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Budget Upgrade for Guild Wars 2 (2560x1600 Resolution)

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May 6, 2012 11:22:54 PM

Hey there. Well, I am getting ready for the release of Guild Wars 2, and I want to upgrade my computer so I can play at max settings. I played the beta weekend and managed to get around 30 fps at the lowest settings, but when I maxed everything, the fps dropped to around 10-15 with no players around. My resolution is probably what's killing me, playing at 2560x1600.

My specs:
Radeon HD 5870
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102872
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700 2.66GHz (OC@3.00GHz)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115027
G.Skill 4GB Ram
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231122
650W PSU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139005
Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128059
Hard Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136218

I built this system 4 years ago, and upgraded the GPU 2 years ago. I am trying to figure out the cheapest way to go about hitting max settings in GW2 @ 2560x1600 resolution. What should I upgrade?

If I must upgrade the GPU, would it be better to buy another mid-range Radeon card to CrossFire with the 5870 or to toss the old card and replace it with a whole new card? Which would give the most bang for the buck? I would really like to avoid ditching the 5870 completely because I bought it for $450 and it's only 2 years old.

Any help or insight would be greatly appreciated! :) 

More about : budget upgrade guild wars 2560x1600 resolution

a b B Homebuilt system
May 6, 2012 11:37:46 PM

its hard because your old motherboard limits cpu choices, and an old cpu limitss max gpu choices.
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May 7, 2012 12:29:55 AM

Ah ok, so a new motherboard is a must. Do you think I could get away with just upgrading the CPU or is a GPU upgrade a must? Ideally I'd like to do new motherboard, new cpu, crossfire gpu, but just not sure if I want to spend that much for a 15-30fps upgrade. My end game goal is 30fps with max settings @ 2560x1600.
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a b B Homebuilt system
May 7, 2012 12:33:52 AM

the easiest way would be upgrading gpu, but gpu is dependent on if it gets bottle necked by the cpu. if the cpu is running at or near 100% when you are gaming, then its being bottle necked, and the gpu's performance is hindered. another thing is the fact that 2560x1600 resolution is not a resolution many aim for. most gamers aim at 1920x1080 for 1080p resolution.
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May 7, 2012 12:37:56 AM

I don't understand you asked about Crossfire, but your motherboard only has one PCI Express x16 slot.

Are you open to a new motherboard?

How much vram in your HD 5870? You are pushing a lot of pixels around.

Sorry, forgot about the link up there, 1GB. That may not be so good at 2560x1600, however very good at 1920x1080.
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May 7, 2012 12:38:11 AM

If you upgrade your CPU then your GPU becomes your bottleneck.

If you upgrade your GPU then your CPU becomes your bottleneck.

Pain in the ass, right?
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a b B Homebuilt system
May 7, 2012 12:46:05 AM

nbelote said:
If you upgrade your CPU then your GPU becomes your bottleneck.

If you upgrade your GPU then your CPU becomes your bottleneck.

Pain in the ass, right?



in this situation its more like

if you upgrade your gpu, your cpu becomes a bottle neck

you cant upgrade your cpu because your mobo is the limiting factor
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May 7, 2012 1:15:15 AM

One idea is to eBay your HD 5870 for a Buy It Now price of $275 and get a HD 7970 with 3 GB of vram, you pick up the speed but you, also get the extra vram.

If you Crossfire your HD 5870, you still get 1 GB of vram and at 2560x1600 that still might be an issue.
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Best solution

a b B Homebuilt system
May 7, 2012 1:38:41 AM

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Core2+Qua...

My CPU scores about 2x that of yours. In many games I use about 30% of it's capabilities, however it's a lot more complicated than that. Long story short you should be able to get any single-GPU graphics card without completely being bottlenecked by your CPU.

Being bottlenecked completely by the CPU, and having slightly lower frame rates than you'd get with a different CPU aren't the same thing. A bottlenecked CPU means a better graphics card will provide no benefit.

So you could buy up to a GTX680 without being completely bottlenecked (on average). No, your frame rates won't be quite as high as better CPU's with that card.

*My advice is just replace the graphics card.

Which one?
My advice would be the GTX670 if you can wait, and it's in your budget. If you can't wait then my other advice is get the best HD7000 series card in your budget. Simply look at benchmarks and compare to prices.

Avoid SLI and Crossfire. Avoid dual-GPU cards.

Your power supply is sufficient for any single-GPU card. Maybe sell your HD5870 if possible and buy an HD7850/70 or HD7950/70.
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May 7, 2012 1:58:53 AM

Thank you for the replies. I was thinking of upgrading to http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103727, but I just assumed it would work with my current motherboard. I'm such a noob when it comes to building computers.

I didn't check if my CPU was at 100% or not during the last gw2 beta. I did a test on a different game set to max, and my GPU was closer to 100% than my CPU was. The CPU load % was actually quite low, which gives me the impression that my CPU isn't bottlenecking my GPU yet. However, when my CPU is not being overclocked to 3.00GHz (normally set to 2.66) there is a noticeable drop in FPS... leading me to believe the CPU is bottlenecking my GPU.

I'm lost!
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May 7, 2012 2:14:17 AM

Thanks bkoop, totally forgot about e-bay or making use of my old card. I could probably send it to my mom for her computer, since she is an avid gamer as well lol. So vram is important for higher resolutions like 2560x1600?

