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Upgrading my build

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March 23, 2012 7:23:38 PM

My current set up is a
Motherboard:Gigabyte GA-M68MT-D3P
CPU:AMD Athlon II x2 250 3.0ghz (stock heatsink/fan)
PSU: 600 watt Rosewill
Video Card: HIS ICe q radeon 4470
Ram: 2gb ram

Im going to be upgrading soon, keeping motherboard for now into in till i crossfire (only 1 full size pci express), but upgrade the cpu, ram and video card now.

For the cpu im thinking of getting the Phenom II x4 960T black edition, and i want to OC it to 3.6 - 4.0 ghz, can anyone recommend a good heatsink for that?

Ram, just some decent ram 8gbs of it something like this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video card i currently have this 6870 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... in mind, and later on crossfiring it with the same thing.

Open to suggestions, but want to keep it all under $350 total.

I want to run alot of games like gta iv, bf3 etc on high settings at 1920x1080. My current setup has a hard time running garrys mod at high settings lol. Also id like to run dolphin emulator and null dc, and render games in 1920x1080
Oh will my current PSU be enough? I know I might have to upgrade it when I crossfire, but for now with 1 6870? What about if overclock cpu and video card? will 600 wats still be enough?

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March 23, 2012 7:53:08 PM

Current PSU will work fine with that setup. The HD 6870 can run all games on high at 1080p.
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March 23, 2012 7:55:09 PM

jessterman21 said:
Current PSU will work fine with that setup. The HD 6870 can run all games on high at 1080p.

Thanks man, notice you have that card with a athlon ii x2, how is it performing for you with that cpu? Is cpu even that important for gaming? What about rendering games in 1080p with dolphin and nulldc?
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March 23, 2012 8:11:21 PM

It works fine, but as soon as I started up some of my newest games, I could tell the card is being held back by my weak dual-core. Matching a strong GPU with a strong CPU is important. (I am playing at a lower resolution than you, so I see my CPU bottleneck - you might not, because the higher the resolution, the more your computer relies on the video card.)

The thing that's really annoying about PC gaming with a strong GPU and a weak CPU is the low minimum framerates. A lot of my games drop to 20fps when a lot of stuff is going on in the scene I'm looking at. Looking out on a huge vista, or looking at a group of NPCs usually drops the framerate to 25-30 (a noticeable change from 50-60). Even Portal and Portal 2 drop from 60 sometimes. In any case, I'm ready to upgrade to LGA 1155 with an i3 build soon - to smooth everything out, and let my video card cut loose!

I do love my HD 6870 though. Most everything runs at an average of 60+ except for Crysis and my newest games (Dirt3, Crysis 2). And for the most part, my Athlon II keeps up okay.

As far as Dolphin and NullDC, I've never used either of those emulators, but I know that a strong CPU is very important for emulating games on PC. I can guarantee the HD 6870 has enough muscle to run those, but I'm doubtful about the Athlon II.
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March 23, 2012 8:15:50 PM

jessterman21 said:
It works fine, but as soon as I started up some of my newest games, I could tell the card is being held back by my weak dual-core. Matching a strong GPU with a strong CPU is important. (I am playing at a lower resolution than you, so I see my CPU bottleneck - you might not, because the higher the resolution, the more your computer relies on the video card.)

The thing that's really annoying about PC gaming with a strong GPU and a weak CPU is the low minimum framerates. A lot of my games drop to 20fps when a lot of stuff is going on in the scene I'm looking at. Looking out on a huge vista, or looking at a group of NPCs usually drops the framerate to 25-30 (a noticeable change from 50-60). Even Portal and Portal 2 drop from 60 sometimes. In any case, I'm ready to upgrade to LGA 1155 with an i3 build soon - to smooth everything out, and let my video card cut loose!

I do love my HD 6870 though. Most everything runs at an average of 60+ except for Crysis and my newest games (Dirt3, Crysis 2).


Thanks for the clearing that up, so a phenom ii x4 960t shouldnt bottleneck the video card right? I want to overclock it to atleast 3.6ghz but 4 ghz if i can, and ill try to unlock the other 2 cores.
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March 23, 2012 8:24:09 PM

bpear96 said:
Thanks for the clearing that up, so a phenom ii x4 960t shouldnt bottleneck the video card right? I want to overclock it to atleast 3.6ghz but 4 ghz if i can, and ill try to unlock the other 2 cores.

Yep, should be a good match with that card. A higher clock is more important for today's games than a 6-core CPU, so if it comes to a choice between those two options (it often does with that processor), leave the extra cores locked and go for the higher overclock.
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March 23, 2012 9:29:34 PM

Best answer selected by bpear96.
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March 23, 2012 9:29:58 PM

jessterman21 said:
Yep, should be a good match with that card. A higher clock is more important for today's games than a 6-core CPU, so if it comes to a choice between those two options (it often does with that processor), leave the extra cores locked and go for the higher overclock.

Ok awesome, gonna do some shopping around and order what i said in OP then XD
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March 23, 2012 9:35:38 PM

What about zosma vs deneb Phenom ii x4s? which one should i get?
and the 965, 970 etc are phenom ii x4s are there any differences in them really? besides there stock clock.

nvm found all that out :D 
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March 23, 2012 9:52:58 PM

About to order a AMD Phenom II X4 975, decided to get the 975 because its only $15 more, and should be highest quality phenom ii x4, so should be able to overclock highest and stable, plus its already 3.6ghz stock. and a AMD Phenom II X4 MSI R6870 Twin Frozr II Radeon HD 6870. and looking for ram and heatsink now.
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March 23, 2012 10:46:00 PM

Got G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-8GBXL and COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm pretty happy with all this, should be a decent upgrade !! :D 
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March 23, 2012 11:01:37 PM

Good call on all those parts! I definitely recommend the Deneb over the Zosma/crippled Thuban; great card - best cooler on the market; great CPU cooler - that's the budget overclocker's choice; and Ripjaws always do a great job.

Congratulations: provided everything works like it should, you're now the proud owner of a great AMD gaming rig!
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March 24, 2012 12:48:42 AM

jessterman21 said:
Good call on all those parts! I definitely recommend the Deneb over the Zosma/crippled Thuban; great card - best cooler on the market; great CPU cooler - that's the budget overclocker's choice; and Ripjaws always do a great job.

Congratulations: provided everything works like it should, you're now the proud owner of a great AMD gaming rig!


Thanks im pretty excited! Glad I made all the right choices. I also plan on later getting a better/nicer case then my current one and a small ssd for windows.
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March 24, 2012 7:14:21 AM

Just changed it up alittle bit!, Got a like new barely used MSI Twin Frozr II Radeon HD 6950 2GB for $195 that can possibly be unlocked to 6970, and to make up for cost i got a OEM AMD phenom ii 970, vs retail 975, but doesnt really matter since im overclocking and using cm 212+ anyways :D  even more excited now.
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March 24, 2012 12:12:38 PM

bpear96 said:
Just changed it up alittle bit!, Got a like new barely used MSI Twin Frozr II Radeon HD 6950 2GB for $195 that can possibly be unlocked to 6970, and to make up for cost i got a OEM AMD phenom ii 970, vs retail 975, but doesnt really matter since im overclocking and using cm 212+ anyways :D  even more excited now.

Good shopping - the HD 6950 is a decent step above the 6870, but I wouldn't try unlocking it - too many cards have been bricked because of that. Just overclock and you'll get the same performance.
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