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Which upgrade first?

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October 19, 2011 8:28:32 PM

Hello everyone. I'm currently in the process of upgrading my computer, for higher-end gaming. It has been an ongoing project for a few months, and I'm at a point where I need to decide which of 2 upgrades will give me the best performance boost in games. Current parts being upgraded:

AMD Phenom II x4 965 Black Edition @stock speeds.
ASUS M4N98TD EVO AM3 NVIDIA nForce 980a SLI ATX AMD Motherboard

EVGA GTX 570 Superclocked


I have 2 upgrades left to finish my system. I will be ordering the part(s) for one of the upgrades in the next few days, and the other won't be until tax time. So, I'm looking for which of the two will give me the largest performance boost, for now.

Option 1

Processor and mobo upgrade - This would be upgrading the motherboard to an ASUS P8P67 Revolution motherboard (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...). The CPU I would get for this is the i5 2500k. I have a liquid system ready for when I get the i5, so it would be overclocked to well over 4.0Ghz (aiming for as close to 5Ghz as I can get it).


Option 2

Second video card and dedicated physx card. This would simply be adding a second GTX 570 to the system for SLI, and then a lower end 500-series card (like a 550ti) as dedicated physx.


So the question is, which of these 2 upgrades will net the largest performance boost, in games, right now?

More about : upgrade

October 19, 2011 8:59:30 PM

It depends on your monitor resolution! If I had your specs and a single 1080P monitor the only upgrade I would be looking for is SSD if you don't have one.
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October 19, 2011 9:02:36 PM

Some games are cpu bound, some gpu. If you are gaming at 2560 or higher my guess is you would see more benefit more often from SLI.

If you're gaming at 1920, then I have a different suggestion for you. Wait until you have the money for both upgrades, and make your hardware choices at that time. 1x570 is certainly "adequate" in the interim, and who knows - you might appreciate not being "stuck" with 2x570, or a 2500k.
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October 19, 2011 9:18:08 PM

I am running at 1080p on a single screen (although if I got a second 570, I would be moving to a 3-screen setup eventually, but that's down the road). I also already have 2 SSD drives in raid 0.:p  That was basically the first upgrade I did when starting all this. :p 

You do bring up a good point, Twoboxer. I'm a 100% certain that I'll be getting a second 570, and sticking with that until Maxwell is out in 2013 (hopefully). So, I definitely won't be "stuck" on the video cards.

As for the CPU, I'm not sure I want to wait until Ivy Bridge in mid-2012. There's always the next best thing on the horizon, so you have to settle somewhere, or you'll always be waiting. :p 
'
Just in case, here are my full specs:

CPU: AMD Phenom II x4 965 Black Edition @stock speeds.
Motherboard: ASUS M4N98TD EVO AM3 NVIDIA nForce 980a SLI ATX AMD Motherboard
RAM: 16 GB Corsair PC3-10666 RAM
Video: EVGA GTX 570 Superclocked
Storage: Dual Intel 80GB SSD's in Raid 0 for OS and games, Dual Samsung Spinpoint F3 in Raid 0 for Fraps, 2x Western Digital Caviar Green 1TB for general storage
PSU: Corsair HX 1050
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October 19, 2011 9:24:53 PM

In that case and looking at your plans the second GTX570 is the next upgrade.
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October 19, 2011 9:27:49 PM

rolli59 said:
In that case and looking at your plans the second GTX570 is the next upgrade.


This was my thought, as well. My main concern, that I probably should have put in the original post, is bottlenecking the video cards, with an underpowered CPU. Do you think that would be a concern?
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October 19, 2011 9:29:49 PM

Luckily for you you have a easily overclokable CPU so reducing any bottleneck would be easy.
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October 19, 2011 9:36:11 PM

Great, thanks. I did have the CPU up to 4Ghz at one point, but removed the overclock because my PSU at the time wasn't up to handling that plus everything else I had. I'll probably order the 570 and just overclock this CPU for now.
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October 19, 2011 9:41:14 PM

I'd grab a second 570 for SLI, forget about dedicated PhysX. You will be bottlenecked in a lot of games, but you'd be looking at a bigger performance boost than grabbing a 2500k right now. I'd get a new CPU when IB comes out, if I were you.
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October 19, 2011 9:41:23 PM

+1 get another 570 and more monitors. OC the 965 is enough power to handle 2x570.
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October 19, 2011 9:43:19 PM

Sounds right for you - enjoy the upgrade.
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October 26, 2011 12:38:27 AM

Got the second 570, and overclocked my CPU to 4.2Ghz. Running BF3 on Ultra at 90+ FPS. I'm happy with the result. :) 
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October 26, 2011 12:39:47 AM

Great news, enjoy!
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!