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Best path for an upgrade

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Last response: in Systems
July 15, 2011 2:51:38 AM

Hi everyone. I built a system in september 2009 for less than 300 dollars. A few parts have been added since but most are original. I'm looking to upgrade to do more pc gaming seeing as the ps3 is starting to look like crap in comparison. I don't want to spend more than $500 total. I don't want to replace the whole thing, any suggestions are welcome of course. My objective is to get 60 fps on portal 2 and Team Fortress 2, and have enough muscle to do multi monitor gaming. My only other real spec is I need an Nvidia gpu for linux support. AMD's VA-API backend sucks at rendering and drivers are a bloody hassle.

Current parts:
AMD Athlon 2 X2 240 OC to 3.3 ghz using base clock at 237 mhz
ASRock N68-S
2gb ddr2 ram at 800mhz CLK 5
Cooler master hyper 212 plus (The reference cooler worked until May, thanks to Michigan's 0 degree winters and 100 degree summers)
Asus gt220 1gb OC to anywhere between 660 and 720 mhz, see above
Antec BP550+
Rosewill R102-P-BK case
Western Digital caviar blue 1tb

Thanks much!

More about : path upgrade

a c 111 B Homebuilt system
July 15, 2011 8:59:42 AM

Reuse Case, Cooler, HDD and PSU. Then you can either base the upgrade around I3 2100 or Phenom II X4 955/65BE and HD6850 as a min GPU.
A cheap upgrade would be just getting a better GPU because the GT220 is not the greatest.

Best solution

a b B Homebuilt system
July 15, 2011 4:04:06 PM

I don't really like that board (95W & nVidia chipset -_-), but ASRock still supports it so you can even put an X6 in there.

I know what you mean about AMD GPUs and Linux support :p , but it is getting better. Anyway the first thing you need to upgrade is your GPU, so go with a GTX 560Ti. You won't be able to do surround gaming with just one of those (nVidia is behind AMD in that regard) but it's a good choice for 1080p gaming (overkill for the two games you want to play actually) and you can add another one down the line if you get an AM3+ board with SLI support. That would of course require new RAM as well. So I say for now

AMD Phenom II X4 945 $109.99

MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II $239.99

Which is a good upgrade for only $349.98. Your next upgrade would then be to get a better power supply, some DDR3 RAM, and an AM3+ board with SLI support.
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 15, 2011 4:10:30 PM

Oh I didn't look at your case first. Yeah I'm not sure a 560Ti would fit. So yeah that last $150 could go to a good case that matches your taste, plus a case with better cooling will help with your overclocking :D 
July 15, 2011 4:57:09 PM

Cool, The hyper 212 plus fit somehow so a gtx560-ti is probably the best idea. Is there anything better about it than the 560 other than 384 vs 336 cores? I would assume they overclock even better with fewer cores running.
a b B Homebuilt system
July 15, 2011 5:36:39 PM

Extra shaders and extra texture units on the TI unit. Basically the non Ti version has the same specs as a GTX 460 with higher clock speed.

Even clocked at the same speed the 560 is slower than the 560 ti because it has fewer shaders and texture units. Since both are based on the same GF114 GPU those units are still there, still using some power and generating heat even if they aren't used, and thus don't really affect the OC potential. Also consider that these are parts there aren't worthy to be 560Tis, so if it's a batch that simply can't do 560Ti speeds, then you're OC potential could be worse. Luck of the draw and all ^_^
July 22, 2011 2:17:05 AM

Best answer selected by kevin83.