VGA upgrade - potential bottlenecks?

From the pixels, bits, and shaders to the graphic cards that power them. Discuss the latest from AMD and NVIDIA here.

Moderators: morphine, SecretSquirrel

VGA upgrade - potential bottlenecks?

Postposted on Fri Jun 21, 2013 8:41 am

Hi all,

I'm planning to finally upgrade my trustworthy Radeon 4870 to a Radeon 7870. My question is: will my CPU become a bottleneck, in a way that I wouldn't get the most out of this card? My CPU is an AMD Phenom II X4 965.

The other problem I may have is I only have 4Gb of RAM. The thing is that my older mobo uses DDR2 memory, and I can't find a decently priced 8Gb kit from a reliable source. Could that also be a bottleneck, both for speed and size?

Or one could say... upgrade mobo+CPU+RAM before the video card? I'm ready to spend on that VGA, but not sure about the mobo+CPU+RAM as that will be close to twice the price. And so of course, definitely not ready to upgrade everything.

Thanks.
"The mind is like a parachute: it doesn't work unless it's open"... Frank Zappa
vince
Gerbil XP
 
Posts: 467
Joined: Thu Sep 05, 2002 11:40 am
Location: Québec, Canada

Re: VGA upgrade - potential bottlenecks?

Postposted on Fri Jun 21, 2013 9:48 am

Hey, thanks for your reply.

I do have 4 slots for ram. However, they are currently filled with four 1Gb sticks... :roll: I guess those could be sold as well, as anyone not doing gaming might be looking for DDR2 upgrades to their older system...
"The mind is like a parachute: it doesn't work unless it's open"... Frank Zappa
vince
Gerbil XP
 
Posts: 467
Joined: Thu Sep 05, 2002 11:40 am
Location: Québec, Canada

Re: VGA upgrade - potential bottlenecks?

Postposted on Fri Jun 21, 2013 11:12 am

CPU bottleneck Question - Your CPU will do just fine (for an AMD). A little overclock (to 3.7GHz) and you could have that thing purring along just like an x4 980. If not, its fine the way it is too.

RAM Question - Having more RAM never hurts, but what's good for the goose is good for the gander. (TR only uses 4GB in their Econobox build)
i5-3570K, ASRock Z77 Pro4-m, Asus GTX660 TOP, 120 GB Vertex 3 Max IOPS, 2 TB Samsung EcoGreen F4, 8GB G-Skill @1.25V, Silverstone PS07B
DPete27
Gerbil Jedi
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 1680
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:50 pm
Location: Madison, Wisconsin

Re: VGA upgrade - potential bottlenecks?

Postposted on Fri Jun 21, 2013 12:04 pm

Everything is a bottleneck at some point;

Right now, your 4870 is a huge bottleneck. When you change to a 7870 your processor will be a bottleneck.
However, the difference between the 4870 running at its best, and 7870 only running at 80% because of the old processor is still going to be stupendous.

I run a 7850 with an old Core2 and I know it's holding the machine back from time to time. At one point that machine was running a 9600GT and if I hadn't upgraded the video card (despite the bottlenecking) I wouldn't have been able to run many of the games that run perfectly on my 7850.

Extra RAM and an overclock would help a bit though. If you're not planning on a CPU/RAM/Motherboard upgrade in the next year or so, maybe get yourself a 7850 instead of a 7870 and use the change to get a half-decent tower cooler for your X4 if you're still using the supplied AMD one. Coolermaster's Hyper 212 EVO is a pretty good deal for around $30 and you can transplant it to Haswell or socket FM2 in the future.
<insert large, flashing, epileptic-fit-inducing signature (based on the latest internet-meme) here>
Chrispy_
Gerbil Jedi
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 1966
Joined: Fri Apr 09, 2004 3:49 pm

Re: VGA upgrade - potential bottlenecks?

Postposted on Fri Jun 21, 2013 1:49 pm

I've always run CPU-limited when I had to choose. The GPU can always take on additional work, via aniso, AA, etc. An under-loaded CPU just runs cooler.
Siglessness is boring.
Image - M4800-Eight1
Image - Vargr-Z97
Forge
Lord High Gerbil
 
Posts: 8047
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2001 7:00 pm
Location: SouthEast PA

Re: VGA upgrade - potential bottlenecks?

Postposted on Fri Jun 21, 2013 1:57 pm

VGA upgrade - potential bottlenecks?


