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GPU recommendations for aging Core 2 Quad System

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 26, 2011 3:23:33 PM

I used to be a regular a few years back on Toms Hardware and Anandtech Forums, but that was in the days when LGA775 reigned supreme, I work in IT so I have a general idea, but I'm a little out of touch on current offerings and looking for some guidance.

I built the below system a couple of years ago

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Gigabyte P35 DS3L (later replaced by spare ECS 671T-M, due to failure)

Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 2.4Ghz (was OC'ed to 3.0Ghz Prime stable with ASUS Arctic Square, running stock now)

2GB OCZ Gold PC2 6400 DDR2 800Mhz dual channel kit (running at 667Mhz due to lower end Mobo)
(upgrading to Corsair TWINX DDR2 800Mhz 4GB dual channel kit, awaiting delivery)

1 Seagate Barracuda 500GB SATA

Corsair HX520 Modular PSU, 55A out, 520W dual 12V rails

XFX Alpha Dog Edition OC GeForce 8800 GT 512MB

Antec Nine Hundred Case

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any other details I can get if requested, running latest Nvidia drivers as of 12/24/11

Windows 7 with all current Service Packs,

I'm looking to play SWTOR and other games that might come out in the future Mass Effect 3, shooters, RPG's etc, I recently got a Samsung 24" LED 1080p display, so I'm now playing games at 1920x1080 and I've gotten in the habit of tweaking settings to get decent frames.

will be able to spend around 200$-250$ USD on a GPU

so far looking at GeForce GTX 560 Ti variants

and even the popular Radeon HD6950 (even though I typically lean towards Nvida)

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My Question is really, will a system like this be able to take advantage of a newer GPU like stated above, or will I be bottlenecked by my CPU, FSB etc

Other recommendations are welcome

if you know of a quieter card, also a plus, my current can be heard though the entire house

I have a Family and not a lot of disposable income so when I choose hardware I give it a "LOT" of consideration.
a c 172 U Graphics card
December 26, 2011 3:54:30 PM

If 560Ti you have to be very very picky about what you get and only look for top quality designs. If the power vrm isn't very well cooled or no cooling at all its crap period. 6950 (reference models but rare) are top quality and a lot less likely to fail than any Fermi era cards. If Nvidia no matter what a 560Ti is a good card.
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a c 143 U Graphics card
December 27, 2011 12:15:02 AM

angerisagift18 said:
My Question is really, will a system like this be able to take advantage of a newer GPU like stated above, or will I be bottlenecked by my CPU, FSB etc.

Most modern games depend on GPU power, the Q6600 is great and powerful enough to run any game and render it's highest textures and packs. But there's a fact that some games got out of the rule and prefers a faster CPU, so you won't achieve the same results compared to current and previous gens of quad core i7 CPUs.
And i recommend the HD 6950 1GB.
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January 3, 2012 1:52:39 AM

nforce4max said:
If 560Ti you have to be very very picky about what you get and only look for top quality designs. If the power vrm isn't very well cooled or no cooling at all its crap period. 6950 (reference models but rare) are top quality and a lot less likely to fail than any Fermi era cards. If Nvidia no matter what a 560Ti is a good card.


I know I won't get the full gains, but a recent update, I'm back to 800Mhz FSB at least running the 4GB of Corsair XMS2 DDR2 800

dropped in a nicer ASRock board will full support up to 1600 FSB, also put in an order for a CM Hyper 212+ on Amazon had a gift card and it was only $20, hoping to get my OC back at 3.0 on stock vcore

I'm leaning toward the Ti cards, most likely, EVGA, ASUS or XFX,

as I understand there are about 3 generations of GTX 560, the base, the Ti, and 448 cores built on a newer chipset, the 448's are a bit more than I'd like to spend since it will most likely be a gift so Ti sounds like what I'm looking for
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January 3, 2012 1:55:51 AM

ilysaml said:
Most modern games depend on GPU power, the Q6600 is great and powerful enough to run any game and render it's highest textures and packs. But there's a fact that some games got out of the rule and prefers a faster CPU, so you won't achieve the same results compared to current and previous gens of quad core i7 CPUs.
And i recommend the HD 6950 1GB.


If I had the money I'd be dropping in probably like an i5 2500K, good name brand board, (Gigabyte, ASUS etc, and about 8GB of DDR3, but I don't so it will have to be limited to one of those cards

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Any reason you would choose the Radeon HD 6950 1GB over the GTX 560, and if so which manufacturer and variant?
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January 3, 2012 3:56:15 AM

angerisagift18 said:
If I had the money I'd be dropping in probably like an i5 2500K, good name brand board, (Gigabyte, ASUS etc, and about 8GB of DDR3, but I don't so it will have to be limited to one of those cards

...

Any reason you would choose the Radeon HD 6950 1GB over the GTX 560, and if so which manufacturer and variant?


It really depends of which games you play. Head over to http://www.anandtech.com/bench/GPU11/188 and see for yourself which games get higher FPS on the Amd 6950 and the 560ti.

As for the 560ti, i agree with nforce4max, I cheaped out and bought the cheapest version of the 560 ti I can find in my country(Singapore), the palit 560 ti dual fan version. The power vrm was not cooled at all.So even with a relatively mild OC to 900 mhz core (locked shaders frequency to core speed), my GPU locks up in BF3.
The highest stable OC I could achieve was 890mhz core with 2100 mhz mem using the MSI afterburner software.

Where in almost every forum I visit, i see the 560 ti reaching to 950 mhz core and above.

Also my system specs are very similar to yours.
My q6600 is OC'ed to 3.2ghz and so far I have had no problems in games like BF3, rage and dirt 3.
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