$200 enough for GPU upgrade?

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$200 enough for GPU upgrade?

Postposted on Sun May 13, 2012 10:27 am

My father wants to upgrade his 4850 and asked me if $200 would be enough. I've recently upgraded to a 7850 and have been mostly happy with it*, so I'm inclined to think that he should pony up an extra $60 or so to get that. However, what do y'all think about the ~$200 cards available right now? Would they be enough of an upgrade to make it worth his money? If so, which card(s)? He mostly plays Star Trek Online, some Star Wars: TOR, and he'll be playing Diablo 3.

His build:
Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3L
HIS Radeon HD 4850 (I can't remember the exact model or specs, unfortunately)
Corsair Force Series 3 SATA III 120 GB SSD (boot drive)
Western Digital Caviar SE16 640GB
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9400
Kingston 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR2-800

*The drivers have been less than impressive, but I understand that's par for the course with AMD. That's what I get for buying the card the day it came out, I guess.
MidnightFrost1701
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Re: $200 enough for GPU upgrade?

Postposted on Sun May 13, 2012 2:14 pm

I just did a quick search, and it looks like the 560 Ti is probably around the $200 mark, and the 7850 is about 20-25% faster. It does depend on what resolution he's using.

Either one would obviously be a vast improvement over what he's got.
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Re: $200 enough for GPU upgrade?

Postposted on Sun May 13, 2012 2:21 pm

I would wait for a 7850 to go down to ~$225 and jump on it. It's a hefty increase in performance and power savings compared to the 560 Ti.

If you absolutely cannot spend more than $200, just wait for a 560 Ti to go on sale. Don't pay a full $200 for a 560 Ti at this point in its life cycle.

EDIT This is a fair price on a 7850 if your budget can handle it:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814161406
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Re: $200 enough for GPU upgrade?

Postposted on Sun May 13, 2012 2:30 pm

I have the HIS 7850 and so far it works great. Sell some blood for the extra dough to get it :P
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Re: $200 enough for GPU upgrade?

Postposted on Sun May 13, 2012 3:21 pm

I'm going to agree that the Radeon HD7850 is a good upgrade from the Radeon HD4850, even if it is currently going for $247½ and up. If that's too much money to spend, he could wait for prices to drop. NVidia is rumored to be bringing GeForce GTX660Ti to market in the second half of the year.

The other alternative would be for Dad to get you a new Radeon HD7950 or GeForce GTX670 and you could let him have your "old" Radeon HD7850. 8)
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Re: $200 enough for GPU upgrade?

Postposted on Sun May 13, 2012 8:06 pm

Star Trek Online, some Star Wars: TOR, and he'll be playing Diablo 3.


Wait.

A 4850 is fine for now, and the GTX 660 will add some much-needed $200 competition.
Diablo III runs pretty well at 1080p on a 9800GTX, which is around the same as a 4850 if I remember correctly. It's not buttery smooth but it's more than playable. I wait to upgrade until my old card doesn't run things the way I want it to, and the only way to really know something so subjective is to wait and try it yourself.
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Re: $200 enough for GPU upgrade?

Postposted on Sun May 13, 2012 8:46 pm

Sorry I forgot to post his monitor size. It's 22". He played the D3 beta and didn't mention any issues, but I know that Star Wars: TOR doesn't run very smoothly for him at max settings. I had a 4870, and that game was precisely why I decided to upgrade. My father and I both shoot for our games being playable at max settings whenever our budgets allow. : )
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Re: $200 enough for GPU upgrade?

Postposted on Sun May 13, 2012 9:49 pm

The current generation sucks at this price point (I know, it's mine too). So either go with a 6000 series Radeon or equivalent Geforce or wait for the 7850 to drop or the GTX 660 to come out.
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Re: $200 enough for GPU upgrade?

Postposted on Mon May 14, 2012 6:49 am

MidnightFrost1701 wrote:Sorry I forgot to post his monitor size. It's 22". He played the D3 beta and didn't mention any issues, but I know that Star Wars: TOR doesn't run very smoothly for him at max settings.


Then a 6870 is a pretty decent option at $150 after a rebate. I haven't played SW:ToR yet but if it's anything like other MMO's then a good CPU, SSD and internet connection are equally important to stop the juddering. My 6850 drives a 1920x1080p screen just fine, though ME3 is about the newest game I've played.
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Re: $200 enough for GPU upgrade?

Postposted on Mon May 14, 2012 7:05 am

Imo, for your dad, the HD 7850 or the GTX 560 ti (which wouldn't, imo, deserve to be bought now at the end of it's life cycle) would be overkill. Not to mention he is still rocking a Core 2 Quad. So i'd suggest a HD 7770 equiped with a nice and quiet custom cooler.
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Re: $200 enough for GPU upgrade?

Postposted on Mon May 14, 2012 7:56 am

A 7770 isn't going to be appreciably faster than a 4850. At best it'll be 20%-ish faster assuming the CPU isn't a bottleneck, and at worst it's roughly tied. $150 is a lot of money to do basically nothing with.
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Re: $200 enough for GPU upgrade?

