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Is It Enough to Just Upgrade Video Card?

BitterClingerBitterClinger Newark, DEPosts: 225Member Uncommon

I don't really play the latest and greatest first person shooters or anything like that. The single-player games that I do play on my PC (Dragon Age, Crysis, Witcher 2) all run flawlessly.

The immediate problem I am trying to solve is lag in Guild Wars 2, specifically in places like the Black Citadel and the bandit caves in the human area. I also imagine that I will be seeing similar graphics and potential for "laggy" areas in TESO when I give it a try later this year (hopefully).

So, based on my current specs, do you think it would suffice to simply upgrade my video card to something better?

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System Information

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Operating System   : Windows XP Professional

Processor          : Intel Core 2 Quad CPU Q8200 @ 2.33GHz (4 CPUs)

Memory             : 3264MB RAM

Page File          : 811MB used, 4339MB available

DirectX Version    : DirectX 9.0c (4.09.0000.0904)

 

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Display Devices

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Card name        : NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX+

Chip type        : GeForce 9800 GTX+

DAC type         : Integrated RAMDAC

Display Memory   : 512.0 MB

Current Mode     : 1920 x 1080 (32 bit) (60Hz)

Monitor Max Res  : 1600,1200

Driver Name      : nv4_disp.dll

Driver Version   : 6.14.0013.0142 (English)

DDI Version      : 9 (or higher)

 

I was hoping to get away with a GTX 660 until I am prepared to do the whole rig. How does the 660 compare to what I have and would it perform better than my current card given the age of the rest of my components?

 

Top Games Played in 2015: World of Tanks, Tera, World of Warships

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Comments

  • ElsaboltsElsabolts Greencastle, INPosts: 2,594Member Uncommon

    not an expert but looks like you need more Ram.

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  • BitterClingerBitterClinger Newark, DEPosts: 225Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Elsabolts

    not an expert but looks like you need more Ram.

     

    Upgrading RAM is a problem.  I'm avoiding an OS upgrade until I finish a project I am working on.  More than 4GB is wasted on 32 bit Windows XP.

    Top Games Played in 2015: World of Tanks, Tera, World of Warships

  • RukushinRukushin Jackson, NJPosts: 82Member Common
    Definitely your vid card ios something I would upgrade if it were me. A 660 should be just fine. Even a GTX560 works great for me even though i will be getting a second soon since they have dropped in price so much. Dual 560s...I cant wait ^_^
  • VarthanderVarthander BarcelonaPosts: 471Member
    Processor, ram, and "maybe" G-Card are a bit outdated. What i recomend its 8 GB of ram, intel i5, and something like a Gforce GT 545 or similar, with that specs you should be able to get going another 4 or 5 years.

    image

  • DihoruDihoru ConstantaPosts: 2,731Member
    You could get away with a G-card upgrade but be very careful which one you get because, as my brother learned a year ago, a G-card will fry your south bridge quite readily if your motherboard was not built for the graphics card ( and I am not talking preformance or stress but actual frying, the graphics card was too close to the south bridge on the motherboard and it slowly got cooked by the higher temps the new graphics card outputted compared to the old one).

    image
  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,783Member Uncommon
    If it's for Guild Wars 2 in particular, then the processor is likely to be more problematic than the video card.  Your system is pretty well balanced, though, so it's not like you've got a bunch of great parts with just one holding you back.  At some point, you have to say, getting five years out of the old computer was pretty good, but it's had a nice life and it's time to move on and replace the whole thing all at once.
  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,783Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Rukushin
    Definitely your vid card ios something I would upgrade if it were me. A 660 should be just fine. Even a GTX560 works great for me even though i will be getting a second soon since they have dropped in price so much. Dual 560s...I cant wait ^_^

    Bad idea unless you've already got two of them.  One higher end card is much better than two lower end cards in SLI.  SLI leaves you very dependent on Nvidia driver teams to optimize things for every particular game, and an older architecture that was mostly discontinued nearly a year ago isn't going to be the focus of their driver updates anymore.

