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Q9450 Socket 775, need a new GPU. Replace mobo + GPU or full build?

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November 4, 2012 9:54:26 PM

Hello all,
I am looking to upgrade or replace my wife's computer for Christmas. She loves to play PC games, but she's got a relatively old build. She currently has a Gigabyte G41-ES2L Mobo, an Intel Q9450 Socket 775 GPU, and an NVidia 9800GTX. The CPU doesn't seem to be the issue with the lag she is getting from her Skyrim mods, I am positive it is the GPU and the fact that she only has 4gb of ram.

What I want to know, is would it be worth it to replace the Mobo, GPU and ram? or should I just do a whole new build for her. I believe I could save a quite a bit of money sticking with her current CPU, but again, is it worth it?

Thanks, and please ask for any other info you may need in helping you help me.

She has a pretty decent 600W PSU btw.
a c 109 à CPUs
November 4, 2012 9:59:57 PM

Skyrim is mostly CPU-reliant believe it or not :) 

However, upgrading just the GPU may increase performance more than an entire platform upgrade. 4GB of RAM is still decent for any gaming rig today, so you have nothing to worry about there. If you wished, however, you can always just upgrade to a larger kit (if available).

I would highly recommend upgrading to something like a GTX670 or Radeon HD7950 IF your current PSU is decent. (It would benefit us greatly if you could list the exact make and model :)  )
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November 4, 2012 10:11:40 PM

She is actually using the computer at this moment and I don't want her to get suspicious as to why I want to know what PSU she has. I can tell you that it is and Antec, nothing super fancy, a few years old, but it has been very solid. I think it may be a green or eco model.
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November 4, 2012 10:28:28 PM

You have several options available to you as you've already mentioned.

I agree with your assessment that the gpu is the weakest link in this current set up and it should be the first item to be replaced.

The next part is not so clear cut. The Q9450 is no spring chick but its by no means obsolete - I would say its about equivalent to a low to mid end i3 so obviously you would achieve some performance gains if you replaced them.

As for the ram , another 4gb would help all round but unless you are running a 64 bit OS you've already hit a brick wall.

I would have to disagree with you about the psu though. It has obviously served you well but given its age and dare I say it - pedigree , it would be the next item I would replace.

At the end of the day it all comes down to your budget.

Personally I'd slot in a new gpu ( first making sure the psu can handle it ) and see if the gains are sufficient and then go from there as you will have a clearer picture then.

Gook luck.
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November 4, 2012 10:30:06 PM

Thank you for the help, my only other concern is that the G41-ES2L Mobo may not be able to handle the new PCIe 3.0 cards? I am almost positive that they are all backwards compatible, but I would hate to be wrong lol. The Mobo has one 16x slot, even with backwards compatibility, would that be efficient enough to get use out of a high end card?

PS - I stole your signature format :p 
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November 4, 2012 10:33:43 PM

nunyaabidniss said:
Hello all,
I am looking to upgrade or replace my wife's computer for Christmas. She loves to play PC games, but she's got a relatively old build. She currently has a Gigabyte G41-ES2L Mobo, an Intel Q9450 Socket 775 GPU, and an NVidia 9800GTX. The CPU doesn't seem to be the issue with the lag she is getting from her Skyrim mods, I am positive it is the GPU and the fact that she only has 4gb of ram.

What I want to know, is would it be worth it to replace the Mobo, GPU and ram? or should I just do a whole new build for her. I believe I could save a quite a bit of money sticking with her current CPU, but again, is it worth it?

Thanks, and please ask for any other info you may need in helping you help me.

She has a pretty decent 600W PSU btw.



Ignore the bit I said about the psu - I clicked on the link and thought it was your model. My bad.

An Antec is a quality unit and if the numbers add up hang on to it.
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a c 109 à CPUs
November 4, 2012 10:40:03 PM

:lol:  Join the same siggy format club! (?)

As cuong has mentioned about your PSU, yes, it may have degraded over time to the point where it can't pull anywhere near 600w, however, considering GPU's nowadays are very power efficient and the fact that OP's wife's CPU doesn't pull a lot of power, I am almost certain it would suffice for OP's needs.

If OP is concerned about this 'weakest link', he always has the option to swap it out.

Now to answer your question. Since your motherboard specifications have no mention of PCI-E 2.0 or 1.0, I'm just going to assume it's PCI-E 1.0.

PCI-E is FULLY backwards compatible, however, bandwidth is a different issue. With each PCI-E generation, you essentially double your bandwidth. For example, a PCI-E 1.0 slot running at 16x is equivalent to a PCI-E 2.0 slot running at 8x. The same goes for PCI-E 2.0 -> PCI-E 3.0.

Currently, GPU's running off of PCI-E 3.0 can't saturate 3.0 bandwidth. For the matter, there is almost no performance differences going from PCI-E 3.0 to 2.0 (both @ 16x).

With that said, your motherboards PCI-E 1.0 16x slot is equivalent to PCI-E 2.0 8x slot, which shouldn't be too much of a problem. There will definitely be a performance hit since you don't have the entire PCI-E 2.0/3.0 bandwidth, however, there will still be a dramatic improvement over your 9800 GTX.

Hopefully this didn't confuse you :lol:  If you have anymore questions, feel free to ask :) 
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November 4, 2012 10:41:07 PM

cuong said:
You have several options available to you as you've already mentioned.

I agree with your assessment that the gpu is the weakest link in this current set up and it should be the first item to be replaced.

The next part is not so clear cut. The Q9450 is no spring chick but its by no means obsolete - I would say its about equivalent to a low to mid end i3 so obviously you would achieve some performance gains if you replaced them.

As for the ram , another 4gb would help all round but unless you are running a 64 bit OS you've already hit a brick wall.

I would have to disagree with you about the psu though. It has obviously served you well but given its age and dare I say it - pedigree , it would be the next item I would replace.

At the end of the day it all comes down to your budget.

Personally I'd slot in a new gpu ( first making sure the psu can handle it ) and see if the gains are sufficient and then go from there as you will have a clearer picture then.

Gook luck.


Thank you for the help. She is using a 32 bit OS, however I would be installing a 64 bit OS on any future build or if the upgrades to her current build required it. I know the PSU isn't fantastic, but it does the job. Considering she would never OC or push the PSU anywhere near the limit it has been great for her. I am by no means rolling in money, but I tend to spend wisely when it comes to building a new PC (at least I try to). What I mean by that is, when I build a new computer I try to use high end components. At the time I built her system all the parts were fantastic choices for the performance/cost ratio. My major debate is that I have rarely upgraded a system this old, but the CPU still hold it's own and I would hate to toss it out.
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a c 109 à CPUs
November 4, 2012 10:50:48 PM

^ You are correct. The Q9450 is still very capable :)  It's on-par with the Phenom II X4 CPU's which are still quite capable for gaming today!
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November 4, 2012 10:53:04 PM

Okay, so I believe in the interest of finances I am going to upgrade her GPU at this time. It seems like that would be a wise decision. I'll spend a little more than I would normally spend on a GPU and eventually just replace everything for her but migrate the new GPU from one system to the other. What do you guys think? :p 
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a c 109 à CPUs
November 4, 2012 10:55:52 PM

Yes, that is exactly what was said in the video I previously linked as well. Upgrading just the GPU in an aging gaming rig is exactly what you should do. Then later down the road when you have a bit more cash, splurge on the entire rig ;) 

GTX670 or Radeon HD7950 are my two choices! They're the two best Price/Performance cards on the market at the moment so you can't go wrong :) 
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November 4, 2012 10:56:52 PM

mocchan said:
Yes, that is exactly what was said in the video I previously linked as well. Upgrading just the GPU in an aging gaming rig is exactly what you should do. Then later down the road when you have a bit more cash, splurge on the entire rig ;) 

GTX670 or Radeon HD7950 are my two choices! They're the two best Price/Performance cards on the market at the moment so you can't go wrong :) 


Awesome, thank you again! :) 
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November 4, 2012 10:57:00 PM

Best answer selected by nunyaabidniss.
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a c 109 à CPUs
November 4, 2012 11:00:51 PM

nunyaabidniss said:
Awesome, thank you again! :) 

You're very welcome :) 
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