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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys,

Hope all are well! I've currently got a 4890, but with the latest games coming out, my PC is starting to struggle and I'm considering getting a new, DX11 graphics card to get better performance without being bottlenecked by my processor. I would also consider upgrading the RAM too, but my mobo will not let me go above 4gb so would have to be for faster RAM if permitted.

Buying a new PC is currently out of the question as I'm a student and can't afford it. I've had this PC for 4 years now so ideally don't want to break the bank as I feel I will buy a new PC in a 2-3 years when I will hopefully be working. My budget is around £150/$250. I was considering the ATI 6850 or 6870 but thought I would get some opinions on the matter.

My current specs:

OS: MS Windows 7 64-bit SP1
CPU: AMD Phenom II X2 550 @ 3.1 GHz
RAM: 4.0GB Dual-Channel DDR2 @ 401MHz (6-6-6-18)
Motherboard: ASUS M2N68-AM SE2 (AM2)
Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 4800 Series (ATI AIB)
PSU: Cyberpower 700W power supply

Cheers for your time!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by souljacker13 View Post

Hi guys,

Hope all are well! I've currently got a 4890, but with the latest games coming out, my PC is starting to struggle and I'm considering getting a new, DX11 graphics card to get better performance without being bottlenecked by my processor. I would also consider upgrading the RAM too, but my mobo will not let me go above 4gb so would have to be for faster RAM if permitted.

Buying a new PC is currently out of the question as I'm a student and can't afford it. I've had this PC for 4 years now so ideally don't want to break the bank as I feel I will buy a new PC in a 2-3 years when I will hopefully be working. My budget is around £150/$250. I was considering the ATI 6850 or 6870 but thought I would get some opinions on the matter.

My current specs:

OS: MS Windows 7 64-bit SP1
CPU: AMD Phenom II X2 550 @ 3.1 GHz
RAM: 4.0GB Dual-Channel DDR2 @ 401MHz (6-6-6-18)
Motherboard: ASUS M2N68-AM SE2 (AM2)
Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 4800 Series (ATI AIB)
PSU: Cyberpower 700W power supply

Cheers for your time!
Get a 750 Ti.
 

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Those cards you are considering are now old, you can find better value in a new card. If you want to stay with AMD, the soon to be released R7 265 should be a fine choice for $150, or the R7 260X for $120.

You should spend the rest of the money on upgrading the rest of the system, otherwise you'll have an unbalanced experience and not see the full benefits of a new GPU.

A dual core nowadays will be a bottleneck in a lot of games. A second hand Phenom II X4 940 (Edit: all the way to the Phenom II X6 1090T) for your motherboard would be a good idea, but I wouldn't recommend overclocking it as the motherboard is not that good for that kind of thing. The CPU support list for your motherboard is a bit confusing, it lists AM3 CPUs such as the 1090T as compatible with your motherboard, but that is probably wrong. (Edit: I was under the impression the last CPU compatible with AM2+ was the 940, but the other ones following in the number scheme have both a DDR2 and a DDR3 memory controller, sorry for my confusion, Asus' CPU support list is right).

Without changing platform there is only so much you can do to improve performance. You can try finding a second hand motherboard with better quality and more slots to upgrade RAM in the future (4 GB also bottlenecks some games now, such as BF3 and BF4 multi-player), along with a second hand AM2+ quad core.
 

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Best you can do is look for GTX750 or 750TI. on AMD I'd only say the R7 250X at 99 the 260C at 120, and the 265 at 150. Try to find some cheap AM3 Motherboard that supports core unlocking, the X2 555 may have some secrets.
 

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A dual core nowadays will be a bottleneck in a lot of games. A second hand Phenom II X4 940 for your motherboard would be a good idea,

+1
A quad-core Phenom X4 940 or 945 CPU would seem like a good upgrade.
Find something used off eBay.

The latest BIOS update for your motherboard is August 2012.
http://support.asus.com/cpusupport/list.aspx?SLanguage=en&p=1&s=24&m=M2N68-AM%20SE2&os=25&hashedid=rzWjxRHTivB96wPd

After the processor upgrade, see how much you have left over for a graphics card.
ATI/AMD 6870 1GB?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tacoboy View Post

A dual core nowadays will be a bottleneck in a lot of games. A second hand Phenom II X4 940 for your motherboard would be a good idea,

+1
A quad-core Phenom X4 940 or 945 CPU would seem like a good upgrade.
Find something used off eBay.