Also thanks to photonboy. I'm looking for the cheapest solution, but I'm starting the realize a GPU upgrade is a must. Thanks for the advice on GPU's. I'll have to do some more research. Also thanks for the CPUbenchmark link! I never even knew that site existed, so helpful. ^^
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May 7, 2012 2:24:59 AM

Tom's Hardware Graphics Card Hierarchy Chart still lists the HD 5870 and it is only 4 from the top, even after two years, for anybody who games at 1920x1080 that is still a great card.
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May 7, 2012 2:26:02 AM

Nice! I'll check that out, thanks.
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May 7, 2012 2:39:45 AM

You knew at the time you bought it, your CPU and motherboard are Socket 775, which was state of the art four years ago, but not now.

Your pushing 2 million pixels around at 1920x1080, but your pushing 4 million pixels around at 2560x1600. So the extra vram in a GTX 680 or a HD 7970 will come in handy.
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May 7, 2012 3:27:34 AM

That is only up one level on Tom's Hardware Graphics Card Hierarchy Chart, no way I can buy into that. If price is an issue, then wait for the GTX 670 and see the pricing on that, I believe May 10, is the date.
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May 7, 2012 4:25:37 AM

Hm, alright good call. I'll wait till after May 10th to start looking again. Even if I don't go for the GTX 670, which is rumored to be around $350-$400, it may drive the market down a bit... hopefully. I don't need a huge upgrade, just 15-20fps increase should be perfect, without breaking the bank.

Hmm... or maybe I can just try overclocking my GPU/CPU some more.
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May 8, 2012 6:54:51 AM

Best answer selected by Realisk.
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a b B Homebuilt system
May 9, 2012 9:00:45 AM

re: 2560x1600

Never game at this resolution unless you can do so with everything MAXED while achieving 60FPS with VSYNC ON.

There's almost no difference in quality between a lower resolution however the frame rate hit is really high.

I tweak like this:
- set to 1920x1200
- set default quality settings, VSYNC OFF
- observe FRAPS
- adjust settings to get 65 to 70FPS
- enable VSYNC to avoid screen tearing

(I tweak the settings to be a little above 60FPS so when I enable VSYNC it should cap there nicely. If I LOWER the quality to get say 90FPS that's a waste since I'm cappying at 60. Conversely, if I INCREASE the quality and drop below 60FPS VSYNC will either try to cap at 30FPS, or else with VSYNC turned OFF you get screen tearing. Also, games get less enjoyable at low frame rates.)
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May 9, 2012 7:50:01 PM

Interesting! I never thought of trying lower resolutions. I'll have to test that out on the next Guild Wars 2 beta. Thanks photonboy. So from my understanding...

Max settings + Lower resolution = higher FPS + equal Graphics Quality
Lower settings + Max resolution = lower FPS + equal Graphics Quality
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May 29, 2012 8:56:10 PM

Realisk said:
Interesting! I never thought of trying lower resolutions. I'll have to test that out on the next Guild Wars 2 beta. Thanks photonboy. So from my understanding...

Max settings + Lower resolution = higher FPS + equal Graphics Quality
Lower settings + Max resolution = lower FPS + equal Graphics Quality


Been a few weeks since the post, but another good reason for low framerates during beta is simply this. The first beta was not optimized at all for GPUs, ArenaNet even stated so. They said it would be CPU intensive, hence your low framerates on 4 year old CPU. Yes the resolution probably killed things but if anything I would wait till next weekend for second beta, it will be optimized more. If anything wait till the game comes out and is fully optimized and AMD comes out with drivers specifically for GW2, then see how your system does and upgrade accordingly.
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September 21, 2012 10:44:45 PM

photonboy said:
re: 2560x1600

Never game at this resolution unless you can do so with everything MAXED while achieving 60FPS with VSYNC ON.

There's almost no difference in quality between a lower resolution however the frame rate hit is really high.

I tweak like this:
- set to 1920x1200
- set default quality settings, VSYNC OFF
- observe FRAPS
- adjust settings to get 65 to 70FPS
- enable VSYNC to avoid screen tearing

(I tweak the settings to be a little above 60FPS so when I enable VSYNC it should cap there nicely. If I LOWER the quality to get say 90FPS that's a waste since I'm cappying at 60. Conversely, if I INCREASE the quality and drop below 60FPS VSYNC will either try to cap at 30FPS, or else with VSYNC turned OFF you get screen tearing. Also, games get less enjoyable at low frame rates.)


Umm sorry but that such a stupid comment to say to people "never game at 2560x1600 because there is almost no difference in quality between a lower resolution". I will agree with you mostly on that as I think you are referring to DPI because the DPI on a 30" 2560x1600 is close enough to a 24" 1920x1080 monitor but have you even thought for one second that maybe some people, like me, enjoy playing on a larger screen. My screen size is 30" which all 2560x1600 resolution monitors are and its amazing to play games on a larger screen. Also why people use eyefinity. Also my monitor is IPS which some don't care for or want but I love my amazing picture quality on my monitor. I did a review of my old TN monitor compared to my IPS monitor and the color difference is night and day.
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