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Hello all. I have been getting lackluster performance in the games I play (Minecraft and WoT mainly, but I occasionally play others). Seems my rig is finally starting to show its age. Both games need to be run at reduced settings to get tolerable performance, and both games still get hiccups and spikes even with said settings.

 

The reason I want to upgrade my GPU is because its one of the few parts that I will be able to eventually carry over into a newer machine. My specs are as follows:

 

- Core 2 Duo Wolfdale (No HT) 2.66 GHz

- 4GB DDR2 RAM (Maxed out. Yes, go ahead and laugh)

- Nvidia 8600 GT (Served me well for many years)

 

My question is, if I get a mid-to-high level graphics card from a not-quite-current generation (or some other good discount deal) will it be worth it, or will the rest of my hardware be bottlenecking me? I'm looking to spend somewhere between $50 and $100 (on the lower end) so it's not like I'm expecting to put a Geforce 880 in there or anything. Just the equivalent to my 8600, when I put together my computer 7 or 8 years ago.

 

If there is something worth buying, what would it be? I'm partial to Nvidia, but am willing to consider AMD if I get a lot more bang for my buck.

 

Thanks in advance for any advice.

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Posted

i would just save up build a  new system if you can    cause that system is rather aged  

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Posted

Have you tried installing Optifine with Minecraft? It's supposed to help with older GPUs.

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obviously the Geforce 8600GT is the clear weak link in your system. your CPU is decent enough and your RAM is decent enough especially for not super demanding games.

 

i would just get a decent video card (nothing super fancy but something decent for a fair price) if i where in your spot as that will boost your gaming performance noticeably (since that's the bottleneck of your setup for sure) as if i where you i would hold off on building a entirely new system as long as you can and that system still has some life left in it with a better GPU.

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Well upgrading the gpu will probably work for Minecraft and WoT but nothing more.

 

We have an old Core 2 Duo machine at work and it is slow even while running Windows and Studio. It is like day and night between this machine and the new Core i5. So if it is slow running windows and studio i don't even imagine how it is for new games.

 

Personally i would think about saving and build a new system. I would start by building a new base system (mb, cpu, ram, gpu) and keep the case, monitor, mouse, kb, optical drive, hd and speakers (as long as the hd is 7200rpm). I would upgrade those later.

 

You can build a faily good base system for around 500$. Way better that what he actually has. I think buying a 100$ gpu to add to his system would be close to a waste of 100$.

 

Well if all he wants is really play only Minecraft and he can't save more than 100$ in the next 6 months or so then i guess he can upgrade the gpu and play Minecraft in all its iOS glory ...

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i would just save up build a  new system if you can    cause that system is rather aged  

 

Heh heh loved the use of aged...it's a very respectful word that few people use. Yeah Seizure, your PC is indeed looking to retire, it's time for a new setup. You can have one that will easily handle the games you describe and much more for $1000 including a new 1080 monitor. Deduct the monitor and you'll get nice performance for like $800 out of a new PC.

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All comments are good, but if the cost of $150 is stressful for the OP, then cost of a new system is unrealistic.  I am assuming this is the case, because otherwise - he would just do it...


So, if all you can muster is $100 - then yes - get a new GPU - the idea of waiting and saving is only realistic to people that would be able to afford to save, and spend all at once on something unnecessary...

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Posted

get the new card. it should help at least a bit. if it doesn't do everything you need it to you can always start saving for a new system and put that shiny new card in it.

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I'm not sure with NVidia, but I had an old AMD 5400+ and a Radeon 4850 which is equivalent to a 9800GT and when I moved to a 7770, there was almost ZERO gain.  For your games, you'll probably some over your video card, though.

 

I used that same 7770 for a while in my new Core i5 system and it ran GREAT.  I eneded up getting a 7870 since I got a good deal on one. 

 

That being said, I would get something that would work well even in a newer system.  A good range to spend is $120-$150.  A 750 would probably fit the bill for you, but I'm lot more familiar with AMD cards.

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It wouldn't be worth it considering that your processor and DDR2 ram would bottleneck performance. WoT also relies on the processor IPC rather on graphics so you'll need a better processor.

