Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

What to upgrade with about $400

Last response: in Systems
Share
May 5, 2011 9:47:11 PM

Greetings all, one of my first posts here. I have always gotten good advice from the members here but would now like to get some more personal opinions as to what you would do if you were in my shoes.

I currently own the following computer

CPU: AMD Phenom II X2 545 Callisto 3.0GHz unlocked to AMD Phenom II X4 B45 running at 3.0 GHz
RAM: G.SKILL 4GB DDR3 1600
MB: GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P
PS: Rosewill RP500-2 500W
Case: Antec Three Hundred
Graphics: XFX
GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB
Monitor: Gateway 19" resolution 1440x900
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium x64 bit

I have about $400-450 that I would like to spend on upgrading this pc. I play rift as a game, and sometimes WoW, nothing else really. I do some video encoding (though rarely).

What are your opinions as to what I should upgrade.

Should I go for a monitor and graphic card update, or maybe CPU, MB, RAM combo?

More about : upgrade 400

May 5, 2011 10:54:04 PM

I suggest that a second monitor is one of the best upgrades you can make. Ideally, it should match the one you have.
But this is an opportunity to go to a 24" 1920 x 1200 display . Game on the big one, and keep open apps, like e-mail or monitors on the small one.

If you have any funds left over, consider a SSD. It will cost you about $2 per gb. A 40gb ssd will hold the os(13gb) work files, and some apps. It will make everthing seem so much quicker.

To help clarify your options, run these two tests:

1) Run your games, but lower your resolution and eye candy.
If your FPS increases, it indicates that your cpu is strong enough to drive a better graphics configuration.

2) Limit your cpu, either by reducing the OC, or, in windows power management, limit the maximum cpu% to something like 70%.
If your FPS drops significantly, it is an indicator that your cpu is the limiting factor, and a cpu upgrade is in order.

It is possible that both tests are positive, indicating that you have a well balanced system, and both cpu and gpu need to be upgraded to get better gaming FPS.
m
0
l
Related resources
May 5, 2011 11:03:17 PM

I'd say get a new PSU, a Corsair maybe, 600 or 650W, a new graphics card, maybe a GTX 560ti if it is in your budget, and see if you can find a monitor with the left over.
m
0
l
May 6, 2011 12:29:30 AM

geofelt said:
1) Run your games, but lower your resolution and eye candy.
If your FPS increases, it indicates that your cpu is strong enough to drive a better graphics configuration.

2) Limit your cpu, either by reducing the OC, or, in windows power management, limit the maximum cpu% to something like 70%.
If your FPS drops significantly, it is an indicator that your cpu is the limiting factor, and a cpu upgrade is in order.

It is possible that both tests are positive, indicating that you have a well balanced system, and both cpu and gpu need to be upgraded to get better gaming FPS.



Test 1: The FPS increase significantly when I start dropping the eye candy, it stays roughly the same (give or take about 5-10 fps variation) when I start lowering the resolution.

Test 2: When I limited my cpu to 70%, I had no drop in framerates, when reduced to 50%, the game is running at about 15-17 fps, where normally it is running at about 45-50 fps, so a significant drop here.


So what does this mean exactly? Should I just be upgrading the graphics, or cpu also?
m
0
l
May 6, 2011 12:50:00 AM

It tells me that there is still some life left in your cpu for the games you run.

If your fps is not as good as you want, then go ahead and upgrade the graphics card. Make it a significant jump, or you may be disappointed.
Like to GTX570, or GTX560ti. It will still serve you well whenever you change your cpu.

If you are currently happy with performance, then go for a functional upgrade, like a larger monitor.
m
0
l
May 6, 2011 12:51:39 AM

If you get anything above a 460, you will need a new PSU. The one you have only has 1 6pin, and 18a on the 12v rail according to Johnnyguru.

EDIT: Meant to say GTX 460 and above -_-
m
0
l
May 6, 2011 1:04:43 AM

striker410 said:
If you get anything above a 460, you will need a new PSU. The one you have only has 1 6pin, and 18a on the 12v rail according to Johnnyguru.


Good point, striker410.

The GTX560ti needs a 500w psu with 30a on the 12v rails, and two 6 pin pci-e power connectors.
The GTX570 needs a 550w psu with 38a, and the same 2 connectors.

Plan accordingly. Get a quality psu. My short list would include seasonic, pc p&c, xfx, corsair and antec.
m
0
l
May 6, 2011 1:09:14 AM

striker410 said:
If you get anything above a 460, you will need a new PSU. The one you have only has 1 6pin, and 18a on the 12v rail according to Johnnyguru.


This is the one I have http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It has 16A on one rail and 18A on the other.

Would an upgrade in CPU and motherboard (say to an intel i5) increase overall performance in games (with my current graphic card) more, or less than if I would keep my current CPU and motherboard and upgrade the graphics card?
m
0
l
May 6, 2011 1:36:24 AM

The combined wattage is 380w, or 31.6a. Good enough for a GTX560ti, but perhaps not for a GTX570. You can handle the missing pci-e 6 pin lead with an adapter that often is packaged with the graphics card.

I think you would do better with the graphics card. Not so much for the average fps, but raising the minimum fps which can be more annoying.


On the other hand, your budget would get you a 2500K, P67 motherboard, and 8gb of ram. That is as good as it gets for gaming, and should last you a long time.
m
0
l
May 6, 2011 1:40:31 AM

But what about PSU, monitor, and GPU? those will all need an upgrade in order to keep up with the 2500k. I would just wait till bulldozer really.
m
0
l
May 6, 2011 2:42:23 AM

What is bulldozer and when would that be available? Would it really hurt the performance if the graphic card (9800 GTX+) would be matched up with an i5 2500k? I understand that ideally, and upgrade for the whole thing would be the best idea, but funds at this time do not allow that.
m
0
l
May 6, 2011 2:57:46 AM

Bulldozer is expected next month, although it might be expensive.
If you run games at a low res with little eye candy, you should be fine because the CPU does the work at low res's.
m
0
l
May 6, 2011 4:14:44 AM

If you get a better graphics card, your fps will improve. The only question is by how much, and is it worth it.

If you get a better cpu, your fps will improve. The only question is by how much, and is it worth it.

I am a bit of a skeptic on bulldozer. It seems to be a long time coming, and there is no performance preview information out there yet.

I think it may be a disappointment to gamers that need only a couple of fast cores. Many are hoping that they can challenge Intel; we will see.


m
0
l
!