PC graphics card up grade


Mar 3, 2013
Many moons ago (2008) I built a system for my son. Not being a real savy I built it from specs here. It has worked well and is still kicking strong. I would like to upgrade the graphics card and could really use some help. The orignal build is

GIGABYTE GA-MA770-DS3 AM2+/AM2 AMD 770 ATX All Solid Capacitor AMD Motherboard

EVGA 512-P2-N757-TR GeForce 8600GT 512MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card

AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ Windsor 3.0GHz Socket AM2 125W Dual-Core Processor Model ADX6000CZBOX

G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-2GBNQ

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD3200AAKS 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

Theres more if you need it, case etc. I was looking at new egg and would like to keep the price around 250 dollars if possiable. I just dont want to spend more on a card than the system could use or make use of. There is no overclocking done and It was built so he could play Micrsoft FSX flight sim. which I am now using it for and ofcourse want to max the setting out LOL. which may not be possible for this set up. Any ways thanks for any input



What's the resolution of your monitor?


Which version of Ms Flight Sim are you playing? Are you playing other games? What is your resolution?

According to this site Flight Sim X doesn't have high requirements:


That CPU is not too bad but it could become a bottleneck in modern 3D games mostly first person shooters if he plays that also. So I wouldn't recommend spending 250$ on a card.

The Radeon 7770 is a very good bang for the bucks that should really boost your graphics performance compared to your dated 8600GT:


One important component you forgot to mention is your PSU (power supply)? What brand and model do you have? 500-Watt is recommended for the Radeon 7770 and it also requires 1 x 6-pin PCI-E power connector. If you don't have the 6-pin plug on your power supply I saw in the accessories that come with the card that a molex converter is included so this should work no matter what. The only thing to check is the 500-Watt recommended, but it's likely exaggerated (most of the time they exaggerate the requirement to make sure customers don't run into problems, especially since not all PSU are equals in quality). So if you have a good brand & model with less power you should be fine.

If you're worried about your PSU being too limited, another option would be the Radeon 7750 which is the most powerful card you can get that doesn't require additional connection from the PSU. Power is entirely fed through the PCI-E slot. And it will still offer you much better performance compared to a 8600GT.

Finally, also consider adding more RAM in the system. Like buying an additional 2 x 1 GB sticks of RAM. Jumping to 4 GB is a minimum requirement for most modern games. It will also make your OS breathe a little better if you open many windows and software at the same time. I see that the same kit is still for sell, since it's better to have identical modules for optimal stability I would suggest you get the same kit again:



That CPU is roughly equivalent to the core 2 E6600 I used to have. It was almost exactly balanced with an 8800gt 512 (an HD 6670 would be equivalent), so I would suggest (at most) an HD 7750 for that system, which is a slightly better card than the 8800 Ultra. Any higher card will be considerably bottlenecked by the CPU. You'll see quite a jump in performance from the 8600gt.

I also second the suggestion to bump the RAM up to 4gb.
Usually games are most dependent on the graphics card.
But, FSX is an exception which is mostly dependent on the cpu capability.,
The cpu contributes to 75% of your fps in FSX:

Your cpu has a passmark rating of 1568, not bad for 4 years ago.

You might be able to replace the cpu with something much stronger.
If your motherboard is a gen 1, your upgrade options may be limited.
With gen 2, a stronger quad like a X4 965(passmark 4337) may be possible.

If you need to change out the motherboard, Intel will usually offer stronger cpu capability.
And, even then, I might wait until june when the next architecture Intel haswell chips will be available.

Today, a Intel 3450 would have a rating of 6845.

Also, 2gb is probably not sufficient, and ddr2 ram is expensive compared to DDR3.

If you want to improve your fps for most other games, then a stronger graphics card is in order.

$200 will buy you a GTX660 or 7850 which are huge jumps over your 8600GT.
Yes, your cpu will be not so good, but the graphics card could be carried over to a new cpu/motherboard upgrade.
Such a card will need a psu of about 450W.
Here is a handy chart of psu requirements:

If you want to go the cpu route, you can buy a 3570KPassmark 7147 before a 25% oc) at microcenter for $190 and a Z77 based motherboard for <$100.
8gb of ddr3 ram will be zbout $45.


Mar 3, 2013
Wow thanks for the quick respones.
First screen resolution is 1280 X1024. That will probably change as a new monitor is also being considered. My wish list keeps growing LOL

I will plan on 4 gig of RAM

The power supply is a Mushkin 550250 ATX12V / EPS12V 580W Power Supply. Geofelt if I read that chart correctly the 8600 GT has a higher power requirment than the GTX660. But will keep this in mind when checking out cards

As for the motherboard being gen 1 and gen 2 I am not sure how you tell. And really no sure what the advantage is one over the other. I will se if the paper work says anything about gen 1 or 2.

Again thanks for your responses.

If you still have the motherboard box, it should say.
Or, cpu-Z should give you your motherboard version number and bios level.

The 8600GT is several generations old. The newest 28nm technology has greatly reduced power requirements of newer cards.

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