Upgrade time


Sep 3, 2008
I am starting to pull together an upgrade for my pc

I am thinking of going with

ASUS M4A78 Plus AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard


AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition Callisto 3.1GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 80W Dual-Core Processor


G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500)


I have one 500GB hd, and a dual layer DVD burner im going to scavenge

now for my questions:

1. I have a 19" widescreen monitor (1440x900 resolution) I was planning on getting a XFX HD 4850 1GB video card, with plans on getting another in the future for crossfire, is this a good card for my resolution with high settings?

2. I have an Antec TruePower Trio 550W PSU, is this enough for my system, and will be enough for Crossfire?
The HD4770 is 90% as fast as the HD4850 but has far, far lower power consumption due to the new 40nm transistor die and retooling. I've seen the numbers and highly recommend getting two HD4770's in Crossfire.

Crysis will run great with your system and two HD4770's. Many games will run just fine with one but many of the newer games would look better and/or run smoother with two.


Jun 11, 2009
They are quite hard to find these days. A quick search on newegg did reveal one model for sale, a 4770 for 119.99. another quick search finds 4850's for 109.99.

NO reason to buy a slower, more expensive GPU. Unless you are SUCH a tree hugger that you really care about a few Watts.
For the price the 4850 is the better choice IMO. Xfire is a relatively cheap way to upgrade your graphics in the near future. However, you'll want to get a beefier PSU if you add the second video card. Look at something like the corsair 750w if you go xfire.
Just to throw in my 2 cents here.
I have seen of late, even on Toms best graphic cards for the money article each month, a lot of suggesting 2 lessor cards in Crossfire or SLI.
IMHO, this is bad, bad, terrible advice.
Always buy a higher end card (even if you can get 2 lessor cards for slightly less) than 2 lower end cards. You buy 2 lower end cards, and in a year.....that is exactly what you have, 2 low end cards.
If you spend a little more and buy high end, you will have the same performance, and many times better than 2 lower end cards together.
In a year, your single high end card will be cheaper, and you can add another then for a big boost.
If you want the speed of 2 cards right away with a new build, might as well bite the bulled and buy 2 highend cards. Putting 2 lessor cards in Crossfire at first might seem a little cheaper right now, but in the long run it is a poor value.........
In general, I agree that Crossfire and SLI don't always make sense if it's two slower cards.

In the past, with the second card adding often less than 30% improvements in frame rates this was true. Newer games are much, much better and this isn't necessarily true anymore.

Having two cards also allows the heat to be spread out. A 2xHD4770 has two advantages. One is it's the most power efficient card (40nm). The second is that two cards with two separate fans is much less intrusive to the ears than a similarly performing high-end card.

Having said that, I do still have my doubts.

It's still a while, but Larrabee is looking really, really fascinating. Due to the architecture a 32-core Larrabee would be identical to two 16-core Larrabee cards. I sort of dismissed Larrabee but after reading more it looks like ATI and NVidia are going to have some serious competition. In the most basic way of looking at it, the programmers can use normal x86 CPU tools (well understood programmin). Everything can be done mostly through software. Need a little more performance? Just add another card. DX11? Software. Physics? Software.