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Upgrading CPU, GPU, PSU ($3-400) input please

Last response: in Systems
October 26, 2012 5:35:51 PM

My current build is going on three years right now. I don't have the money to do a complete system overhaul but I wanted to upgrade my CPU, GPU, and I will need to upgrade my PSU. Any input is appreciated.

Current Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard MoBo Link
Current PSU: Antec TruePower 2.0 TP2-550 EPS12V 550W ATX12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready Power Supply PSU Link

Rest of system not being upgraded
Case: Case Link

Looking to upgrade CPU to: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ965FBGMBOX AMD Link

I have been looking at video cards and thinking about a GTX 550/560. Thoughts on those cards? Recomendations? What PSU would be good for that?

Approximate Purchase Date: ASAP

Budget Range: 300-400

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, School work, music/movies, basically everything

Are you buying a monitor: No

Parts to Upgrade: Upgrading CPU, GPU

Do you need to buy OS: No

Preferred Website(s) for Parts:

Location: Maple Shade, New Jersey

Parts Preferences: Motherboard is AMD

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe

Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: Games: BF3, Borderlands 2, Diablo 3, Crysis etc.
October 26, 2012 5:40:07 PM

just keep the whole build are just try to upgrade GPU into something like a 7850 or a 7770
October 26, 2012 5:47:45 PM

So go with that AMD CPU, a 7850/7770, and you think my current PSU will handle it?
Related resources
a c 107 à CPUs
October 26, 2012 5:58:12 PM

What is your current CPU? Your PSU should handle any upgrade within your budget (i.e. you're not buying a HD7990 or GTX690). Specifically, it will have no trouble with a HD7850.
October 26, 2012 6:05:09 PM

Current CPU is:

I figure i can go to the CPU i listed up top for around $100 and it should be a decent upgrade.

Also my current GPU is a GTX 260. Computer seems to be struggling with current set up so I figured the CPU/GPU upgrade would definitely help.
a b à CPUs
October 26, 2012 6:25:02 PM

no that cpu wouldn't give much of a performance boost.
A recommended cpu would have been the FX-4170 but that requires am3+ socket
So that rules out the possibility of upgrading the cpu
a b à CPUs
October 26, 2012 6:46:37 PM

I think you'll be good to go with your original part choices. My rig pulls 64.7 average FPS in Uniengine heaven 1920x1080 @ 4xMSAA & 4xAF after overclocks.
October 26, 2012 7:04:32 PM

I figure the cpu i chose wont be a huge increase in performance but it also wont break the bank. Not to mention I can stretch its usage out with a little bit of overclocking. I know my GPU could definitely use an upgrade and like most people are saying, the ATI cards seem to be the preference over the Nvidia cards. More specifically the 7700 and 7800 series cards.
a c 107 à CPUs
October 26, 2012 7:16:51 PM

The additional cores WILL provide an increase from what you have now, although a GPU upgrade may be the biggest factor.
Get a HD7850. This should offer marked improvement, for around $200. If it isn't enough, upgrade the CPU. You may wish to get a decent cooler like a Xigmatek Gaia (currently only $20) for overclocking; it should reach 3.6GHz without too much trouble, and 4GHz is not unrealistic.
October 26, 2012 8:24:41 PM

I think if i'm doing the upgrade i'm just going to go with the cpu and gpu all at once. That CPU im looking at is apparently going out of production soon and i dont think ill see it much cheaper. I do like the 7850, looks like a real solid card. Any reason not to go with a gtx560? Prices are all similar and spec wise they look on par. Only reason I can see is the AMD/ATI relationship. 560 seems to do better on benchmarks though.
October 26, 2012 8:41:29 PM

why not go with a new system and reuse the case the hdd and the dvd drive. I looked at the best system for $500 its a month old but its case, hdd, and dvd drive added to 109. If you were to reuse the psu, you could get an i3 cpu. The gpu could be swapped to a 7850.

your cpu needs an upgrade I agree but at this point you could use a new system. DDR2 ram makes me shutter.
October 26, 2012 8:46:25 PM

haha i agree. when i bought this mobo three years ago i was looking for something that wouldn't put me in this position (difficulties upgrading). but i couldn't find a mobo that had everything i wanted +ddr3 for under 200 at the time so i had to stick with ddr2. now here i am struggling again. ill look at the systems around 500
October 26, 2012 9:25:10 PM

Money is better spent on an i3 and a better gpu but I like my i5... Do you have a micro center around?
October 26, 2012 9:26:38 PM

I do not. Closest ones over an hour away =(
October 26, 2012 9:32:54 PM

hmmmm this has become increasingly more difficult to decide on haha
October 26, 2012 9:47:52 PM

upgraded video card thoughts? i like the idea of stick with nvidia. my gtx260 has done well for me and now going with intel it makes a little more sense even though it's not a big deal. benchmarks keep showing that this card passes the equivalent and slightly higher/more expensive ati cards
a c 107 à CPUs
October 26, 2012 10:00:06 PM

