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My computer specifications are as follows:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo E5300 2.6 GHz
  • 8 GB DDR3 RAM
  • Gigabyte GA-G41M-Combo v1.3
  • ATI Radeon HD 4300
  • Windows 8.1 (for now... maybe I will go back to Windows 7)

I am planning to upgrade my VGA card as it doesn't support StarCraft 2 at maximum graphics. In Windows Experience Index in Windows 7 everything was high except graphics.

I have been investigating possible options and was thinking in ATI Radeon HD 7870 (Another option is Nvidia GeForce GTX 670 or 680 but they are expensive). I read in the specifications they have PCI-Express 3.0.

My questions are:

  1. Is PCI Express 3.0 compatible with old motherboards PCI-Express like my GA-G41M has? Do they have the same slot?
  2. Is it overkill? Having PCI Express 3.0 or 4K Video maybe is too much for such an old motherboard
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    PCIe 3.0 is backward compatible, though some motherboards have needed compatibility patches in the firmware to support newer cards. But...isn't SC2 mainly CPU-bound? Won't your E5300 be the thing that's holding you back? – Ash Oct 26 '13 at 10:30
  • I thought the problem was in Graphics card. But you have a point. I will test it... – Oscar Foley Oct 26 '13 at 10:41
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    I'd only done a quick search, found this: teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=153319 (search for "bound" in there). It talks about how little GPU power is needed. (Disclaimer: I don't play SC2, so no first-hand knowledge, I just did the google thing :) – Ash Oct 26 '13 at 14:11
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  1. Yes they have the same slot and they are compatible. PCIe 3 is backward compatible with the pre-existing slots. Although as Ash suggested, some boards may require firmware.
  2. You wont be using the GPU optimally since the PCI-Express slot is old. The tag wiki contains the bandwidth values.

Do not think of it as an overkill: you will be able to use the GPU after you change the motherboard. From my SC2 experience I can tell the game is mainly CPU bound, as you can see in the video options menu: most of the options have '... relies on CPU' tag.

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