Which gives more bang for my bucks?

Hello,I have an LGA775 Asus P5G41-m LE w/E2160 dual core and 2 Gb ddr2 ram. Wondering if more ram (2 x 2gbs) or faster CPU (E6700) would be best for games? Or add a GPU card? Thanks for any help. Tradevman
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More about which bang bucks
  1. If you do not have a video card already then surely a dedicated GPU will fetch you significant gaming benefits.. However, your CPU is weak and you'd either require to overclock it significantly or get a better CPU to extract full performance out of your video card.. Btw, which games do you play and/or intent on playing and at what resolution(s).?
  2. * Edit: Until I saw Emperus' response I overlooked the question of a GPU so my new, much shorter response is below. *

    Hi Tradevman,

    Your P5G41 has onboard of Intel GMA X4500. According to the Tom's Hardware November 2010 Graphic Card chart it is about where a nVidia 6200 is. In that case, using Newegg for pricing, you can get Radeon HD 4650 for under $60 with a rebate. Ignore PowerColor and get an XFX, Gigabyte or Sapphire made board.

    Without upgrading and overclocking the CPU I feel any more expensive video card would be a waste.

    Good luck, :)

  3. Indeed, it makes sense to upgrade the GPU.

    Anything modern such as a GTS 450, HD 5750, HD 5770 are the sweet spots, although the HD 5670 and HD 5750 are only really the only GPUs you should buy that don't bottleneck the CPU.
  4. OK, but if I upgrade the CPU to (E6700) 3.2gz couldn't I then go to a"modern" GPU without causing a "bottleneck"?
    Not sure how do you recognize a bottleneck?
  5. There is no existing E6700 with 3.2 GHz stock clock speed.. The E6700 does exist with 2.66 GHz stock clock rate and can overclock to above levels easily.. However, I do not see it as an upgrade unless you are getting it for a very low bargain price..
  6. Tradevman said:
    OK, but if I upgrade the CPU to (E6700) 3.2gz couldn't I then go to a"modern" GPU without causing a "bottleneck"?
    Not sure how do you recognize a bottleneck?

    Well, a bottleneck is characterised by an uneven increase in the performance of only one part of a computer, which holds back the scaling of performance in general.

    Say your computer is an oil refinery, the pipeline towards the refinery is the CPU and the refinery itself is the GPU. If you increase the refinery to the biggest refinery ever, but kept the pipes the same, the refined oil output would not increase significantly.

    Likewise, choosing a faster processor would not actually result in a notable performance increase.
  7. Bear with me, I haven't built a new system for 6 years..just kept upgrading my old Asus P4P800 2.8 GHz.

    Got an HP pavillion with a bad Foxconn type mobo and did not want to put alot of $$ into the LGA775 so turned to Toms for some learned advice.

    Maybe that Wolfdale E6700 isn't worth putting in this new Asus mobo unless I up the ram from 2 gig to 4 gig? (Was going to try to get back to some FPS games....not into casting spells.)

    I know what a bottleneck is, just not how I'd see it on the computer without running some kind of diags, unless the video hangs.

    So right now I'm trying to see where to spend the $$? CPU or Ram or GPU ???
  8. Emperus, is $82 a bargain for the E6700 core 2 dual CPU?
  9. 82$ sounds like a good deal.. Though personally, i'll be happy to get it for around 70..
  10. So I guess the addition of the faster CPU will be followed by more ram, then a pcie 1 x 16 GPU.
    All for less than the cost of this years new processor? Will let you know if it all works.
  11. Hi Tradevman,

    If you want the most bang for your buck with no overclocking and want to see an increase in games get the video card.

    I feel, quite confidently, that your upgrades should go 1) video card 2) 2MB Processor 3) RAM (but only to support the processor)

    I have a Gigabyte mobo, E2200 (1MB 2.2Ghz 800FSB Wolfdale) and 2GB (2x1 GB) Crucial 800 MHz DDR2 RAM and a nVidia GTS 250. I overclock so my RAM is running at almost 900 and my CPU at 3.1GHz. I play CoD4, AA3 (highest settings) and BioShock (medium quality). My next upgrade would definitely be the E5500 because the 2MB cache should add 5-10% more frame rates in my games. None of my games take more than 1GB of RAM so I am fine with 2GB.

    My buddy has a Costco bought PC with 8GB RAM and 3GHz Quadcore AMD. He only had onboard graphics. He ended up getting a Radeon 5570 and when he turned on BorderLands he literally blurted "Oh my God!" as his system, which has the RAM and GHz, could not play it on high settings. He was amazed at how good it looked.

    Please consider getting a $60-$80 video card first.


