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Upgrading $350 budget (GPU or CPU/Mobo)

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May 31, 2012 12:07:20 PM

Hello,

Thanks for taking the time to read my post. I am currently looking to upgrade my PC to increase its gaming performance but I am confused on which direction to take in order to get the most out of my computer and my money.

I currently have an AMD x6 1090t 6 core @ 3.3 ghz processor and a Sapphire AMD Radeon 6950 2gb graphics card. I also have 8gb gskill ripjaw RAM. I play games at 1920x1080

I do not currently have a SSD.

I am looking to buy something to increase gaming performance only and have considered buying another 6950 to do x-fire. However, I am afraid that my processor will bottleneck these cards. So basically what I was wondering is if just buying another processor/mobo will be more beneficial. When I bought this PC I wasn't aware of how weak my processor was compared to similar intel products.

Between adding a new 6950 or buying a new mobo/cpu, what will give me the biggest performance boost, and how big will this boost be??

Thanks for your time.
May 31, 2012 12:10:09 PM

I have a 6950 at 1200p and I don't feel like I need an upgrade... But if you do, definitely add crossfire. Upgrading your CPU wouldn't make a huge difference in gaming. Outside a new GPU or CPU you won't see a difference in gaming performance. A new GPU will have a much larger impact than a new CPU.
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Best solution

May 31, 2012 12:32:38 PM

Figure out what specific games are not performing as well as you'd like. If they are GPU-bound games, then a second HD6950 (assuming your mobo has another PCIE 2.0 slot running at x8 or x16) might help. If they are CPU bound games, then the CPU/mobo replacement may help more. If your second slot runs at x4, then running Crossfire won't live up to your expectations. Also make sure your PSU is up to the task of running a pair of power-hungry graphics cards.
What mobo do you have? If it is a really nice one, hopefully you can continue to use it. If not, buying a new Intel CPU and better mobo will also get you some future breathing room.
But...don't upgrade because benchmarks tell you to, or your friends are laughing at you because they all have unlocked Intel "K" processors; upgrade only if something isn't performing as well as you'd like AND that is worth paying $350 (or more) to improve.
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May 31, 2012 12:34:31 PM

Thanks for your input. I always thought my CPU was severely limiting my GPU. I guess not.


Another quick question: Is running dual 6950's crossfire @ x16/x4 worth it? My mobo's second expansion slot is only an x4 and I'm not sure the price of a new card would be worth the performance I get from it.


edit: just seen your post jtt283. I can play all of the games at a stable frame rate and enjoy them. However, on games like Crysis (1) and BF3 I only get around 30-35 frames average on ultra during intense scenes. Metro 2033 whips my computer's butt, dipping down into the mid-upper 20's. Even in World of Warcraft I get low FPS in 25 man raids as well as major cities. This has to be contributed to my cpu right?

I'm mainly just looking to upgrade it to gain some breathing room FPS wise because I can tell a difference when it dips down into the low 30's.

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May 31, 2012 12:35:38 PM

In that case it probably isn't. Save your $350 and buy a new system in 2013 ;) 
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May 31, 2012 12:42:38 PM

Best answer selected by ahubbard0036.
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May 31, 2012 12:59:32 PM

Thanks. Yeah, a x4 slot isn't good for Crossfire. In another thread, user "Malmental" posted a link to a graphic showing it only provides something like 87% of the benefit of a x16 slot (iirc x8 was 98%, an insignificant loss).
A rebuild may be in order, but you could always start with the CPU/mobo.
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May 31, 2012 1:09:03 PM

If it were me, I would SLI your 6950 with another card and possibly pickup a good SSD for your OS. That 1090T is a pretty good processor and you shouldn't need to upgrade your proc.
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May 31, 2012 2:26:10 PM


If your PSU can take it, buy the XFX Radeon HD 6950 2GB for $200 after rebate.



You should OC your Thuban, and raise the IMC/NB to 2400-2500Mhz.

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May 31, 2012 2:50:52 PM

I have a 750w PSU. I'm pretty sure it could take the extra 6950. I'm still not sure it would be completely worth it however because it will be a x16/x4 combo. As jtt stated earlier I will lose around 13 percent performance.

Do you think the crossfire will still be worth it despite the x16/x4 pci slot combo?
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May 31, 2012 3:06:10 PM

My Motherboard is the Gigabye ga-970a-ud3 if that helps any :p 
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May 31, 2012 5:59:43 PM

sell your 6950 and grab a 670?
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June 1, 2012 4:07:37 PM


Sure. The x4 bandwidth may hold you back, but presumably in the next 2-3 years you might buy a new mobo.

And 2x HD6950s should exceed single cards in any price range for a good while.


edit: I fergit ....

You can buy a GB 990FX -UD5 with the left over cash -- x16/x16 should handle 'em


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