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Need advice on upgrading my computer

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July 28, 2011 6:55:12 PM

Hi everyone :) 

I just want to get some advice about upgrading my computer for gaming. Here are my specs:

E8400 @ 3.00 ghz CPU
Gigabyte GA-EP35-DS3P motherboard
Nvidia 9500gt video card
4GB DDR2 ram
Cooler Master RC-650-PCAR-E3 PSU
1680x1050 resolution

I want to be able to play games on medium-high settings with 40+ fps. I currently really only play WoW (and my settings are set pretty low on that) and older games, but I want to upgrade to actually be able to play some future games. Games such as Diablo III, Mass Effect 3, and Deus Ex: Human Revolution, which is coming out next month. Which is why I'm looking to upgrade now.

Now I know I need a video card upgrade for sure. I'll also be buying a new hard drive, as I need more space. My hard drives are from about 2005/2006 (I can't remember now), and are kind of noisy. Maybe I'll get an SSD too. However, what I really want some advice on is my CPU. How do dual cores hold up to games that are optimized for quad cores? Is there a big difference, or is it minimal, the video card being far more important?

If I need to upgrade to a quad core (also I'm not too sure how good my PSU actually is), I'll just make a whole new system and give this computer to someone else in my family. But if you guys think staying with my current setup is fine, just upgrading the video card, what video card would you recommend I get? I'm leaning towards an AMD card that costs around $200 CAD. I'm flexible with the price however, but I don't want something that costs $300 (not that I'm sure that would even work in my computer anyways :ange:  ).

Thank you for your time :) 
a b B Homebuilt system
July 28, 2011 8:02:56 PM

for your needs, (medium serttings gaming) and a 1050 resolution a GTS 450 (especially for WoW) would be a good choice, are you in canada?

newegg canada:
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

this is the AMP edition so its clocked higher than the stock GTS450.

other good options would be the 6770:
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

both of these card would be able to play on high/max settings on the games you listed.
July 28, 2011 8:21:57 PM

.... The 5770 is about the BEST budget card and has awesome performance, and performs a little worse than the 6770.... The 5770 is a great card, though get the black edition of the card and OC the badboy... Infact I had a MSI 9500GS in desktop form and when I changed to a 5770 my mouth dropped and I was so happy I play get 60 fps all games.... Such a huge difference. My CPU kinda sucks it's a althon 2 x4 2.9@ 3.2 so it's not so great... That is my weak point is my CPU.
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 28, 2011 9:11:58 PM

addison said:
.... The 5770 is about the BEST budget card and has awesome performance, and performs a little worse than the 6770.... The 5770 is a great card, though get the black edition of the card and OC the badboy... Infact I had a MSI 9500GS in desktop form and when I changed to a 5770 my mouth dropped and I was so happy I play get 60 fps all games.... Such a huge difference. My CPU kinda sucks it's a althon 2 x4 2.9@ 3.2 so it's not so great... That is my weak point is my CPU.


what he said, and i would reccommend going AMD/ATI with that mobo, to allow to you Crossfire in the future if needed.

also within your budget the 6870 would provide even better performance, for a higher cost tho: ($155 after rebates)
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

but for your needs i would reccommend a 6790: ($129 after rebates)
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

or the 6770 from earlier: ($99 after rebates).
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
July 28, 2011 10:16:47 PM

Yeah... 5770 is still a pretty high end card... But the 6770 is cheaper but can't stay cooler and OC like the 5770 because the 5770 was freakin beast.
July 28, 2011 10:19:33 PM

My bro uses a 5770 for WoW and on max everything he gets 60fps stable all time (except in 25 man raids) For the most part the 5770 is a great- budget card. Get the XFX edtion or black edition it is the best 5770.
a b B Homebuilt system
July 29, 2011 1:20:29 PM

1. From articles I have read here and elsewhere, WoW and other Blizzard games seem to favor nVidia cards, sometimes by a significant margin.
2. Crossfire on a P35 chipset board at x16,x4 is a waste, and may even be slower than a single card. The analysis for this was here, but a few years ago and I'm at work, so I've not hunted it down.
3. I was personally disappointed by the showing of the 550Ti in the article here: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-radeon-grap... but that's because I play at 1920x1080. Even though it is at or near the bottom of the pile however, at your resolution it appears to produce very playable results. And, it is a huge step up from what you have. If you want to go higher, the same article indicated the GTX560 is pretty strong.
4. Your PSU is from a family of units known to be overrated. With few exceptions, most Coolermaster PSUs are just a notch or two above junk. Still, you only need 500W to run a GTX560 or GTX560Ti so you should be good.
5. Blizzard aims for the largest possible audience; none of their games require the latest and greatest to run well.
-SO-
Unless and until you are interested in completely rebuilding, you will get excellent results simply by getting a GTX550Ti or GTX560.
July 29, 2011 5:19:07 PM

Thanks for all the replies!

Yes, I am from Canada :) 

I looked at the 5770, however I think I want to spend a little more and go with the 6000 series if I go with an AMD card.

