My cpu recently bit the dust, and I am considering upgrading my mobo with the purchase of the new cpu. I was running an ASROCK Extreme4 with an AMD Phenom II X4 955 3.2GHz. I am using a Radeon HD 6850 for my GPU and Corsair Vengeance ddr3 1600 ram.
I have a soft budget of $300 for the CPU and MOBO combined. I am looking for the following:
1: I eventually want to run two GPU's, and would like a mobo that supports one card at x16 and two cards running at x8. I don't care either way if there are extra slots beyond that.
2: I have been told that my two favorite games, Skyrim and Dark Souls, are both fairly CPU heavy, so my instincts tell me to lean towards having a nicer cpu.
3: I intend to OC, but only mildly, nothing extreme that's going to require more than my case fans and cpu fan/heatsink.
4: I don't care about integrated graphics. Either way is fine.
I've been told that the I5-2500k + Z68 Mobo is the way to go for gaming, but this is going to run me almost $400 dollars, which is pretty outside of my budget.
I have also been considering just keeping the same mobo and upgrading the cpu with a $150-$200 budget. I have been considering a FX8120 or 8150 in that respect.
Friends who told you that Z68+2500k are a little outdated. For gaming, at the moment, everything you need is Z77+3570K. A lot of people will say that the 8350 is better but in Linus Sebastian (Youtube) video on 8350vs3570k, the Amd is always losing. Even in Far Cry 3 and Crysis 3 (Cpu demanding games).
The cheapest motherboard that can do 3-way Cfx is 120$ so it's up to you if you want to put a little more to get one more slot. Also, Cfx and Sli aren't fully optimized with every game (Only 25-50% of the games) so you shouldn't consider Cfx/Sli unless you only play games like Battlefield, Far Cry, Crysis ...
It's more expensive than the suggested mobo, and takes me out of my budget by a bit, but it's the cheapest I have been able to find so far that doesn't bottleneck a second GPU at x4.
Unless someone knows of one that's cheaper that will also run two cards at x8 instead of one at x16 and one at x4?
Thanks again for all the help! You've convinced me to get the better CPU!
I don't recommend worrying about X-fire/SLI in this budget range. I would personally use a single GPU solution. Why, you ask?
* Cheaper mobo needed (as you have already stated the Extreme4 mob is more expensive ~$40 more)
* Less complex (drivers, slots needed, etc.)
* Less PSU requirements (costs less and you don't have to have a PSU with at least 2 x PCI-e power connectors)
* Less cabling needed from GPU to monitor (which can cost a bit if your monitor only has certain ports and they don't match up with your GPU ports - you would need adapters).
By sticking with a single GPU solution you get:
* Less PSU costs and requirements.
* Less complexity (cables/drivers/etc.).
* Less $ spent on mobo and other parts (already mentioned above).
It's up to you, but that is what I'd consider. You could even sell your 6850 and buy a 7850/7870 with the $ from the sale of the 6850 and still get quite an upgrade to the 7850/7870.
Would upgrading my 6850 to a newer gpu give better performance than adding a second 6850? If so then I'd have to agree with you. If not then im looking at spending an extra 40 now insead of a mobo upgrade later down the line.