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Any volunteers wishing to offer me upgrade advice? This is a challeng, I warn you! ;)

Discussion in 'System Builder's Advice' started by Black Panther, Feb 5, 2009.

  1. Black Panther

    Black Panther Senior Moderator™ Staff Member

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    I've been looking to upgrade my rig. For details please see system specs (the BlackPanther desktop not the Gwenhwyvar laptop).

    Budget is not a problem, I've got €835 (1070USD or 734 british sterling) set aside just for the purpose, which I guess would pretty much cover any upgrade I might shoot for.

    The reason I'm posting is that since my rig already has a decent (I think?) cpu E8400 which I run @ 4Ghz and 6GB RAM, my idea was to upgrade my 8800GT and probably also PSU in order to be able to keep up with the demands of the new graphics card.

    Please don't just tell me to buy a GTX295/4870X2 + PSU just for the sake of getting the top gpu available within budget....

    Why? Let me give just a couple of examples:
    I wouldn't want to buy a GTX295 if with the rest of my system specs I'd be getting the performance of a 260... or a 285..
    I also wouldn't be wanting to buy for example a 260 if the improvement over my 8800GT would be barely negligible (because my cpu might bottleneck?).

    Basically the advice I'm looking for is so that I buy the upgrades which will bring my desktop to its full potential and no further upgrade would be feasible - that means if I happen to decide to upgrade further it'd just mean that I'd have to build another rig because then I'd be changing processor which means different socket, different ram (prolly ddr3), hence needing a new mobo etc...

    The monitor I'm using currently is a 22" 1680x1050 but my husband's planning to purchase a 42" 1080p TV and most probably I'd be hooking up to it as well.

    Now another thing (which will make me look like an idiot lol)... :eek:

    The games I currently play are Oblivion and Fallout3. They both run fine, I just decrease the shadow setting of Fallout. Well, I might be adding high-res texture packs to Fallout3 and other mods and make the game more demanding on my hardware. Within 3 weeks The Sims 3 is going to be released. Now that has the exact specifications of Spore, which are low... one certainly doesn't need high fps or a high-end card to get it to run... If TS3 is as good as any of its predecessors, I foresee that I'd get hooked on that game for the whole of summer... :eek::D Moreso I won't be home during summer but gaming on the laptop (that's why I bought it) so any upgrade I do during summer will be little enjoyed...

    In 2010 I'll be buying TESV.... but that's a long way ahead lol..

    But then I have bought games like Crysis, Crysis Warhead and other graphically demanding games and I like them as well....
    I think I'd be getting really bothered if I can't play an awesome-graphics game like the Crysis series decently...

    Well if you have had the patience to read so far you must see that I'm pretty much confused :D

    The main issue is whether I should upgrade graphics and PSU (and if so, which graphics? I'd still love to play Fallout and Sims 3 at 16xaa or whatever:D) or whether it's more worth that I wait the summer out, see what gets released Q3 and which prices have dropped, and then either decide to purchase my graphics & PSU then or decide to build a whole new rig altogether.
  2. Paulieg

    Paulieg The Mad Moderator Staff Member

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    How about a 850w PSU, a Q9550 and a gtx260? That should fit in your budget, and once OC'd it's about as good as it gets. No bottleneck here.
    Black Panther says thanks.
  3. Black Panther

    Black Panther Senior Moderator™ Staff Member

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    That means were I to keep my current setup even a GTX260 will be bottlenecking my E8400 @ 4Ghz? :ohwell:
  4. DarkMatter New Member

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    I would scrap any CPU upgrade. Even though a fast Quad can give you a pair of extra frames, I don't think it's worth it. IMO you can buy whatever card you want, as high as you want. Just look at latest wizzard reviews. He has almost the same setup as you do and there's no much of a bottleneck there, specially if you plan gaming at 1080p. IMO a GTX285 is a good option right now. But also the GTX 295 is.

    Ultimately, if you really want/can wait until Q3 (it's a lot of time even if you are out the summer), high-end cards from both companies are going to be released around those dates so do what you think is better for you.
    Black Panther says thanks.
  5. alexp999

    alexp999 Staff

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    If I were you, I'd pick up a GTX 260 216SP, and a new PSU, like Paulieg says, about 850w, so if you get another GTX260 or similar your covered. Dont think a CPU upgrade is needed tho.
    I'd save your money and put it into a nehalem mobo/cpu/ram when the prices fall.

    Thats my plan!
    Black Panther says thanks.
  6. Black Panther

    Black Panther Senior Moderator™ Staff Member

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    What's been holding me back is that the 285 has got one core but 1GB vram and the 295 got 2 cores and 1.7GB vram. At first glance the 295 appears better however since the 295 has got 2 cores it's like sli so unless I'm mistaken only half the vram will essentially be used even in games supporting sli? That means with the 295 I'd be getting 896MB vram memory whereas the 285 will get me a whole gig of vram.... So possibly the 285 will be performing better at lower resolutions with higher AA?
    :confused:
  7. WhiteLotus

    WhiteLotus

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    New PSU and a higher card, nothing over the top. Maybe a GTX of some kind. The money can then go towards a holiday. :)
    Black Panther says thanks.
  8. wahdangun

    wahdangun New Member

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    yup, just upgrade your video card get 4850x2/4870 1GB/4870 x2, and your cpu won't be bottleneckining it,
    Black Panther says thanks.
  9. Black Panther

    Black Panther Senior Moderator™ Staff Member

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    That still makes sense. I can hold on 2 or 3 weeks till TS3 is released. Then I'll be playing TS3 for March and April..... maybe still some Fallout and Oblivion... then (summer is very long here!) May-Oct we'd be in another seaside house and I'd only have the laptop, no desktop except for very occasional use when I stay here instead of going to work....

