First off, I want to thank you guys. I've been following advice from these forums in building my cheap little gaming PC. I wonder if you could spare some more advice?
I'm running a Sapphire HD 6870 with a core i3 2100. I understand that the CPU is a dead end for OCing, but I've heard good things about tweaking the 6870, I just don't know if there is any point. Would the i3 choke the performance or is there still some extra to be had?
I will be putting together a cooling system in the next few weeks and upgrading my CPU sometime over the next year (hopefully i7 in the summer/autumn) but, until then, could this give me the boost I crave?
Well with that i3 the 6870 is going to bottle necked even without an overclock. It's not completely Hopeless for Overclocking that i3. The more you overclock the i3 the better performance you'll get overall. Just remember to keep it cool.
Try getting an aftermarket cooler for both of those and then overclock them. Remember to check your temps.
As I said, I'm going to be building a water cooling case soon to both future proof my system for when I can afford bigger hardware and to get rid of the fan noise 'cos it's doing my head in. Once I get the trial and error phase out of the way (using my old and now unused PC) cooling should not be an issue.
From what I have read about the i3, you can only overclock a very small amount (I think someone in another thread here said something about 5% performance increase) and even then it can be risky. I'd really rather not fry my CPU or anything else for that small of an increase. It doesn't help that I'm running it all on a cheapy motherboard that was only meant to be a stopgap until I get the i7, when I'll be upgrading it as well.
Are you sure the i3 is choking the HD 6870 as it is? I've read in a few places, the Tom's Harware forums being one of them, that the i3 wouldn't bottleneck my performance. It was the reason I decided to go with a better GPU and the cheaper i3 in the first place. Any idea on just how much performance I'm losing out on with that set-up?
To be fair, the i3 isn't a true quad core, but with the hyperthreading it might as well be. I know that oc'ing will always help, but as I said my motherboard sucks so there is no hope of even getting the small amount possible from the CPU and as such I wasn't going to bother trying.
It was really just the GPU I was looking about as I didn't know if there was any point or not, so thanks for letting me know that it won't be completely pointless.
I figured the previous post was wrong, but I'll admit it had me a bit flumoxed as I'm still new to this carry on. The fact it went against pretty much everything I had read from other sources had me very confused.
Just while we're here, would you have any suggestions on a program to monitor GPU temps and to do the oc'ing?
Thanks again for the input and help, it's much appreciated.
I have the exact same setup as you and the i3 Does bottleneck the HD6870 a bit. In quite alot of games I can have all the GPU intensive settings all the way up, post processing, shaders, resolution and AA. But I can never have shadows on full, they always have to be on medium , never high. Also on games when looking over a huge city or anything my fps drops due to cpu lagging, on assassins creed when im somewhere high up the fps goes down, i made sure it was the CPU by dropping the resolution right down, still had the same problem. But theres not much point overclocking the HD6870 unless your playing something like crysis, you will get a bit of a boost in performance. I'm saving up for a new i5 this should stop the bottlenecking