My Radeon 2900XT just died in my PC which is running an intel E6850 CPU in a Gigabyte GA-P35-DS4 motherboard with 4mb of 1066Mhz RAM.
I can't afford to go out and upgrade the motherboard, CPU and RAM yet so was wondering what would be the best GPU to buy for the moment as a replacement.
I was looking at a Radeon 6950 2mb but as thats costing about £200 at the moment whether that would be wasted in my old motherboard because it would be held back by the old CPU and motherboard and whether I'd be better off getting an older GPU that would cost half as much and then put the money saved towards a full refresh in a year or so?
I know that there is little point in getting the latest graphics card and putting it in an old rig as then the CPU becomes the bottleneck but I don't know if that would be the case for me with the 6950 or not.
If anyone can crunch the numbers to let me know if the CPU would be a bottleneck in this system then could they suggest an alternative GPU to run with. I've got an old Radeon 3600 in there at the moment but its a joke for trying to play any games on.
Well you have a couple of choices here, if your looking at a straight replacement for the 2900XT then something like a second hand 4770 would be a good starting point. Its faster than a 2900 XT so would easily give you the performance you were used to.
If you want to spend a bit less then a second hand 3850/3870 might be a good way to go. The 3850 is a close match for a 2900XT but would loose out some times while a 3870 would be a little better in most instances.
A better option at least to my mind would be to get a 5850 extreme, it will be night and day performance wise and give you DX11 features. It should be available for about half what the 6950 is, you could also if you wanted to keep the budget down further consider a 5830, personally i would look hard at the 5850 though as i see it as a card you could take with you to a new build and upgrade latter.
A lot of this depends what you actually want from the "new" card ? Also what is your resolution ? It may be possible to lower your sights a bit if you are playing below 1920 x 1080.
I was thinking of getting an upgrade at the same time if it was going to work with my old Mboard and CPU.
Something that I could potentially use in a new system for the next few years but I don't know if that is possible if I'm using it in an old MB with an old CPU.
Resolution wise I'm happy with my 24" monitor so 1920x1200 is what I'm aiming for. My old 2900XT managed that in every game I played and I tend to play FPS games, I'm eyeing up Battlefield 3 and Arma II as my next games to play.
Thanks for your advice, it spurred me into looking into the mid end of the market where I did a bit more research and ordered a Sapphire Vapor Radeon 6770 1Gb in the end.
On the best graphics cards for your money article it said it was a best buy for price and performance and does great 1920x1200 performance in most games so it should do the job.
People were really down on this card when it was first released and right they were to as teh price AMD wanted for it then was just plain silly but now at £84 its well worth it to me.
Look up some reviews and see for yourself, Here is a starter http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/sapphire_hd5830...