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Upgrade path for gaming rig

I'm looking for advice on whether its best to upgrade my current rig or replace it altogether.

Purchased in 2008, my Alienware Area 51 x58 specs:

Intel P6T Deluxe motherboard
Intel 2.66Ghz i7-920 CPU
ATI HD4870 x2 2GB PCI-E GPU (Crossfire Enabled)

6GB DDR3 PC3-8500 U-DIMM 1066Mhz RAM


I can play the following games without any issues:

World of Warcraft
Lord of the Rings Online
Starcraft II
Fallout 3
Guild Wars 2

Games that make my computer beg for mercy:

Diablo 3
Battlefield 3

I'm beginning to become annoyed with my computer as I cannot join my friends in D3 and BF3. Drivers are updated to latest and still cannot play BF3 on low settings. I would like to hear your thoughts on what you would do: upgrade or replace.

Thanks!

Rollo Tomasi
10 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about upgrade path gaming rig
  1. You could upgrade the gpu to like a 78xx or a 79xx, 6xx or you could sell that rig off and upgrade to the new cpus.
  2. ya that's a 5 y/o rig with old tech now. the p6t isn't the greatest upgradable mobo....id say start over.
  3. cia24 said:
    You could upgrade the gpu to like a 78xx or a 79xx, 6xx or you could sell that rig off and upgrade to the new cpus.


    Do you believe the bottleneck is the GPUs that's preventing me from playing D3 and BF3? If I could upgrade one component over replacing the entire rig that would be best for right now.
  4. Rollo_Tomasi said:
    cia24 said:
    You could upgrade the gpu to like a 78xx or a 79xx, 6xx or you could sell that rig off and upgrade to the new cpus.


    Do you believe the bottleneck is the GPUs that's preventing me from playing D3 and BF3? If I could upgrade one component over replacing the entire rig that would be best for right now.



    The bottleneck is the old 4870x2 that has horrible scaling and current driver support with newer games lol.
  5. Best answer
    First off for that vintage of system the ONLY upgrades that make sense would be components that can be caried over to a NEW system: limiing you to GPU upgade and PSU, both of which can be caried over (PS didn't catch which PSU you have).

    Upgrading the GPU, which you would carry over to a new system makes good sense. A 7850 or a 7870 would be great (7870 about $30 more than 7850). I just ordered the 7850 (2 gigs Vram) for $180 after 30 MIR for my rig (replacing my 32 In monitor/HDTV with a 27" PLS 2550x1440 Monitor). Only possible drawback would be that some of the Newer GPU cards have trouble with only pci-e x16 ver 1 slots - SUPPOSE to be backward comparable. and the PSU suppling two 6 pin GPU power connectors.
    The Power connectors, if not avaiable, can be solved by using molex -> 6 Pin adaptors. PSU should be in the area of 500->650 Watts as your system w/7850, or 7870, will probably draw around 400 Watts.
    PSUs should always be a quality PSU

    Bottom line, Most likely a new GPU will satisfy your requirements, but if NOT you have not lost anything as it can then be used in a new system - SO worth trying first.
  6. I agree with the Chief. My rig isn't an alienware but was originally virtually identical to yours (mobo, CPU, ram, GPU. The 4870x2 started really holding it back. When BF3 came out I upgraded to GTX560's in SLI and it had no problem running it. A good current single card GPU upgrade would probably outperform my SLI setup without any trouble.

    Unfortunately other than GPU there isn't too many options for that system without replacing almost everything. A quick google showed that system having a i7-965 @ 3.2 GHz. Overclocking might be an option. If it is a 920 I know from experience that it should easily overclock to 3.2 GHz with a good aftermarket cooler, mine topped out at 3.6 without upping voltages.
  7. cia24 said:
    Rollo_Tomasi said:
    cia24 said:
    You could upgrade the gpu to like a 78xx or a 79xx, 6xx or you could sell that rig off and upgrade to the new cpus.


    Do you believe the bottleneck is the GPUs that's preventing me from playing D3 and BF3? If I could upgrade one component over replacing the entire rig that would be best for right now.



    The bottleneck is the old 4870x2 that has horrible scaling and current driver support with newer games lol.


    RetiredChief said:
    First off for that vintage of system the ONLY upgrades that make sense would be components that can be caried over to a NEW system: limiing you to GPU upgade and PSU, both of which can be caried over (PS didn't catch which PSU you have).

    Upgrading the GPU, which you would carry over to a new system makes good sense. A 7850 or a 7870 would be great (7870 about $30 more than 7850). I just ordered the 7850 (2 gigs Vram) for $180 after 30 MIR for my rig (replacing my 32 In monitor/HDTV with a 27" PLS 2550x1440 Monitor). Only possible drawback would be that some of the Newer GPU cards have trouble with only pci-e x16 ver 1 slots - SUPPOSE to be backward comparable. and the PSU suppling two 6 pin GPU power connectors.
    The Power connectors, if not avaiable, can be solved by using molex -> 6 Pin adaptors. PSU should be in the area of 500->650 Watts as your system w/7850, or 7870, will probably draw around 400 Watts.
    PSUs should always be a quality PSU

    Bottom line, Most likely a new GPU will satisfy your requirements, but if NOT you have not lost anything as it can then be used in a new system - SO worth trying first.


    I appreciate your input as it strengthens my desire to keep costs at a minimum for the time being. The PSU is a 1200w ThermalTake Toughpower - hope this will satisfy the requirements of a 7870 XT or Ghz edition card as those are the two I'll ultimately decide between. And later, maybe in 6-12 months time, I'll build a new rig and use this card to build around.
  8. Thank you all for participating! I've decided to go with a graphics card upgrade over replacing the rig - for the time being. Haven't decided on which card just yet, but my choices are either the 7870 XT or Ghz as they can be used in a future rig I have planned within the next year or so.
  9. ENJOY, Yes a 1200 WATT PSU is just slightly OVERKILL -LOL.
    My i5-2500K OCed to 4.2, 16 gigs Ram, 2 SSDs, 2 HDDs, Blu-ray writter and a 6870 only draw 350 Watts and that is only if running furmark.
  10. RetiredChief said:
    ENJOY, Yes a 1200 WATT PSU is just slightly OVERKILL -LOL.
    My i5-2500K OCed to 4.2, 16 gigs Ram, 2 SSDs, 2 HDDs, Blu-ray writter and a 6870 only draw 350 Watts and that is only if running furmark.

    A 600-700W PSU can even run a GTX Titan. Mostly A Medium Rig Draws 400W. I recommend to go for a PSU with wattage of which the GPU Manufacturer Recommends for the card to run. The SeaSonic S12II 620W is capable of running most Rigs. For 2way SLI or CFX a Corsair TX850M will do it. I hope it helps.
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