Reading the title, my first thought was: "Man, he'll be so happy with SVGA but he really ought to upgrade right to XGA or better!"
Scrotos
Graphmaster Gerbil
 
Posts: 1035
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2007 12:57 pm
Location: Denver, CO.

Re: VGA upgrade - potential bottlenecks?

Postposted on Fri Jun 21, 2013 3:17 pm

Lol yeah maybe not the best term I used there...
"The mind is like a parachute: it doesn't work unless it's open"... Frank Zappa
vince
Gerbil XP
 
Posts: 467
Joined: Thu Sep 05, 2002 11:40 am
Location: Québec, Canada

Re: VGA upgrade - potential bottlenecks?

Postposted on Fri Jun 21, 2013 7:10 pm

In this day and age, don't settle for anything less than FHD.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphics_d ... resolution
Wiki article wrote:Video Graphics Array
QVGA (320×240), VGA (640×480), SVGA (800×600)

Extended Graphics Array
XGA (1024×768), WXGA (1280×768), XGA+ (1152×864), WXGA+ (1440×900), SXGA (1280×1024), WSXGA+ (1680×1050), UXGA (1600×1200), WUXGA (1920×1200)

Quad Extended Graphics Array
WQXGA (2560×1600), WQUXGA (3840×2400)

Hyper Extended Graphics Array
WHXGA (5120×3200), WHSXGA (6400×4096), WHUXGA (7680×4800)

High-Definition
HD (1280×720), FHD (1920×1080), QHD (2560×1440), WQXGA+ (3200x1800), UHD (4K) (3840×2160), UHD (8K) (7680×4320)
i7-4770K, H70, Gryphon Z87, 16 GiB, R9-290, SSD, 2 HD, Blu-ray, SB ZX, TJ08-E, SS-660XP², 3007WFP+2001FP, RK-9000BR, MX518
JustAnEngineer
Gerbil God
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 15488
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2002 7:00 pm
Location: The Heart of Dixie

Re: VGA upgrade - potential bottlenecks?

Postposted on Fri Jun 21, 2013 10:11 pm

vince wrote:Hi all,

I'm planning to finally upgrade my trustworthy Radeon 4870 to a Radeon 7870. My question is: will my CPU become a bottleneck, in a way that I wouldn't get the most out of this card? My CPU is an AMD Phenom II X4 965.

The other problem I may have is I only have 4Gb of RAM. The thing is that my older mobo uses DDR2 memory, and I can't find a decently priced 8Gb kit from a reliable source. Could that also be a bottleneck, both for speed and size?

Or one could say... upgrade mobo+CPU+RAM before the video card? I'm ready to spend on that VGA, but not sure about the mobo+CPU+RAM as that will be close to twice the price. And so of course, definitely not ready to upgrade everything.

Thanks.


I don't think your CPU will be a major bottleneck for a 7870. Take a look at this nice comparison Tom's recently published: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gam ... 427-9.html

With most newer games taking advantage of quad-cores, the old phenom II architecture holds up pretty well in these games. Tom's even picks your x4 965 CPU as their current budget gaming CPU of choice at the $100 mark (essentially gives you the same gaming potential as an ivy bridge core i3 in most new games that are multi-threaded). Again, don't take my word for it, but the read the link above.

Cheers!
Intel i7 950 @ 4.3GHz, EVGA X58 3x SLI, Corsair 12GB DDR3, Corsair 160GB SSD + 2TB WD 7200rpm HDD, EVGA GeForce GTX 570 Superclocked, Asus Xonar Essence audio, Sony Blu-ray writer, Corsair 700D case
duke_nukem_3D
Gerbil
 
Posts: 51
Joined: Sun Dec 19, 2010 2:00 pm

Re: VGA upgrade - potential bottlenecks?

Postposted on Fri Jun 21, 2013 11:18 pm

Nice to know.

I went ahead and bought the Video Card. Mega bonus, I got four game keys (Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider, Far Cry Blood Dragon, and Crysis 3!!).

Runs much quieter and cooler than my previous 4870 to boot. I'll try some games tomorrow.

Cheers all, and thanks for your input!
"The mind is like a parachute: it doesn't work unless it's open"... Frank Zappa
vince
Gerbil XP
 
Posts: 467
Joined: Thu Sep 05, 2002 11:40 am
Location: Québec, Canada


Return to Graphics

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests