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Upgrading GeForce 8800 GTX, Want to extend aging PC

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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October 10, 2010 5:37:56 PM

I posted an earlier thread but saw the sticky on how to ask for assistance, so figured I'd try again following the recommended approach.

My PC is a bit long in the tooth (4+ yrs), however, I am not quite ready to plow in $2K+ on a new gaming rig yet, so I would prefer to eek another year or two out of what I have. I'd like to upgrade my video card over what I have, however, with my dated Mobo & CPU, I am concerned that I will hit a bottleneck fairly quickly. I would prefer to keep my budget around $200, if possible.

I am looking to purchase very soon (in the next week to two weeks). This is my gaming rig, which I use for games ranging from ME2, AoC, to older titles like Elder Scrolls: Oblivion.

My specs are as follows:

CPU: Core 2 Duo E6600
Mobo: NForce 680i SLI
GPU: GeForce 8800 GTX
RAM: 4GB
OS: 32bit, Windows XP
PS: 550W
Case: Fan Cooling

Could definitely use some help figuring out what to buy in a GPU. I don't think that my Mobo supports PCI-e 2.0, but I also feel that I am no expert in this area.

Thanks!
a c 182 U Graphics card
October 10, 2010 5:57:42 PM

What is the monitor/TV resolution?

The 8800GTX is still a strong performer:

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/graphics-card-geforce-rad...

It is also nicely matched to your current CPU so I'm not sure you'll see a very large improvement in performance because at stock speeds the E6600 is going to hold back a faster card.
I'd suggest you go for a HD5770 or GTX460 and spend the rest of your budget on a better cooler for the E6600 and overclock the $%^ out of it-Mine easily hit 3.2 GHz and only needed a tiny voltage tweak to hit 3.4 :) 
Do not be too worried about the PCI-E version, only PCI-E 2.1 cards might cause problems with your motherboard, all the others should be compatable.
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October 10, 2010 6:01:30 PM

I forgot to mention in my first post...my GeForce 8800GTX just died, so no option but to upgrade. Is there a significant difference between the GTS 450 and the GTX 460?
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a c 182 U Graphics card
October 10, 2010 6:09:15 PM

Take a look at the chart I linked to, the GTS450 is two tiers below the GTX460 although it is one above the 8800GTX making it a replacement rather than upgrade.
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a b U Graphics card
October 10, 2010 6:50:47 PM

Its a little better than a replacement, the gts 250's were clocked quite a bit higher than 8800gtx's.
And these gts 450's are seeing clocks between 785-920.
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Axle/GeForce_GTS_450...

Quote:

I forgot to mention in my first post...my GeForce 8800GTX just died, so no option but to upgrade. Is there a significant difference between the GTS 450 and the GTX 460?


Yes there is, +/- 30%, its a steal , imo at 170.00 for the gtx 460.
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a c 182 U Graphics card
October 10, 2010 7:39:53 PM

If you were happy with the 8800's performance and want to keep the bill low the GTS450 is the best choice.
For a larger upgrade the HD5770 is a little more dosh but it does better at higher resolutions and is not so hammered when AA is applied. You'll lose a little performance without a CPU overclock.
Most cash gives the biggest upgrade to the GTX460, but without a CPU overclock most of the gains over the HD5770 will be lost, making this the most complex and expensive way to go-To get a decent, stable, safe overclock you'll need to get and install an improved CPU cooler.
But, we really need to know your screen resolution!
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October 10, 2010 11:01:44 PM

coozie7 said:
If you were happy with the 8800's performance and want to keep the bill low the GTS450 is the best choice.
For a larger upgrade the HD5770 is a little more dosh but it does better at higher resolutions and is not so hammered when AA is applied. You'll lose a little performance without a CPU overclock.
Most cash gives the biggest upgrade to the GTX460, but without a CPU overclock most of the gains over the HD5770 will be lost, making this the most complex and expensive way to go-To get a decent, stable, safe overclock you'll need to get and install an improved CPU cooler.
But, we really need to know your screen resolution!



Sorry coozie7, didn't see your screen resolution request the first time around. I currently have a Samsung SyncMaster 206BW.

