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Best upgrade options?

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January 30, 2012 7:19:33 PM

First off, sorry if this is in the incorrect forum. Didn't see a forum specific for upgrading.

I built my first PC back in November, and so far it's been great. Lately I've been thinking about possible routes for upgrades, and wanted some opinions.

Here is my current build:
Coolermaster HAF 912 Case
Gigabyte 990xA-UD3 Motherboard
XFX 650w Power Supply
AMD Phenom II x4 980 CPU Overclocked to 4.2 GHz
Antec Kuhler H20 620 CPU cooler
XFX Radeon HD 6870
8GB Kingston ValueRAM
2 1TB Drives (Can't remember the model)

I was originally thinking about getting a second 6870 for Crossfire, but what do you think? RAM upgrade? Upgrade to FX-8150? What is the best route for gaming performance?

Thanks in advance.

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January 30, 2012 8:03:44 PM

What's your upgrade budget? That'll really determine you upgrade limit.

Games nowadays are really GPU-limited, so your first upgrade should really be a second 6870, then the CPU/mobo. 8GB RAM is more than enough for games (most use 4GB; 6 max), so adding more RAM would just be a waste.
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January 30, 2012 8:10:44 PM

The only thing you need to upgrade is your video card. HD7970?
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January 30, 2012 8:33:47 PM

boiler1990 said:
What's your upgrade budget? That'll really determine you upgrade limit.

Games nowadays are really GPU-limited, so your first upgrade should really be a second 6870, then the CPU/mobo. 8GB RAM is more than enough for games (most use 4GB; 6 max), so adding more RAM would just be a waste.

I was thinking replacing what I have with higher quality stuff. And what cpu/mobo upgrade would you suggest?

geekapproved said:
The only thing you need to upgrade is your video card. HD7970?

That would be nice, but I don't have a lot of money to spend so the second 6870 is a better option for me.

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January 30, 2012 10:53:33 PM

If you're looking for a total platform overhaul, the i5-2500K/Z68 is probably your best bet (or wait until Ivy Bridge comes out in a month or two).

If you can only afford to upgrade the CPU, you could just drop a Bulldozer chip on that board and you should be good to go (might need to check the BIOS). Cost-wise this option makes more sense.
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January 30, 2012 11:24:33 PM

The cpu you have now is faster than bulldozer, so that would be dumb.

There's no reason to upgrade that cpu is if your running 2 or more high end video cards.
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January 31, 2012 1:59:06 PM

geekapproved said:
The cpu you have now is faster than bulldozer, so that would be dumb.

There's no reason to upgrade that cpu is if your running 2 or more high end video cards.


So I guess either a 7970 or a second 6870 is best option at the moment.

Would the best possible CPU upgrade right now just to be to move over to Intel? Cause from what I'm hearing the 8150 isn't even as good as some as the quadcore phenoms.
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January 31, 2012 2:09:52 PM

LeonardLP said:
So I guess either a 7970 or a second 6870 is best option at the moment.

Would the best possible CPU upgrade right now just to be to move over to Intel? Cause from what I'm hearing the 8150 isn't even as good as some as the quadcore phenoms.


My opinion would be to Xfire the 6870s - although folk do run into some issues with them on occasion, when combined they are a force to be reckoned with! Be warned that your PII will be a bottleneck to them in some games though.

In answer to your question - Yes, an upgrade to Intel would be the best option here. Even an 8150 @ 4.6+Ghz won't be much of an upgrade of your 4.2Ghz PII - But an i5 2500k OCed to the same speed...Cooor Blimey.
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January 31, 2012 2:12:15 PM

deadjon said:
My opinion would be to Xfire the 6870s - although folk do run into some issues with them on occasion, when combined they are a force to be reckoned with! Be warned that your PII will be a bottleneck to them in some games though.

In answer to your question - Yes, an upgrade to Intel would be the best option here. Even an 8150 @ 4.6+Ghz won't be much of an upgrade of your 4.2Ghz PII - But an i5 2500k OCed to the same speed...Cooor Blimey.


How would I prevent the bottleneck? Never encountered it before. Lower the cpu speeds?
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January 31, 2012 2:59:10 PM

LeonardLP said:
How would I prevent the bottleneck? Never encountered it before. Lower the cpu speeds?


What he's saying is that your CPU will be limiting the framerate of your games rather than your GPU, meaning higher OCs.

However, the i5-2500K (stock) isn't a whole lot different in game performance than your 980 @ its OCs (see stock comparisons below), and an i5 doesn't restrict a whole lot of SLI/XFire GPUs. You shouldn't have an issue upgrading to a second 6870.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/288?vs=362
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January 31, 2012 3:25:45 PM

Yes, get the second 6870. Don't worry about your CPU, it's going to last you another two years easily.
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January 31, 2012 4:38:35 PM

LeonardLP said:
How would I prevent the bottleneck? Never encountered it before. Lower the cpu speeds?

to get rid of bottleneck you will want to OC further. But don't worry, even if your CPU bottlenecks it will be at playable framerate.

Honestly, look into upgrading your GPU. I think CF is your best bet.

PII have very good gaming performance at the moment and with ivy bridge around the corner there's simply no point to upgrade your CPU right now.
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January 31, 2012 5:44:11 PM

Best answer selected by LeonardLP.
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January 31, 2012 5:44:27 PM

Thanks for the replies everyone! Really helped me out.
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January 31, 2012 6:52:24 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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