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Is me upgrading to an HD 7870 a good idea at all?

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Last response: in Graphics Cards
September 15, 2012 8:06:21 AM


I have a few years old gaming computer and in an urge to burn money to play games without disabling shadows or AA, and HD 7870 2GB (not overclocked) is what I'm looking at right now.

I have the following system right now:

Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 G0 (2,4Ghz)
Gigabyte HD 5770 passive cooling
Gigabyte GA-G33M-DS2R, PCI-e 2.0
6GB DDR2 800 Mhxz
Corsair HX520W (I think it has the two 6-pin required)

The games I play are Battlefield 3, Guild Wars 2, Arma 2 OA, Mass Effect 3 and I pre-ordered Borderlands 2, Farcry 3, Skyrim/New Vegas, etc.

I am not unsatisfied by my HD 5770, it has been to my eyes the best graphics card that didn't come with a fan until the new gens gfx arrived and when I bought it it cost the samer price as the HD 7870 today. It's just that I dial down a lot of details in all my games, it's still very f-ing pretty, but you know.... lol

What do you guys think? Will it give me the significant positive impact that I see in charts and benchmarks on the net? Or am I bottlenecked by my old school system? Is it still any good today btw? :heink: 

Thanks in advance!

More about : upgrading 7870 good idea

September 15, 2012 8:12:22 AM

Or should I save my $250 to spend $400-500 on a new motherboard, i5 quad processor, DDR3? Because scrapping my computer and getting new parts was my plan for 2013 anyway...

so additional question: would I get a better gaming performance from upgrading to i5+DDR3 and keep the HD 5770, or just the HD 7870 instead?
a b U Graphics card
September 15, 2012 8:39:08 AM

I would save and pick new mobo if i cannot choose both...

old rig + 7870 will cpu bounded, new rig + 5770 will Gpu bounded. hard call....

edit : or u might wanna buy new PSU + another 6770/5770 and CFX ... :D 

my bad seems your mobo cannot CFX.... just ignore it..
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September 15, 2012 8:45:35 AM

I cannot choose both *now* as I have other hobbies than gaming. I have to choose one of the two for this fall...

I think that in that perspective that both choices will have a bottleneck, the right choice would be to upgrade last the component type that evolves more quickly. Since it will go down in price faster. Which one do you think it is? CPU/DDR3 or GPU?
a b U Graphics card
September 15, 2012 8:52:27 AM

CPU + mobo + rams... (IMO)
September 15, 2012 9:08:30 AM

actually it would cost me roughly $80 more to get:

ASUS P8Z77-M - uATX / Z77
Corsair XMS3 Vengeance 8GB DDR3 PC3-12800 1600Mhz
Intel Core i5-3450 - 3,1GHz

extra $80 is not a big deal at all... So... *scratchin my head*
September 15, 2012 9:13:16 AM

Hmm you're in the same boat as I was a couple of months ago. I had an Q6600 as well but with only 2 GB RAM and an HD 3870. I chose to save up and buy an entire new rig. But you can easily do that in steps as well. In that case go with the graphics card. The Q6600 can still run a lot of games quite nicely, especially singeplayer games since they are mostly GPU dependent.
The HD 7870 is a great card, it WILL be bottlenecked by the Q6600 but you will in most titles see a appreciable performance improvement. I fear that if you upgrade the mobo + cpu +ram first you won't see that in games, only in non graphical applications. It's two paths to the same goal really but with getting the GPU first you will reap the benefits sooner (in games).

Good luck!
a b U Graphics card
September 15, 2012 9:15:26 AM

i would go with the 7870 +CM 212 and OC your CPU. that would make you PC last you a bit longer. build the rest @ a later date using the 7870.
a b U Graphics card
September 15, 2012 9:18:16 AM

If u actually go with 7870, wait a week or so.. there a price cut that will be effective soon..
September 15, 2012 9:27:25 AM

Alright, what is a +CM212? Thanks for the answers btw!

My mobo has ports not working and hates SSD's so the system upgrade became a bit more popular in my head...
September 15, 2012 9:32:10 AM

+My BIOS or mobo doesn't clearly advertise any ways to OC the processor, or I'm just blind: not very intuitive way for the least.
a b U Graphics card
September 15, 2012 10:51:31 AM

nope, that mobo not intended for O.C.....

edit: actually it quite good mobo..

