I'm running a Core2Duo E6600 at stock speeds (2.4ghz) with 6gb ddr2 800 and a HD6950 2gb card that's been flashed to unlock the extra shader cores and run at the clock speeds of a 6970 (following the excellent guide on TechPowerUp).
I know my CPU is a bit old, but i'm only pulling around 35 fps avg with the graphics at the lowest settings (except dx11 is on and so is tessellation). I first did a few FRAPS runs with the stock 6950 bios and again with the 6970 and there was no difference in performance (avg fps actually decreased slightly). The performance suffers from a lot of slow downs and it makes the visuals noticeably choppy.
Is my older CPU really costing me so much performance? If so, would overclocking it up to around 3ghz make a difference? I had my CPU on a stable overclock of 2.9ghz before I reformatted my PC a month ago (I have an aftermarket cooler and lots of Scythe fans in there so heat isn't an issue for the slight voltage tweak needed to get that OC).
It's funny cause the day after I post this, Tom's puts up a review that mentions the same bottleneck. I hadn't realized how many games are designed with multi-threading in mind.
I did in fact OC my cpu though. For an initial bump I ramped up to 3ghz and got a few hours on prime95 without failing or stressing the temps and I didn't even have to touch the voltages (gotta love the workhorse Conroe's). Now I'm getting around 45 fps outside, 60 fps indoors on medium settings with max AA and AF. Gonna slowly work up the OC and try to get the min framerates above 30 cause still some noticeable choppiness right now.
Thanks for the quad suggestion though, I hadn't thought about it but that could be a cheap way to tide me over before an upgrade to i5...
Yeah I was just looking on Hardforums to see if I could find a core 2 quad for under $75 but no luck. I was surprised to see how high the retail price still is, they're same price as i3. If I can't find one for cheap, I'll just push mine as far as it will stably go and not worry about when it burns out.
yeah on ebay the C2Qs are still going for more money than should, save for an sb or bd build in the future, because lga 775 is simply not worth dumping more money into at this point imo, be happy with medium settings and save for a new build, at least that is what i would do if I was in your shoes
your flashed 6950 will really take off with one of these next gen cpus although a c2q with a proper (healthy) oc is basically in the 955/i3 2100/ i5 2400 bracket imo.... in the end you are better off updating your platform before you drop 80-100 on a severly old but still capable cpu for now, not worth it imo