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Upgrading a gaming system

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March 24, 2010 4:45:02 PM

Hello folks.

I'm currently running the following:

Q6600 G0 stepping @ stock
HD4850 (512MB)
4 gig of DDR2 (Corsair DDR2800 CL5 1.9V, whatever that means)
Asus P5Q-E mobo (P45)

Win 7 64bit
and a couple of SATA hard drives (non-SSD).

I'm starting to feel the age of the system playing BFBC2 (which I understand to be quite CPU-heavy as well as not friendly to ATI cards)

EDIT: I play on a single screen at 1920x1080, forgot to mention that.

As far as I can see, the following options are open to me:

1) Buy a new graphics card:
A second 4850 (which means crossfire, and the 512mb limit may make it a less than stellar performer)
A newer Nvidia card (nothing Dx11 yet)
A newer ATI card (Nvidia Dx11 out soonish, seems a silly time to buy, and the ONLY game I struggle with seems to not like ATI anyway)

2) Upgrade the processor - Probably means either a lot of cash on a relatively small upgrade, or moving to an i5 or i7, meaning a new mobo and RAM.

3) Overclock the q6600

Now firstly, what would yoju all advise me? I'd rather keep any upgrade below £200 (maybe more if it's a mobo/CPU/RAM upgrade at once).

I've never overclocked anything before and am kind of wary about the whole thing. I've mounted a decent aftermarket cooler when I bought the thing because at my previous address the rooms would get extremely hot (like, 32 degrees in winter with windows open hot), so it should have some thermal headroom. I just have no idea where to start, or even if it would be any use. Will my motherboard cope with it? Will my RAM limit it? I'm kinda flailing here.

any help or advice would be thoroughly appreciated.

thanks.
a b B Homebuilt system
March 24, 2010 5:07:53 PM

What type of framerates are you getting now? I have a system under yours, and I average ~50FPS with max settings. I am at 1680x1050 with an 8800GTX. I think your CPU is fine there, especially if you OC it. Mines at 3.42 without a hitch, yours should get there too.

4GB of ram is fine for what you're doing. I have 2 :o 

You need some more GPU with your setup if you feel it's lacking. If you don't want DX11 ( or the price premium) I'd go for the most GTX 2XX you can afford.
March 24, 2010 5:14:44 PM

I'm not getting 50 FPS as an average I don't think, maybe as a max, but I doubt even that. I'm running all on high except bloom (off) HBAO (off) and shadows (low). I'm also trying out forcing DX9 because it helps with the ATI problems (massive load times) until they release a driver fix to sort that out, but that's not a permanent thing.

If you're running at 3.42 and I'm at the stock 2.4 that could explain a lot of the difference, as I hear the game is very CPU reliant (especially for sound processing). Guess it's time to bite the bulet and try the overclocking thing.
Related resources
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
March 24, 2010 5:18:00 PM

I would definitely try overclocking. After all, it's free as you already have the HSF.
a b B Homebuilt system
March 24, 2010 5:25:12 PM

I'd go for it. With a G0, you could likely just put your FSB to 333 and your RAM at 1:1 and see what that gets you. You shouldn't need a voltage increase at that speed, but keep an eye on your temps.
a b B Homebuilt system
March 24, 2010 5:38:32 PM

It's a good guide too. Covers some things other guides don't, like NB temps.
March 25, 2010 10:46:04 AM

Overclocked to 3.0 (333FSB with a x9 multiplier)

Had to up the voltage to over 1.3v which is a shame, but runs very nicely.

thanks all.
March 25, 2010 11:20:34 AM

The HD4850 is certainly the one holding you down on the 1920x1080. Getting a 2nd one should be a cheap option but I read in an old review that putting them in crossfire will cause some glitches and warm up the case.
But this is coming from an year and a half old review and new drivers might have fixed these issues. But then there the problem of availability since I can not find a HD4850 512MB on sale in newegg.

OC the Q6600 is definitely a good idea. Go for it...
a b B Homebuilt system
March 25, 2010 2:29:16 PM

And the cheap G0 thrills begin! I can run mine at 400x8, or 380x9. Over 380x9 my temps get pretty warm, and over 400x8 I run into stability issues.

Since I'm on air, I can't hit it with 1.5 volts like the waterboys can :( 
March 25, 2010 3:37:29 PM

randomkid said:
But then there the problem of availability since I can not find a HD4850 512MB on sale in newegg.


I'm in the uk though.

I checked Novatech, Overclockers and ebuyer and got the following:

£79.67 for a Powercolour HD4850 512 at ebuyer
Novatech don't seem to do the 4850 at all any more
£84 for a "club 3d" HD4850 512 at OCUK
£88 for an XFX HD4850 1024 at OCUK
and oddly
£121 for a Gainward HD4850 512 at OCUK. Must be that TV-out jacking up the price.

I could always ebay it though.
They are listed from about £30 including P+P (ignoring the 99p hopefuls)
March 26, 2010 12:34:53 AM

Oh wow! If you can get the L30 ones then that's a dirt cheap solution to your problem... I would say go for it...
!