Need advice on new GPU

I have a dilemma. I put together a system several years ago that has performed extremely well and continues to do so. Sadly though, the GPU is starting to chug and I'm seeing dips in framerates. It's still working well so I'm trying to figure out if spending a little money now is worthwhile or if I should just wait and keep this card as long as possible.

System rundown...

CPU: Intel E8400 Wolfdale 3GHz
Mobo: ASUS P5K-E (P35 Chipset)
RAM: 4GB DDR2-800
GPU: Radeon HD 3850 (512 MB)
PSU: Antec Earthwatts 500W
*Playing on a 24" 1920x1080 ASUS monitor*

If I could I would just put a new system together but for now I'll have to stick with this setup. It's an older PCI-E slot on the mobo so I imagine that something like a HD 6990 would be overkill due to the bottleneck (just from the slot, not even considering the CPU and RAM bottlenecks).

And that's fine because honestly I'm looking to spend as little as possible. I don't play a ton of graphics intensive games to begin with (currently playing Mass Effect 3, Deus Ex: HR, and GTA4) but I would like to pickup Skyrim soon and if possible, get the system a little boost for upcoming games like Bioshock Infinite and Company of Heroes 2.

Would it be worth it to shell out a little money now for something like a 6750, 6770, or 6790? Or should I just wait, stick with this card for as long as possible, and upgrade to something beefier later? I can't justify paying a lot for a graphics card right now since my current card is still handling games fairly well, but if I can get a significant boost from something sub-$100, that would be great. Cards are continually getting faster and more efficient for less money, but I still wonder if the 6750 would be enough of an upgrade over my 3850 512MB.

I am surprised by how long this card has lasted me. Even looking at the graphics card hierarchy chart, I'm impressed by its standing. So what should I do? Any advice?
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  1. Hey Kessel, I'm Rockdpm and ill be helping you today. Personally i think its time for a new system. But if you want to get by until you have money for a new computer... get a 7750 or 6770. SHouldn't be a overkill
  2. Thanks for the reply!

    Agreed, a new system would be great, but it'll have to wait for a while.

    I guess the biggest debate here is what card would yield the biggest performance increase over my 3850 512MB yet not run into bottlenecking issues due to the rest of the system.

    If it's worth it to go up to a 6850, I might be able to justify paying close to $150. But if it's held back by my CPU / RAM / Mobo, then maybe a 6770 / 6790 is the way to go? That would also keep me at around the $100 and below price range, which is nice. Do you think there would be bottleneck issues even with those cards?

    And another question: Are there any issues with running a PCI-E 2.1 card in an older PCI-E slot, and particularly with the Radeon 6700 series?
  3. I would suggest either an HD6850 or HD7770 especially at your resolution. Here is a link to compare the 2:

    If you need to stay nearer the $100 mark the an HD7750 might be a better choice than a 6770.

    I don't think your system will bottleneck either an HD6850 or HD7770. I run an HD6850 in my system (see sig) and am not experiencing any indications of a bottleneck.
  4. i honestly think the 7750 is a great choice with trying to stay within your specs and budget.

    HIS iCooler H775F1GD Radeon HD 7750 1GB $109.99 $4.99 Shipping

    however if you are going to upgrade that rig and don't mind a little cpu restriction until then. going over budget . .what are you looking for?
  5. I'd like to stick with this rig for as long as I can, so getting the best bang for the buck on a GPU upgrade would be ideal. Anything past upgrading the GPU and I'd just as soon wait until I can build a whole new system. Worse case, I can OC the CPU (since the E8400 is good for that).

    I might be leaning towards a 67xx or 7750 now. But as maui67 pointed out, my screen resolution will likely be an issue. I can always bump it down to 1680 x 1050 (which I don't mind doing if and when I need to), but it might be a nagging issue.

    Wouldn't a 6750/6770 be better than the 7750 with their higher stream processor count? I'm sure I am out of date as far as GPU cores and architecture (haven't kept up with new tech in a while) so maybe the new core on the 7000 series negates that difference?
    that will explain that it isn't always about the core count with the 7xxx series compared to the 6xxx series.
    also has some benches.
  7. A 7770 would be great for your system and leave your resolution to 1920x1080, no need to lower it.
    Definately overclock your E8400 to give it more juice, it will be a nice upgrade for you till you decide to upgrade your whole system.
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