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Compatibility Questions with CPU/GPU Upgrade

Last response: in Systems
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July 17, 2011 11:49:27 PM

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.

Best solution

a b B Homebuilt system
July 18, 2011 12:35:58 AM

Hi there, welcome to the forums.

1. No need to upgrade the CPU! Unless doing heavy rendering, it won't matter. Better to OC the CPU.

2. There is no difference, except the cooling, warranties, and the 1GB and 2GB varieties. I suggest the XFX 2GB 6950, it has the best warranty.

3. Yup, 2.1 is a simple evolution. No worries.

4. Nope, the OCZ should be fine.

5. No, the 955 is fine. I assume you are a gamer, and the 1100t will make no difference. Better to OC the 955 and save money.

6. If you go on newegg and check the Specs sheet, it's sometimes there. If not, Guru3D usually has them.

Anything else? xD
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July 18, 2011 12:47:26 AM

Ok that all sounds good.

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.
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 18, 2011 12:51:02 AM

If you are looking for an upgrade, the 6970 would do more than a 1100T. Actually, I would suggest a 6970. Your CPU is fine, as you most likely have a GPU bottleneck anyway. What's your res?
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July 18, 2011 1:09:06 AM

1680x1050
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 18, 2011 1:09:46 AM

Yeah, a 6970 SHOULD max.
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July 18, 2011 1:18:53 AM

Ok great, I'll look into that. So this is what you'd recommend?

For my own info, if I still want to upgrade the CPU later on, what is the best way to go about flashing/updating a bios for a hardware upgrade?
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July 18, 2011 1:24:48 AM

Best answer selected by 001.
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