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Best path for upgrading my computer for gaming.

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October 6, 2011 4:00:30 AM

I do a good bit of gaming but my current rig just cant handle the newest games, My specs are as follows :

AMD phenom 9600 quad core processor 2.3 ghz (TLB bug fix turned off in bios)
8gb of ADATA 2GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 PC2 6400 RAM
XFX Radeon HD 4890 Graphics card
Maxtor 6Y250M0 SATA 250gb Hard Drive (Primary HD)
Western Digital WD2500BEVT 250gb hard drive (Storage)
MSI K9A2 Platinum Motherboard.
Rosewill RG530-2 530W PSU
iMicro CA-859BK3 X-Blade Gaming computer Case
Windows 7 Ultimate 64 Bit


With total war shogun 2 I get about 20 FPS while viewing the world map and about 10-15 when In battle scenes, I get 10-20 FPS while playing the Battlefield 3 beta. With red faction armegeddon I get up to 40 FPS in smaller areas but average about 20-25. I plan on upgrading rather around Christmas or in early March, I was originally thinking upgrade the Graphics Card but I have had a few people tell me that I actually would get a better performance increase by upgrading my processor because they say its the bottleneck in my current setup. Now if I upgraded the graphics card I was looking at the http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... and a new PSU because my current one wont be enough to power this card, final price came out to $665.97. If I upgrade my processor then I would like to get the http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (I want the 6 core over the quad because I do alot of audio recording with my band and I use a lot of VST's so I would greatly benefit from the extra 2 cores) But my MOBO doesn't support AM3 but I had read somewhere that with a bios update that It actually can support this processor, is there any truth behind this and if not what would be a good MOBO that would last me a good while and also ram if the MOBO is for DDR3 because I only have DDR2. What would be the recommended upgrade path ? I also got to thinking that if I was planning on spending about $700 in the first place why not just get this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... and get a really nice Video card later on, plus I could really use the 1TB HD that it comes with, although i'm not keen on getting a pre-built computer, but i-m not against it either.

P.S. I am not against an Intel system, I would actually love a system with the new Core i7 2600K but I just cant afford Intel lol, and also I am not biased towards Nvidia or ATI graphics cards either, the better deal is what I'm after at the moment.


P.P.S Sorry for such a long post, also I am new to the forums so give me some slack if im doing anything wrong. lol

Best solution

a c 136 B Homebuilt system
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October 6, 2011 9:29:43 AM

Check the MSI website for a cpu support list for your motherboard . It seems to be AM2+ so the first step might be to replace the processor with a Phenom 955 [ if supported ]

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October 6, 2011 10:07:33 AM

TBH a lot of that needs updating if your wanting to play BF3 sweet as a nut.

Even if you did upgrade to a better CPU you wont be able to overclock due to your PSU, I doubt it would cope under the stress, same goes if you upgrade your GPU.

It seems like its either the CPU or GPU you want to upgrade, however, I personally would forget about upgrading this machine, save a bit of extra money and when you can - buy a new build or upgrade multiple components at once.
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October 6, 2011 10:53:06 AM

Step one is to see if you can support a more modern CPU. If you have $700, you can spend ~$100+ on a CPU, ~$80 on a new PSU, and the remaining $500 should be more then enough for a GPU. I'd actually suggest the cheaper of the GTX560TI or 6950.
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October 6, 2011 5:09:45 PM

lewza said:
TBH a lot of that needs updating if your wanting to play BF3 sweet as a nut.

Even if you did upgrade to a better CPU you wont be able to overclock due to your PSU, I doubt it would cope under the stress, same goes if you upgrade your GPU.

It seems like its either the CPU or GPU you want to upgrade, however, I personally would forget about upgrading this machine, save a bit of extra money and when you can - buy a new build or upgrade multiple components at once.



