Videocard Overkill


I have two older systems: an Asus A8V-VM board with an Athlon X2 4800+ at 2.5GHz, 4GB of OCZ Platinum DDR/400 RAM, and a GeForce 6200 in a PCI-E x16 slot; and an old OEM eMachines board with an Athlon X2 6000+ at 3.0GHz, 4GB of OCZ Platinum DDR2/800, and onboard GeForce 6100 graphics, with an empty PCI-E x8 slot.

I want to upgrade one of them with a Radeon 5000 series to hold me over until I can put together a Lynnfield system. My concern is that both of these boards only have a PCI-E 1.0a slot. Would I notice any real performance difference between the Radeon HD 5750 vs. the 5970? Or would I just be wasting my money on the higher-end card?

—Tim Brown

Tim, neither system will let you get the maximum performance out of either card—you’ll be limited by the CPU. If you’re serious about building that Lynnfield machine soon though, it’s worth spending money on a bigger card, as you’ll see a substantial performance difference between the 5750 and 5970 on a modern machine, assuming you have a relatively large display—the 5970 really starts to shine when you run games at resolutions of 1920x1200 or greater.

SUBMIT YOUR QUESTION Are flames shooting out of the back of your rig? First, grab a fire extinguisher and douse the flames. Once the pyrotechnic display has fizzled, email the doctor at for advice on how to solve your technological woes.

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