The best bang for my buck - For a gaming computer

wam19

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Nov 12, 2012
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I am looking to upgrade just one of computer parts to improve my gaming experience as my computer is starting to get a little slow when I'm trying to play games. And am wondering what is the best part I can upgrade to improve my computers speed.

Windows 7 64bit
EVO AM3 AMD 870 6Gb
GeForce GTX 460 SE
AMD Phenom II X6 2.8 GHz Socket AM3 Six-score
4GB DDR3
 
If you upgrade processor, you probably won't notice that much of a difference. I'd advise going right up to an i5 for a worthwhile upgrade. You're better off upgrading your graphics card though (GTX660 is very strong bang for buck) or adding an SSD (120GB Vertex 4 or Samsung 830 are good choices). SSD is if you want games to load faster (loading a map, saved game etc) while graphics card will make it play smoother at higher graphics settings once it's loaded.
 

MajinCry

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Dec 8, 2011
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@ Sam: Why? The i5 2500k is only 25% faster than the 965 BE, and costs twice the price. That is awful value.
He'd be better off getting more RAM and using the excess as a RAMdisk; SSDs have poor life expectancies, as far as writes are concerned.

@ OP: Get a Phenom II x4 965 BE + AMD Radeon HD 7770. Best bang for buck.
 


You say 'only 25%' but in CPU terms, that's a lot. I did begin though by saying not to bother with CPU upgrade anyway because there's not a noticeable difference. 25% gain is lot more than whatever he'd get for swapping his PII X6 for a PII X4. Yes the Phenom is cheaper than the i5, but at least the i5 gives you something for your money. What would he gain for the £70 he puts on the Phenom?

Using a RAMdisk is useless for gaming - you'd have to reinstall the game every time you boot Windows and would lose your saves. Windows itself would still reside on the hard disk. I've been using the same SSD for almost three years and it still performs flawlessly.
 

wr6133

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GPU upgrade, you can upgrade the CPU but see nearly no difference in most games as the GPU is the hobble point. For the best noticable instant increase in gaming get the best GPU you can afford, after thet bump up to 8GB RAM then finally do the CPU (and cary over the GPU and RAM etc)... oh and try to bump that CPU speed past 3GHz

RAMdisk instead of an SSD? due to reliability of SSD's? I laughed so hard reading that I nearly fell of my chair. Also a 7770 woud be a silly upgrade it is a very very slight increase on what you have. A Phenom 965BE would lead to nearly no real difference either..... I would urge you to pretty much ignore anything maijin says it is all a bit ridiculous... he basically wants you to rebuild something that will perform near identical to what you have now and use a insanely unreliable volatile storage method.
 

Stringjam

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I've also been using my SSD for almost 3 years now. It is the best investment I ever made for gaming, cutting a huge slice out of load times. The whole "SSD's don't last" thing must be a leftover from the early days when they didn't have the wear-leveling algorithms and OS optimizations they have now.

I'll never run my games / OS on a magnetic disk again.
 


You have a very similar setup to me actually, but mine is the 920 D0, EX-58 UD3R and 80GB X25M. I also had a Radeon 5970 in there, but that died recently (after starting to become faulty within 2 months of warranty expiry) so back on an old 4870 now. Looking forward to the GTX770 launch if this card lives that long!
 

wam19

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Nov 12, 2012
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Well, I guess I'll be looking at graphic cards and was wondering what would be the best for a budget of $150-200 (With the biggest improvement possible from the 460 SE). I was looking at the Radeon 7850, any opinions on that?
 

Labrynthian

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The AMD Radeon HD 7850M is a 28nm DirectX 11 graphics card based on the GCN (Graphics Core Next) architecture. Its a mid level class 1 GPU designed for running most games on medium-high settings. It's a good choice and large step up from the 460 SE.
 

Labrynthian

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Class 1 has the best cards, which can play everything on high/ultra. Class 2 will manage medium at the most, class 3 consits of older cards, 2007/8 cards, which can't really play modern games... and so on. Depending on the scale you use, there can be 4 or 5 classes. :)
 

Labrynthian

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Yes, but not in terms of class. With CPUs it's a bit different. Message me if you want further details. We aren't allowed to stray from the initial topic. :)
 


Haha don't worry - it's not as authoritarian on here as you think ;-) Often a graphics card discussion will move onto power supplies and the best answer chosen will actually be PSU-related (presumably because the OP hadn't considered power requirements and find that part of the discussion to be the most useful).

As I say though, grab yourself a GTX660 and/or Vertex 4 depending on whether you're primarily after framerates or load time improvements (treat yourself - get both ;-)).
 

wam19

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Well, turned out this whole time I was looking at a 660 Ti on newegg (hence why I thought it was to expensive).

So do you guys perfer the GTX660 over the Radeon 7850?
 
Well the GTX660 is the more powerful card. Admittedly the 7850 does offer strong performance for the money (get the 2GB version if you're going to go down that route) but although my current card is a Radeon (and previous card too actually), I'm not recommending AMD graphics to people any more. I've had too many bad experiences with them (my brother and best friend have also) versus generally good experiences with nVidia cards. I say generally good with nVidia because neither is perfect, but overall the GeForces seem to do their job much better, so it would be silly for me to disregard my experiences and not learn from my mistakes! If you do want to try your luck with a Radeon though, the 7850 does deliver high framerates for low money and low power consumption.
 
That GTX660 Ti by the way isn't a great buy - it's only slightly faster than the GTX660, yet a fair bit more expensive. If you wanted to go higher, I'd recommend skipping straight to the GTX670. The real price-performance winner though is the GTX660 and will be a solid upgrade on what you have now.
 
a 670 would be a nice buy but he would have a bottleneck issue on games that only use 1 or 2 cpu cores. the 560ti would be the best bet for perfomance to price and should have no issues with single threaded apps. even with a 965 he would have issues with the 670 so upgrading the cpu would also be a waste...
if you want bang for buck then intel is the current best arcitecture... and the 3850 is probably the best for the price. then again as the 2500k is out of production you may be able to pick 1 of them up for next to nothing second hand.
 
Availability is not great any more though, especially for the 2GB models. And before those disappeared, they were considerably more expensive than the GTX660, despite the fact the GTX660 is delivering on average 25-30% higher framerates. Was the 3850 a typo? I can only think of AMD products with that model number?
 


The 3770? As in the i7? I would think he'd be better off with an i5 if it's primarily for gaming - not much gaming performance to be gained from i7 but a fair bit more cost. Graphics card and SSD are probably the most worthwhile upgrades initially though.