Upgrade advice


Jul 8, 2008
Dear forum users,

As a student I'm on quite limiting budget. This month I have between 150 and 200 euro's to spend on a computer upgrade. My plan was to either upgrade the processor+motherboard+ram or the gpu first.
My current setup is:
4gb DDR2 ram
ati 4870

I'm currently playing Modern Warfare 3 and Skyrim. However both arent running as lagfree as I'd like them to run. My default resolution is 1920x1200. So I was wondering what would be the best upgrade. I will upgrade the other parts in 2-3 months though. I will either buy
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition
Asrock 870 Extreme3 R2.0
Kingston ValueRAM KVR1333D3N9K2/8G


EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Superclocked

If you have any other recommendations, I'd gladly hear them. Either way I have a budget of around 400 euros for these 4 parts, and I will buy them around 2-3 months apart from each other.

Thanks in advance!


Jun 19, 2011
i3-2120 $140(Better than 1100t and also better than x4 BE @ gaming, BTW, if you want to, save money for the next 2-3 month and buy a X79 MoBo and LGA 2011 CPU, both for $700 or so since CPU is $300(i7-3820 and Board is probably $300)
8GB DDR3 2x4GB 1600MHz 9-9-9-24 $60
Depending on what resolution your playing, get a GTx 550Ti for $140 or 560Ti $180
I think you have a relatively well balanced system.

The two classes of upgrades are nice enough, but not such a large increase in capacity that you will notice it that much. Particularly if the non upgraded part is the real limiting factor.

To help clarify your options, run these two tests:

a) Run your games, but lower your resolution and eye candy.
If your FPS increases, it indicates that your cpu is strong enough to drive a better graphics configuration.

b) Limit your cpu, either by reducing the OC, or, in windows power management, limit the maximum cpu% to something like 70%.
If your FPS drops significantly, it is an indicator that your cpu is the limiting factor, and a cpu upgrade is in order.

It is possible that both tests are positive, indicating that you have a well balanced system, and both cpu and gpu need to be upgraded to get better gaming FPS.

Be aware that in 1q 2012, nvidia and amd will deliver 28nm based graphics cards. It might pay to see what will be offered.
The 4870 is a good card. But the GTX560ti is not a huge jump. Also, there are some stronger versions of the GTX560ti coming out now. See if you can't stretch to get a GTX570 or 6970 assuming you choose to go the graphics card update route.

On the cpu side, A quad will help in some games. But, if your budget is near $200 for a cpu, then there is nothing better than a 2500K. Also, ivy bridge will be available in march, offering a 20% improvement over sandy bridge. If the past holds true, the ivy bridge prices will be the same as current offerings.