    Prolly it makes sense sticking it out and getting Nehalem compatible stuff in Q3 as Alexp999 suggested.
  10. oli_ramsay

    oli_ramsay

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    A decent PSU and a better graphics card would be the best option IMO, maybe a 4870 1Gb or GTX 260 216SP.
    Black Panther says thanks.
  11. Black Panther

    Black Panther Senior Moderator™ Staff Member

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    I'd really consider a 4870 1GB.

    Will my current PSU be able to power it? It's 550W with two +12V rails, one 16A and one 18A.

    Will a 4870 1GB be a visible improvement on an 8800GT 512MB which I keep overclocked at 725 core and 1035 memory?

    The 4870 isn't that expensive like the 285/295.... and hence I'd still be able to change rig by the end of this year. OcUK have it for 191 sterling and I'm sure I can find a better price somewhere else.

    Moreover, I have found sale for my 8800GT for €70 (89.80 USD), the local auction closes in 4 days so that's why I'm kinda in a hurry whether to sell the 8800GT or keep it till after the summer.
    (Is that a good price? Should I agree to sell?) :ohwell:

    And to complicate stuff I'm really unfamiliar with ATI cards :eek: never owned one, not because I'm a fan-girl but because most retail outlets in my country just don't stock them for some reason :confused:

    Then on the other hand I'm really drawn to the GTX285, it's also got 1GB of vram and if I remember correctly game benchies give much better performance than the 4870 1GB...............
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2009
  12. oli_ramsay

    oli_ramsay

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    I doubt your current PSU would, I think you're pushing it a bit even with your current hardware. If it was a brand like Corsair then I'd say yes, but generic brands just aren't trustworthy enough to power high-end overclocked systems. If it was to die then it might take the rest of your system with it :(

    The GTX 285 is an awesome card and beats the 4870 1GB, but it's more expensive. It's up to you really.
  13. DarkMatter New Member

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    No necessarily, that's a little bit of a general misconception IMO.

    [Warning, speculation]

    In SLI the maps, models and textures must be loaded into both memory pools, must be replicated, but not so the memory used for AA and other internal data stored in the frame buffer. That needs to be writen again with each new frame. More so usually there are two or three buffers (tripple buffering), so the card has two different buffers, for two different frames (actual rendered frame and next inclomplete frame). In the dual-GPU each GPU contains one buffer (this is where speculation is), requiring less memory per GPU for that purpose. The dual 1792mb card has actually like 1GB or more of comparable memory, even though each core only has 896. Of course, the same dual-GPU card with 2GB would be able to render faster than the 1792mb one, but the latter is always much faster than the 1 core 1GB card and takes less of a hit with higher AA and resolution.

    So don't worry about that, if you want really high settings the 295 will always be much faster than the 285. It even scales better as settings go up.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2009
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  14. ascstinger

    ascstinger New Member

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    Out of randomness, how about one of those Western Digital AAKS drives? Supposed to be raptor quick and quite silent, and It'd eliminate the ide cabling, plus loading times would drop a bit.

    That is, if you have the cash after the vidcard/psu
    Black Panther says thanks.
  15. Black Panther

    Black Panther Senior Moderator™ Staff Member

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    Thanks to the advice I got over here, I've decided that my next upgrade would be a video card (+PSU obviously).

    However I haven't yet decided which video card to get.
    Added to that, from April/May onwards I'd be gaming only on the laptop... till October/November.

    So I still haven't decided whether to make my purchase now or wait out till October...

    I was going to opt for waiting, I'm hooked on Fallout which performs fine on my 8800GT, and supposedly within 2 weeks The Sims 3 had to be released which will also run maxed out on my 8800GT.
    However, they've moved the release date of Sims for next June now...

    I use IDE only on the hard-disk I use for storing movies, photos etc (I had bought it for an old system which crapped out). For the OS and games etc I use Sata.
  16. farlex85

    farlex85 New Member

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    I'd probably go for a 280 gtx or better. Anything under that wouldn't offer enough of a performance boost imo (but I'm one for big jumps in gphx or why bother, there certainly would be an increase in moving to a 4870 1gb, I just don't think it'd be enough to justify the means). You could get by w/ your current psu likely, but I'd go ahead and bump it up to a 700w+ (60A or so in the 12V rail) to anticipate future upgrades such as i7.
    Black Panther says thanks.
  17. Play3r New Member

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    If Your gonna upgrade ur cpu at all i would say go for an i7 because at least that will furture proof it. but your 8400 should be fine with any new graphics cards unless u get some crazy stuff. maybe just get 2 lower end cards and crossfire/sli them?
  18. alexp999

    alexp999 Staff

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    This thread is over too months old :rolleyes:

    Lol.
  19. Play3r New Member

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    :(
  20. WhiteLotus

    WhiteLotus

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    Where is Black Panther these days?
  21. alexp999

    alexp999 Staff

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    Black Panther

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