Hi all, I'm planning on upgrading my 5570 to a 6870 and I was wondering what all will be involved and what issues I may run into. Any advice from someone that has done a similar upgrade would be appreciated.
Also, my machine has a AMD Athlon II X3 435 Rana 2.9GHz. As a second question, does anyone have any information if I might start bottlenecking while playing games with only a triple core processor? Should I be considering a faster CPU as well to get better performance?
While such a GPU upgrade should provide an excellent boost in performance and detail, we need to know a bit more about your system.
First, your power supply's ratings - in particular it's 12V output. Second, your monitor's resolution plays an important role in deciding which component takes more stress - the CPU or GPU. In general, the lower the resolution, the greater the dependency on CPU performance. Lastly, are there any particular current-day and upcoming games you intend to play?
Also, this may or may not apply, but some of the original Rana 435 X3's had the ability to unlock a severed 4th core, and a few of those could actually unlock severed L3 cache. If this isn't some factory pre-built machine (from Dell, HP, etc.) and your motherboard has a full-function BIOS, you might be able to do that (or at least OC it should the CPU prove to limit performance).
I honestly doubt that an Athlon II X3 would limit a 6870. Well, it might, but it wouldn't be anything significant enough to make a CPU upgrade worthwhile. Anything over a 6870 would be pushing it, though.
Can you give us a power supply brand and model? What's your resolution? Both very important things in regards to a GPU upgrade, as Razbery said.
Thanks for the answers so far. I have a Antec EarthWatts EA650 650W power supply, and my system is one that was my first build about a year ago. I play on a 1920x1080 monitor. Some of the games I'll be playing are Witcher 2, Portal 2 and other FPS's that catch my eye.
I tried to unlock the fourth core right after I got it, but it was very unstable and so I went back to three. The clock is standard too but I hear there at least a little bit of headroom on the X3 435.
Unfortunately, a single 6870 may not fair so well at 1920x1080 in The Witcher 2. It definitely won't be able provide a playable experience at Ultra-detail level with Ubersampling enabled, as that setting cripples HD6970's and GTX570/580's. I suspect it would be capable of Ultra-detail level at that resolution with a more potent CPU, but High-detail may be it's playable limit with a Rana 435/HD6870 combo.