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Would a second video card keep my older system going or is it worth it to start

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October 9, 2012 2:51:08 PM

Hello,

As the title indicates, I have an older setup that has started to show its age lately. Currently I have a Phenom II 940, Radeon 6870, 6 GB of DDR2 800 RAM. For the most part, I do find the system isnt a slouch. It just feels dated and minor upgrades seem more like a bandaid. I play a lot of games and do work in dreamweaver and photoshop mostly. I noticed in BF3 I was stuck around 38-45 FPS and its bothering me. Getting more RAM seems to be out of the question b/c DDR2 800 RAM is incredibly over priced. I just got the 6870 back in spring 2011. I figure if I moved to a new computer, I could still use that video card. Im eyeing a new core i5 sandy bridge or ivy bridge and while I am tempted, I wonder how much greater performance I will get over my Phenom II.

Could anyone offer their insight into the performance gains of moving to a new system with a core i5, DDR3 RAM with my 6870? If I got a second 6870, would my current CPU slow it down?

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October 9, 2012 4:09:24 PM

I was in a similar situation just a week ago. Having an athlon x4 overclocked @3.4ghz and a 6950 I just wasn't getting the FPS I wanted. I often toyed about upgrading the RAM but like you DDR2 is prohibitively expensive and you can literally get at least double the amount for the same price of faster DDR3.

For some reason it seems the majority of my games are very heavily CPU dependant, GW2, Deus Ex, starcraft2 (assume BF3 falls under the same category). So to get to the point, I was stuck in best case scenarios at 40-47fps in most games and no matter what I tweaked, it just wouldn't go higher, where as my GPU clearly should have been able to do better.

So I did upgrade this past weekend to an i5 3570k and 8gb ram. Thankfully I'm not too far from microcenter, so for ~$300 I got the whole deal. Lo and behold no more frame caps at 40fps, everything running like butter now at 60+fps. So for me it was worth it.

I usually cap the FPS when possible (vsync or setting wise) if I can to 30 or 60 fps because that is enough for me and lets be honest the 6950 never was a quiet card. The problem with the amd was it would dip below 30 very often, creating intolerable stutter in games where as there are no such problems with the Intel. Albeit fresh windows install might have helped too!
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October 16, 2012 1:18:41 PM

Best answer selected by harrigatoe.
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October 16, 2012 1:22:42 PM

Thanks, I needed someone's testimonial who was slugging through the same FPS with a similar AMD system. For $300, all of that is a pretty good deal. When it stays in the high 40s, it really isn't that bad, but the tendency to dip into the 30s even for only a brief moment really interrupts the flow of games. It will go from running very well, to stuttering right when some action kicks in. I don't think the overclocking really helps all that much and from the benchmarks I've seen online, It would just run hotter louder with only a marginal increase in speed. If I had that 6950, I'd be tempted to flash it to a 6970 tho. Thanks for your input
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