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 Post subject: Upgrading new Computer, Need some insight!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 4:59 pm 
8086
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Hey guys, my friend just got a new PC and he sold me his other one. He only had it for a few months and I got it off him for only $200. I've been out of PC building/gaming for a few years and want to get back into it, hence I came back here as you guys helped me build a nice rig in '06-07. I would like to be able to play most modern games on high'ish settings, games like: Skyrim, BF3, CoD: MW3, GTA IV, Saints Row 3, The Witcher 2, DXHR, Diablo 3(When it comes), Fallout: NV, etc. I don't plan on building a new rig until the end of the year or so. Hopefully this one will be good til then.

The monitor is a 23" 1920x1080 native.
This is the PC: HP p7-1003w - He changed a few things in it tho as he put a ATi HD3870 GPU & a 500w Rosewill PSU - RD 500-2DB.

What I'm thinking to replace would be the GPU as the other specs. seem decent enough for what I want, but if it would be a performance boost to replace the RAM or anything let me know. As for the GPU, I would like to stay between $150-$200USD at most, hopefully more on the cheaper side, but if there is something that's better dollar/performance ratio in the $200 range I'm willing to spend that much or slightly more. It's a PCIex16 slot, is there a difference in PCIe 2.0, 2.1, 3.0? I don't really care to much about Brands, but I would like a decent warranty. Is there anything else I can do to this to make it a better gaming rig? I won't be ordering anything until the 25th or so, just want to be ready.

Forgot to mention, I have a 32" HDTV I would like to play on sometimes, mainly gonna use the Monitor, but was curious if it would work good playing games on the TV. It's only 720p but I would like to sit on the couch and lounge sometimes when I game a lot.

Thanks for any insight you can offer.


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrading new Computer, Need some insight!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 8:45 pm 
Coppermine
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You're right - the GPU is where you need to focus your money. The CPU, while not great, is good enough and the RAM is fine.

From your price range, I suggest:
AMD 6870 or
nVidia 560 Ti

The 560 is a better performer, but the 6870 is in the price point you want.

Hope this helps.


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrading new Computer, Need some insight!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:46 pm 
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The 6870 is hands down one of the best budget cards in the $150-200 price range right now. The 560's can't touch their price per performance and the second you decided to jump up one more tier, AMD's 6950 around the $220-250 mark (1gb and 2gb) comes into play again. If you can afford the $250 mark, the 6950 2gb card will last you a very long time and its a very powerful card for the money. it's also a few frames short of the 6970 for $80 less and performs very close to nvidia's $330 570.

But again, if you don't want to spend a whole lot of money and don't have a preference over AMD or Nvidia, the 6870 is where it's at. You can actually find them on sale usually around the $130-140 mark time to time so if you aren't in a rush, I'd shop around.


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrading new Computer, Need some insight!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:42 am 
8086
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With the current setup, would you guys suggest spending $250, or would it be bottlenecked by RAM/CPU? Also, any answer to whether it would look decent, mainly comparable, to how my 360 looks on the 32" HDTV? Also, from what I've seen so far EVGA has the best warranties...true?

O, and could you elaborate on why the CPU falls short? Could you post a decent upgrade, it might be something I'll replace in a few weeks/months if it would give a nice boost.
What about PCIex16, is it compatible with 2.0, 2.1, & 3.0?
Sorry for possible silly questions, I'm just out of date.


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrading new Computer, Need some insight!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:09 pm 
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I'd say stick with the 6870 mainly because your power supply is only 250w, you actually might run into power issues.

The x4 650 is right at the bare min "modern" cpu that can keep those gpu's happy, but you will lose some graphical performance in playing modern games like BF3 and Skyrim, but not by a lot; maybe 5-10% drop. Average frames is very similar across platforms even if you had an expensive 580 in there, although you might experience more random drop frames in large scenes that really requires some CPU power; still would be playable.

One of my friends uses the same amd x4 cpu and runs the 6870 and plays BF3 and Skyrim with no issues on high.

With your system, you can add up to an x6 cpu to beef it up, but honestly I'd wait before you do this because your mobo is really limited. I'd upgrade your power supply along with your gpu.

Corsiar Builder Series CX500 V2 500w PSU is on sale for $30AR, AC (EMCNJJN29) on newegg right now. Its a damn good buy and should be way more power than you really need. Sale ends on Monday.


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrading new Computer, Need some insight!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:25 pm 
Thunderbird
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Definitely consider that PSU purchase! That's a good find J... 8)

For the prices being discussed, a high end 5000 series card will still offer better performance than a 6870. If buying used is an option that may make the purchase of a card and PSU a little easier on the wallet.

