Considering upgrading video card

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Considering upgrading video card

Postby Thels » Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:45 am

Hi,

I'm considering upgrading my video card, and thinking about the Sapphire HD7770 1GB, which is available for 99 euros.

My computer is a little behind, but I'm not really playing any other high end games, and I can still play WoW quite well on it, so I'm not going to invest money into a new computer at this time. Outside of 25 man raiding, the computer handles everything well. During 25 man raiding, I usually disable some addons and put some settings to low, and achieve about 15-20 FPS that way.

My question is, will I see some improvements by replacing my 2 HD4850s in Crossfire with a single HD7770, or is the rest of my system holding me back too much, and will the upgrade be close to worthless?

________________________________________


Computer
Model : OEM System Product Name
Chassis : Desktop
Mainboard : ASUS P5Q-PRO
BIOS : AMI (OEM) 2102 02/23/2009
Total Memory : 8GB DIMM DDR2
Processor : Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Quad CPU Q8200 @ 2.33GHz (4C 2.33GHz, 2x 2MB L2)
Socket/Slot : FC LGA (Socket T)
Memory Controller : ASUS P45/P43/G45/G43 DRAM Controller 4x 333MHz (1.33GHz), 2x 4GB DIMM DDR2 666MHz 128-bit
Memory Module : 4x Corsair VS2GB667D2 2GB DIMM DDR2 PC2-5300U DDR2-666 (5-5-5-15 3-18-5-3)
Monitor/Panel : LG W2452 (1920x1200, 30.6")
Video Adapter : 2x ATI Radeon HD 4800 Series (10CU 800SP SM4.1 625MHz, 2GB DDR3 2GHz 256-bit, PCIe 2.00 x16)

Storage Devices
Samsung SSD 840 Series (120GB, SATA600, SSD) : 112GB (C:)
WDC WD6400AAKS-65A7B0 (640.1GB, SATA300, 3.5", 7200rpm, 16MB Cache) : 596GB (D:)
WDC WD6400AAKS-65A7B0 (640.1GB, SATA300, 3.5", 7200rpm, 16MB Cache) : 596GB (E:)
ASUS DVD-E818A3T (SATA150, DVD+-R, CD-R, 198kB Cache) : N/A (F:)

Peripherals
LPC Hub Controller 1 : ASUS LPC Interface Controller
LPC Legacy Controller 1 : T0 A5-13
Audio Device : ASUS HD Audio Controller
Audio Device : PC Partner Sapphire HD 4850 512MB GDDR3 PCI-E Dual Slot Fansink
Disk Controller : ASUS 6 port SATA AHCI Controller
Disk Controller : ASUS 6121 SATA2 Controller
FireWire/1394 Controller 1 : ASUS IEEE 1394a Firewire Controller
SMBus/i2c Controller 1 : Intel ICH SMBus
Network Adapter : Atheros AR8121/AR8113/AR8114 PCI-E Ethernet Controller(NDIS6.20) (Ethernet, 100Mbps)

Operating System
Windows System : Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 6.01.7601 (Service Pack 1)
Platform Compliance : x64
Windows Experience Index : 7.1
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Re: Considering upgrading video card

Postby Fetzie » Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:57 am

FPS in WoW (in particular in WoW) is dependent on the processor speed more than anything else. I do not believe that upgrading HD 4850 CF to a single HD 7770 would be a noticeable upgrade for you. If you could, however, overclock the CPU to 3-3.2 GHz you would likely see about a 20% increase in FPS, especially in 25 man raids.

This is a comparison between a single 4870 (I know you have 4850s but that's the closest they have) and a single 7770. There isn't really much to choose between the two.

If you look at a 5850 vs 7770 (probably a closer comparison to your CF setup) the difference is either negligible, or the 5850 is better.
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Re: Considering upgrading video card

Postby Thels » Wed Aug 28, 2013 6:02 am

Thanks for the update. Considering I use my computer for other stuff than WoW, and don't want to risk myself of suddenly being without a computer and having to buy a new one, I don't feel too comfortable about looking into overclocking.



Fetzie wrote:This is a comparison between a single 4870 (I know you have 4850s but that's the closest they have) and a single 7770. There isn't really much to choose between the two.

