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Worth upgrading vid card now or wait and do complete rebuild?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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November 26, 2011 12:27:29 PM

I'm thinking of upgrading my video card from a nvidia 9800 gtx+ to something like SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 6850 on newegg for $130 after mail in rebate. My big concern is will it work in my older comp with pci 1 and if it does will it be worth the upgrade? I've heard pci 2 runs slower in pci 1 slots. I don't know how much that would affect gaming. I'm currently playing games like Battlefield 3 and Skyrim alot and they work great on lower settings but would like to try some higher settings. I've also been thinking about doing a complete rebuild getting new mobo and processer and stuff. But am a bit leary since I've never messed with that stuff before. If I went that way I wouldn't be able to afford it until maybe next summer or fall. I'll list my computer info below. Let me know if I am missing anything important.

Dell XPS 720
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Quad CPU Q6600 @ 2.40GHz, 2400 Mhz, 4 Core(s), 4 Logical Processor(s)
Ram: 4GB
Motherboard: NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI
Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX+
PSU: 750 watt
a b U Graphics card
November 26, 2011 3:20:49 PM

Getting a newer card like the HD 6850 would help especially since it supports newer tech like DX11
and can always be used later for new build
warning upgrading CPU/Mobo can be tricky with Dell due to them using non standard
form factors
I am not sure of the XPS 720 but it might be a BTX instead of ATX/mATX mobo
would be better off selling or gifting and doing a build from the case up
easier
also some XPS systems allow some overclocking so check your BIOS
(usually F2 on boot on Dells)
to see if their is overclocking options
since a Q6600 at 2.4 can cause a bottleneck or slowdown on higher end GPUs
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November 26, 2011 8:51:04 PM

Allright thx for the info. Thats kind of what I was afraid of was having a bottleneck where the card might not be worth the upgrade. Also I know theres is overclocking options in the bios on my comp but I havn't messed with it since I don't know that much about overclocking atm. What would you recomend overclocking too if I did. I've always been afraid to mess with it too much without doing any research on it first. Don't want to burn anything up or cause harm somehow. Also I'd like to get a little more info about using the newer card in a pci-e 1 slot if that will bottleneck the card too much or anything.
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a b U Graphics card
November 26, 2011 9:07:29 PM

I use a Hd 5670 PCIe 2.1 in a Dell 1.0A slot
comparing benchmarks (I am a benching freak)
I found with a decent OC that the loss of performance is overcome
basically can OC the card back to stock PCIe 2.1 levels

as far as OCIng the XPS the Q6600 is an excellent overclocker
should be able to get up to 3.0 pretty easily even on decent stock air cooling
without raising voltages
just bump up the FSB from 1066 to 1333
but also I would suggest posting in the Overclocking forum
listing your settings that can be changed in BIOS in the thread
and ask for advice there
overclocking WITHOUT raising voltage is actually pretty safe
it is when voltages are raised that it gets "dangerous"
a Q6600 around 2.8-3.0ghz wouldnt be a bottleneck for a HD 6850
would be a good match of card and CPU (if CPU is OCd)

and a Q6600 @3ghz with a OCd HD 6850 would be a decent enough
gaming rig that you could hold out for new build

I would say that combo by looking at BF3 benches could play BF3 at 1680x01050
at pretty high settings
even play 1920x1080 at medium settings
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a b U Graphics card
November 26, 2011 9:09:35 PM

Also OCing a GPU is really easy
just use something like MSI Afterburner or Rivatuner which are free downloads
(just google)
again without raising voltages and also keeping an eye on temperatures
it is pretty safe
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November 26, 2011 10:40:07 PM

Awesome. Thats just about exactly the kind of info I was looking for. Thanks alot. I think I will try overclocking a little and see if everything seems stable and then go ahead with the new video card and maybe look into replacing cpu/mobo next year sometime or maybe longer than that if everything still runs good by then.
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a b U Graphics card
November 27, 2011 12:33:40 AM

here this is a good read to get started
http://techreport.com/articles.x/13815/1

again watch out for upping the voltage
just google "beginners guide to overclocking core 2 quad (Q6600)"
and there is alot out there

usually if you push an OC too hard (w/o upping voltage)
the most that happens is you cant boot into windows
which either you can reset settings in BIOS
or in worst case scenarios remove mobo battery (with power removed)
for a minute

and Toms overclocking forum here has some of the most knowledgeable
OCers on the web
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November 27, 2011 6:08:59 PM

It's been a while since I looked at my bios and I guess I was wrong about it letting me overclock it from there. But after messing around a bit I figured out I could change the FSB clock in the nvidia control panel thing. I actually downloaded that a while ago trying to find a program that would let me adjust the huge fans in my case that don't ever seem to turn on much. The first version I found was older and worked for adjusting the fan speed but I seen there was a newer version but several years old still and it doesn't allow me to change the fan speed for some reason. But anyway it lets me change the FSB clock by 1mhz increments and changes the cpu mhz by 9. I've been messing with it and once it gets a little above 2.8ghz or around 311 on the FSB it will just freeze up and I have to hold my power button to turn off the computer. It seems fine and stable at 2.8ghz and has improved my 3dmark vantage score a little. But when I play battlefield 3 it seems worse and have trouble running around sometimes almost like when your latency is lagging and you run in place for a sec or it kicks you back a step and also seems to lower my FPS a little bit. If I go back to the stock 2.4ghz it works fine again. Not sure if I'm doing something wrong or what but I may just get the new video card and forget about trying to overclock. I may still do some reading on it and mess around a little more to see if I can get some improvement out of it. But so far battlefield 3 has ran best just running stock settings.

I just tried CoD Black Ops at 2.8ghz and it worked good so maybe just something weird with B3. I think i'm close to the min requirements for that game might have something to do with it just kinda weird it works better at 2.4ghz. I did a little more testing on it and seems to run good until you get above 2.5ghz then it starts to get that stutter step like i'm lagging.
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December 4, 2011 8:57:01 AM

Best answer selected by tony2362.
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