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Help me upgrade my PC for gaming

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August 12, 2011 9:50:15 PM

Hello all,

First post here.

I am about to undergo upgrading my PC for gaming. This beast has been absolutely amazing to me for roughly 5 years now. Except for a few graphics card deaths that were replaced by EVGA(very satisfied with this company). Not sure why really but my 8800 gtx has either died or ran way to hot multiple times and was replaced by EVGA twice, out of warranty as well! Sometimes they would go up to 101C. I am guessing this is just because they were used a lot since I game and work from my computer. Or it could have to do with poor cooling. I am not even close to a professional in these matters, this is my first home built machine.

So the machine is just getting outdated now and brand new machine intensive games are running 20-30 FPS and maybe even worse in the upcoming months. I am wanting to upgrade it to the new standards. I would like it to run Battlefield 3 as well as other upcoming games at a nice 60 fps vsynced.

I would love your suggestions on the best and most cost effective way to upgrade it. Thanks in advance for any help!

I was thinking of upgrading to this graphics card listed in best cards of this month from Tom
eVGA 01G-P3-1370-TR GeForce 460 Graphics Card - 720 MHz Core - 1 GB GDDR5 SDRAM - PCI Express 2.0 x16
http://stores.tomshardware.com/search_getprod.php/maste...

Do I need to upgrade my processor or any other components? Or should I just try out the new card?

My

Current system details, from DxDiag:

PSU: OCZ 700w GameXStream Power Supply
RAM: OCZ Vista Upgrade Edition 4096MB PC6400 DDR2 800MH
HDs: Seagate 500GB Serial ATA HD 7200/32MB/SATA-3G
Western Digital Raptor WD1500ADFD 150GB 10000 RPM SATA 1.5Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive -Bare Drive
CPU Cooler: ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro Rev.2 92mm Fluid Dynamic CPU Cooler
(the fan is dieing on this cooler I have to WD40 it and it works again for a week or so)

Operating System: Windows Vistaâ„¢ Home Premium (6.0, Build 6002) Service Pack 2 (6002.vistasp2_gdr.110617-0336)
Language: English (Regional Setting: English)
System Manufacturer: XFX68L
System Model: XFX Nforce 680i LT
BIOS: Phoenix - AwardBIOS v6.00PG
Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Quad CPU Q6600 @ 2.40GHz (4 CPUs), ~2.4GHz
Memory: 4094MB RAM
Page File: 4287MB used, 4120MB available
Windows Dir: C:\Windows
DirectX Version: DirectX 11
DX Setup Parameters: Not found
DxDiag Version: 7.00.6002.18107 64bit Unicode

GFX card
Card name: NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX
Manufacturer: NVIDIA
Chip type: GeForce 8800 GTX
DAC type: Integrated RAMDAC
Device Key: Enum\PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_0191&SUBSYS_C8313842&REV_A2
Display Memory: 2530 MB
Dedicated Memory: 739 MB
Shared Memory: 1791 MB
Current Mode: 1920 x 1080 (32 bit) (60Hz)
Monitor: Acer X233H
Driver Name: nvd3dumx.dll,nvwgf2umx.dll,nvwgf2umx.dll,nvd3dum,nvwgf2um,nvwgf2um
Driver Version: 8.17.0012.7533 (English)
DDI Version: 10
BGRA Supported: Yes
Driver Attributes: Final Retail

Let me know. I am trying to stay as cost effective as possible while still being able to run the newest and greatest games at a nice 60 fps +.

More about : upgrade gaming

August 12, 2011 10:05:18 PM

Yes the 460 is a nice card. I am sure you would be pleased if you got that. Cpu wise I would consider one of the entry level core i5 processors if your on a budget. I would personally ditch Vista and move up to Windows 7 64bit and also consider an ssd boot drive.....
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 12, 2011 10:22:48 PM

Get yourself a good cpu cooler, overclock the cpu to 3.2ghz and get the 460, it'll be a significant upgrade.

I see no benefit of spending $100 on Win7 if you already have Vista. Wait for Win8.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 12, 2011 10:29:53 PM

I think that processor would only be good up to about the level of a 460. However, the 460 won't come close to maxing modern games.
Are you talking about running them at the highest possible graphics, or just at any graphics level at all? The 460 will be fine for most games at medium graphics, but to max most games you'll need a 560 Ti, and for the most demanding (Crysis 2 DX11, Metro, JC2) you'll need a 580 or two. I don't know what kind of graphics power BF3 will take to max, but it looks like it'll be significant.
You could use another 4gb RAM. Your shared memory, seen in the GPU specs, is 1.7gb, which is probably all you have to spare for the GPU, with the rest used for other parts of the system. With 8gb, the card could make use of more, and it's pretty cheap, especially if you can find an identical 4gb kit to the one you have now.
^+1 on the waiting for Windows 8.
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August 12, 2011 11:20:35 PM

Hey thanks for the replies they are very helpful.

