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GPU upgrade - also possibly SSD

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 16, 2012 5:57:18 AM

My current system is three years old and is doing great but it's a bit tired. I'm based in the UK and looking to make some cheap hardware upgrades, specifically to the GPU and possibly getting a SSD to act as my main drive. Current setup:

Windows 7, 64-bit
PSU: OCZ 600W, OCZ600mxsp
MB: Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3LR
CPU: Intel Core2 Quad Q6700 clocked at 3.3ghz
Memory: 4gb DDR2. It is clocked but only marginally.
HD: 1TB 7200rpm HDD
GPU: AMD HD4850 clocked to 750mhz core, 900mhz memory

General slowdown in PC and GPU heat is a MAJOR problem. I know a format, and cooling solution could fix these but I would like to take this as an opportunity to futureproof. Is CPU going to be a bottleneck for a futureproof solution lasting another 1-2 years?

I don't know how much I have to spend yet exactly, but I was looking at 7770 GPU and a Crucial M4. Am I going to see a performance boost with these and lower GPU temps?
December 16, 2012 6:03:24 AM

I should add that the card has 1gb of GDDR5 VRAM.

Thanks!
December 17, 2012 6:39:16 AM

(For some reason I can't edit)

I checked and made a small mistake. The card is actually a 4870 1gb GDDR5 with the above clock speed. It has a 256-bit memory bus. From what I can tell from reading, it's only likely to be trumped by a AMD 7850 plus (I'm guessing NVidia 650Ti would be comparable?) - 7770 is not going to be worth shelling out the money.

Is this an accurate assessment?

I usually game in 1680x1050 and a lot of the games I play (WoW etc) are not a problem really (I don't think I have shadows on Ultra or anything like that but I'd like to be able to do that). It's the other games like Witcher 2 and so on that prove problematic. The card just can't handle it for too long and overheats too quickly.

I noticed power consumption on the 7850 is not much better than the 4870 - is cooling on the 7850 any good? If I am going to shell out the extra on a 7850 I want to eliminate this problem. I can also bung in one additional system fan to assist with this.

Thanks.
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a b U Graphics card
December 17, 2012 7:20:01 AM

Well, firstly what is your total budget? You can get 128GB SSDs like a Samsung 830 for $99 (about 65 pounds). A decent graphics card like a 7870 can be between $215 and $250 (about 140 to 163 pounds) depending on the aftermarket cooler. As far as I am aware, they should not overheat under normal conditions.

In terms of overheating, what case and fans do you have and where is your pc placed?
December 17, 2012 7:47:37 AM

The case is a Coolermaster Elite 335 and it's under my desk. None of the intake or exit areas are obstructed but there are limited cooling options at the moment. The CPU has a massive heatsink and 120mm Fan. There is an exit fan, which is not the best, and a GPU fan. I discovered recently there is no fan at the front, driving air in, so I know that this can be improved. Beyond that, there is not an awful lot else I can do. The case does not have any vents in the top and the side vent is taken up by the CPU heatsink.

There is a 3-pin connector on the MBoard for a Sys_Fan but I'm not sure where I'd place it.

My total budget is uncertain at the moment but I'd imagine somewhere in the region of £150-£175 for both an SSD and a GPU (and any additional fans for the system).
a b U Graphics card
December 17, 2012 8:18:40 AM

well, a 7850 is a great card!! and u cant compare it to 4850.
http://www.techspot.com/review/504-amd-radeon-7870-7850...
in witcher 2 at your resolution it gives 65FPS at ultra!!
i dont know wat website u use so i cant suggest any links.
and for an SSD if u get 64GB it will cost u less but u cant put in a lot of stuff in it.
just your OS and the softwares, which is also nice since games dont see much of a difference anyways :p 
December 17, 2012 8:30:26 AM

I can't find the site either. Certainly, the site I used showed the 7850 as being a noticeable increase over the 4870 (4850 in my original post is a mistake), so I was not doubting that. I was surprised at how little an increase a 7750/7770 would be (7750 was a reported decrease in some areas - that can't be right, surely?)

I would like to be able to put my OS, and possibly a few choice games on to the SSD - largely WoW and Steam with only games that I am actively playing installed. A 128gb one would obviously be handy for this.

I've noticed the price difference between UK and US is quite stark. I'd love to be able to get a 128gb SSD for 65 pounds but, unless I'm looking in the wrong places, I've not found one that cheap. There was a Crucial M4 for £85 and I think I've seen some Samsungs in the high £70's. I'd imagine this disparity in prices continues over in the GPU's also - 7850's seem to be starting at £120/130 creeping up to beyond £150. Again, maybe I'm looking in all the wrong places.
a b U Graphics card
December 17, 2012 9:04:36 AM

do u stay in UK? would u be ok with links on ebay.co.uk ?
the 7850 is not only better than the 4870 but also 6870!!!
and putting games on ssd is not great, it only improves loading time bcoz the whole game loads on your ram and graphics cards vram.
softwares are the only things u should use an ssd for so 64GB is not that bad.
but if u have the money, 128GB is not a useless choice either
and do u play in 1080p?
December 17, 2012 9:27:33 AM

I am in the UK, yes - I don't mind Ebay links, just often dubious about conditions of lots and items from there.

Good to know about the SSD - thank you. In that case, I'd load my OS and probably just stuff like InDesign/Anti-virus, etc on the SSD. A 128gb would be nice for bunging into a future system, just in case. I remember thinking back in the last 90's that my MAxtor 17gb HDD was going to last ages! How naive!

I don't usually play in 1080p to my knowledge. The Monitor is a Samsung 22" monitor, and I'm not entirely sure it is capable. I just set the resolution to 1680x1050 and as high as I can go on the quality settings without the card melting or my gameplay suffering. For WoW and stuff, it's great, unless there is a lot going on. Not so great for Witcher 2 or any of the more 'demanding' games I have.
a b U Graphics card
December 17, 2012 9:48:05 AM

well a 7850 would be really good for that resolution.
and 64 ro 128GB is up to u ofcourse
(considering your experience with the 17GB HDD :D )
and if u get these. The "demanding" titles should be easy to play in ULTRA!!
your CPU is not outdated yet
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-o...
as u can see it lines with the phenom's and the fx's which are decent too.
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1GB-XFX-Radeon-HD-7850-DD-Cor...
do u need more graphics memory? i mean do u only play games or use your GPU for other stuff too?

for the ssd there is an INTEL ssd 330 series MLC
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Intel-120GB-330-Series-MLC-2-...
it is good for the price and a good ssd too
http://www.anandtech.com/show/5817/the-intel-ssd-330-re...
it perfroms well compared to the M4. and is around 10euro cheaper.
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Crucial-Technology-128GB-m4-S...
so its your choice for the ssd.
and what do u mean by indesign?
December 17, 2012 10:15:29 AM

Thank you, that is very helpful. InDesign is an Adobe program I use every now and again - publishing orientated.

The link to the Intel SSD is particularly pleasing. I forgot that Dabs and Scan have these Ebay Stores. I think I'll be looking there.

The 7850 looks juicy too. Combined they would only be £20 off my planned budget, so this is definitely workable.

I'll largely be using it for games, and there is no plan to scale higher than 1680x1050 or use it for anything more demanding than the "demanding" games I mentioned, so I'm guessing 1gb should be ok. Of course, 2gb would futureproof it more, but I'm guessing that is probably starting to inch out of my price threshhold.

Who knows what Christmas will bring...some useful vouchers, one hopes!
a b U Graphics card
December 17, 2012 1:10:29 PM

ok.
guess it's time to close this thread.
u know how to do dat right?
u hav to select a best answer and it will close.
!