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Thread: Time for an upgrade...?

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    Time for an upgrade...?

    Well, evidently, but what with so much being released recently I've not got the foggiest what to go for. At the moment I'm running an X1900XT, E6600, AB9 Pro and 2GB ram. I built this about 2 years ago which in computer terms is ancient.

    At the moment I'm considering upgrading the graphics card as a priority, possibly getting hold of Vista, although there aren't really any DX10 games that I'm that interested in, and potentially having to upgrade the power supply dependant on the card I decide to get. I might also replace my motherboard if I can't fix the problem I've got with my current one (see the Abit forum for details). I've got a budget of around £300 with a little more if it is very necessary, although ideally I'd like to keep it around that mark.

    I'm thinking of getting an HD4870 GDDR5 (from benchmarks I've seen they're better than the 9800GTX+) and I think my power supply is able to support this (I have a Tagan TG530-U15 which has 2 6-pin PCI-E connectors) which would save me a little.

    Does anyone have some suggestions for a new motherboard/alternative graphics card for that sort of budget?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    finding nemo staffsMike's Avatar
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    Re: Time for an upgrade...?

    I still like the Abit IP-35 PRO, it's hovering around £80 - £90 and it's an awesome board. You could check out the P45 boards though.

    The HD4870 isn't really in competition with the 9800+ it's a competitor for 260GTX which it trades blows with very nicely.

    The PSU sounds like it will be enough and not too old so shouldn't hurt to use it.

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    Re: Time for an upgrade...?

    Unless you`re now anti-Abit, what about an Abit P35 Pro (about £85 on Scan/todayonly), although technically this has been superceeded by P45, It is, I believe, a better overclocker or alternatively an Asus P5Q (which is P45) & then either an ATI 4870 or a 260 GTX - both in the £170 - £190 price range.

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    Re: Time for an upgrade...?

    Hmmmm, great minds obviously think alike......................

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    Re: Time for an upgrade...?

    I've got nothing against Abit - the mobo doesn't have a computer-breaking flaw, just one that requires I reset the CMOS every few days - more of an inconvenience than a major issue. I'm also debating whether upgrading to an E8400 or something similar would make a large difference. I usually play at 1920x1200, so I'm guessing at those resolutions there is more likely to be a graphics card bottleneck than a CPU one. Potentially I could also overclock my E6600 until it eventually dies then upgrade anyway if there is a bottleneck.

    Chances are I'll go for the HD4870 then - seems like a better card for the price at the moment, although undoubtedly something much bigger and better will be along 10 days after I click buy - I don't see any point in waiting for the next best thing to come along since chances are I'll be waiting forever. Have the issues with Vista and games been sorted recently? I know that when it was first released the performance was terrible compared to XP (10% reduction in framerates), but have these been fixed? If I'm buying stuff like this I'd quite like to take advantage of OEM software if I can, especially if I replace the mobo since that will require a complete reinstall anyway.

    Thanks for the quick replies.

    Edit: Is it worth going for PCI-E 2.0 at the moment or is there no noticable difference in performance between the two standards?
    Last edited by Hidden Hippo; 29-07-2008 at 12:09 PM.

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    Re: Time for an upgrade...?

    No need for PCI-e 2.0 no.

    I'm running my e6600 stock at the moment and I can't notice the difference in games even when it was running 3.4GHz.

    As you rightly said it's the graphics which is your bottle neck the E6600 is still a great chip to have

  7. #7
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    Re: Time for an upgrade...?

    If I were you I wouldn't upgrade yet: but that's just me.

    The HD4870 would offer a very nice bump in framerates so that would be worth getting, but you would not see much of an improvement in games with an E8400: not £100 of a difference anyway.

    As for the mobo, can you live with clearing the CMOS every few days? I think it would be a better idea to get a new GPU now and swap both your CPU and mobo at Christmas for Nehalem solutions. I would think that works best for both your budget and performance. Getting a new mobo and CPU now just isn't the best thing to do imo especially when you have a very decent setup as it is

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    Re: Time for an upgrade...?

    No real need to change your motherboard unless you are going to upgrade the CPU, just slot in the HD4870. At the resolutions you play 1920x1200 the GPU is always going to be the bottleneck. It could be an idea to get your RAM upto 4Gb and use Vista 64 if you are considering changing OS.
    I have dual booted XP/Vista64 and there seems to be no noticeable difference in game performance.

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    Re: Time for an upgrade...?

