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Upgrading GPU, do I need to upgrade Processor?

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November 3, 2012 6:31:44 PM

Hi everyone,
First of all - some excellent resources here on the forums
I have a beginner's question about upgrading my graphics card - and whether I'll need to upgrade other system components also.

PURCHASE DATE: well, I'd be looking to purchase some way off (March-May 2013) so this is just finding out how I'll need to budget. At the moment, I'm guessing a few hundred pounds - depends on whether I'd need more memory, new processor etc

USAGE - well, I've never had a system that was suitable for graphics intensive games, so while I'm at it, it would be nice to be able to play Battlefield 3/Arma 2/Shogun 2 at native resolution with full AA, that sort of thing
I'd also be working in 3ds Max - I guess realtime display of objects would be no problem if it could handle games - however - does the graphics card play ANY role in offline rendering (eg. Mental Ray or V-Ray rendering?) -UPDATE, iRay uses CUDA enabled cards over CPU
And, I'd like to be running these programs on Windows 8.
Now, apologies in advance if this is a stupid question, but when checking my system specs in Belarc advisor, it said my processor is 64-bit ready...is it as simple as purchasing a 64-bit version of Windows, to turn my computer into a 64-bit machine? And is it really worth it?

I should also mention that I'd prefer Nvidia over ATI, for driver compatibility reasons amongst others.
I've only basic knowledge, so wouldn't consider overclocking.

Ok, some CURRENT SYSTEM INFO:
Dell Dimension 9200 Tower
Windows XP Professional Service Pack 3 (build 2600)

PROCESSOR:
2.13 gigahertz Intel Core 2 Duo
64 kilobyte primary memory cache
2048 kilobyte secondary memory cache
64-bit ready
Multi-core (2 total)
Not hyper-threaded

MAIN CIRCUIT BOARD:
Board: Dell Inc. 0WG855
Bus Clock: 1066 megahertz

MEMORY MODULES:
2046 Megabytes Usable Installed Memory
Slot 'DIMM_1' has 1024 MB (serial number F1477F78)
Slot 'DIMM_3' is Empty
Slot 'DIMM_2' has 1024 MB (serial number F1477F82)
Slot 'DIMM_4' is Empty

GRAPHICS CARD:
Radeon X1300/X1550 Series

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1280x1024 (will probably upgrade this at some stage)

So, to sum up:
-has anyone any ideas about an Nvidia card fitting the criteria mentioned above
-would I really need to upgrade my processor or motherboard (although I think that's beyond me)
-would it be recommended to get more RAM
-hoping to purchase necessary parts next Spring, total budget around £200-300?

Thanks for any suggestions.
B
November 3, 2012 6:38:11 PM

You'll need to upgrade your cpu otherwise it'll bottleneck a high end card (which you need to run BF3 maxed out), upgrade your mobo, upgrade RAM to 8gigs. Also AMD has won this gen of cards. I have never had a driver issue with them. I recommend getting the AMD Radeon 7970. The 7970 will provide greater performance in games and much greater compute performance. You'll be happier with AMD if you're going to do 3d modeling and rendering because of the increased VRam and it's superior compute performance. Trust me I know. I'm an engineer. I use ProEngineer.
a c 236 U Graphics card
November 3, 2012 7:35:54 PM

It is a bit premature for decisions. Parts will change by March 2013.
I think you have champaigne tastes and a beer budget.

2gb is not sufficient, you need 4gb.
Yes, you need a stronger graphics card.
Yes, you will need a stronger psu to power that graphics card.
XP is ok up to 4gb.
If you will be playing BF3 multiplayer, the CPU will be inadequate.
And, likely for the other games too.

I suggest you save up and start planning on a new build.
Related resources
November 3, 2012 7:54:42 PM

Thanks for the (swift!) replies guys.
Yeah, I was starting to think it wouldn't be as simple as plugging in a card, otherwise everyone would be doing it.
>Geofelt, actually started reading about PSUs as soon as I posted :/  One thing sees to lead to another, so yes, looks like I'll be saving for a new build...
November 3, 2012 7:57:53 PM

Probably the best choice is to come uo with a new build like geofelt said Brandy. You can come back to run your new build by us when your ready with it.
a b U Graphics card
November 3, 2012 8:12:25 PM

Brandywine said:
Hi everyone,
First of all - some excellent resources here on the forums
I have a beginner's question about upgrading my graphics card - and whether I'll need to upgrade other system components also.

