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New GPU in old (free) system?

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June 8, 2011 10:37:52 PM

Hey Experts!

A quick setup:

I've been a lurker for a while...I was into PC gaming a lot back when the original Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon series came out...I've been reinvigorated by Steam for about the past year, and with the upcoming release of Battlefield 3, I'm really looking to revamp things for optimal gaming. My daily setup is a 2011 MacBook Pro with a 2.0 GHz Sandy Bridge i7 Quad & 8GB of RAM...but I couldn't justify the expense for work to upgrade to the better GPU, so I only have the 256MB 6490M. I run Steam in both OS X and in Windows 7. It runs stuff pretty slick, but I don't see it handling BF3.

So...I have a friend that is getting rid of their desktop PC and willing to give it to me for free. Would it be worth upgrading to a new GPU? Is there any chance it can run BF3 at a decent FPS @ 1680 x 1050??? Here are the goods:

Intel P965 Chipset (I know the graphics slot is NOT a PCI-E 2.0, but it is a 16x)
Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 or E6400 (can't remember which)
4GB DDR2 RAM
500GB 7k2 RPM HD's x2 in RAID 0
500w power supply

Replacement GPU around $200

Down the road, my goal is to take the HD's, power supply, and the new GPU and stick them in a Z68 + i5-2xxx rig.

Thoughts??? Thanks!

More about : gpu free system

a b B Homebuilt system
June 8, 2011 10:56:00 PM

Umm, It's hard to say. They haven't released the specs for BF3 yet, so there's no way to tell. However based of BFBC2, I can say that your CPU would be a big limiter. It should maintain OK framerates, nothing fancy.

Next question is could you list the power supply? This is actually very important, as you may need a new PSU as well.
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June 8, 2011 11:05:05 PM

It's a Hiper modular power supply...don't know which exact model...it's gonna be at least a couple of years old.
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June 9, 2011 1:18:06 AM

So...some more details:

turns out it's a Dell XPS 410...nothing special, I know. But I've found where the BIOS can handle the Core 2 Quad Q6660 @ 2.4 GHz and they're going for less than $100 on eBay. The kicker on this machine though, is that it doesn't allow overclocking.

Do you think moving the CPU to a Core 2 Quad AND moving to something like this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

would move pretty well?
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 9, 2011 1:29:04 AM

Umm, I would not get a new CPU on the LGA 775 board. However some of the othet members might disagree. Ask in the CPU section of the forum, they know alot more than me.

Games nowadays rely more on the GPU than the CPU. You should be OK with your current CPU, but it's going to bottleneck, especially since you can't OC.

Out of those 2 GPU's the 6950 is the CLEAR winner.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 9, 2011 4:41:29 AM

Go for the 6950 and see how you like it when Oct. rolls around. If its not enough after you have BF3 come back here and the community will assist again. And hopefully by then youll have a larger budget for us to spend ;)  http://www.techspot.com/article/255-battlefield-bad-com... here is some BF:BC2 graphics card comparison data and here is some more http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/331?vs=294.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 9, 2011 4:46:01 AM

Your welcome, I have plenty more if you want them XD. Hope it helps.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 9, 2011 5:00:34 AM

Not the be a killjoy, but you will most likely need to update the PSU. That one is a no name brand, is not 80+, and is old. It also only has 22A on the 12v rail. Yeah, you need an update before you get a 6950.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 9, 2011 5:12:55 AM

Both psu's linked have two +12v rails one is 20A other is 18A/17A. Also
6950 200w tdp
Cpu 65w tdp
HDD 20w
HDD 20w
Dvd 20w
P965 19w
Others 20w
Total= 365w
So even a 400w would do and ill give you that it should be upgraded to 80+ if for nothing else but the sake of the Earth. Check the following out if you want to upgrade psu
Antec Earthwatts 380w $40 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
XFX Core Edition 450w $55 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Antec Earthwatts 500w $60 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Take not that if in the future you say upgrade to Sandy Bridge the 380w will only power a i3 2100 where as the 450w/500w will let you get a quad core like the i5 2400 or i5 2500k. Also P67/Z68?h67 chipsets only consume around 7w versus the 965's 19w
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 9, 2011 5:19:57 AM

