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Upgrading Computer CPU vs Video Card

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November 21, 2010 6:32:44 PM

So I'm wanting to upgrade my computer and I'm curious as to which would help my performance the most:

Currently I have a Q6600 @ 2.40 GHz as my CPU (LGA775 chipset) and my Video Card is a Nvidia 8800 GTX

My main purpose is for gaming and I don't think I can afford to upgrade both components at the same time, so I'm wanting to figure out which to do first.

For the video card, I'd like to get the GTX 460 and as for the CPU, it's a little hard to figure out what a good upgrade would be, but I was looking at this one:

http://www.xpcgear.com/intel-core-2-q9650.html

Perhaps there's a more economical one to get?

Any recommendations would be great.
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November 21, 2010 6:49:42 PM

Please save your money for a new build..With $332,I think you should be looking for the next build..
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November 21, 2010 7:08:20 PM

Hi chase1971, Welcome to THW.

That chip is too pricy to compete with todays available CPU options, and you are going to spend alot to get a little back. Here is a benchmark comparison of the two chips you selected: Q6600 vs. Q9650

If you wait and save a little more for a new Mobo, CPU, and RAM, there are several advantages for you, $500 will build you a VERY nice i5-760 machine(GPU not included) that can last you several years into the future rather than a $332 CPU upgrade that will give you a minimal performance increase.

1. Your money will buy you far greater price : performance ratio than that upgrade will.

2. Wait to the GPU last, your current card should be ok to run most games at some nice settings. You will also benifit from AMD vs. Nvidia prices wars when the newer models come out over the next few months

3. The new CPU's and Mobo's coming out also in the next few months will also help you save $ on the last generation of i3, i5, and i7's.

I am not trying to complicate things for you or go against what you want to do, I just wanted to show that thier is better options availible to you. :)  I hope that helps.
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a b U Graphics card
November 21, 2010 7:26:57 PM

Personally I would say buy the new GPU now, it'll help gaming a lot more than that highly over priced Core2Quad. Then save up for a platform change, socket 775 is dead.
November 21, 2010 7:40:21 PM

Thanks for the info, I will probably just went up waiting on upgrading the CPU then and perhaps wait for the next line of GPUs to come out so the price will drop on what I currently want.

My mobo currently supports DDR2 ram, is that now "out of date" as well? I currently have 3GB at 400MHz (or 800 depending on how you look at it)... I can upgrade to 8GB but again, I don't know if it's worth it or how much improvement I could gain from it.

Again thanks for the help. I'm pretty tech savvy but once I get a new computer I'll stop reading up on the newest tech and everything changes within 2 years!
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November 21, 2010 8:12:07 PM

Yes DDR2 is technically outdated and replaced by DDR3, that does not mean that it performs poorly though. You usally want to upgrade in pairs of RAM sticks I dont know what the arrangement you have is probably 2x512mb + 2x1GB? You could add two more 1GB sticks and take out the 2x512mb sticks, but the replacements must be the same as the others(speed,timings,voltage) I dont think that this will give the added performance you are probably looking for. I would say hold out on any upgrade like in my previous post if that is possible for you to do, that way you can spend your $ on all new parts, rather that old tech.

Are you having trouble gaming now with your current setup? Or did you just decide now was the time for you to do an upgrade?
November 22, 2010 12:43:29 AM

Not having trouble yet, but I've noticed a bit of slow down on some newer games and thought to look into upgrading just to keep my core computer intact for another year without a complete rebuild. But it doesn't appear worth it...

I'll probably just upgrade my video card if I do anything and wait. Thanks for the recommendations! That'll save me some money
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a b U Graphics card
November 22, 2010 12:55:29 AM

thechief73 said:
Yes DDR2 is technically outdated and replaced by DDR3, that does not mean that it performs poorly though. You usally want to upgrade in pairs of RAM sticks I dont know what the arrangement you have is probably 2x512mb + 2x1GB? You could add two more 1GB sticks and take out the 2x512mb sticks, but the replacements must be the same as the others(speed,timings,voltage) I dont think that this will give the added performance you are probably looking for. I would say hold out on any upgrade like in my previous post if that is possible for you to do, that way you can spend your $ on all new parts, rather that old tech.

Are you having trouble gaming now with your current setup? Or did you just decide now was the time for you to do an upgrade?


Well if memory severs correct (i been out of the ddr3/ddr2 loop for a while now) ,With ddr3 having such a high cas that a DDR3 1600MHz ram with average Cas 9, could feel like just like Cas 6 DDR2 800MHz ram.

Just becuase of the cas, they feel about the same performance than DDR3 being faster.

(Idk, maybe this is old info in my head that i need to throw into the trash can. now were that delete button? :lol:  )
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November 22, 2010 1:26:51 AM

I belive there is not a direct comparison across CAS timings with DDR2/DDR3 RAM due to the speeds, I just read about this a week or so ago, I'll try to find the article.

[UPDATE] - Here it is, on Wiki: CAS latency
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a b U Graphics card
November 22, 2010 1:52:30 AM

thechief73 said:
I belive there is not a direct comparison across CAS timings with DDR2/DDR3 RAM due to the speeds, I just read about this a week or so ago, I'll try to find the article.


Like said, i know what i said is old but i know it was big topic on these forums a long while back. Dont think you where around on toms yet when we were discussing about it as i do believe the LGA 775 cpu's and Am2+ cpu's (excluding the core i7 920's and above) were still the norm.
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a c 164 U Graphics card
November 22, 2010 3:15:55 AM

Upgrade the GPU and OC the CPU to 3.0GHz+. Should be fine until you can save up the $$$ and get the new CPU/board/ram.
!