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Is it time to upgrade my E8400?

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August 28, 2010 8:23:26 PM

Hey everyone, I could use some advice. I have had my E8400 3Ghz for about 18 months now, and I am seeing a lot of deals for the new i5 and i7 processors (particularly in the Frys ad). I am not a gamer, but I like having a fast machine. I mainly use my computer for internet (I usually have about 15 Firefox windows open all the time), Photoshop, and watching movies. I would need a new motherboard, processor and memory (probably around $600-$700 in total). I do play games occasionally, but they are usually 2-3+ years old. I also never overclock because I haven't needed to and I don't want to deal with the heat issues.

My question is, are the new processors really fast enough to make the upgrade worth it, or should I wait for another generation or two? (ie. if it would be like a 20% increase, it's probably not worth it, but if it would be 2x / 3x faster, it would be). Particularly I'm considering processors like the i5 760 or the i7 860. Also, for what I use it for, would I be better off with a dual core or a quad core? Any advice would be appreciated.

Current System:
E8400 3Ghz Core 2 Duo
Abit IP35 Pro
ATI Radeon HD 4600 1Ghz
3GB RAM

More about : time upgrade e8400

August 28, 2010 8:40:42 PM

For your PC uses I would say more RAM will gain you more practical performance then any platform upgrade. FF is a memory hog and Photoshop isn't a leader in 64bit or multithread support. Right now your higher clocked e8400 is more then enough for what you do with your PC. Until Adobe makes major improvements to it's line of products I don't think there is any incentive to stepping up to a quad core if that is the most intensive software you use (unless your using after effects or premier which do take advantage of multithreading and 64bit).
a c 159 à CPUs
August 28, 2010 8:45:15 PM

I went from an e3300 celeron dual core to i3 530 just for the free motherboard. But frys has suspended the free board with cpu (after rebate). I don't notice any difference in real performance when I had the 3300 overclocked at 3.0 (versus 2.93 for the i3). I had to stop overclocking to prevent my ssd from failing. Lost two of them in 2 months.
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a b à CPUs
August 28, 2010 9:49:25 PM

u can easily get your cpu at 3.6 without any voltage or temp increase, just up the FSB at 400. that cpu is a beast, it will give u another good year of use. for your needs, your rig is just fine. if u upgrade, get a new gpu.
a c 105 à CPUs
August 28, 2010 10:15:22 PM

phobia42 said:
Hey everyone, I could use some advice. I have had my E8400 3Ghz for about 18 months now, and I am seeing a lot of deals for the new i5 and i7 processors (particularly in the Frys ad). I am not a gamer, but I like having a fast machine. I mainly use my computer for internet (I usually have about 15 Firefox windows open all the time), Photoshop, and watching movies. I would need a new motherboard, processor and memory (probably around $600-$700 in total). I do play games occasionally, but they are usually 2-3+ years old. I also never overclock because I haven't needed to and I don't want to deal with the heat issues.

My question is, are the new processors really fast enough to make the upgrade worth it, or should I wait for another generation or two? (ie. if it would be like a 20% increase, it's probably not worth it, but if it would be 2x / 3x faster, it would be). Particularly I'm considering processors like the i5 760 or the i7 860. Also, for what I use it for, would I be better off with a dual core or a quad core? Any advice would be appreciated.

Current System:
E8400 3Ghz Core 2 Duo
Abit IP35 Pro
ATI Radeon HD 4600 1Ghz
3GB RAM


for web browsing, DVD playback, and even photoshop you would not see any real world difference. Your current CPU is more then enough for all those activities.
August 29, 2010 12:55:22 AM

You really don't need a new CPU. I use an E7500 for gaming and it's perfectly fine. You should upgrade your GPU and RAM for better performance, though.
a b à CPUs
August 29, 2010 1:04:58 AM

I agree- your current CPU is fine. You could easily get 20% more speed out of the CPU if you wanted. Regarding heat issues- I'm assuming you have the stock CPU cooler. I have done this exact experiment myself- you can put a good aftermarket cooler on your CPU, overclock it 20%, and it will run COOLER than it will run at stock speeds with the stock CPU cooler.
August 29, 2010 4:07:12 AM

Sounds like you guys are right, my current CPU is probably fine for at least another year. I might look into the better cooler though, maybe that will let me dabble in at least a little bit of overclocking (as long as I don't start getting BSODs). It seems a shame to spend over $100 to change out my ram without it being part of a bigger upgrade though. I would hope that with Windows XP, 3 GB should be enough to at least not be causing a big bottle neck.

I'm curious about the video card though. I recently looked into upgrading it, and it appeared to me that it was still a pretty good card. Is it really that outdated? Would it make much of a difference for anything except the latest and greatest games (which I rarely have time to play)? What cards would you guys recommend for less than $200?

Also, what cooler would you recommend for my motherboard (LGA 775 chipset)? Thanks again for all the advice and good info.
August 29, 2010 4:16:16 AM

Update: Ok, I just checked and I was wrong. I don't have a stock cooler, I actually bought a "MASSCOOL 8WA741 92mm Ball CPU Cooler" (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) with Arctic Silver thermal grease. Any suggestions on how much I could safely OC this thing without getting any instability? I'm not looking to push the limits or anything.

Also any suggestions on good software for monitoring the CPU to make sure it isn't overheating?
August 29, 2010 4:45:27 AM

I just downloaded a program to tell me more about my computer, and I have some updates. My Video card is specifically a Radeon HD 4670, but it's idling at 60 C, which I think is high. I have like 7 fans in my case, but I also have 4 hard drives, so maybe I need to look into better cooling.

Also, my memory appears to be "Patriot Viper 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model PVS24G6400LLK" (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) with 5-5-5-12 timings at 400 Mhz. I don't think my board supports more than 4GB of RAM, and I'm pretty sure Windows XP doesn't anyways. Maybe that's a bigger bottleneck than I thought, would faster memory make a noticeable difference? Should I try overclocking it at all? Thanks.
a b à CPUs
September 2, 2010 5:48:52 AM

You do not need to change any of the parts you mentioned. No new cpu,ram,gpu or overclock. There is no need what so ever for you to do so. You said so yourself. You haven't overclocked because you did not need to.....

There is only ONE logical upgrade for you if you decide to upgrade. And that is a SSD to use a boot drive. That is only thing hardware wise that will have a noticeable difference. I would hold out until the new 25nm drives so up this year and pick one of those up. Anything else is just a waste for you.
a c 81 à CPUs
September 2, 2010 6:24:19 AM

Your board will surely support upto 8GB of memory.. I guess you are using a 32 bit OS which, doesn't matter if XP or vista or any other OS, will not exceed support for more than 3.5GB of memory.. Move on to windows 7 64 bit.. You've all proper hardware to run that OS so nothing to worry about..
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