Postposted on Mon May 14, 2012 8:03 am

derFunkenstein wrote:A 7770 isn't going to be appreciably faster than a 4850. At best it'll be 20%-ish faster assuming the CPU isn't a bottleneck, and at worst it's roughly tied. $150 is a lot of money to do basically nothing with.

This is truth. 7770 is not a decent upgrade from 4850. 6870 would be a decent upgrade. 560 Ti too. 7850 too. 560-448 or 570 too, if you catch some sales.

You should hit up TR user Airmantharp because I know he's going to be selling his 6950 2GB cards as soon as he gets his new 670 card. Send him a PM telling him you're interested and see if he responds.
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Re: $200 enough for GPU upgrade?

Postposted on Mon May 14, 2012 10:25 am

flip-mode wrote:
derFunkenstein wrote:A 7770 isn't going to be appreciably faster than a 4850. At best it'll be 20%-ish faster assuming the CPU isn't a bottleneck, and at worst it's roughly tied. $150 is a lot of money to do basically nothing with.

This is truth. 7770 is not a decent upgrade from 4850. 6870 would be a decent upgrade. 560 Ti too. 7850 too. 560-448 or 570 too, if you catch some sales.

You should hit up TR user Airmantharp because I know he's going to be selling his 6950 2GB cards as soon as he gets his new 670 card. Send him a PM telling him you're interested and see if he responds.


Just wasted money since the CPU bottleneck will still be there....
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Re: $200 enough for GPU upgrade?

Postposted on Mon May 14, 2012 11:08 am

Arclight wrote:Just wasted money since the CPU bottleneck will still be there....

Not necessarily. You can still turn on more fancy settings that don't affect the CPU.
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Re: $200 enough for GPU upgrade?

Postposted on Mon May 14, 2012 11:37 am

Arclight wrote:Just wasted money since the CPU bottleneck will still be there....
Well, first, it would be more wasteful to get a 7770 that offers almost nothing over the 4850. Second, CPU bottlenecks vary depending on resolution, graphical settings, and the particular game. It would make a lot more sense to me to get a more powerful card than the CPU can handle than to spend $130 on a graphics card that's essentially not an upgrade; i.e. better to pay $200 for something than $130 for almost nothing. At least then the stage will be set for a meaningful CPU upgrade.

Now, a 560 TI or HD 6950 or HD 7850 are all on roughly the same level as the HD 5870 (the HD 7850 is up to 20% faster, the HD 6950 up to 10% faster, the 560 Ti roughly even) and I'd say that the Q9400 is sometimes going to be a bottleneck, but not always and hardly ever a very significant one for those graphics cards (unless you're gaming at stupidly low resolutions).

Heck, at least get a 6870. That's way better than the 7770, it's less chance of being bottlenecked by the CPU, and it's a meaningful upgrade. But I still think it's not unreasonable to consider the 560 Ti or the HD 7850 or the HD 6950 if you can get a good deal on one.
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Re: $200 enough for GPU upgrade?

Postposted on Mon May 14, 2012 12:24 pm

If he wants to check about a CPU bottleneck right now that Q9400 should run at 3.2Ghz pretty easy. If he does that and the games improve greatly then GPU upgrade isn't going to help much. If the extra clock speed doesn't help the performance in the games of interest then then they are GPU bound and there is no need to worry about the processor right now.
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Re: $200 enough for GPU upgrade?

Postposted on Mon May 14, 2012 12:34 pm

tfp, that's a good idea.
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Re: $200 enough for GPU upgrade?

Postposted on Mon May 14, 2012 12:36 pm

I've seen countless different sites testing all kinds of modern games at low, low resolutions to see if the CPU is a bottleneck.

The simple answer is "no".
The in-depth answer is "really, no"
The super-nerdy answer is "at unnecessarily low settings where high-end graphics cards are capable of spitting out over 120 frames a second, lower-spec CPU's like an i3 will be slower than an overclocked i7-2600K. Unless you care about unrealistic edge-case testing, even an old Q9400 is capable of hitting decent framerates in CPU-intensive games like Civ5 and Skyrim, so "the answer is still no".

Civ5 is pretty brutal late game, but even a lowly llano can average 45fps with max-cpu settings, and it's hardly a twitch shooter.
I bet even a new $200 gpu would struggle to not be the bottleneck there....
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Re: $200 enough for GPU upgrade?

Postposted on Mon May 14, 2012 12:51 pm

So if he wants to be sure spend the 30 minutes and check it out... Then there is no assuming and he will know what his Dad is shelling out the money for. Or the other option is to search on Google and see if anyone is running a similar configuration out there on those games and see if they like the results from an upgrade of GPU only.
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Re: $200 enough for GPU upgrade?

Postposted on Mon May 14, 2012 1:59 pm

I had an i3-540 for awhile (yeah, last generation), and it was mostly very good. I upgraded to a 2600k and the difference was somewhat noticeable, but probably only because I have a 120 hz monitor and prefer high fps (80+ and constant 120 if I can get it). Personally if I were choosing a cpu now though, I'd probably go with an i5 because more games have 3-4 threads now, and the hyperthreading doesn't do that much for games, generally.
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Re: $200 enough for GPU upgrade?

