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Need help with upgrade

Last response: in Systems
March 23, 2011 1:59:23 PM

I use my PC for gaming and internet. I want to upgrade my graphics (~$200) to play the latest games. I can currently play battlefield 2 at medium settings.

If I upgrade the graphics, will I need to go to windows 7? Do I need the 4 gb of ram that win 7 offers? Will the cpu be the next limit for most games?

My system
geoforce 8800 gt in sli
intel e8400 at 3.45 Ghz
windows xp pro
2.75 gb of ram
64" 720p tv as a monitor
wireless mouse and key board

More about : upgrade

a c 90 B Homebuilt system
March 23, 2011 2:03:47 PM

Hello oldbutslow;

You're in the right place. What kind of power supply are you using?

March 23, 2011 2:11:04 PM

850 watt zalman
Related resources
March 23, 2011 2:15:34 PM

mb is a nforce 780i sli
a b B Homebuilt system
March 23, 2011 2:23:25 PM

For around $210, you can get this GTX 560 Ti

But at 720p, I think your current configuration is probably being bottlenecked by your CPU at just 720p resolution. That's not really a tough job for two 8800 GTs. Do you plan to upgrade your display any time soon?
a c 90 B Homebuilt system
March 23, 2011 2:27:30 PM

You're in good shape with your MB and PSU. No problems there.

The 2x 8800GTs aren't that bad, even by todays standards. You'd need at least a GTX 460 card to be a worthwhile upgrade. And maybe a GTX 560 Ti if you can squeeze it into your budget.

We know BF:BC2 likes quad core CPUs. Im thinking you might have more of a CPU bottleneck than a limitation by your 8800GT SLI graphics.
a c 90 B Homebuilt system
March 23, 2011 2:30:25 PM

You would not need to upgrade to Windows 7 to use the new graphics card. WinXP is supported.

Am I right in thinking you have 4GB of RAM installed, but only 2.75GB free?
March 23, 2011 2:34:27 PM

The TV (768x1024) will not be upgraded in the near future, but I would like to play the games at the max settings. Thanks for the recommendation. Will I be able to utilize the better graphics cards without windows 7? Do i need the addtional ram for the higher end games? I am not looking forward to the win 7 clean install.
March 23, 2011 2:36:13 PM

Yes, I have 4 gb of ram installed, but win xp will only access 2.75.
a c 90 B Homebuilt system
March 23, 2011 2:36:26 PM

How much free space is left on your HDD?

I'd actually suggest using a dual boot option. You'd have both WinXP and Win7 installed and choose which one to use at boot up.
a c 90 B Homebuilt system
March 23, 2011 2:39:31 PM

When you change over from a 8800GT SLI setup to a single video card you'll probably see about 3.25GB of RAM available to WinXP.

Another good option is to have your dual boot setup using a 2nd HDD.
Dual Boot Installation with Windows 7 and XP
March 23, 2011 2:40:20 PM

I originally went with the dual core, because of the higher clock speed and that the games at the time were not giving any benefit to quad cores. What kind of L775 quad core would I need to exceed the overclocked E8400 that I have now?
a b B Homebuilt system
March 23, 2011 2:43:34 PM

Installing Windows 7 64 bit will give you access to all your RAM and Directx11. But the only thing that I'm seeing that you can really do to improve performance is to find a balance between your current gpu solution and your monitor resolution.

If you upgrade to the 560 Ti now for $210, you'll have a directx11 GPU without directx11, which may not be too big a deal. Then you'll upgrade to Windows 7 64 bit for $100, and your performance in games will be about the same as when you had 8800 GTs in SLI. Not that the 560 Ti isn't faster. It is. You just can't use it.

As for installing Windows 7; do you have an external HDD that you can use to backup your Windows XP?
a c 90 B Homebuilt system
March 23, 2011 2:47:42 PM

I was recommending the fast dual cores over slower quad cores a few years back too.

There really isn't any good cost effective quad upgrade in socket 775.
A video card upgrade - you can always take that forward into your next system.

The same isn't true for the C2Q CPUs which are still quite expensive. Q9650 3.0Ghz $340
If you could find a good deal on a used, but serviceable quad core - that might work out OK for you. But even those tend to be exspensive.
March 23, 2011 2:48:02 PM

Interesting. My boot up HDD (65 gb) is a 10000rpm raptor on which windows and games are stored. I have a 2nd HDD (300 gb) that has programs and backups for the raptor. The 3rd hdd is a 640 gb hdd used for music (I burn songs at 1441 kbs and send them through an audysey sound blaster card to my receiver. That is my main source for listening to music.)

So I have plenty of HDD space.
March 23, 2011 2:51:52 PM

Kinda sounds like an upgrade won't do me much good. Is it still safe to assume that a win 7 upgrade over win xp is not worth the bother?
a c 90 B Homebuilt system
March 23, 2011 2:53:49 PM

The multi-boot options work well. I have Win7/Vista/XP/Linux all available on the same computer with a boot time choice through a menu.

Win7/WinXP boot menu

March 23, 2011 2:57:08 PM

I could not back up win xp to my 2nd hdd. I had a hdd failure last year and tried to save a copy of xp to my d drive and windows would not allow it. I don't think I can save xp to an external hdd (although I do have one). Could be that my copy of xp was an upgrade and not a full copy.
March 23, 2011 3:02:10 PM

so this allows you to not to have to reformat your xp hdd and install win 7 on a new hdd (I am assuming that an existing hdd would have to be reformatted for win 7). So once win 7 is installed, do you then blow away the win xp? I am not seeing any advantage to having 2 operating systems.
a b B Homebuilt system
March 23, 2011 3:02:48 PM

oldbutslow said:
Kinda sounds like an upgrade won't do me much good. Is it still safe to assume that a win 7 upgrade over win xp is not worth the bother?

I think upgrading your display is the only single upgrade that could give you better performance. Besides that, you either need to upgrade GPU and display or upgrade gpu, display, and operating system.

If you upgrade your display now, with maybe a $120 - $150 1080p monitor, you'll be able to carry that forward to your next pc build, whenever that might be. If you upgrade GPUs now, and then the rest of your system in September or so, your GPU could be cheaper and you could SLI or there might be much faster parts available.

I would vote for buying a 1080p monitor.
March 23, 2011 3:11:13 PM

My monitor is a 64" tv. An upgrade to a 1080p tv would be in the $2500 range. I may do this next fall. Need to find one that doesn't have all the 3d, wifi, etc. stuff I don't need. Pioneer used to sell an outstanding 55" plasma monitor.
March 23, 2011 3:59:59 PM

I play games from my couch with a wireless keyboard and mouse. My 64 " monitor is also my tv. Once you go to 64", you can't go smaller.
a b B Homebuilt system
March 23, 2011 3:59:59 PM

Or an even cheaper option would be something like this:

also an ASUS. 23", 1080p, 2ms response time.

I'm not sure what the benefits of an MVA panel are, so you might disregard this and go for WR2's suggestion.

EDIT: Yeah, 64" tv would be hard to step down from, I guess. There isn't so much you can do with such a low resolution, though.
March 23, 2011 4:06:33 PM

Thanks for your support.

I won't change anything. It appears as though a graphics card, cpu or operating system upgrade at this time would provide minimal benefit.