Obsolete Upgrades

Today, I bit the bullet and purchased a new video card from Tiger Direct to replace my aging Foxconn GeForce 8800 GTS–the old model with the G80 architecture and 320 MB of video RAM that I bought for way too much money about two weeks before the cheaper and slightly better-performing 8800 GT was released. My disappointment was palpable, like many things are.

However, the GeForce has served me well and I’ve gotten nearly two and a half years of bang out of my buck. Of course, it would go even further if I wasn’t greedy and didn’t want to run Starcraft 2 at 1080P on full settings on a 47 inch LCD… but I digress.

The replacement? An XFX Radeon HD 4890. Just look at the benchmarks, then the price, and it’s easy to see why this was my option. The 4890 reference card noticably beats the Geforce GTX260 at most applications, with the bonus of being less expensive. Unfortunately, I missed the opportunity to get the Radeon for less than $200, as they disappeared from the market for a few weeks. Now they’re back–only temporarily, if I had to guess–for the vicinity of $210. (The ever-lovable Bing Cashback program has raked me 21 dollars in return, though, so I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.)

I also slid in under the wire for free shipping at Tiger Direct, an offer which supposedly is ending today; so I’ve got free UPS shipping on an order placed on Wednesday which is estimated to arrive on Friday. If this estimate comes true, I will most definitely be pleasantly surprised. I couldn’t swear to it, but I recall Tiger Direct surprising me with their quick shipment of my Acer Aspire One and its accessories that I bought from them back in October, so I can hope.

I don’t yet have a tracking code, so I can’t sit on UPS’s website hitting the F5 key, fortunately.

My only remaining concern is my old Core 2 Duo E6550 @ 2.33 GHz sitting in its now-obsolete LGA 775 socket. I’m sure the performance boon from a CPU upgrade would have almost doubled the effect of this upgrade, but neither of my options seemed exactly lucrative. I could upgrade to a later Core 2 Duo model such as the E8400, but I would be upgrading to an already obsolete CPU; or I could upgrade to a Core i5, which would require a new motherboard as well as new RAM, bringing the expense of this upgrade to the vicinity of $600, and considering my upcoming two-week trip across the country, I’m not feeling up to spending that much at the moment.

Still, barring the surprise of an extreme bottleneck at the CPU, the Radeon should smoke my current GeForce and I should be able to kick all my games up a notch even without a CPU upgrade. Sweet!

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