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Old 01-29-2013, 06:36 AM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 49
Default Looking for advice on my next upgrade

at the moment my specs are
Asus sabre tooth 990fx (so could use piledriver bulldozer if needed)

Phenom II 960 t 3ghz x4 ( which can be unlocked to a x6 but as far as over clocking goes its very unstable even with a modest over clock )

6gb 1333mhz memory

64gb ssd boot driver along with a couple of 2 gb samsung sata drives

And in cross fire 2, 6950 graphics cards ( may have to mention main one is a 2gb and second one is a 1gb i know its not ideal but someone gave me the 1gb model dirt cheap)

So really just looking on what i should really upgrade i mostly just use my computer for games and sometimes the odd encoding via handbrake. One thing i may have to take into consideration is power as my electric bill was huge though someone said pcs dont actually run that much electricity unless your running it 24hrs a day but it did get me thinking would i be better off with a single more modern graphics card rather then the crossfire set up
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:23 AM   #2
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Upgrade to FX (its cheap at for you) make sure to update bios.

Add more ram

That's about it for now.
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:30 AM   #3
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Well, what's too slow for you right now? Let's start there.

As far as the power usage, let's figure a graphics card uses 0.2 kW at load. It should actually be less than that, but that puts us on the safe side. If you pay $0.12 per kWh, it would cost you $0.58 per day to run the second graphics card all day at full load. So that's, say, $17 per month. But again, that's a very unrealistic usage scenario. The power to run your second graphics card costs you a small fraction of that per month.
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:39 AM   #4
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far cry 3/skyrim modded/witcher 2 /batman arkham city i would really be able to love to run at full detail

Also in those games i get a sort of stuttering effect quite often heard that could be a problem with crossfire though
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:23 AM   #5
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Of the games you listed, Witcher 2 is the most demanding. For me, a single 7950 is enough, but it can't run it at the highest settings. You need SLI/CF for that but it's not worth it, the difference in image quality between my settings and the highest ones is pretty minimal. In fact, I think the game looks better with some settings turned off, like Bloom and gameplay DOF.

I can run Witcher 2 at smooth 60fps with a 7950@1.1ghz using somewhat lowered settings. UberSampling off, naturally. These are the settings (in addition I recommend turning off sharpening in the cfg, and adding SMAA and SweetFX sharpen filter through RadeonPro beta). I've tested them carefully - the worst case scenario is 60fps at near 100% GPU use in the forest around Flotsam, looking out to the elven ruins from the village. Most of the time GPU use is around 60-70% so there's room for increased settings as well if you don't mind dips below 60 every now and then.

Can you answer some more questions: http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=80121
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Old 01-29-2013, 11:11 AM   #6
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Don't really worry too much about power, but it does help. On the other hand, you're going to be hard pressed to be at a 6950 CF. Going to a 7950 or a 670 is actually going to be a downgrade in power. Going to a 7970 at best would be a side grade, and even then I'm inclined to think you're going to get worse performance than what you have now.

First things first, that 1GB 6950 is a major limit. You need 2GB if you want to utilize those cards fully. Since you have to go through the steps of selling the cards, you may as well get a 7970, or see if you can't find another 2GB 6950 for cheap now (should be able to find one under $140).

If you are seeing problems, I would think your two main bottlenecks are the CPU and the 1GB VRAM. If you had 2GB on the 6950, I think you wouldn't have a problem with any of those games, short of a CPU bottleneck. If it's stuttering, use RadeonPro as a framelimiter.

To put it into perspective, a 6950 is just short of a 7850, and 2x7850 is definitely enough to run those games (minus TW2, but you should still be able to hold 30fps with everything on).
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Last edited by Eureka; 01-29-2013 at 11:14 AM.
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:16 PM   #7
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PCs don't use that much power. Figure they're idling at 100W and at load 350W (games don't push 100% load) so that's 3 100W lightbulbs. Do you leave your lights on a lot? Do you have outside lights that you leave on at night? Those use a serious amount of power if you aren't careful about turning them off. I've switched to CFLs in areas where the lights stay on most of the time and LEDs for areas that are on and off frequently and my power bills went down a lot. Then I added timers to bathroom lights and fans.

As for the PC, it's that 1GB framebuffer that's probably hurting you at high detail settings. Sell it for a 2GB card or sell both and get a 7970. It might be slightly slower but the extra RAM will smooth things out. Also, your CPU speed is pretty low. Get the FX 6300 and give it an overclock.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:26 PM   #8
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I'm in agreement with the others here. That 1GB card is really killing you at high detail settings. The reason for that is that RAM in SLI or Crossfire is not additive, each card has to have its own copy of all the textures, shaders, etc. in memory. Since one card only has 1GB of VRAM, it will run out on many games which in turn means that the 2GB card has to sit around waiting for it to finish. When the two cards are not perfectly matched and one card gets ahead of the other, you will get ridiculous microstutter that makes the framerate seem worse than it actually is.

As for the CPU, it really depends on how much you have to spend. Motherboards are cheap, so unless your budget is really limited, I would strongly consider getting an Intel setup.
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:38 AM   #9
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cheers for the reply well to be honest many games seem to be having problems with the cross fire set up so now tending to run just the single 6950 2gb card now so will probably sell the second one

wanted to ask though with the new intel motherboards and processors due in a few months would i be better off waiting for them ? been looking at fx benchmarks and for the stuff i use just seems like the intel is better

Last edited by eastyy123; 01-30-2013 at 06:55 AM.
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:56 AM   #10
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They're due in June or so. 5 month wait. An i5-3570K with OC is a substantial upgrade over a 960 T- if you decide to upgrade your 6950, definitely upgrade the CPU as well. If you're going to just keep gaming with one 6950, then no point upgrading the CPU just yet
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Old 01-30-2013, 02:26 PM   #11
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Haswell is a ways away and an OC on an Ivy CPU will still be very fast for years to come so you can buy now and I don't think you need to worry as long as you are ok with putting in an overclock to the mid 4s which is pretty easy. Game developers have to design games to work on stock CPUs and these chips overclock a full 25% over their stock clock rates. Haswell is expected to be 10-15% faster than Ivy (i'd guess more like 10%) so a 25% overclock on Ivy is still faster than a stock Haswell by a significant margin.

But, the FX6300 is only $130 and is a good upgrade to your current system if you put an overclock on it to 4.5ghz. It loses in benchmarks but is fast enough to play all the games out there so I don't see that as a bad move either. Moving to a whole new platform costs more money AND requires a re-install of your OS which isn't always fun or easy.
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