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Graphics Games

Can a New GPU Rejuvenate a 5 Year Old Gaming PC? 264

MojoKid writes "New video card launches from AMD and NVIDIA are almost always reviewed on hardware less than 12 months old. That's not an arbitrary decision — it helps reviewers make certain that GPU performance isn't held back by older CPUs and can be particularly important when evaluating the impact of new interfaces or bus designs. That said, an equally interesting perspective might be to compare the performance impact of upgrading a graphics card in an older system that doesn't have access to the substantial performance gains of integrated memory controllers, high speed DDR3 memory, deep multithreading or internal serial links. As it turns out, even using a midrange graphics card like a GeForce GTX 660, substantial gains up to 150 percent can be achieved without the need for a complete system overhaul."
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Can a New GPU Rejuvenate a 5 Year Old Gaming PC?

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  • No (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Hsien-Ko ( 1090623 ) on Friday January 25, 2013 @01:41AM (#42688005)
    AGP bridges suck.

    PCI-E DDR2 rigs aren't even that old or even considered "obsolete" either.
  • Older = how old? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Friday January 25, 2013 @01:42AM (#42688007)

    The thing is, most serious gamers willing to plunk down $400 for a video card aren't going to skimp on upgrading the rest of the computer. That's why nobody reviews it: Because you, McThrifty, aren't the target market and nobody's going to send you free hardware to test since your readers are, well... cheap.

    Most of those hardware reviews you see online get the newest video cards for free specifically because their reviews are tailored to the guy who has a McDuck-sized vault of cash ready to be spent getting that extra .8 FPS out of Crysis.

  • by 0123456 ( 636235 ) on Friday January 25, 2013 @02:24AM (#42688219)

    Thanks consoles, or thanks Windows XP?

    Thanks Microsoft for trying to use DirectX as a stick to force people to switch from XP to Vista. Hey, kind of like Window 8.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 25, 2013 @02:42AM (#42688295)

    That is easy to explain as a fair bit of new laptops are still dual core. People try to game on laptops.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Friday January 25, 2013 @02:44AM (#42688307) Journal

    this doesn't surprise me one bit.. the GPU does most of the heavy lifting anyway, when it comes to games

    still, an i7 will show you substantial performance enhancements

    It's a bit more nuanced than that: certain upgrades lean almost entirely on the GPU(say you get a fancy new monitor and want Game X to look good on a 1920x1080 or 2560x1440 instead of a 1280x1024); but you can run into situations where no CPU is really enough CPU(RTS pathfinding in games that permit a lot of units is a particularly hairy case. Supreme Commander, say, can merrily chug along at 60fps with a screen full of units cranking out idle animations; but a few hundred bots scrambling to navigate can bring your CPU to its knees.) It's certainly a less common issue than an inadequate GPU; but it can happen.

  • by adolf ( 21054 ) <flodadolf@gmail.com> on Friday January 25, 2013 @03:20AM (#42688471) Journal

    My home system is from 2008 also, and sports a pair of 9800GTs.

    I've gone through many of the same thought processes as you, and come to many of the same conclusions.

    Here's what I've gleaned:

    1. A five-year-old video card (or a pair of them) should be trivially-cheap to replace with an efficient and modern equivalent, but it's not.

    2. The prettiest games I want to play today bog my Q6600 CPU more than my video cards, which just loaf along on such titles.

    3. I need more RAM. 4GB isn't enough and DDR2 is fucking expensive. A motherboard+CPU sidegrade is damn near free with 2x4GB DDR3, compared to 2x4GB of DDR2 by itself. And getting a significantly faster CPU at the same time isn't significantly more expensive.

    4. Integrated graphics, no matter the claims by people who say they're quite good enough, suck in comparison to even quite old dedicated hardware.

    5. Conclusion: To upgrade my 5-year-old gaming rig piecemeal, keep the GPU(s), replace everything else, and ignore integrated graphics.

  • by DerekLyons ( 302214 ) <fairwaterNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday January 25, 2013 @10:22AM (#42690235) Homepage

    To be fair, at 25 years old and over 200 games bought on steam I think I fit the target market for PC games pretty squarely

    You're in the target market for PC games, but having a six your old computer - you're probably not in the target for high performance PC hardware. There's a great deal of overlap between the two, but they are not identical sets.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"