Going down the with the upgrade path would be a waste of money on such a system. You could even throw in a Core 2 Quad and some midrange GPU but that won't really help at all. Just save yourself that trouble and get a modern rig if you're really seeking good performance.

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In regards to CPU/RAM bottlenecking, I never see signs of RAM issues... it's always FPS, and the inability to use anything but minimal graphics settings. I can see RAM affecting MC, but not WoT or any of the other games I play. And I'm pretty sure WoT uses the graphics card like any other modern game. Where did you read otherwise?

 

Anyways:

Yea, I dunno, in case it wasn't clear, the problem is that I'm not in a position to go and spend $500 on a new system right now, which is roughly what I expect to spend when I do. I nearly choked when I read the suggestion that I spend $1000 on my rig... I'm playing WoT and Minecraft, not Battlefield 4. If anyone cares to know, I also play Europa Universalis IV, Dwarf Fortress, and DotA:2. I used to play a bit of Portal (2) and TF2. Basically, I play nothing which requires a lot of graphics horsepower...

 

Based on the responses I got, I'm guessing that a sub-$100 graphics card would give my system the extra oomph it needs until I can put together a new mobo/CPU/RAM combo.

 

Does anyone have good suggestions as to what a good card may be? The only suggestion I saw so far was for the GeForce 750, which was a tad out of my range. Is that the lowest I can go while still getting a reasonable deal and significant improvement?

 

Thanks for all the responses everyone.

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In regards to CPU/RAM bottlenecking, I never see signs of RAM issues... it's always FPS, and the inability to use anything but minimal graphics settings. I can see RAM affecting MC, but not WoT or any of the other games I play. And I'm pretty sure WoT uses the graphics card like any other modern game. Where did you read otherwise?

 

Anyways:

Yea, I dunno, in case it wasn't clear, the problem is that I'm not in a position to go and spend $500 on a new system right now, which is roughly what I expect to spend when I do. I nearly choked when I read the suggestion that I spend $1000 on my rig... I'm playing WoT and Minecraft, not Battlefield 4. If anyone cares to know, I also play Europa Universalis IV, Dwarf Fortress, and DotA:2. I used to play a bit of Portal (2) and TF2. Basically, I play nothing which requires a lot of graphics horsepower...

 

Based on the responses I got, I'm guessing that a sub-$100 graphics card would give my system the extra oomph it needs until I can put together a new mobo/CPU/RAM combo.

 

Does anyone have good suggestions as to what a good card may be? The only suggestion I saw so far was for the GeForce 750, which was a tad out of my range. Is that the lowest I can go while still getting a reasonable deal and significant improvement?

 

Thanks for all the responses everyone.

7770 is your best bet then.

 

As for WoT, he's right, for now anyway since they want to add multicore support now that War Thunder is kicking their ass. In the 2 years I've played it, the game only used one core and an upgrade from 7770 to 7850 didn't make make much difference (there's ~25% performance difference between the cards).

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I second the HD 7770 recommendation. It's incomparably faster than what you currently have and it can definitely inject a few more years of life into your system. I don't think it'd be worth it to stretch for anything faster; save your money for replacing the rest of the system eventually.

 

On that note, the GTX 750 is very popular but it's also a bit overpriced for the performance.

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I strongly believe that any modern GPU will be bottlenecked by your comparatively slower CPU.  You may want to think about splitting the cost of the GPU / CPU and upgrading both for maximum performance (and if budget allows of course)

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I strongly believe that any modern GPU will be bottlenecked by your comparatively slower CPU.  You may want to think about splitting the cost of the GPU / CPU and upgrading both for maximum performance (and if budget allows of course)

The problem with that is once you change the processor, you're also looking at changing motherboard and RAM.  The 8600GT is VERY old tech, so upgrading to a 7770 750 or similar will be better than what he has now.  My 4850 was comparable to a 9800GT and it ram "most" games at a decent level.  1440x900 and medium in most games.  Of course Battlefield 3 and newer had some performance issues, but that's NOT what he's playing.  I went from the 4850 to 7770 and saw SOME performance increase, and the 4850 was even better than the card he has now.

 

I had a friend tell me that WoW improved quite a bit going from 4GB of RAM to 8GB, also, but I don't know from experience.  I do not see a point in going from 8GB to 16GB, but I do believe that 8GB is a good spot to be at for gaming machines.  I can't imagine having a MAX of only 4GB.