    Also, at current prices, the GTX 560 costs about as much as a far superior Radeon HD 7850.  As is usual with older, discontinued gaming cards, they stop producing them and leave the last ones in stock at silly prices in hopes that people who didn't get the memo that it's not 2011 anymore will read something old, think the card is still current, and overpay for it.

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,783Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Varthander
    Processor, ram, and "maybe" G-Card are a bit outdated. What i recomend its 8 GB of ram, intel i5, and something like a Gforce GT 545 or similar, with that specs you should be able to get going another 4 or 5 years.

    That's a very strange recommendation on the video card, when one considers that it was never sold to the general public and offers performance that would barely beat out modern integrated graphics.

  • XAPKenXAPKen Northwest, INPosts: 4,918Member Uncommon

    If you do go for a new video card, watch for one that will work okay with the power supply.  I hear some of the more recent cards are serious power hogs and could damage your system.

     

    One of the HW gurus could help.

     

    Also a bump on some of the modern games being cpu locked.  Unless an engine is specifically written to make use of the GPU, most of the additional speed boost from a faster GPU will be wasted.  One reason devs do this (avoid using GPU) is because a game that makes heavy use of GPU will run like crap on a system that doesn't have a good one.

     


    Ken Fisher - Semi retired old fart Network Administrator, now turned Amateur Game Developer.  I don't Forum PVP.  If you feel I've attacked you, it was probably by accident.  Realm Lords 2 on MMORPG.com
  • HrimnirHrimnir Qeynos, COPosts: 1,597Member Uncommon

    You really need a better processor also.  Unfortunately games STILL aren't properly multithreaded and don't take as good of use of multiple processors as they could, so single core speed is still VERY important.

    Think of it like a water pump and a water hose.  Your CPU is the pump and your video card is the hose.  If you buy a new hose thats capable of 600 gallons per minute, but your pump can only supply 480 gallons per minute, then you aren't doing yourself any favors.

    "The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently."

    - Friedrich Nietzsche

  • RidelynnRidelynn Fresno, CAPosts: 4,178Member Uncommon

    GW2 in particular is very CPU sensitive, although it tends to be more core-count sensitive than speed sensitive. You have a quad-core already; it is a bit older, but it's still not a bad CPU.

    RAM could be part of the issue: your stuck with what you have now without an OS upgrade, and while GW2 is only a 32-bit app, your trying to run WinXP (which uses about 1-2G alone, depending on how much stuff you have in the background), and GW2 (which uses 1-2G by itself), all inside of 3.2G of RAM -- I'll let a math major do the math on that, but there are times when it's going to hit the hard disk for virtual memory, and those times it's going to lag and come to a screeching sluggish slow down.

    But I agree with you - more RAM also means an OS upgrade, and if you were to drop an OS upgrade on there, it either becomes locked to that motherboard that has a limited life, or your paying twice as much for the retail edition.

    A video card would help some, but it wouldn't be a miracle drug. I can recommend this:

    Go ahead and plan on a new computer "eventually" - the one you have now is not going to get miraculously faster, but a GPU may get you another year or two out of it.

    With that in mind, get a decent video card now, such that it will still have some legs in a year or two - basically anything AMD 78XX (or better) or nVidia 660 (or better). Keep your 9800 in a box though - don't trash it.

    Use that newer video card in the planning for your next computer: it may not be latest generation anymore, but it'll still have some life left in it. Drop your older 9800 back in this old computer, and either sell or donate it as a complete and working computer (they are worth more that way).

  • BarbarbarBarbarbar Posts: 263Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Hrimnir

    You really need a better processor also.  Unfortunately games STILL aren't properly multithreaded and don't take as good of use of multiple processors as they could, so single core speed is still VERY important.

    Think of it like a water pump and a water hose.  Your CPU is the pump and your video card is the hose.  If you buy a new hose thats capable of 600 gallons per minute, but your pump can only supply 480 gallons per minute, then you aren't doing yourself any favors.

