Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

New graphics card or faster processor?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
Share
April 9, 2012 10:57:06 AM

Hello
Recently i have been looking into getting a new graphics card to be able to play games such as skyrim on highest graphical settings without lag. the graphics card i want to get is Gigabyte HD6870 1G OC GDDR5 PCIE HDMI DP but i found out that i will need a new power supply to be able to run it as well. All together it will cost me around $270 but before i spend that much it occurred to me that it might not be graphics card that will help but a better processor or more RAM that will help.

My system is the following:
Processor: Pentium(R) Dual-Core CPU E5700 @ 3.00GHz
RAM: 4.00GB (3.00GB usable)
32-bit Operating System
current graphics card: ATI Radeon HD 5570

So will getting this graphics card make a big difference with the performance of my games?

Also some info on the graphics card from Umart:
Powered by AMD Radeon HD 6870 GPU
Supports PCI Express 2.1
Microsoft DirectX 11 and OpenGL 4.1* support
Integrated with the first 1GB GDDR5 memory and 256-bit memory interface
Supports CrossFireX™ and Avivo™HD technology
Features Dual-link DVI-I /DVI-D / D-sub (By adapter)/ HDMI/ mini Displayport
GIGABYTE WINDFORCE 3X Cooling Design

Series Radeon HD 6000 series
Chipset Radeon HD 6870
Core Clock 915MHz
Memory Clock 4200MHz
Memory Type GDDR5
DirectX 11
D-sub No
DVI Yes
Memory Size 1 GB
TV-OUT No
a b U Graphics card
April 9, 2012 11:03:59 AM

That CPU is just not up to the task. You would be much better off upgrading to an i5 Sandy Bridge at least. No point boosting the RAM unless you get a 64 bit OS. 3 GB is more than enough for most games. Your CPU will bottleneck even that 5570 most likely.
m
0
l
a c 291 U Graphics card
April 9, 2012 11:04:27 AM

Hello. Where are you living at? $270 for HD6870 and a power supply seems too much.

And yes, it will make A HUGE difference in gaming. The guy above is wrong. That CPU is good enough. You don't need i5 sandybridge.
m
0
l
Related resources
a b U Graphics card
April 9, 2012 11:07:34 AM

I have to go with the middle ground between these two above me. Switching just either one of those is going to bottleneck you severely but I would say switch the graphics card (though your current CPU will certainly hold back that 6870) first then come back for the CPU in the next go-round. For a cool $100 you can throw a C2Q Q6600 or Q8200 in your current rig and you'd be fine.

As for the memory, you need to switch your Windows to the 64 bit version of whatever it is you're running. That'll free up the rest of that 4GB and you'll be set. If you feel you must, grab more RAM, but you'll be fine. DDR2 isn't the cheapest right now, either.
m
0
l
a c 160 U Graphics card
April 9, 2012 11:15:50 AM

nbelote said:
I have to go with the middle ground between these two above me. Switching just either one of those is going to bottleneck you severely but I would say switch the graphics card (though your current CPU will certainly hold back that 6870) first then come back for the CPU in the next go-round. For a cool $100 you can throw a C2Q Q6600 or Q8200 in your current rig and you'd be fine.

As for the memory, you need to switch your Windows to the 64 bit version of whatever it is you're running. That'll free up the rest of that 4GB and you'll be set. If you feel you must, grab more RAM, but you'll be fine. DDR2 isn't the cheapest right now, either.


Are you stupid???? He has a base clock are 3GHz now you wwant him to take a slower per core quad core that a game cant use??? If he has an epic motherboard and RAM, then yes he could ahve overclocked. But no a 2.4GHz quad will not help him.

MY suggestion. Get the graphics card, sure it would be restricted but there will be improvement. Then save up for a new rig, maybe even an i3 is good enough for most games at max settings, especially if they are \more graphics bound.
m
0
l
a c 130 U Graphics card
April 9, 2012 11:28:43 AM

If you are on a budget then upgrading your GPU is your best bet. I don't believe there will be a noticeable restriction due to your CPU.
Skyrim is CPU dependant but you need to look at where you are and where you will end up performance wise.
Yes the game will rock with a sandy bridge and a 7950 but that is not within your reach it seems so we need to talk about the practicality of your situation and not what would be the best ideal way to go.
Swapping out to a 6870 will make a night and day difference to your gaming experience.

I have to agree that your stated pricing is expensive though.

