Upgrading from Radeon X600

I am trying to play a new game called TERA, but I have found that my video card is in need of an upgrade. I'm searching for the right one for my system. I'm not an expert on computers or anything, but I'm not completely in the dark either. Just please bear with me and I will attempt to understand what you are saying as best as I can. I own a Dell XPS 410 with the following system specs:

Motherboard Model: 0CT017
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6420
PSU: 375 Watts w/ 2 +12V rails
Current GPU: Radeon X600 XT
Monitor: 1680x1050 60Hz

(If there is anything missing, let me know and I will edit this post).

Now, the system specs to run the game are recommended to run with:

-DirectX: 9.0C or greater
-CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6750
-GPU: ATI Radeon HD 3870

After reasearching some cards, I thought the HD 3870 would be perfect, until I noticed it needed an extra attachment to the PSU, which I don't know if I have or not. So I discovered the Radeon HD 7750 which seemed perfect to me, but I have a deeper feeling that it will be bottlenecked by my older system hardware, or even just not run at all. Plus, the HD 7750 runs on PCIe 3.0, while I think my motherboard has a PCIe 1.0. My questions are:

-What specs and anything else should I be looking for when choosing a compatible GPU?
-Will the HD 7750 run on my current system specs? How badly will it be bottlenecked?
-How do I determine if the HD 3870 will attach and run properly?
-If neither of these are recommended cards for my system, what other cards are available?

I know, wall of text, but thank you for reading and for any assistance you provide. I pretty much want to stick to ATI cards, and I have a budget between $100-$150. I'll try making a purchase in the next few days depending on the response. Thank you for any help!
3 answers Last reply
More about upgrading radeon x600
  1. if you have the pci-e version of this motherboard you can run a 5670 or a 6670 and still be better off than with what you have. Also, check the card out, it may not need the extra power connector.
  2. swifty_morgan said:
    if you have the pci-e version of this motherboard you can run a 5670 or a 6670 and still be better off than with what you have. Also, check the card out, it may not need the extra power connector.

    the HD 3870 does require external power connectors. I will look for some if necessary, but I want to keep the process as simple as possible. I notice that they both are recommended to have a 400 Watt PSU before use. That shouldn't be a problem with my PSU due to the 2 +12V rails, right?

    Also, with the HD 6670, how much of a difference is there between a DDR3 and DDR5?
  3. I'd like to add that all versions of PCIe are backwards/forwards compatible. You can use a PCIe x16 3.0 card on a 1.0, 2.0 or 2.1 version PCIe motherboard, and vice versa. Of course, you wouldn't be able to take advantage of the higher bandwidth (3.0 runs at 8 GT/s).**

    As for PSUs, you might as well check Newegg.com for some. More often than not they'll have one on sale. I just recently (less than a week ago) purchased a OCZ ModXStream Pro 700W PSU for $50 ($80 off MSRP after discounts and MIR).

    To add to your memory question: note that its not DDR3 or DDR5 on those cards, its GDDR3 and GDDR5 (they share some of the same technologies but are still... very different :P)
    I don't know the specifics, but basically from what I gather GDDR5 is about twice as fast as GDDR3, though I could be (and probably am) wrong.

    Based on your budget and needs, you should check this out.

    Those are just the 7750's. Shop around a bit, you'll definitely find the video card equivalent of your soul mate if you spend the time to look :D

    As far as I know, your system should be able to handle a card of that type. What really matters is the power supply.
    Also, just curious. Do you know if your RAM is DDR or DDR2? Sometime in the near future you may want to upgrade your mobo/cpu/ram. DDR3 memory is insanely cheap and more than twice as fast as DDR2 (refresh rates on the positive and negative edges of the clock cycle as opposed to just the positive).

    I also wanted to add that you'll need an Ivy Bridge CPU and a PCIe 3.0 compatible motherboard to be able to use PCIe 3.0. Sandy Bridge does not have the capability to run PCIe cards at 3.0 speeds. So an upgrade of that magnitude will benefit you in the future anyway.

    If I'm wrong in any of my information, someone please correct me. Otherwise I hope all this helps!
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