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Upgrade - CPU vs GPU

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July 16, 2012 2:22:08 AM

I have a motherboard that supports Athlon and Phenom Processors with a Athlon X2 255(3.1 GHZ) chip. I also have a HD 5670 1GB GPU. I'm going to be upgrading to either a GTX 560 or a Phenom X4 965(3.4 GHZ). If I buy one I might have to wait a month or so before buying the other. I've been playing games like ArmA 2 and GTA 4 recently which I've heard can be Processor intensive. Which one should I get?

More about : upgrade cpu gpu

a b B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2012 3:15:48 AM

Your biggest improvement in gaming frame rates will be experienced by upgrading the graphics card first. The HD 5670 is a weak card. What is your monitor's native resolution?
Upgrading the CPU will help, of course. But not as much as upgrading the graphics card. Go for the card first for immediate joy.
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July 16, 2012 3:22:41 AM

I'm using 1680x1050. I thought that Dual to Quad Core would really provide a large boost.
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2012 3:25:31 AM

No where near as much as moving from an HD 5670 to a GTX 560. Not even close.
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July 16, 2012 3:29:56 AM

The biggest boost you will get will be with the GTX 560. The CPU is a good thought too. But CPU intensive games are like Star Craft 2 and maybe Diablo. But for games like Arma 2 and GTA 4, it would most likely be the GPU for you to upgrade.
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2012 4:08:40 AM

GTA 4 is techinically CPU intensive, but its also a 4 year old game, so what was CPU intensive then, is not CPU intensive to a more modern CPU such as a Phenom II 965, so I wouldn't concern myself too much with that. Most games only use 2 cores, there are some that are quad core optimized, GTA 4 and ArmA 2 are not such games. So in this case, the video card upgrade is going to be the big deal.

Honestly there are better cards to consider than a 560 (non-TI) in their price range from the AMD side, specifically a 6870. If you were considering say a 560 TI, again AMD beats the price point with the 7850. But its up to you, the difference really is horseshoes and handgrenades.

Since it was mentioned, Diablo 3, is not a CPU intensive game. StarCraft II is a little bit.

As for upgrading the CPU, exactly what motherboard do you have? brand and model. Just make sure you have a board that supports 125watt TDP before buying a Phenom II 965.
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July 16, 2012 4:33:59 AM

Captacha said:
I have a motherboard that supports Athlon and Phenom Processors with a Athlon X2 255(3.1 GHZ) chip. I also have a HD 5670 1GB GPU. I'm going to be upgrading to either a GTX 560 or a Phenom X4 965(3.4 GHZ). If I buy one I might have to wait a month or so before buying the other. I've been playing games like ArmA 2 and GTA 4 recently which I've heard can be Processor intensive. Which one should I get?

i totally disagree with anyone who suggested to upgrade the gfx card. The games you mentioned are very cpu dependant, a phenom 965 would provide you a nice boost, the 5670 is good enough if you run med detail settings. Then wait a month and get a gtx560.
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2012 4:38:36 AM

You're entitled to disagree, but the fact is a 5670 was a weak, budget level video card in 2010, and its definitely not aging like a fine wine in 2012. An Athlon II 255 Regor is not a terrible CPU, it basically is a Phenom II x2 without a L3 Cache, not ideal, but not horrible either.

I will say though that since Phenom II 965s are no longer produced, it may be more worthwhile to get one now, lest they no longer be available in a month. However, I want to make sure you have a motherboard that will support it before I give you the green light. Not all AM3 boards support the 125watt TDP CPUs.
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July 16, 2012 5:20:49 AM

Quote:
Not all AM3 boards support the 125watt TDP CPUs.

I looked up my Mobo specs. It worksHere's a link to for you to check: http://www.biostar.com.tw/app/en/mb/introduction.php?S_.... I was going to get the GPU first anyways, but I wanted to check with you guys first because of the added expense of a new PSU. Here's a link if you want to check it out:http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-500-Watt-Certified-Compat.... Also are the Molex to PCI-E cables safe to use?
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2012 5:27:04 AM

Yes, that motherboard will support a Phenom II 965.

The CX500 PSU is powerful enough to handle the CPU and video card upgrade you're looking at, don't worry about getting a new PSU if thats the one you already have. The PCI-E molex power adapters are "safe" to use. Its unfortunate if you have to use em, just because they're tacky, but they're perfectly fine. however, the Corsair CX500 v2 should have the right connections you need so that you don't have to use the molex adapters.
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July 16, 2012 7:53:32 AM

nekulturny said:
Yes, that motherboard will support a Phenom II 965.

The CX500 PSU is powerful enough to handle the CPU and video card upgrade you're looking at, don't worry about getting a new PSU if thats the one you already have. The PCI-E molex power adapters are "safe" to use. Its unfortunate if you have to use em, just because they're tacky, but they're perfectly fine. however, the Corsair CX500 v2 should have the right connections you need so that you don't have to use the molex adapters.


I'm getting Corsair to replace the old 350w PSU for my 5670. For some reason I thought it only had one PCI-E cable, but then I looked uup the specs. Thanks for saving me a few dollars.
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July 16, 2012 7:54:01 AM

Best answer selected by Captacha.
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