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Performance upgrade? GPU v. CPU

Last response: in Systems
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June 8, 2011 3:17:32 AM

Greetings everyone,

I am looking to purchase an upgrade to improve my gaming performance for the upcoming Blizzard releases (Diablo 3 etc.) and my current games (StarCraft II).

Specs:

AMD Athlon II x4 640 3.0ghz
MSI 870-G45 AM3 (AMD 770 chipset)
ATI Radeon 5770 (ASUS CuCore)
8 gb (4x2gb) G.Skill Eco DDR3-1333
1TB Samsung Spinpoint 3gb/s

I have stock cooling on the processor and 2 case fans, overheating does not seem to be an issue (so far).

My options I have been considering are as follows:

1. CPU upgrade to an AMD Phenom x6 1100T w/ Gigabyte GA-870A-UD3 ATX mobo
2. Additional 5770 for crossfire
3. High-end video card upgrade (open to suggestions)

I can only afford one of the options above. I am looking for the upgrade that will give me the most bang for my buck (not necessarily the most expensive upgrade, but the one that will give me the most improvement for the least amount - the 5770 is my first choice because it is the cheapest but I didn't know if it would give me a lot of improvement)

Thoughts?
a b B Homebuilt system
June 8, 2011 3:34:04 AM

Depending on monitor resolution, either the crossfire or overclocking (and buying a cooler) would be your best bet. 5770 if you have a 1920*1080, cooler for anything less.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 8, 2011 3:40:09 AM

Dont go crossfire as your second pci-e slot is only x4. I suggest upgrading your graphics card.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 8, 2011 3:50:56 AM

^Shouldn't make a big difference with a 5770...
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June 8, 2011 12:48:24 PM

I have heard complaints about instability in gaming when using a crossfire setup, but I would like to try it.

Would it be worth it to just buy a higher-end graphics card now, and then crossfire it in the future when I need to upgrade again? With the 5770 still being a very decent card right now I could sell it and still make some money on it to put towards a new card.

Suggestions on card upgrades appreciated... For a starting point, a crossfire 5770 setup is (roughly) equivalent to a 5870 correct? (The *8** nomenclature denotes a 'double' version of the *7** version yes?)

I'm surprised someone didn't suggest the processor/mobo upgrade, I've heard (word of mouth, I haven't researched it myself) that a faster processor (e.g. having L3 cache, more speed, etc.) can compensate for lack of video processing power?
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June 8, 2011 12:48:31 PM

I have heard complaints about instability in gaming when using a crossfire setup, but I would like to try it.

Would it be worth it to just buy a higher-end graphics card now, and then crossfire it in the future when I need to upgrade again? With the 5770 still being a very decent card right now I could sell it and still make some money on it to put towards a new card.

Suggestions on card upgrades appreciated... For a starting point, a crossfire 5770 setup is (roughly) equivalent to a 5870 correct? (The *8** nomenclature denotes a 'double' version of the *7** version yes?)

I'm surprised someone didn't suggest the processor/mobo upgrade, I've heard (word of mouth, I haven't researched it myself) that a faster processor (e.g. having L3 cache, more speed, etc.) can compensate for lack of video processing power?
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 8, 2011 2:42:07 PM

The hexacores arent that great of gamers as games cannot utilize all of there cores. A Phenom II x4 955 would be better for gaming and at $115 of Newegg cheaper too. And if you could swing buying something like a 6950 for ~$240 then you could always crossfire that later.
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June 8, 2011 3:40:40 PM

So I'm looking into getting a Phenom x4 965 3.4ghz and another Radeon 5770 for crossfire. Total bill looks like about $255 ($235 with mail-in rebate).

Worth it? Or should I use the $250 and just buy a better high-end video card? (e.g. the 6950, or something around that price range)
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 8, 2011 10:14:11 PM

I don't think buying another CPU for that socket is worth it, not enough of an upgrade from what you would get with a mild overclock, depends on your resolution though, you never mentioned it.
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June 8, 2011 11:24:02 PM

etk said:
I don't think buying another CPU for that socket is worth it, not enough of an upgrade from what you would get with a mild overclock, depends on your resolution though, you never mentioned it.


Rez - 1920x1080, I use a 23" Acer LED monitor

My thoughts on the processor are based on:

1. being able to sell my old processor for about $70 bucks to compensate some of the cost
2. about a 16% speed increase per core stock (500mhz), plus it's black edition so OC'ing would be much easier than my current setup
3. The addition of the L3 Cache

Going with the Phenom and the 5770, it's like taking both GPU and CPU and stepping them both up one level.

Now, I was considering scrapping this whole idea and going with a Radeon 6950 2gb, but I feel like that would be taking just my GPU and going up about 2-3 levels and leaving my CPU even (I am concerned about bottleneck from CPU). This may lead to better choice b/c when I upgrade CPU/mobo i can just get the next socket that comes out.

Thoughts? I prefer long-term planning ideas for sure. Feedback has been much appreciated :) 
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Best solution

a b B Homebuilt system
June 9, 2011 4:33:30 AM

Go with the 6950 1Gb. 2Gb isnt necessary at 1900x1080. The graphics card will be a large improvement and be able to be taken over to your next build. You can also off set some of the cost by selling your 5770. Just my .02
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June 9, 2011 12:35:16 PM

Best answer selected by defever3.
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