So, I'm getting far more in my tax return than I thought I would. So, I've decided to upgrade this 'old' processor of mine. (Core 2 Duo E8400, overclocked to 4Ghz) I generally only use my computer for a few things: WoW, DVD Shrink, movie playback, Hulu, iTunes, some older games, and web surfing.
I currently have a Radeon 4870X2 video card that's less than a year old. (I bought it with last year's tax return.) I have 2 1TB Seagate hard drives and a 60GB SSD just for WoW. I alos have 8GB of DDR2 memory on my current board. So, the other subsystems don't really need replacing. I suppose alternatives would include dual Velociraptors to make my main drive or a second SSD to run other programs, but those aren't really priority right now.
The big reason I am looking at a CPU upgrade is that I recently overclocked the existing CPU from 3Ghz to 4Ghz, and noticed an increase in my fps while sitting in Dalaran in WoW. It's almost playable. I'm stuck at about 25fps while in highly populated areas. At 3Ghz, I was usually just below 20fps. I was thinking a Core i5 or Core i7 would give me a substantial increase over that and make it better. It would also be nice to get DVD Shrink to work in under 45 minutes to copy a DVD. I don't think anything else I do with the machine would be affected.
I have 4 choices:
$330 - Core 2 Quad Q9650 - should overclock to close the level I'm at now, but have twice as many cores. Could potentially donate the remainder to Haiti relief (I don't like people all that much, and generally don't help them much, but even I feel bad about the situation they are in.)
$607 - Core i5 750 - CPU, MB, and memory - Should overclock to 4Ghz, quad cores, faster at equal clock rates to the Core 2 Quad
$687 - Core i7 860 - CPU, MB, and memory - Should overclock to 4Ghz, quad cores, faster at equal clock rates to the Core 2 Quad, has HyperThreading for 8 logical cores, about equal performance in many things to the Core i5 750, but some things go faster (not sure if WoW is one of them)
$700 - Core i7 920 - CPU, MB, and memory - less memory than the others at 6GB instead of 8GB - Should overclock to 4Ghz, quad cores, faster at equal clock rates to the Core 2 Quad, has HyperThreading for 8 logical cores, has 3 memory channels instead of 2 (WoW is really no faster than on the Core i7 860)
So, I'm torn. I don't know what to do. I could also just save the money, since my current cpu isn't really in need of replacement, but where is the fun in that?
I have found a way to get a Core i7 920 for cheaper than I originally thought, making the package $50 cheaper. It means paying sales tax, but no shipping, so the difference is slightly less than it would have been. This is if the store near me has them in stock when I get the money. If they don't, then I may have to change plans.
This brings the Core i7 860 out of the running in any case. So, now there are 3 choices. The 920 is certainly in the running.
just a lower clocked Core i7 920. (coincidentally, I can get the Core i7 920 just down the street from my apartment for this same price.) (edit: just read up on this chip, and while it is quad core and socket 1366, it does now have hyperthreading. So, not quite in the class of the 920.)
OK. Things have changed. This morning, I put in the 1098-T from my college, and I found my refund went up tremendously. So, I'm going with the Core i7 920 setup, and adding on a RAID of 2X 300GB Velociraptors just to ice the cake. I'm even considering a 5870, if AMD/ATI get this gray bar problem sorted out. (No, I'm not getting a 5970.)
Thanks for the advice, though, and (I never thought I'd say this) thanks President Obama, for the huge tax credit for going back to school. It will be put to good use.