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CPU Upgrade Question...Im Lost

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March 3, 2011 6:22:45 PM

Here is my specs in my office computer.

MOBO: Alienware 0RV30W
Intel Core i3 530 Duo Core @2.93GHz
x2 XFX 5770's in Crossfire
X3 1Gig DDR3 sticks (Dell Alienware)
**I know I need more memory, but, how would this actually effect my current rig? Enough to notice? Or would it just be nice to have.

Here is the problems I am having, and why I am looking to fix them.
1.) I use my office in the evenings/nights to game and such, due to wife being pregnant again, and x2 kids to keep the noise down when she and the kiddos are resting.
2.) The rig in my office is about 1.5 years old, but a very decent rig IMO, but I have noticed that since I put in my second 5770, my GPU usage for both of them (monitored via MSI Afterburner) is not going past ~50%, and sometimes just drops. This causes horrible lag, and not as much FPS and game performance as I should be getting.

My question is this, with my current MOBO ( Don't have money for a new rig, or $1,000s worth of upgrades ) can I upgrade my Processor? And do I need to. I have gotten information overload on the internet, but I read somewhere that maybe my Duo Core processor is not powerful enough to push both of my GPUs.

My MOBO supports, (pretty sure)
Quad Core:
Intel® Core™ i5-760 Processor
(8M Cache, 2.80 GHz)

Another Duo Core:
Intel® Core™ i5-680 Processor
(4M Cache, 3.60 GHz)

On the Quad Core, the GHz is lower than my current Duo Core. Does this matter? Would it be a step down? Or is it just that having 4 cores means I don't need max GHz.

So would the Quad be a better choice than the Other Duo? Or would neither really matter?

I am sure I have left out some information, so feel free when you have a chance, to ask away. Any input would be nice.

This is my main gaming computer, due to the fact that the one in the living room is shared with my wife, and has Gigs of Her crap on it. So this is kinda what I am stuck with.

Thanks in advance for the help bro.
March 3, 2011 6:59:07 PM

I guess on the other forum where you asked this question they already addressed your GPU needs. (http://unitedoperations.net/Thread-Anyone-with-Crossfir...)

A quad core will certainly give you a better performance. You already have a card that is slightly better than a single HD 5850 that I have and it suffices my gaming needs at 19..x12.. resolution. If you are keeping it lower than this, then just a processor and RAM upgrade would do it for you. I do not know what slot your motherboard supports. I would say LGA1156. There is only so much you can do with this. You can simply swap out motherboard CPU and RAM.

Sorry, gaming desktop upgrades = frequent = money.
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March 3, 2011 7:11:09 PM

Thank you.
CPU-Z says that my for Processor, the socket is 1156LGA.
I take it that is the same as you stated.

So, with that info, I can safely upgrade to the Intel® Core™ i5-760 Processor
(8M Cache, 2.80 GHz) and notice a increase?


I just want my GPU usage to be higher than Average of ~45, and not drop like a rock every once in a while.
That is what people call CPU bottlenecking right? When the CPU can't handle the needs of the cards?
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March 3, 2011 8:01:28 PM

Yes, the Core i5 is compatible with your rig. It could be a bottleneck, and upgrading to the Intel Core i5-760 would give you an overall boost. Really, you'd probably get a performance boost even if there isn't a bottleneck. The game you are playing may not even use more than two cores though. The motherboard could also be a factor. Are the PCIe slots x16, x8, or x4? If you've got 3 PCIe slots and the graphics cards on in the wrong 2 slots it can severely limit your cards.
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March 3, 2011 8:12:31 PM

My cards are both running in x8
Arma2 OA is one of the games I am running. It supports more than 2.
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March 3, 2011 8:32:50 PM

+1for the i5-760. The lower clock speed isnt a problem, you can easily overclock it with a Hyper 212 + http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... , wich is dirt cheap (got mine overclocked to 3.8 Ghz and 4.2 Ghz with turbo mode on). Here is the guide i used http://www.techreaction.net/2010/09/07/3-step-overclock... . You can remove one of the ram sticks and add http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... or any other 2x2gb ram sticks and you would have 6gbs of ram, wich would be more of enough. Just make sure you have a 64 bit Operating System, or the OS wont read all the ram.
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March 3, 2011 9:21:18 PM

Yep
I have Win7 64
My system is liquid cooled. Do you think I will need to do all the work to switch over?
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March 3, 2011 9:43:37 PM

Um my main language isnt english and i think i dont understand perfectly the meaning of `switch over` (LOL) but if you mean you would have trouble replasing the CPU and overclocking it - no, you wont. Just dont rush it, and get some thermal grease for the cpu. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... is the best there is IMO. Here are the methods of applying the thermal paste http://www.arcticsilver.com/methods.html . The only thing that troubles me is if the bios of your motherboard would let you overclock, altough its Alienware , check that before buying a new cpu.
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March 3, 2011 11:42:30 PM

Arma2 is a very taxing game on both CPU and GPU. A CPU upgrade will help a lot and the i5 760 is a great choice. I play that game sometimes (i7-920@3.8Ghz, 6gigs of ram, and 2 5870s in Xfire also all liquid cooled) and I can't max out the settings. But after upgrading, you should see a noticeable difference. Do you OC your CPU? If not maybe you should, cuz the i5 should OC like a champ especially if liquid cooled and that will also give you somewhat of a boost. The water block should just switch over from the i3 to the i5, but make sure to get some high quality thermal compound-just don't use too much. Also be very careful not to disconnect the water tubes accidentally.
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March 4, 2011 7:39:10 PM

Very helpful answers for better understanding. Again, you should note that CPU upgrade is not the silver bullet for your gaming needs. There are only a few games that are very CPU intensive and those will certainly see a boost with higher end processors (as high as you can go with your budget) with LGA 1156.

My suggestion is to come to mainstream. Swap out motherboard + CPU (and possibly RAM), keep the Crossfire GPUs. It is more futuristic, under $500, and LGA 1366 is not going away any sooner. If you don't have the budget, consider waiting! Just around 3 more months and LGA 1366 upgrade should be cheap since next Intel processors are losing the price tag already.

Overclocking i5-760 is cool, too. Not sure if you can boost the RAM close to dual channel - 4GB or 8GB depending on slots (not that 8gb is required). But then this is only if you are sure that you are going to be very tight on budget and waiting is absolutely not an option :) 
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March 8, 2011 8:39:30 PM

If you can afford upgrading your motherboard, I recommend moving on and picking up a Sandy Bridge based intel chip. They absolutely destroy pretty much every other processor out there (and this is coming from an AMD fan) and you can get one that will smoke the i5-760 for the same price, such as this one
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
All you need is a mobo that supports the 1155 socket. There aren't a ton to choose from just yet, but you can get them for around $100 on newegg
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