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Time for an upgrade... CPU or GPU?

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October 14, 2012 12:50:14 AM

So I'm thinking about upgrading my comp. but I don't really have that much money to upgrade. Should I upgrade my CPU or my GPU?
My current CPU is Phenom II 550 that I unlocked the cores on to be a Quad-Core @ 3.1Ghz
My GPU is an HD 4770 w/ 1gb DDR5 @ 850mhz/1000mhz.

Seeing as the current AMD FX processors have nothing on Intel I'd probably get an i5 3750k which means I would need a new motherboard too...

If I was going to get a new GPU I'd go with an HD 7850.

I'm pretty sure the GPU is usually the bottleneck in games but that's with new CPUs.

I could also buy a new cooler and just overclock my CPU, probably somewhere around 3.5Ghz.

Main games I play are PlanetSide 2, Crysis 2, and Need For Speed Shift 2.

What do you guys think?

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October 14, 2012 4:11:10 AM

I'd start with the graphics card and look at the processor later down the line. A quad core processor, even an older one, at any speed is nothing to be sniffed at.
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October 14, 2012 4:26:19 AM

^ +1, I agree.

GPU upgrade would benefit you more than a CPU upgrade at the moment. The Phenom II X4's (since you unlocked) are still very modest CPU's today that are more than capable of gaming :) 

You wouldn't see an increase upgrading your CPU with your current GPU as it would hold back the i5 SEVERELY.
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October 14, 2012 6:42:19 AM

whats wrong with your 4770 ? its still a decent gaming card. it should easily handle nfs and crysis 2 at med/high settings. what res you play at ?
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October 14, 2012 6:51:35 AM

^ Key word is resolution. If OP is playing at 1680x1050 or higher, he will most likely be suffering from performance hits/lack of eye-candy.

I, personally, am a big fan of eye-candy when I game :lol:  so you will bet I'll upgrade a GPU as soon as I find my settings to be unsatisfactory.
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October 14, 2012 8:27:51 AM

That's a pretty decent computer. The Phenom II 550 unlocked would be equal to something like a PII 840 (correct me if I'm wrong), which is a damn good chip for it's price/performance. The 4770 is still enough for games, but that 7850 would make a hell of a difference in FPS and graphical settings. If you're buying a 7850 though, make sure you get the 2GB version, it's just a bit more expensive but I would say it's a bit more "futureproof" because of the doubled frame buffer. My 1GB HD6750 suffers sometimes because of that, even though it's a low/midrange card.
Hope I helped!
~UnlimitedBanana
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October 14, 2012 12:00:25 PM

Voting with the rest here, go for GPU first - then CPU later.
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October 14, 2012 3:44:57 PM

Best answer selected by kajunchicken.
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October 14, 2012 3:46:18 PM

Thanks guys. You were right by the way. I like to game at 1920x1080 and its disappointing when my games don't look pretty :D  I can get playable fps on Crysis at the lowest settings but it's more fun up high.
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October 14, 2012 3:52:47 PM

kajunchicken said:
Thanks guys. You were right by the way. I like to game at 1920x1080 and its disappointing when my games don't look pretty :D  I can get playable fps on Crysis at the lowest settings but it's more fun up high.


Hi :) 

At that resolution a MUCH better graphics card will have a HUGE improvement in graphics...

All the best Brett :) 
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October 14, 2012 5:45:48 PM

It's unfortunate though, my CPU can't seem to overclock stably at even 3.4Ghz. Must've gotten a bad overclocker :\ Even with the voltage all the way up to 1.5V it won't stabilize with clock at 200Mhz and multiplier at 17x.
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October 14, 2012 6:03:38 PM

At the moment, your cpu is fine and considering its unlocked you should squeeze a few extra MHz out of it. I would definitely upgrade your graphics card as that 4xxx series is past its day, you should be able to do gaming at a low res and low fps but if i were you id upgrade to the 7xxx series gpu, it'll make a hell of a difference.

Also theres nothing wrong with the FX cpu! its a fast chip for the price. dont judge it by what intel fanboys slag it off by..
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October 14, 2012 6:18:49 PM

I agree that the FX cpus are fast/overclockable and all the computers in my house are AMD at the moment, but the FX's single thread performance is horrible. We'll see what piledriver brings to the stage but at the moment, you get more gaming performance out of intel
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October 14, 2012 6:45:06 PM

Since you play at 1920 the graphics card may be the better choice but if you're planning on sinking hours into Planetside 2 (like me :D ) I hear it's CPU heavy + the CPU will help out in other areas not just games...

Maybe check ebay for a GPU, got my HD6950 from there, saved £50...

Until we meet in battle :D 
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October 14, 2012 7:16:27 PM

paynee89 said:
Since you play at 1920 the graphics card may be the better choice but if you're planning on sinking hours into Planetside 2 (like me :D ) I hear it's CPU heavy + the CPU will help out in other areas not just games...

Maybe check ebay for a GPU, got my HD6950 from there, saved £50...

Until we meet in battle :D 


If you don't have the beta for Planetside yet, it's pretty cpu heavy. It's a lot better if you have an Nvidia card because it uses Physx. The big problem with Planetside is it uses a HUGE amout of ram, basically everything you have. Invest in an SSD if you're gunna play, otherwise FPS are capped at like 30 on medium settings. Hopefully they'll make some performance updates.
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