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GPU vs CPU? Which route should I go?

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February 22, 2013 6:45:18 PM

Hey everyone. Just joined the forums about five minutes ago. :hello: 

I hope I'm posting this in the right section.

I am planning building/upgrading my PC. I am curious if I should go with a gpu or an overhaul of my motherboard, cpu, and RAM.

The reason I have to make this choice is because I dont have too much money, unfortunately.

Current system specs:
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System Information
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Time of this report: 2/22/2013, 13:29:29
Machine name: Not Important
Operating System: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit (6.1, Build 7601) Service Pack 1 (7601.win7sp1_gdr.130104-1431)
Language: English (Regional Setting: English)
System Manufacturer: Gigabyte Technology Co., Ltd.
System Model: M68MT-D3
BIOS: Award Modular BIOS v6.00PG
Processor: AMD Athlon(tm) II X3 450 Processor (4 CPUs), ~3.2GHz
Memory: 4096MB RAM
Available OS Memory: 4094MB RAM
Page File: 2627MB used, 5559MB available
Windows Dir: C:\Windows
DirectX Version: DirectX 11
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Display Devices
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Card name: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650
Manufacturer: NVIDIA
Chip type: GeForce GTX 650
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Now I know a lot of my pc is old and outdated (no need to state the obvious.)

I'm curious which upgrade would be best for low framerates in games. A GPU or motherboard, cpu, and ram.

If I go the GPU route I would purchase the GTX 670 (All I can afford)

If i go the overhaul route I'd purchase the following:

Motherboard - ASRock 960GM/U3S3 FX AM3+ AMD 760G SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

CPU - AMD FX-6100 Zambezi 3.3GHz Socket AM3+ 95W Six-Core Desktop Processor FD6100WMGUSBX

RAM - 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
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Which should I go with? If i get the GPU will my other specs bottleneck the performance, or if I go the other route will it not make a difference because my gpu is only so fast?


I've been thinking about this for a while now and it's driving me crazy, thought I'd get some outside opinions.
Thanks to those who actually read through this lol, and hope to hear from you soon.


Edit: My budget is only $350 for the time being.

More about : gpu cpu route

February 22, 2013 6:54:57 PM

well if you bought the 670 and kept your current CPU it would be the biggest bottleneck in history. the 650 is actually not a bad card.

i would suggest you get a new CPU. it will perform better if its from intel but i guess thats your choice.

if you need to upgrade RAM and mobo then do it but your windows 7 ultimate is tied to your current mobo, so you will have to buy a new OS with the new mobo, unless you call and ask the people there to transfer your OS (you have to make up a story about a faulty mobo or somthing, even then they might now do it
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February 22, 2013 6:55:57 PM

how about upgrade your cpu to phenom II x4 and video card to 7870?
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a c 123 à CPUs
February 22, 2013 7:10:45 PM

Start with a GPU upgrade. Even if it will be a little bottlenecked, a HD7850 would give you significant improvement, and isn't money wasted because you'd still use it if you rebuild the rest of your system later.
The motherboard you listed would not be a good choice. It's name is misleading; it's actually pretty old tech; not a modern 900-series chipset board that you'd want for AMD. As gommer suggests, you'd get better performance from Intel, although you'd have to pay a little more, and it doesn't mean AMD "sucks." Unlocked Phenom II X4 965 CPUs are now $85, which is a great deal; those chips compete well with Intel i3's that cost more.
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a b à CPUs
February 22, 2013 7:40:27 PM

drunkducki said:
how about upgrade your cpu to phenom II x4 and video card to 7870?