    Someone suggested it could be a ram problem causing the crash, and with ram being so cheap I might well upgrade to 4GB nice ram (4-4-3-5 timings at 800MHz compared to my current 5-5-5-15). Going the Vista route seems reasonable then - I assumed that the performance gap would narrow over time.

    The reason I'm now trying to find a solution to my mobo problem is purey because I've chopped a hole in my finger one too many times trying to get the side of my case off - it's just a bit of a pain rather than a major problem.

    Edit: Are the GTX280's worth the money? Looking at the benchmarks I don't think they provide £75 worth of performance increase over the HD4870.
    Last edited by Hidden Hippo; 29-07-2008 at 12:40 PM.

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    Re: Time for an upgrade...?

    Might be worth waiting a day or two, for the 4870 1GB (OCUK say ETA is 31/07 [for what that`s worth]), there`s some argument as to whether the extra RAM will make a difference, don`t think there are any reviews yet.

  11. #11
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      • Memory:
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    Re: Time for an upgrade...?

    Hmm, the only 1GB versions I see there are the HD4850's. I'll give it a couple of days anyway (need to wait for a cheque to clear into my account in the first place so likely will do this next week) and see whether anything comes up.

    Thanks for the advice. The current shopping list is as follows:

    Sapphire HD4870 512MB GDDR5 - ~£175 (I assume the only difference in brands is warranty/service as opposed to any performance difference)

    Windows Visa Ultimate 64-bit OEM -£110

    4GB GeIL PC2-6400 Ram (4-4-4-12) - £50

    Do ram timings really make that much of a difference? My current ram is running at 5-5-5-15, but would 4GB 4-4-4-12 perform noticably better than 4GB 5-5-5-15 both running at 800MHZ? If not then I'll just get the same G. Skill kit I've currently got and save myself £30.

  12. #12
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    Re: Time for an upgrade...?

    Dosn't really make a difference to intel chips no. The AMD's benfit a lot more.

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    Re: Time for an upgrade...?

    Excellent - I'll just upgrade the stuff I've got then. If necessary at some point I can always upgrade, besides, the 4-4-3-5 is out of stock at the moment which might be the only one to make an actual difference. Is Vista Ultimate worth it? The way I see it I may as well get everything they offer and then just not use stuff rather than find out the other way.

    Edit: Looking at the prices I think the 1GB version might be a little expensive - £240 predicted is about the same as a 280GTX. I doubt there will be a performance increase worth that much. Has anyone got some news on the newer overclocked HD4870's? I don't really want to wait too long, just get it done and dusted, but if the rumours of 4.8GHz memory and 950Mz cores are true they would be insane (although I expect my PSU would need to be replaced for it).
    Last edited by Hidden Hippo; 29-07-2008 at 01:43 PM.

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    Re: Time for an upgrade...?

    I suspected that the ATi cards would be ferocious overclockers, given the design of their architecture and the very modest stock speeds: the GDDR5 is just the icing on the cake. Everything looks rosy on the horizon

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    Re: Time for an upgrade...?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hidden Hippo View Post
    Hmm, the only 1GB versions I see there are the HD4850's. I'll give it a couple of days anyway (need to wait for a cheque to clear into my account in the first place so likely will do this next week) and see whether anything comes up.

    Thanks for the advice. The current shopping list is as follows:

    Sapphire HD4870 512MB GDDR5 - ~£175 (I assume the only difference in brands is warranty/service as opposed to any performance difference)

    Windows Visa Ultimate 64-bit OEM -£110

    4GB GeIL PC2-6400 Ram (4-4-4-12) - £50

    Do ram timings really make that much of a difference? My current ram is running at 5-5-5-15, but would 4GB 4-4-4-12 perform noticably better than 4GB 5-5-5-15 both running at 800MHZ? If not then I'll just get the same G. Skill kit I've currently got and save myself £30.
    Looking good, and in answer to your question about the ram, then yes it would.

  16. #16
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      • Graphics card(s):
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      • Operating System:
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    Re: Time for an upgrade...?

    Right, I think I've finalised it for now:

    Sapphire HD4870 512MB GDDR5
    Vista 64 bit OEM
    2GB G. Skill 800MHz ram (5-5-5-15)

    I'm also debating a new heatsink - currently using an Arctic Freezer 7 Pro which is doing fine, but I think the mounting mechanism has been damaged a little in transit to and from uni and isn't holding as well. Does anyone have a decent <&#163;25 recommendation? I was thinking of a Tuniq Tower, but they're quite expensive, especially since I'm not actually overclocking, just running everything at stock speeds.

    Edit: I can't spell.

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