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155 posts

Master Geek


Topic # 25475 22-Aug-2008 13:21
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I'm thinking about upgrading the graphics card in my PC. I intended the PC to be able to run graphically intensive games pretty smoothly, but I made a bad call with the graphics card when I built it late last year. Here are the specs:

Athlon64 x2 4400
2 GB 800 Mhz RAM
Geforce 8600GT 256 MB
160 GB 7200 SATA HDD
(Can't remember the specific motherboard brand other than the fact that it is a Gigabyte and has one x16 PCI-E slot)
Vista Home 32b

After putting this system together I was pretty underwhelmed by its gaming performance. Neverwinter nights 2, oblivion, and Assassin's Creed are games that I've installed on the system and although it can play them all, it tends to be somewhat confined to fairly low graphics settings (even though I've only been playing at 1280x1024 on my 17" Viewsonic). And even at these settings, its still fairly laggy.

I'm fairly sure that the main bottleneck for gaming performance is going to be my graphics card. I have a friend with a similarly specced system but with an 8800, and the performance of that system completely blows mine out of the water.

At the moment, I'm looking at the possibility of shelling out some money to improve the gaming performance of my system so that it's fairly future-proof. I don't mind paying the money for it - as long as I'm not faced with this same situation in another 9 months. I'm probably going to also buy a 1080p LCD TV some time soon so will want to be able to play graphically intensive games at 1920x1200 (This computer will be a hybrid gaming/HT PC). Is it feasible that I'll be able to do this with a graphics card upgrade?

The two cards I was looking at are the HD4850 and the HD 4870. I've heard that these are both extremely good cards. My question: do you think that the rest of my system is powerful enough that upgrading to one of these cards will be worthwhile? While the cards fare very well in review benchmarks, I understand that these benchmarks tend to use much higher-rated CPUs than my own. Though my CPU is by no means outdated, I'd hate to pay $450 for a new graphics card, only to find out that my gaming performance is still hindered greatly by the rest of my system.

Any thoughts?


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  Reply # 159013 22-Aug-2008 17:17
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If i was in your situation, and the board is an AM2 board and supports Phenom, i'd upgrade to a tri or quad core one of those. I'd get a fairly decent one so single threaded applications still run well. Otherwise go for the AMD 6000.
 A 4400 will bottleneck a 4850 i'd say.
The 4870 has come down in price and is now a very good option, however in your case you'd be best going for a 4850 probably, since your cpu isn't exactly the fastest. Get the dual slot sapphire one, or the sapphire toxic.



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Master Geek


  Reply # 159121 23-Aug-2008 09:52
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I looked up my motherboard model - it's a Gigabyte GA-M52S-S3P rev 1.0

http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Products/Motherboard/Products_Overview.aspx?ProductID=2567

According to the site it supports Phenom x3 but it says nothing about Phenom x4. Does that mean that it doesn't support quad cores?

Which tri core CPU would you recommend? With one of those, do you think I'd be set to make use of a 4870?

c1com has a Athlon 64 x2 Black Edition 3.2 Gh for $232.85 and a Phenom X3 8750 2.4 Ghz triple core for 255.55. Any thoughts?

Cheers for the help :)


 
 
 
 


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155 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 159146 23-Aug-2008 13:52
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...I just noticed that I have a 430W PSU. Cry

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Ultimate Geek


  Reply # 159154 23-Aug-2008 15:23
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Hi there, I think one the most important parts of the PC is PSU power supply as no matter how fast the components you get, if you don't have the power to run them.... Good PSU(not only high wattage but also high amperage and high efficiency), i had same system and shifted to Intel 2 Duo 3Ghz with option to go Quadcore. 680Watts 85% efficiency PSU, one 8800GT for now but considering shifting to Ati card unless nvidia comes up with better and faster cards. also your ram could slow you down too, get low latency ram cost a bit more but worth the money. Shop around for good deals.

Good luck,

Lew



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Master Geek


  Reply # 159325 24-Aug-2008 13:55
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Hmm, reckon the Corsair 520W HX PSU would have enough power for me if I upgraded my CPU to the Athlon 64 x2 6400+ / HD4780? Or would I need to look for a PSU with a bit more grunt? I also had my eye on the Acbel M8 750 (700W, Modular), but it's a bit more pricey.

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  Reply # 159327 24-Aug-2008 14:11
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A lot of people go overkill on power supplies...
I have a Silverstone ST50F - 500w powering an Overclocked e8500, P5Q Pro, 4850, 5 case fans, 3 hard drives and 1 optical drive. No problems at all.

re: Processor, the 8750 seems to be on par with the e8400 when it comes to gaming.
Though i just noticed this on the gigabyte site, not sure if its an issue:
(Note) If you install AMD AM2+ CPU on AM2 motherbord, the system bus speed will downgrade from HT3.0(5200MHz) to HT1.0(2000 MT/s) spec; however, the frequency of AM2+ CPU will not be impacted.



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Master Geek


  Reply # 159334 24-Aug-2008 15:11
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Ah, good to know I won't need a crazily expensive beast of a PSU then.

Which CPUs are AM2+?

