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What would you suggest I upgrade?

Last response: in Systems
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January 3, 2012 4:55:35 AM

Hi all, I am planning on upgrading my PC – just for context:
I know my hardware is outdated, and If I want to upgrade my PC to a new CPU I would need a new mobo, ram, etc.
I won't be able to buy myself an i7 or a CPU on a similar socket for many years as I spend pretty much all my income on flying lessons.

I have a spare $200 at the moment, and I have recently been playing SWTOR (Star Wars The Old Republic) and a little bit of Battlefield 3.

Here are my specs:

PSU: Corsair VX-450 80 PLUS
CPU: Intel e6500 Overclocked at 3.5 GHZ
GPU: AMD HD Radeon 4770 – 512MB GDDR5
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-G31M-ES2L – Intel® G31 + ICH7 Chipset
RAM: 2GB DDR2 Ram – CPU-Z indicates DRAM Freq is 400MHZ which I believe means that it is 800MHZ Real(?))

Heatsink: Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus
HDD: SAMSUNG EcoGreen F4 HD204UI 2TB

I am planning on buying my friends secondhand DDR2 4GB ram. My OS is already 64 bit.

Now, I have been playing Star Wars The Old Republic a lot lately, and need an upgrade that would be worthwhile for that game, amongst others.

I can play it at around 30 FPS sustained on high at the moment, and now here is my real question:

I am planning to update either my GPU or my CPU. What do you think would be best to upgrade?
Upgrade my Dual core e6500 CPU to a Quad core?
Or upgrade my ATI 4770 to a 6xxx series GPU?

Could you please link me a model you would suggest I upgrade to?

Thank you!

More about : suggest upgrade

January 3, 2012 5:49:35 AM

I'd go for the gpu if it were my decision. If you upgrade your gpu it'll still work in the mobo you get when upgrade your cpu. Then you can save up and get a mobo/cpu combo you'll be happy with instead of settling now. Games are usually more gpu dependent anyways.
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January 3, 2012 10:41:16 AM

Tom's did benchmarks on the two games you mention: SWTOR BF3. Both would be fine with your present CPU. Get the best graphics card you can afford. Just go to newegg or your favorite retailer and filter by price. Your present card is pretty feeble, so the difference will be like night and day. You will experience pleasure.
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January 3, 2012 11:05:10 AM

I would, too, suggest the GPU upgrade. What resolution are you playing at?

And I would personally suggest a 6870, as I am an AMD GPU guy, but with that budget you can get a GTX 560
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January 3, 2012 11:28:46 AM

Alright, thanks guys, I'll order a GTX 560.
The cheapest option I have is to go with Gainward, can anyone confirm that this should be fine?

Also, on a side note, for some reason I can only overclock my CPU when I have my RAM in Slot One, and not Slot Two. Anyone have any idea as to why this would be, and if when I add my second stick of ram I would still be able to overclock?

Thanks!
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January 3, 2012 11:38:03 AM

You can find a 6870 for cheaper then the 560 which is essentially a "better" card. It'll run a tad hotter (depends on your setup).

I'd wait a few weeks for the 7770, a budget card that is comparable to the 6850, or just go ahead with a 560 or 6870.
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January 3, 2012 11:39:07 AM

The GTX560 is a mighty fine card :D  . Gainward is a brand I have seen floating around but I have no experience with their products. My personal Favorite is EVGA but their stuff tends to run on the high side. And for your overclocking conundrum I think it could be voltage related. That PSU is 450w right? that could be a serious problem for overclocking AND your new GPU.
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January 3, 2012 11:46:22 AM

I used the eXtreme Power Supply Calculator, and i purposely over compensated - and it says I should only draw 393 W with that over compensation.
Anyone else have any suggestions as to if the PSU is powerful enough?
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January 4, 2012 3:43:03 AM

http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/high_end_gpus.html

Passmark benchmarks of video cards with average prices for January 2012. I have the 6950 and the 560 is rated barely below it. I haven't played anything so far that I can't run as high as it will go. I haven't played a lot of the newer stuff yet though. Passmark is a good place to get an idea of how your desired hardware will perform.
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January 4, 2012 4:00:19 AM

Hi, thanks all for responding, I literally not just 5 minutes ago ordered a GTX 560 along with 4GB of G-Skill DDR2 Ram.

Would you be able to tell me if the VX-450 could handle the GTX 560 along with an overclock of an e6500 @ 3.5 GHZ?

p.s. would you suggest I change my order or keep the 560? I think from reviews I read the 560 either outperforms it or comes close.


Thanks!
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January 4, 2012 7:56:10 PM

If you've already ordered then hell I'd stick with it. I've just bought a Sapphire 6870 for my first ever build because that's cheaper where I live but either are great mid range cards. I'd urge you to grab an 80+ certified 550 PSU at the least though with the 560, especially since you've already OC'd your CPU quite a lot.
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January 5, 2012 8:49:18 PM

Okay, well however, is the general consensus that If I get rid of my overclock my 450 watt PSU will power it fine? I checked on the NVIDIA website and it said the minimum wattage for the GTX 560 is 450 Watt.

I also used this:
http://www.thermaltake.outervision.com/Power

These are the settings I used:

Intel Pentium Dual-Core E6500 2930 MHz Wolfdale
^ Set to 3500 Mhz and 1.6 VCore (over compensating on VCore)
2 Sticks DDR2 SDRAM
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Which requires 100 more wattage than the non Ti)
1 Green SATA Hard Drive
1 DVDRW Drive
5 USB Devices
1 80MM Fan
100% System Load
15% Capacitor Aging

and it says: Recommended PSU Wattage = 450 w, exactly 450.

Now considering I set the VCore to 1.6, whereas i need at least 0.1 less than that to get a successful overclock, as well as the fact that I selected the GTX 560 Ti, which requires 100 more wattage than the GTX 560 as stated on the NVIDIA Website, is it safe to assume that it should use NO MORE than 450 watts at peak load?

Based on these results would you say I could or could not overclock?

Edit: I also used this
http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp

and with the same settings it says 463W. But again, i'm over compensating on my VCore and selecting GTX 560 Ti instead of GTX 560.
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January 5, 2012 10:55:44 PM

I don't feel safe with less than 20 percent overkill in PSU wattage. I would get a beefier supply in any event. My two cents.
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January 6, 2012 3:28:55 AM

Well that's kind of what I did. I set capacitor aging as to 15% and over compensated on my VCore when i ran the test.

P.S A friend is buying the 6870 and I've bought the GTX 560 - AMD Site says 6870 needs a 500 watt PSU whereas NVIDIA site says gtx 560 needs a 450 watt.

I'm confused as most people say the AMD card requires less lower?


Edit: I got my GTX 560 and it's installed - however it's idling at 60 degrees celcius. This doesn't seem right, anyone know?
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January 9, 2012 8:20:43 PM

I think I know why it's running so hot, when I played BF3 - I was only running at 55 degrees Celsius, LESS than my idle temp!

This makes me think:
In idle, the card is not switching back to 2d clock speeds, it's staying at 3D
and perhaps the fan speed is too low.

Also, while playing BF3 - I had these black lines flashing all about, I'm going to play another game to see if it's a graphical artifact, however I read that it may be the latest nvidia drivers causing this?

If anyone can provide info on both subjects it would be appreciated.
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