The latest BIOS update for your motherboard is August 2012.
http://support.asus.com/cpusupport/list.aspx?SLanguage=en&p=1&s=24&m=M2N68-AM%20SE2&os=25&hashedid=rzWjxRHTivB96wPd

After the processor upgrade, see how much you have left over for a graphics card.
ATI/AMD 6870 1GB?
6870 not a good choice right now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks alot for the replies, I appreciate the advice
thumb.gif


I've had previous experience with ATI cards so that's where my preference for them comes from, but wouldn't mind switching if it's better at the price point. I just wanted to ask whether the R7 265 would be compatible with the mobo I have? I was considering a new mobo with a new gfx card, but thought adding a new processor and upgrading the RAM on top would essentially be a new pc and therefore would start to hike the costs up. However, if changing all of the components is below £300/$500 and would last me a good 3-4 years than I do not mind doing so. Most of my intense graphics card workout comes from playing single player games. My co-op or multiplayer experiences are usually with fairly low spec games as my friends have non-gaming laptops. In terms of second hand, any particular mobos you would recommend that would last for a good few years?

Thanks
redface.gif
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by souljacker13 View Post

Thanks alot for the replies, I appreciate the advice
thumb.gif


I've had previous experience with ATI cards so that's where my preference for them comes from, but wouldn't mind switching if it's better at the price point. I just wanted to ask whether the R7 265 would be compatible with the mobo I have? I was considering a new mobo with a new gfx card, but thought adding a new processor and upgrading the RAM on top would essentially be a new pc and therefore would start to hike the costs up. However, if changing all of the components is below £300/$500 and would last me a good 3-4 years than I do not mind doing so. Most of my intense graphics card workout comes from playing single player games. My co-op or multiplayer experiences are usually with fairly low spec games as my friends have non-gaming laptops. In terms of second hand, any particular mobos you would recommend that would last for a good few years?

Thanks
redface.gif
Gigabtye GA-78LMT USB3.
The R7 265 will work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks again for advice everyone.

Lots of food for thought - going from just considering a gfx card alone to practically changing the system! However as my wallet is rather thin, I may get the 945 and R7 265 at the moment and wait until I have a bit more money for a better system.

Once again, thanks for the advice guys, much appreciated
redface.gif
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by souljacker13 View Post

Thanks alot for the replies, I appreciate the advice
thumb.gif


I've had previous experience with ATI cards so that's where my preference for them comes from, but wouldn't mind switching if it's better at the price point. I just wanted to ask whether the R7 265 would be compatible with the mobo I have? I was considering a new mobo with a new gfx card, but thought adding a new processor and upgrading the RAM on top would essentially be a new pc and therefore would start to hike the costs up. However, if changing all of the components is below £300/$500 and would last me a good 3-4 years than I do not mind doing so. Most of my intense graphics card workout comes from playing single player games. My co-op or multiplayer experiences are usually with fairly low spec games as my friends have non-gaming laptops. In terms of second hand, any particular mobos you would recommend that would last for a good few years?

Thanks
redface.gif
With the Value Added Tax you have over there in Europe, I do not think 300 GBP ($500) is enough to makes it worth the MB/CPU/Memory/Graphics upgrade.
Here in the USA with it lower prices and me knowing where to find the best prices, $500 (300GBP) is still hard to justify a worthwhile upgrade.
It also might depend on if you have retail or OEM version of Win 7?

I would say to get the Phenom II 945 quad-core 3.0Ghz CPU, it can work with your current motherboard and it's DDR2 memory and also the 945 can work with DDR3 memory (the Phenom II 940 is DDR2 only).
A Phenom II 955 might even work in your current board
So in the future you can do a motherboard/DDR3 memory upgrade and still use the 945 (955) CPU.
Your motherboard is a little on the old side, designed over 5 years ago, so the more modern the graphics card you get for it, the slightly more chance it might have an issue with it.
So that's why selling off your current 4890 and getting a 6870 (256-bit memory interface) might be a safe choice over the newer R7 (which only have a 128-bit memory interface anyway).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by souljacker13 View Post

PSU: Cyberpower 700W power supply
I would be sceptical to run anything on that PSU
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by daffy.duck View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by souljacker13 View Post

PSU: Cyberpower 700W power supply
I would be sceptical to run anything on that PSU
Well, he is running a 190w TDP Radeon HD 4890, so an upgrade to either an 151w TDP HD 6870 or a 150w TDP R7 265, will give him the headroom to upgrade the CPU to the Quad Core, if the system is running well now, there shouldn't be much of a problem with the two upgrades.

