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Upgrade GPU or CPU?

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December 5, 2012 8:26:42 PM

Hi,

I am having a bit of a dilemma. I do not know what I should upgrade. I only have the money to either get me a new GPU or CPU.

My budget is $400.

Here is my current rig.

CPU: AMD Phenom x4 960t. OC= 3.5 GHZ and unlocked to 6 cores.
GPU: EVGA 550 Ti 2GB
RAM: 8GB 1600
PSU: 750 Watt Corsair Gaming Series
SSD: Intel 320 120 GB
HDD: 1 TB Seagate Barrucuda 7200RPM


I play games like Batman Arkham City , The Witcher 2, Crysis 1 & 2, GTA 4 W/ ENB series, BF3 and others.

My resolution is 1920x1080. I like to play all my games at maximum, but with these specs I cannot.

So which should I upgrade to get a solid 30 FPS in my games?

If I were to upgrade I would either get a GTX 670 (but be bottlenecked by my CPU) or upgrade to an i5 3570k ( and be bottlenecked by my GPU).

So I am wondering which you think would be the best upgrade?

More about : upgrade gpu cpu

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December 5, 2012 9:14:54 PM

Without knowing which motherboard you have , and thus the processors it can support

Id pretty much still be sure that you should be getting a graphics card .
A Radeon 7850 should give you the results you need
December 6, 2012 12:50:48 AM

Well I would have to buy a new motherboard since I have an AMD motherboard and not an Intel.

I would probably go to micro-center since they always have deals with CPU/Mobo combos. If I go that route though.
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December 6, 2012 12:54:02 AM

Definitely the video card before the CPU/motherboard. As a gamer you'll get much more mileage out of the GPU.
a c 83 B Homebuilt system
a c 265 à CPUs
December 6, 2012 1:09:57 AM

Your cpu is no longer top end, but it is still good.
For games, the extra 2 cores are not very useful. You want faster cores, at least 2 or perhaps 3 of them.
I would suspect that the graphics card would be the more useful upgrade.

To help clarify your options, run these two tests:

a) Run your games, but lower your resolution and eye candy.
If your FPS increases, it indicates that your cpu is strong enough to drive a better graphics configuration.
If your FPS stays the same, you are likely cpu limited.

b) Limit your cpu, either by reducing the OC, or, in windows power management, limit the maximum cpu% to something like 50%.
This will simulate what a lack of cpu power will do.


Go to control panel/power options/change plan settings/change advanced power settings/processor power management/maximum processor state/
set to 50% and see how you do.


If your FPS drops significantly, it is an indicator that your cpu is the limiting factor, and a cpu upgrade is in order.

It is possible that both tests are positive, indicating that you have a well balanced system, and both cpu and gpu need to be upgraded to get better gaming FPS.

My guess is that you would find a GTX670 FTW upgrade attractive.
December 6, 2012 2:01:43 PM

Well when I play Crysis or BF3 lowering the resolution increases FPS a lot. I also like having DX11 for Crysis and such. So I think I will go with the GPU. Now here is another question. What would be a better buy? I have a budget of $400. A GTX 670 FTW, or a 7950. OR start being a little stingy with the money and save for a GTX 680? I have heard rumors about ATI drivers not being very stable, but at the same time hearing that they have more power than Nvidia cards.
December 6, 2012 2:23:14 PM

From what i hear, AMD overall is ahead of nvidia right now(?). Id say go with the 7950, with 400$ you could even squeeze in a 7970 at their current prices (~400).
a c 83 B Homebuilt system
a c 265 à CPUs
December 6, 2012 8:29:24 PM

somedood4 said:
From what i hear, AMD overall is ahead of nvidia right now(?). Id say go with the 7950, with 400$ you could even squeeze in a 7970 at their current prices (~400).


I have always heard that a 7950 was comparable to a GTX670.
But, I recently read a review of the GTX660ti compared to a 7950. and I was surprised by the findings.
In average fps, they are comparable, but in consistency, Nvidia seems to be much better.
Here is the review:
http://techreport.com/review/23981/radeon-hd-7950-vs-ge...
December 9, 2012 2:52:10 PM

I heard te same thing. I like ATI, but I think I may go Nvidia route on this one. So how much less performance am I getting for going for a 670 vs a 680? Is it worth the extra $100? or should I just overclock the 670? Also 2GB,4GB,Superclocked, or FTW?

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December 9, 2012 3:10:25 PM
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achonez said:
I heard te same thing. I like ATI, but I think I may go Nvidia route on this one. So how much less performance am I getting for going for a 670 vs a 680? Is it worth the extra $100? or should I just overclock the 670? Also 2GB,4GB,Superclocked, or FTW?


Worth is something only YOU can determine.
If $100 is not important to you, buy a GTX680.
But, for most, a good GTX670 will drive a single monitor very well.

I would buy a factory overclocked card. Graphics card vendors are wise to overclocking and bin their chips.
They use the best chips in factory overclocked cards so they can sell them for a premium price.
In general, you get what you pay for.
Except for benchmarks, you will notice no difference among any GTX670 class cards.

2gb vs 4gb is mostly marketing.
Read this:
http://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Video-Card-Pe...

I prefer the EVGA direct exhaust type stock coolers.
a b B Homebuilt system
December 9, 2012 7:44:54 PM

jumping on the bandwagon, graphics all the way, you will see better performance increases. I like nvidia cards more, but amd cards are winning the bang for buck war at the moment
December 11, 2012 2:57:31 AM

Best answer selected by Achonez.
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