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Hi all,

So I am looking for some suggestions on my next upgrade - what will give me the biggest performance boost. Firstly, my current specs below;

PSU: XFX pro 750W
Mobo: Asus M5A97 (not evo)
Graphics card: XFX HD 6870
Processor: Phenom X6 1055T @ 3.8Ghz
RAM: Crucial Ballistix 8GB 1600Mhz
SSD: OCZ Agilty 3 120GB + additional 500GB and 250GB 7200rpm HDD
NZXT Lexa S case, artic cooling processor fan (to be upgraded at some point)

So the idea is I have a small amount of money to spend and I have a couple of ideas for the next upgrade - basically to either purchase an FX-6300, or to buy an additional HD 6870 and crossfire them. Comp is primarily for gaming (some FPS and RTS mainly, but whatever I am in the mood for at the time!) but also some photo editing and product design - girlfriend is a a graphic designer (think Illustrator, Photoshop... basically the whole Adobe suite). Both componants can be had for around £100 here.. any suggestions, or any other ideas welcome.

One small detail, the Mobo I have has 2 PCI 2.0 slots... but one at 16x and one at 4x. have read several articles on running crossfire on x16/x4 and everyone seems to come to a different conclusion, so if any one here could help with whether the second PCI slot at 4x will significantly reduce scaling with HD 6870s it would be usefull!

Thanks
 

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Using PCIe x4 will cost you some FPS.
FX-6300 would be better if your mobo supports it.

Later replace your 6870 with a new 7000 or 8000 series.

or

Get a 7000 series GPU now and sell the 6870.
Later replace your cpu with a FX-6300.
 

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OP stick with your current CPU. its more than enough. also instead of CF sell the HD 6870 and go for single GPU. HD 7870 Tahiti LE is an excellent option.

get the sapphire HD 7870 XT with boost for £192. excellent dual x cooler. low temps and noise.

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=GX-312-SP

the HD 7870 Tahiti LE is around 60% faster than HD 6870 at stock. performance matches HD 7950(800 Mhz) at stock. when overclocked to 1.2 ghz matches HD 7970(925 mhz) and close to 85-90% faster than HD 6870. CF scaling in best cases is 1.8x. on average across many games its around 1.6x.

In the latest DX11 games like BF3, Farcry 3, Crysis 3 the HD 7870 Tahiti LE is atleast twice the perf of HD 6870. much better option than HD 6870 CF. you can avoid multi gpu issues like microstuttering, poor cf scaling in few games. with a single gpu you get the most consistent and best gameplay experience.

http://www.hardwareheaven.com/reviews/1651/pg1/sapphire-hd-7870-xt-with-boost-tahiti-le-graphics-card-review-introduction.html
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Club_3D/HD_7870_jokerCard_Tahiti_LE/31.html

here is a user whom you can ask for more info on the same card
http://www.overclock.net/t/1345122/sapphire-hd-7870-xt-based-on-amd-tahiti-le-chip/70#post_19294019
 
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