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What should I upgrade first for better gaming performance?

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September 18, 2010 8:26:40 PM

Hello Everyone,

I am new to the forum, and I am sure this has been asked before. Please feel free to point me to another thread if you would rather.

I am looking to play Final Fantasy XIV on my PC. I passed the benchmark right about in the middle, and I can run the beta at 1440 x 900 or 1920 x 1080 with textures on high. Having said that, the frames per second are not ideal at 1920 x 1080 and I have to turn off the shadows and post processing effects.

My question is as follows: I am going to be upgrading my PC one bit at a time, but I am not sure what would give me the biggest improvement first. I am afraid if I go for a better graphics card first that my CPU would be the bottleneck and I might not see much of an increase.

Would someone please take a look at my specs below and suggest the best order to replace parts in? Like I said, I am only going to start with one replacement due to cost restrictions. I know my pc is not the best, but it can run FFXIV now, so I can at least play it. I just want to get better FPS and possible turn on the shadows and post processing if possible.

Here goes:

System Model: XPS 630i
BIOS: Phoenix - AwardBIOS v6.00PG
Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU E8400 @ 3.00GHz (2 CPUs)


RAM:
4 GB

Graphics:
Dual 9800GT (SLI)
each has 512 MB

Should I upgrade the graphics card, the memory, or the CPU first?

Thank you so much for your time!


September 18, 2010 8:31:10 PM

P.S. I apologize if this is the wrong category for posting this question. I could not find a way to reassign it.
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September 18, 2010 8:42:17 PM

lets look at this there will be many new platforms coming out next year core 2 will be 3 generations behind by then but your rig should run FF IV,now its a dell system [:isamuelson] shame on you,i do believe bios is locked but your case supports atx boards from the info i have found,so i'd suggest get a good overclocking sli mother board and a good cpu cooler crank that e8400 up to 4ghz it should help with FF
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September 18, 2010 8:44:23 PM

I vote for the video cards. Can you afford to SLI a pair of 460's??
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September 18, 2010 8:47:06 PM

Hello,

Thank you both for the responses. I could try to go for the SLI 460's, yes. I am afraid that my CPU will be a huge problem though as was indicated. Would I still notice a large increase without upgrading the motherboard and CPU? If I must upgrade the motherboard and CPU I will look at the ATX ones as suggested.
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September 18, 2010 9:07:43 PM

video card, yes. at least 1 GTX 460
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September 18, 2010 9:13:59 PM

Thanks again for the replies.

OK, so the first upgrade will be a video card I think. I will upgrade the CPU after that.
Should I really go for the (SLI 460's )over a single 470 or 480? Is the 470 worth the extra money(or the 480 for that matter)? If so, I could get one 470 or 480 and add another in the future if SLI will make that much of a difference.

Thanks!
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September 18, 2010 9:31:35 PM

We need to talk about your PSU when we get into the 470 and 480 series. Better check it for watts and amps. SLI the 460's and it will draw 433 watts. What is your PSU now?? Cost to performance the 460 is the best card (IMHO) out now. Two will out perform a 480 in some games. You should Google the 460 and read some reviews. There are specifics in the reviews and some reviews where they run them in SLI. You can more than likely find some articles here on this site where they compare them to the 470's and 480's in a single and SLI configuration. http://www.guru3d.com/article/geforce-gtx-460-sli-revie...
Also, decide 768mb or 1gb 460.
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September 18, 2010 9:38:29 PM

Thanks again.

My PSU is currently 750w. I would be removing two 9800GT cards, and the only other thing I have hooked up is a sound blaster X-FI.
If I do need a new PSU can you recommend one for an XPS 630i?

Also, what power supply would I need to run two 460's?

It sounds to me like you are saying that two 460's are a better option than one 470 right? I will have to get just one card at a time, so will one 460 make a huge difference in this case? The price for a 470 seems to only be a bit more.

I really appreciate your time!
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September 18, 2010 9:43:11 PM

2 460s are better than a 480, nevermind a 470
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September 18, 2010 9:46:15 PM

OK, I will go for the two 460's.

What should my PSU be? I am only at 750w now.
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September 18, 2010 9:53:05 PM

the 750 should handle it fine unless its pretty old
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September 18, 2010 9:55:19 PM

Good to know!

Now the only question is 768mb version or 1gb version. I plan to SLI eventually, but I won't have them both at the same time at first.

Is the extra worth it for the 1GB in your opinion? The very informative link g048989h sent me seems to indicate I would not need the 1 GB.

Your thoughts?
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September 18, 2010 10:37:56 PM

PSU should be OK. I would consider the 768 although the 192bit interface is disappointing and I am not sure if that impacts the scaling in SLI. One of the vets here can answer that for you. I think the question is about the interface - 192 VS 256 bit. Looks like about 35 to 40.00 more for the 1GB version at 256 bit, so 70-80 more in a pair. Cheapest 768 is 170.00, cheapest 1GB is 210 on newegg. Might do better on another etailers site.
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September 19, 2010 5:57:03 AM

The extra money for the 1 GB version is well worth it if you play on resolutions 1920x1080 and higher. While your CPU should be fine handling 1 460, I don't believe it can handle 2 of'em, especially if you can't OC due to locked bios! So you really need a new system! If I were you I would play the game @ 1440x900 till ATI releases the 6xxx cards, which are predicted to bring the prices of the current generation cards down, and by then you'll have solid reviews and performance analysis of the final game, not only the pre-release benchmark! It gives you also time to save up more money should you decide ti get a new system!!
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