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Better Upgrade: CPU or GPU?

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July 13, 2012 9:22:34 PM

I'll make this short and sweet.

Here is my current setup:

Asus M5A78L-M LX Motherboard AM3+
AMD FX-4100
8GB of DDR3
PNY Nvidia GTX 550 Ti
Dual [Matching] 23" LED LCD Acer Monitors
Cooler Master Elite 430 Mid Tower ATX w/ Window
600 Watt PSU

I have a Beta key to the upcoming Guild Wars 2 Beta weekend. I'm wanting to stream it on Twitch.tv.
My system does ok streaming certain things, but bottlenecks somewhere and my CPU gets maxed.

My primary questions is this: Which would be a better upgrade for my system at this time. A better CPU or a better GPU?

I've considered the HD 6870 or the HD 6950. I've had my FX4100 OC'd to 4.6 for a while, but I would need better cooling to keep it that way. It didn't seem to help much regardless.

I've been racking my brain over this, and I was hoping to get some feedback from a knowledgeable community.

You now have the floor... thoughts?

More about : upgrade cpu gpu

July 13, 2012 10:00:21 PM

GPU, most CPU's don't play a large role on you're gaming performance. I do recommend also updating you're CPU just to keep up to date with hardware features. CPU's hyperthreading helps alot with rendering videos and such. But you want a card to multitask at high rates because live streaming just beats up you're computer performance.

So for my answer i recommend a video card upgrade.

-MaTRiiX
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July 13, 2012 10:08:13 PM

Well, unless you want to go with Intel which would require a new mobo as well, I would upgrade your GPU. A better AMD CPU would only give you a small performance gain in games so I wouldn't blow your money on that. Actually, I would upgrade the GPU anyhow. It will give you a much larger increase in gaming performance than any CPU upgrade since the GTX 550 Ti is fairly weak.
The HD 6870 is not a bad choice, but for about $50 more the HD 7850 is much more solid. Check out Tom's articles on best CPU and GPU for the money too, very informative!
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July 13, 2012 10:38:09 PM

Well, so far it seems the unanimous decision is to upgrade my GPU.

Quote:
A better AMD CPU would only give you a small performance gain in games so I wouldn't blow your money on that. - Thomas-89


After doing a large amount of "Googling" I had come to about the same conclusion. I do want to switch over to an i3 or i5 at some point in the future. I'm really looking for a "first step" that will make the biggest improvement.

I know the GTX 560 Ti is a largely popular card right now, but for the price I feel the HD 6870 [or HD 7850] are much better values. I usually prefer Nvidia, but sometimes ATI just wins on overall value.

If I understand things correctly: Live Streaming is CPU heavy. If the GPU gets taxed it spills over into the CPU. I've noticed that with the GTX 550 Ti I can play just about anything I want on pretty high settings. When I start screen capturing or live streaming though it's a whole new ball game. My CPU gets pegged because the GPU can't take the heat. If I were to get a more sufficient GPU it would take the load of my CPU and free it up to handle video compression for live streaming.

Do I understand that correctly?
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July 13, 2012 11:04:03 PM

Im-MaTRiiX said:
...But you want a card to multitask at high rates because live streaming just beats up you're computer performance.

-MaTRiiX



What exactly do you mean by, "...a card to multitask at high rates..." ...?
I could speculate, but I just want to be clear.
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Best solution

July 13, 2012 11:24:10 PM

http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_i...

According to this ^ thread, the CPU is the most important part of streaming, not the GPU, which would lead me to believe that the streaming software will fully tax the CPU first, and not the other way around, but I'm not a streaming expert. As discussed though, upgrading the GPU is cheaper.
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July 14, 2012 1:43:47 PM

If you upgrade the GPU remember to get one that is significantly better than your 550 Ti. Tom's article I referred to previously states you should get one at least 3 tiers higher. That means at least a HD 6950 or equivalent but better yet a HD 7850 or equivalent or even higher depending on your budget.
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July 14, 2012 7:40:06 PM

Thomas_89 said:
If you upgrade the GPU remember to get one that is significantly better than your 550 Ti. Tom's article I referred to previously states you should get one at least 3 tiers higher. That means at least a HD 6950 or equivalent but better yet a HD 7850 or equivalent or even higher depending on your budget.



Why 3 tiers higher? I was considering the HD 6950 anyway... but why 3 tiers higher than what I have?
I did glance at those articles, but I haven't had the time to actually read through it all yet.
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July 14, 2012 8:40:32 PM

3 tiers in the GPU hierarchy list of the article I quoted. If you don't the performance increase is probably not worth it the investment.
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July 24, 2012 7:00:43 AM

Best answer selected by wildfireajs.
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July 24, 2012 7:01:27 AM

claysm said:
http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_i...

According to this ^ thread, the CPU is the most important part of streaming, not the GPU, which would lead me to believe that the streaming software will fully tax the CPU first, and not the other way around, but I'm not a streaming expert. As discussed though, upgrading the GPU is cheaper.



Following that link lead me to a wealth of knowledge on the topic. I was able to find the answers I was looking for, and I will now just focus on getting a new mobo and intel processor. I'll most likely upgrade my GPU down the road as well.

Thanks for all your help guys!
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