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Upgrading my system for better gaming experience

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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August 4, 2011 7:14:46 AM

Hello


I want to upgrade my computer, which i mostly use for office use, some gaming and movie watching. I saw that this was a very knowledgeable forum and would greatly appreciate any response which would help me obtain my goal:

I would want to experience better grapichs (currently running everything on low res so i never experience any "hickups" (but they still occure :/ ). I currently play Starcraft 2 and Civilization 4 (great game!) and i want to have a better gaming experience.

My current setup is (UPDATED):

ECS Elitegroup GF7100PVT-M3 motherboard PGA775, FSB1333, 4x Sata, 7.1 Audio
INTEL Pentium Dual Core E5200 2.5GHz LGA775 FSB800 2MB Cache Boxed
2 X TRANSCEND 4GB DDR2 DIMM 800MHz
PRODUKSJONSVARE 750GB 7200RPM S-ATA harddrive 3,5
PointOfView GeForce 9500GT 512MB PCI-E skjermkort
And i have a powersupply which can produse 350 W.
I have a big case.. with room for about any size of grapich card.

I was thinking about upgrading my graphic card and i was hoping some of with more knowledge about hardware upgrades could point me in direction of a good solution for my "problem". Which would be greatly appreciated!

Price range 100 - 200 $ for my upgrade (can go higher if there is no current upgrades which will solve my problem).
a b U Graphics card
August 4, 2011 8:15:44 AM

i recommend the ASUS Radeon 6870 1GB . it can run starcraft at 47 fps im not sure about civilization 4 but i doubt it will do less than 30 fps . its $20 more than your budget but its worth it . if you dont think its worth buying try the HIS Radeon HD6870 IceQ X 1GB i didnt know wich website you needed them from so i chose tiger direct and pc case gear.
a b U Graphics card
August 4, 2011 8:22:41 AM

the 47 fps are on ultra
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August 4, 2011 8:58:35 AM

6870 will bottleneck your CPU i sugget GTX 460 or GTS 450 thats a good card
August 4, 2011 9:26:24 AM

I think such an old CPU will struggle in keeping up with any of the newer midrange graphics cards. But anyway, key here is at which resolution are you planning to play these games?

For reference you can use this comparison table to make an informed decision:

http://www.xbitlabs.com/picture/?src=/images/video/rade...

I think you should be okay with HD 6790 if you are planning to play at 1680x1050 resolution, for anything above HD 6850 or Geforce 460 would make a good choice.
August 4, 2011 10:30:53 AM

Hi what a great forum!!

Thank you for all the great responses. After looking up all the cards that you guys sugested I think my best bet is this card:

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 460 1GB "3DP" PhysX (http://www.mpx.no/k/ki.aspx?sku=611063 link to the shop im considering using when i buy the card)

Which i found at a price of 232.69 $ (the price is converted to usd from a norwegian shop) which is aceptable for me.

Here is an english review i found

http://www.techradar.com/reviews/pc-mac/pc-components/g...

How is it that the images of the store selling it is different from the image displayed in the review? Are there much difference between the card that the store sells and the review?

As for resolution as Archean pointed out.. my desktop resolution is 1920x1028 and i would like to use that resolution for all my games. The graphic settings dont need to be ultra high or anything, i just want a stable experience and enjoy better graphics.

What do you guys think of my possible new graphic card?

thx again for all the responses!

August 4, 2011 10:41:48 AM

correction my screen resolution is 1900 x 1200 (widescreen)
August 4, 2011 1:57:58 PM

Honestly, don't look to upgrade the current computer. You are far better off saving up for a new rig. I know that sucks and I think people hope an upgrade will make a difference, but in your case you will be pretty much wasting money in my opinion. Even if you get a new vid card and think you can roll it into a new system down the road, when that time comes you will have paid good money for something that won't do much now and could have used to buy something good in current times.

I recently did a system rebuild. I started buying parts for a mostly new build and ended up picking up an EVGA 570 superclocked. My old rig consisted primarily of a 2.4 core 2 duo (overclocked to 3.3) and a 275GTX as the gaming workhorses. I got that card early and popped it in to make sure it was operational and guess what? I noticed no difference in the feel in gaming (I did not run fraps). CPU was too weak and the bottleneck. The picture looked better due to the new tech, bad company 2 played the same.

A new card may help with the movie watching, but my opinion is to hold off until you can get a new mobo, ram, processor and vid card.
a b U Graphics card
August 4, 2011 2:13:09 PM

What form factor case do you have? Some of the newer GPU's are not micro-atx friendly. First thing you need to evaluate is if one of these dual slotted cards will fit into your existing case.
August 4, 2011 6:46:10 PM

flipt yeah i have been thinking about that as well.. and you have a good point. The fact is that money in about 1 year is no problem for me.. but right now I'm on a budget. (Just graduated, moved and started working) So the hardware is buy now is probably just going to last for 1 - 1,5 year. And 250 $ is no problem for having a "sweeter" life until then.

I know that it involves some "risk" with buying new parts and that my itch for new cool gear just will increase :love:  . That is why I wanted to hear with the experts on this forum before i bought anything.

Tinmann I have a big case with a lot of physical free space. Under is a link to the case with its dimensions.

http://www.multicom.no/main/V54-kabinett-350W-svart-sol... (the link is in norwegian but the dimensions should be understandable)

And I just realized that I only have a 350 W power supply (I forgot that the 500 W supply i bought was for an older computer). I also see that its recommended with a 450 W power supply for the GTX 460. Damn.. another 100 $ for a new supply.

I guess your rigth flipt...

August 4, 2011 7:27:47 PM

I am glad to have helped put a different perspective out there. I know the itch you are talking about. I actually got the GTX 275 for the game (BC2) to replace an 8800 GTX and only noticed a minor improvement that really did not improve the experience for me. However, I paid a hair over $200 at that time and was still limited to my dual core too. However, the $200 now could buy a card much faster than the 275 GTX. That is one reason I was suggesting you wait, since when the time is right, you will have a completely new experience and can buy what you need for what you expect to do with it.
a b U Graphics card
August 4, 2011 7:30:57 PM

yeah no matter what your cpu will hold you back a bit but a 6850 or gtx 460 is probably the best choice
a b U Graphics card
August 4, 2011 8:15:54 PM

that is an htpc card at best I would not rec for gaming at any res
August 4, 2011 8:25:51 PM

Ok... can someone point me in direction of a card that can be used on 300 W power supply and does not go above 200 $ and solves my original problem?

I'm getting lost in the jungle of possible cards that just not quite "match".
August 11, 2011 1:09:08 PM

Thank you! I ended up ordering Radeon HD 6670 1GB 128-bit DDR3 and it works perfect for my needs.

The fan does run on its absolute most when i run Starcraft 2 on extreme tho and makes alot of noise. But I dont need extreme. ;) 

Thank you all for your responses. And to jjb8675309
!