PURCHASE DATE: well, I'd be looking to purchase some way off (March-May 2013) so this is just finding out how I'll need to budget. At the moment, I'm guessing a few hundred pounds - depends on whether I'd need more memory, new processor etc

USAGE - well, I've never had a system that was suitable for graphics intensive games, so while I'm at it, it would be nice to be able to play Battlefield 3/Arma 2/Shogun 2 at native resolution with full AA, that sort of thing
I'd also be working in 3ds Max - I guess realtime display of objects would be no problem if it could handle games - however - does the graphics card play ANY role in offline rendering (eg. Mental Ray or V-Ray rendering?) -UPDATE, iRay uses CUDA enabled cards over CPU
And, I'd like to be running these programs on Windows 8.
Now, apologies in advance if this is a stupid question, but when checking my system specs in Belarc advisor, it said my processor is 64-bit ready...is it as simple as purchasing a 64-bit version of Windows, to turn my computer into a 64-bit machine? And is it really worth it?

I should also mention that I'd prefer Nvidia over ATI, for driver compatibility reasons amongst others.
I've only basic knowledge, so wouldn't consider overclocking.

Ok, some CURRENT SYSTEM INFO:
Dell Dimension 9200 Tower
Windows XP Professional Service Pack 3 (build 2600)

PROCESSOR:
2.13 gigahertz Intel Core 2 Duo
64 kilobyte primary memory cache
2048 kilobyte secondary memory cache
64-bit ready
Multi-core (2 total)
Not hyper-threaded

MAIN CIRCUIT BOARD:
Board: Dell Inc. 0WG855
Bus Clock: 1066 megahertz

MEMORY MODULES:
2046 Megabytes Usable Installed Memory
Slot 'DIMM_1' has 1024 MB (serial number F1477F78)
Slot 'DIMM_3' is Empty
Slot 'DIMM_2' has 1024 MB (serial number F1477F82)
Slot 'DIMM_4' is Empty

GRAPHICS CARD:
Radeon X1300/X1550 Series

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1280x1024 (will probably upgrade this at some stage)

So, to sum up:
-has anyone any ideas about an Nvidia card fitting the criteria mentioned above
-would I really need to upgrade my processor or motherboard (although I think that's beyond me)
-would it be recommended to get more RAM
-hoping to purchase necessary parts next Spring, total budget around £200-300?

Thanks for any suggestions.
B


I recomend you upgrade to 4GB DDR-800 (50 pounds)
And get a GTX 460 1GB (110 pounds)
November 3, 2012 8:34:18 PM

I agree that you need to upgrade all your hardware as Limerick has said. You can pretty much buy almost anything that is produced in the second half of this year (2012) and you will be ok. You dont need to spend huge money to be able to game and use 3dsmax in a home user environment. If you intend really loading things up when running 3ds, such as running other software and switching between the them all at the same time, then you will need to move up the system spec range accordingly (eg more RAM, Faster CPU with more level 3 cache, higher performing or even multiple GPU's etc).

Just be aware that depending on what software you intend running, your hardware focus for performance may change. For example, for those of us that are into flight simulators like FSX and prepar3d...a high end GPU will be of absolutely no use without a very high end processor. This is because these two simulators are very CPU intensive and not very GPU intensive. Iit is easy to load up the gpu side of things by increasing the number of displays, but the cpu requirements skyrocket a lot faster. Even on a single display running prepar3d, one can easily load up the system to the point where one realises a dismal 12 fps, with the CPU working at 100% on all cores, whilst a 1280 MByte GPU is barely running at 50%)

Things are different for 3d online games though. They do tend to require reasonable speed cpus, but love particularly fast internet speeds, fast modems, and very good graphics cards.

