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GPU upgrade/bottleneck question

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 30, 2011 1:06:33 AM

I have found a very nice deal on an XFX Radeon 6950 with 2GB of DDR5 ram, I have only read great things about this card and fits perfectly in my budget. I am currently running an XFX 5770 with a Core 2 Quad q6600 @2.4 GHz. It runs pretty well but does get a little sluggish on games like Battlefield 3 and Crysis 2 if I try to max them out. I can't upgrade the CPU as I absolutely cannot afford to tear the system apart and get a new MOBO right now, maybe in the future. If I upgrade to the 6950 will my current CPU noticeably bottleneck it? The highest resolution I will be playing at in the foreseeable future is 1440x900. Thank you!
a b U Graphics card
December 30, 2011 1:32:03 AM

The CPU will be a bottleneck in some games but not others. If you do get the 6950, you should also save up for a 1080p monitor, the 1440x900 screen won't do it justice.
a c 376 U Graphics card
December 30, 2011 1:46:55 AM

Can you overclock the Q6600? That would help a lot.
The HD6950 is crazy overpowered for your resolution. Unless you are going to upgrade the monitor it is not what you should be looking at. An HD6850(or GTX 460) is about the most you should bother with at such a low resolution.
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December 30, 2011 1:50:45 AM

jyjjy said:
Can you overclock the Q6600? That would help a lot.
The HD6950 is crazy overpowered for your resolution. Unless you are going to upgrade the monitor it is not what you should be looking at. An HD6850(or GTX 460) is about the most you should bother with at such a low resolution.


So hypothetically if I was playing at a 1080p resolution, would I be bottlenecked? Part the the reason I like the 6950 is because it gives me some room to upgrade other parts in the future, i.e. the monitor.

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a c 376 U Graphics card
December 30, 2011 1:57:45 AM
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The HD6850 would still be pretty good at 1080p. Perhaps an HD6870 would be the best choice for you. Not too much more expensive than the HD6850 but much cheaper than the HD6950 and it can handle 1080p rather well if you do upgrade.
The problem with the Q6600 is the low clock speed. For games that utilize all 4 cores it is serviceable if not very good still but there are a lot games that still only use two cores and for those 2.4ghz is just very low. It will bottleneck an HD6950 in basically every game at 1440x900 as the card just isn't appropriate for that resolution and will still bottleneck most at 1080p if you don't overclock.
December 30, 2011 2:15:09 AM

Interesting. I'm in a tough spot because the Q6600 is the highest I can go with my motherboard, and my bios is locked so I can't overclock it. :fou: 

So, if I was to go with the HD6870, would I see an improvement over my current setup? I mean right now I can play Battlefield 3 on Ultra settings but it generally lags a bit in high-intensity situations.

I definitely want to start fresh with a new system with a monster CPU maybe in the next year and a half, and if the 6950 will still be good by then it makes it tempting..
a c 376 U Graphics card
December 30, 2011 2:27:47 AM

Well, the HD5770 is still quite good for your resolution. I dunno about BF3 at Ultra good though as that is quite intensive. To test if the performance issue is from the card vs PSU try lowering settings in the game that only stress the GPU. Like lower shadows and AA. If you still get the lag you are talking about then it is the CPU that is the issue. In games where it isn't limited by the CPU the HD6870 should be roughly 60% faster than the HD5770.
A year and a half is a long time for video cards. By then there will likely be cards on par with the HD6950 for half the price with better power efficiency and more current features. It's really best to just buy something reasonably priced and appropriate for your current situation rather than thinking that far ahead.
December 30, 2011 2:33:52 AM

Thank you you've been very helpful!
December 30, 2011 2:34:02 AM

Best answer selected by bakekrukow.
!