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[Upgrade] New Motherboard, CPU, GPU, maybe RAM

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August 29, 2012 11:10:46 PM

First off, thanks in advance for any and all advice/help. I'm looking to upgrade my gaming PC to be able to run recent games better. I built this in 2008. Currently have:

Motherboard: EVGA nForce 790i Ultra SLI (which is a Socket 775)
Processor/CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz 775
Video Card: nVidia GeForce GTX 260
RAM: 2GB 1333MHz Corsair brand (that's all I remember about it)
Power Supply: 750 Watt
Monitor: LG Flatron W1942T 1440 x 900 Resolution
Already have an HDD and CD Drive obviously

I've been playing Star Wars: The Old Republic since January, and have had to play on Medium-Low Graphics. I am currently looking into Guild Wars 2, and figured it was about time to stop procrastinating and finally upgrade a little.

As I have already found out, my Motherboard is "obsolete", as the Socket 775 is no good for the newer/better Processors. I've also seen people saying not to get more than 8GBs of RAM if I'm just gaming, as I don't do any Video/Photo Editing and such.

My roommate has told me to just get the GTX 560ti like he has, which plays all his games smooth as butter. He isn't that savy with computers (I'm not that much more knowledgeable than him anymore, either), so I figured I'd ask people more knowledgeable.

I've also seen some mention of Solid State Drives (SSD), which I have 0 experience with.

I'm not trying to get the best out there, I just want to enjoy my new games on High graphics (not so much "ultra" settings). Was hoping to keep the price around the $500 range.
a c 86 V Motherboard
August 29, 2012 11:28:00 PM

I would recommend upgrading to 4 GB RAM and getting a graphics card in the Geforce GTX 560/Radeon HD 6870/Geforce GTX 560 Ti range.

If you find out exactly what memory it is you have it might be possible to find a compatible set of memory sticks to add to it; otherwise, replace it with a new 2x2 GB kit, it won't cost you an arm and a leg anyway (memory is cheap nowadays). I'd buy 1600 MT/s memory if you get a fresh kit, it only costs slightly more than 1333.

You won't necessarily need a new CPU and motherboard.
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August 30, 2012 12:56:03 AM

Ok, so for gaming I should mostly just look into RAM and a new Video Card then? I thought games were kind of heavy on the processor.

My Motherboard supports 1333 and 1600, max 8GB, so I'll just snag 4GBs of 1600, and get a GTX 560 ti? I hate to be a bother, but would you mind taking a look at these 3 GPUs?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...|14-150-521^14-150-521-TS%2C14-130-738^14-130-738-TS%2C14-130-660^14-130-660-TS

Was wondering if the difference between the 560 and 560ti 448 was worth $50 lol. Would it be any noticeable difference, especially on a non-1080 monitor?

Also, I've heard quite a few people are unhappy with ATI's drivers and such, was wondering if I should be mindful of that, as I've only ever used nVidia GPUs

Also, my Motherboard Specs says "Support DDR3 up to 2000 MHz with EPP 2.0 Memory" under the Memory Standard category on Newegg, is that just for RAM, or does that also go for GPUs? Or is the only thing I need to worry about for GPUs is that I have the necessary PCI 2.0/3.0 slot?

Thanks again, this has already been really helpful
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a c 86 V Motherboard
August 30, 2012 2:38:27 AM

The processor can be important in some games, but most are more dependent on the graphics card. Processor requirements generally haven't increased all that rapidly in the last few years, while GPU requirements continue skyrocketing as always. But as always, there may be exceptions. If you do find performance still lagging behind, you can always upgrade the CPU and motherboard afterwards (or just the CPU, if you find eg. a second-hand Core 2 Quad/Extreme on the cheap).

The GXT 560 Ti 448-core is a better card than the regular 560 Ti, though not by a whole lot. The GTX 560 (without Ti) is about equivalent to the Radeon HD 6870, both of them somewhat weaker than the 560 Ti.

If you're gaming on a single monitor with a lower resolution than 1920x1080, I don't think you'll need more than a GTX 560 or Radeon HD 6870. These aren't enormous upgrades over the GTX 260 though, but IMO enough of an improvement to be worth it.

