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Very low budget. Need to upgrade from a 2007 Core 2 Duo E4600. Can I get a cheap i3 and play Skyrim?

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April 2, 2014 9:01:44 AM

I have almost no money. I am a Dad with 2 kids and pc gaming is not a family financial priority :) 

But my CPU is 7 years old. Can I spend a few hundred, get some older CPU/motherboard combo, and see a boost?

I'd like soemthing that can play current RPGs and MMOs at high (but not ultra) settings (e.g. Skyrim, WildStar, Guild Wars 2, EQ Next).

I play the same MMO for years (I am still playing Warcraft). If I can build something that will run EQ Next it will last me 5+ years.

I was thinking about getting a cheap i3, motherboard, and memory. I'll reuse my case, 450W PS, hard drive, optical drive, and Radeon 5670. Maybe later I can upgrade the Radeon but that would be about it.

Would the i3 remove my current bottleneck enough to get buy me a few more years? Maybe an Ivy Bridge would be cheap but still meet my simple needs - not sure.

Thanks for any advice.
a c 900 à CPUs
April 2, 2014 9:06:42 AM

Yes the I3 is like a plan another option is AMD FX6300.
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April 2, 2014 9:08:31 AM

if you on a buget look at check out AMD, vary cheep dose the job
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a b à CPUs
April 2, 2014 9:09:30 AM

An i3 should score approx. 8 or more/10 in Skyrim so yeah go ahead :) 
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a c 804 à CPUs
April 2, 2014 9:14:54 AM

To be honest here, I think your best bet, for now if motherboard supports it, would be go get an E8400 off of ebay for $25 and pair it with a GTX 750ti, then start saving for a better CPU, board, and memory. The new CPU alone will not give you much of a gaming boost due to the weak GPU. An E8400 is still fairly capable with Skyrim and will do well still with WoW. It is better than the minimum system requirements for GW2.
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a c 79 à CPUs
April 2, 2014 9:53:41 AM

For JUST Skyrim and WoW I'd say the i3.

But I have no idea how many cores EQ Next will use. If it can take advantage of all 6 on the FX 6300 that might be a better fit for your future plans.

Since you said 5+ years, whichever you go with, over-spec the motherboard with an upgrade path to better CPU and RAM in the future. That way you can get an inexpensive CPU and RAM now and if those are not enough you can upgrade later.
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April 2, 2014 11:45:59 AM

logainofhades said:
To be honest here, I think your best bet, for now if motherboard supports it, would be go get an E8400 off of ebay for $25 and pair it with a GTX 750ti


I had not considered this. I thought my motherboard and CPU were my bottleneck on GW2. I did not think I could upgrade my GPU with only a 450W PSU.

Maybe I should try the GTX 750ti since that is an easy upgrade and see if I get a quick benefit. The save for a proper CPU, Motherboard, etc. upgrade next year.

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a c 82 à CPUs
April 2, 2014 11:57:47 AM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i3-4130 3.4GHz Dual-Core Processor ($118.93 @ OutletPC)
Motherboard: ASRock H81M-HDS Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($52.99 @ Micro Center)
Memory: GeIL EVO POTENZA 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($63.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $235.91
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-04-02 14:52 EDT-0400)

If you are going MMOs then this will make you happier than e 750ti. At spots when you have lots of player or mobs, the CPU is under more stress than usual, and that may lead to FPS drop, because the GPU is not fed enough. I don't see any MMO in the next 3-4 years having problems with an I3. MMOs are the games with the lowest hardware expectations, because they must run on as many PCs/Laptops as possible. With the I3 and the 5670, you will get constant FPS, even if you have to lower everything. With the E4600 and a 750ti, you will possibly have very varying FPS. I personally prefer to have lower details, but constant FPS. Cheers and good luck.
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a c 804 à CPUs
April 2, 2014 12:02:35 PM

Mashugana said:
logainofhades said:
To be honest here, I think your best bet, for now if motherboard supports it, would be go get an E8400 off of ebay for $25 and pair it with a GTX 750ti


I had not considered this. I thought my motherboard and CPU were my bottleneck on GW2. I did not think I could upgrade my GPU with only a 450W PSU.

Maybe I should try the GTX 750ti since that is an easy upgrade and see if I get a quick benefit. The save for a proper CPU, Motherboard, etc. upgrade next year.



Yea, the 750ti would be a perfect fit with your PSU, as it gets all its power from the PCI-E slot. Its power usage is probably similar to the HD 5670 you are using now. :D 
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a c 77 à CPUs
April 2, 2014 12:07:37 PM

logainofhades said:
Mashugana said:
logainofhades said:
To be honest here, I think your best bet, for now if motherboard supports it, would be go get an E8400 off of ebay for $25 and pair it with a GTX 750ti


I had not considered this. I thought my motherboard and CPU were my bottleneck on GW2. I did not think I could upgrade my GPU with only a 450W PSU.

Maybe I should try the GTX 750ti since that is an easy upgrade and see if I get a quick benefit. The save for a proper CPU, Motherboard, etc. upgrade next year.



Yea, the 750ti would be a perfect fit with your PSU, as it gets all its power from the PCI-E slot. Its power usage is probably similar to the HD 5670 you are using now. :D 


The 750 TI actually takes a bit less power than an HD 5670.
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a c 804 à CPUs
April 2, 2014 12:14:07 PM

What is your current motherboard?
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April 2, 2014 12:48:08 PM

I understand your situation .. not all of us can invest in a new processor and graphics card every year and then you have hard drives,motherboards ( to support the newer processors ) and cases ( to keep the new cpu cool )
your problem is you will need another motherboard,especially if you want to buy a core i3 or a AMD FX-6300 .. however another option would be to buy a core 2 quad or even a E8400 which is still fairly good ( with a 6mb cache ) ...
if however you go for a core i3 you would need a socket 1155 motherboard ( or socket 1150 if you go for a haswell core i3 ) ... and theres a good chance you may also need to replace your ram also as most socket 775 boards used ddr2 memory
your HD5670 is a decent card however you may want to consider a R7 250 which is better than the HD5670 and supports mantle .... but even your HD5670 will be much better when combined with a core i3....
i recently upgraded from a pentium G620 to a core i5 3330 and the difference was amazing ... even with my GTX550ti i noticed a marked improvement in games ( eg frame rates ) ...
another upgrade option would be a motherboard bundle which would comprise of a cpu,motherboard and ram .. and you can use your existing components including your case and psu ......
in the uk you can get a core i3 motherboard bundle for under £200 and when you take into consideration the faster ddr3 memory,superior core i3 and better motherboard you will probally double your current performance
hope this helps
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