     

    You must mean that the GPU is the pump and the CPU is the hose. If you get the best CPU on the market, you aren't "pumping" anymore game to the GPU.

    The CPU can either be a bottleneck, or not a bottleneck. Hence it's a hose.

  • BarbarbarBarbarbar Posts: 263Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Ridelynn I can recommend this:

    Go ahead and plan on a new computer "eventually" - the one you have now is not going to get miraculously faster, but a GPU may get you another year or two out of it.

    With that in mind, get a decent video card now, such that it will still have some legs in a year or two - basically anything AMD 78XX (or better) or nVidia 660 (or better). Keep your 9800 in a box though - don't trash it.

    Use that newer video card in the planning for your next computer: it may not be latest generation anymore, but it'll still have some life left in it. Drop your older 9800 back in this old computer, and either sell or donate it as a complete and working computer (they are worth more that way).

     

     

    I have to say I think, thats a bad idea. He will probably also need a new PSU to do that. It will only mean his expensive GPU is sitting hampered in an outdated system, getting older by the day. I wouldn't do that unless I was rebuilding within a month or two.

    Get a HD7770 and call it a day. Moneys gone enjoy it as long as it lasts.

  • stayontargetstayontarget Tacoma, WAPosts: 6,068Member Uncommon

    It depends on the game's engine,  but on a few MMORPG's they use cpu just as much as a videocard.  GW2 uses an upgraded / modified Havoc engine so it probably uses both CPU/Vidcard.  One quick why to see how well your computer is handling the game is to check CPU loads / temps and VideoCard temps.

     

    If your CPU has high load / temps and the Videocard sitting at idle / low temps then the CPU might be bottlenecking

    Velika: City of Wheels: Among the mortal races, the humans were the only one that never built cities or great empires; a curse laid upon them by their creator, Gidd, forced them to wander as nomads for twenty centuries...

  • KabaalKabaal Edinburgh, ScotlandPosts: 3,012Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Barbarbar
    Originally posted by Ridelynn /snip

     

     

    I have to say I think, thats a bad idea. He will probably also need a new PSU to do that. It will only mean his expensive GPU is sitting hampered in an outdated system, getting older by the day. I wouldn't do that unless I was rebuilding within a month or two.

    Get a HD7770 and call it a day. Moneys gone enjoy it as long as it lasts.

    His total system power consumption will be almost identical changing from the 9800GTX to a 7850, if his PSU can handle one then it likely will have no trouble with the other.

    I probably wouldn't go higher than a 7850 or 660 tbh unless the OP knows he will definitely be upgrading the rest of the system in the near future. The 7850 will be slightly bottlenecked already and anything higher won't give any improvement over it in the current PC. No point in shelling out the extra money for something that's performance may go untapped for a year or two when at that point it would be a low end card.

  • BarbarbarBarbarbar Posts: 263Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Kabaal
    Originally posted by Barbarbar
    Originally posted by Ridelynn /snip

     

     

    I have to say I think, thats a bad idea. He will probably also need a new PSU to do that. It will only mean his expensive GPU is sitting hampered in an outdated system, getting older by the day. I wouldn't do that unless I was rebuilding within a month or two.

    Get a HD7770 and call it a day. Moneys gone enjoy it as long as it lasts.

    His total system power consumption will be almost identical changing from the 9800GTX to a 7850, if his PSU can handle one then it likely will have no trouble with the other.

    I probably wouldn't go higher than a 7850 or 660 tbh unless the OP knows he will definitely be upgrading the rest of the system in the near future. The 7850 will be slightly bottlenecked already and anything higher won't give any improvement over it in the current PC. No point in shelling out the extra money for something that's performance may go untapped for a year or two when at that point it would be a low end card.

    The thread wasn't really recommending a 7850 was it?

