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Trying to figure out if I should upgrade Graphics Card or CPU/RAM.

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  • Graphics Cards
  • Bottleneck
  • Graphics
Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 9, 2012 12:20:59 AM

Hopefully this is the fight forum to post this in, I didn't see any sub-forum for "what's my comps bottleneck" type questions.

I currently have the current system setup:
Core i7 870 @ 2.93
8 gigs Corsair DDR3 1600MHz
GTX 580 1536MB GDDR5
Intel Extreme DP55KG Motherboard
1000w Power Supply

Wondering what my bottleneck is being a gamer is it my CPU? Graphics Card? Need more RAM?

If its my graphics card I'm thinking of getting either a GTX 670 or dual SLI two GTX 660ti's (assuming I have a high enough power supply to support double cards? Didn't see any power needs for this on card reviews). I've always wanted to get a triple monitor set up going, and I think now is the time.

So, if my bottleneck is my graphics card, what would you guys say is a better way to go? As far as I can tell its $400 for a slightly more powerful single GFX card in the 670, vs $600 for double time via the 660ti's. I'm assuming dual 660ti's would be a large step more powerful than a single 670 and 200 bucks isn't going to break the bank.

Thanks for any help/comments/suggestions in advance, and again I hope I put this in the most related forum section.

More about : figure upgrade graphics card cpu ram

a c 87 U Graphics card
September 9, 2012 12:29:29 AM

Two 660 Tis in SLI usually can't keep up with two Radeon 7950s in CF and even then, two 7850s in CF with some overclocking can handle triple 1080p excellently. The 7850 has more headroom than the 660 Ti does (660 Tis usually suck at overclocking and the 7850 has huge overclocking headroom), especially in minimum frame rates and handles AA and tessellation better than the 660 Ti.

A CPU upgrade might help too, but in order to upgrade your CPU, you'd need to upgrade your motherboard too. Overclocking it if you don't want to do that should help significantly anyway.
a b U Graphics card
September 9, 2012 12:37:48 AM

What 1K PSU do you have? Just upgrade your GPU. Get 2x 7950's or 7870's.
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September 9, 2012 12:39:02 AM

I've always been wary of overclocking of any nature past what the settings are per the manufacturer. I don't know enough about the stuff to realize at what point I would be overclocking too much and potentially fry either the graphics card or cpu.

I don't have some sort of elaborate cooling system either, just some basic fans for airflow at the back of the rig.
a b U Graphics card
September 9, 2012 12:39:39 AM

It's safe to say that if there is any bottleneck at this point, it would come from the CPU and motherboard combo. The GPU is fine and will continue to perform very well, as long as the CPU is up to par. Even some i5 2500Ks at stock clock bottleneck a GTX 580.

As for upgrading, the system still seems solid, but if you are keen, and if the real reason for the upgrade is the triple monitor, then upgrading the graphics card would be the way to go.

Even dual GTX 660 Ti can get away with being run on a 650-700W PSU so the PSU you have will have no problems. As for graphics card recommendations, why not just buy another GTX 580? With SLI, you will be able to run triple monitor set ups and 2nd generation Fermi cards. It will be cheaper than two 660 Tis or a 670. The performance will be there, no doubt about it.

I'm not sure if this post explains everything well, but I'll be on for a while, so feel free to reply or ask any questions, but the bottom line of this post is that getting a second GTX 580 would be my option, unless there is a specific reason for going with Kepler.
a b U Graphics card
September 9, 2012 12:41:36 AM

Or another 580. And an i5 at stock does not bottleneck one bit.
September 9, 2012 12:44:07 AM

locomoco, I had looked at just getting a second GTX 580, but unless I'm looking in all the wrong places, there still priced in the 350-450 dollar range for even a refurbished one and seems a little odd to pay that much when I could get a newer card for the same.

Also, when dual SLI'ing, do you need the exact same make/model? Or could I combine say... a PNY GTX 580 to go with my ASUS GTX 580?

And for the PSU question, its a Antec.
a b U Graphics card
September 9, 2012 12:45:21 AM

Yup, any vendor's 580 will work with any other vendor's 580.
a b U Graphics card
September 9, 2012 12:45:24 AM

Overclocking is prety much just increasing the multiplier, but once you get to voltages, it gets more complicated. Pretty hard to fry the CPU unless you input a really high voltage. If your overclock is unstable, Windows won't boot, that's all. Then go back in to the BIOS and revert your changes, and Windows will boot.
a c 87 U Graphics card
September 9, 2012 12:46:30 AM

It's actually difficult to accidentally fry components these days. For the Radeons, just keep the GPU voltage below 1.3v and they should be fine (if it fails, then it would have probably failed soon even at stock settings anyway because it is faulty). For the CPU, you should be fine so long as you keep the CPU voltage below 1.4v (maybe a little higher with that CPU). If you increase the frequency too high for the voltage, then it doesn't damage the hardware, it simply makes it unstable and needs to have the frequency lowered to a stable frequency. Stress testing with Prime95 and such should tell you if it is stable or not.
a b U Graphics card
September 9, 2012 12:50:20 AM

obsama1 said:
Or another 580. And an i5 at stock does not bottleneck one bit.

For dual GPUs (SLI;Crossfire), yes an i5 2500(K) at stock will bottleneck the GPUs. For this reason, people overclock their CPUs to avoid the bottleneck with dual GPU configurations.

Quote:
I've always been wary of overclocking of any nature past what the settings are per the manufacturer. I don't know enough about the stuff to realize at what point I would be overclocking too much and potentially fry either the graphics card or cpu.

I don't have some sort of elaborate cooling system either, just some basic fans for airflow at the back of the rig.

Overclocking is safe as long as you stay below Intel voltage spec (1.5v on Sandy Bridge), and can really improve performance in dual GPU configurations (search around on YouTube of Google, many examples show performance increase). If it's not something you want to risk, at all, then a CPU upgrade is not out of the question.
a b U Graphics card
September 9, 2012 12:51:40 AM

Can I have a source that a stock i5 bottlenecks SLI/CFX? If it's true, that's pretty interesting.
a c 87 U Graphics card
September 9, 2012 12:56:28 AM

obsama1 said:
Can I have a source that a stock i5 bottlenecks SLI/CFX? If it's true, that's pretty interesting.


It depends on the game and the settings as well as the user. It usually isn't a problem for playable performance, but it can be. Sometimes, an i5 at stock isn't enough for about 60FPS, but it can keep around 35-45FPS which is arguably still playable for some people.
a b U Graphics card
September 9, 2012 12:57:14 AM

Xanthes said:
locomoco, I had looked at just getting a second GTX 580, but unless I'm looking in all the wrong places, there still priced in the 350-450 dollar range for even a refurbished one and seems a little odd to pay that much when I could get a newer card for the same.

Also, when dual SLI'ing, do you need the exact same make/model? Or could I combine say... a PNY GTX 580 to go with my ASUS GTX 580?

And for the PSU question, its a Antec.

http://ncix.com/products/?sku=56739&vpn=ZT-50101-10P%2F...
If you're not worried about aesthetics too much (ugly looking card) then this card isn't too bad. As for price, you are right, but the memory bus on this card helps a lot when running triple monitor gaming, and the 660 Ti gets hurt by this (reason for many Radeon HD recommendations). If the price is too high, and you want newer 28nm technology, a Radeon HD card with its added memory bus (3GB for 7900 cards (better), 2GB for 7800 cards (good)) will suit your needs better than am nVidia card.
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