Upgrading CPU

Hi
Right now I have a question about upgrading my CPU. Atm I have a (quite old) brisbane 3.1GHz Athlon X2 6000 (which only has 512K L2 per core). I'm pretty sure this is the bottleneck in my system, overclocking my GPU doesn't make games any faster which backs this theory up. I'll give a list of the rest of my hardware anyway so if you know more you can tell me if there's obviously something else that needs upgrading.

Mobo: GIGABYTE M52L-S3 rev2 BIOS: F7
Chipset: nVidia Geforce 6100/nForce 430 (quite crap)
Main HDD with games on it: defragged Maxtor SATA2 250GB HDD
GPU: nVidia Geforce 9800 GT 512MB
4GB DDR2 memory 5-5-5-18 (that's quite slow, isn't it?)
420W PSU Thermaltake

Nothing's overclocked, as it already seems to run quite hot + my mobo is quite crap for overclocking.

What I was thinking of doing is upgrading the CPU to a Phenom II X4 940 Black Edition (later in the year), which I've heard can compete with the mighty i7 CPU in real-world benchmarks (esp. gaming), plus I'd like a quad core CPU to make use of GTA4 properly (right now it runs like sh*t).

Note that I run games on quite a small res, 1440x900, which is slightly less pixels than 1280x1024. So that's why I don't need to waste my money on GTX280s and stuff. I also want to upgrade the CPU for number crunching tasks, such as video encoding, and I use photoshop alot (the main reason I upgraded my memory from 2 to 4GB).

I know that my MoBo supports the 940, as I did a BIOS update last night to make it support it. Well according to GIGABYTE it does anyway (and they should know xD).

So, the question is, should I upgrade to the 940 BE? Should I upgrade at all? Or should I upgrade to something different? I don't want to have to spend over £200 (well, can't).

thanks,
-Fela
12 answers Last reply
More about upgrading
  1. For gaming, a Phenom won't make any noticable difference over what you have now. It will help with Photoshop and encoding, and games that can use more than 2 cores. Yes, the 9800GT is getting a little tired if you are a heavy gamer.
  2. Quote:
    I think that video card is a pretty good match for your setup. Going to a 940 is not going to raise your fps unless you get a faster video card.
    i7 is clearly superior to the 940 by a large margin in gaming or apps.

    However the P2 940 is only $169 right now with newegg promo code EMCLTPL82.


    OK, thanks for replying and reading my long post.

    But apparently GTA4 (a game I like to play rather alot) does benefit from quad cores, and as I see it now it looks like my CPU is the culprit for my low GTA4 framerates.

    Plus, I do other CPU intensive stuff which wouldn't benefit from a good GPU, but a good CPU. So I think it's worth the upgrade? Especially at the price it's at now.

    So you don't think that getting a new CPU would raise the framerate at all in GTA4? It's quite a CPU intensive game. Plus I also sometimes play Flight Simulator X which is also very CPU intensive (think of all those aerodynamic calculations, etc.). I don't think the framerate would be raised at all in Crysis, but that's more GPU intensive. But I'm still inclined to think that it would bring a major performance boost in GTA4.
  3. jitpublisher said:
    For gaming, a Phenom won't make any noticable difference over what you have now. It will help with Photoshop and encoding, and games that can use more than 2 cores. Yes, the 9800GT is getting a little tired if you are a heavy gamer.


    So you don't think that each core in a Phenom II is any better than each core in the AthlonX2 that I have now (brisbane vs. deneb)?
  4. If Rockstar Game's recommended specs are anything to go by, then the CPU should be the bottleneck in my system atm. Recommended specs:
    Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad 2.4Ghz, AMD Phenom X3 2.1Ghz << HERE
    Memory: 2 GB (Windows XP) 2.5 GB (Windows Vista) | I have 4GB, running XP x64
    18 GB Free Hard Drive Space
    Video Card: 512MB NVIDIA 8600 / 512MB ATI 3870 | I have 9800 GT

    The only other explanation about the low frame rate being to do with my video card, is them testing it on a very low resolution for the recommended spec.s (I've heard about dodgy companies doing this before). I know that the NV 8600 is a crap card for games anyway. But as you can see, I really need a new processor to play GTAIV well, and the CPU I'm thinking of has quite alot more power than the one mentioned by Rockstar.
  5. Quote:
    Yes if you play GTA4 or FSX then absolutely a quad core will be an improvement, but then your video card will be the bottleneck.
    For those games, Id recommend a cpu and video upgrade. You would be surprised, 9800GT's are still going for $100 on ebay, sell it and get yourself something like a 4870 1gb or GTX260 216.
    Of course you'll need a new psu as well.


    Unfortunately I don't have the money for a CPU and GPU upgrade (and won't by the end of the year), so what I'll do is this:
    1. Buy PhenomII 940 and have good CPU performance, esp. encoding and the like
    2. When cash supplies have recovered, get a GTX 260 or 280 plus 600W PSU (never ATI as lots of games are optimized for NVIDIA, plus NVIDIA I think is better with Linux).

