So... New CPU or GPU?

#1 Posted by Plasticstars (171 posts) -

Hey all. Sorry for yet another thread about computer hardware, but I need some opinions. I'm currently rolling with what could be called a budget computer, and I have enough money to get either a better processor or a better graphics card. I'd like to be able to play BF3 at 1280x720 on Medium, so which one should I upgrade? Current specs below.

AMD Athlon II X2 260 (Dual core, 3.2ghz)

NVIDIA GeForce GT 520 (Yeah, I know)

4 gigs of RAM

Thanks in advance, guys.

#2 Posted by RIDEBIRD (1232 posts) -

GPU. What's your budget?

#3 Posted by jking47 (1209 posts) -

Yeah upgrade the GPU, for gaming it will pretty much always be the better option.

#4 Posted by Kung_Fu_Viking (702 posts) -

@jking47: Depends on the game really.

#5 Posted by ajamafalous (11957 posts) -
@Kung_Fu_Viking said:

@jking47: Depends on the game really.

That's why he said "pretty much," because in 95% of cases it will be.
#6 Edited by Captain_Felafel (1565 posts) -

GPU; that's your biggest bottleneck and it's a much easier upgrade to actually implement.

#7 Posted by mosdl (3228 posts) -

Also make sure the GPU you get fits in your case. Newegg has the 560TI here for $240 after mail-in rebate

#8 Edited by Plasticstars (171 posts) -

@RIDEBIRD: Under $200, preferably around $150. I was considering a GTX 550 Ti.

#9 Posted by believer258 (11785 posts) -

I remember hearing on the BF3 TNT that Ryan (at the time) was using a 460 and he said he was running it on high. Aren't those fairly cheap these days?

#10 Edited by bellmont42 (320 posts) -

I play generally very comfortably on medium-high with my 460 but I have a 3.2ghz quad core. I could not play the game at all on my 2.8ghz dual core with the same video card but your 3.2 is a big jump.. so I would say upgrade your GPU first.

#11 Posted by Plasticstars (171 posts) -

Alright, so I've narrowed it down to three possible cards: GTX 460, GTX 550 Ti, or a Radeon HD 6850. They're roughly the same in terms of price, so does anyone have any thoughts on which would be the best choice?

#12 Posted by WilltheMagicAsian (1544 posts) -

Man, I can't in good conscience recommend any of those. It's like upgrading from a car from 1989 to a car from 1999.

I did just see a new in box GTX 560ti twin-frozr sell for like $168 on eBay. Try bidding on one of those.

#13 Posted by alternate (2695 posts) -

@WilltheMagicAsian said:

Man, I can't in good conscience recommend any of those. It's like upgrading from a car from 1989 to a car from 1999.

I did just see a new in box GTX 560ti twin-frozr sell for like $168 on eBay. Try bidding on one of those.

Yeah but I assumin he only has 1999 money. If he put all his cash in to a higher end card then the CPU becomes the bottleneck. Assuming he even has a PSU rated to power that card.

#14 Posted by bellmont42 (320 posts) -

6850 is probably best price to performance out of your list... and it costs the same as a 460

#15 Posted by Plasticstars (171 posts) -

@WilltheMagicAsian: Okay then, what would you recommend I do? I'm on a budget and I'm not looking to max out games for the next few years, I just want to play a few recent things with an acceptable framerate. Also, wouldn't the 560 be bottlenecked by my processor?

#16 Posted by Mongoose (218 posts) -

I'd say a 6870, or a 5850 if you can find one. I use a 5850 and it runs BF3 on High/Ultra at 1920x1080. Although I do have an i5.

#17 Edited by RIDEBIRD (1232 posts) -

@Plasticstars: 560, preferably used (on Ebay as someone said). 550 sucks. Yes, it will probably be bottlenecked, as will pretty much any decent GPU from the last 5 years since you don't have a quadcore. Bottlenecking doesn't matter, you're not going for maximum performance here, you want bang for your buck and then a 560 is your answer for that budget. A 6870 will do too but seriously nVidias drivers are just so so so so much better (had both several times, and yes BF3, works fine with AMD, a lot of other stuff does not).

Have a friend with a dual core and like a shitty 8800 or something that upgraded to a 560. Went from low/medium 30 FPS to 50ish medium/high in BF3. That's at 1080 though. Expect solid 60 with most settings on high.

By the way, as someone said, do you know how powerful your power supply is? Should be fine, the 560 is not exactly a power hogger, but it's worth knowing.

edit: Holy shit, didn't realize we actually got fair prices on the 500 series in Sweden. Normally hardware is always 200 dollars = 2000 kr (it's actually just 1400kr straight conversion). Then I'd recommend the 6850 or 6870 I guess.

#18 Edited by Plasticstars (171 posts) -

Alright, thanks guys. I found a decent deal on a GTX 560 so I'm going to go with that, and upgrade my processor once I have a bit of extra cash.

^ Edit: Also, power supply was a 450w one but was kind of bad, so I ordered a new one as well.

#19 Posted by mercury228 (38 posts) -

You need both with the specs you posted. In BF3 your gonna bottleneck your gpu with that processor. I guess it depends on what gpu your gonna get, but its up to you. You could get a new gpu now and save for the rest later.

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