How should I go about upgrading my system?

Hello everybody, I'm new to tom's hardware here and I thought this would be a good place to get some feedback on something that I've been taking into consideration - upgrading my computer hardware. First off, here are the specs of my system:

CPU: AMD Athlon II x4 620 2.6GHz
Video Card: EVGA GTX 260

I want to upgrade my hardware so I can play games at higher frame rates than what I'm getting now. The first place I have considered upgrading is my CPU. I'm thinking an upgrade to the Phenom II 965 should suffice, but I'm not 100% sure, mainly because I don't know how much of a bottle neck my CPU is to my 260. That's where I sort of need the help - which upgrade will show me the biggest gain in fps, an upgrade in my CPU or graphics card? I do hope to upgrade both eventually, but I can't do both at the same time.

BTW, I'm playing at a 1680x1050 resolution in case you were wondering (and the monitor is a 120Hz one as well :) )
9 answers Last reply
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  1. i would start with the CPU as well, get the 965 BE cuz even though the athlon II isn't a bottleneck the 965 can help with extra cores and cpu intensive games

    later get an ATI radeon 5770 or GTX 460
  2. I agree to a point... 1) Upgrade your CPU but don't go any higher than the X4 955 BE, as there is no need to do so. 2) I would get the GTX 460 1TB. It is a nice setup up from the ATI 5770, it is worth it. This beginning said, don't do a GPU until you see the impact of the CPU first. The GTX 260 is still a good GPU.
  3. GB* tecmo
  4. Alright, thanks for the input guys. I know the 260 is a decent card, but some of the biggest reasons for me considering upgrading is because it's not a directx 11 card, and secondly, if I want to go into the SLI direction (assuming my motherboard can do that to begin with - I just asked on the ASUS forums, so we'll find out soon) the 260 setup isn't all that appealing mainly because of how much the card costs still; in my opinion, it's still to expensive for me to consider it an attractive option for upgrading in the video card department.

    It certainly seems though that we all agree that the CPU must be upgraded first, so with that being said that's what I'll be looking to do.

    Another question though - should I be worried about my PSU at all if I'm planning on oc'ing the new CPU (be it the 955 or 965) to as close to 4 GHz as I can get it? And would that be a big factor at all if it turns out I can run an SLI setup?
  5. noooo

    that PSU is very high quality PSU it will handle OCed phenom II 955 and two OCed 260s in SLI just fine

    but go with the 955 BE like techmo said and if you just want DX 11, then go with a 5770 or 5830, but dropping 200 for DX 11 right now isn't that good an idea, i would say just go with the 460 when you can, but now get the 955 BE
  6. 1) I can tell you your motherboard does not support SLI, so you need to look at a single Nvidia card more like the GTX 470 or think about Crossfire setup of any card equal to or higher than a 5770.

    2) The Corsair will handle any two card setup with OCing outside of a few cards (GTX 295, GTX 480, ATI 5970... etc.)
  7. Alright, you are definitely right about my board not supporting SLI tecmo, got confirmation from an ASUS tech today. While that's not great news or anything, I can at least still use my GTX 260 as a dedicated Physx card when I decide to upgrade my video card. Still not for sure how I should go about doing that; should I invest in an ATI card like a 5830 or something and later on buy another for Crossfire? Or should I just get a really high-end card (maybe a dual gpu one?) and just leave it at that?

    And as far as what CPU I'm going to get exactly, I'm starting to lean a bit towards the 955, mainly because it's cheaper and the performance drop isn't that significant, although I acknowledge that an extra $20 isn't significant either. I still like the idea of saving that bit of money, though, and spending it on an aftermarket heatsink or something. Anyway, here's a review of the 965, and in the benchmarks they compare it to the 955. Would this justify a $17 increase in price (just checked newegg for the prices :) )?,2389.html
  8. Stick with the X4 955 :) I just don't see it being worth it. You can use the money for a decent aftermarket heat sink.

    As for the GPU, I would go with the 5850, not the 5830. The 5830 isn't worth the price compared to the 5770 & 5850.
  9. Alright then, I think we certainly got the CPU covered then - 955 it is - but I've been doing some research for current GPU solutions out there right now. Going by the cheapest version of each card, the GTX 470 certainly looks like the best buy at this point. Right now it's sitting at $280:

    Where as the cheapest 5850 is at $290:

    Btw, I've looked at this review to check out how the cards perform:

    Granted, this is just for right now, and I don't plan on buying a new video card in the coming month, but certainly by the end of the year (could change though). I do plan on upgrading my CPU within the coming weeks though, that's for certain. So it looks like I'll be buying the 955 right now, and if prices stay the same throughout Q3 (and Southern Islands isn't anything mind-blowing) then it looks like I'll just be buying me a GTX 470 and call it a done deal. Thanks for all the help guys.

    Oh yeah, if you think there's something I overlooked let me know, but I think I got this all figured out now as far as how I'm going to upgrade my system.
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