So you have a 3.2GHz dual core CPU, and 6GB DDR2 RAM
Start small, buy a decent vid card and see if that gets you the results you're happy with. A 5850 would be a great place to start, pehaps upgrade your OS as well. You would do both regardless if you were building a new rig, nothing wrong with buying piecemeal and seeing if a couple of patches won't bridge the gap on an otherwise functioning rig.
You can expect the 5850s to drop significantly when the 6000s come out. As geofelt said above, if you can hold off a bit, it may be more than worth it. Your current motherboard has dual 16x slots, well worth taking advantage of. Keep in mind, if you're looking to continue with a crossfire build then you may need to upgrade your PSU as well.
Edit: This would be MORE than capable of WoW and most other games out there on med-high settings on a mid-size display. Over half the guys in my guild are running on systems significantly weaker than yours. If you're talking about something like HAWX or Mass Effect 2 on a large screen, then you'll want to look at a new rig.
September 8, 2010 9:41:06 PM
Thanks for those answers, they make sense.
I play wow a lot, at 1440 x 900 and generally get 60fps+ some of the effect do at times cause it to chug, so was considering the options. I read some talk about the new WOW expansion being more GPU intensive. so starting to look now to see what the options are.
Not looking for a high$$$ system, looking to take advantage of bargain pricing of the older technology. (around $500-$600 for mb/processor/graphics/ram). However I don't want to make a new system for a small /trivial improvement.
So perhaps the best way is to swap out the 2x 3850 for 2x 5850's when the price drops in the fall, and stick with everything else for now.
In the price range you are talking about, you wont get a huge improvement.
My bet is that a single 5850 will be about as much as your CPU can handle. I doubt a second one on that CPU/Motherboard will get you the 70% increase it would on a newer/faster system. Also you would need a fairly large PSU
A single 5850 or 5870 and a PSU upgrade makes more sense.
You should be able to get at least ~$200 for just the components you listed on ebay if you sell them individually.
One HD 5850 would consume less power than two HD 3850s in crossfire. As long as you don't upgrade to a quad core processor as well, I don't think you would need a more powerful power supply.
Ignore that; double checked. One HD 5850 doesn't consume that much more power than two HD 3850s in crossfire.
The main parts of your system are fine. Upgrade the graphics to see if that makes you happy. You need a graphics card anyway, so start there. If there is still lag, especially with loading maps, get a decent SSD to increase load speed. If these don't get you where you want, then use them in your next system. Note: I just had the same question with my rig...I bought a couple 4850s and upgraded from a Phenom 3 core to an overclocked X2. I get smooth gameplay @ 1920 by 1080, usually with very high to med settings in the game.
To help clarify what you would get from different options, run these tests:
1) Run your games, but reduce the resolution and eye candy to a minimum. This will simulate what will happen if you upgrade to a stronger graphics card. If your FPS improves, it indicates that your cpu is capable of driving a stronger graphics card to higher levels of FPS.
2) Keeping your graphics resolution and settings the same, reduce your cpu power. Do this by removing the overclock, or by using windows power management to set a maximum cpu% of perhaps 70%. If your FPS drops significantly, it indicates that your current cpu is a limiting factor, and that a faster cpu would help.
The point would be to have a powerful enough graphics card to be used when its time to replace the cpu/mobo/RAM, not to have a balanced system right now.
That's a good thought. But for mid range gaming, a 5850 isn't needed. It's a real nice card. But that money could go to upgrading more components now, and having a balanced system. I still game with a 4850. I think a 4870 or 5770 would be decent options. If not, they can be Xfired later.
Lord of the Rings Online (the main MMORPG I play) just added (this week) some DX11 effects. Immediately noticeable was that I now leave a wake as I wade or swim through water. Little details like that add significantly to immersion in the game. I am now sold that DX11 has great value as more games add even small DX11 enhancements like that.
A 5770 would make sense, other than I dont think it will be much of an FPS increase over crossfired 3850s. I figure card that will not give some FPS benefit is not a worthwhile expenditure.