 

I would just something like:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127687&cm_re=7770-_-14-127-687-_-Product

or

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127788&cm_re=750-_-14-127-788-_-Product

 

Either one would help SOME.  As mentioned, you won't see BIG gains without upgrading the rest.

 

The more you can spend on a new card, will make you better off when you can buy a new system, so just keep that in mind. 

 

@OP - What is your motherboard?

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Based on the responses I got, I'm guessing that a sub-$100 graphics card would give my system the extra oomph it needs until I can put together a new mobo/CPU/RAM combo.

 

Yep, that's a good guess ;)

 

i would not spend more than around $100 (give or take) on a graphics card since getting anything too fancy will just be a waste of money on that system since after a certain point the CPU will be the bottleneck. but you should see a boost to your frame rate with a better GPU since a Geforce 8600GT is pretty old as even my Radeon 5670 512MB card (which i got in Aug 2010), which is nothing fancy, is noticeably better than your card as my Radeon 5670 card is equivalent to a Geforce 8800 or Geforce 9800GT area which is a noticeable boost over your current card and that's nothing fancy. i imagine getting something in the $100 area will be that much more beyond my card as i paid $79.99 for back in Aug 2010 as it sips power compared to those monster GPU's which need their own power plug where as mine is powered from the motherboard.

 

p.s. or look at it like this... before i upgraded my CPU/Mobo/RAM in May 2012 (which was a pretty big boost over my previous setup in March 2006) i was running that Radeon 5670 512MB card on a AMD Athlon 3600+ dual core CPU (2.0ghz overclocked to i think it was 2.2ghz) and that was a solid boost in performance over the Geforce 7900GT 256MB card that was in it. now i got a i3-2120 CPU (which is part of that May 2012 upgrade i mentioned) with that same card and i can play games well enough the last i knew as my GPU is also holding my gaming performance back but it's generally good enough for what i play so i don't worry about it.

 

 

 

I strongly believe that any modern GPU will be bottlenecked by your comparatively slower CPU.

 

Yeah, if he gets a fairly fancy GPU that will be correct. but without looking i am pretty sure his current CPU can output better performance if the GPU is better as i am almost certain the Geforce 8600GT is holding his system back given my comments above. i imagine any decent 'core 2 duo' or newer can't be bad in terms of gaming performance as long as you are not expecting flawless performance from the system and have a semi-recent GPU paired with it.

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Posted

Edited:

Everyone, I am very much aware that my system is very old, and that the RAM/CPU are holding me back. My question is simply, what is a good card that is $100 or less which will boost my system's game performance?

 

I can promise you guys that even if I were buying a whole new computer, I would not be spending more then that amount on a new card. My eventual desktop will probably cost a total of $500, maybe less because I will be keeping my hard drives, case, PSU, and of course my GPU. So what I buy now is it. Not a temporary card, or a waste of money that could be spent on my eventual desktop. This IS the graphics card that will end up in my system,

 

So having said that, I'm hoping that I can find a graphics card that isn't too fancy, but will play the few games I play. When I built my computer, I got it an Nvidia 8600 GT for 50 dollars or so. I am looking for a deal that would be today's equivalent. Have the times changed so that $100 is the lowest I can spend and expect to get something decent?

 

Another note that I forgot to mention: I have two monitors, neither of which is HDMI, sooo... a card with two DVI ports would be nice.

 

TLDR: 5 years or so ago, I bought an Nvidia 8600 GT for ~$50. Is there a current-day equivalant deal, and one which has two DVI ports?

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In my opinion, don't even both if you're only going to spend $50.  Unless you can find a good deal on a used one.  $90-$100, maybe.  

