Upgrade Path

I have the following hardware:

AMD Phenom II X4 Denab 3.2 Ghz Black Edition

Mother board
Asus M4a79T Deluxe Motherboard

2x Sapphaire AMD 4870 1g Cards DDR5

Acer GD235

Corsair TX 750 W PSU

4Gig OCZ Ram

Antec 900 Case

Windows 7 ultimate 64 Bit

The system runs well. The CPU is solid, I just want to squeeze a bit more performance out of it. Should I replace the motherboard and ram? I want to replace the video cards, but what should I replace them with, because I am limited to PCIe 2.0x16? Also with the case I have, what CPU cooler can I add that is better than the stock cooler. I use the sytem almost exclusively for gaming.

I know this is a lot of questions, but if someone can help I would appreciate it.

5 answers Last reply
More about upgrade path
  1. Howdy,

    I don't think theres much of an advantage to replacing the mobo. And theres no much advantage of PCI 2.0 vs 3.0. In fact, almost none.

    I think the biggest advantage you would have would be upgrading the graphics cards. As far as what to upgrade them to, what kind of budget do you have?

    I would think a single 7850 would outperform your dual 4870s.


    Regarding the RAM, I would just double the RAM to 8GB, if you have 2x 2GB sticks, I would just add 2 more. 8GB is plenty for a modern gaming system.

    As far as a decent cooler=
  2. Thank you Nekulturny, I will look into the video card and cooler. Another question I have is mixing and matching ram. If I have 2x2g of OCZ ram, must I add the same brand, or can I add 2x2g of a different brand? I dont think my brand is still avalable from Newegg.

    Also what about the 7870? it gets great reviews, and I am a huge fan of Sapphires products.

    SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition OC 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card (11199-03-20G)
  3. Sorry, I forgot to add, this is the ram I have now

    OCZ Flex EX 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Ehanced Bandwidth Desktop Memory Model OCZ3FXE1600EB4GK
  4. Besides microstutter, a pair of 4870's performs almost identically to a stock 7850.


    Your motherboard supports 3 way crossfire, and luckily enough, the 4870 (and all cards in the same tier) are about the fastest cards you can buy that aren't hindered by being limited to 4 pci-e 2.0 lanes.

    The cheapest upgrade (as far as initial purchase) would be buying a third 4870 and overclocking your processor so it doesn't bottleneck them.

    Each 4870 draws 166w at load, but your PSU has a massive 62a +12v rail, which will support 3 of them.

    Also, the third card eliminates microstutter issue that 2 card setups have!

    Alternatively, you could buy this 7850 specifically
    and overclock it.

    The 7850's are overlocking beasts, and commonly hit 50% overclocks on stock cooling (with a little voltage bump). At that speed it'll perform about the same as 3 4870's at 1/3 the power usage, which will save you $40-60 a year over 3x4870's depending on how much electricity is where you are and how long you rmachine is on.

    You'll need ASUS's overclocking software to actually set clock and memory speeds that high. Though you can download it for free and it works on any 7850, I'm recommending the ASUS because it has the best stock cooler.

    If you overclock the 7850, you'll want to overclock your CPU as well.

    Have fun!
  5. Thanks Quilciri

    The Asus 7850 card is on back order. What about the Asus 7870?

    Memory. This is my current memory - OCZ Flex EX 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Ehanced Bandwidth Desktop Memory Model OCZ3FXE1600EB4GK -and it is not made any more. Can you offer an appropriate replacement? My plan would be to replace all the OCZ with 2x(2x2g) of new ram, what ever is suggested.

    I was thinking of this - AMD Performance Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model AP34G1608U1K

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