I upgraded my video card to a Radeon HD4670, which is working great.
I have a very limited budget, and since many newer games seem to require processors in the 2.x range, I'm trying to see if I can do that. Since I have a uBTX case, upgrading my motherboard will require upgrading the case/PSU/etc. So anyway, it looks like this is the list of processors that will work with my motherboard (The ICHDH8 section is the lower quarter of the list). http://ark.intel.com/chipset.aspx?familyID=22754
The E6700 which is the fastest direct upgrade from my E6300 is $200+, which seems like a ripoff considering you can get a much newer CPU/mobo combo for that price.
The E6600 is $130-140+, which would bump me from 1.86 to 2.4 GHz. Will this give me a significant performance boost?
The Q6600 apparently works too, but it's also $200+. I'm hoping to spend less than this.
A Celeron D 356 is cheap ($50?) and gives me 3.33 GHz, but it's single core, has half the FSB, and half the cache (one quarter that of the E6600). Would this even be an upgrade?
Advice is appreciated. Would I be better off saving $500 for a barebones kit? I'm mainly interested in being able to play games at decent framerates. To me it looks like the E6600 would be the most economical upgrade, I'm just worried that it wouldn't be much of an upgrade.
Oh ok, probably a locked BIOS because of OEM PC... my recommendation would be to just save up and get a new build in few months... you can get something nice for around 400 tbh, since you can reuse case, psu, hdd and GPU... 100 for ram, 80 for mobo, 100$ for CPU, and you have a build that kicks your current one to the ground
He can't reuse the case/psu unless he buys another BTX (which doesn't make very much sense at all), so when he upgrades, he'll need to upgrade the whole thing at once.
The good news is you're likely misinterpreting the game requirements (actually the requirements are poorly outlined). Your core 2 @ 1.8 is equivalent to a Pentium D @ 3.6, so when a game says it requires a 2 GHz cpu (unless otherwise specified) it usually requires the equivalent of a 2 GHz Pentium 4, which is considerably slower than what you have.
My recommendation is to save up, but you shouldn't be in too much of a hurry, as most games should run on your machine (albeit with medium quality), and your gpu is a perfect match for your cpu in terms of a balance system.
^That looks fine except for the psu. I recommend you spend a little extra for a quality PSU (Antec Earthwatts, Corsair, PC Power & Cooling--if you can find one, OCZ, Seasonic, to name a few good brands) as the quality of the PSU will determine the overall stability and usually the longevity of your machine.
The Core i3s are significantly faster than Core 2's on a clock per clock basis, and the i3 you listed is more than 1 GHz faster than your Core 2.