  • BitterClingerBitterClinger Newark, DEPosts: 225Member Uncommon

    Thanks for the input folks! I went ahead and ordered the GTX 660 SUPERCLOCKED 2048MB GDDR5. I also picked up a Razer Naga Special Edition - Molten based on recommendations from another thread in this forum.

    I've already got a 750W PSU in my machine that seems to be handling things quite well.

    Thanks again!

    Top Games Played in 2015: World of Tanks, Tera, World of Warships

  • HrimnirHrimnir Qeynos, COPosts: 1,597Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Barbarbar
    Originally posted by Hrimnir

    You really need a better processor also.  Unfortunately games STILL aren't properly multithreaded and don't take as good of use of multiple processors as they could, so single core speed is still VERY important.

    Think of it like a water pump and a water hose.  Your CPU is the pump and your video card is the hose.  If you buy a new hose thats capable of 600 gallons per minute, but your pump can only supply 480 gallons per minute, then you aren't doing yourself any favors.

     

    You must mean that the GPU is the pump and the CPU is the hose. If you get the best CPU on the market, you aren't "pumping" anymore game to the GPU.

    The CPU can either be a bottleneck, or not a bottleneck. Hence it's a hose.

    You need to do more research on how game engines work.  Some are more CPU intensive than others, but all game engines have to have data processed by the CPU before the GPU can handle it.

    If it helps, think of it more like an engine and a turbocharger.  The turbocharger runs off the exhaust from the engine to create spinning motion on a compressor wheel which compressors the air on the other side of the wheel to increase the air/fuel ratio the engine is burning and creating more power.  If you put too large of a turbo on too small of an engine, the engine doesnt have enough power to "spool" the big turbo and as a result the big turbo can't perform at its max capability.

    GPUs are not entities that operate independantly of the rest of the PC, the entire pc works together to produce the desired goal.

    GPU's came about because CPU architecture is not particularly good at processing things like triangles and various other graphically related computations.  So the point was to offload THAT PORTION of the workload to a specialized "graphics" processor.

    "The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently."

    - Friedrich Nietzsche

  • BarbarbarBarbarbar Posts: 263Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Hrimnir
    Originally posted by Barbarbar
    Originally posted by Hrimnir

    You really need a better processor also.  Unfortunately games STILL aren't properly multithreaded and don't take as good of use of multiple processors as they could, so single core speed is still VERY important.

    Think of it like a water pump and a water hose.  Your CPU is the pump and your video card is the hose.  If you buy a new hose thats capable of 600 gallons per minute, but your pump can only supply 480 gallons per minute, then you aren't doing yourself any favors.

     

    You must mean that the GPU is the pump and the CPU is the hose. If you get the best CPU on the market, you aren't "pumping" anymore game to the GPU.

    The CPU can either be a bottleneck, or not a bottleneck. Hence it's a hose.

    You need to do more research on how game engines work.  Some are more CPU intensive than others, but all game engines have to have data processed by the CPU before the GPU can handle it.

    If it helps, think of it more like an engine and a turbocharger.  The turbocharger runs off the exhaust from the engine to create spinning motion on a compressor wheel which compressors the air on the other side of the wheel to increase the air/fuel ratio the engine is burning and creating more power.  If you put too large of a turbo on too small of an engine, the engine doesnt have enough power to "spool" the big turbo and as a result the big turbo can't perform at its max capability.

    GPUs are not entities that operate independantly of the rest of the PC, the entire pc works together to produce the desired goal.

    GPU's came about because CPU architecture is not particularly good at processing things like triangles and various other graphically related computations.  So the point was to offload THAT PORTION of the workload to a specialized "graphics" processor.

    Dude. I don't ned to do more research, because your analogy is the wrong way around. Or at least a bad one. Calling the GPU a hose, as if it plays a passive part, and insinuating that it is the CPU that runs the game is just plain wrong.

  • asmkm22asmkm22 Anchorage, AKPosts: 1,788Member
    Just a side note, but Black Citadel gives almost everyone trouble, regardless of hardware.  Running around just fine and then it slows to a crawl for a few seconds before going back to normal.

