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Need to upgrade GPU or CPU

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  • Graphics Cards
  • Processors
  • Graphics
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Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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June 1, 2010 3:12:23 AM

Currently I have an Intel E4500 2.2GHz Core 2 duo processor and an Nvidia 8800 GT. I am looking to upgrade these to an Intel E8400 3.0GHz Core 2 Duo processor and ATI XFX 4890. My only problem is that I only have the funds for one upgrade not both. The graphics card was my initial choice because 4890's won't be available much longer and it had huge gains in benchmarks that I looked up. It is, however, much more expensive then the CPU upgrade and being that my PSU is only 500 Watts which is the minimum for the 4890 it may cause problems. I also was wondering that if I do get a much faster graphics card such as the 4890 if it would bottleneck my processor. I plan on running games in 1080p. Games i'm looking to improve fps on include Teamfortress 2, Oblivion, and Left 4 Dead (Possibly others I can't think of at the moment). Other specs on my computer include 4GB of DDR2 RAM, and running duel monitors as well as stock cooling all around (My case is still the standard Inspiron 530 by Dell). All input is greatly appreciated!!!

More about : upgrade gpu cpu

June 1, 2010 4:45:51 AM

Hard decision. You are right how getting a 4890 would most likely bottleneck your processor quite a bit. That is a fairly slow processor, and the games you are looking to play are not incredibly GPU intensive. Source is a very good engine, and Oblivion... well, from my experience if you aren't running a lot of mods you could go either way really.

The AI in Oblivion takes a lot more processing power than you may think, due to a poorly optimized engine. I have a i7-920 @ 4.1ghz and my processor still struggles in Oblivion.. with over 250 mods however so that shouldn't be an issue for you.

IMO, get the CPU first and upgrade your GPU later as your CPU is a bit on the slow side. Good luck.
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a b U Graphics card
June 1, 2010 5:01:59 AM

+1
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a c 189 U Graphics card
June 1, 2010 7:31:40 AM

8800GT is still good enough to play games, for now upgrade your CPU...
Does your motherboard support quad processor? It will be more effective if you have quad core...
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June 1, 2010 8:49:25 AM

Yea upgrade to a processor first is must.
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a b U Graphics card
June 1, 2010 2:55:20 PM

I agree, get the CPU upgraded first and a quad would be a better choice if you can afford and your motherboard supports it. Don't get me wrong, the E8400 is still a capable CPU, but the Q9550 or Q9650 is going to last longer and depending on what the PC is used for, would likely see a great benefit over the dual core. That 8800 is still a capable video card.
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a c 124 U Graphics card
June 1, 2010 3:06:55 PM

Unless you can figure out how to OC the crap out of that duo core I'd say get the CPU as well... I was thinking GPU initially but these guys ^ raise good points.
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a b U Graphics card
June 1, 2010 4:13:36 PM

Same from my side, buy a new CPU and i would suggest a quad core but not below q9550. It will last you longer and can help a lot with CPU intensive games and other applications that windows runs at the same time. The difference in price from E8400 to q9550 is not that big.

That GPU is ok for now, you can upgrade when the DX 11 generation gets a little cheaper.
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a b U Graphics card
June 1, 2010 5:19:18 PM

For 1920x1080 you really need to upgrade both the CPU and GPU. But at this point, your CPU is probably the weakest link. So I'd have to agree with starting there. Games are now starting to support multi-core gaming much more readily. A Core 2 Quad (like the Q9550 mentioned above) would be an inexpensive option since you wouldn't have to replace your entire system (mobo & RAM).

Keep in mind however, that @ 1920x1080 (1080p) your 8800GT will immediately become the weakest link. So start saving up money for another upgrade. :) 
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a c 376 U Graphics card
June 1, 2010 5:37:29 PM

You should upgrade both your CPU and processor. Instead of the E8400 just one of these;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It is the same processor as the E8400 except it has 2mb of L2 cache instead of 6mb. The extra cache is certainly nice but it is nowhere near $100 worth of nice. That should allow you to get an HD5770($150-160) which will be fine for your monitor and your PSU as well while giving you DX11 compatibility which the HD4890 lacks. Ebay the 8800GT if you need some more money to afford both.
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June 1, 2010 6:36:44 PM

In my opinion, I would NOT get a Q9550.. I thought they were much cheaper. I would definitely just go for an i7-920 (a quad) they are EXTREMELY easy to overclock, and I mean very, very easy. You can go into the BIOS, change a few settings and take it from a factory 2.66ghz to 4.0ghz at the flick of a switch (literally, change the settings, restart and bam.)

When I bought mine I went to my local MicroCenter and instead of ~$240 on newegg they had them for a flat $200 I would try there if you have one nearby, it's a steal.

I can only recommend what I have used, and this cooler has served my very well on my i7-920 @ 4.1ghz. I would recommend throwing down some ~$50 more dollars for a decent CPU cooler. (I saw one one for ~20, but I am just giving you the newegg link.) This Coolermaster Hyper 212 will serve you very well.

This is my recommendation, I really see no reason to pay the same price for the Q5500 when the i7-920 is a snap to overclock. Good luck.
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a b U Graphics card
June 1, 2010 7:13:18 PM

Jamrock said:
In my opinion, I would NOT get a Q9550.. I thought they were much cheaper. I would definitely just go for an i7-920 (a quad) they are EXTREMELY easy to overclock, and I mean very, very easy. You can go into the BIOS, change a few settings and take it from a factory 2.66ghz to 4.0ghz at the flick of a switch (literally, change the settings, restart and bam.)

When I bought mine I went to my local MicroCenter and instead of ~$240 on newegg they had them for a flat $200 I would try there if you have one nearby, it's a steal.

I can only recommend what I have used, and this cooler has served my very well on my i7-920 @ 4.1ghz. I would recommend throwing down some ~$50 more dollars for a decent CPU cooler. (I saw one one for ~20, but I am just giving you the newegg link.) This Coolermaster Hyper 212 will serve you very well.

This is my recommendation, I really see no reason to pay the same price for the Q5500 when the i7-920 is a snap to overclock. Good luck.



Jam, you must also take into consideration that Toscana is considering price as an issue. If Toscana wanted to switch to i7, that would mean that a new motherboard & RAM would also have to ensue, that would mean at the very least, $500.00
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