Lack of a second layer of cache hurts the Athlon II's a little when it comes to gaming though, so that additional performance may not be necessary.

I don't know if I would try any of these solutions on a 250W PSU though, and I'm a low wattage preacher... :|


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrading new Computer, Need some insight!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:35 pm 
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The main downside with running a large 5870 is that it may not fit in his small HP case; those are 12" long monsters, plus they run a little hotter in wattage than the 6870 so he could run into cooling issues in his system... actually now that I think about it, he still might run into cooling issues.

My friend with the x4 and the 6870 had that very issue when he got it a few months back. He had to install some beefier case fans and a slot cooler.


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrading new Computer, Need some insight!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 4:24 pm 
8086
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Like I said in the first post, he put a new 500w Rosewill PSU, model: RD 500-2DB, he had sitting around, that will be fine right? Its only been in there for 2 to 3 months or so. If the new GPU doesn't fit in the case, no worries, I have a few bigger cases I can use. I might actually go with the 6950 2gb/1gb option, if that PSU will handle it, if not I might go with cheaper for now.


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrading new Computer, Need some insight!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:32 pm 
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brain fart... now it makes sense why I originally overlooked that whole fact from my original responses. lol

The Rosewill should be fine, but be warned, I've had 5 of those PSU and had 3 of the die in a year. Never again will I trust their crap again. I was lucky that each instance that died, it didn't take the logic board with it. Wasn't even worth it to ship them back to replace. Personally, I would feel safer running a proper name brand PSU, specially since its only $30 or so.

The 6870 should be more than enough power for your system. I wouldn't spend anymore then that on that system and just save up for your "next" build or at the very least for another upgrade down the line.


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrading new Computer, Need some insight!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:27 pm 
Thunderbird
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5850 will outperform the 6870, and you can get it under 10". Remember, when the 6000 series dropped, AMD kinda re-designated their identifiers.

Quick example. The dimensions are on this outdated newegg page...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814150442

The 5850 is nearly identical, but with a larger processing array, and it will draw a bit more power.


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrading new Computer, Need some insight!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:37 pm 
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^umm... 6870 is more powerful than the 5850's, the performance difference of the 50's and the 70's were pretty large. The 6870 is 5% or less slower than the 5870 while the 5850 is about 15-20% slower.

The 6870 fits right between the 5850 and 5870.


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrading new Computer, Need some insight!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:12 pm 
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The 5850 is a 5870, just downclocked with 2 SIMD's de-activated...5870 runs stock @ 850Mhz, and the 5850 runs stock @ 725Mhz. That, and about 200 shader cores, is where the performance difference comes from. The 5850, because it's the same part, will easily run the same core speed as the 5870, and then some. It also offers a larger processing array, and more texture units than the 6870. The 900Mhz core clock of the 6870 does make it a formidable card, but a 5850 can usually be found cheaper if used parts are acceptable.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/2848

Of course the 6870 has some OC'ing headroom too, but that's where things get a little fuzzy. There's never an Anand or MaxPC...or even Passmark chart comparing overclocked parts.

Kinda of a moot point though. If a new PSU isn't on tap, begging, borrowing, and stealing for a 2GB 6950 is definitely the best course of action. Can't wait till the prices slip a little more so I can pick one up for myself... :|


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrading new Computer, Need some insight!
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 1:27 am 
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yes... but remember, we are talking about 2/5 to 1/2 the cost of the whole PC... If I was in his shoes, i wouldn't spend a dime more than a 6870 and just go with a new card with a full warranty than trying to dick around with a used on on ebay or CL just to save a buck.

And if his case has horrible cooling (as most cheapo econoboxes do)... overclocking would be the last thing on my mind with any card.


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrading new Computer, Need some insight!
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:06 am 
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As for PCIe 2.0, 2.1, and 3.0, it is all pretty much a non issue. The 3.0 boards ahve just strted releasing and as far as i know there is nothing as yet that will utilized that bandwidth. A 2.1 card will do fine on 2.0 as that is all there was until the 3.0 boards. Incidently, 2.0 is backwards compatible with a 1.0 slot ( you will lose about 3% of performance ). I can say that the Fallout: New Vegas and The Witcher 2 will both play just fine on an HD5770 / 6770,I have played both on that card ( changed over to the 560Ti about midway through The Witcher 2 or during my second playthrough, forgot which ).


