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Upgrading Advice, please help!

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
April 5, 2010 5:07:03 PM

Hi, I'm new here and hoping for some help. I'm kind of confused where to go from here. I have a pretty good system I'm running and looking to upgrade to play games faster, smoother and with better graphics. I was hoping you guys could take a look and tell me how to proceed. Here is my rig's stats.

Dual Boot
XP Home edition 32 bit/ Vista home Premium 32 bit
2 gig ram memory
2X ATI HD 3870 bridged in crossfire {sapphire radion}
CPU- AMD Phenom 64 bit arcitechture. {its the 9600 model}
Quad Core 2.3 GIG.
The motherboard is a Asus M3A32-MVP-Deluxe. AI lifestyle.

Any ideas would help, I just feel like I need a little guidance to get it up and running faster! Thanks all!

More about : upgrading advice

a c 169 U Graphics card
April 5, 2010 5:20:09 PM

Hello and welcome to the forums :) 
2 HD 3870s are still good but if you want more performance then getting a HD 5850 would be a good option.
Also i would go for 4GB RAM as well(although you have to get a 64bit OS in order to recognize full 4GB)
a b U Graphics card
April 5, 2010 6:30:52 PM

Your PC is actually what I would call a fairly well balanced one right now. Upgrading your GPU's to a single 5850 would probably actually be bottlenecked by your 2.3GHz Phenom x4. The best thing you could probably do is upgrade to 4gb or RAM, OC your CPU as much as you can (not sure how high the Phenom 9600 can go) and then maybe get a 5850.
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a c 169 U Graphics card
April 5, 2010 9:26:23 PM

since most games are GPU limited i think it will be fine even without OC'ng the CPU but yes in some games(mostly RTS games or games like GTA IV)OC'ng the CPU will give a good boost in performance
a b U Graphics card
April 5, 2010 9:33:52 PM

Actually- that CPU is probably slow enough that, without OCing, most games that are limited to 1 or 2 cores WILL be CPU limited with a 5850. the games like GTA IV and RTS games will just be even worse.
a c 169 U Graphics card
April 5, 2010 9:59:29 PM

Resolution is one of the most important factors too,if its like 1920x1200 or higher then the effect of GPU is more than CPU but if its like 1280x1024 then yes,there will be a noticeable bottleneck.
So i agree, OC'ng the CPU will overall help the in most games
a b U Graphics card
April 5, 2010 10:03:30 PM

The AMD Phenom 64 X4 9600 2.3GHz would be a bad bottleneck on any more recent graphic cards. The ASUS M3A32-MVP Deluxe supports Phenom II processors as well - even the Phenom II X4 965 3.4GHz C3 revision, although you will need to flash to the latest BIOS version - 1903 - in order for the motherboard to be able to support it.

Adding another 2GB of RAM would be a good upgrade as well, either add another two 1GB sticks if you currently have 2x1GB, or add another 2GB stick if you have 1x2GB.

As for graphic cards - anything faster than an HD 4870 or HD 5770 would be a decent upgrade.
a c 212 U Graphics card
April 6, 2010 1:34:46 AM

W/o giving a resolution and a budget, this is a tall order.

Twin 3870's is equivalent to a GTS 250 according to THG's chart... so you could just about double performance with two of those. Newegg has em for $89 each with a free game that seems to change almost daily (Cryostasis, Resident Evil 5, Rainbow 6etc) ....if ya figure the game is worth $50, that's a net cost of $39 to you....or figure $80 for two of em.

Next up is the 5770 but at $160 x 2 ....there's too little improvement to recommend it over the bargain that the 250 currently is .... of course if ya don't like or already have the games that are being offered...the bargain isn't as attractive.

Above that is the 470 or 5850 of which will be just fine at 1920 x 1200. The 5850 is cheaper but the 470 has the lower price performance ratio (in dollars per frame in DX11 , high settings).

a b U Graphics card
April 6, 2010 4:48:24 PM

You can get a 5770 right now for $135 after $10 MIR if you sign up for Newegg's newsletter: with promo code: EMCYRYT36

Also Cryostasis is only $22 :
Resident Evil 5 is only $26
Rainbow 6 Vegas 2 can be had for $10
not CLOSE to $50.

2x 5770's are a better option IMO as they are faster, and have DX11. They will LAST you much longer because of the DX11 capability that will be more and more important as new games are released.
a c 212 U Graphics card
April 9, 2010 3:04:31 AM

The offer is for the digital download which is in fact $49.95 ..... good point though that you can buy the DVD version instead for little over half that......still $90 - $27 is still $63, less than half a 5770. The one I referenced is an EVGA model ... a well respected vendor ....The $135 card you reference is a Powercolor which I think few peeps would buy .... the lowest priced one I'd buy would be th XFX which is $160.....

At 40% of the cost (using your $27 DVD price) , I'd have to take the 250. I agree the 5770 has more of a lifespan ... not much tho, are in the same tier here:,...

But the rest of the system IMO doesn't warrant that high of an investment.
a b U Graphics card
April 9, 2010 4:47:08 AM

I was using the Phenom 9600 not too long ago. Ended up giving it away because it was bottlenecking even my 3850 crossfire.

I would go for the phenom II and add in 2GB of memory before upgrading graphics.
a b U Graphics card
April 12, 2010 7:09:39 PM

It was a Gigabyte board, not a powercolor. I've also seen a number of different models hit the $150 mark, and a few drop below. Also- the GTS 250 is still a slower card. The 5770 is equivalent to a GTX260, and the GTS250 is equivalent to a 5750. Also- when I buy a card, I look at the price as what I pay for the card, so the full $90. the reason for that is the GAME is the bonus. You still have to pay $90 whether or not you already have the game or want it, so the game to me really is a tie-breaker.