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CPU or GPU upgrade?

Right now I am looking to upgrade my PC but I have a relatively limited budget (under $400). I have asked this question before but I didn't have a ton of details and so that may have skewed the answer I got. I have a really nice case, 800 watt power supply, and all of the hard drives/cd drives so I don't need those. However, my question is, for the money, which of these two is worth upgrading more. In other words, which is slowing down my pc more and requires a more immediate upgrade.

Intel Core 2 q8200 set in Intel DP45sg mobo, 4 GB DDR3 10666 Ram. I have it overclocked to run stable at 2.7 Ghz (gets too hot at anything much higher)

or

MSI N250GTS 512 MB GPU

I don't care too much about playing games at super settings with everything maxed out, but I do play some games that require a hefty amount of computing power even on medium/low (Bad Company 2, Crysis, Black Ops, etc.) and am looking to pick up the Witcher 2 and a handful of other PC games this year and realize I am going to need an upgrade to keep up. Ideally I would replace both today, but money won't allow so I am stuck choosing just one for now. I realize processor/mobo/ram would be the most expensive option and I could get a really good card for the same price, but if a really good card won't do much more due to an aging CPU, then it would be a waste of money. Thanks in advance for the replies, and sorry for wall of text!
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  1. Best answer
    First off, you should definitely upgrade your graphics card.

    That being said, I wouldn't go too overboard(i.e. use your entire budget)

    GTX 560 Ti - $249.99 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127565&cm_re=gtx_560-_-14-127-565-_-Product

    I chose the GTX 560 Ti because it is a card that will allow you to play all the current games you want on high settings as well as some future games coming out like Crysis 2 and Battlefield 3.

    If you have an AMD preference over Nvidia then get the 6950. It will perform just as well.

    Radeon HD 6950 1GB - $239.99 after rebate - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102921&cm_re=6950-_-14-102-921-_-Product


    Your OC on your Q8200 makes it a pretty good CPU, but after this graphics card upgrade you should definitely look into a whole new system, rather than upgrading your current CPU. That's why I didn't suggest the best $400 dollar GPU, you should save some of that money and put it towards a new sandy bridge/bulldozer build next year.

    You won't have any problems making it to 2012, and could even hold off until 2013 if you really wanted. If you think that your CPU has enough juice to last another two years, I'd even consider suggesting a GTX 570, which are $350. The problem is that in 2013 a 570 might be worth an $10 versus the current $100 difference with the 560. It's all about how you want to spend your money, I'm just trying to save a little ;)

    Also, what PSU do you have?

    EDIT: What resolution is your monitor?
  2. Your system is using 450W max lol...
    anyway, You can get the GPU from above^ (+1) And maybe even look into Liquid cooling Or a Radiator for an even higher clockspeed. Just a thought.
  3. Its an old CRT monitor running at 1600x1200. Not sure the brand of PSU because the sticker is on the inside of the tower facing the mobo. Hard enough to find the wattage through a small hole in the side. I bought this from someone else who gave up trying to get it working and I found out it was just incompatible ram.
  4. batson456 said:
    Its an old CRT monitor running at 1600x1200. Not sure the brand of PSU because the sticker is on the inside of the tower facing the mobo. Hard enough to find the wattage through a small hole in the side. I bought this from someone else who gave up trying to get it working and I found out it was just incompatible ram.


    Alright, if you could find out that out it would be very to know because if its a cheapo $50 PSU then I wouldn't recommend SLI. Even though its whopping 800W it might only be able to handle half that. Regardless, it should be fine for now, and when you decide to build a new system you can always buy a new PSU.

    Have you made a decision on which graphics card you're getting OP? Any further questions or cheaper recommendations?
  5. Thank you so much for all of the assistance. I think I am going to go with the MSI 560. I have an MSI right now and love it, and the price is just right. Thanks a bunch. Next year I will probably do a whole new system, probably a Sandy Bridge.

    At least for now I know the PSU is a good one, at least $100 or so because the person who built it thought that may have been the problem he was having getting it to post and bought one of the highest quality PSU's he could find to try and fix it. He just doesn't remember which brand, but he remembers it was one of the highest rated.

    All of the help was very much appreciated!
  6. Best answer selected by batson456.
  7. batson456 said:
    Thank you so much for all of the assistance. I think I am going to go with the MSI 560. I have an MSI right now and love it, and the price is just right. Thanks a bunch. Next year I will probably do a whole new system, probably a Sandy Bridge.

    At least for now I know the PSU is a good one, at least $100 or so because the person who built it thought that may have been the problem he was having getting it to post and bought one of the highest quality PSU's he could find to try and fix it. He just doesn't remember which brand, but he remembers it was one of the highest rated.

    All of the help was very much appreciated!



    No problem.

    Also, in the future when you decide on a new build, you could choose a motherboard that supports crossfire and get a second 560, they scale amazingly. Plus you won't have to worry about a PSU since you know yours is good :)
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