I dissagree with Limerick on GPU choice. I have never found ati to be better than nvidia. Having said that, dollar for dollar, the ati is still the better buy and i use a 2 gig 6970 at present and it is ok. I can unequivocally state, that in flight simulator, the gtx 570 @ 1280 Mbytes produces far better performance and visuals than the ati radeon 6970...even though the ati GPU is a 2 gig card!

i would suggest that you need to download the specs sheets from intels website on processors and chipsets. They have some tables the help you decide on whether you should buy a H77, P77, Z77...i3,i5, or i7 processor...DDR 3 1333, 1600, 2400 RAM. Don't buy into the "onboard" or "CPU built in" graphics sales pitch either. You really need a dedicated GPU for gaming.

For example, a few months ago i built a new system running an I7 2700K CPU on a P67 motherboard. I didnt know it at the time but there is no point buying 2100mhz RAM for a stock standard i7 2700 K processor (ie not running overclocked). When not overclocked and running on this motherboard, the I7 2700K processor usually only allows the RAM to run at 1333MHZ anyway (paying the extra money for the faster RAM was simply "pissing money down the drain"). Likewise, i was fooled into thinking that a P67 motherboard will allow you, at some point in the near future, to overclock your GPU in the bios (sorry p67's cant do that in the bios, they have to run software to overclock GPU's...using your precious O/S resources to do it).

Similarly, don't go out and buy a top of the range Z77 motherboard, capable of running 3 GPU's in sli mode - quad channel memory - has more usb ports ells and whistles than a high rise building has windows, thinking your gaming stats will go through the roof against guys running much cheaper boards. You are far better off matching your hardware specs and spending the money accordingly than you are buying a board with functionaility capabilities that only the "Isaac Newtons" of the gaming community are going to make use of.

Match up your abilities and hardware needs...keeping in mind that a certain level of scalability is needed because...as your system performance increases, so too does your need to increase knowledge...along with that comes a need for higher system specs. Just remember the rate of hardware design update is very rapid...don't expect that this new system of yours will still be "top notch" in 3-6 months time when your knowledge of overclocking has improved to the point where you will want to have a system fully overclocked and running stable.

In any case, my view is that "overclocking the snot out of it" really isnt better than updating your hardware to a faster system anyway. Also, if you require a 1/3 increase in frame rates just keep in mind a 1/3 increase in clock speed may not be achievable without quite a lot of expense in cooling etc...as a 3.5 GHz processor that needs to be increase by that much would need to run at around 5 GHz...not going to happen without additional cooling! And the 1/3 increase in clock speed will not automatically result in a 1/3 increase in frame rates anyway.

Sorry i cant give you exact hardware options...there are so many out there it really comes down to personal preference a lot of the time. i just usually go with the name brand stuff and buy what tends to be the most popular in the gaming community (obviously filtering those options using my level of knowledge)
November 7, 2012 3:52:04 PM

Wow, very informative answer there Adam, thanks!
Yeah, I've been doing a lot of reading on and comparing of CPUs the last few days - it really does seem to be the limiting factor in my present desktop - the CPU will really have to be replaced (with all that that entails) Or sell and buy a newer system...
Will have to read the Home Build forums next I think...
November 9, 2012 7:41:20 PM

Brandywine said:
Wow, very informative answer there Adam, thanks!
Yeah, I've been doing a lot of reading on and comparing of CPUs the last few days - it really does seem to be the limiting factor in my present desktop - the CPU will really have to be replaced (with all that that entails) Or sell and buy a newer system...
Will have to read the Home Build forums next I think...



you're welcome.

If you like intel, which unfortunately i do these days...i was a full on AMD fan for ten years until the FX processor series was released (a dismal failure on AMD's part im afraid)

CPU - i5 or i7 anything around 3.5 GHz will be fine (i do a lot of 3d architectural drafting and also flight siming so the i7's my choice as i need all the cores/threads i can get)

GPU - at least gtx 580 or even 590 (in addition to the Ati 6970, i also have a gtx 570 cause i didnt have the money at the time to go up to a higher one)

Motherboard - I look for boards with really large northbridge and southbridge heatsink cooling. I also like to match up the GPU manufacturer with the Board manufacturer (just personal preference)

RAM - i dont have any real preference here...ive only had 1 RAM chip let me down in 10 years


Good luck with your build!

kind regards
adam
!