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Video Card upgrade question for 3 year old system...

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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November 21, 2011 5:20:50 PM

Folks,

Well, its time for me to upgrade my video card in my 3 year old system. I currently have a Nvidea Geforce 8800 GTS 512 card and am looking to upgrade to either a Radeon HD 6870 or a Geforce 560 Ti card. My question is will it be worth it for me to upgrade to a more modern video card (i.e. the HD 6870/Geforce 560 Ti) given my slightly older mobo (P35 mobo) and CPU (E8400).

From what I have found so far, I have mixed messages. While its a given that the PCI-Ex16 1.0/1.0a slot will limit a PCI-Ex16 2.0/2.1 card i've also read that the difference is negligible given the actual performance difference. I've also read some posts that say the E8400 wont limit a new video card that much, and some posts that say it will. Confusing to say the least.

I would hope I could hear from someone in my own predicament, and find out what they did and what the results of their upgrade was and if they were satisfied with it.

My current system set up:

Gigabyte GA-P35-S3G LGA 775 mobo
Intel Core Duo E8400 CPU
2 gig ram (2x1 DDR2 800) memory
500 gig Western Digital HD
Geforce 8800 GTS 512 video card
Win XP
Generic DVD drive

Planning on making the following upgrades:

Win 7 Premium Home Edition
additional 4 gig ram (2x2 DDR2 800) for a total of 6 gig
Either a Radeon HD 6870 or Geforce 560 Ti video card.

My main concern is my mobo has a PCI Express x 16 slot and not a PCI E Express 2.0/2.1 x 16 slot. What kind of performance hit will I experience (if any) in putting a PCI E 2.0/2.1 card into a backwards compatible slot? Any concerns that it might not work at all?

Secondly, how badly (if at all) will I bottleneck myself with those modern video cards and my Intel Core Duo E8400 CPU? For what its worth, I typical game at lower resolution levels anyway, and prefer a decent combination of graphic detail vs playability...usually at 1280x1024 and sometimes at 1680x1050.

Basic reasons for upgrade is the entry of games like Battlefield 3 and others (SWTOR) that flat out require Win 7 and a better video card to run decently.

Thanks in advance for your comments!!!
a c 105 U Graphics card
November 21, 2011 5:47:07 PM

regardless of what anybody says.......... the 8400 will hold you back to an extent. Quad cores are a must for gaming and have been for a while. Even when highly over clocked you'll lose out somewhere. Multi core/multi thread.........

dump the 6gig memory thoughts and run the 2 2gig sticks if it's the route you go. Not saying the system wouldn't use the extra ram but like the thought of running in dual channel mode. Don't know if things have changed much but it used to not play nice.

W7 64bit OEM is all you really need. you can save money there.

either video card will work fine at 1200 res.

Before I dump money into it I would consider an overhaul. mobo/proc/ram.
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November 21, 2011 6:00:09 PM

Well, 3 years ago, Quad cores were just coming out and actually ran games slower than the dual core E8xxx chips. I know the proc will hold me back, but the question is just how much? Enough to not make it worthwhile?

Point being if I am able to get a consistent 50+ fps in a game at moderate settings, then it would be worth the cost and possibly extend me building a whole new rig for at least another year (or so).
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November 21, 2011 6:05:46 PM

I have a e7200 overclocked to 3.6ghz and a AMD 6870. The gpu is slightly bottlenecked at 1680x1050 but can play any game at high to ultra without AA.

The cpu is starting to show its age and is needing an upgrade however investing in a new gpu will breath a lot into that system. As for the pci-x it is not an issue for a single card however do not try to crossfire.
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a c 105 U Graphics card
November 21, 2011 6:06:11 PM

A video card upgrade and more ram ( 4gigs total ) - ( of the same stuff ) will help a lot.
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November 22, 2011 6:05:24 PM

This is interesting because I have the same mobo and cpu and a 8800GT. I will also be upgrading to a 560ti shortly after the New Year. Im running a CO version of the e8400 at 3.4GhZ. I want to try to get it up to 3.6 but it is having issues. I need to get in the OC thread and see what I can do to bump it up. I have P95, CPUID and Core Temp. It just doesn't like 3.6 at stock voltage and the mobo doesn't like it when I bump up the voltage. F7 Bios.
Oh yea 1st post on Toms although I've browsed for years. :hello: 
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November 22, 2011 6:29:45 PM

My current system is a e8400 bumped to 3.6 with a HD6850. I play BF3 and SKyrim on high @ 1920 x 1080. I have 0 issues with these games. You can get 2 gig of ram from ebay for around $40 - $60. I was running 2 8800gt in sli and when i switched the vid card it made all the difference in the world.
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November 22, 2011 6:42:56 PM

I have the same card (8800 GTS) only i have a E7200. SWTOR ran fine on my system during beta. I had the resolution up to 1920x1080, though i had most of the settings on low. I would imagine you could have everything a little higher with lower resolutions

BF3 is a whole other beast though. I can run it at low settings at 1920x1080 still, but my video card probably hates me for it.

I'm hoping to get an interim card until my next build mainly for BF3.
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November 22, 2011 11:31:06 PM

Well, I went over the old thread again and got the e8400 up to 3.6 and so far its stable and running at its usual temps. More testing to be done.
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!