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What should I upgrade GPU or CPU

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April 14, 2011 11:14:14 PM

Hi all. I wan't to upgrade my PC to improve the gaming performance what I have now is:

e8400 3.4 ghz
MSI P35 NEO F
EVGA GTX 275 FTW
8GB KINGSTON RAM
1 TB SEAGATE BARRACUDA 7200.11

Considering this:

  • I play on 1920x1080 resolution
  • I play all kind of games (from: windows solitaire (LOL) to crysis 2)
  • Lately I played Dragon Age 2 I felt a minimum lag but not big deal and also crysis 2 but i know that this game is CPU intensive

    The budget that I have is 500$ so I was thinking in 2 options

  • i5 2500K + (Asus P8P67 B3 LE or MSI P67A-GD65 B3) + DDR3 4GB (2x2GB) 1600MHz Doninator, CORSAIR ~ 500$ (in my country)
    OR
  • GTX 560 ti ~ 250$ (in my country) and save the other 250$ for future

    I would like your opinion about what should I upgrade first? GPU or CPU (CPU + MD + RAM)

    Thanks in advance,
    RAVS

  • More about : upgrade gpu cpu

    a c 131 à CPUs
    April 15, 2011 12:12:21 AM

    The lag in Dragon Age is likely due to the GPU. The lag in Crysis is definitely the GPU.

    I would upgrade the GPU first for sure though. Personally, I'd be looking at a 6950 1GB for the same price as the 560ti due to better performance at higher resolutions. It for the most part matches or beats the 560ti in benchmarks. But still, pricing is a regional thing and the 560ti is an excellent card, especially for overclocking from what I have heard.
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    April 15, 2011 6:32:59 PM

    Thank you so much for the answer :)  now that I decided to upgrade GPU I have the following brand options:
  • 560 ti : GALAXY, MSI, ASUS
  • 6950: MSI, XFX, DIAMOND
    For my experience. I like the EVGA brand but unfortunately it's not in the store. I had an old 9800gt ASUS but after a year the cooler suddenly died.

    My questions are:
  • Which brand from the mentioned above for each video card?
  • In general which brand from your experience would you recommend?

    Thanks again for your time
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    a b à CPUs
    April 15, 2011 6:47:11 PM

    I have the MSI GeForce GTX 560Ti OC Twin FrozR II 1024MB GDDR5, its a lovely cool running card, that plays crisis 2 at 1080p on high settings without issue.
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    a c 105 à CPUs
    April 15, 2011 6:53:13 PM

    enzo matrix said:
    The lag in Dragon Age is likely due to the GPU. The lag in Crysis is definitely the GPU.

    I would upgrade the GPU first for sure though. Personally, I'd be looking at a 6950 1GB for the same price as the 560ti due to better performance at higher resolutions. It for the most part matches or beats the 560ti in benchmarks. But still, pricing is a regional thing and the 560ti is an excellent card, especially for overclocking from what I have heard.


    the lag in crysis 2 is also CPU, the E8xxx don't perform well in crysis at all.



    graphically, DA is the more demanding game




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    April 15, 2011 6:59:55 PM

    ravs316 said:
    Thank you so much for the answer :)  now that I decided to upgrade GPU I have the following brand options:
  • 560 ti : GALAXY, MSI, ASUS
  • 6950: MSI, XFX, DIAMOND
    For my experience. I like the EVGA brand but unfortunately it's not in the store. I had an old 9800gt ASUS but after a year the cooler suddenly died.

    My questions are:
  • Which brand from the mentioned above for each video card?
  • In general which brand from your experience would you recommend?

    Thanks again for your time


  • I just checked again and for the 560 ti I have a lot of options almost all brands including the MSI twin frozr that Uther39 mentioned. Anyone else has an opinion related to the brand?
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    April 15, 2011 7:01:47 PM

    ct1615 said:
    the lag in crysis 2 is also CPU, the E8xxx don't perform well in crysis at all.

    http://static.techspot.com/articles-info/379/bench/CPU_01.png

    graphically, DA is the more demanding game

    http://static.techspot.com/articles-info/379/bench/1680_Extreme.png
    http://static.techspot.com/articles-info/374/bench/1680x1050_VH_update.png


    Thanks for you answer. I decided to go for the GPU upgrade first, I suppose that at least for this year the latest games won't be taking advantage of quads. what do you think?
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    April 15, 2011 7:16:06 PM

    ravs316 said:
    Thanks for you answer. I decided to go for the GPU upgrade first, I suppose that at least for this year the latest games won't be taking advantage of quads. what do you think?