  12. Thanks Adrian, I'll look into that. Just wasn't sure if the processor (1.8ghz) would dictate my GPU type upgrade. Which was why I was leaning towards a faster CPU.
  13. well, right now your graphics are holding more you back than CPU.
  14. On the LGA775 platform a decent quad core would be considered a decent upgrade, otherwise most other choices would be... what i would call horizontal shift rather than vertical growth. Consider the Q9550. Its a great CPU. Provided your motherboard supports it.
  15. Get a new cpu, cheap effective models would be anything like an i5. As for the card get a PSU upgrade and consider yourself an HD 5770 :).
  16. I know my mobo will support the Q8300 but it's almost twice the price as the Wolfdale E6700.
    Too bad this Asus board does not O.C. as well as some others. (I wonder if Newegg would exchange it after 3 weeks?)
  17. malmental, you're putting me on the spot! I've found a deal on a q8300 for $120 but will run out of money for the memory upgrade.
    So am considering the cooler running (65w) core 2 duo (E7500) for less $$.
    Would consider getting the OEM versions but the cost of a fan just bumps up the $$.
    Any last minute suggestions? Will have to save for a better GPU after the holidays.
  18. You cannot expect a mid range dual core to be close in pricing to the mid the quad core. E7500 is a great processor but still is only two cores. Some games like the Arma II, GTA IV which are woefully coded do benefit from a quad core. Man, my PC didn't even run Arma II! And i have a top line dual core, the E8400. :(
  19. @hell_storm2004 - Are you sure.? Coz I finished playing Arma II with by E6750.. And I do realise that the E8400 is a better processor.. I played GTA IV and Episodes from liberty city also without much problem.. Only SC2 gave me little worries..
  20. Yeah, it crashed as soon as the game loaded. I had to OC it to 3.6GHz to make it run. At stock it was a no go. Not to mention i had all details in high. I expected some lag even at 1280x768 resolution. I have a HD4850 which is enough for a 17 inch monitor. But... i didn't even take off.

    Even the Arma II website suggests a quad core is the recommended and dual core as the minimum. :(
  21. Hi Tradevman,

    I'm getting the feeling that we haven't answered your question(s) or even had anything close to consensus.

    So, will you please answer the questions below so we are all one the same page? :)

    * Are you playing any games currently? If so, which games? Of those games, are they playing poorly, average, good in terms of quality?

    * Are you looking for a way to maximize your gaming experience with no more than $80 being spent?

    * Are you willing to overclock the CPU?

    * How will you tell if the upgrade worked? Will games look prettier? Run smoother? I assume your logic would say that if a Q8300 showed an in game improvement of 5 FPS but a $100 video card showed an in game improvement of 10FPS you would consider the video card the Best Bang for the Buck of the two because we are, if the driving force is playing games, only considering gaming and not database work, Super Pi, etc.

    * Your current system, which is a constraint to this discussion is a Asus P5G41-m LE with a Intel E2160 (Dual Core, 1.8GHz, 1MB L2 Cache, 9x multiplier, 800 FSB) and 2 GB of DDR2 Ram?

    * So far, what are you considering spending your money on? CPU, RAM or Video Card?


  22. Hi Adrian, I'm not playing anything on the new build yet but would be looking at Halo, FarCry and Left4Dead type games.

    Yes, maximize gaming for about $100 or so.

    Will O.C. but have never tried it. Heard the Asus is not that good at it.

    Well said re: my upgrade wishes.

    New system being built is the Asus but I currently play with two working P4 systems. 1. A home built 2.8GHZ, 200 FSB, 1 Gb ram on an Asus p4p800 deluxe mobo. And 2. A stock HP Pavilion a815n 3.06GHZ, 800 FSB, 2 Gb ram.
    Main monitor is Samsung SyncMaster 2233sw

    This new system was another HP Pavilion (a6403) given to me dead to repair or salvage. I probably should have bought a better mobo to OC but l have always had good luck with Asus brand boards.

    So to get to your last point, I was leaning towards the CPU first, then 2 X 2GB DDR2 and then later, some kind of PCIe GPU. But this is why I've come to this forum for advice from those who've gone thru all this. THANKS!
  23. Malmental, I've re-thought the budget and should increase it another $100 or so. The deals I found were only good until 12/13/2010. But I'm sure there will be others and like I posted already, this build is use yet. So the budget will be about $250. OK?
  24. Mal,
    Like the choice of the E7500.
    But will the PCIe 2.0 x16 run on my Asus P5G41-M LE/CSM mobo ? It says it takes a 1 x 16.
    And I already have 1 Gb in each slot so would be uping it to 2GB in each.
  25. Mal, A friend is upgrading and gave me his old Gigabyte GA-N650SLI-DS4 mobo. It's a full ATX but I have a case it will fit. Do you think I still need the E7500 or maybe go for the Quad? He says it may run a little hotter than my old system. So now I'm thinking about coolers??
    Sorry for the last minute changes.
  26. Best answer selected by Tradevman.
  27. Thanks for all your advice Re: my new old system build. I will probably go with the E7500 and EVGA GPU card that Mal mentioned if I stay with the Asus mobo.
    Not sure what to throw at the new Ga-N650 mobo yet. If I decide to play with it, I'll start a new thread.
    Merry Christmas!!
  28. Hi,

