New budget rig. Gaming and audio. How drastic will the gains be?

By Reviction
Nov 10, 2010
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  1. Hey everyone, first post here.

    Just thought I would drop in and share this with everyone and see what they think.

    Firstly, I am a gamer and play the latest high end games. I also record guitar and vocals through a USB interface into an audio suite and mix and produce (or try to and pretend I know what I'm doing, anyhow).

    Right now I am running:

    Intel Core2Duo @ 1.8ghz
    4GB DDR2
    Seagate 720GB
    Nvidia GTS 250
    Vista 64

    I am looking at getting into a nice cheap upgrade that looks something like this:

    AMD Phenom X4 965 @ 3.4ghz
    4GB DDR3
    1TB HDD
    Radeon 5770
    Win 7 64

    My questions are:

    1. If I have a 80mm (I think) fan on the side of my case, one (60mm?) in the back, and obviously the PSU fan and heatsink fan, should I take any other heat dissipation measures to accomodate the increase in hardware?

    2. Is the jump from DDR2 to DDR3 drastic in normal computing/multitasking/processing? In gaming?

    3. Would I see $70-$100 worth of performance to jump to an i5 with an 8mb cache? This would obviously alter my Radeon decision and my mobo selection.

    4. I can pull this off under $400 shipped. I suppose im looking for a little comfort pat on the back saying "hell no, theres not THAT much of a difference going with Intel given this price to performance ratio." :)

    Thanks in advance.
  2. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 1,937   +157

    In a few months people keep saying there will be all sorts of new video cards released which will in turn make all other cards a lot cheaper, so if you are not having any trouble with what ya go I would hold off on upgrading. It looks like whats holding you back is your processor, replacing that alone would probably let you play any current game on max settings no problem.
  3. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,966   +70

    Keep in mind PC games are still heavy GPU demanding. Your video cardis the key player here but by no means the only hardware that comes into play, but it is central.
  4. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 1,937   +157

    1.8 ghz duo cpu is weak for modern games, the video card looks fine
  5. EDO219

    EDO219 TS Rookie Posts: 212

  6. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    Um, no. The HD 5770 has a hefty performance margin over the GTS 250, and it runs cooler and consumes less power to boot, besides having support for DX11 features like tessellation. HD 5770 performance is very close to the HD 4870, which is definitely a better card compared to the GTS 250.

    I would, however, recommend a GTX 460 768MB over either of those two. Massive performance boost for a superb price, and as long as you stay under 1920x1080, 768MB of framebuffer should do fine by you.
  7. EDO219

    EDO219 TS Rookie Posts: 212

    hm ... I am still led to stick by my original position that the Radeon 5770 is only marginally better than the GTS 250. Check out this Tom's Hardware series of benchmarks. Not only does the 5770 only barely out-perform the 250, but in many instances the 250 actually out-performs the 5770.
  8. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,966   +70

  9. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    That's odd; according to TechSpot's review, the 5770 beats up pretty well on the HD 4850, which the GTS 250 delivers similar performance to. Guru3D and HardwareCanucks' reviews show it giving roughly 15-20% more performance compared to the GTS 250.

    Regardless, the 5770 is still a better buy for its lower power consumption, heat output and features like EyeFinity and DX11 support. The GTS 250 is a recycled 9800GTX, which is itself a die-shrunk, overclocked version of the 8800GTS 512; it's pretty long in the tooth, IMHO and shouldn't be considered, unless the OP can find it used for much, much cheaper ($50 or more) compared to the HD 5770.
  10. EDO219

    EDO219 TS Rookie Posts: 212

    Yeah, how drastic benchmarks vary really puzzles me. Hey! There's an article idea, TechSpot. ;D

    I think the OP is currently running a GTS 250. As an upgrade, he is considering shelling out $150 or so for a Radeon 5770. This just seems silly to me since he could get a much better gain with your suggestion of a GTX 460 for only $20 more, or a Radeon 6850 for $50 more.
  11. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

  12. Reviction

    Reviction TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hey guys thanks for the input (OP here). Some good stuff here.

    Recently I have been able to come up on a deal and I will be going for the i7 960 w/GTX 460 and 6gb trichannel DDR3 1600 (CAS 7 if I play my cards right).

    That goes without saying my new rig will tidal wave anything Ive ever built before.

    Which leads me to another question (to derail myself lol): How much better will lower latency RAM perform? Also higher voltage or lower voltage? (I've read some boards dont like under 1.5v so nothing under that I dont think.)

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