Mactronix :) 
m
0
l
a c 177 U Graphics card
April 9, 2012 1:16:58 PM

Gilbert977: What is your monitor resolution? If you're playing below 1080 then perhaps a less potent-and cheaper-card might suit your needs better.
Where are you? As Mactronix says, that price seems a little high.
m
0
l
a b U Graphics card
April 9, 2012 2:49:41 PM

I used to run a 5570 in a P4 HT box a few years ago (playing with OpenCL on the GPU mainly) but I did do some gaming and it did ok on low-med settings at 1280x1024. A poorly written console port is what finally pushed it to the limit (Need For Speed Hot Pursuit) and bottlenecked it so much that it couldn't even generate a 1% load on the GPU. That Pentium Dual-Core is plenty to push the 5570 to its limits. But I'd definitely recommend grabbing a new CPU/mobo combo (maybe grab a Z77 board and Ivy Bridge when it comes out in a few weeks). I'd agree that $270 for a 6870 is way too much. At that price, just get a 7850 or pay a bit more for a 7870.
m
0
l
April 9, 2012 2:51:49 PM

I believe the $270 he is speaking of is for the card and a power supply. Not just the card alone.
m
0
l
a b U Graphics card
April 9, 2012 2:59:44 PM

Oops you're right :) 
m
0
l
a c 130 U Graphics card
April 9, 2012 3:06:34 PM

cbramasco said:
I believe the $270 he is speaking of is for the card and a power supply. Not just the card alone.


Its still expensive and I did realise that it was for both if others didn't. the card is about the $180 and you don't need a $100 PSU to run a 6870.

Mactronix :) 
m
0
l
a c 291 U Graphics card
April 9, 2012 3:12:26 PM

Well, it really depends where he lives though. In Europe you won't get it cheaper than $220.
m
0
l
April 9, 2012 3:15:21 PM

save your money and build a new system....something based on the 2011 socket and z79 chip....you will not regret it...you can also reuse some of your components
m
0
l
a b U Graphics card
April 9, 2012 3:18:50 PM

Just to toss in my 2 cents here, get the 6870 and PSU now. It will bring a pretty decent boost for gaming.......your CPU will be lagging some, but not enough to warrant spending money on a CPU upgrade. Save your money for complete platform upgrade later (CPU/Motherboard/Memory combo) to go with your new PSU and Video card. Keeping that in mind, I would also be sure to pick a decent PSU, one you can carry over to a new build later with confidence.
m
0
l
a b U Graphics card
April 9, 2012 3:25:49 PM

You currently have a fairly balanced system which is why some people are arguing as its a tough call. Personally I would look at a complete rebuild before going to a 6870 in this PC. I would look at getting a Radeon HD 7770 if your not willing or able to do a major rebuild as you should not have to get a new PSU since a 7770 is only 30 watts more draw than your 5570. Something like: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
m
0
l
a c 259 U Graphics card
April 9, 2012 3:34:35 PM

As a rule, a better graphics card is the best step to improve gaming. But, it does depend on how cpu bound your games are.

To help clarify your options, run these two tests:

a) Run your games, but lower your resolution and eye candy.
If your FPS increases, it indicates that your cpu is strong enough to drive a better graphics configuration.

b) Limit your cpu, either by reducing the OC, or, in windows power management, limit the maximum cpu% to something like 50%.

Go to control panel/power options/change plan settings/change advanced power settings/processor power management/maximum processor state/
set to 50% and see how you do.


If your FPS drops significantly, it is an indicator that your cpu is the limiting factor, and a cpu upgrade is in order.

It is possible that both tests are positive, indicating that you have a well balanced system, and both cpu and gpu need to be upgraded to get better gaming FPS.

If you need both a cpu and a graphics upgrade, I would go with the graphics upgrade first. You can then carry it over to a cpu upgrade.
If you upgrade graphics, make it a big jump, or you may be disappointed.
The 6850 is a nice jump.

It requires a 500w psu with two 6 pin pci-e power leads. Newer 28nm graphics cards are more efficient. The 7970 and GTX680 only need 550w.
It does not cost much more to get a 600-650w psu, compared to 500w, so I would consider doing that.
Whatever you do on the psu, get a QUALITY brand. Look for Seasonic, Antec, Corsair, XFX, or PC P&C.
m
0
l
April 9, 2012 4:07:27 PM

well maybe this will help. i had an e6750 OC'd to about 3.0ghz with 2gb of RAM and a 5770 for 4 years. i bought BF3 recently and it actually played okay and looked decent. the problem i was experiencing was incredibly low load times. we're talking 5-10 minutes to load a level, and almost always in that time the server i was joining would reset the round/map and in that process i got booted. so while the 5770 played the game okay, it was just unplayable because of low load times. i was told that was a RAM issue, but i wasn't sure of that AND old RAM is more expensive than new RAM. so i didn't really want to spend 75 bucks on a 4 year old computer.

at any rate, i found some good deals and built a pretty badass computer for under 800. at first i used the 5770 and again, it looked fine in BF3. but load times were DRAMATICALLY increased with the new build. i can safely say something on the old computer was the bottleneck, and it wasn't the 5770.

so if you intend to play BF3, you're going to want to upgrade. or you're going to buy your card and then decide you want to upgrade. either way, you need the card so it's not a terrible investment to buy it first and try it out on the old system. in fact that card is suggested for one of TH's best builds...

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/build-gaming-pc-ove...

just remember you can keep your case (most likely) when you build your new rig. i sold my e6750, 5770, and old mobo for about $150 total, so you can expect to get about the same with your stuff. all in all you may spend about 500 out of pocket on a completely new build. if you have 270 to spend, wait until you have the other 230 because it will make a big impact in your game playing.
m
0
l
a c 147 U Graphics card
April 9, 2012 4:56:51 PM

Best value:

The best value he can do is to get an HD6870 on sale for $150 and a Power Supply for about $70 on sale.

