GTX 960 and Q9550: reasonable pairing?

GreenMeters

Senior member
Nov 29, 2012
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#1
Currently running a Radeon HD 6870. AMD's been OK even using Linux full time these days, but the AMD drivers for this older card have an issue with Bioshock Infinite on Linux (many compressed textures won't load, NPCs are all hairless flesh-colored clay dolls, etc.).

Not looking to drop a lot of money on a flagship card at this point (probably build a completely new machine in a couple years), so was looking at a GTX 960. Is that a reasonable pairing with an Intel Q9550 (Core2 Quad 2.83 GHz)? Or would that card likely always be bottlenecked by the CPU, and I should save some money by going with an older NVIDIA card?
 

SPBHM

Diamond Member
Sep 12, 2012
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#2
I would consider the 750 Ti.... GTX 960 is almost like a 7970, I think it's a little to much for the q9550, and bioshock should run quite well on the 750 anyway.
 

tidy

Golden Member
Mar 24, 2012
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#3
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swilli89

Golden Member
Mar 23, 2010
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#4
Get the 960. You can't have 'too much' GPU horsepower. CPU bottleneck limiting your max framerate? That just means you have surplus GPU headroom to furnish what frames you do see with more AA etc. Nothing goes to waste.

I just purchased a GTX 960 for my secondary build. It's like a quiet, cool GTX 580.
I agree with all my heart. That is a great CPU you've got, that still has life left in it. I think a GTX is a perfect pair, though probably should be the last real upgrade that platform sees.
 

TidusZ

Golden Member
Nov 13, 2007
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#5
o/c that q9550 to 4 ghz
 

BSim500

Golden Member
Jun 5, 2013
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#6
Not looking to drop a lot of money on a flagship card at this point (probably build a completely new machine in a couple years), so was looking at a GTX 960. Is that a reasonable pairing with an Intel Q9550 (Core2 Quad 2.83 GHz)? Or would that card likely always be bottlenecked by the CPU, and I should save some money by going with an older NVIDIA card?
750Ti will run BI at 1080p on Very High at a solid 60fps. GTX 960 is roughly +80% the speed and will give more overhead on a lot of other games (and do Ultra in BI) and is a great low-power, low-noise mid-range card if you're happy to pay a slight premium for that. It really depends on what else you run (or plan to run) and what settings you're happy with (Med/High vs Ultra).
 

R0H1T

Platinum Member
Jan 12, 2013
2,559
8
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#7
Currently running a Radeon HD 6870. AMD's been OK even using Linux full time these days, but the AMD drivers for this older card have an issue with Bioshock Infinite on Linux (many compressed textures won't load, NPCs are all hairless flesh-colored clay dolls, etc.).

Not looking to drop a lot of money on a flagship card at this point (probably build a completely new machine in a couple years), so was looking at a GTX 960. Is that a reasonable pairing with an Intel Q9550 (Core2 Quad 2.83 GHz)? Or would that card likely always be bottlenecked by the CPU, and I should save some money by going with an older NVIDIA card?
How about waiting for AMD to release their midrange cards this summer? At the very least it'll force Nvidia to lower their GPU prices pretty much across the board, also gives you an option to choose a 960 equivalent AMD card since the q9550 will not be such a major bottleneck especially when it's overclocked.

Forgot to mention this but Linux -> OpenGL Vulcan <-> Mantle <- AMD
This is of course something to look forward to but still if you're looking to keep this next GPU for a good amount of time I'd expect AMD to benefit from day one, as & when Vulcan's launched.
 
Dec 30, 2004
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#8
I'd get a better card than that. You'll be GPU limited right out of the box on most games.
 

NTMBK

Diamond Member
Nov 14, 2011
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#10
Just install Windows for games. You'll get much better drivers.
 

NTMBK

Diamond Member
Nov 14, 2011
8,321
315
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#11
Forgot to mention this but Linux -> OpenGL Vulcan <-> Mantle <- AMD
This is of course something to look forward to but still if you're looking to keep this next GPU for a good amount of time I'd expect AMD to benefit from day one, as & when Vulcan's launched.
He has an old VLIW card which doesn't support Mantle, and probably won't support Vulkan either.
 

R0H1T

Platinum Member
Jan 12, 2013
2,559
8
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#12
He has an old VLIW card which doesn't support Mantle, and probably won't support Vulkan either.
I was obviously talking about the yet to be released (new?) midrange cards from AMD, also how it'll affect the pricing of 960 that he's looking to get.
 

GreenMeters

Senior member
Nov 29, 2012
214
0
71
#13
Just install Windows for games. You'll get much better drivers.
Not interested in supporting Microsoft in any way.

Thanks all for the advice. Pulled the trigger on an ASUS STRIX GTX 960. Probably would have gone with the STRIX 750 Ti if Amazon had it in stock for the normal price and Prime shipping.
 

tidy

Golden Member
Mar 24, 2012
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#14
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Nov 16, 2006
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#15
Good call. Within reason, you want to buy the most GPU that you can for gaming purposes.

I'm running a Q9550 at stock + a HD7950 and the combo runs everything I throw at it very well (and AMD is known for having more driver overhead than Nvidia).
 

GreenMeters

Senior member
Nov 29, 2012
214
0
71
#16
Yeah, I meant to mention that I bought the EVGA ACX 960, and in hindsight it probably wasn't the best choice. The fans hit an annoying resonance at a certain speed (which just happens to be the speed they stabilize at under typical load). I think you made the right decision in getting the Strix, as that seems to have a better HSF from what I've read.
Yep, the Strix 960 and 980 got the highest recommendation from Silent PC Review (editors never got the 970 version, but the community rated that highly as well). Definitely want to keep this machine cool and quiet, love having a calming PC environment after younger days of combination jet engine/space heater machines. This particular HD 6870 is pretty good in that regard, but the GTX 960 should run even cooler and quieter.
 

SPBHM

Diamond Member
Sep 12, 2012
4,843
69
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#17
He has an old VLIW card which doesn't support Mantle, and probably won't support Vulkan either.
6870 = no Mantle, no Vulkan, no DX12... even a 750 Ti is a great upgrade, specially with a slow CPU
OP, I am in the process of testing my Q9550 (4ghz) with my 970 (1.5Ghz).

https://www.youtube.com/user/toutagamon/search?query=q9550+gtx+970

At the end of each video I show MSI Afterburner with stats of gpu usage, cpu usage as well the benchmark result. You may find something that interests you.

(warning for spicy wallpapers :p)

just don't expect a 2.83GHz C2Q to perform like a 4.00GHz one.
 

Headfoot

Diamond Member
Feb 28, 2008
4,408
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#18
rumor has it new AMD cards drop in 3 weeks. I'd wait until then, see how prices shake out and whether there are any new cards worth talking about. I could see the 960 dropping to a more reasonable price shortly thereafter -- either that or they might throw in a better bundle for the 960 if AMD has competitive cards
 

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