Can A New GPU Rejuvenate A 5 Year Old Gaming PC? - HotHardware

Can A New GPU Rejuvenate A 5 Year Old Gaming PC?

42 thumbs up
Some of you may not remember the particulars of hardware from this far back, so we'll describe the testbed with a bit more detail than is typical. Our test system for this piece consisted of an Asus Rampage Formula motherboard, 3GB of DDR2-1066 RAM, Intel's Core 2 Q6600, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260. Windows 7 64-bit w/ SP1 was installed on a 60GB Corsair Force 3 SSD.

The oldest component is the CPU. The Q6600 (65nm, 2.4GHz) was Intel's first consumer quad-core and debuted nearly six years ago, in early 2007. Its large L2 cache, hardware virtualization support, and excellent overclocking kept it popular even after 45nm Core 2 Quad CPUs based on Penryn became available.



The Asus Rampage Formula is a 2008 motherboard based on Intel's X48 chipset. The X48 chipset was the no-holds-barred enthusiast option for Core 2 Duo. The Geforce GTX 260 video card also launched in 2008; our GPU is an original GeForce GTX 260 on 65nm with 192 CUDA cores, not the "Core 216" variant that NVIDIA introduced later that same year.


The two components of our testbed that break with the 2006-2008 timeframe are the operating system (Windows 7 64-bit w/ SP1) and the 60GB SSD. Windows Vista has been abandoned by virtually everyone, which made it a poor choice for any modern comparison, and none of our tests touch the SSD.

Why an SSD, you ask? Because trying to load Shogun 2 off a hard drive is like trying to eat soup with a fork.

Who These Results Apply To:
These results should map directly to any gamer with a Core 2 Quad and an X38/X48 motherboard and at least 3GB of RAM. Gamers with P965, P35, or 975X boards should see very similar results, but these boards topped out at PCI-Express 1.1. At the time, there was no performance difference between PCIe 2.0 and PCIe 1.1; this may have changed since 2008.

These results don't necessarily apply if you've got an older Core 2 Duo. In 2008, precious few games used more than two threads. Quad-threaded titles are more prevalent than they used to be. It's possible that we'll revisit this question if enough of you are curious about the outcomes.

The Games:
We tested Battlefield 3, Borderlands 2, Civilization V, and Shogun 2. For the first three games, we tested the same graphics settings across both cards to compare the performance gain. With Shogun 2, we took screenshots of the GTX 260 vs the GTX 660 as well as the GTX 660 at a custom detail level above the "Very High" preset.

Texture filtering was set to "High Quality" in all games, on both cards.
 

Article Index:

1 2 3 4 5 Next
0
+ -

Kudos to Joel for a great story angle. I've been wondering this myself as GPUs have become more and more efficient at offloading the rendering pipeline. Good stuff.

0
+ -

The only thing i dislike about this test is why you would use an quad-core and not a dual-core which most people sat with 5 years ago. So the test would have been best to try by using a dual-core.

0
+ -

yep, they should have used Dual Core CPU and an PCI-E 1.0 or 1.1 not 2.0 :/

0
+ -

I don't think he could have used a PCI 1.0 or 1.1 motherboard. A 2.0 card won't work in those slots.

0
+ -

"By CDeeter on Jan 24, 2013

I don't think he could have used a PCI 1.0 or 1.1 motherboard. A 2.0 card won't work in those slots.

"

actually you would be quite wrong. 2.0 cards work in 1.0 and 1.1 slots because of backwards compatibility. The main changes between 1.0 1.1 2.0 and 3.0 are throughput based changes. meaning higher transfer rates between card and motherboard.

I for instance had an 8800gtx which is a 2.0 card on a system with a 1.1 PCIe port which worked just fine.

0
+ -

Hmm I wonder what the issue is then for me that I couldn't go from a 7200gs to a HD 5570.

0
+ -

Hmm I wonder what the issue is then for me that I couldn't go from a 7200gs to a HD 5570.

0
+ -

Dude... my PC from five years ago which is still in service had PCIe 2.0. Built at the end of 2007 using the QX6850. That said, most cards struggle to even max out PCIe 1.1 bandwidth. There are many, many posts on this topic. Linus from TechTips and AnandTech, HardOCP and many more!

0
+ -

I resemble that remark ...

E8500 (Core 2 Duo, 3.16), HD4850, 4gb ram, g41 motherboard (@Eshirou: PCI-E 1.0a), 7200 RPM storage. Windows XP 32 bit. Pretty much a second class machine compared to the one used in the article (depending on whether an app utilizes more than one core).

Borderlands 2 was completely playable at 1080p with the eye candy turned way down. The only problem was a bug that would hang the application at selected spots unless I restricted the CPU to 1 core.

I upgraded from the 4850 to a 7850 last month (which runs fine in the 1.0a socket, didn't even have to upgrade the BIOS) mainly because it came free with Far Cry 3 and the 4850 is now restricted to legacy drivers/DX 10. Much faster now, but then I don't really play many titles that are CPU intensive.

0
+ -

Is the primes of this article accurate considering this is a old pc but it was like top of the line for when it came out? The only reason I say this is because anyone with a gaming pc using parts that old might not be on the same boat motherboard and cpu or even ram wise.

1 2 3 4 5 Next
Login or Register to Comment
Post a Comment
Username:   Password: