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Upgrading 8800gt

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May 23, 2011 10:29:53 PM

Hi Guys,

You were all very helpful last time I upgraded, but it's been 4 years and time to take the plunge again.
My specs are below:-

Gigabyte GA-P31-DS3L Mobo
Core2Duo E4300 @ 2.7GHz, air cooled
2GB 667mhz ddr2 Corsair Ram
8800gt
windows 7 32 bit

Now I'm looking at just trying a new graphics card, optimistically I'm looking at a radeon 6950 1gb even though i'm sure my cpu will be a major bottleneck and I'm not certain if my PSU will support it (a 480w branded - the name escapes me), but I'd like to get a nice card at this stage so I'm a little future proofed for the next stage. Does anyone have any suggestions about whether this is foolish? Should I try for a new processor? If so which one would be good without changing the whole mobo? Is the memory ok if I upgrade the processor or should I get some 800 or 1066? Should I look at a less powerful card? I'm happy to spend £180 on the card if it's a good purchase but I don't then want to have to double that to get any kind of performance increase.

Hugs and Kisses

Leolian

More about : upgrading 8800gt

a b U Graphics card
May 23, 2011 11:14:52 PM

If you intend to change the MoBo+CPU+RAM down the road, then spend all the money on a big video card right now. Not gonna talk about the "future proof" thingy, but straight out "you can use it for the next build within 3 years IMO" thingy :p 

The 6950 2GB is very good value around £180 (it's even cheaper I think) and you could get a new PSU with it if the 480W doesn't give the juice; we need the specs of it (12V rails more precisely) to see if you actually need a new one. It's a safe bet to get a new one, but if it from a good brand, maybe you don't 8)

I like Sapphire personally, but Asus also comes into mind when talking about quality products overall.

Now, if that's for maybe new RAM or change the CPU also, I don't know... That C2D can hold for a few years with respectable FPS with a powerful video card. It's up to the game, but I'd say that it can pull it off for a few years even (till the next console gen for sure).

Cheers!
a c 376 U Graphics card
May 23, 2011 11:37:22 PM

When do you plan on upgrading the rest of the system? If you won't be doing so for a while then a cpu upgrade is really in order. A wolfdale C2D can be had fairly cheap and should OC easily to 3.5ghz and over which would be a good improvement and then a high end card like you are talking about would make more sense.
Here is an E5700 for £42;
http://www.aria.co.uk/SuperSpecials/Other+products/Inte...
2gb more ram would definitely be a good call as well. What is the native resolution of your monitor?
Related resources
May 24, 2011 6:34:03 AM

Native res is 1920x1080. I'm way out of the loop on cpus tbh but if I can pick up something good for cheap then I might as well. Thx for the replies.
a c 376 U Graphics card
May 24, 2011 7:46:09 AM

I wouldn't call the processor I linked "good" by today's standards. It's similar to what you have now but can be clocked much higher. If you have a good aftermarket fan/heatsink you may be able to get it up around 3.8ghz which should hold you over for a while and make something like the HD6950 worth buying.
If you have the money of course a full system upgrade would be the better way to go. An i5-2500k, an ok motherboard for it and 4gb of DDR3 would £275 or so and a very large upgrade that would last you a long time. Here's a comparison to something similar to what you have now;
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/288?vs=63
That is without overclocking taken into account and the i5-2500k OC to around 4.5ghz generally.
a c 376 U Graphics card
May 24, 2011 9:25:47 AM

Anything better than the one I linked is just too expensive for me to recommend considering it is outdated tech. The prices on the quad core C2Ds just don't make sense right now IMO. My recommendation is either upgrade fully or grab the cheap processor and OC the hell out of it to tide you over until you can.
May 24, 2011 9:29:54 AM

I can pick up a q6600 off ebay for about £50...
May 24, 2011 9:36:21 AM

Thanks for the anandtech link, can really see what you mean. I think I'll get the card and see how it works out then upgrade now or later as needed. Cheers fella.
a c 376 U Graphics card
May 24, 2011 6:13:49 PM

A Q6600 for that price wouldn't be a bad idea if you can find it. Your current processor will severely limit a card like the HD6950.
a b U Graphics card
May 24, 2011 8:19:26 PM

jyjjy said:
A Q6600 for that price wouldn't be a bad idea if you can find it. Your current processor will severely limit a card like the HD6950.


Is there a way to quantify that statement? If he's going to spend "extra money" on a CPU instead of a bigger video card, you'll have to back up that statement.

I remember a link where a 4870X2 was used with a lot of different processors to see how hard "bottlenecks" were. I'll look it up and post the link.

Cheers!
a c 376 U Graphics card
May 24, 2011 8:35:46 PM

It's a C2D at 2.7ghz... common knowledge or just common sense should tell you pairing what is currently a $50 CPU with a $250 card will cause a major imbalance.
May 24, 2011 9:11:41 PM

I'll let you know what kind of performance kick I get from it. If it's not much tbh I'll probably go down the i5 route :) 
a c 376 U Graphics card
May 24, 2011 9:51:33 PM

If you are willing/can afford the upgrade then just do it. Those sandy bridge chips are very good for the money and a worthwhile investment.
a b U Graphics card
May 24, 2011 10:36:08 PM

http://www.legionhardware.com/articles_pages/cpu_scalin...

There it is... I put the UT3 engine test to show how the CPUs stack up. If we put into account that most games today use something similar to UT3's engine capabilities, the test could be said that is still valid.

It's a good reference point IMO.

Cheers!

EDIT: It's interesting to note the Ghz jumping across the Core 2 arch... 1.6Ghz and 100FPS as a base, I'd say the 2.7Ghz is plenty for some time :p 
a c 376 U Graphics card
May 25, 2011 1:25:58 AM

It's certainly plenty for someone playing UT3 now and in the future... I'm not sure why you think those numbers say anything about anything else though. It's still used by some games I guess but even long ago when it was introduced it was never considered something that is very CPU intensive.
a b U Graphics card
May 25, 2011 1:37:19 AM

Because the UT3 engine is quite CPU demanding, actually... Imagine that Mass Effect 2 has a heavy modified UT3 engine (or so they say), optimized for more cores If I'm not mistaken. There was an article even here on Tom's about it (core count vs speed on games) that covered WoW, Mass Effect 2 and Crysis.

Putting a better video card in the mix will just upper the base FPS: 100 to, I dunno, 150? depends on the difference and dependence on the CPU of the new card. That's my bet.

But I keep my ground by sayin he doesn't need an upgrade *yet*. That C2D @2.7Ghz is plenty for 60+ FPS gaming. And since a lot of TVs and Monitors don't go beyond 60Hz, they're naturally capped at 60FPS. Now, lower FPS might drop below 60, but can't be that bad :p 

Cheers!

PS: Remember I'm focusing only on the C2D/Q line here from the link.
a c 376 U Graphics card
May 25, 2011 1:59:41 AM

I'm sorry but you simply don't know what you are talking about. There are a ton of current games where a 2.7ghz core 2 duo will get nothing even close to 60 frames per second. Numbers from a 4 year old game tell you exactly nothing and I still don't know why you think they would. Look for numbers on current games that are known to be CPU intensive. I'm currently using an E5200 clocked at 3.3ghz and especially over the last year it has been showing its age on a number of games.
May 25, 2011 11:00:20 AM

One morething. If I upgrade my processor to the 5700 wolfdale, will I still be ok with the 667 ram?
a c 376 U Graphics card
May 25, 2011 11:03:54 AM

Yeah, the ram doesn't matter in that regard.
May 25, 2011 1:01:01 PM

Aha, Aria have the 5850 reduced to £100 today so I've snapped that up. Should arrive tomorrow and I'll let you know how I get on. Thx for all your help, you've been v kind.
a b U Graphics card
May 25, 2011 2:37:56 PM

jyjjy said:
I'm sorry but you simply don't know what you are talking about. There are a ton of current games where a 2.7ghz core 2 duo will get nothing even close to 60 frames per second. Numbers from a 4 year old game tell you exactly nothing and I still don't know why you think they would. Look for numbers on current games that are known to be CPU intensive. I'm currently using an E5200 clocked at 3.3ghz and especially over the last year it has been showing its age on a number of games.


Have any link around to make your point clear (not trying to sound rude here ~___~)? And I know that an article from 2008 might be considered invalid, but he has a 2008 processor and UT3 engine is still used around, so...

Quote:
Aha, Aria have the 5850 reduced to £100 today so I've snapped that up. Should arrive tomorrow and I'll let you know how I get on. Thx for all your help, you've been v kind.


Good game, hope you enjoy your new card!

Would be great a lil' feedback on how your FPS'es grew :p 

Cheers!
a c 376 U Graphics card
May 25, 2011 7:17:23 PM

Quote:
Aha, Aria have the 5850 reduced to £100 today so I've snapped that up. Should arrive tomorrow and I'll let you know how I get on. Thx for all your help, you've been v kind.

