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Worth upgrading my PC? If so most bang for my buck...

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March 31, 2010 7:37:36 PM

Would I see a substantial performance increase upgrading my PC? If so what parts would give me the most bang for my buck... I play PC games and do alot of media/HD streaming to my PS3. Budget would be around 500.00 (maybe more still debating on Ipad hehe).

Current setup...

Intel Core 2 Duo E6420 Conroe 2.13GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80557E6420 - Retail

GIGABYTE GA-965P-S3 LGA 775 Intel P965 Express ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 CAC-T05-UW Black Aluminum Bezel , SECC Chassis ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

Antec SmartPower 2.0 SP-500 500W ATX12V SLI Ready Modular Power Supply - Retail

G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-2GBNQ - Retail

Microsoft Windows Vista 64-Bit Home Premium for System Builders Single Pack DVD - OEM

EVGA 768-P2-N831-AR GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB 384-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI
a b à CPUs
March 31, 2010 7:56:52 PM

For around $500 you could upgrade to a PII 955, AM3 motherboard, 4GB of DDR3, and an HD 5770. This would be a noticeable increase. You could also sink the money into a faster LGA 775 chip, some more ddr2 ram and a better gpu, but I would suggest against it because you are putting a lot of money into a dead socket and ddr2 ram.
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March 31, 2010 8:03:02 PM

Much the same opinion as Llama there,
however if you do go for an i[ad and have less cash to spend on upgrades then another 2gb ram and a 5770/5850 would be a good step forward. also the graphics card could be used in another system down the line.
while 2gb ram wont be usable in a new system (ddr2 vs dd3) it shouldnt cost you much at all.
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March 31, 2010 8:08:33 PM

So upgrading the mobo,ram and chip would be a bigger benefit than a GFX card,even in games? Also,what % of an increase would you say (guestimating of course).
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a b à CPUs
March 31, 2010 8:09:48 PM

I reckon you could:
Upgrade your Intel Core 2 Duo E6420 Conroe 2.13GHz to either a Core 2 Quad Q6600 or Q6700 Kentsfield at 2.4Ghz or 2.66Ghz, which needs requires your motherboard BIOS to be flashed, but, the extra two cores and higher clock speed will help, especially if you're willing to buy an aftermarket cooler, you can overclock it to get more performance out of it. You'll have to buy it off eBay or some aucttion site though. It costs around $100-250, depending on your luck. Make sure you get the G0 stepping though.

Also, adding another two sticks of the same 1GB RAM could help, then you'd have 4GB instead of 2GB, otherwise you could just sell your current two sticks and buy a 4GB 2x2GB kit. Adding another two sticks would cost like $50-60, a full 4GB 2x2GB kit would cost like $100 or so.

As for the graphics card - the GeForce 8800GTX is still a good card in my opinion, can still max many games. If you're looking to upgrade your graphics card though, an HD 5770 would do nicely, or HD5830 if you wanted. and the price of an HD 5770 ranges from $140-$170. an HD5830 would cost $240 or so.

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a b à CPUs
March 31, 2010 8:46:18 PM

Lmeow said:
I reckon you could:
Upgrade your Intel Core 2 Duo E6420 Conroe 2.13GHz to either a Core 2 Quad Q6600 or Q6700 Kentsfield at 2.4Ghz or 2.66Ghz, which needs requires your motherboard BIOS to be flashed, but, the extra two cores and higher clock speed will help, especially if you're willing to buy an aftermarket cooler, you can overclock it to get more performance out of it. You'll have to buy it off eBay or some aucttion site though. It costs around $100-250, depending on your luck. Make sure you get the G0 stepping though.

Also, adding another two sticks of the same 1GB RAM could help, then you'd have 4GB instead of 2GB, otherwise you could just sell your current two sticks and buy a 4GB 2x2GB kit. Adding another two sticks would cost like $50-60, a full 4GB 2x2GB kit would cost like $100 or so.

As for the graphics card - the GeForce 8800GTX is still a good card in my opinion, can still max many games. If you're looking to upgrade your graphics card though, an HD 5770 would do nicely, or HD5830 if you wanted. and the price of an HD 5770 ranges from $140-$170. an HD5830 would cost $240 or so.


The Q6700 performs very close to the 630 Propus which only cost $99 retail not used. If you can get the Q6700 for very cheap then it would be ok, but for $250 you could have higher performance. As for the gpu I would skip the HD 5830 considering it performs much closer to the HD 5770 then the HD 5850. A pair of HD 5770 will outperform a single HD 5850 and will cost about the same.
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a b à CPUs
March 31, 2010 8:50:14 PM

The best bang for your buck is a Q6600 + aftermarket heatsink(if you don't already have one) + OC + 5850. <-- period

The Q6600 is still awesome for gaming if you OC it to 3ghz+ which should be easy. A 5850 doesn't need much CPU power to back it in gaming. In other words with Phenom II or even i7 you'd likely see no difference (assuming the Q6600 is OCed to 3.0+).

Another 2GB of RAM as mentioned will help you out as well in 64bit vista.

If your mobo is revision 3.3 it looks like there might be some 'unofficial' bios that allow 45nm quads. One of those would do ya one better.

And you don't want my opinion on the ipad. :) 
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a c 143 à CPUs
March 31, 2010 9:11:23 PM

That's an ancient Antec PSU; I'm not sure I'd trust it at the top of its range. Some of them I believe were the ones that had bad capacitor issues and gave Antec a black eye.
I don't think you should spend too much to improve what you have. Another 2GB of RAM might help, but would be DDR2 and not reusable later. About the only exception would be a new GPU. Get a HD5770. See how much improvement you get; let the results guide your next move. It won't be money wasted. I'm inclined to think building new will end up being your best choice. You might not get much for it, but your old rig could be sold intact (or given to a friend / relative).
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