He says it's a few years old which means significant capacitor decay especially since it's a no name. And I believe only 1 of the 12v rails is used for graphics.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 9, 2011 5:36:52 AM

Hiper are more Europe then US as such we are not familiar with there products. http://hipergroup.com/home.php. I do agree with you that the caps are probably upgraded and a psu upgrade is probably in the works. Especially since it can be carried over unto the next build. However for the time being I believe it will be fine until audiojim can afford a new one
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 9, 2011 6:04:59 AM

Well for once we disagree on something haha.

OP, you've seen 2 sides of the arguement. It's up to you now.
It wouldn't hurt to ask in the PSU section of the forum by the way.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 9, 2011 6:18:00 AM

More disagree on the timing then the actual outcome. As we both are now saying the psu should be upgraded its more just a matter of when. You knew it would happen eventually lol hopefully not again.
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June 9, 2011 11:23:19 AM

mgf derp said:
More disagree on the timing then the actual outcome. As we both are now saying the psu should be upgraded its more just a matter of when. You knew it would happen eventually lol hopefully not again.


LOL everyone one disagrre's with Striker. But yeah I agree with MGF the ati 6950 should run fine just as long as he gets a new PSU.
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June 9, 2011 12:16:03 PM

Thanks folks! I'll probably put a meter on it and see what it's outputting. It's pretty easy to see if a cap is really failing, especially when it's swollen.Thankfully, I've dealt with replacing them on the power supplies of some Samsung LCD TV boards and in guitar tube amps. Mouser.com is a great resource.

Not that I wouldn't just upgrade to a more efficient one though.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 9, 2011 2:08:52 PM

I think though with his cpu, he is going to get a bottleneck. I've got a GTS 450 with an older Athlon x2 at 2.8ghz and get a bottleneck at the same resolution as the op on BFBC2. Best chance the op may have with that cpu in the system is to get the new card and crank the graphics all the way to max so hopefully the card will be busy processing frames to show a bottleneck on the cpu.

Another option Op, maybe see if you can find a cheap deal on an Athlon II quad or triple core with a motherboard in the combo that supports ddr2, and grab a 5770 or gts 450. May see more benefit from that upgrade than only the card.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 9, 2011 3:16:39 PM

addison said:
LOL everyone one disagrre's with Striker. But yeah I agree with MGF the ati 6950 should run fine just as long as he gets a new PSU.

Please actually read a thread before inserting your comments. What you don't realize is that your statement is aligned with mine, meaning you actually agree with me. Nice try though.
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June 9, 2011 3:28:13 PM

I'd actually just save the money and get a gtx 460, very cheap and gives good performance. Also it's less power hungry and would pair well with an e6400. The athlon x2 2.8gz is a weaker cpu than the e6400 so you wouldn't see much out of it. Used an amd build with the same cpu and a gtx 275 got major stuttering from cpu maxing out; after going to an intel build with e6600 I got to play lag free in bfbc2 high settings @ 1680x1050 resolution.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 9, 2011 4:20:11 PM

Yeah, I noticed when I cranked up to higher settings, I actually had a little better rates due to the gpu working harder. Still looking at grabbing an athlon II x4 as soon as I can sell my old Windows XP laptop.
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June 16, 2011 2:16:13 AM

Well, my tune has changed as I've done some recent tech work on the side and I've now ordered the following:

i5-2500K
GIGABYTE GA-Z68A-D3H-B3
Kingston HyperX Blu 2GB DDR3 1600 MHz (x2)
Cooler Master Storm Scout
Corsair CX600 V2 600w PS

:) 

Thanks for all your help! And now I start the hunt for the GPU.
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June 19, 2011 2:45:29 AM

Best answer selected by audiojim.
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!