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Looking to Upgrade PC

posted by Chyron8472 on - last edited - Viewed by 207 users

I'm looking to upgrade my PC's graphics card and CPU within the next few months.

My motivation is that I bought LA Noire on Steam a while back and and the game does have noticeable issues framerate issues and such if I set the graphics quality as high as I really want it (which is why I haven't really played it much yet). Also, I'm thinking about purchasing Skyrim, and I want it to look good. It doesn't have to be maxed, but I'm not hot on having such an awesome looking game being set to minimum settings.

I currently have an ATI Radeon HD 4650 512MB graphics card, and an Athlon II X2 2.9GHz CPU. When I bought them both in late 2009, the video card was $60, and the CPU was $70.

My motherboard specs say that it will support up to a Phenom II X6 3.2GHz CPU, so I'm good as far as options.

Steam says Skyrim's recommended specs are a Quad-core CPU and a Radeon 4890 or higher with 1GB of video RAM

So... using good/great graphics on Skyrim as a benchmark; wanting to keep future games running well enough at reasonable settings for a few years down the road; and using my previous purchase prices as a rough price point, what do you all suggest that I look into buying without spending an arm and a leg?

16 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • So, after doing some looking around for cards and CPUs, I think I've so far settled on:

    MSI Radeon HD 6670 1GB -- $70
    http://amzn.com/B007JCNOGY

    and

    AMD Phenom II X4 945 -- $80
    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=4615717&CatId=4431


    Also, I've discovered a little program called MSI Afterburner, which I just might start using on my PC tonight (it's not manufacturer specific) in order to slow down my fan speed on idle.

  • @Chyron8472 said: So, after doing some looking around for cards and CPUs, I think I've so far settled on:

    MSI Radeon HD 6670 1GB -- $70
    http://amzn.com/B007JCNOGY


    I beg you to take the leap to the 6750 if you can. It's a really good price-to-performance upgrade, only $10 in some cases, and it's a far better card.

    PassMark isn't the BEST of things to use, but in the broad general strokes it's able to illustrate the point here:

    geAK3.png

    Don't ask what the "number" means, it's an arbitrary scoring system they use to turn benchmarks of various sorts into a single, easily-readable number, but when you're speaking in broad terms the number does relate to real performance. The 5770 at the top of this set is my current card, it's higher up than 6700 cards because the 6700 line seems to mostly be a rebranding of the 5700 line with a couple extra minor features tossed in. For this reason, I could also recommend a higher-end 5700 card, though they don't seem to go for much less than their 6700 counterparts.

    Comparisons:

    6670 vs 6750

    5770 vs 6770

    The jump from 6670 to 6750 is pretty massive. After the 6750 you're starting to look at diminishing returns, but from 6670>6750 you're seriously looking at >25% performance gains. For that kind of price/performance efficiency, I don't think you should fudge $10 on something you want to use for a lifespan of five years. You asked for something future-proof, and the 6670 pretty much qualifies as now-proof.

    EDIT: Oh, by the way? Processor looks like a good call. I thought you were over-spending but it seems like the 920 CPUs have been discontinued or are being given >$80 price points, which they're not worth. The X4 945 should serve you well.

  • I actually upgraded from a(n almost) 6670(5670). Just like Dashing stated, think about 5 years from now. I couldn't see it lasting much longer the way games are going, which is why I upgraded. It began to struggle with maxed graphic settings.

  • @Johro said: I actually upgraded from a 6670. It's an okay card...now. Just like Dashing stated, think about 5 years from now. I couldn't see it lasting much longer the way games are going, which is why I upgraded. It began to struggle with maxed graphic settings.


    Dude, that card is BARELY a year and a half old. Even if you bought AT launch that's a REALLY short life for a graphics card. I mean, I don't suggest GETTING it if you are in a position to choose between the two, but if you own the thing ALREADY then you should probably try and make it last.

  • Hm I thought it was 2. Now I'm going to go check.


    ...and I made a second computer so I'm still using it, it's just not on my gaming computer anymore.


    Edit: Okay, it's a 5670...It's a comparable card anyway though.

  • @Rather Dashing said: I beg you to take the leap to the 6750 if you can. It's a really good price-to-performance upgrade, only $10 in some cases, and it's a far better card.

    [...]

    The jump from 6670 to 6750 is pretty massive. [...] I don't think you should fudge $10 on something you want to use for a lifespan of five years.



    Thanks.

    http://www.pricewatch.com/gallery/video_cards/radeon_hd_6750

  • @Chyron8472 said: Thanks.

    http://www.pricewatch.com/gallery/video_cards/radeon_hd_6750


    The $10 more was referencing this version of the card, whose price seems to come from a slightly cheaper fan construction than other 6750 cards? Either way it has the specs and I'd recommend this over the 6670.

  • Yeah. I do also kinda wish the dB range of the fan noise was included in the product descriptions. Not that I'd spend a ton of money to make my machine dead quiet, but it still matters.

    Heck, when i bought a case fan for my PC, I actually went to a store and looked at the dB ranges listed on various case fans. It turned out that the quietest one was a clear fan with blue LEDs rather than a simple black one. I disabled the LEDs because I don't need light shining out the fan vents of my case if I want the room to be dark.

    EDIT: Do you have any personal preference between video card manufacturers? My current card is an XFX, but I'm not really aware of significant differences between XFX, Sapphire, HIS, etc.

    EDIT AGAIN: it occurs to me that the HIS card has DVI, VGA and HDMI ports, while the same card from XFX has 2 DVI's and a Mini DisplayPort. Personally, I like the HIS' ports better, as it wouldn't require any adapters depending on what I plugged it into.

  • @Chyron8472 said: EDIT: Do you have any personal preference between video card manufacturers? My current card is an XFX, but I'm not really aware of significant differences between XFX, Sapphire, HIS, etc.



    I like MSI, in my experience they have the best build quality, Sapphire are grand as well, though i've only had wee PCB board cards from them. XFX and Gigabyte are both on the hitlist for me as i've had bad experiences with them personally.

    That said i've had problems with Corsair PSU's so my luck isn't any real metric to go by here.

  • 872ZI.png

    There is a $20 mail-in rebate for the video card, so technically I would be paying $119.98 upon redeeming it. However, my family says that redeeming rebates can be like pulling teeth, so I'm not sure to really count it.

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