Upgrade GPU or CPU?

Specs:

CPU: Intel Core i5 2400 @ 3.10GHz

RAM: 8.00 GB Dual-Channel DDR3 @ 824MHz (9-9-9-24)

Motherboard: ASUSTeK Computer INC. P8Z68-V (LGA1155)

Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 6850

PSU: Corsair TX650W

I've been gaming on this system for about a year now and I have been able to play Skyrim, BF3, and other 2011 games at high (not max) settings with ease. But lately I have bought some newer 2012 games like War of The Roses, Chivalry, and Planetside 2, and I have noticed that my system can't really play these newer games that well. I'm looking to upgrade my system this Christmas and I don't know whether to upgrade my CPU or my GPU. Upgrading both isn't really an option but if they both really need an upgrade I guess I could do it. Which one needs an upgrade most?
10 answers Last reply
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  1. It doesn't sound like your RAM is exactly helping. That should certainly be upgraded. Upgrading CPU would give a reasonable boost, if you used a "K", and overclocked. Trouble is, an upgrade to i5-2500K doesn't "feel" like much of an upgrade, and going to i5-3570K, would, although not essential, suggest an upgrade of mobo, to Z77, to get the best out of it. Haswell is due in little more than 6 months, so it is probably better to leave a CPU change, til then, and then do a "proper job". That leaves GPU . The HD6850, actually, isn't that bad, even if getting a bit "long in the tooth". There are substantially better GPU's available, now, and your PSU is adequate to take anything, so question is, how much do you want to spend on a GPU. Bear in mind you really need to spend around $200, or more, to actually get any real improvement, at all.
  2. Best upgrade would be a new GPU. You have more than enough RAM and you wouldn't see a performance difference in gaming with an i7. Also I find it very odd that you can't run Skyrim on max with a 6850.
  3. I would buy a new gpu if your focus is on gaming. The 7850 is a great value.
  4. GPU in your situation. How much did you want to spend?
  5. malbluff said:
    It doesn't sound like your RAM is exactly helping. That should certainly be upgraded. Upgrading CPU would give a reasonable boost, if you used a "K", and overclocked. Trouble is, an upgrade to i5-2500K doesn't "feel" like much of an upgrade, and going to i5-3570K, would, although not essential, suggest an upgrade of mobo, to Z77, to get the best out of it. Haswell is due in little more than 6 months, so it is probably better to leave a CPU change, til then, and then do a "proper job". That leaves GPU . The HD6850, actually, isn't that bad, even if getting a bit "long in the tooth". There are substantially better GPU's available, now, and your PSU is adequate to take anything, so question is, how much do you want to spend on a GPU. Bear in mind you really need to spend around $200, or more, to actually get any real improvement, at all.


    Thanks for all the replies. I'm looking to spend about 250-300 on a new GPU. Any recommendations?
  6. GTX 660, or HD 7870 on the lower end of your (below) budget and a GTX 660TI or HD 7950 on the upper end.

    Also, can you wait until black friday? Some awesome deals might open up.
  7. I agree with lycros. I would go with the 660ti or the 7950 depending on the games you like to play. Check the benchmarks for your games and choose the fastest one.
  8. open task manager and look at the load on your cpu while gaming. i highly doubt it is going past 35% so your graphics is what is holding you back.

    a 6850 is better than a 550ti and about equal to a 7770; so get a 7850 or better and you will see a significant performance increase.
  9. I don't see anything wrong with the RAM or CPU. Yeah, upgrade GPU.
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