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Old 03-06-2011, 04:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Best upgrade now - CPU/Mobo, or a new Video Card?

Hello all.

I have a Dell XPS 630i, or as I like to call it, a big fat pain in the butt. Nice enough computer, but there has been many issues...and now I would like to upgrade the components and make a more modern beast out of it.

The case is nice, cooling (air) is good enough, and the PSU is in the 750w range.

My question is, since I can afford only one of these choices at this very moment, which upgrade will give me the most bang for the buck.

Heres the deal. I currently have an Intel 2.8ghz quad core, 8gb ram, and 2 ATI HD 4850's in Crossfire (sometimes, CrapFire) config. It is an Nvidia motherboard though, and strange things were done to it by Dell to make it accept ATI cards...Google it if you want the gory details.

Performance on this machine varies greatly. Just Cause 2 runs at 60fps at 1920x1080 full options, Fallout 3 and New Vegas vary back and forth and suffer a micro-stutter problem, Borderlands runs like crap with shadows on, etc. Just can't put my finger on the bottleneck here.

So, I am trying to decide whether to upgrade my CPU/Mobo:

ASUS M4A79XTD EVO AM3 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard
$118.99

AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core
$159.99

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) $84.99

Subtotal: $363.97


Or my video card (thinking if ditching ATI though I have been a long time ATI user due to driver issues, Crossfire sync issues, and other problems), maybe a GeForce GTX 580 (which I see is in the $500 range, so if anyone has another Video card that is comparable but cheaper, please feel free to let me know). I am still open to ATI if someone can tell me the newer models have less issues

Anyway, thanks to all reading this, and please feel free to let me know what is the best path to a great gaming computer from here.
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Old 03-11-2011, 10:37 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Best upgrade now - CPU/Mobo, or a new Video Card?

ATI 6970, its about 300$ AT MOST and is fastest AMD card besides the 5970.... the 5970 is just pure obnoxious.

I would get the 6970 cuz its made by the same company, technically. Same brand, and theres eyefinity which i think is a plus.

if you want a cheaper gfx card, you can get the 6950, which is just below the 6970 and alot of people say its a bigger bang for your buck.

Do you have hard drives? or do you need to purchase any? if you want SSD, i know some decent ones that were just released by Zalman... the S and N series... i find them really handy because it can be internal or external since it has SATA slots as well as USB slots.
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Old 03-11-2011, 11:57 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Best upgrade now - CPU/Mobo, or a new Video Card?

Are your video drivers up to date?
Also, not all games run cards in crossfire, that may explain the stuttering in games other than Crysis.
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Old 03-11-2011, 12:44 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Best upgrade now - CPU/Mobo, or a new Video Card?

I'm not sure you can pop a new mobo into the case. Dell likes to make upgrading a pain.

Honestly, I'm not to sure that you'll see a big enough performance increase for the money in going to the AMD... wHICH C2Q is it?
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Old 03-19-2011, 10:12 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Best upgrade now - CPU/Mobo, or a new Video Card?

Quote:
Originally Posted by patonb View Post
I'm not sure you can pop a new mobo into the case. Dell likes to make upgrading a pain.
Yeah, most Dells I've seen have crazy-twisty proprietary architecture inside.

But if the image below is correct, looks like you're okay for any of the upgrades you mention ... I guess Michael Dell is finally rich enough he doesn't have to force his own replacement products on us.

I'm not sure which upgrade I'd choose, that Q9550 is a top-flite CPU. Your video cards are not cutting edge really, but two in Crossfire should have you gliding along. Seems a bad idea to strap ATI cards on a nVidia chipset. I would remedy that for sure.

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Old 03-19-2011, 10:43 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Best upgrade now - CPU/Mobo, or a new Video Card?

The biggest problem is the mobo standoff position.
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Old 04-12-2011, 02:56 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Best upgrade now - CPU/Mobo, or a new Video Card?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mutantant View Post
Hello all.

I have a Dell XPS 630i, or as I like to call it, a big fat pain in the butt. Nice enough computer, but there has been many issues...and now I would like to upgrade the components and make a more modern beast out of it. The case is nice, cooling (air) is good enough, and the PSU is in the 750w range.

My question is, since I can afford only one of these choices at this very moment, which upgrade will give me the most bang for the buck.

Heres the deal. I currently have an Intel 2.8ghz quad core, 8gb ram, and 2 ATI HD 4850's in Crossfire (sometimes, CrapFire) config. It is an Nvidia motherboard though, and strange things were done to it by Dell to make it accept ATI cards...Google it if you want the gory details.

...

Anyway, thanks to all reading this, and please feel free to let me know what is the best path to a great gaming computer from here.
If this is it http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/xps630i/en/om/html/specs.htm then there are some upgrades suggested here:

CPU:
http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/desktop/f/3514/p/19277931/19496296.aspx

How that Line changed and what was upgraded:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dell_XPS


The problem with Dell is that everything is proprietary and the chances of getting an OTS MB to fit (standoffs or I/O Ports) is not very good. You are maxed out for memory and halfway there for Video so unless you have another Computer to take the hand-me-downs you will be stuck with extra Parts.

You can:
1. Phone Dell and ask about a newer Motherboard.
2. Look for a CPU upgrade.
3. Try to sell it as-is and use the money for a new System.
4. Take it to a local Computer Store and see if they have a Motherboard that they promise will fit.
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