Unfortunately his board is only rated for 95W CPUs. A 965 x4 is a 125W CPU.
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February 22, 2013 7:52:51 PM

you are right. Nice catch.
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February 22, 2013 7:58:23 PM

gommer556 said:
well if you bought the 670 and kept your current CPU it would be the biggest bottleneck in history. the 650 is actually not a bad card.

i would suggest you get a new CPU. it will perform better if its from intel but i guess thats your choice.

if you need to upgrade RAM and mobo then do it but your windows 7 ultimate is tied to your current mobo, so you will have to buy a new OS with the new mobo, unless you call and ask the people there to transfer your OS (you have to make up a story about a faulty mobo or somthing, even then they might now do it



I was worried that would be a reality. I agree the 650 isnt a bad card, however games like crysis 3 and far cry 3, even skyrim (with high res packs) suggest I need an upgrade lol. Planetside 2 gives me a few issues as well, although that may be my cpu, not entirely sure.
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February 22, 2013 8:00:24 PM

Onus said:
Start with a GPU upgrade. Even if it will be a little bottlenecked, a HD7850 would give you significant improvement, and isn't money wasted because you'd still use it if you rebuild the rest of your system later.
The motherboard you listed would not be a good choice. It's name is misleading; it's actually pretty old tech; not a modern 900-series chipset board that you'd want for AMD. As gommer suggests, you'd get better performance from Intel, although you'd have to pay a little more, and it doesn't mean AMD "sucks." Unlocked Phenom II X4 965 CPUs are now $85, which is a great deal; those chips compete well with Intel i3's that cost more.



The HD7850 was discontinued on newegg (kind of where I wanted to buy everything) however you've given me another option to think about, and I'll definitely consider that. But for the time being, which would you say I go with? Will the cpu really bottleneck it as harshly as gommer556 suggests?
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February 22, 2013 8:02:19 PM

Thanks for the quick responses guys.
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February 22, 2013 8:22:18 PM

Onus said:
Start with a GPU upgrade. Even if it will be a little bottlenecked, a HD7850 would give you significant improvement, and isn't money wasted because you'd still use it if you rebuild the rest of your system later.
The motherboard you listed would not be a good choice. It's name is misleading; it's actually pretty old tech; not a modern 900-series chipset board that you'd want for AMD. As gommer suggests, you'd get better performance from Intel, although you'd have to pay a little more, and it doesn't mean AMD "sucks." Unlocked Phenom II X4 965 CPUs are now $85, which is a great deal; those chips compete well with Intel i3's that cost more.


My bad, disregard that last reply. I found it on newegg for $170 1GB version $190 for the 2GB version. Which would you recommend? Hopefully I can squeeze out just enough for a cpu upgrade as well.
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February 22, 2013 8:58:59 PM

bojangle78 said:
The HD7850 was discontinued on newegg (kind of where I wanted to buy everything) however you've given me another option to think about, and I'll definitely consider that. But for the time being, which would you say I go with? Will the cpu really bottleneck it as harshly as gommer556 suggests?


You can also get HD 7870 XT which is 7950 level perform for 240 ish. Extremely good price/perf
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a c 123 à CPUs
February 22, 2013 9:49:55 PM

Unless you play with lots of high-res texture packs, 1GB is enough; BUT, if you can pull it off, 2GB may get you a little future-resistance.
Even if the CPU is a bottleneck, as I mentioned earlier you won't have wasted your money, because you'll use this card when you do the complete rebuild.
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February 22, 2013 10:00:31 PM

Onus said:
Unless you play with lots of high-res texture packs, 1GB is enough; BUT, if you can pull it off, 2GB may get you a little future-resistance.
Even if the CPU is a bottleneck, as I mentioned earlier you won't have wasted your money, because you'll use this card when you do the complete rebuild.


Thank you, you've helped me make up my mind. Just finished rebuilding my newegg list. I'm able to get everything I originally wanted with a small sacrifice in RAM and gpu.

Thanks again.
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February 22, 2013 10:00:51 PM

Best answer selected by bojangle78.
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February 22, 2013 10:01:55 PM

Thanks to everyone who responded, I greatly appreciate all the feedback.
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a c 123 à CPUs
February 22, 2013 10:36:04 PM

Thanks. I suspect you'll do pretty well. Have fun!
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