The 460 won't run current games at max setting at 60 fps? That is kind of disheartening. My 8800 gtx ran crysis 2 at pretty amazing FPS for the age of it I think 50 fps or so that game ran so smooth, I think that was when I had 2 of them in SLI though, my other one just stopped working suddenly and I had to take it out for my computer to boot up correctly. So the CPU cooler I listed isn't adequate for overclocking? Can anyone recommend a decent priced one? I had my CPU OC'ed to 3.something pretty good but load temps were a bit high but it seemed to run smooth. I had some issues so I put it back to stock although it turned out that the OC wasn't the issue it was my second card.

So far though awesome suggestions. Looking at more ram and a new card as well as a cpu cooler to keep my cpu nice and cool with a OC. Great thing about upgrading is I can try one at a time and monitor the performance. I really haven't noticed an issue with ram, at least it never seems to be maxed out usage wise on any games I have been playing. One thing I really need to do is improve cooling in my case I have the raidmax Smilodon case and the temps in this thing are kind of abysmal with the stock cooling.

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a b B Homebuilt system
August 12, 2011 11:29:39 PM

There's no way two 8800s could max Crysis 2, unless your 8800s were 580s in disguise.
Check out some benchmarks in Tom's graphics card reviews, like this one of the 460:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gtx-460-gf1...

The 460 will give you 23 fps in Crysis 2 at Ultra with *no AA* (which you should have, and will drop fps significantly), and will drop as low as 16, as shown in the Ultra benchmarks:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/crysis-2-directx-11...
It takes either 2 6970s or 2 580s to provide constantly playable framerates, and even those drop into the low 40s at times.
I think a Freezer 7 should be fine, but you can get a Mugen 2 if the temps turn out too high.
The RAM will give a small benefit. You can get it if you want.
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August 13, 2011 12:38:32 AM

kajabla said:
There's no way two 8800s could max Crysis 2, unless your 8800s were 580s in disguise.
Check out some benchmarks in Tom's graphics card reviews, like this one of the 460:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gtx-460-gf1...

The 460 will give you 23 fps in Crysis 2 at Ultra with *no AA* (which you should have, and will drop fps significantly), and will drop as low as 16, as shown in the Ultra benchmarks:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/crysis-2-directx-11...
It takes either 2 6970s or 2 580s to provide constantly playable framerates, and even those drop into the low 40s at times.
I think a Freezer 7 should be fine, but you can get a Mugen 2 if the temps turn out too high.
The RAM will give a small benefit. You can get it if you want.


Oh yea it wasn't maxed, probably was "Optimal for system", can't remember really. That crytek engine is quite impressive though. Thanks for all the tips anything is appreciated.
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August 13, 2011 8:10:45 AM

geekapproved said:
Get yourself a good cpu cooler, overclock the cpu to 3.2ghz and get the 460, it'll be a significant upgrade.

I see no benefit of spending $100 on Win7 if you already have Vista. Wait for Win8.


If like you said you want to be playing the latest games and upcoming games then overclocking this cpu is only going to take you so far. I would seriously consider upgrading to a core i3 or i5 rig (get 'k' cpu if you can afford it so you can overclock). Hyperthreading is a good thing!
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 13, 2011 11:39:35 AM

at 3.2ghz the Q6600 would beat most AMD's today

8800GTX is outdated

either new video card and overclock CPU, or otherwise next step up is an i5/i7 2xxx
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 20, 2011 6:25:53 PM

Don't try to mix two different sets of RAM. There's a possibility that it might work, but it generally doesn't. You'd be better off just getting a fresh 8gb set if you really can't find 4gb that's identical to what you have.
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August 22, 2011 10:23:28 PM

Ok so I have upgraded my pc now and wanted to post some results.

I ended up getting the 550 gtx ti card http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Also got 4 more gigs of ram http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

As well as all new case fans and arctic freezer was nice enough to send me a new heat sink fan replacement for nothing. Great customer service. I reapplied arctic silver 5 to my cpu as well as cleaned and reorganized my case. Overclocked the q 6600 to 2.8 and my memory all to 800mhz and it seems to be working, not sure how I would test the memory. But, windows is now showng that it is using a lot more memory so I am guessing it works with my old memory. Idle temperatures on my cpu and graphics card are halved. My 8800 gtx was running some times at 100c. New 550 ti is running 42 c idle. Also OC'ed the pcie bus to 125.

The 550 ti might not be the most powerful card out but it runs very good. For the price I got , $110, it is an awesome card and in the future I could just get another if needed for SLI. Getting above 30 fps in every game with maxed settings. Although with games like battlefield I have found that I like playing games like that with lowest settings. It was nice with highest and nice fps but there is just too much crap on the screen. So I switched to playing with lower setting with awesome fps in bfbc2.

This should be a nice cheap upgrade for future games. I might try to overclock the machine more. Take a look at my screenshot for stats and let me know if I should try and OC it more.


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