TechSpot

Buying a high-end GPU for a low-end system

By JnrfL
May 7, 2012
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  1. AMD Atlon II X3 3.1GHZ
    MSI NF725GM-P31 Mo
    700W PSU
    8gig ram
    Windows 7

    I currently lack the budget for my high end rig and would like to ask if buying a Gainward GTX 680 Phantom right now and placing it in my low end rig be okay?
  2. yRaz

    yRaz TS Booster Posts: 907   +93

    I wouldn't call your rig a "low end system." However, I don't think your computer will be able to take full advantage of what the GTX 680 can do. If you plan on upgrading your CPU or motherboard soon(6 to 12 months) I'd say go ahead and get it. Even though your rig cannot let the 680 "be all it can be," you will certainly get a LARGE increase in performance. It will also some what future proof your system. Only thing I'm worried about is your power supply, can you give me more details on the make and model of your PSU?
  3. JnrfL

    JnrfL TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I'm sure its a 700W but the box says its between Thermaltake Litepower 700W [W0356RA] and 600W [W0355RA W]. :)
  4. yRaz

    yRaz TS Booster Posts: 907   +93

    I was mostly worried that your power supply wouldn't have the right connectors. I checked it out and you're fine. Go ahead and get it if you want, I know I'd like a 680
  5. JnrfL

    JnrfL TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Wow thanks for the tip! I've been wanting to play Witcher 2 at max settings ever since I played it at a lower resolution(from 1920x1200 to 1600x1050) with mediocre settings and was disappointed with the performance and lets add Skyrim with max settings! I'll be at my cave for a long time. :D
  6. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,925   +170

    Unless you're planning on upgrading the rest of your system in a few months, it will be a waste. A GTX 570 or Radeon 6950 will max Skyrim at 1920x1200 for half the price.

    Witcher 2 is a very CPU dependant game and you will be severely bottlenecked with your current CPU, you're only going to get around 40fps according to the TS review (a 680 is around the same as a 590)
  7. yRaz

    yRaz TS Booster Posts: 907   +93

    I must disagree with the post above. You should be able to upgrade to the phenom x4 955 for about $100. That would more than support your 680. There is also all the room for overclocking if you so desire.
  8. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,925   +170

    Not really, from the same link I posted above a quad core Phenom gets around 50-55fps compared to 78fps for the 2500K. That's a 50% and noticeable difference, especially as those are just average framerates and you really want minimum fps above 60fps.

    Also the GTX 670 is just around the corner, its $100 less than the 680 and around the same speed as a Radeon 7970 so that's probably going to be a better buy.
  9. yRaz

    yRaz TS Booster Posts: 907   +93

    You're pointing to the performance of just one game. Many games are not CPU dependent. Most games are made to run on consoles which have much worse hardware than he does. Should he take a hit in all other games just because one game he likes to play is CPU dependent? Also, what about future upgrades? With his hardware I am going to assume that he will upgrade relatively soon. When he does, that 680 will really shine and he will be glad to have it. It's not like going from a 680 to a 670 will get him more than 40FPS in a CPU dependent game(The Witcher 2). Again, it's just one game.
  10. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,925   +170

    I just think the OP is better off getting a $300-$400 graphics card which will play the games he wants, and putting that $100-$200 he saved towards a CPU upgrade. A GTX 680 with an Athlon II X3 is not a very balanced system.
  11. yRaz

    yRaz TS Booster Posts: 907   +93

    Maybe not, but it doesn't matter in none CPU dependent games. He can worry about a CPU when games actually start to need it.
     
  12. wewe2012

    wewe2012 TS Rookie

    YES, it is right[​IMG]
  13. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,925   +170

    But the OP said he's playing Witcher 2 and Skyrim, which are both CPU dependant games.
  14. Marnomancer

    Marnomancer TS Booster Posts: 808   +51

    You may get a bigger FPS boost by upgrading your GPU, but for a game that has a lot of AI (NPCs), than physics based objects (like Warcraft, NFS, etc)
  15. Razer

    Razer TS Enthusiast Posts: 131   +11

    "great power, comes great responsibility"

    well, you can use this phrase in different application..
    I fear that using such GPU could cause bottlenecked with ur current CPU or to the very least, ur GPU cannot unleash it's full potential.. before you buying 680, you should check 670 which has almost similar performance but save your money more


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