    Updating the GPU first is generally a good idea. However, I believe Dragon Age II does take advantage of quad cores. Not sure about Crysis 2 though.
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    a c 81 à CPUs
    April 15, 2011 7:18:19 PM

    I guess if you are ready to compromise on the eye candy a bit, your current hardware is a keeper for some more time to come.. However, if you are dead fixed on making an upgrade, route 1 gets my recommendation (i.e. upgrading the entire platform).. You might be able to sell your current hardware (and add a few bucks if required) to get a 560TI also..
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    a c 105 à CPUs
    April 15, 2011 7:30:37 PM

    ravs316 said:
    Thanks for you answer. I decided to go for the GPU upgrade first, I suppose that at least for this year the latest games won't be taking advantage of quads. what do you think?


    i think that's a smart move. although Crysis 2 may be CPU demanding, most games still are fine with a fast dual core like the E8400 and it will stay that way until new consoles come out out (2-3 years away).
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    a c 105 à CPUs
    April 15, 2011 7:33:05 PM

    irsoccer05 said:
    Updating the GPU first is generally a good idea. However, I believe Dragon Age II does take advantage of quad cores. Not sure about Crysis 2 though.


    only true in Crysis I and DAI, in II for both games its the other way around. his E8400 is just fine for DAII


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    April 15, 2011 7:50:14 PM

    Hmmm, interesting, I could have sworn DAII took advantage of more cores. Disregard what I about that then.
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    a c 131 à CPUs
    April 17, 2011 9:21:20 PM

    ct1615 said:
    the lag in crysis 2 is also CPU, the E8xxx don't perform well in crysis at all.

    http://static.techspot.com/articles-info/379/bench/CPU_01.png

    graphically, DA is the more demanding game

    http://static.techspot.com/articles-info/379/bench/1680_Extreme.png
    http://static.techspot.com/articles-info/374/bench/1680x1050_VH_update.png

    Dude, seriously? The guy used a GTX590 dual card to test. Of COURSE in this case the CPU would be insufficient.

    As for the dragon age benchmark you linked, for all we know he could be using a core i5 2500k, which would be more than sufficient.

    The point I am making is that in his case, with his setup, the issues I mentioned are the issues.
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    a c 105 à CPUs
    April 17, 2011 9:35:16 PM

    enzo matrix said:
    Dude, seriously? The guy used a GTX590 dual card to test. Of COURSE in this case the CPU would be insufficient.

    As for the dragon age benchmark you linked, for all we know he could be using a core i5 2500k, which would be more than sufficient.

    The point I am making is that in his case, with his setup, the issues I mentioned are the issues.




    they used a GTX 590 so that there would be no video card bottleneck and at higher resolutions the video card carries most of the work as opposed to lower resolution (commonly known). the resolution itself was only 1200p and even the lowly Q6600 proved sufficient.

    the CPU use in both DA2 and CRYSIS 2 was the exact same, in fact both used the exact same test system (just the video cards where switched out) so the test is definitely apples to apples. I also linked the CPU graph showing the game does not rely as heavily on the CPU as CRYSIS 2.
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    a c 131 à CPUs
    April 17, 2011 9:38:54 PM

    irsoccer05 said:
    Hmmm, interesting, I could have sworn DAII took advantage of more cores. Disregard what I about that then.

    I agree. Has there been an update or something?
    Correction: My mistake, Dragon Age is the CPU hungry one I read about. I have no idea about DAII. So please disregard my first post about this.

    Could Ct please post his source rather than just picking benchmark pictures and posting them?
    Nevermind, found it, at least, the dragon age II one. Not sure where he got the crysis from:
    http://www.winmatrix.com/forums/index.php?/topic/31119-...

    560 ti : GALAXY, MSI, ASUS
    6950: MSI, XFX, DIAMOND


    Anyway, I recommend the 6950 1GB over the 560ti. I quite enjoy the XXX one I got on sale from NCIX a while back.
    The 560ti apparently has better overclocking headroom but the 6950 performs better at higher resolutions and more often maintains a better minimum framerate. Those are my observations from multiple website reviews. It can also depend on the game though, so research into what games you want to play.
    As for power consumption, I've run into multiple contradicting sites. Some bring the 6950 as more efficient and some the GTX560ti. So just assume they are about the same.
    http://www.guru3d.com/article/radeon-hd-6950-1gb-vs-gef...
    http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-r...
    http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-r...
    http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-r...
    Both are excellent cards in the end though at close price ranges so neither choice would be bad.

    XFX has and excellent double lifetime warranty - but only if you live in the USA. Live anywhere else and you will get charged all shipping and handling. I don't know much about other brands.
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    a c 105 à CPUs
    April 17, 2011 9:41:42 PM

    enzo matrix said:
    I agree. Has there been an update or something?
    Correction: My mistake, Dragon Age is the CPU hungry one I read about. I have no idea about DAII. So please disregard my first post about this.