    TL;DR: If doing CPU. Video Card and RAM you would get the most bang for your buck with
    an E6500 ($79.99), a Radeon 5670 ($79.99) if you want DirectX 11 or GTS 250 ($113.32)
    [There was only one 4850 on Newegg so I don't recommend it] if you want DirectX 11 and
    a 4GB KIT (The kits appear around $5-$10 cheaper than buying the sticks seperately)
    (2x 2GB) 1066 DDR2 RAM for about $82 average.

    With Radeon 5670: $241.98
    With GTS 250: $ 275.31

    If not doing RAM:

    With Radeon 5670: $159.98
    With GTS 250: $ 193.31

    If mild (10-20% overclocking) the stock fan should be fine but if more aggressive
    overclocking you might possibly want an aftermarket cooler. Without knowing how much
    space is available in your case (mm or inches) I cannot recommend any specific fan or
    heatsink. I use a Rosewill in my SOHO case but had to use a Theramltake in my
    girlfriend's stock Dell case due to height. I can say with some confidence a decent
    aftermarket heat pipe LGA 775 cooler will run about $35.

    So if doing CPU, Card and RAM and aggressive overclocking it would be at most $310
    with the GTS 250 and if not adding RAM at most $228 with the GTS 250. Please see below
    for my reasonings on the CPU and Video Card choice.

    ********** WHY I THINK THIS *************

    From Tom's Hardware Desktop CPU Charts 2010 Benchmarks-Ranking:,112.html


    E8400, 10771, $169.99 = 63 points per dollar
    E7500, 10246, $124.99 = 82 points per dollar
    E6500, 9942, $79.99 = 124 points per dollar
    E5300, 8999, $69.99 (E5500 price) = 128 points per dollar

    Left For Dead (Frames Per Second)
    E8400, 125.21, $169.99 = .73 frames per dollar
    E7500, 108.3, $124.99 = .862 frames per dollar
    E6500, 102.2, $79.99 = 1.27 frames per dollar
    E5300, 87.10, $69.99 (E5500 price) = 1.24 frames per dollar

    Left For Dead 2 (Frames Per Second)
    E8400, 141, $169.99 = .83 frames per dollar
    E7500, 121.2, $124.99 = .96 frames per dollar
    E6500, 114, $79.99 = 1.42 frames per dollar
    E5300, 94.70, $69.99 (E5500 price) = 1.35 frames per dollar,2416.html?prod

    This tells me that the E6500 is a better deal when looked at with a performance-per-
    cost perspective. The E6500 is $45 cheaper than the E7500 but offers the following
    performance in the benchmarks above:


    97% of the E7500 Performance at 63% of the cost

    Left For Dead (Frames Per Second)

    94% of the E7500 Performance at 63% of the cost

    Left For Dead 2 (Frames Per Second)

    94% of the E7500 Performance at 63% of the cost

    From Tom's HaArdware Gaming CPU Heirarchy Chart:,2791-6.html

    I looked up the detailed reviews on Newegg in regards to Overclockin the E7500 and the
    E6500. I found that of 11 reviews that mention overclocking the E7500 the average
    overclock was 3.48GHz with 3.42 the median. The E7500 is an 11x multiplier with 1066
    (266) FSB. Change the FSBs and you get:

    FSB - Speed
    300 3.3GHz
    333 3.6GHz

    I also looked up the detailed reviews on Newegg for the E6500 and found 20 reviews
    where the average overclock was 3.54 and the median overclock was 3.6. I found it
    interesting that the E6500 has 91 reviews TOTAL (with 20 mentions overclocking
    especially) while the E7500 has 168 TOTAL reviews with only 11 mentioning
    overclocking. THis to me tells me that for some reason the E6500 is considered a more
    overclock friendly chip as if the E7500 was more overclock friendly, or perhaps more
    overclock popular it should have more reviews to that effect.

    The E6500 has the same voltage range, multipler and FSB as the E7500. The only
    difference is you are paying $45 for 1MB more of cache. The smae FSB increases apply:

    FSB - Speed
    300 3.3GHz
    333 3.6GHz

    So, I do NOT feel that for two CPUs exactly the same except one has 1MB more (33%) L2
    cache than the that the more exspensive one is worth it. I feel the criteria of most
    bang for your buck is sastisfied with the E6500.

