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Time for some upgrades , feedback appreciated :D

Last response: in Systems
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August 20, 2011 1:01:45 AM

First off I would like to express my gratitude for taking your time to help me if you decide to and for taking time out of your days to look over my situation.

Current Rig
- AMD Phenom II X2 550 OC'd to 3.7GHz (been stable no problems for 2 years)
- GeForce 9800 GTX+
- Gigabyte GA-MA790X-UD4P mobo
- 4GB Gskill DDR2 (PC2-6400)
- 150 GB HDD 7200 RPM
- Arctic cooling for CPU
- 450w gaming PSU
- 23" ASUS 1080P monitor

I have a budget of $400, and would like to spend the least amount of money for whatever you guys think will be the most crucial upgrades (for mainly just Skyrim when it comes out ) so I can max out it, and some future games on DX11 or DX9 in full 1080P with max settings (Keep in mind I will not be trying to max out crysis, not into the game).

I would love some feedback on if my CPU or RAM will be bottlenecking my future upgrade to a single Radeon 6850 or possibly crossfire'd 6850's. Granted I can afford 2 of them in budget and if my cpu can handle the crossfire setup. I know I'd also have to get a new PSU and possibly mobo if I crossfire'd, but I read that my mobo can crossfire, I'm just worried 2 cards might not even fit in my case (which to me is pretty big). I have great cooling with my Artic cooling and I have 5 fans on my case, so overheating shouldn't be an issue.




a b B Homebuilt system
August 20, 2011 1:45:26 AM

Your best option for your budget is the graphics card only, though if you had the budget for it, processor motherboard and RAM would also benefit from some love. Since you won't be able to do a full overhaul, just the GPU it is. You will also be running into a bottleneck, with your older hardware, but there isn't much point in buying an older / weaker GPU just so it keeps pace with what your PC can currently handle. Later down the road when you do have money to spend on other components, you can just move it over to your future build.

Other possibile things to consider, your 450w PSU may not be able to keep up with a new GPU, it should be okay but can't say for sure. That hard drive could really use an update. $50 should get you something 4 times larger, and give you much better disk performance. That will be important for a game like Skyrim. an SSD would be even better, but I wouldn't upgrade to that in place of a new GPU.
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August 20, 2011 2:04:26 AM

wathman said:
Your best option for your budget is the graphics card only, though if you had the budget for it, processor motherboard and RAM would also benefit from some love. Since you won't be able to do a full overhaul, just the GPU it is. You will also be running into a bottleneck, with your older hardware, but there isn't much point in buying an older / weaker GPU just so it keeps pace with what your PC can currently handle. Later down the road when you do have money to spend on other components, you can just move it over to your future build.

Other possibile things to consider, your 450w PSU may not be able to keep up with a new GPU, it should be okay but can't say for sure. That hard drive could really use an update. $50 should get you something 4 times larger, and give you much better disk performance. That will be important for a game like Skyrim. an SSD would be even better, but I wouldn't upgrade to that in place of a new GPU.


Thanks a lot wathman :D !

would Skyrim (I know this is speculative) run fine maxxed 1080p with just a GPU overhaul? That is, until I can afford a full overhaul of my system do you think?

if i upped my budget to $500, maybe even 550, what would you reccomend I do?
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 20, 2011 2:17:21 AM

since I can't see the future, or have insider knowledge from Bethesda, I can't say for sure exactly how demanding Skyrim is going to be. My guess would be that you should be okay on moderate settings since you do have a pretty good overclock, and with a better GPU that will help things a lot. If you go with just the extra $150, you might be able to swing a small sized quality SSD that could make a difference, but I don't know how much exactly. You'd pretty much just only for your OS and games you are playing, keep everything else on a secondary drive.

That, plus the upgraded GPU would be the best you can do right now unless you could squeeze your budget a little higher to afford a CPU/Mobo/RAM combo that would be a significant boost to coincide with a GPU upgrade. I know something like $700 - $800 is a lot to ask for just a game, but keep in mind that Skyrim isn't going anywhere after it is released. If you really enjoy the game that much once it is out, make do with what you have now and upgrade later when you have a better budget.
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