I am wondering if I should just upgrade my graphics card, upgrade my graphics card and get a new core 2 quad processor or get an i5 (or i7) motherboard, ddr3 RAM,and an iwhatever processor. Currently I play games, program, fiddle with some intensive applications, do internet stuff and school work. I am thinking of doing something similar to folding at home, you know, one of the distributing computing deals.
Right now I have:
Core 2 Duo E6600 overclocked to 3.15GHz (FSB at 340MHz)
corsair xms2 ddr2 800MHz (running at 780MHz) 5-5-5-16 timings, 2 1GB sticks and 1 2GB stick
asus p5b deluxe wifi-ap motherboard (cannot support more than 800MHz ram) and cannot do sli or crossfire (2nd pci-e slot limited to 4x)
nvidia 8800gt 512mb
soundblaster audigy 4 non-pro
19" 1280x1024 monitor
I know that the i7 and i5s have a higher bandwidth (up to 25.6 or so GT/s, while the Core 2 Duos have a 10.x or so) and that have a new way to do things that doesn't involve the normal FSB anymore but I don't know if I really need to get an i7 system or not.
I would like to extend the life of my machine (as far as gaming and intensive applications go) for another 2-3 years if possible. I could continue to use my 19 inch but I really want a 25.5" 1920x1200 resolution monitor and would like to play my games on high settings regardless. I know I need a new video card but what I don't know is if I should get a new processor, keep the same one or get an i7 or i5 (or whatever comes after that, it may be a year or so before I do this seeing as how there aren't going to be too many directx 11 games coming out any time soon). I also don't know if I should get faster RAM (only possible by overclocking my current RAM or getting an i5 or i7 motherboard and DDR3) and whether I should hold out for a new card for a little longer. I know the radeon 5870 is out but there has got to be a good card coming cheaper that is directx 11 (and therefore somewhat future-proof as far as directx api goes).
Keep same processor and upgrade video card (1920x1200 monitor high gaming), get a core 2 quad (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) and overclock it to hopefully 3.6Ghz or so (I was able to do 2.4 to 3.15 with the e6600 on air) and get a new video card, or get faster ddr3 ram and i7 (or i5, whichever one is better for the money) a new motherboard and new video card?
I just don't know how much that FSB is limiting me in terms of the CPU bandwidth. This isn;t as critical as games but I would like to have an idea of how the CPU bandwidth would affect a distributed computing deal.
The ati radeon 5870 can play crysis at ~35 frames a second on a 1920x1200 with these specs (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-5870,2422...)
so I am wondering if waiting for the price to drop on that would be a good idea. Or, perhaps I should just wait for the card after that.
I think you really need to settle on what your goals of the computer are. Sounds like its a choice between a new monitor, GPU, and CPU, or old monitor and entire new platform?
If you just want to get 2-3 years out of your system, a C2Q will get you that. Your board can support them with a bios update. The ram speed will effect performance a little, but I'd be hard pressed to justify a platform upgrade based just on the need for a little more ram bandwidth. You should get a new GPU if you do get the new monitor.
The next step is use the link in my sig to add to your thread the info you haven't provided already. Time frame, settle on a goal and budget would help to.
I say do this: Start with your monitor and graphics card. I did this. I had a old CRT 19in and went with a nice new 24in lcd. However my old graphics card (8800GTS 320mb) couldn't handle the high resolution I wanted so I ended up getting a 285GTX OC (pre 5xxx)to meet my demand. A 5870 should be fine for you. This leaves your CPU and FSB as a bottleneck.
This should last you for awhile (1-1.5yrs) before you need to upgrade your core system. By this time prices will have dropped. More i5/i7 will be added to choose from and 4-6gigs of ram with a 64bit WIN 7 can use. WIN XP 32bit can only use up to 2gbs. Upgrading to 4-8gigs is fine if you have 64bit OS already. Other then that save your $$$ that you would normally spend on upgrades (CPU,RAM) and put it towards your core upgrade.
Monitor>Graphics card> Core System (i5/i7, new motherboard, ram, WIN 7)