Also, OP, scratch what I said about the Phenom II X4 940, I was under the impression that one was the last CPU to support the AM2+ platform, but in fact the others after that one have dual memory controllers, so you can go all the way to the Thuban Phenom II X6 1090T, like the CPU support list says.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
From the sounds of it, changing the processor and card would be the best way to go right now. With that in mind, would the combination of the Thuban Phenom II X6 1090T and R7 265 last for a few years? I appreciate that games aren't using 6-cores currently, but for future proofing purposes do you guys reckon it would it last for a good 3-4 years, especially without updating the RAM?

Cheers
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tpi2007 View Post

Well, he is running a 190w TDP Radeon HD 4890, so an upgrade to either an 151w TDP HD 6870 or a 150w TDP R7 265, will give him the headroom to upgrade the CPU to the Quad Core, if the system is running well now, there shouldn't be much of a problem with the two upgrades.

Also, OP, scratch what I said about the Phenom II X4 940, I was under the impression that one was the last CPU to support the AM2+ platform, but in fact the others after that one have dual memory controllers, so you can go all the way to the Thuban Phenom II X6 1090T, like the CPU support list says.
That's provided that PSU does 700W as it states, which I doubt it even gets close to providing
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I've not done any testing on the PSU itself, but I've not had games hang up on me with my current set up if that helps. The PC has been solid for the years I've had it but is definitely showing its age.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by souljacker13 View Post

From the sounds of it, changing the processor and card would be the best way to go right now. With that in mind, would the combination of the Thuban Phenom II X6 1090T and R7 265 last for a few years? I appreciate that games aren't using 6-cores currently, but for future proofing purposes do you guys reckon it would it last for a good 3-4 years, especially without updating the RAM?

Cheers
Not really, that 4 GB RAM limit is going to start showing, it won't last you 3-4 years, rather one, two at most. It already shows in multi-player BF3 and BF4, and now with the current generation consoles packing 8 GB of VRAM / RAM, it's only going to get worse. Those two upgrades can make sense if you then later buy a new or second hand AM3+ motherboard (with better VRMs to allow for CPU overclocking), which will allow you to use both, and upgrade the RAM to high-speed DDR3. DDR2 speeds are also affecting fps in games. Nowadays at least DDR3 1600 Mhz is recommended.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by souljacker13 View Post

From the sounds of it, changing the processor and card would be the best way to go right now. With that in mind, would the combination of the Thuban Phenom II X6 1090T and R7 265 last for a few years? I appreciate that games aren't using 6-cores currently, but for future proofing purposes do you guys reckon it would it last for a good 3-4 years, especially without updating the RAM?

Cheers
Technically it would last for 3 or 4 years, just will not play FPS as fast as a 6 core or 8 core system (with DDR3).
I would say unless you get a really good deal (like $125) on 1090T, get the 945 for now (and a graphics card).
Later on (6 month or 12 months) swap out your current motherboard and (DDR2) memory for a 970 chip-set mother board and 8GB of DDR3 memory.
Then later on (year or two) you could get a FX6350 or FX8350.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by daffy.duck View Post

That's provided that PSU does 700W as it states, which I doubt it even gets close to providing
May not be a great power supply, but personally I've had good luck with generic power supplies.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by souljacker13 View Post

I've not done any testing on the PSU itself, but I've not had games hang up on me with my current set up if that helps. The PC has been solid for the years I've had it but is definitely showing its age.
Maybe hold of any power supply upgrade until your really to upgrade your motherboard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hi guys, just wanted to let you know I went on Ebay and managed to get this for £300

CPU - AMD 6 Core FX-6300 Black Edition, 3.5 - 4.5 GHZ Socket AM3+
Graphics Card - XFX AMD Radeon 7850 2GB gddr5 Memory DD Edition
RAM - 8GB DDR3 RAM dual channel, 2x Crucial Ballistix Sport 1600MHz, 4GB sticks.
Hard Drive - Western Digital Caviar Blue SATA III 6Gb/s, 500GB, 7200rpm Hard Drive
Optical Drive- LiteOn 24x SATA DVD Drive
Case - CiT Knight Midi ATX Gaming Case
Power Supply - CiT 500W Gaming PSU
Mother Board - ASRock 960GM/US3S FX Gaming Mother Board AM3+
Operating System- Windows 7, 64bit Pro with license and disc, installed and updated
 
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