Deciding whether to buy a new video card, need advice


Posts: 167   +19
Hey guys. I am contemplating whether or not it is worth it for me to upgrade my video card. I am currently running a single eVGA GTX 260 896 Mb, I remember that it was the plain GTX 260, not Core 216 or anything, I got it right after it came out. The specs are:

eVGA GeForce GTX 260:

·Core Clock: 576 MHz
·Memory Clock: 1998 MHz
·Shader Clock: 1242 MHz
·Bus Type: PCI-E 2.0
·Memory Detail: 896 MB DDR3

I am using MSI afterburner and have it clocked to the eVGA GTX 260 OC specs, my clocks are set at:

·Core Clock: 654 MHz
·Memory Clock: 2204 MHz
·Shader Clock: 1410 MHz

My current system is:

Dell XPS 420 Mini-Tower:

·Intel Core 2 Quad-Core Q6600 (8MB L2 cache,2.4GHz,1066FSB)
·Intel X38 Chipset
·4 GB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz (4 DIMMs)
·eVGA GeForce GTX 260
·Creative X-Fi Xtreme Music
·2 x WD 250 GB SATA Hard Drive (7200 RPM, RAID 0 Array)
·16X DVD +/- RW Dual-Layer DVD Burner
·Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit
·Dell XPS 420 BTX Tower
·LG FLATRON W2452T 24" LCD Display (1920x1200)

Given my current financial state, I can only spend ~$300 on any upgrades. I am also pretty satisfied with my case (see here).

·The great thing about this case is that my PC is in my bedroom, I never turn it off and this tower is ultra-quiet. The only real noise the tower makes is when the video card fan speeds up under load.
·The bad thing about it is that it's BTX form-factor and I cannot fit a different motherboard in this chassis, so if I decided to upgrade components such as the CPU, motherboard (or faster RAM) I would need to get a different case) and again, my financial situation does not allow me to go into such ventures.

So i am considering upgrading the only component that really makes sense to upgrade, the only concern is whether or not the actual performance difference is significant.

I tried to compare the benchmark charts TechSpot has for Battlefield Bad Company 2 (BFBC2), found here to the updated video cards (GTX 460) benchmarks found here to determine the FPS difference between current-gen video cards to those of my GTX 260. My only problem is determining the DirectX version used in the Battlefield Bad Company 2 benchmarks. The new benchmarks state DirectX11 while the ones under BFBC2 seem not to have the DirectX version specified. I thought I'd jump in the forums and share my dilemma with fellow TechSpot readers and get some input and clarification on the matter.

Any advice is highly appreciated, thanks.


Posts: 167   +19
Okay, I bought my system, which was $1000 in Walmart. First thing I threw in was a second Hard Drive, created RAID 0 Array, reinstalled sysyem, and moved over the X-Fi Xtreme Music card over from my old PC into the new one. When I bought the video card, which at it's time was like $400, I also got an Antec 550 Watt power supply, dont remember which one exactly, I think it might be a Trio, again, not sure, but I paid I think around $100 for it. Ill open my case later and find out exactly.

Ok, no idea on the power supply. I realized after I bought the PSU that the computer is a BTX form-factor, and I had to jerry-rig the PSU to even fit and be able to screw it, and the label is on the other side (BTX form factor is flipped, for example, looking at the front of my computer, to open it and install expansion cards or what not you open the right side). I remember reading about this too, the reason it's like so is that people don't try put in ATX mobos in BTX cases and vice-versa. So no go on the PSU, but like I mentioned before, It's 550 Watts and Antec, don't know which one exactly.

EDIT: I forgot to thank you for the link, I will have a look-see right now :) Cheers


Posts: 167   +19
Update: I will hold off on buying a new video card for now. I just did a "tape mod" on the Q6600 CPU that came with my PC, overclocking it from the stock 2.4Ghz to 3.0Ghz (FSB went from 1066Mhz to 1333Mhz). I had no idea how much the CPU affected video game performance. The main reason I was going to upgrade is because of how bad BFBC2 was running on my system. I was getting an average of 30 FPS, sometimes dropping to as low as 19 FPS. My settings were set to Custom, with AF at 4, AA at 0, Shadows and Effects at Medium, the rest of the settings at High, HBAO set to off and running in DirectX 9. I put on the game, jumped on to a server and could not believe my eyes. I played for about 20 minutes, funny enough on the same map I played last, Port Valdez conquest, (which is why I was able to compare performance accurately) and the second the map loaded, I looked at the FPS and it said 68 FPS... I had to look closer at my monitor, I couldnt believe it. I started playing and noticed that the LOWEST my FPS went was 45FPS which was simply insane, I could not believe that my performance increased so much. So I started messing around with the settings. I went back to DX10, all settings High, 16 AF and 4AA and I am getting THE SAME EXACT performance as before with insanely better detail. I think I will be holding off the upgrade for now.