    And bear in mind that the 9800 GT should be more than enough for GTAIV at medium settings with a decent framerate, provided there's a good CPU, it's not as if I'm running a fancy resolution or anything, just 1440x900. I think your recommendation for the GTX260 is for if I run games at resolutions like 1680x1050, or even 1920x1200. Is that right?
  6. Double post, ignore
  7. Quote:
    A 9800GT is just a 8800GT, which is quite old for newer games. The best bang for the buck is the HD4850, never goes above 55c, love mine. (had 9800GT, ran 85c)
    There are just as many games that run better on ATI cards as their is games that run better on Nvidia cards.


    Yes, I knew that the 9800gt was a rebranded 8800gt. I knew that when I bought it. The thing is, the games I play (alot of them) ARE optimised for nvidia GPUs, and nvidia works better with Linux, something that is a must as I run linux on my PC. And where do you get your figures? When I bought my GPU the 4850 was about £20 more than the 9800gt but the performance was only slightly better in benchmarks. Less than 20% anyway. I'ma stick with my 9800gt for now, it's fine enough for my 1440x900 resolution. And don't think I'm only getting this CPU upgrade for gaming. That's a secondary reason. The main reason is pure number crunching, and being able to use my computer more responsively, especially when video editing. Think of all those times you need to render and re-render each clip when you make changes.

    Plus if I upgraded my GPU I'd want to get something substantially better, and I've only had my GPU for a few months. I'm not made of money! When I do upgrade, probably next year, I'll most likely get a GTX280 or something similar.
  8. Ok i was in the same boat as you milord ;)


    Last RIG

    E6850 @ 3.6ghz
    P5Q
    9800GTX+
    4go G-skill @ 800mhz 4-4-4-12
    PC P&C 750w

    Cant use the HIGH setting cause of the 512mb GPU limitation. FPS was good @ 1650x1080 but i wanted to use the HIGH settings.

    Firstly upgraded to a GTX285 ( 1go ) to be able to use the HIGH settings and i was fully satisfied. FPS was really better and game was so beautyfull.

    2 weeks later the Q9550 was in sale at NCIX ( canada ).... i buyed one ;) the Quad helped the FPS quite a bit too but not as the GTX285 had. But the GTX285+Q9550 run GTA4 like a charm.

    If you really like this badly optimized game that i like too ... youll have to upgrade BOTH to have nice and sweet FPS with really nice CANDY look.

    BOTH can help ... but i think the GPU can help most of the 2.
  9. for value its hard to go past the X3 720 be

    It will be a huge improvement over the brisbane in multitasking and should help with complex games too .
  10. +1 for this cheap X3 ! :D
  11. I was thinking of the 720 X3, but I've decided with the 940 (it's got one more core and a higher clock speed). Before you tell me I can overclock it, I don't want to as the room that I keep my computer (bedroom) gets quite hot especially in summer time. I'll only consider overclocking if I get something like THIS (click).

    And btw @boulard83: I run at a considerably lower resolution than you, and I don't mind medium settings either (as long as the draw distance is reasonable and the shadows don't look like s**t).

    PLUS: Why does everyone think I'm only getting this CPU for gaming?!?!?! Lol.is this a gaming only forum or something?
  12. Quote:
    Quote:
    PLUS: Why does everyone think I'm only getting this CPU for gaming?!?!?! Lol.is this a gaming only forum or something?


    Well look at your own words below. Still wonder why we think your getting the cpu mainly for gaming?


    Quote:
    The only other explanation about the low frame rate being to do with my video card, is them testing it on a very low resolution for the recommended spec.s (I've heard about dodgy companies doing this before). I know that the NV 8600 is a crap card for games anyway. But as you can see, I really need a new processor to play GTAIV well, and the CPU I'm thinking of has quite alot more power than the one mentioned by Rockstar.


    Quote:
    What I was thinking of doing is upgrading the CPU to a Phenom II X4 940 Black Edition (later in the year), which I've heard can compete with the mighty i7 CPU in real-world benchmarks (esp. gaming), plus I'd like a quad core CPU to make use of GTA4 properly (right now it runs like sh*t).


    Quote:
    But apparently GTA4 (a game I like to play rather alot) does benefit from quad cores, and as I see it now it looks like my CPU is the culprit for my low GTA4 framerates.


    Quote:
    So you don't think that getting a new CPU would raise the framerate at all in GTA4? It's quite a CPU intensive game. Plus I also sometimes play Flight Simulator X which is also very CPU intensive (think of all those aerodynamic calculations, etc.). I don't think the framerate would be raised at all in Crysis, but that's more GPU intensive. But I'm still inclined to think that it would bring a major performance boost in GTA4.


    Quote:
    And bear in mind that the 9800 GT should be more than enough for GTAIV at medium settings with a decent framerate, provided there's a good CPU, it's not as if I'm running a fancy resolution or anything, just 1440x900. I think your recommendation for the GTX260 is for if I run games at resolutions like 1680x1050, or even 1920x1200. Is that right?


    Well in those posts I was talking about gaming. But I'm not just getting the CPU for gaming. :pt1cable:
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