I have an oldish PC running a E8400 cpu and HD4850 gpu. It's served me well enough these last few years and I've been happy to run pretty much any game I fancy on full settings with it. Until I got to Saints Row: The Third which my system really didn't like at all - it runs but not particularly well. It got me thinking that this is going to start happening more and more. I'm saving to move house and also pay for a wedding so I can't justify buying a whole new system so an upgrade is looking tempting.
I'm considering throwing another 4 gig of ram (to bring it up to 8) and a HD7770 at it to get me through the next year to 18 months or so, after which I should be able to afford a new rig. I'm somewhat concerned that my old dual-core CPU is just going to bottleneck me though. Would I be making a wise investment?
I don't really use my PC to play the latest AAA games (I use consoles for that, mostly) but it is my go to machine for RPGs (it happily runs Skyrim at max) and strategy games (which I know are more CPU intensive but they also tend to be more forgiving spec wise) and I'd like to be able to buy the occasional 'blockbuster' cheap on Steam and not worry too much if it'll run - even if I have to run it on low settings.
I had an E7400 processor and 6850 graphics card and my processor was running at 100% the entire time playing SR3.
You can't really improve your gaming performance all that much without going all the way with all new components for everything.
An SSD would transfer nicely to a new rig in 6-12 months, too. 4GB of ram might help you here and there, and if it's super cheap I say go for it.
And that E8400 is gonna bottleneck you. Replacing it will cost more than it's worth, since you'll still be stuck on the same platform even if you bump up to a C2Q. There might be a handful of games that will benefit from a GPU upgrade, but really most games that won't run at an acceptable detail level on the 4850 are going to want more than that E8400, too. An upgrade won't buy you much. Save that, and dump it into the new build when you can.
I've got a Core i3 530, 8GB of RAM, and a GTX 460 SE. I was running FRAPS earlier this week and noticed that I'm only getting ~24FPS in Skyrim and Borderlands 2 at High settings, not maxed out, and Skyrim chugs a bit every now and again. I can afford a CPU or GPU right now, but not both. If I were to upgrade something this weekend, what would be the best upgrade in my case?
I'm sorry we missed you. Unquestionably the GPU. The GTX 460 SE wasn't that great when it was new, it's basically the lobotomized twin brother of the GTX 460. What's your budget for the card?
EDIT: Bah, I'm probably wrong about the price on that card. $250 and tax is the best I can do right now though.
EDIT AGAIN: Would $199 for this be a decent purchase?
I'm glad you said that, because at about 18:40 I found myself at Future Shop asking if they would do a price match with TigerDirect at $147 and we settled at $150. I just finished installing it and after some trial and error with the drivers and a CPU Over Voltage Error (!) I'm all set. In Skyrim at 1920x1080 and High settings I was getting ~24 FPS with the GTX 460. Now with the 650 Ti I'm getting ~40 FPS at Ultra settings.
Thanks for the help!
I feel like awesomeing this with the button wasn't quite good enough.
Many Z68 and Z77 boards offer a feature called "Virtu" which uses virtualization to provide relatively seamless graphics-switching between the integrated GPU of the processor, and your discrete card (4850 in this case). This doesn't actually do anything to enhance performance, but it does help reduce heat and power usage when you're not doing anything that really demands GPU horsepower.