That's a good deal and a good choice.
a c 376 U Graphics card
May 25, 2011 7:30:21 PM

Yuka said:
Have any link around to make your point clear (not trying to sound rude here ~___~)? And I know that an article from 2008 might be considered invalid, but he has a 2008 processor and UT3 engine is still used around, so...
Here are some CPU benchmarks for some of the more popular games from the last year that show what I mean;



a b U Graphics card
May 25, 2011 7:56:30 PM

Very good graphs, jyjjy, thanks.

In a direct read, we could agree that dual cores ain't cutting it anymore, wow. But speed wise, gonna focus on the Core i3 vs the E8500 since those are the closest ones to the OP's CPU speed wise. They are enough at first sight IMO. Now, if you exclude Crysis 2, which shows a very weird scaling, the rest of the graphs actually proves my point. 300Mhz difference will show something like a 15 FPS difference tops (2.7Ghz vs 3Ghz)? That ain't so bad IMO...

The top end processor he can get with his current MoBo, would be a C2Q9xxx? How expensive would that be? I don't think is justifiable... Anyway, I'd say that 3Ghz + is a good speed point for a C2D/Q for it so survive a few more years with current gaming tech (generally speaking). Unless I'm doing my math wrong or eating (not intentionally) some variables, I keep my statement: his C2D should last a few more years until the next gen of consoles without an upgrade. And the card he just got can deliver good FPS'es anyway, off course.

Cheers!
a c 376 U Graphics card
May 25, 2011 8:33:45 PM

The E8500 also isn't just clocked .46 ghz higher, it has 3 times as much L2 cache. It's not a very good comparison. The G9650 is the closest comparison speedwise but really his CPU is weaker than anything on any of those charts except for the Q6600 at stock in the games that only use 2 cores(SC2, Civ5.) A C2D at around 3 ghz(that's higher than his) was alright for games over the last few years. I don't know how you can look at those charts and think it isn't already becoming incapable and say that you think it would still be fine for the next few years especially when he is talking about pairing it with an HD6950.
His processor is already OCed very high from it's original 1.8ghz. With the new processor I recommend he should be able to get in the 3.5-3.8ghz area on good air cooling which will be a good boost and get him by for a while longer. A Q9xxx is and always was crazy expensive. For a quad getting a used Q6600 off ebay like he mentioned and OCing the hell out of it would be the best way to go.
May 31, 2011 4:46:16 PM

Thanks guys. I've got a great kick out of the new card, witcher 2 and shogun total war are nice and smooth at full settings but there's still a lot of cacheing going on which causes stuttering. I've bid on a g0 stepping q6600 on ebay at £50 and I'm after 4gb of ddr2 if I can find it fast and for the right price. I think the quad core is the best option and should keep me going for a while yet.
a b U Graphics card
May 31, 2011 6:02:54 PM

Sorry bout the late response jyjjy, but you're right on that last argument piece. So you're correct and he could use an upgrade. At least I was right about going for the 6950 right away, lol.

And Leolian, that's great news! Hope you get a fine CPU and OC's well (the one you're bidding on).

Come back to us when you get the Q6600 and get the "new feeling" out of it. Would love the feedback 8)

Cheers!
June 2, 2011 11:03:30 AM

Hey guys. Now I've ordered 4gb of crucial ram as I'm sure 2gb ain't cutting it and I'm trying to get a G0 stepping q6600 on ebay but keep getting sniped. Can any of you recomend me an overclocking guide? I've clocked my 4300 well but I've never managed to get a good guide to cover everything. Apparently some people have reached FSB holes when overclocking the q6600 on my mobo. Also, is is a good idea to stick to the same multiplyer and up the FSB or try dropping the multiplyer and going for a higher FSB. I'm somewhat confused by it all. I'll have a look around in your abscence. Cheers.
June 2, 2011 11:41:24 AM

Bugger. Need to do a reinstall with 64bit windows 7 now I guess.
a b U Graphics card
June 2, 2011 2:41:59 PM

If you're past the 4GB mark (make it 6GB, 8GB or more), then yes, it's a must.

But with 4GB, you could stick to 32bit if you're going to game only IMO. Less hassle since going 64bit won't add that much visible RAM anyway and 64bit programs use more memory. And like 99% of programs won't use more than the 2GB memory limit windows has for them.

Cheers!
June 2, 2011 3:50:58 PM

Cheers buddy. Bit more research and I came to the same conclusion.
June 13, 2011 10:34:42 PM

Just a quick update for ya. Got the 5850 and was great but still stuttery and unable to go max options in the witcher and shogun 2 without some jerkyness. Added 2 gb ramn for a total of 4 and swapped out for a q6600 and oc'ek to 3.2GHz. All smooth as silk at full 1080p and pretty much max setting in any game. Even crysis is smooth :)  (although no aa). Cheers guys.
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