-20in. widescreen
-resolution: 1680x1050
-response time: 2ms
- contrast ratio: 1000:1

you mentioned an improved CPU cooler, do you have a recommendation that I may be able to use? I thought that those were pretty affordable. To be honest, I've never overclocked before (I know enough to be dangerous but still trying to get my expertise to a level where I can comfortably OC and build my own PC). Sounds like an OC will be necessary if I hope to mitigate my E6600 bottleneck.

Thanks in advance for your (and everyone else's) feedback, you've been extremely helpful!
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a c 173 U Graphics card
October 10, 2010 11:05:40 PM

BIS for your budget is a GTX460 or a 5830. The 768mb GTX460 and the 5830 can be found for less than $200 in normal retail.
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a c 182 U Graphics card
October 11, 2010 4:33:44 PM

@ Guinness07: I'm using the Coolermaster Hiper 212+ in my current i5 rig, which I carried over from the previous E6600/HD5770 build: It's not the best but it is cheap, quiet, compact and kept the E6600 cool at 3.4GHz. Be aware that this, like many others will require you to remove the motherboard or motherboard tray to install it. Some other coolers use the stock Intel pushpins for retention (more homework ;)  ).
It's up to you how complicated this gets but I'd drop a HD5770 in and overclock using the stock cooler for now-even at stock clocks you'll only lose 10% or so.
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October 11, 2010 5:54:41 PM

I am in the same boat as the OP. I am debating on whether to buy a GTS 450 or a GTX 460.

I also have an E6600, but mine is OCd to 3.0 GHz. I run my games at 1680x1050, and I am upgrading to get ready for the Rift beta.

I understand that my CPU will bottleneck the GPU, but will I still see improvements by using a 460 instead of a 450, or will the 460 perform the same as the 450 due to the CPU bottlenecking it?
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October 13, 2010 1:38:50 AM

Ok,

I've tried to do a bit of research on how to OC my CPU/RAM to lessen the bottleneck that my E6600 will create if I were to upgrade to a GTX 460 or something of that sort. As you can tell, I'm a bit nervous about screwing things up. To that end, could I get some feedback on whether there are any red flags with my build that will prevent my OCing and thus force me to buy a lesser GPU than a GTX 460 level?

To recap my build:

MOBO: NForce 680i SLI
CPU: Core2 Duo E6600 (@ stock clock)
RAM: G.Skill 4GB (2x2GB) DDR2 1066 PC2 8500
Cooling: Not sure exact model, I have 3 cooling fans in my case + a Thermaltake HSF
Monitor: Samsung 206BW, Resolution 1680x1050
OS: 32bit, XP

Thanks!
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October 13, 2010 2:03:07 AM

One other piece I forgot...my PSU is an Antec 550W.
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October 13, 2010 2:06:20 AM

Wow, I'm forgetting everything.

My case is a Thermaltake Armor Series Full Tower w/ Fan (model no. VA8003BNS)

My HSF is also Thermaltake, but not exactly sure which model (its been a while and I can't see the model #).
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a c 182 U Graphics card
October 13, 2010 7:51:19 AM

Some earlier motherboards were not very well geared towards overclocking, you'll need to check the motherboard manual to see what BIOS options are available.
If you have a non stock HSF for the CPU odds are it's a lot better than the Intel offering, but check it is clean, dust and fluff can quickly clog the narrow spaces between the fins.
Take a look at the TT website, older information is under 'support' then 'legacy product' if yours is not in the current list, find it and tell us.
You sound a fairly sensible person so, obviously you'll download and use temperature monitoring software during your overclocking ;) 
The most severe thing you can do is set the FSB too high, causing the system not to boot, the motherboard may sort itself out after two or three failed attempts, if not you'll have to reset the BIOS flash memory-see the motherboard manual and have a good pair of tweezers handy-the jumper to move is very small!
Take it easy. Take it carefully. Keep a close eye on the tempereatures when testing and keep those tweezers handy and you'll be fine :) 
And overclocking is like a box of chocolates: You never know what you'll get-every chip is unique, some overclock like mad others hardly at all.
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