If you look at a 5850 vs 7770 (probably a closer comparison to your CF setup) the difference is either negligible, or the 5850 is better.


I'm curious. Is there some kind of source you're basing this off?
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Re: Considering upgrading video card

Postby Fetzie » Wed Aug 28, 2013 6:21 am

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Sagara wrote:You see, you need to *spread* the bun before you insert the hot dog.

bldavis wrote:we are trying to extend it as long as we can...it just never seems to last very long
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Re: Considering upgrading video card

Postby Thels » Wed Aug 28, 2013 8:01 am

Though the 4850 works with DDR3, whereas the 4870 works with GDDR5. The 4850 also doesn't have modern DX support, though I have no idea of WoW utilizes it. According to the following review, the 4870 performs quite a lot better on the more modern games, and from the point of view of that old review, WoW MoP is a highly modern game.

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/graphi ... games.html

I do of course have the advantage of running in Crossfire, but I kind of doubt how well that'll hold up.

I've been checking around some more, and am getting quite conflicting answers. :(
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Re: Considering upgrading video card

Postby Thels » Wed Aug 28, 2013 8:32 am

Meh...

http://www.insidehw.com/reviews/graphic ... cf-vs-6850 indicates that the 6850 is more or less on par with 2 4850s in Xfire, and the 6850 is again on par with the 7770.

Which basically means I can't really improve by buying a somewhat cheap new video card. :( It feels like a waste to spend more than 100 euros on a video card that's going to be bottlenecked by the rest of my rig.

Guess I'll just stick to what I have right now and make do with it.

Thanks for the help.
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Re: Considering upgrading video card

Postby Fetzie » Wed Aug 28, 2013 8:44 am

It isn't that it'd be bottlenecked - you could run an HD 7950 and it be hardly bottlenecked by the CPU. It is simply that you won't get the processing power from a low-end graphics card to beat your older upper-tier cards
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Sagara wrote:You see, you need to *spread* the bun before you insert the hot dog.

bldavis wrote:we are trying to extend it as long as we can...it just never seems to last very long
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Re: Considering upgrading video card

Postby Thels » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:33 pm

They weren't exactly upper tier when I got them back in the day, or at least, they weren't priced as such. I'm quite surprised to see how well they do on benchmarks in comparisons. I thought they were crappier than that.
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Re: Considering upgrading video card

Postby Koatanga » Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:47 pm

Thels wrote:They weren't exactly upper tier when I got them back in the day, or at least, they weren't priced as such. I'm quite surprised to see how well they do on benchmarks in comparisons. I thought they were crappier than that.

They're good cards, and you're running two of them, which makes the pair stronger than many single cards today.

The first digit is the Generation. The second is a performance indicator, and the third is a "refined" performance indicator. This a 4850 is a 4th gen "Tier 8" card. Compare to a 7770, and you have a 7th gen "Tier 7" card. You would not expect the 7770 to win by much. Your 4850 should be compared to a 7850 if you want to really compare apples.

The 2nd digit can be translated as:
1: Integrated graphics. Sucky.
2: low performance
3-4: low-mid performance
5-6: mid-range performance
7-8: high perfomance
9: ZOMG performance

As a rule of thumb, the card with the highest memory bandwidth wins. Clock speed is not so important, nor is the total amount of memory. The 4850 should be around 63552 MB/sec, while the 7770 gives 72000, so you would expect a an increase in performance of around 20% in favor of the 7770. Add a second 4850, and you should have greater bandwidth than the 7770, although you don't truly get twice the bandwidth when running two cards because they have to use some of that bandwidth for synchronization).

I used to have a GTX650 (80000 MB/sec) and went to a 7850 (153600 MB/sec) and I do notice an nice increase in frames, even in WoW. That should be expected, going from a Tier 5 to a Tier 8 card.

So your 4850s (63552 MB/sec)), even though you have two, wouldn't keep up with my one 7850 (153600 MB/sec), because mine is 3 generations newer in the same Tier.

Note that you can't compare nVidia to Radeon on the numbers alone. The 7th gen tier 8 card from nVidia smokes mine by almost double the bandwidth. in fact, the GTX 780 is one of the fastest available currently.

