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7yr old CPU/mobo the problem, or GPU?

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July 25, 2014 7:08:42 PM

Hey guys, I've had my computer for about 7 years now, and in that time I've followed the scene a bit less each year. I'm starting to have a little trouble (lower framerates) with some of the more recent games that come out, and doing multiple things at the same time while on my computer. Here's my problem:
Nothing is breaking, but things are starting to slow down and I can't put graphic settings on high and ultra like I used to be able to. I also do work on this computer in programs like AutoCad, Rhino, the Adobe suite, and ArcGIS on occasion (possibly City Engine in the future). I can't really afford to upgrade everything right now, so I'm planning on doing it in steps.

My setup currently:
Intel Core i7 920 (2.66GHz)
asus P6T Deluxe (intel x58 chipset)
8GB DDR3 RAM
Samsung SSD/ WD HDD

I'm currently pushing to 2 screens: A 2007 Toshiba regza (30-ish inches) at 1080p, and some old Dell Monitor at 1024 (19in).
[I would like to replace the TV at some point probably with a 27" LCD monitor with a higher refresh rate than 60, if that makes a difference]

So I know that at some point, the CPU/Mobo and GPU will need to be upgraded. I have a 750w psu that I'm comfortable with so I'm not worried about that. The RAM can also come whenever, as it's relatively cheap.

I'm basically asking what order should I upgrade things, and could you guys give some suggestions? I checked out some reviews/guides and the Radeon 270x seems pretty decent for its price. As for the CPU, I have no idea, except I'm guessing that I will have to get a new motherboard with that as well. I'm not beholden to any company, so pretty much any suggestion would be welcomed! Also if I'm thinking about this wrong please let me know. Thanks in advance!
a b à CPUs
July 25, 2014 7:20:13 PM

What GPU are you currently running? You can get better performance on a GTX 760 or R9-270x, but if the CPU is an issue with other projects, then I would suggest upgrading the CPU / board first. Here's a good upgrade path:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel Core i7-4820K 3.7GHz Quad-Core Processor ($318.99 @ SuperBiiz)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.98 @ OutletPC)
Motherboard: Asus Sabertooth X79 ATX LGA2011 Motherboard ($302.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($164.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $816.95
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-07-25 22:19 EDT-0400

Keep in mind, though that Haswell-E CPUs, motherboards, and DDR4 memory modules will release in September, including a sub-$400 6-core CPU, so you should also look into that.
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July 25, 2014 7:25:34 PM

I'm kinda at the same point as you.
My Q6600 is really starting to hold things back. To upgrade the CPU, I'd need a new mobo, cpu (or course), cooler and ram. You'd need to buy all of those at once, you can't do one at a time.
All that is going to add up for something i use once a week.

Ideally, any i5 cpu will run just about any gfx card fine.
I got a 280x and that will run just about anything today at 1080 at ~60fps. If I had a higher rez or faster refreshing monitor, i'd need a faster card.

Look on the main page of Toms, they have monthly articles on the best cpu/gpu/ssd etc for $. Check them out.
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July 25, 2014 7:27:37 PM

Joseph DeGarmo said:
What GPU are you currently running? You can get better performance on a GTX 760 or R9-270x, but if the CPU is an issue with other projects, then I would suggest upgrading the CPU / board first. Here's a good upgrade path:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel Core i7-4820K 3.7GHz Quad-Core Processor ($318.99 @ SuperBiiz)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.98 @ OutletPC)
Motherboard: Asus Sabertooth X79 ATX LGA2011 Motherboard ($302.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($164.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $816.95
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-07-25 22:19 EDT-0400

Keep in mind, though that Haswell-E CPUs, motherboards, and DDR4 memory modules will release in September, including a sub-$400 6-core CPU, so you should also look into that.

Completely forgot to mention that didn't I? My GPU is a GTX 560.
That processor and board seem a little high end. I was hoping to get something a little less top of the line. Also I have a cooler master V8 CPU cooler. Would that work with new chips and boards?
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a b à CPUs
July 25, 2014 7:30:27 PM

mrmez said:
I'm kinda at the same point as you.
My Q6600 is really starting to hold things back. To upgrade the CPU, I'd need a new mobo, cpu (or course), cooler and ram. You'd need to buy all of those at once, you can't do one at a time.
All that is going to add up for something i use once a week.

Ideally, any i5 cpu will run just about any gfx card fine.
I got a 280x and that will run just about anything today at 1080 at ~60fps. If I had a higher rez or faster refreshing monitor, i'd need a faster card.

Look on the main page of Toms, they have monthly articles on the best cpu/gpu/ssd etc for $. Check them out.


He does CPU-intensive stuff like CAD and rendering, so an i7 would make more sense. Even an i7-4790k / z97 motherboard will be quite an upgrade, but with less PCI-E lane support than his old CPU. That's why I mentioned an LGA 2011 CPU earlier. Remember that Sandy Bridge-E was the true successor to Nehalem and that was later followed by Ivy Bridge-E, then the upcoming Haswell-E.
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July 25, 2014 7:33:18 PM

mrmez said:
I'm kinda at the same point as you.
My Q6600 is really starting to hold things back. To upgrade the CPU, I'd need a new mobo, cpu (or course), cooler and ram. You'd need to buy all of those at once, you can't do one at a time.
All that is going to add up for something i use once a week.

Ideally, any i5 cpu will run just about any gfx card fine.
I got a 280x and that will run just about anything today at 1080 at ~60fps. If I had a higher rez or faster refreshing monitor, i'd need a faster card.

Look on the main page of Toms, they have monthly articles on the best cpu/gpu/ssd etc for $. Check them out.


Thanks for the advice. I've spent a bit of time front page and forums, but I guess I'm just trying to get what I need, and nothing excessive. Hopefully in 2 years I'll have a job (at university atm) and be able to afford nicer things. So you're thinking my CPU would be the problem? I'm hoping I can reuse my cooler, and save some money there. I'm still gaming, though not as hard as I used to, but I still need the graphics for some other programs that I use.
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a b à CPUs
July 25, 2014 7:45:20 PM

An i7 would be much better, but also end up costing a fair bit more. A 'k' series i5 has an unlocked multiplier and can be easily OC'd quite heavily.
You old cpu/mobo has a different socket, your old cooler will likely not fit, but you can always try 'ghetto' it and make it fit.

To save $ you could use your old GPU and upgrade that when you can.
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