EDIT: I blew out my case completely, there was no dust left in it. Having the heatsink off and CPU out, I cleaned off the old thermal paste and applied Arctic Silver. The CPU now runs at 33c idle and the highest I've seen it was 55c after playing BFBC2 for 45 minutes....


Posts: 167   +19
Not the video card anyway.

Since I am getting "very playable" FPS in all the games I currently play, and BFBC2 was the most demanding of the lot, I'd rather go for an all-around system upgrade which will give me better performance with everything I do rather than better performance in games only.

I am considering getting this:

Damn, I just realized that 3.5" is supposed to be the size of a floppy drive. I do not have any free HD mounts because I had to remove one to make room for my sound card to fit in the last PCI slot because of an IRQ error I was having. The only spot I have left is a standard CD/DVD Drive space... I have to figure something out, I really want to get that setup.


Posts: 3,413   +145
The truth is, you can just leave it loose in the case with SSD's. No vibration, though avoid it if possible.
Are you going to RAID them?


Posts: 167   +19
Absolutely. Im planning on leaving my current RAID 0 configuration for extra storage, and set 2 SSD's in RAID 0 for OS, vital apps, and any games I am currently playing.


Posts: 3,413   +145
I actually don't know anything about those particular SSDs, someone else comment.
I would personally get a pair of OCZ Agility 2's.


Posts: 167   +19
Wow, thanks for pointing them out. I just looked at the specs and yeah, they're mighty fast. Personally, I'd definitely get a pair of them and throw 'em in RAID 0, but with my wallet lookin' as it is now, I think I will go for the Patriot PS-100's. The only problem is I'm not that knowledgeable on SSD's. First off, are the speeds the only thing I should be paying attention to? Does the Agility 2 have other features that will outperform the Patriot SSD's? Because from my standpoint,

Patriot PS-100 32 GB Specs - $74.99 after MiR
Sequential Access - Read: up to 210MB/s
Sequential Access - Write: up to 150MB/s

OCZ Agility 2 60 GB Specs - $131.00 after rebate
Sequential Access - Read: up to 285MB/s
Sequential Access - Write: up to 275MB/s

So Im thinking that technically, if I get 2 PS-100's, throw 'em in RAID 0 I should get Seq. Access speeds of up to 420 MB/s for read, and 300 MB/s for write, right? The only problem is when I was reading the specs on the Agility 2 (A2) on a thing dawned on me, what are their sustained speeds? The sustained write speed for the A2 is 250MB/s write, they don't specify the read speed, but the read speed is usually higher then the write (or so I'm assuming judging by the sequential access speeds). I couldn't find any for the PS-100's in different shops so I googled for a review. The first review that pops up on google looking for "Patriot PS-100 Reviews" is this, which ultimately led me to this review which was re-done after Patriot released a firmware update. The CrystalDiskMark results are horrendousand although the ATTO results are a bit better, the sustained write speed in ATTO is horrible prior to the firmware update. After the firmware update, they're a bit more attractive. My main thing is that 2 of them in RAID 0 would run me roughly $190 ($150 after MiR), would give me 64 GB of space and offer speeds that look slightly better than those of a a single Agility 2 drive. Meanwhile, the Agility 2 60 GB drive is only 130 bucks and I can always get another one when the price drops. I dont know, someone needs to shed some light and give me their opinion, Im going nuts.


Posts: 3,413   +145
Kindly glance at this thread:

I just found out that the PS-100 actually uses phison (wtf?) controller. Anyway, I've never heard of it before and it looks like it's even weaker than those old JMicron controllers. In truth, it looks like they're a terrible drive with sluggish random read/write.


Posts: 167   +19
Yeah Im glad I decided to open my mind and research them instead of buyin' them like a zombie because the sequential read and write speeds looked good on paper. Thanks man, much appreciated, will have a read right now. I've never heard of phison controllers which is a dodgy thing in itself, if theyre even weaker then the old jMicron controllers now way I am getting those drives.


Posts: 3,413   +145
I actually have no idea what that means in practicality, but it seems to me that you may be bottlenecked by RAID. You'll probably want someone else's educated opinion (how come everyone has ditched this thread!).