DDR2 800 4 gigs
vista 64 bit

New is in my sig

Anyways let see if we can find some benchmarks of the GTX 470

We found some http://www.guru3d.com/article/geforce-gtx-470-480-revie...

hope this helps :)  as i see it the GTX 470 is a close to a HD 5850


BTW your a fanboy :)  j/k
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April 6, 2010 3:46:10 AM

Best answer selected by RavinRivie.
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