GPU Upgrade, possible rig upgrade - Need tons of advice!

Sorry to bother you guys, but I honestly don't know what to do and I'm running out of time before Skyrim/SWTOR. I have 3 questions primarily, but first let's start with my current specs:

CPU: Phenom II X4 920 ~2.8ghz (I would OC if I had a better case with airflow... but I don't.)
GPU: Nvidia GTS 450 (Plan on replacing this soon, see below)
RAM: 8190MB DDR2 (All my mobo supports...)
Mobo: MS-7501 (AMD Gen2 mobo)

Essentially I'm confused on what the best course of action would be.

1) I know that my PC is starting to become outdated fast, I understand that. The CPU is basically average, and the mobo can't support anything more than I have on CPU or RAM, and my RAM is only DDR2. Not to mention the GTS 450 is a pretty weak card.

So my question is basically:
Would it be a good time to build a new rig? I've had this bad boy 3.5 years, is it time?

I was thinking that I should get a new GPU, get a gaming case finally (crappy one right now, terrible airflow), and PSU for Skyrim. That way with the new case I could OC my CPU I have currently a bit, and the new GPU would help immensely in Skyrim. Should I do that, or just build a new rig now?

Basically it comes down to if I should build a rig now since my parts are slowly but surely becoming obsolete, or get a GPU, Case, PSU now and in January when things will most certainly be lower price build a rig and use the GPU, Case, PSU I'm about to get. Theoretically getting a new rig in 2 chunks.

Which do you guys think would be the best bet? I'm assuming post-holidays things will be cheaper (in terms of parts) because of it being after the holiday sales, and also new generations of parts coming out. It would probably be a money saver to build the majority of my rig (everything except the case, GPU, PSU I'm about to get in the coming days) in a couple months since prices will go down a bit. But, should I just build it now and have it done and ready to go and not have to worry about it later? I just don't know. It's quite the dilemma, honestly. Any advice on my current state of affairs is highly appreciated guys.


2) Regarding a GPU, Case, PSU upgrade since at the very least that's what I'll be upgrading in the coming days:
I've been researching GPUs EXTENSIVELY. I'm pretty certain I want a 560 Ti 1gb or 6950 2gb. I am really leaning towards the 560 Ti because I am more of an Nvidia kind of guy, but then I stumbled upon something. Nvidia announced a re-fresh (a new 'version', if you will) of the 560 Ti is coming out this Holiday, so in about a month. Getting a 560 Ti now (and I want to upgrade GPUs NOW for Skyrim, not wait for the new 560 Ti) would be silly because it would be replaced by a better version in a month. Seeing that, is it smarter to get a 6950 so it won't be replaced immediately like the 560 Ti? I've never really gotten an AMD GPU, would the 6950 be a good card? Is AMD as bad on drivers as people say?

If the 6950 makes more sense, that brings me to my other part of the question. Which 6950 card is a good one to buy? And is 1gb enough for my uses - 1920x1080 res? There are tons of manufactures and models and what-not, and I just don't know. I've looked at a few that include the HIS IceQ X Turbo, both the 1gb and 2gb versions of the MSI Twin Frozr 6950s, XFX 2gb, Sapphire Flex 2gb, Sapphire Dirt3 Edition 2gb, honestly the list goes on. They vary in price, from about $240-270 with some having MIBs.

3) My third and final question (I know it's been rough going through all this, I apologize).
What case should I get, any suggestions? I'm looking at the $80-120 range, as any lower is cheap and too budget, and any higher is kind of expensive for a case IMO. $80-120 AFTER a MIB is fine though. I've looked at a ton of brands: Antec, NZXT, Corsair, CoolerMaster, Lian Li (kind of like theirs a lot, are these any good?), Silvertone, and a bunch of other ones.

apologize guys for giving you such a lengthy novel that you had to read. I just want advice on these 3 subject areas, and seeing as a lot of the reason I want to upgrade my system or at least some components is for Skyrim (but also other future games). Again, I apologize for having such a long post. Also, when I'm super tired which I am today I kind of get a bit happy with my punctuation, so sorry about the excessive amounts of parenthesis. Haha.

Thanks in advance. I appreciate any time and effort in helping me out. :)
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  1. I am sure most of the members on here will appreciate the in-depth explanation of your situation, it usually helps when giving advice.

    GPU - I would actually suggest a GTX 570 so that you don't have to bother with the GTX 560 Ti refresh. Take a look at eVGA and MSI models.

    System - Buy a new GPU for Skyrim and see how the rest of your system fares. If you are happy with it's performance then you don't need to upgrade.

    Case - I cannot offer any advice on a case, sorry.
  2. I appreciate your reply. I'm just kind of apprehensive and skeptical on paying $3xx dollars on a GPU right now. It just seems like a lot of money. Is the 570 worth it, how future proof is it?

    I would need a new case, GPU, and PSU to get a new GPU as my PSU right now is pretty bad, and my case is horrid.

    But thanks for all your help!
  3. Understandable, do you have a budget for the GPU in mind? If you don't want to spend for a GTX 570 then wait for the GTX 560 Ti refresh, they should be out before the years end.

    What case and PSU do you have?
  4. Both my case and PSU are generic ones that weren't really meant for gaming. They are definitely going to be upgraded no matter what with a new GPU. :P

    I kind of wanted to get a GPU in the next few days, not wait until the re-fresh. In that case, should I go with a 6950? Argh. Just don't know.
  5. I wonder if eVGA will let you step up to the refresh if you get a GTX 560 Ti right now. Give them a call and ask if you purchase a GTX 560 Ti from them and register the card, will they allow you to step up to the GTX 560 Ti "refresh". If they do then no question, get the eVGA GTX 560 Ti and pay another 30-50 dollars when the "refresh" hits the shelves to upgrade.
  6. Cases
    NZXT GAMMA Classic 1 x 120mm fan
    Rosewill Challenger Mid-Tower 2 x 120mm, 1 x 140mm fans
    Antec Three Hundred Illusion 3x120mm + 1x140mm fan

    Cpu cooler
    Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus

    Psu
    Corsair 430w psu

    GPU
    Gigabyte Geforce GTX 560 Ti Dual fans
    Sapphire Radeon HD 6950 2GB Toxic, with Unlocking switch
    EVGA Geforce GTX 570 SuperClocked Lifetime Warranty
  7. If it were me in your situation here is what I would do.

    I would keep the CPU. Upgrade the mobo to a AM3+ DDR3 board and put DDR3 ram in it.

    make sure the Mobo has at least 2xPCIe 2.1 (x8/x8) and put a 6870.

    Down the road you can add another 6870 & CPU (Piledriver) or whatever floats your boat.

    I would suggest the In-Win BUC case, it is wonderful for $84.99 on newegg. Excellent cooling and wiring, expansion and options. Probably the best Sub $130 case out there. Anandtech has a excellent review of it on there site.

    You are looking at $180 for Case/PSU. $170-200 for Mobo/Ram and $175 for the Video card.

    Dropping between $500-$600 now and then another $200-400 in a year/two will probably make your system last until at least 2016/17 depending on the upgrades between now and then (ie. videocard)

    Your CPU isnt a bottleneck now and I doubt upgrading it will garner any real performance increase. You will be better off getting a proper VC and upgrading to a DDR3 platform, and in doing so expands your upgrade paths.

    If you do not want to go with AMD in the future then I suggest a mid range z68 Intel board with a I3 2120 sb and wait until revised IB's are on the shelves before dropping $220+ on a CPU in its lame duck quarter.

    Going the Intel rout will probably cost you up words of an extra $130 on top of what was already listed. It all depends on how you bundle it and whatnot.
  8. Jprobes said:
    If it were me in your situation here is what I would do.

    I would keep the CPU. Upgrade the mobo to a AM3+ DDR3 board and put DDR3 ram in it.

    make sure the Mobo has at least 2xPCIe 2.1 (x8/x8) and put a 6870.

    Down the road you can add another 6870 & CPU (Piledriver) or whatever floats your boat.

    I would suggest the In-Win BUC case, it is wonderful for $84.99 on newegg. Excellent cooling and wiring, expansion and options. Probably the best Sub $130 case out there. Anandtech has a excellent review of it on there site.

    You are looking at $180 for Case/PSU. $170-200 for Mobo/Ram and $175 for the Video card.

    Dropping between $500-$600 now and then another $200-400 in a year/two will probably make your system last until at least 2016/17 depending on the upgrades between now and then (ie. videocard)

    Your CPU isnt a bottleneck now and I doubt upgrading it will garner any real performance increase. You will be better off getting a proper VC and upgrading to a DDR3 platform, and in doing so expands your upgrade paths.

    If you do not want to go with AMD in the future then I suggest a mid range z68 Intel board with a I3 2120 sb and wait until revised IB's are on the shelves before dropping $220+ on a CPU in its lame duck quarter.

    Going the Intel rout will probably cost you up words of an extra $130 on top of what was already listed. It all depends on how you bundle it and whatnot.


    I think I'll go with AMD, because I have a AMD right now and am happy with it. Not to mention it seems like right now AMD is better bang for your buck in terms of CPUs. That's just my perception, though.

    Jprobes, you bring up some really good ideas.

    I may just do what you suggest. That way my PC will be almost entirely upgraded except the CPU, which I can OC in a new case with good cooling anyways. Not to mention it'll only be like $600 to increase my power by a ton. Then come next spring, I'll get a new AMD processor, HDD, and a SSD for booting. And when the need arises, maybe a new GPU or a 2nd one.

    Thanks for your advice, I may just do that. What difference would 8gigs of high-speed DDR3 ram (From like Corsair, Kingston, or something of the sort) make over generic 8gigs DDR2 ? Would it help a lot?

    The case looks decent, but it doesn't seem to have many additional fan options, unless I'm missing something in the description?

    Any recommendations on a PSU? There are so many options... I'm thinking a 650-700ish would work perfect for now and future upgrades in the next months.
  9. I've always been an advocate of Corsair.
  10. Warmacblu said:
    I've always been an advocate of Corsair.


    In terms of cases or PSUs? Or both?
  11. Power supplies.
  12. Warmacblu said:
    Power supplies.


    Oh ok. Is this one any good? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139024
  13. From everything that I have read, lower latency ram actually garners better performance for the price then higher speed ram. But keep in mind that actual real world increase from either will be very difficult to materialize on a day to day basis.

    If you plan on upgrading to a PD/R.2 BD, then I would go with DDR3 1866 as it is what AMD's recommends for those CPU's.

    Corsair/Gskill/Mushkin are really all the same, just see what you can find in combos when you go to buy.
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