Yes, a better CPU would be beneficial but that would add to the cost and provide little benefit with the original graphics card.

The HD6870 will work nicely with his existing setup.

Parts:
1) PSU on sale $35: http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=62391&vpn=OCZ-ZS550W&m...

2) HD6870: $150 http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=62756&vpn=HD687AZHFC&m...

So you can get both for $185 + tax with FREE SHIPPING!
m
0
l
a c 291 U Graphics card
April 9, 2012 5:18:01 PM

Guys I'm pretty sure he's outside US, so those prices don't apply to him :p 
m
0
l
a b U Graphics card
April 9, 2012 6:25:24 PM

Your CPU will only bottleneck if it can't keep up with the graphics card. Tom's did a review on this.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/skyrim-performance-...

I have never seen more than 2 threads active and I play with a 6990 at 6048x1080 in ultra detail. Cpu speed plays more of a role than number of cores. You will see more of an improvement upgrading your gpu and psu. You can also squeeze a few more frames out of the game if you overclock your dual core cpu a bit also. Again, I would be worried about that cpu with a high end gpu with ultra graphic settings. I doubt that playing middle of the road settings at 1080 will get bottlenecked by that cpu.
m
0
l
a c 177 U Graphics card
April 9, 2012 10:13:57 PM

Come on, Gilbert, give us a reply ;) 
m
0
l
April 10, 2012 3:09:52 AM

Thanks for the fast reply's everyone :) 
My moniter resolution is 1920 x 1080
Im from aus and i think for me umart is easyest place to get them from. The graphics card i want to get is $200 and to be able to run that type of graphics card i read that it needs a power supply with 2 6pin connectors thats around $70.

6870 graphics card - http://www.umart.com.au/pro/products_review.phtml?id=10...

600w power supply - http://www.umart.com.au/pro/products_listnew.phtml?id=1...

Im not too keen on getting a new cpu at the moment. I think that i might be better off getting a hd 6850 (http://www.umart.com.au/pro/products_listnew.phtml?id=1...)

going to try the test geofelt suggested.


m
0
l
April 10, 2012 4:16:46 AM

geofelt said:
As a rule, a better graphics card is the best step to improve gaming. But, it does depend on how cpu bound your games are.

To help clarify your options, run these two tests:

a) Run your games, but lower your resolution and eye candy.
If your FPS increases, it indicates that your cpu is strong enough to drive a better graphics configuration.

b) Limit your cpu, either by reducing the OC, or, in windows power management, limit the maximum cpu% to something like 50%.

Go to control panel/power options/change plan settings/change advanced power settings/processor power management/maximum processor state/
set to 50% and see how you do.


If your FPS drops significantly, it is an indicator that your cpu is the limiting factor, and a cpu upgrade is in order.

It is possible that both tests are positive, indicating that you have a well balanced system, and both cpu and gpu need to be upgraded to get better gaming FPS.

If you need both a cpu and a graphics upgrade, I would go with the graphics upgrade first. You can then carry it over to a cpu upgrade.
If you upgrade graphics, make it a big jump, or you may be disappointed.
The 6850 is a nice jump.

It requires a 500w psu with two 6 pin pci-e power leads. Newer 28nm graphics cards are more efficient. The 7970 and GTX680 only need 550w.
It does not cost much more to get a 600-650w psu, compared to 500w, so I would consider doing that.
Whatever you do on the psu, get a QUALITY brand. Look for Seasonic, Antec, Corsair, XFX, or PC P&C.

Ok so i did this test but when i change it to 50% and play skyrim on low graphical settings then go to change it back too 100% it all ready is so idk if im actually playing it at 50% power of processor. also i was originally planning to get the 6850 but i did not think it was a big enough difference because i want a graphics card that could maybe last a couple of years so thats why i thought the 6870 would be better for just $40 more. I think updating my processor is inevitable but i would rather do that as latter as possible.
m
0
l
a c 291 U Graphics card
April 10, 2012 7:31:02 AM

don't get that thermaltake power supply. It's crap. Get this one instead:
http://www.umart.com.au/pro/products_listnew.phtml?id=1...

I'd say go with HD6870, you won't be sorry. Because if you're planning upgrading your processor in the future (let's say 1 year), then your new graphics card has to keep up! You won't be upgrading it again, will you? :) 
m
0
l
a c 177 U Graphics card
April 10, 2012 1:18:59 PM

^+1
At 1080 you're just as likely to run into a GPU 'bottleneck' as CPU so the faster graphics card makes sense.
Antec make the better PSU, even if its wattage seems lower I'd say its the better choice.
m
0
l
April 12, 2012 12:57:04 AM

Thanks every for the help.
I have decided to get the Gigabyte hd6870 with the Antec PSU that Sunius suggested.
Will update my CPU later in a year or so.
Thanks again was extremely helpful for me :) 
m
0
l
a c 291 U Graphics card
April 12, 2012 4:21:32 AM

No problem :) 
m
0
l
!