ASUS P5K PRO with 7950 HD and issues

hey all!
I messed up an earlier post asking this question so here goes version 2.0!
my motherboard is pretty old: ASUS P5K PRO. currently i have a quadcore q6600 CPU with a radeon hd 4850.
Newegg's 7950 radeon hd got me thinking about upgrading and the 7950 does seem to fit the bill, as far as price to performance ration go. now the issues:

1: 7950 is a pci 3.0 card, my mobo is (as far as i can tell) pci 1.0. apparently this won't be a problem and the performance dip would be minimal. (thanks again for the answer on the previous post)

2. there are various 7950s on newegg. the is cheapest. however its running at a lower than standard 810Hz Core clock. it looks like it has the same cooling as the OC version. does it mean I can just OC this base model up to the actual OC version? any thoughts/suggestions? can anyone give me some info on the differences, since if I'm paying 270, might as well pay the extra 20-30 to get the optimal solution/version. I upgrade once every 3-4 years it seems anyway... after extensive googling, basically it seems the 7950 is a great choice, but mostly if one takes overclocking into account, otherwise, the 660ti or even 7870 seem in the same ballpark.

so: 1: pci 3 on pci 1 ok?
2 q6600 with OCZ Gold 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)- how bad is the bottleneck situation here if i were to put a 7950, either base model or OC version?
3: what is the optimal solution for the 7950 different cards problem, assuming 1 and 2 are OK?

Thanks, and sorry for the double post!

4 answers Last reply
More about asus 7950 issues
  1. Answer to #1 In my experience any card is usually backward compatible, but not always.
    #2 I think the CPU and RAM will bottleneck you, what GHz is your CPU running at?
    #3 I talked to someone today asking the same question about that card might have been you actually cant remember, anyways your best bet is to get the cheaper one they seem to have the exact same cooling solution that means you should be able to overclock it to the oced version with no problems.
  2. there is indeed a newer thread like mine with the similar/same motherboard.
    so CPU is Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz LGA 775 Quad-Core Processor BX80562Q6600 to be perfectly exact. I remember reading back in the day that it is OC-able, so maybe that can do something.

    as far as bottleneck, it makes sense, my gear is 3-4 years old at least. however, considering in comparison the 7950 HD is a beast, the degree of bottleneck would be crucial- if it kills it by say 10-20%, might as well go for a cheaper 7870 or even lower. PSU isn't an issue, if I need to ill upgrade it as needed, CPU cooler- i am OK with upgrading that, im trying to make a quieter system anyway.

    I will be getting a SSD as well so the HD should not be a problem.

    I realize that its a very specific question, but i figure TH forums are my only hope so here goes nothing :)

    so to summarize
    1. any idea how bad the bottleneck would be potentially?
    2. what snipersam15 said makes perfect sense, based on pictures, reviews, I cannot find ANY difference between the different Sapphire 7950s except the different memory and ram settings. Yet can anyone confirm for sure? I would much rather save my 50 bucks or hell, id rather give them to a charity instead of sapphire. (the sapphire 4850 I currently own is hellish- loud, HOT, etc. my bad research but whatever, it makes me a sad panda).
  3. 7950s are awesome because of their large memory interface in comparison to a 660 or 660 ti, and their pretty decent overclockers.

    If you want to save a few bucks the 7870 will have better price/performance when overclocked it can even surpass a 7950 sometimes.

    As for bottleneck im really not a 100% on that its a tricky thing to measure, overclocking the cpu should help a bit an ssd and new hd wont really give you better gaming performance just loading times and I think ssd gives a few extra features in new games.

    But even with bottleneck holding the card back a bit it will still give you a huge huge increase in performance.

    You forgot to mention your RAM it might bottleneck you just as much as your cpu will.

    Think of it like this if you get a good graphics card now you wont have to upgrade it later when you upgrade the rest of your system assuming you will build it yourself.
  4. yeah thats the plan, the 7950 regular would be a huge upgrade from the 4850 regardless of anything else, I can get a mobo/cpu/ram upgrade around xmass... still, i have to say im surprised about the 7870! ill look OC-ing it up first thing tomorrow morning! i read that the 7950 can rival 7970 when oc-ed, but never heard anything about the 7870! thats great, hopefully I can find another sub 200 USD sale for it! i noticed in ur sig u have the HAWK one- realistically, with reasonable safe OC-ing what can i expect in realworld applications? i figure its always better to ask a real owner than read some review online :)

    as for the ram, i would imagine that would be a bigger problem than the CPU honestly... slow, old, still quad, hopefully not too bad... ram is old as heck tho :(, no point in getting any more of it since its like 30 bucks per gig, might as well hold off till xmass...
    thanks again for the response! much appreciated!
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