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrading new Computer, Need some insight!
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:23 am 
8086
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Ok, well, I don't plan to OC at all. I do want a new card, I will not buy used again. And as for cooling, I have other cases to use so that shouldn't be an issue. I seen a lot of different models thrown around, so I'm still not clear on whats best for the $200 range, I won't be doing another build until the end of the year or so. I really don't mind spending more now, if its better bang for the buck.

Quote:
Kinda of a moot point though. If a new PSU isn't on tap, begging, borrowing, and stealing for a 2GB 6950 is definitely the best course of action.
...I'm confused on what your meaning with that statement.

O, EVGA no good right now? I really do like the warranty they offer.


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrading new Computer, Need some insight!
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:37 am 
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Ok. I just check out the PSU. With 15a - 16a on the +12v rails, that thing isn't going to allow for much in the way of a decent graphics card. It simply isn't enough ( forget about the 500w aspect, as that doesn't mean much in this context ). That was a poor choice for a PSU. My guess is he saw 500w and nothing else ( not to mention the pretty blue LED's ). If the PSU isn't at least 80 Plus certified. I wouldn't give it a second look. A bad PSU can and will wreck a Motherboard.


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrading new Computer, Need some insight!
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:34 pm 
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Dude... it has TWO 12v rails... One is 15a, the other is 16a; that will net a theoretical limit of 372 watts but is limited to 350 as 130w of the 480 is allocated to the 3.3 and 5v. Even if the PSU was running at 75% efficiency, that's still 262w; still more than enough to power a 150w 6870. Even then those graphic cards, you are going to be using both rails then share the same lines with your hdd's and optical drives, which really don't eat very much power.

The Rosewill WILL work, but honestly, it's a shitty power supply and I wouldn't even give it to goodwill; I'd just straight up trash it (or recycle).


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrading new Computer, Need some insight!
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:40 pm 
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Psalm69 wrote:
Quote:
Kinda of a moot point though. If a new PSU isn't on tap, begging, borrowing, and stealing for a 2GB 6950 is definitely the best course of action.


...I'm confused on what your meaning with that statement.

O, EVGA no good right now? I really do like the warranty they offer.


Meaning that if you're going to try to squeak by with the Rosewill PSU, the 6950 2GB is the best card for the money right now. If you plan on playing your games at HD res with the eye candy at a passable level, all while maintaining smooth frames, you'll want that 2GB frame buffer for newer games.

Case in point, Skyrim will use over 800MB VRAM on high with a semi decent draw distance. Just setting the shadows to Ultra will push the VRAM usage well over 1GB.

A Radeon alternative has a better chance to run on your PSU (both rails) than a comparable nvidia based card, plus it will be cheaper. So if EVGA is out, check out XFX for the best warranty.

I will echo the previous posts with regard to Rosewill though, you're better off putting some money aside for a decent PSU as soon as possible.


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrading new Computer, Need some insight!
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 1:50 pm 
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^you are completely disregarding heat issues and the fact that he has a shitty x4 processor. The cost difference from a $150 ($130 on sale) of a 6870 and then more expensive $250 6950 is hard to justify... While granted, its a great value card, so is the 6870.. you just can't compare two completely different price points specially for a system that costs $500.

He will more than likely run into bottle necks with his CPU anyhow.

And you can play skyrim with eye candy and still have playable frame rates with a 6870.. don't be fooled. (6850 performance)


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrading new Computer, Need some insight!
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:39 pm 
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No, the potential heat issues have already been addressed. OP indicated spare cases. I also already conceded (before you even suggested it) that CPU's without a 2nd layer of cache do take a hit in gaming. But, with concern to the upgrade cycle, the motherboard is a drop in CPU upgrade when the time comes.

The issue I'm raising here is whether or not to purchase a card with only 1GB VRAM. A one gig frame buffer is dated for today, right now. New games are already engineered to take advantage of more than that, especially when gaming at standard HD res (which is also dated for today). Many of the games mentioned in the OP will already take advantage of much more than that if it is available.

The question is whether or not to spend the extra for a morefuture proof card. No card can be future proof of course, not when a DX update can make every card on the market obsolete overnight. But, one card can be more so than another. At this time, since a substantial investment is already going to be made, and we are advising a considerably serious gamer (which essentially makes the GPU the system's most important component within reason), why not go with a card that has a little headroom?

I know full well the real performance of most of the hardware on the market, so nothing is fooling me. Playable frame rates are in the eye of the beholder. There is a reason that AMD engineered it's high end 7000's with a 3GB frame buffer on an even wider bus. 1GB cards on a 256bit bus are already an endangered species (especially where AMD's tessellation performance is concerned), and we've not reached the limits of the DX11 API yet.


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