A HD7850 is probably on par with a GTX570, maybe a little better with the latest drivers.
The Kepler cards (GTX6xx[Ti]) are almost all crippled in some way; some issues may not be relevant today, such as lousy compute performance, but might bite really hard later if games start using it (such as for AI).
A GTX550Ti is fairly weak; it's better than what you have, but not much. You'd want no less than a GTX560Ti, but the HD7850 beats that in most games, some substantially.
October 26, 2012 10:04:38 PM

not to mention im still suspect on my PSU i listed in the first post. the wattage seems fine but aren't the amps a little low for more current hardware?
October 26, 2012 10:05:06 PM

good to know. the benchmarks kept indicating that nvidia was the favorable card but i have not heard of the issues with them. thanks for the heads up
a c 107 à CPUs
October 26, 2012 10:17:35 PM

Please don't just take my word for it though; read the release articles here on Tom's. Your interpretation may differ from mine; or, you may not be concerned about the relevance of Kepler's limitations. Most of them also have lower RAM bandwidth (e.g. 192bit vs. 256bit for HD78xx), which matters if you like lots of AA or other effects that need it.
October 26, 2012 10:28:26 PM

i remember reading through a lot of stuff on this website and these forums plus a few different and i do remember the 7800 series getting mentioned a lot so everything seems credible. once again i do appreciate it. i think i'm starting to fine tune my build and even though it's way beyond my original budget, i think im getting something with longevity. it all depends on if my current psu can handle it though. heres what ive narrowed down to.

gpu -
cpu -
Mobo/ram -

price comes out to 612 after everything
October 26, 2012 10:29:11 PM

and not to neglect what you guys have been saying, but i want to go into a quad core set up and i want to get up to 8gb. i do a lot of multitasking and i think the added performance will benefit me
a c 107 à CPUs
October 26, 2012 11:13:05 PM

That looks very good. Realize that you won't be able to overclock with that mobo and that CPU, but overclocking is absolutely not a requirement; you're performance will be quite good.
I have the "Black" version of that HD7870 (it's just clocked a little higher), and it has no trouble with any of my games, at or near max settings.
October 27, 2012 12:20:18 AM

just get a gtx 660ti plus phenom x4 955 and call it a day.

even just the video card would be fine. the cpu is still ok and you wont notice the difference in most games.
October 27, 2012 1:25:27 AM

the more i think about it though, the more doing a more complete overhaul makes sense. getting a 660 and not upgrading the cpu is delaying the inevitable. my next upgrade is definitely going to have to involve a mobo upgrade so i might as well do it all now
a c 107 à CPUs
October 27, 2012 2:00:12 AM

Your first post says you don't have the money for a complete overhaul. Depending on what your budget allows, buy the video card first. You can always move it into the new rig, so you're not wasting any money.
I believe I misunderstood the PSU you have; I have a Truepower New, and it is VERY different from yours. The little voltage switch on yours gives it away as a considerably older design. It was built by Channel Well, not Seasonic or Delta. Capacitor aging has very likely reduced its capacity. Furthermore, although it scored decently for a 2006 PSU, Jonnyguru had this to say:
Channel Well built Antec's typically use Fuhjyyu capacitors on the secondary side. If there's anything Fuhjyyu caps don't like, it's heat. Given the high temps of this unit, one has to question the longevity of the unit.
I have decided that replacing it is probably a good idea.
I'd get a HD7850 or HD7870 and a Seasonic-built (their own brand or another, like XFX) PSU in the 550W-600W range. Install those, and judge the performance. This will give you more time to save money so you'll be able to "do it right" when you upgrade your other parts.
BTW, in that Anandtech bench, the i5-3570K soundly defeated the FX, with the AMD chip barely managing a tie in ONE program, 7zip. In all games, the AMD chip was soundly beaten.
October 27, 2012 3:08:25 AM

thanks for the additional input. with the money situation, it's more of a "i dont want to spend the money" as opposed to i dont have the money haha. sorry for the confusion. i figured the psu was going to have to be overhauled. going on 6 years old now haha. factoring in now that a psu is basically a must-do, ill probably do what you said and buy a good psu and gpu first. then save a little more and do the cpu, mobo, and ram. seems to be the best way to spread it and figure out what i want to do
October 27, 2012 3:09:33 AM

for some reason i just haven't been to fond of the new cpu's amd has been putting out. ive used amd since my first build in 05 and loved the performance vs price balance but it seems that people have been a little skeptical to the newer processors theyve been putting out compared to what intel offers
a c 107 à CPUs
October 27, 2012 4:14:23 AM

Keep in mind though, that despite the benchmarks, in actual, typical daily use, you may not be able to tell a whole lot of difference. The thing is though, for the same amount of money (even at the low end), Intel does outperform AMD in games, so a new build really ought to be Intel.
October 27, 2012 5:43:08 AM

@jtt283,you are right Intel IVB core i5/i7 are the best gaming CPUs and they outperform AMD CPUs in almost every game,but it doesn't make a sense to upgrade to core i3 or FX-6300(i missed the part that OP's motherboard doesn't support AM3+ CPUs) if you can upgrade CPU to phenom II 965 using motherboard you already have.
a c 107 à CPUs
October 27, 2012 6:17:08 PM

I agree; this was my comment after learning about his current CPU:
Onus said:
The additional cores WILL provide an increase from what you have now, although a GPU upgrade may be the biggest factor.
Get a HD7850. This should offer marked improvement, for around $200. If it isn't enough, upgrade the CPU. You may wish to get a decent cooler like a Xigmatek Gaia (currently only $20) for overclocking; it should reach 3.6GHz without too much trouble, and 4GHz is not unrealistic.

Buying a new GPU (and PSU) is a good idea in any case, which is why I think it ought to be the first thing to do.