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Thread: Graphics cards, processors and games....

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    Graphics cards, processors and games....

    I've been sitting on the same PC now for 3 years, the longest time ever, by far. There's been a couple of incremental upgrades in that time, mainly Q6600 > Q9550 and some gfx card I've forgotten to my current GTX275.

    Now to be honest I'm not much of a gamer. I mainly return to the same couple of series of games over and over (Total War and TES/Fallout) and pick up the new ones of those same series when they arrive. I like to be able to play them at absolute max settings though, which isn't a problem at the moment. Still, I plan on buying a larger monitor and I'm thinking the current configuration will struggle a bit on max settings at the higher resolution when TES: Skyrim arrives in November. Maybe with the current games as well, for all I know.

    So I'm considering an upgrade, only I'm not sure how much of an upgrade. The accepted truth used to be that the performance you got from a new graphics card depended on your processor too. Is this still true, or does the graphics card do most of the job these days?

    I find that the Q9550 is still more than powerful enough for everything else I do on the PC and I'd prefer not to have to upgrade it. Particularly because it would likely mean having to change out the MB and RAM as well, as only the Q9650 seems to be available these days, which wouldn't be much of an upgrade.

    I guess what I'm asking, in a roundabout way, is whether I ought to upgrade the base system too if I upgrade the graphics card to for instance a GTX580 or a HD 6970? Or will my current Q9550 do fine?

  2. #2
    Poor graduate. Ulti's Avatar
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    Re: Graphics cards, processors and games....

    Basic answer to your question: Your Q9550 will do fine enough and you won't need to upgrade it.

    Obviously there is a performance gain if you do upgrade to "better/faster" processor on a more recent platform. However, this performance gain is going to be relatively small and will definitely be poor "bang for buck", it's definitely not going to give you the same fps increase from going from a GTX275 to a GTX580/HD6970 (which should actually be cheaper than getting a new CPU, mobo and RAM). It's definitely not going to "bottleneck" you though. I guess nowadays there's not really much "bottlenecking" going on but the term is/was used pretty "loosely" IMO.

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    Re: Graphics cards, processors and games....

    Thanks a lot, that's what I wanted to hear. Of course the Q9550 will do at least 3.4GHz (likely a lot more, I just haven't bothered to check) very easily if I find I'm pushed. In any case I guess i5/7, P67 and DDR3 will have to wait until next year then.

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    Re: Graphics cards, processors and games....

    The Q9550 is still an immensely fast CPU, for all intents and purposes, and i think for gaming purposes it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect another two years out of it before it becomes the bottle neck.
    Kalniel: "Nice review Tarinder - would it be possible to get a picture of the case when the components are installed (with the side off obviously)?"
    CAT-THE-FIFTH: "The Antec 300 is a case which has an understated and clean appearance which many people like. Not everyone is into e-peen looking computers which look like a cross between the imagination of a hyperactive 10 year old and a Frog."
    TKPeters: "Off to AVForum better Deal - £20+Vat for Free Shipping @ Scan"
    for all intents it seems to be the same card minus some gays name on it and a shielded cover ? with OEM added to it - GoNz0.

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    Re: Graphics cards, processors and games....

    Hey, two years would be even better. Thanks for chiming in!

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    Re: Graphics cards, processors and games....

    Are you overclocking or not?

    Should be fairly easy to pust that q9550 up to 3.2-3.4ghz to give you an added performance kick. (if required)

    You could add the gtx570 and gtx480 to that list as they perform around the same as the 6970
    Also the older 5870 while not quite as good esp at that high a res still is decent and a good chunk faster.

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    Re: Graphics cards, processors and games....

    I'm running a Q9650 and recently went from GTX280 OC to a GTX570 OC - life is good again
    Rgds,

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    Re: Graphics cards, processors and games....

    Quote Originally Posted by Pob255 View Post
    Are you overclocking or not?

    Should be fairly easy to pust that q9550 up to 3.2-3.4ghz to give you an added performance kick. (if required)

    You could add the gtx570 and gtx480 to that list as they perform around the same as the 6970
    Also the older 5870 while not quite as good esp at that high a res still is decent and a good chunk faster.
    I've mainly been running it at stock speed, except for a brief test @3.4GHz when I bought it. I turned it back up to 3.4GHz again about a month ago, just to see if I could notice a difference in any kind of performance, which I didn't really. Slightly faster (de)compression and video encoding/decoding of course, but I'm rarely in any hurry so it's not something that makes any kind of difference. I'm leaving it at 3.4, but I won't bother pushing it any further although I'm sure it'll do more.

    The GTX570 is certainly an option, but I'll pass on the older cards. Money's not much of an issue (beyond the fact that I would never shell out what's required for the top dogs), it's more about longevity as I want to keep what I buy for as long as possible. For that reason I'm leaning towards the HD 6970, as it has 2GB VRAM. While not important right now, I'm thinking it may make a difference in how long I can keep it before upgrading again.

    Quote Originally Posted by blueball View Post
    I'm running a Q9650 and recently went from GTX280 OC to a GTX570 OC - life is good again
    Good to hear!

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