    According to Tom's Hardware November 10th Graphics Card Hierarchy Chart the GT 240
    (DDR3) [$81.32 average of three cheapest cards] is on the same level as the 8800 GS,
    9600 GSO [$69.99], HD 3850, HD 4670 [$63.65 average of three cheapest cards] and HD
    5570 (DDR3) [$69.99].

    The GT 240 (DDR5) [$81.65 average of three cheapest cards] is on the same level as the
    HD2900 XT, HD3870 and HD 5770 (GDDR5) [$128.32 average of three cheapest cards].

    A Radeon 5670 (GDDR5) is $79.99 (average of three cheapest cards) and 1 step above the
    GT 240 (DDR5) and two steps above the GT 240 (DDR3) and is about the same prices ($80
    vs $82).

    The Video Card chart says about the 5670:

    "An extra $15 will buy you a vastly superior Radeon HD 4850 or GeForce GTS 250. But
    for the reduced price of the Radeon HD 5670, you won't have to worry about a power
    supply upgrade, as this card requires no auxiliary PCIe power cable.

    Along with this benefit the Radeon HD 5670 offers DirectX 11 compatibility, along with
    all of the other Radeon HD 5000-series features, such as multi-display support and
    high-def audio bitstreaming. Folks planning to buy this card for a budget Eyefinity
    setup need to pay attention, as some manufacturers don't include the DisplayPort
    output needed to use three monitors simultaneously."

    A Radeon 4850 (DDR3) is $94.99 and a GTS 250 (DDR3) is $113.32 (three card average)

    The chart says this is a tie between the two cards and:

    "At the $100 price point, Nvidia's GeForce GTS 250 and AMD's Radeon HD 4850 hang on in
    an eternal battle to deliver fantastic performance to budget-oriented gamers. We don't
    think you can go wrong with either of these cards. As long as they're around, it'll be
    hard to recommend DirectX 11-class cards priced $20 or $30 higher.

    With an eye to the future, your choice between these affordable products probably
    depends more on whether or not your motherboard is CrossFire- or SLI-compatible.

    Neither the Radeon HD 4850 nor the GeForce GTS 250 offer DirectX 11 support. But then
    again, at this price point, how many DirectX 11-class features are you really going to
    be able to enable before performance starts suffering in a big way?"

    Due to the heirarchy chart, which I put a lot of trust in, I would recommend the 5670
    as it is one to two steps above the GTS 240 (which I think you are considering) and my
    next recommendation would be the GTS 250 which is three to four steps above the GTS
    240 and two steps above the 5670.

    I feel that you would get the most "Bang for Your Buck" (by the definition of Bang for
    the Buck) when gaming and have the best chance of coming in around your budget of $250
    with one of those cards.

    I looked at the Detail Reviews on Newegg for both the ASUS P5G41-M LE/CSM and the
    Gigabyte GA-N650SLI-DS4 and found the following:


    “I am using this board to overclock a Celeron 440 to 2.4ghz (240FSB)”
    “Running a 2.6Ghz Quadcore with 4Gb of G-Skill 800 RAM (On the QVL list) Overclocked
    15% to 3.1GHz”
    “Bumped the fsb from 200 to 250 to overclock the 2.4ghz E3200 to 3.01ghz”
    “Runs my e5300 smooth as silk at 3GHz”

    Gigabyte GA-N650SLI-DS4

    “I effortlessly jump from 266mhz fbs to 430fbs with only minor voltage bumb and unlink
    the cpu and memory”
    “E6550 memory oc about 10% and core2 is running at 2.9ghz on stock cooler and 1.32v”
    “i got my e6300 OC to 3.1ghz on air”
    “OC'ing, E6600 Oc'd from 2.4 to 3.38 with no issues”
    “So far I've got it up to about a 37% OC with my e6400”
    “It has been able to overclock my E6300 40% without making changes to the voltage”

    I looked up each motherboard's manual on the internet and the ASUS P5G41-M LE/CSM
    offers FSB adjustments on 200 thru 800 and the Gigabyte GA-N650SLI-DS4 100 thru 650. I
    feel that based on the quotes above you have a good chance of overclocking on either

    Please let me know what you think.

    I wish you the best of luck and hope you have a Wonderful Holiday Season!

  29. Emperus said:
    There is no existing E6700 with 3.2 GHz stock clock speed.. The E6700 does exist with 2.66 GHz stock clock rate and can overclock to above levels easily.. However, I do not see it as an upgrade unless you are getting it for a very low bargain price..

    Funny, since I own one.
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