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A Few Upgrading Questions

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Last response: in Systems
January 1, 2008 1:07:50 AM

Hey I am pretty into my PC gaming, however I do not have money to burn, so I was wondering what upgrades would be money well spent.

I currently have;
Mobo : Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3P
RAM : 2 GB at 800mhz
CPU : E6420, CORE 2 DUO @ 2.13ghz, 4MB Cache
VGA : XFX GeForce 7950 GX2 1024mb 1.2ghz
PSU : Thermaltake Toughpower 750W
HDD : some **** 180GB HDD
OS : Windows XP Pro

I want to be able to get good framerates in Crysis at high - very high settings, at the moment I am achieving around 20 - 30 fps on medium, with shaders set at high and reso of 1280 - 1024 I can play COD4 at Max at reso of 1280 - 1024, with AA x0 and AAS x0 and i get a framerate of around 30 - 50 fps.

I was thinking of getting these items;

GeForce 8800 GT 512mb - I found a few at $430

However I am not sure with which processor (If any at all) to go with,

CORE 2 DUO E6850, 3.0 Ghz, 4MB Cache, 1333FSB - which can be had for $347


CORE 2 QUAD Q6600, 2.4 Ghz, 2x4 MB Cache, 1066FSB - which can be had for $347

I was thinking of the 6850 but your opinions are greatly valued, was also thinking of some more RAM, but I don't think I would notice much of a difference in performance.

Any help on what the likely bottleneck is and any recommendations are greatly valued.


More about : upgrading questions

January 1, 2008 2:14:52 AM

where the **** are you getting these prices from? if you're outside of the us I understand, but if not, shop around!. I would get the 8800 gts 512 and a q6600. overclock that cpu to 3.0 + and 12x10 at very high will run great. if you can't afford all that, just get the gpu and overclock your current cpu to 3.0+ and you will get very similar results. quad is always a nice bonus, but it isn't absolutely necessary right now.
January 1, 2008 2:55:41 AM

You have a nice system already. Upgrading to a quad core wont do much for your games. Just stick with what you got for now and overclock the hell out of it. If you do decide to get a new CPU go for the 6850, by the time multithreaded applications can successfully use all 4 cores, there will be newer chips. The 6850 will be faster for games for now. You have a good overclocking board and if your memory can handle it, you should get more life out of your chip. Do get the 8800gt, will increase frame rates significantly. Double check those prices, if you are in the US, they are way out of wack. Should be around $210-$260 for the 8800.
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January 1, 2008 3:44:23 AM

Cheers for the comments, I am outside of the US, which is as you said, the result of the high prices, thanks for the comments.

I will have to look further into the technique of overclocking as at the moment I am a noob and have only played around with some overclocking software that I got with my mobo, however when I am using it in simple mode, it will not let me overclock by more than 20%.

And another thing will I need to increase my cooling system, and upgrade to water/gel cooling? As I can't imagine how hot the CPU will get when operating at load, while OC'd to 3.0ghz, I am seriously thinking of it as I live in Australia and in summer the temperature frequently reaches 35c - 42c or 95f - 107f.

Again, cheers for the replies ;) 
January 1, 2008 4:35:04 AM

I was going to say you dont really need water cooling but you say the temps get that hot? Wow, you might. Try a really good cooler like a Zalman 9700 first.

Anyway, learn how to overclock by increasing your FSB (front side bus) your particular motherboard is excellent at that. I myself have a gigabyte S3 slightly downgraded version in one of my systems. Overclocks like hell.
January 1, 2008 8:29:04 AM

I'm in Australia, using (among others) E6750 over clocked to 3.0GHz. Runs at 50-55C, 2 x 8800GTS320SLI, using Crysis on all medium settings, 1280*1024, in the 20-40fps range

Forget about very high settings for now. Not much out there to run it at the frame rate you want without spending big.

Looking at Tom's Charts, the 7950 GX2 is usually only outpaced by the 8800Ultra/GT/GTX and 3870. Very close to the HD3850/2900XT. The going rate for the 8800GT is over AUD400.00 and, in your case, I think this is not money well spent, going from the 7950GX2 to 8800GT with DirectX 9/XP.

What's your CPU temp when gaming (Dec-Feb = Summer)?

If you can squeeze some more out of what you've got and go 2-6 months or so and look to upgrade then (nvidia new card in Feb, other CPUs and board to choose from).
January 1, 2008 9:31:02 AM

Where do you get all this info on nvidias new cards??

Yeah I suppose you have a very good point.

My CPU usually sits around 30 - 40C at idle and doesn't vary too far from that when under load - on a high 30C day.
My whole system however sits at about 50C
But my GPU is a bit hotter idling at around 40C and reaching 70C under heavy load, I have not EVER had it exceed this 70C limit though, probably a good thing lol.

What cards are going to be available from nVidia in Feb??? Series 9?? Already?!
a b B Homebuilt system
January 1, 2008 9:44:55 AM

Well just a couple of thoughts. I think your 8800gt would be a good upgrade, except that it generally runs pretty hot :(  So I'd opt for a 3870, which is pretty close to a 8800gt performance wise and runs cooler than a 8800gt, at stock speeds.
Another thought, is that your system is quite nice and the only other thing that I'd do is maybe OC'ing your e6420 to 2.8-3 gHz maybe a little less and keep it all stock for now. If you see too high of temps than maybe get an aftermarket cooler for the CPU. Otherwise I think your system is good for gaming.
January 1, 2008 11:08:53 AM

seabreeze, those are some truly awful framerates. i have an 8600gt OCed (3850 on the way) and an e2140 @ 2.8 and play 1024x768 mostly high settings (2 on med) and average 20-25 fps. if i spent that much of money on graphics cards and got that kind of performance id be pissed...
January 2, 2008 5:41:25 AM

Hah! Fair enough, I'm only guessing. Once I get to about 35fps, my bleary eyes can't tell the difference. I just shoot at the moving green blurs that are yelling "You will die like a dog". The 2 x 8800GTS320s were getting other gear put on top of them, so I put them in a case and played some games. I think that rig gets 12,7xx in 3DMark06.

When you're used to your spaceship looking like a line drawing of a triangle shooting dots at other craggly-looking line drawings, all in 2D (Atari/Asteroids), anything better is ok. I don't complain. Commodore64 anyone?
a b B Homebuilt system
January 2, 2008 6:20:53 AM

Vic 20? My first PC back in.......198.....something :) 
January 2, 2008 7:33:16 AM

Whoa! Hang on the the Way Back Machine, there! :lol:  I think I've still got a tape drive for a Vic-20 in the shed. Apologies to all for hijacking the thread...
January 5, 2008 9:48:19 AM

lol, I liked back to the future, that car was awesome.

Anyway, I have heard some small talk about nVidia series 9 gfx cards coming out Q1 this year, is this just bs or are they going to come out that soon.