    You make me like charity

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,783Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Hrimnir
    Originally posted by Barbarbar
    Originally posted by Hrimnir

    You really need a better processor also.  Unfortunately games STILL aren't properly multithreaded and don't take as good of use of multiple processors as they could, so single core speed is still VERY important.

    Think of it like a water pump and a water hose.  Your CPU is the pump and your video card is the hose.  If you buy a new hose thats capable of 600 gallons per minute, but your pump can only supply 480 gallons per minute, then you aren't doing yourself any favors.

     

    You must mean that the GPU is the pump and the CPU is the hose. If you get the best CPU on the market, you aren't "pumping" anymore game to the GPU.

    The CPU can either be a bottleneck, or not a bottleneck. Hence it's a hose.

    You need to do more research on how game engines work.  Some are more CPU intensive than others, but all game engines have to have data processed by the CPU before the GPU can handle it.

    If it helps, think of it more like an engine and a turbocharger.  The turbocharger runs off the exhaust from the engine to create spinning motion on a compressor wheel which compressors the air on the other side of the wheel to increase the air/fuel ratio the engine is burning and creating more power.  If you put too large of a turbo on too small of an engine, the engine doesnt have enough power to "spool" the big turbo and as a result the big turbo can't perform at its max capability.

    GPUs are not entities that operate independantly of the rest of the PC, the entire pc works together to produce the desired goal.

    GPU's came about because CPU architecture is not particularly good at processing things like triangles and various other graphically related computations.  So the point was to offload THAT PORTION of the workload to a specialized "graphics" processor.

    Well this is getting rather esoteric.

    Basically, the way that a game engine works is that the CPU does some computations and passes the results to the GPU.  The GPU does some computations to produce an image and passes it to the monitor.  The monitor displays the image it receives.  The overwhelming majority of data passed from the video card to the CPU probably consists of acknowledgements that the "real" data passed the other way was received and executed.

    By number of operations executed, the overwhelming majority of the work is done on the video card.  By number of lines of source code, the overwhelming majority of the work is done on the CPU.

    Either the CPU or the GPU can easily have to wait on the other.  For that matter, a game engine could easily have the CPU waiting on the GPU part of the time and the GPU waiting on the CPU part of the time.  Depending on hardware and the details of the game engine, you could easily toggle back and forth which is waiting on the other every single frame.

    How high of single-threaded CPU performance a game engine needs is a decent proxy for how badly coded the game is.  Some demanding games could run very well on 1 GHz CPU cores if you had enough of them.  Some other games would be basically unplayable if given a CPU with many very slow cores.

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,783Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Barbarbar
    Originally posted by Hrimnir
    Originally posted by Barbarbar
    Originally posted by Hrimnir

    You really need a better processor also.  Unfortunately games STILL aren't properly multithreaded and don't take as good of use of multiple processors as they could, so single core speed is still VERY important.

    Think of it like a water pump and a water hose.  Your CPU is the pump and your video card is the hose.  If you buy a new hose thats capable of 600 gallons per minute, but your pump can only supply 480 gallons per minute, then you aren't doing yourself any favors.

     

    You must mean that the GPU is the pump and the CPU is the hose. If you get the best CPU on the market, you aren't "pumping" anymore game to the GPU.

    The CPU can either be a bottleneck, or not a bottleneck. Hence it's a hose.

    You need to do more research on how game engines work.  Some are more CPU intensive than others, but all game engines have to have data processed by the CPU before the GPU can handle it.

    If it helps, think of it more like an engine and a turbocharger.  The turbocharger runs off the exhaust from the engine to create spinning motion on a compressor wheel which compressors the air on the other side of the wheel to increase the air/fuel ratio the engine is burning and creating more power.  If you put too large of a turbo on too small of an engine, the engine doesnt have enough power to "spool" the big turbo and as a result the big turbo can't perform at its max capability.

