What is my bottleneck?

This christmas, I would like to upgrade my system. I'm really not sure where my bottleneck is at the moment though. By my guess, the CPU is the worst off...

DFI Lanparty UT nf4 Ultra-D mobo
AMD 64 3000+ Winchester core
2x 1gb OCZ platinum 2-3-2-5 pc3200 ram
GeForce 6800gs 256mb gfx card
WD 300gb w/ 16mb cache
PSU ASPIRE|ATX-CW500WP4 500W RT power supply

I really have two options: upgrade my gfx card now with a budget of about $300, or upgrade my mobo, processor, and ram in about 4 more months with a budget of around $600. (Because to upgrade CPU, i'd also need DDR2 and an LGA775 mobo)

I recently attempted to overclock for my first time. I have my cpu up to 9x250 = 2250 MHz running very stable, and i'm sure I could get more with some better cooling, but its at 55c with prime95 running as is, and i'm afraid to go any further at that temp. Really it was doing 52ish without any overclocking though, which seems kinda high for having 3 case fans, even though the CPU/Heatsink are stock.

I plan on also giving the GPU a shot at overclocking after i'm sure that there is nothing wrong with the CPU overclock :P

I use this system for heavy gaming, and I plan on playing Vanguard when it is released.

What would you guys recommend that I do?
3 answers Last reply
More about what bottleneck
  1. Personally, I'd upgrade the CPU to the fastest Athlon 64X2, Athlon FX or Opteron you can find, there should be some still left out there. the mobo, RAM and hard drive are all pretty good. Sure a C2D rig will be faster, but I don't think it would be worth the money and time to build a complete new setup. A new chip now and maybe a Geforce 8800 in the new year if the prices drop.
  2. I agree with GV. As of now, try to find the best dual core processor that will fit in your system.

    If you settle on a graphics card upgrade, midrange 8800 should be released early next year. So, personally I would wait to see how overall pricing would be for every current card, as well as those from AMD/ATI.


    EDIT: correction of poster's name.
  3. Thanks for the advice! I wasn't aware that the socket 939 x2s were any good, but looking at the tomshardware benches, it seems to fall a lot closer than I would have expected on all the benches...

    The 4600+ Toledo core seems to be a pretty nice deal @ about $200. Maybe not when you compare it to the pricing of some of the AM2 and LGA775 chips, but then again I'd need a new mobo + ram for those. I think that if I grab me a 4600+ toledo now, then a new vid card in 4-5 months, i'll have a whole year to save up for the motherboard / CPU / RAM hit when I need to upgrade to AM2 or conroe...

    The only real question remaining is.... video card or CPU upgrade first?
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