Postposted on Mon May 14, 2012 3:39 pm

For $200 (+shipping, not much), I'll sell you my second HD6950 2GB, this week. How's that sound? Just send a PM.
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Re: $200 enough for GPU upgrade?

Postposted on Tue May 15, 2012 9:33 pm

Midnight if you do get the graphics card I'd like to here how it does with the Q9400.
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Re: $200 enough for GPU upgrade?

Postposted on Wed May 16, 2012 11:12 am

My opinion, if it's worth anything...

I have a Radeon 4870. Been using it for about three years, maybe more (I think... I bought it not very long after release), and still going pretty well. I have lately been investigating a GPU upgrade. My conclusion was: it's not worth the money! The GPU I could get for $200 *in my opinion* is not worth the actual performance increase. Not after THREE years! A decent upgrade in performance exists out there yes, but I'm not ready to pay $400+ for it. Again, after THREE YEARS, I should be able to get the performance of a $400 card, at the cost of $200.

So I'm still waiting... Obviously, if in x months my 4870 is becoming unplayable even at lower settings, I'll buy whatever I can afford at that time. But then the performance boost will be more appreciable, simply going from unplayable to playable. And while writing this, I'm also realizing that my argument depends largely on the games that are played. If the game is currently unplayable with a 4870 with desirable settings, the yes I would spend $200 if that's the max I could afford.
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Re: $200 enough for GPU upgrade?

Postposted on Fri May 18, 2012 4:45 pm

BobbinThreadbare wrote:
Arclight wrote: Just wasted money since the CPU bottleneck will still be there....
Not necessarily. You can still turn on more fancy settings that don't affect the CPU.
You could crank up anti-aliasing, for example.
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Re: $200 enough for GPU upgrade?

Postposted on Fri May 18, 2012 5:16 pm

Airmantharp wrote:For $200 (+shipping, not much), I'll sell you my second HD6950 2GB, this week. How's that sound? Just send a PM.


Or you could just buy a new HD 6950 2GB for $200 including shipping at Newegg... (Sorry Airman!)

Wow. Includes a copy of Dirt 3 too.
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Re: $200 enough for GPU upgrade?

Postposted on Fri May 18, 2012 7:01 pm

Jump on that. It's a good deal.
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Re: $200 enough for GPU upgrade?

Postposted on Sat May 19, 2012 12:11 am

cynan wrote:
Airmantharp wrote:For $200 (+shipping, not much), I'll sell you my second HD6950 2GB, this week. How's that sound? Just send a PM.


Or you could just buy a new HD 6950 2GB for $200 including shipping at Newegg... (Sorry Airman!)

Wow. Includes a copy of Dirt 3 too.


Not knocking the card, but:

It's not a blower-style HSF, which will matter to some (did to me!)
Dirt3 is worth what they're giving it away for
-and-
My cards are of the un-lockable sort.

I know that doesn't matter to everyone, but the differences exist all the same :).
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Re: $200 enough for GPU upgrade?

Postposted on Tue May 22, 2012 12:19 pm

I'm just stirring the mud really (sorry) but I see these two $200 cards:


  • used 6950 with no warranty
  • no games
  • no returns policy
  • blower
  • unlockable (I assume this means it's been overclocked and pushed harder than spec)
  • no shipping included.

and

  • new 6950 with warranty
  • free game
  • returns policy if you're dissatisfied with your purchase
  • quieter cooler
  • possibly unlockable, but will your dad care to overclock?
  • free shipping.

Am I missing something or are you being waaaaaay too optimistic on the resale value of your old graphics card?
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Re: $200 enough for GPU upgrade?

Postposted on Tue May 22, 2012 2:57 pm

Not really- and I'm not saying my card is for him, either; I just put it out there as an option. Price is always negotiable, of course.

But point by point-
Warranty- buy new
Games- wash, who plays Dirt 3 again?
Return Policy- negotiated of course, better with a retailer
Blower- also a wash, and depends on the user- the HD6950's stock blower is quiet
Unlockable- NOT unlocked, my cards have not been abused
Shipping- also negotiable

Again, I'm not knocking the new card- it just depends on what the OP (or anyone else) is looking for.
Canon 6D||[24-105/4L IS USM|100/2.8L Macro IS USM|70-300/4-5.6 IS USM|40/2.8 STM|50/1.4 USM|85/1.8 USM|Samyang/Bower 14/2.8 Full-Manual Rectilinear Wide-angle|
Canon EOS-M|11-22/4-5.6 IS STM|22/2 STM|EF-M 18-55/3.5-5.6 IS STM|
For sale!|24/2.8 IS USM
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Re: $200 enough for GPU upgrade?

Postposted on Tue May 22, 2012 3:58 pm

Airman I'd be making you an offer on your 6950 right now if I wasn't already underutilizing my 5870.
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