Some say AMD/ATI have poor drivers, but I tend to disagree, having switched from Nvidia cards to AMD/ATI a couple years ago (not because there's anything wrong with Nvidia). At worst, performance may be a little low in the first few months a card is around - that's what happened with the 7970 and 7950, which were outclassed when the GTX 680 launched but have since caught up to some extent.

Honestly, pick the cheaper card or the one with the extras you prefer.

Your motherboard supports DDR3-memory up to 2000 MT/s (which isn't actually 2000 MHz, strictly speaking). This only concerns system memory; the graphics card takes care of its own memory. All it needs is the right amount of power and the right motherboard slot. PCI-Express slots (full-sized) and graphics cards are generally backwards compatible with only a few exceptions; the only thing to look out for is how fast the motherboard PCI-Express slot is. Your motherboard has two PCI-Express 2.0 slots with 16 lanes, which is plenty for any graphics card available today, even though many of them are PCI-Express 3.0 cards. The third slot is PCI-Express 1.0 with 16 lanes, which is half as fast as the other two slots, but generally still good enough for most current cards. So your motherboard is still pretty damn good today, apart from the CPU socket.

The reason I only recommend DDR3-1600 is that the performance gains beyond 1600 are pretty tiny even with the best processors today. It's only useful when using an integrated graphics card, because graphics requires more memory bandwidth (which is why good graphics cards have GDDR5-memory instead of comparatively slow DDR3).
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a c 86 V Motherboard
August 30, 2012 2:59:26 AM

Ah, just noticed your monitor is 1440x900. A GTX 560 or HD 6870 should handle that well.
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August 30, 2012 3:04:15 AM

Sakkura said:
Ah, just noticed your monitor is 1440x900. A GTX 560 or HD 6870 should handle that well.

Ok, I did some digging, and was thinking of getting:

Video Card: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Yes, those are both above what you suggested to me, but I have a problem staying with the lower stuff when I can spend a little bit more for a nice upgrade. The Radeon 7870 2GBs was -$45 sale for only $210, figured that would be a reasonable choice, assuming using a PCI 3.0 card in a 2.0 slot is fine.

And the RAM, I just figured it's only $48, might as well get the max supported RAM I suppose
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a c 86 V Motherboard
August 30, 2012 3:16:10 AM

Yeah the 7870 is fine even though it's PCIe 3.0. It's more than fine actually, especially at that price. That way you're set even if you get a monitor upgrade later. The CPU will probably hold it back in some cases though.

As for the RAM, yeah you probably might as well get 8 GB since it's so cheap. That memory has big heatspreaders which may get in the way when using a third-party CPU cooler, if you think you might do that sometime. Otherwise it's excellent memory.
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August 30, 2012 3:39:08 AM

Sakkura said:
Yeah the 7870 is fine even though it's PCIe 3.0. It's more than fine actually, especially at that price. That way you're set even if you get a monitor upgrade later. The CPU will probably hold it back in some cases though.

As for the RAM, yeah you probably might as well get 8 GB since it's so cheap. That memory has big heatspreaders which may get in the way when using a third-party CPU cooler, if you think you might do that sometime. Otherwise it's excellent memory.

Yeah, was a little worried aboot that too, as I have a CoolerMaster Heatsink, which is pretty large (but sexy looking), can't remember the name/style of it though, but it's just a large metal heatsink with thermal paste underneath. My friend sold it to me at a good price when he bought his CoolerMaster V8 heatsink (ultra mega uber super sexy heatsink by the way lol).

Like I said in my first post, I already have Corsair RAM, it's the ones with the handbar looking things above the RAM, plus I have a "Large/Full" Tower, so I shouldn't have any problems with fitting it in the case, my one concern is the width of the GPU though. My current GTX 260 is quite large (takes up 2 vents in the back), but it looks to be about the same size as what I've got in there now.

Thank you so much Sakkura, can't express my gratitude enough. +1,000,000,000 Internets to you my good sir!
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a c 86 V Motherboard
August 30, 2012 12:02:04 PM

You're welcome.

One last thing; to take advantage of all that memory you're getting, you need to have a 64-bit version of Windows.
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August 30, 2012 8:54:51 PM

Sakkura said:
You're welcome.

One last thing; to take advantage of all that memory you're getting, you need to have a 64-bit version of Windows.

Awesome, already have Windows 7 Home 64-Bit
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!