Thats what I was afraid of, thats why I was considering that Hp, I was doing some research and found people get Around 35-45 FpS on Crysis, and around 100Fps on COD 4, so i thinking keep my card for awhile longer and I think can build a pretty nice pc for around $700 if I use my current case and video card , the parts I looked at were:


ASUS Crosshair V Formula/Thunderbolt AM3+ MOBO
Patriot Viper Xtreme 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600
CORSAIR Enthusiast Series CMPSU-850TX 850W
AMD Phenom II X6 1100T Black Edition Thuban 3.3GHz

It all comes to just under $700 at current prices, may be a little bit more after tax and shipping but I think I can handle that. It would require me to use my current video card for a while but I think It would be better in the long run because I'm basically starting from scratch. What do you think ?
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October 7, 2011 12:49:26 AM

I wouldn't spend $700 just to move from DDR2 to DDR3. If your board supports any of the newer quads, get one of them. Shouldn't cost a lot. No need to buy a new board, no need to buy new ram. This will allow you to buy a new GPU which will help a lot in gaming.
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October 7, 2011 1:57:45 AM

4745454b said:
I wouldn't spend $700 just to move from DDR2 to DDR3. If your board supports any of the newer quads, get one of them. Shouldn't cost a lot. No need to buy a new board, no need to buy new ram. This will allow you to buy a new GPU which will help a lot in gaming.


Well its not just to move to DDR3, I am wanting to get one of the Hex cores if I upgrade because I could use the 2 cores when I go to record my band, I use alot of plugins and max out my processor quite often . but if I did go for a quad what ones that you would personally recommend, also how does that PSU look that I listed ? because it looks like no matter what I do I need to get a better PSU, because I would like to do some minor/moderate overclocking if/when I get a new cpu and im pretty sure my current psu will crap out if I try to do that with it lol.
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October 7, 2011 3:44:51 AM

It's maxing out your old (broken) quad. Which is also clocked very low. A phenom II 945 might not have that problem. 2.3GHz isn't much these days. Again, the first thing I would do is see if you can update your bios and support a newer CPU. Once you know this you'll know what you need to get.
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October 7, 2011 6:17:47 AM

4745454b said:
It's maxing out your old (broken) quad. Which is also clocked very low. A phenom II 945 might not have that problem. 2.3GHz isn't much these days. Again, the first thing I would do is see if you can update your bios and support a newer CPU. Once you know this you'll know what you need to get.

What do you mean by "Broken" ?

Edit: I also found this on the MSI website http://www.msi.com/product/mb/K9A2-Platinum.html#?div=C... full list of supported CPU's but the Phenom II's in the list are only for after the bios update, I think what Im gonna do is get a new PSU first because right now I have a 530W one and i would like a stronger PSU before I upgrade anything, just to be on the safe side, and it looks like I got plenty of choices for Phenom II's that will work with this MOBO quad's and hex's so I have to spend a good bit of time, but I do want to get the best possible CPU because I do plan on building a new computer soon and which ever processor i get I would like to be able to use with that set up and not be the bottleneck.
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October 7, 2011 6:31:27 AM

TLB? The original phenoms weren't very good. The IPC were a bit above the K8 arch they replaced, but they were clocked so low that the K8 chips didn't look much worse. The PhII series fixed the TLB problem, and improved the process so well we could get above 3GHz on the cores. So yes, I call that broken.
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October 7, 2011 6:57:21 AM

4745454b said:
TLB? The original phenoms weren't very good. The IPC were a bit above the K8 arch they replaced, but they were clocked so low that the K8 chips didn't look much worse. The PhII series fixed the TLB problem, and improved the process so well we could get above 3GHz on the cores. So yes, I call that broken.

Ah i see now, for some reason my mind was thinking along the lines of being physically broken lmao fail on my part.
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October 7, 2011 7:15:22 AM

Ahhh, I see now.
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October 7, 2011 10:39:48 PM

4745454b said:
Ahhh, I see now.

I just made a shocking discovery, my MOBO is already up to date with the bios, according to http://us.msi.com/product/mb/K9A2-Platinum.html#/?div=B... the most recent version is "1.B" and according to this little program called system Information for Windows also known as "siw.exe" shows my bios as "V1.B0" so apparently my MOBO is already had the bios update " i did buy this used for cheap from someone I know" but they told me that they had not updated the bios in a long time so I assumed that the bios was the older version that only supported AM2 not AM2+. im only this excited because I was really scared about flashing the bios, I have heard its way different on MSI boards.
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October 8, 2011 1:35:10 AM

Finally.....

So looking at the CPU support list it looks like you can run any of the PhII. I even see the x6 chips are supported. I personally would grab a 955 but its up to you. Again, I don't see why you should spend $700 just to get a new board and DDR3 ram. Grab an x4 for around $150, a new PSU for $60-$80, and a 6950/GTX560TI. Save any left over money for next system, 36 packs, etc.
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October 8, 2011 6:25:53 AM

4745454b said:
Finally.....

So looking at the CPU support list it looks like you can run any of the PhII. I even see the x6 chips are supported. I personally would grab a 955 but its up to you. Again, I don't see why you should spend $700 just to get a new board and DDR3 ram. Grab an x4 for around $150, a new PSU for $60-$80, and a 6950/GTX560TI. Save any left over money for next system, 36 packs, etc.

well not any, the 1100T is not supported as far as the Hex cores go according to the list, and apparently anything above the 965 for quad, the 955 that you mentioned is only $119.99 at the moment, which makes me REALLY like that one lol plus wouldn't a hex core make my Gpu the bottleneck ? I may be wrong though I still know very little about bottle necks :/ 
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October 8, 2011 6:42:11 AM

The point is you can still run nearly any AMD chip out there. I'd get a 955, good PSU, and a good GPU. Save any left over $$$ for the next build. Don't worry about any bottleneck. Just don't get a 6990 or SLI two GTX580s.
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October 8, 2011 7:21:41 AM

4745454b said:
The point is you can still run nearly any AMD chip out there. I'd get a 955, good PSU, and a good GPU. Save any left over $$$ for the next build. Don't worry about any bottleneck. Just don't get a 6990 or SLI two GTX580s.

true, I was at first looking at the 1090T but then I saw that the 955 is only $119.99 thats a beautiful price for someone like me lol, that saves me alot of money, so what would be a good PSU ? I was thinking about the http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=17-152-...

because its 850W and under $200 and is 80 plus Gold Certified but I am kinda sketchy because it seems too good to be true, also I am looking at probably a single GTX 580 graphics card, what are some brands you would recommend ? from what I have read I am really liking EVGA, What I will probably do is get the PSU first in about a month and save up what ever extra i need and around christmas just get the new CPU and GPU at the same time.
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October 8, 2011 9:05:07 AM

Can't find a review for that PSU. Not sure if its a good one or not.
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October 8, 2011 6:33:31 PM

4745454b said:
Can't find a review for that PSU. Not sure if its a good one or not.




The reviews on newegg are not horrible but i have seen better, what brand/wattage would you recommend ?
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October 8, 2011 6:39:03 PM

Cougar SX850 Has been getting really good reviews, and priced well too. I'm considering it even though 850 is a bit overkill.

Other than that I'd look into Corsairs in the 750W range.
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October 8, 2011 11:39:48 PM

I don't mean newegg reviews. I mean where its tested by someone who can really test it. Hardocp, jonnyguru, hardware secrets, etc. Newegg reviews aren't worth anything.
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October 9, 2011 5:19:17 AM

4745454b said:
I don't mean newegg reviews. I mean where its tested by someone who can really test it. Hardocp, jonnyguru, hardware secrets, etc. Newegg reviews aren't worth anything.



I looked into the Cougar SX850 that fkwyman posted and I really like it, checked a few reviews on some sites watched a few youtube vids that used that psu with some crazy ass SLI GTX 590 benchmarking stuff lol and it seemed to handle it pretty well.
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October 19, 2011 6:11:31 AM

Best answer selected by Djentleman_007.
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October 19, 2011 6:14:58 AM

Outlander_04 said:
Check the MSI website for a cpu support list for your motherboard . It seems to be AM2+ so the first step might be to replace the processor with a Phenom 955 [ if supported ]

This is what im gonna do, I may go with the 1090T instead if a get lucky to save up the extra money, otherwise im going for the 955, its like $119.99 at the moment on newegg, $123.99 at bestbuy, but point is that your answer was by far the simplest, so best answer goes to you. Thanks for the help.
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