A little under a year ago I built my first computer by hand. It was a great learning experience and despite having some faulty RAM that took an additional month of testing to deduce being the problem, I enjoyed it. Now I'm looking to upgrade both my CPU and GPU.
Here's what I have:
Gigabyte GA-770T-USB3 Version F1
AMD Phenom II X4 955
ATI Radeon HD 5770
OCZ FATAL1TY 550W ATX12V 20/24PIN
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333
Now what I'm looking to upgrade to is:
AMD Phenom II X6 1100T Black Edition
Radeon HD 6950
Now as earlier mentioned, I am new to the self building, so please excuse my ignorance with all this. I just have a few questions I was hoping someone could help with:
1. Motherboard - The biggest thing is this, according to the Gigabyte site they support the AMD 1100T, however with an update to bios version F4. I can download said update off their site, but they also have a nice warning accompanying it that states flashing your bios is risky and should not be done if your machine is stable. Now yes, it is stable, but I apparently will need the update to support the new CPU. So when should I do the update? I assume the update would still support my current setup, so is there any real reason to not do it right away, and work out any kinks that may crop up before I do the upgrade? Or do I wait until the day of physical install, update the bios, shut-down and install the new cpu?
2. Graphics card - When I bought my first list of parts, I ended up getting the card from a local retail location as they had it the cheapest. It's also an actual ATI manufactured card. Now I know of all the different cards you can get from different manufacturers, the Sapphires and Asus', but I guess I have to be stupid and ask, what's the difference? I've compared various cards off of Newegg.ca, and the main difference I can find is clock speed. As I have no interest in overclocking, can I get away with the basic speed, save a few bucks and go for that card?
3. Graphics card - The 6950 is also listed as a PCI-Express 2.1 card, my motherboard supports 2.0 Doing some simple Googling, from what I understand you can run 2.1 in 2.0 motherboards, so that shouldn't be an issue?
4. Power supply - Do I have any reason to believe either or both upgrades will be insufficiently powered with my current supply?
5. General question - You've seen my current setup and my new plans. I'm fairly set on the 1100T, but if anyone has suggestions or reasons why I should look at another GPU or anything please let me know. I'm still new to this and open to opinions.
6. Bonus question - Is there anywhere I can find the physical dimensions of graphics cards? Just reading some reviews I find people commenting on the physical size of it. Now I have a standard mid-size tower, so should I be ok? I don't want to be out $200+ with a card I physically can't take.
The only reason I was looking to do from Quad core to Six core is, as you guessed, I'm a gamer and the upcoming release of BF3 has me checking to see what I need to make it run flawlessly. There's no required/recommended specs yet, but I just assumed if I was upping the graphics I might do the same with the cpu.