I have an existing budget system that I built more than a year ago. It has an Athlon II X4 635 (4 cores @ 2.9GHz, no L3 Cache) on a 780G Motherboard with 4GB DDR3 @ 1333MHz. When I built it, I didn't have enough budget to accommodate a graphics card. I have now collected the equivalent of around $250-275 for an upgrade. I was wondering whether I should sink it all into a GPU or keep some aside for a future upgrade?
My current rig is enough for all the non-gaming tasks I do, and I am not planning on getting an SSD either. I have a Corsair 600W PSU as well, so the only other thing I can think in terms of an upgrade is getting a Sandy Bridge CPU+M/B, but then I won't be able to get a GPU.
So my question is, should I spend my money on a AMD HD6950 1GB/2GB (probably O/C with non-reference cooler) or will it be too bottlenecked by my CPU? Or should I spend it on a HD6850/HD6770 and save the rest for a future upgrade?
I'm leaning towards the HD6950, but wanted to get another opinion(s). My requirements are mostly gaming centric, I'm planning to play games like Metro 2033, Crysis (1&2), BF3 (when available), Rage, Deus Ex, etc., at 1080p. Thanks in advance.
I think ur good to go. People make a big deal over budget quad cores from AMD, in my experience they are more then enough.
With my phenom ii 840, and my 560ti i can max metro 1080p at playable frame rates. My cpu is actually an athlon and only clocked 300 mhz faster than yours. Even if u need to OC, there is no reason why you would not be able to get the same performance as me.
Get the 560ti if i were you, prefably the asus, gigabyte, evga or msi hawk version
Thanks guys, I appreciate the input. So I'm probably gonna get the 6950, though I'll keep myself open to 560Ti overclocked if I get a good deal. I might also get a CM 212+ Cooler and OC the CPU a bit. I know 6950 might be a bit much for my CPU, but what the hell, I have the opportunity now, and if I keep waiting for something around the corner or to get a better CPU, I'll probably never get around to buying anything. Again, thanks for the input, I still have 1 more day to decide, so I'll probably spend some time looking at Tom's charts and reviews, and other websites too.
First I got the Zotac 560 Ti (stock clocks, single axial fan). But it kept crashing within 5 minutes of running any game. I'm not talking about Crysis or Metro either, it crashed in CoD4 - the game ran fine with my on-board HD 3000 at low settings!
I used MSI Afterburner to log the temps, and they were in 75-80 degrees celcius range before crashing, not too comfortable, but ok. I ran MSI Kombustor, which raised the temperatures beyond that, but it never crashed, even after 2 hours of stressing it. It kept crashing in all the games I tried though. Forums suggested overvolting a bit, but no dice. Zotac suggested uninstalling and re-installing drivers. Didn't work. Some forum users suggested certain older drivers. That didn't work either. I figured it must be a problem with the BIOS or even the Silicon itself.
So I took it back to the vendor and he replaced it for me. I had to chose between the MSI 560 Ti Twin Frozr O/C (O/C to 850 MHz) and the Sapphire 6950 1GB. The MSI 560 card was too close to the 6950 in price and I had already started leaning toward the 6950 due to my unfortunate experience with the other 560 Ti (I guess it was just irrational fear). So I got the Sapphire 6950 1GB (stock clocks, twin axial fans, big heatsink). I must say I'm happy with the Radeon. The fans are noticeably queiter than that of Zotac and the temperature never goes above 60 during gameplay.
I'm not saying that GeForce cards are bad, just that I had a bad experience with the particular model/brand I bought.
I could have stuck with the card and let Zotac solve the problem at their pace, but it didn't sit right with me - the fact that I had to wait to use something I already paid for! Fortunately, it all ended well for me.
As for performance, I'm happy with the framerates it churns out in the most demanding games I have (Metro 2033, Crysis both at 1080p and high to max settings). Also, I like the fact that the card is cool while doing this, it gives me confidence in overclocking it in the future.
@mkristian, thanks for your opinion - it gave me the push I needed to go for the card.