Upgrading a videocard - need advice
July 27, 2011 8:17 PM   Subscribe

Upgrading a videocard - need advice

So my current system is

Q6600 processor
Radeon 3650 512MB

I want to upgrade my videocard so that I can play games like Battlefield 3 and Elder Scrolls: Skyrim on medium-high settings and spend around $150

My main question is: Is it worth it to wait until October to upgrade? I don't know how often videocards drop in price, or if any new videocards will be released during this period.

I've been looking on Newegg and videocards like the GeForce 560 and Radeon 6850/6870 are in the 200$ price range, what is the chance of them dropping in price by October?

posted by Cloud King to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Waiting for prices to drop is a weird thing in computers, because you end up lusting after the next great product and end up waiting for ever before you purchase anything. Amazon has a GTX560 for $170 after rebate.

The following sites may be useful for your research:
AnandTech (They have some pretty hardcore forums as well as comparisons and reviews.
Tom's Hardware (No idea about the forums, but they have also nice comparison charts.
And of course Newegg and Amazon.

Sorry for not answering your question.
posted by nostrada at 10:10 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Videocards drop in price pretty much every week. On top of that, by October there will be a videocard released that is literally twice as good as the best video card that exists now. It will be $1000. But the good thing is, that means the best video card that exists now will be $200, because there will be other cards that are better than it but not as good as the $1000 video card.

I guess what I'm saying is it is never a good time to upgrade, or it is always a good time to upgrade, depending on your budget.

Skyrim is going to be a GPU-melting package of Wham! It's always better to wait, unless you don't want to wait.
posted by tumid dahlia at 10:10 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Forgot to add - make sure your power supply is up for the task, and your case is big enough. Totally agree with tumid dahlia.
posted by nostrada at 10:12 PM on July 27, 2011

To your specific question about the 560 and 6850/6870, the answer is yes, the price will drop by October. You don't make money these days as a hardware developer by not a) getting a fresh product on the shelf every couple of months and b) enticing people to the Perpetual-Upgrade-Cycle gateway drug that is a cheap backlog of gear.

Anecdote: I recently wanted to go out and upgrade an old old HP Media Center machine by sticking a new processor in it. Previously I had already upgraded it with extra RAM and a new graphics card. So I bought the CPU and it didn't fit because Intel has a fucking stupid model numbering system. But by then I was intent on not just having something that was slightly better, but something that was significantly better. So I took the CPU back, exchanged it for credit, and bought a new motherboard, a new-new CPU, a new batch of RAM, a new hard drive, and a copy of Windows 7 64-bit, to take advantage of the new things that I had bought.

Of course, none of this fit in the old case. So I went back and bought a new case, and a power supply while I was at it, just to be sure. A week later I went back and bought a new graphics card and a fancier mouse. My point is: even if I was buying each of these components on the days they were released, and assembling the machine thusly, they would all be outdated by the time I screwed the lid on and waited the day for Windows 7 to install.
posted by tumid dahlia at 10:17 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

I did actually just upgrade my power supply, which made me wonder why I was waiting until October for the videocard.

I think I'll wait for Tom's Hardware guide for August and see if I can find a good deal on one of the $175+ videocards
posted by Cloud King at 6:05 AM on July 28, 2011

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