CM212 = cooler master hyper 212 varians (aftermarket cooler)

If u go to mobo route, try to get better mobo / O.C.-er mobo even ui don't O.C, they tends had been tested to able take the O.C. -ing abusse :D  (better realibility)
September 15, 2012 11:27:29 AM

You mean the GA-G33M-DS2R or the Asus P8Z77-M Pro in my virtual shopping cart?

You have a great point regarding the OC-like abusability :) 

Luckily I have a scythe shuriken CPU fan that came in its revision with a socket 1155 bracket. The Hyper 212 is too tall for my Thermaltake case.
September 15, 2012 12:40:43 PM

Alright, this article pretty much answers my question :) 

If I understand the article correctly it's GPU + dual core for games.
The Q6600 being a desktop 2,4Ghz quad core, it's still enough for the games that I play, the slow DDR2 memory could be an issue but having an overkill graphics card will help in multicore DirectX 11 gaming rather than show me bottlenecks.
a b U Graphics card
September 15, 2012 1:24:29 PM

You'll see a nice gain in performance by just getting a new video card. I was running a AMD Phenom 9950 quad black edition 2.6 OCed to 3.1, 4 GB of RAM and a 4870 512mb decided to get a 7870 when they were available and It was like having a whole new computer, nice performance boost by just purchasing the new video card and I playBF3, Arma OA & Shogun 2. Also your Q6600 is slightly better than the quad 9950 I had, you have more RAM and the 5770 is pretty much on par on performance as the 4870. Only bottleneck you'll see is in BF3 64 man servers and GW2 since both are CPU intensive but you can always upgrade everything else at a later date like I did when I had the money available.
a b U Graphics card
September 15, 2012 1:50:40 PM

So u going with 7870 after all...

well, as said keep eyes on the price change :D  (I love these price cut)

good luck...
September 15, 2012 2:52:23 PM

I don't know! haha

The information I gather is that I will get very significant results if I get the 7870, in most games but not all of them. But I will wait before buying the 7870, here in Sweden it still costs (it would be no use giving you the currency converted price because) the same as in july 2012.

While people have been helping me out here I was playing Metro 2033, Dead Island and Battlefield 3 Close Quarters in max settings and it's very playable, almost like I don't need an upgrade :)  It seems that I have yet to try more CPU hungry games such as BF3 64 players, GW2, Sleeping Dogs, Saints Row with all graphics at max.

I could even be happy not upgrading anything at all... I don't remember why I even started looking into it and get this gear lust.

I bought my Q6600 system 5 years ago with a 8800GT, the 5770 gave it a new life. It would be interesting if it can handle new games for another 2-3 years with just a GPU upgrade, but the problem is the part where it beeps when I play games although the temperatures are under control. Where it won't boot with some SSD brands. And the USB ports are almost all underpowered.

It seems the major issue with my system isn't the performances but the age of the components, I can't "turbo" the processor like with i5's, and I can't even use DDR3 with that thing.

So I guess I'll post an update once I've made my mind!

a b U Graphics card
September 15, 2012 3:31:39 PM

The reason I would put CPU upgrade first is CPU lifetime or life cycles is quite long.... GPU is much faster cycles ...

the jump of performance each GPU generation is quite large. so if i dont buy now there a chance i can get it cheaper later or get better one, compare with processor is more slow changing....

the only drawback is It may not show good increase in games right away, and i don't know how much 5770 lifetime left (even I'm owning 2 of them :D )
September 16, 2012 5:23:26 PM

Yeah I agree, GPU series and names I never follow more than a couple months, then they replace everything and it doesn't always make sense. When it comes to processors however we see the same model numbers around for a long long time.

Ok my decision followed by action:

I bought the following:

Intel i5 3570K
Asus P8Z77-M (not pro model, couldn't find it on the shelves so bye bye x8/x8 CF)
Corsair 8GB 1600Mhz
Sapphire HD 7870 2GB (standard issue)

Yeah, I went overboard... testing in a few minutes!
a b U Graphics card
September 17, 2012 2:22:14 AM

Wkwkwk :D 

enjoy your new rig