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AsRock 4CoreDual-SATA2: upgrade CPU or Graphics card?

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March 13, 2009 10:16:42 AM

HI,

This is my machine spec which is used mainly for games:

Motherboard: AsRock 4CoreDual-SATA2
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo CPU E4600
OP sys: Windows XP home serv pack 3
Mem: 2 gb
Hard drive: 500GB
Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GS 512 MB

Most games run fine - Call of Duty 4, Med 2 Total War, Crysis, Far Cry 2, etc but just got Empire Total War and it really chugs!

I have to turn the graphics way down to get smooth frame rate so it looks pants.....

If I upgrade, what would give me the biggest performance boost for a game like this? new CPU or new graphics card? - I can't afford both right now and I know this board doesn't over-clock well, plus I'm nervous about doing it.

Alternatives I have in mind are something like:
Card - Sapphire HD 4850 Toxic Edition 512MB GDDR3 Dual DVI HDTV Out PCI-E Graphics Card
CPU - Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 G0 Stepping (2.4GHz 1066MHz) Socket 775 L2 8MB Cache

a c 123 à CPUs
a c 192 U Graphics card
March 13, 2009 11:00:04 AM

I'm surprised at the games you list that will "run fine," you must be on really low settings.
What brand and model of PSU do you have? Does it have a PCI-E power connection on it? If it doesn't, then get an ATI HD4670. That's nine tiers higher on Cleeve's chart, so you should see an amazing difference.
If it is a quality PSU, and can power it, then a HD4850 is another three tiers higher.
March 13, 2009 11:13:49 AM

Onus said:
I'm surprised at the games you list that will "run fine," you must be on really low settings.
What brand and model of PSU do you have? Does it have a PCI-E power connection on it? If it doesn't, then get an ATI HD4670. That's nine tiers higher on Cleeve's chart, so you should see an amazing difference.
If it is a quality PSU, and can power it, then a HD4850 is another three tiers higher.



I don't know what the settings are for those games - it's whatever they automatically set when they were installed and I haven't changed them. Maybe (probably) I'm missing out, but they run very smoothly and look good to me. By way of a benchmark, I think both IL2 1946 and Oblivion look terrific on my machine and I'd be more than happy to get Empire even close to this.

My PSU is an Arctic 700W and I'm pretty sure it has a PCI-E connection, but what is 'Cleeve's chart' ? I tried gogling it and couldn't find anything - do you habe a link?

Also, you seem to be suggesting that I get a graphics card upgrade rather than CPU - is that right?
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a b U Graphics card
March 13, 2009 11:32:01 AM

GPU all the way. Your cpu is adequate, not great, but youll be very surprised using a better card
a c 123 à CPUs
a c 192 U Graphics card
March 13, 2009 7:21:47 PM

Cleeve is the guy that writes the "Best Graphics Card for the Money" article every month. The last page of it has a chart with GPUs arranged in tiers according to their performance. The article for March isn't out yet, but the February one starts at http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gtx-radeon,...
a b U Graphics card
March 13, 2009 11:15:52 PM

^^ What exit2dos said. A 4x PCIe wont give you enough boost, and itll inhibit your thruput so much as to cripple a decent gpu
!