And exDee, would you recommend the 8750 over the 6400+? The 6400+ is 3.2Ghz so I would have thought that it performed just as well (or better, considering that the 8750 is only 2.4 Ghz) on single threaded applications. At least a few articles out there suggest that even games don't benefit that much from a third or fourth processor... not really sure which option is my best one at this point. If all the tri-core processors are AM2+ and will limit the motherboard in some respects, perhaps I should go for a fast dual-core?


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  Reply # 159387 24-Aug-2008 19:56
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8750 is slightly slower than the 6400 it would seem on single and dual threaded applications, and then on multi threaded applications being a bit faster.

Hard to say what to choose, or what would work with your motherboard. I'd probably go for the 8750 due to overclocking potential, but then its hard to say whether it would overclock well on your motherboard, or if you even want to, and im not exactly sure how well the 6400 overclocks anyway.
Perhaps read:
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/phenom-x3-8750.html
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-phenom-athlon,1918-10.html

The 6400 might be a better idea to play it safe with perhaps? Its $20 cheaper too.



155 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 159454 25-Aug-2008 06:57
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OK, I've shopped around and made my order - A Sapphire HD4870 512MB and a Corsair 520W Modular PSU from C1 Shopping Mall, and a Athlon 64 x2 6400+ from Expert Infotech.

Can't wait to see how this baby runs!

Thanks a lot for the advice everyone, it has made this purchase a whole lot easier.

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  Reply # 159633 25-Aug-2008 16:57
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Interesting choice, i would have thought the 4870 might be bottlenecked by the 6400 even, hard to tell and i'm not sure. Anyway, good luck and you'll love the detail, my 4850 is awesome.
Careful on Expert Infotech, they are rated very low on customer service, frequently given 0/10.



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Master Geek


  Reply # 161152 1-Sep-2008 09:01
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Well, my CPU order through Expert Infotech is on back-order, which is a big pain because half the reason I ordered through them was that they had the 6400+ in stock! Here's hoping I get it soon.

On a more depressing note, my PSU and HD4870 arrived late Friday afternoon. Perhaps naively (though I probably would have done the same thing), my mother signed for the package without opening it first. There wasn't any damage visible on the exterior packaging but...



I'm a sad panda. :(

I gave it back to CourierPost. Apparently they are sending it back to Auckland as the store (C1 Shopping Mall) will understandably be wanting to make use of the insurance policy CourierPost routinely provides.

Hopefully C1 Shoppingmall will be quick to send a replacement! I haven't really been able to communicate with them over the weekend. I'll really be sad if the store wants to wait until the outcome of the insurance claim before sending me a replacement. After all, either it was sent damaged (in which case C1 pays for a replacement) or it was damaged during transit (in which case C1 sends me a replacement, which CourierPost will have to pay them for). Either way, I'm getting a replacement right?

438 posts

Ultimate Geek


  Reply # 161204 1-Sep-2008 10:34
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oh bro that would it suck, i will say you stick to your guns and ask for your replacement soon as possible as is not your fault that the item arrived damaged and you have already paid for the item, you have rights under the consumer ACT, however they may ask you to wait either to give the courier time to pay or waiting for stock.

Good luck and please keep us post it,


Lew

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  Reply # 161310 1-Sep-2008 16:14
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This is why it pays to go with a good retailer - Computer lounge replaced my HVR-2200 that broke at no cost and by no fault of them. Hopefully C1 gets you your replacement but some have unfortunately had to wait weeks for RMA with them.

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  Reply # 161334 1-Sep-2008 17:28
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psk20: Well, my CPU order through Expert Infotech is on back-order, which is a big pain because half the reason I ordered through them was that they had the 6400+ in stock! Here's hoping I get it soon.


That's always the case for expert infotech. They list low stock on everything and then don't have anything when you go in, but do have stocks of other things that they are not the lowest on pricespy for.

Please tell pricespy, the more that do the better, I suspect that since he pays pricespy for a logo etc that they are letting him dick people around with that excellent pricing on goods they dont actually have.




Richard rich.ms



155 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 161559 2-Sep-2008 14:56
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An update on the CPU - Expert infotech emailed me to tell me that they wouldn't have the 6400+ in stock for a couple of weeks. I told the guy there (Suhail) that I didn't really want to wait that long and that I didn't really want to downgrade to a lower CPU, and that moreover, I wasn't sure how much faster my motherboard would even perform with a Phenom as it only has a 2000Mhz bus speed, and that therefore it wasn't really worth it for me to pay extra to upgrade to one of the Phenoms that he had in stock.

His response actually blew me away - he sold me the Phenom x4 9750 (one of the few phenom CPUs that my system supports) for only $27 extra, even though the price difference between the 6400+ and the 9750 on the site was $67. So in the end I got the 9750 for 249... pretty good deal in my opinion!

He said he's sending it right away, so it looks like the CPU part of my story has turned out happy after all. If it arrives in a reasonable timeframe I'll definately be giving Einfo a big thumbs up on gpforums. Cool They made the mistake of selling an item that was out of stock, but it looks like they've more than made up for it.


Now... I just have to see what's happening with my bloody graphics card :S I rang c1 shoppingmall twice yesterday and didn't get anything concrete out of them... If I don't get sent my replacement this week I think I might just tell them I want a refund instead, and go to a local store such as dragonpc.


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