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Where to start upgrading

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January 23, 2013 12:38:12 PM

Hi All! :hello: 

Current config:
- Gigabyte EP45-DS3L motherboard (DDR2)
- 4 GB RAM
- Intel Dual Core 2,66GHz CPU
- ATI Radeon 3800 GPU

I would like to start upgrading this system, but I'm not sure where to start. I'm not a hardcore gamer, but I would like my current games (GW2, Skyrim, and some older ones) run better than they do now. At the moment I have to run everything on minimum or below medium settings. :( 
Also, I would like to do this in stages over the course of the year, I don't want to replace the whole thing at once.

My question is, would it be a good idea to just replace the GPU for now, and stick say a 7750 or equivalent in there? Would that make a significant difference? Or would I be better off with a new motherboard/processor combo, and replace the GPU later on?

Any other suggestions would be welcome. :)  I have just started to look around on the market, haven't really paid attention to tech stuff int he past 3 years.

Thanks in advance!

More about : start upgrading

January 23, 2013 12:43:56 PM

You'll probably want more GPU power than a 7750, but that depends on your budget. If we had a budget of some sort that would be helpful.

My opinion would be to get a 7770 or 7850 2gb now and when Intel releases Haswell, upgrade your cpu/mobo/ram.
a b V Motherboard
January 23, 2013 12:45:54 PM

What psu are you using?
Related resources
a b B Homebuilt system
a c 90 V Motherboard
January 23, 2013 12:45:57 PM

how much is your budget?
if you have 100 usd, 7770 is a good gpu upgrade. no need to overhaul all the system if you dont do anything so hardcore...

mention you powersupply spec here
January 23, 2013 12:48:30 PM

Thanks Aeb for the quick reply!

As for budget, well, I'm willing to cough up if it's worth it :)  As I'm not looking for the top gaming options, my target would be the medium price range I guess, but I'm willing to pay more for a better price/performance ratio. :love: 
January 23, 2013 12:51:24 PM

Thanks all for the replies! I didn't expect ppl to check out my thread so soon :)  I really appreciate it!

As for PSU, not sure, but I'll probably have to replace that as well in the first phase. I think it's around 400 or 450W...? Not sure. I suppose I'll have to get one to support any new hardware.

And again, as for budget, the mid range is my target - I'd definitely give $100 for a GPU if it makes a noticable difference. Up to $200 sounds good.

(Note: I live in the EU so my hardware prices are a little higher. I've just checked the 7700 that was suggested above - it's little less than $200 on this side of the pond.)
a b V Motherboard
January 23, 2013 12:58:03 PM

Your going to want to find out which psu you have before getting anything to powerful for a graphics card. That may end up being one of the things to upgrade first.
a b B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
January 23, 2013 12:59:14 PM


The good news is, a Radeon HD 3870 could pull 90w, easy.

The only question is, do you want a -1GB or -2GB version of that HD7850 ??



a b B Homebuilt system
a c 90 V Motherboard
January 23, 2013 1:00:45 PM

get 7770 or 7850 anything you can afford

but first make sure you replace PSU with corsair 500/600
or XFX 550 :) 
or Antec 500/ above
January 23, 2013 1:03:33 PM

Wisecracker said:
The only question is, do you want a -1GB or -2GB version of that HD7850 ??

The more the better, I suppose. I'm not going for an overkill of course but I guess 2GB is reasonable and will serve me better in the future (say in two years time I'll be glad to have 2GB).
January 23, 2013 1:12:10 PM

AMD Radeon said:
get 7770 or 7850 anything you can afford

but first make sure you replace PSU with corsair 500/600
or XFX 550 :) 
or Antec 500/ above

Thanks for the suggestions! I'll chech them out :) 
Anything important I should consider before replacing the PSU? Can I go ahead and simply remove the existing one, insert the new one and turn the PC on?
(Sry for the dumb questions, haven't done this in the past couple of years...)
a b B Homebuilt system
a c 90 V Motherboard
January 23, 2013 1:17:29 PM

for PSU yes, just replace

for GPU, remove your old card driver first :) 
replace new gpu, install new GPU driver
a b V Motherboard
January 23, 2013 1:28:14 PM

on top of what others have said regarding the new GPU, you have a great mobo for over clocking. You should look into that as you should be able to get a decent OC on that Core 2 Duo. I run a q6600 (2.4ghz stock) @ 3 ghz. You will see an additional boost in FPS in most games you play with a good overclock. An P45 are renowned for getting amazing results. Although, saying that, do some research on over clocking as it can be tricky.

^+1 on the 7750, decent enough card, that will be at least twice as powerful as your existing card, and also does not require a psu with 6pin adaptor. The 7750 works off the PCI slot power. So maybe no PSU upgrade required?? But again, check this to make sure.

a b B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
January 23, 2013 1:32:21 PM


Download and run OCCT to measure your power delivery. If it's an older unit it's a good replacement first-option, but if it is delivering clean power across all volt lines it may still have some legs.

We also forgot to inquire as to your operating system. If your operating system is XP, some advanced graphic options will not be available to you.

January 23, 2013 7:12:06 PM

keith12 said:
on top of what others have said regarding the new GPU, you have a great mobo for over clocking. You should look into that as you should be able to get a decent OC on that Core 2 Duo. I run a q6600 (2.4ghz stock) @ 3 ghz. You will see an additional boost in FPS in most games you play with a good overclock. An P45 are renowned for getting amazing results. Although, saying that, do some research on over clocking as it can be tricky.

Cool! I had no idea! Thanks for calling my attention to it, I'll definitely check this out.
January 26, 2013 12:42:10 PM

I'm comparing the GTX 650 and my current graphics card 3870:
http://www.hwcompare.com/13574/geforce-gtx-650-vs-radeo...

This comparison shows that the GTX 650 needs less power than the 3870. Do I read this chart right? I wonder if this result is reliable? Does this mean that with the 650 my system would actually need less total power then it does now?
I checked out a couple of power calculators as well and they all showed that the total system power at peak utilization is well under 300W (old CPU has a lot to do with this, I guess).

Does this mean I should keep my 400W power supply after all? Could I damage anything inadvertently if I install the new video card but do not replace the PSU?

Better safe than sorry, I guess, but I've also read that a power supply bigger than necessary will be less effective in terms of W/performance, so I don't want to increase it just for the sake of it.

@Keith: thanks again for the overclocking advice. I did a little reading and decided not to tamper with it after all. Looks too dangerous to me, as I've never done this before.
!