    Could Ct please post his source rather than just picking benchmark pictures and posting them?
    Nevermind, found it, at least, the dragon age II one. Not sure where he got the crysis from:
    http://www.winmatrix.com/forums/index.php?/topic/31119-...

    560 ti : GALAXY, MSI, ASUS
    6950: MSI, XFX, DIAMOND


    Anyway, I recommend the 6950 1GB over the 560ti. I quite enjoy the XXX one I got on sale from NCIX a while back.
    The 560ti apparently has better overclocking headroom but the 6950 performs better at higher resolutions and more often maintains a better minimum framerate. Those are my observations from multiple website reviews. It can also depend on the game though, so research into what games you want to play.
    As for power consumption, I've run into multiple contradicting sites. Some bring the 6950 as more efficient and some the GTX560ti. So just assume they are about the same.
    http://www.guru3d.com/article/radeon-hd-6950-1gb-vs-gef...
    http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-r...
    http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-r...
    http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-r...
    Both are excellent cards in the end though at close price ranges so neither choice would be bad.

    XFX has and excellent double lifetime warranty - but only if you live in the USA. Live anywhere else and you will get charged all shipping and handling. I don't know much about other brands.



    all tests came from techspot and as I stated above, DA is indeed CPU reliant and utilized multicores, DA2 is not. Crysis 1 & 2 are the exact opposite. Crysis is fine with a fast dual core, Crysis 2 likes more then two.
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    a c 131 à CPUs
    April 17, 2011 9:52:34 PM

    I am well aware of the effect of resolution on the CPU load as well as the reasoning for using a high end video card in a test benchmark system.
    The high end video card in the test system is the exact reason why I believed the test to not apply, since he does not need to drive such a high end dual video card with his current CPU.
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    a c 105 à CPUs
    April 17, 2011 10:03:00 PM

    enzo matrix said:

    Please respond back in a civilized manner and without further insults. I enjoy discussion and do not wish this to degrade into an insult match.


    ...have you ever read any of my previous posts?? :na: 
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    a c 131 à CPUs
    April 18, 2011 3:21:32 PM

    ct1615 said:
    ...have you ever read any of my previous posts?? :na: 

    Yeah I see after I quoted you and before I finished posting you altered your post. All good.
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    a c 117 à CPUs
    April 18, 2011 3:30:25 PM

    he has a point. mounting such high end gpu's on low end cpu's will cause bottlenecks.
    the gpu will just overwhelm the cpu to the point it cant cope.
    thus slanting the results. not every site is unbias... and often do it to get sponsorship.

    if you look at other benches that use a balanced approach to cpu/gpu setup you will find the fps is much better even with lower end cards.
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    a c 105 à CPUs
    April 18, 2011 6:21:31 PM

    HEXiT said:


    if you look at other benches that use a balanced approach to cpu/gpu setup you will find the fps is much better even with lower end cards.


    .... :pfff:  failure to understand tests is nothing to be proud of
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    a c 81 à CPUs
    April 18, 2011 6:36:43 PM

    When testing a component, the other parts are selected with the intention of eliminating any possible bottlenecks and thus extracting the best performance the component under testing is capable of delivering.. As such, it is quite common to find the most expensive CPU being used when testing a high end video card and vice versa.. The core focus is to find out the tested component's highest capability.. IMO nothing wrong with such approach..
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    a c 131 à CPUs
    April 19, 2011 4:36:28 AM

    HEXiT said:
    if you look at other benches that use a balanced approach to cpu/gpu setup you will find the fps is much better even with lower end cards.

    That doesn't make sense. It sounds like you are saying a balanced system with the same GPU as a system that has an overkill CPU will get better FPS. I don't see the logic.
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    a c 105 à CPUs
    April 19, 2011 11:16:22 PM

    enzo matrix said:
    That doesn't make sense. It sounds like you are saying a balanced system with the same GPU as a system that has an overkill CPU will get better FPS. I don't see the logic.


    you are correct in your statement, hex is incorrect in his (or poorly worded it). while placing a high end GPU with a lower tier CPU will cause a bottleneck (OMG!!! :pfff:  ) it will still give equal to better FPS then the same CPU with a more moderate video card at equal resolutions. The CPU test above was to take away the video card bottleneck but to show where the CPU bottleneck can happen (as explained by emperus). Similar to how low end video cards are still tested with OC i7 CPUs, rather then an athlon II, to remove the CPU from being a bottleneck.
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