    GPUs are not entities that operate independantly of the rest of the PC, the entire pc works together to produce the desired goal.

    GPU's came about because CPU architecture is not particularly good at processing things like triangles and various other graphically related computations.  So the point was to offload THAT PORTION of the workload to a specialized "graphics" processor.

    Dude. I don't ned to do more research, because your analogy is the wrong way around. Or at least a bad one. Calling the GPU a hose, as if it plays a passive part, and insinuating that it is the CPU that runs the game is just plain wrong.

    CPU-side code is very much in charge of what is going on in a game engine.  The GPU just does what the CPU tells it to do.

    Though how this relates to pumps and hoses is rather mysterious.

  • BitterClingerBitterClinger Newark, DEPosts: 225Member Uncommon

    OK, I have mixed results to report.

    I slapped in my new GTX 660 today, installed the drivers from Nvidia, and took it for a test spin using Guild Wars 2. Unfortunately, my FPS did not improve at all. So, I cranked up the graphics from "Best Performance" to "Best Appearance", which basically set everything to High, and again, no change in my FPS.

    Everything looks much better than it did, but my FPS problem appears to be CPU related, at least with Guild Wars 2.  While GW2 was still running, I changed the priority to "Realtime: 24", and my FPS jumped from 15 to 20.

    My memory is fine. My system uses between 600 and 700 MB of RAM after a clean boot. That increases to 1.6 GB when running GW2. So, I'm well below the point where I would have to do any paging.

    Anyway, thought I would update everyone who helped out.  Thanks again!

    Top Games Played in 2015: World of Tanks, Tera, World of Warships

  • AoriAori Carbondale, ILPosts: 1,886Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by BitterClinger

    OK, I have mixed results to report.

    I slapped in my new GTX 660 today, installed the drivers from Nvidia, and took it for a test spin using Guild Wars 2. Unfortunately, my FPS did not improve at all. So, I cranked up the graphics from "Best Performance" to "Best Appearance", which basically set everything to High, and again, no change in my FPS.

    Everything looks much better than it did, but my FPS problem appears to be CPU related, at least with Guild Wars 2.  While GW2 was still running, I changed the priority to "Realtime: 24", and my FPS jumped from 15 to 20.

    My memory is fine. My system uses between 600 and 700 MB of RAM after a clean boot. That increases to 1.6 GB when running GW2. So, I'm well below the point where I would have to do any paging.

    Anyway, thought I would update everyone who helped out.  Thanks again!

    Your CPU is a major bottleneck, your new GPU is far superior to your 9800. You just need a whole new system. The issue with GW2 is that it relies heavily on your CPU which is now quite aged.

  • miguksarammiguksaram Fort Meade, MDPosts: 826Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by BitterClinger

    OK, I have mixed results to report.

    I slapped in my new GTX 660 today, installed the drivers from Nvidia, and took it for a test spin using Guild Wars 2. Unfortunately, my FPS did not improve at all. So, I cranked up the graphics from "Best Performance" to "Best Appearance", which basically set everything to High, and again, no change in my FPS.

    Everything looks much better than it did, but my FPS problem appears to be CPU related, at least with Guild Wars 2.  While GW2 was still running, I changed the priority to "Realtime: 24", and my FPS jumped from 15 to 20.

    My memory is fine. My system uses between 600 and 700 MB of RAM after a clean boot. That increases to 1.6 GB when running GW2. So, I'm well below the point where I would have to do any paging.

    Anyway, thought I would update everyone who helped out.  Thanks again!

    Out of curiousity have you gone into the options within GW2 and set the max FPS to 30 or 60?  I realize you aren't even seeing those numbers but there have been reports of issues within the software that can cause your system to over tax itself and thus bring your FPS down.  If you haven't done so try that.  It wouldn't hurt to also compare windowed mode to full screen (not full screen windowed btw).

    If none of these work then you have found your issue at least with GW2 and that is your CPU.

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