I wasn't planning on doing crossfire. I take a few years to update as it is, and a new single card would simply beat me getting a 2nd older card anyways by that point. It is good to know that my chipset isn't very good for it however.

Yeah I kind of figured my PSU was a bit crappy from the little I was actually able to find about it, but its good to know that it'll run those cards you listed.

I currently play WoW with my family, however I'm not sure for how much longer. We might switch over to the new Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO, if it proves to be any good. That could be over a year or more though. I did hear that WoW favoured Nvidia cards, but with the card I'm currently using, I don't think it really matters what company I get the card from, anything will be much better :sweat:  . The new Deus Ex game seems to favour AMD cards from what I've learned. So I'll just pick what is the better deal when I come to buying the card.

Since it seems I'll be fine with just upgrading the video card, I think I'll either go with the GTX560 or the 6870. I can rebuild in another year or so, depending on how things look. Now just to pick up a Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB hard drive with that and maybe a SSD. Got to do some research on that...

Thanks for all the help :hello: 
July 29, 2011 6:45:38 PM

There is more to the 5000 series.... 5850 is a good card.
a b B Homebuilt system
July 31, 2011 7:03:24 PM

Onus said:
1. From articles I have read here and elsewhere, WoW and other Blizzard games seem to favor nVidia cards, sometimes by a significant margin.
2. Crossfire on a P35 chipset board at x16,x4 is a waste, and may even be slower than a single card. The analysis for this was here, but a few years ago and I'm at work, so I've not hunted it down.
3. I was personally disappointed by the showing of the 550Ti in the article here: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-radeon-grap... but that's because I play at 1920x1080. Even though it is at or near the bottom of the pile however, at your resolution it appears to produce very playable results. And, it is a huge step up from what you have. If you want to go higher, the same article indicated the GTX560 is pretty strong.
4. Your PSU is from a family of units known to be overrated. With few exceptions, most Coolermaster PSUs are just a notch or two above junk. Still, you only need 500W to run a GTX560 or GTX560Ti so you should be good.
5. Blizzard aims for the largest possible audience; none of their games require the latest and greatest to run well.
-SO-
Unless and until you are interested in completely rebuilding, you will get excellent results simply by getting a GTX550Ti or GTX560.


yeah, the reason i was reccommending an AMD/ATI card is because his board supports Crossfire, so he could drop in another down the line.
July 31, 2011 7:42:23 PM

Wow runs worse on crossfire.... because it doesn't support it. Also a 560ti is iffy... it's a new card I would get a 460ti or 6870/6850.
a b B Homebuilt system
August 1, 2011 12:08:33 PM

addison said:
Wow runs worse on crossfire.... because it doesn't support it. Also a 560ti is iffy... it's a new card I would get a 460ti or 6870/6850.


but WoW is not the only game he plans on playing...
a b B Homebuilt system
August 1, 2011 1:03:01 PM

Sounds like the OP already decided. What did you get?
August 2, 2011 3:39:17 PM

I don't think my PSU could handle crossfire actually :( .

I've decided on a 6870. Haven't bought it yet, I'm still trying to decided on an SSD. I want to buy it all at once to cut down on shipping costs.

Btw, he's a she ;) 
a b B Homebuilt system
August 2, 2011 4:19:21 PM

orangecream said:
I don't think my PSU could handle crossfire actually :( .

I've decided on a 6870. Haven't bought it yet, I'm still trying to decided on an SSD. I want to buy it all at once to cut down on shipping costs.

Btw, he's a she ;) 


the best SSDs are those with high read and write speeds, and good reliability, the ones i would reccommend are the OCZ solid3, Agility3, vertex3 and the corsair force 3 series.

i forgot to mention this in my first post but Welcome to THF! :D 

and about the female thing, we hardly ever get those around here :p .
a b B Homebuilt system
August 2, 2011 10:47:53 PM

I would NOT buy OCZ; I've read too many horror stories about them. Maybe it's hype, but I'd probably choose an Intel drive for the reliability. Remember a slow SSD kicks the tar out of a fast HDD.
Here's a benchmark showing the GTX560Ti generally giving the HD6870 a moderate beating: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/290?vs=330 ...although, I was just reading today about nVidia driver issues with Dragon Age 2 (if that is at all relevant), AND, if you have any interest in bitcoin mining, AMD cards blow nVidia out of the water at that (review at HardOCP).
a b B Homebuilt system
August 2, 2011 11:14:20 PM

Onus said:
I would NOT buy OCZ; I've read too many horror stories about them. Maybe it's hype, but I'd probably choose an Intel drive for the reliability. Remember a slow SSD kicks the tar out of a fast HDD.
Here's a benchmark showing the GTX560Ti generally giving the HD6870 a moderate beating: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/290?vs=330 ...although, I was just reading today about nVidia driver issues with Dragon Age 2 (if that is at all relevant), AND, if you have any interest in bitcoin mining, AMD cards blow nVidia out of the water at that (review at HardOCP).


i dont like Intel SSDs for their 8MB bug, and doesnt the gtx560Ti cost a lot more too, (cheapest 6870 is $159 vs the cheapest 560Ti is $204).
!