Here's a list of cards ordered by bandwidth:

http://www.hwcompare.com/
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Re: Considering upgrading video card

Postby Fetzie » Wed Aug 28, 2013 4:36 pm

The 4000 and 5000 series "ended" at the x850/70 tier, the 5970 was a dual-gpu card (the generation equivalent of the 4870x2 or 7990.) The 4850 is the generation equivalent of the 7950, the 4870 the generation equivalent of the 7970.

The HD series isn't quite along those lines:
71xx-72xx don't actually exist to my knowledge
73xx-74xx are integrated graphics in non-APU mobile chips
75xx-76xx are integrated graphics in APU chips
77xx and above are the dedicated graphics cards that you can actually buy.
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Sagara wrote:You see, you need to *spread* the bun before you insert the hot dog.

bldavis wrote:we are trying to extend it as long as we can...it just never seems to last very long
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Re: Considering upgrading video card

Postby Thels » Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:24 pm

Yeah, I could get an upgrade, but it would mean quite a money investment, on a computer that is also falling behind in other regards. I also couldn't get the full performance of the new cards, because my motherboard is behind.

A 100 euro investment would be worth it, if it would allow me to play 25 man raids a little smoother. A 200+ euro investment feels like I can better set it apart, and start gathering for a new rig in the not so distant future.

Either way, thanks for the help, both of you :)
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Re: Considering upgrading video card

Postby Fetzie » Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:33 pm

You could always upgrade the CPU, you can find some Core2quad Extremes on ebay for under 100 euros, which should give you a decent performance boost.

http://www.ebay.de/itm/Intel-Core-2-Ext ... 232edf55f2

http://www.ebay.de/itm/Intel-Core-2-Ext ... 2ec9f20e9a

You can find the list of CPUs compatible with your motherboard here: http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/P5Q_PRO/#support_CPU

Heck, I found this bundle currently at 92 euro:
http://www.ebay.de/itm/ASUS-Rampage-II- ... 3384dfe646

Very nice motherboard which should be compatible with your current stuff (check the qualified vendor list for memory compatibility) and the CPU would be a very considerable upgrade from your C2Q.

As with all second-hand hardware sales, make sure to email the vendor and ask whether the chip has been overclocked, and to which degree and for how long.
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Sagara wrote:You see, you need to *spread* the bun before you insert the hot dog.

bldavis wrote:we are trying to extend it as long as we can...it just never seems to last very long
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Re: Considering upgrading video card

Postby Koatanga » Wed Aug 28, 2013 6:07 pm

I'd save up for a proper jump to current gear, if it were up to me. I don't see any benefit in upgrading to obsolescent gear for a small performance boost.

For example, if you were to add an SSD to improve load times, none of them will run at full speed on the Socket-775 platform. That's why I upgraded from my Q8400. It seriously annoyed me to have an SSD operating at around 20% of its potential.

I went to the Socket 1150 "Haswell" platform (i5 4570) because it's likely to have a longer lifespan than the Socket-1155 platform that's already been around for a few years. Also, if my processor blows up tomorrow, I don't have to go on eBay to find a replacement - I can hop down to my local shop and buy a CPU and be back running within a day, and I can probably do that for the next 3 years or so. I saved money going with the H-series MB and non-K processor because I don't plan to overclock my system.
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Re: Considering upgrading video card

Postby Fetzie » Wed Aug 28, 2013 6:28 pm

True.

If you upgrade the whole machine, go to Haswell or get an AMD APU.
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Sagara wrote:You see, you need to *spread* the bun before you insert the hot dog.

bldavis wrote:we are trying to extend it as long as we can...it just never seems to last very long
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Re: Considering upgrading video card

Postby Thels » Wed Aug 28, 2013 11:58 pm

Koatanga wrote:For example, if you were to add an SSD to improve load times, none of them will run at full speed on the Socket-775 platform. That's why I upgraded from my Q8400. It seriously annoyed me to have an SSD operating at around 20% of its potential.


I actually did upgrade to an SSD not too long ago, and that did quite wonders. Totally not regretting that choice. :)
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