 

Here is an Open Box 7770: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?gclid=CjkKEQjw75CcBRCz2LiEs5OPsZoBEiQADgUma0dDTga-VeBoTqLnxDvT2-2F3IMAYjnFk_mwzEf8orDw_wcB&Item=N82E16814121632R&nm_mc=KNC-GoogleAdwords&cm_mmc=KNC-GoogleAdwords-_-pla-_-Desktop+Graphics+Cards-_-N82E16814121632R&ef_id=U3aklwAAAH038S2v:20140528023212:s

 

If you want cheap, try eBay.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/221376375715?lpid=82 (This is equivalent to a 9800GT, so it WILL be faster than what you had, and it's pretty darn cheap)

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trksid=p2054897.m570.l1313.TR11.TRC1.A0.H0.Xradeon+7770&_nkw=radeon+7770&_sacat=0&_from=R40 (Several 7770s)

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=nvidia+750&_sop=15&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=p2045573.m570.l1313.TR11.TRC1.A0.H0.Xnvidia+9800gt&_nkw=nvidia+9800gt&_sacat=0 (9800GT and similar)

 

 

The NVidia cards aren't any cheaper on eBay than somewhere else because they're too new.  They 7770 will give you better features than the 9800GT, be faster, and you can use in a newer system.  If you buy something else (Radeon 4850 or Geforce 9800GT), you might as well plan on buying a new card with your new system.  They won't scale nearly as good. 

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Posted

Edited:

Everyone, I am very much aware that my system is very old, and that the RAM/CPU are holding me back. My question is simply, what is a good card that is $100 or less which will boost my system's game performance?

 

I can promise you guys that even if I were buying a whole new computer, I would not be spending more then that amount on a new card. My eventual desktop will probably cost a total of $500, maybe less because I will be keeping my hard drives, case, PSU, and of course my GPU. So what I buy now is it. Not a temporary card, or a waste of money that could be spent on my eventual desktop. This IS the graphics card that will end up in my system,

 

So having said that, I'm hoping that I can find a graphics card that isn't too fancy, but will play the few games I play. When I built my computer, I got it an Nvidia 8600 GT for 50 dollars or so. I am looking for a deal that would be today's equivalent. Have the times changed so that $100 is the lowest I can spend and expect to get something decent?

 

Another note that I forgot to mention: I have two monitors, neither of which is HDMI, sooo... a card with two DVI ports would be nice.

 

TLDR: 5 years or so ago, I bought an Nvidia 8600 GT for ~$50. Is there a current-day equivalant deal, and one which has two DVI ports?

 

Trust me dude, fully understand not being able to spend money. Been there many times and will likely be there again. I think what many including myself are trying to say it that spending $150 on a card that won't make any difference in performance is a waste. Better hold on to that money, that would be my advice. PCs are like cars or any other piece of tech for that matter, at some point it becomes really pointless trying to "fix" them and it's better to either stay where you are or get a new one.

 

This is made easier by the fact that your PC works fine, it's just not up to date. Most logical answer to me would be wait until you can comfortably afford a new build. Honestly for the games you play a mid-range non-gaming notebook would also be good.

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Posted

If that's the case, that's a shame. Did I get lucky with my 8600 purchase all those years ago, or has hardware become more expensive?

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i'll back the previous poster who mentioned the HD7750, it will likely go into my AMD APU system once I bump it to the A10 6800K.

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If that's the case, that's a shame. Did I get lucky with my 8600 purchase all those years ago, or has hardware become more expensive?

 

It's not really a shame, i'm sure you're aware of how PC components work. If everyone held on to their graphics cards like you do, AMD and NVIDIA would be out on the street  :D

In a sense you're lucky, cause that's a card from 2007? 2008? That's a long time for hardware.

 

I don't think parts are more expensive, relative to average incomes they're quite cheaper than before. As many noted above the 8600-equivalent today won't cost you much more than $150, which is very reasonable for something that can handle any game in 1080 with very respectable settings.

 

Just that you'd be wasting that $150 in my opinion without sticking it in a balanced PC. A new card will be really held back by your CPU and memory, and of course the interface. You need a PCI Express 3.0 slot to really allow current cards to shine.

 

As a compromise i'd suggest the GeForce 200 series, but they seem to be out of stock everywhere. AMD 4000 series might also be OK, but you're not saving much...they're also like $100.

 

EDIT: just did a quick search on Newegg and Tiger Direct, for $50 you can only get the 64-bit versions of AMD 5000/6000 cards and their NVIDIA equivalents. I really think you'd be better served spending those $50 on living expenses, gas, or a nice dinner for the family...you won't notice any difference in gaming compared to your 8600.

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Alrighties then, I guess that's it. Thanks for the advice everyone. Guess it's down to just saving up for that new desktop.

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