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Upgrading from GT520 - Newbie Needs Help

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December 1, 2012 3:34:17 PM

Hello all. I've been reading articles and threads on the site for a little while now and just have to say that this place is absolutely brilliant. Really great a great resource and I was hoping to get some help in making my first GPU upgrade.

A few months ago I was looking for a new system on a budget and ended up with a pre-configured system that left something to be desired but has a lot of room for upgrades. It came with an Nvidia GT520 which was fine at the time but now feels incredibly limiting. I now have the income to purchase a mid-high end card but I've never done any upgrades on my machine and would really appreciate some help.

Processor: AMD FX-6100 3.30ghz
RAM: 8GB ddr3
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-M68MT-S2 Rev. 3.1
PSU: 480W

Purpose: I mostly game. Things like LoL run perfectly fine but when wanting to play DotA2 or Planetside2 on higher settings and maximum resolution I get serious FPS drops from the 520 (drivers updated). I know these aren't incredibly demanding games, but I don't know what I'll be playing in the future and would really like this card to last me a while.

Budget: $250 is the most I really want to spend but anything up to $250 is good.

Other: I've been reading up on the merits and limitations of different cards and I am honestly open any suggestions that would work for my system and come in under $250. I'm not very picky between Nvidia vs. AMD, I'd just really like something that would allow me to game running on High settings and a good resolution.

The only reason I haven't pulled the trigger and bought one yet is my lack of experience in this area and reading other threads discussing things like bottlenecking, different pin optimizations and other things I know absolutely nothing about scares me a little. I've never upgraded a graphics card before so I am totally new at this. I would just really really appreciate a suggestion that would work for the system I have and allow for better performance while gaming.

Thanks!

More about : upgrading gt520 newbie

a b U Graphics card
December 1, 2012 3:54:51 PM

That 480 watt PSU I'm guessing is a stock/OEM one? I wouldn't throw a good GPU in with it so I would buy these two things:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
They're on the cheaper side, Antec makes good stuff so that PSU would be great for you. Many people like HIS enough to recommend to others so I'm doing the same although I've never owned anything from them.

Your CPU isn't the best, but it's not that bad either, it'll handle that card no problem.
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December 1, 2012 6:55:00 PM

Thanks for the speedy response mace200200! I really appreciate the help.

I am certainly open to replacing the PSU (the brand of mine is Arctic I believe) but per your response I had a few questions if you wouldn't mind.

Is there any configuration problems to consider when replacing a PSU? Example: will the PSU's you recommended have any difficulty hooking up to the rest of my hardware in terms of pin types and numbers of slots and whatnot? (again, I am totally new at replacing new parts)

How difficult is replacing a PSU? I have watched a few youtube videos after reading your recommendations and it doesn't seem too difficult but is it something that someone with very little knowledge could do?

If I replace the PSU, will there be any performance issues with the HD 7850 in terms of bottlenecking (a term I have seen quite a lot) or other issues with the hardware I currently have?

Again mace, thanks for your help. Like I said, I am totally new to this and the guidance of someone that knows what their talking about is very much appreciated. :) 
a b U Graphics card
December 1, 2012 9:17:13 PM

PSU's aren't hard to replace, just a bit time consuming. If your new working in computer this would be a great thing to do to get you used to doing so. All your doing is unplugging everything, unscrewing it from the back of the case, then doing those two steps backwards with the new one.
As for compatibility, there's only a few different plug ins that anything today will use. All PSU's even the cheapest ones out there will have a plug for everything.
Your PSU will not affect performance performance or cause a bottle neck. Your CPU, like I said isn't super great, but it's not bad (it's better than mine) it'll run that 7850 no problem. You can OC the hell out of those FX series CPU's too if you need to.
December 2, 2012 3:56:39 AM

Thanks again Mace! Just a few more questions if you would be so kind.

After reading a lot about the 7850, I think that's the card I am going to go with. The one you recommended was from HIS, but you said you didn't own any HIS products? Of the ones you have owned, which do you like best? I have been looking and seen 7850s from Gigabyte and Asus that are similarly priced. Are those brands you might recommend or was there something in particular about the HIS 7850 that made it a better choice for my machine?

Also, when looking over my Mobo specs, I noticed that mine is an Nvidia chipset despite having an AMD processor. Would a Radeon graphics card still be able to run on the Nvidia chipset? Would there be any performance problems? If so, do you have any recommendations for a similarly priced Nvidia card?

Once again Mace, thanks a lot. I imagine you reading my posts and shaking your head at my completely novice questions, but I really appreciate your help and patience. :) 

P.S. Mace has been awesome, but I certainly wouldn't mind opinions from others if they wanted to weigh in or possibly answer some of my questions so Mace doesn't have to.
a b U Graphics card
December 2, 2012 6:26:31 PM

I always like MSI cards, I run one, I had my friend buy one, my other friend has always bought them, and I had my brother buy one. I like Gigabyte motherboards but some of their cards will have problems, I know someone on here was asking what to do with his Gigabyte card after a resister blew up on it. I've never had an ASUS card, and can't say I know anyone who has, their cards seem to be pretty decent though. That HIS card I recommend is just real cheap. 7850's run pretty cool so you don't have to spend extra money on a card that has super awesome cooling.

That Nvidia chipset is just the onboard GPU, what you use until you plug in a dedicated GPU, AMD/ATI cards will work on it, it doesn't matter.
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