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Yet Another Upgrade Question

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December 10, 2010 4:17:04 PM

I have the aging system as shown below. I use the system for gaming and non worked related activities at home (internet browsing, minor photo editing, song collections, etc). For gaming I typically play FPS (Black Ops, Crysis sequels) and some racing games. I have not attempted any overclocking yet.

For Black Ops I was forced to dial the video settings and resolution way down to make the game playable. I am torn between just upgrading the video card to a Radeon HD 6870 for instance or starting fresh with a Core i5 build. Any helpful recommendations would be appreciated.

Q6600
Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L
Corsair 620HX
EVGA 8800GTS 512
Western Digital 500GB
Crucial Ballistix 2x1GB 1066
Lite-On DVD Burner
Zerotherm Nirvana CPU Cooler
Antec 900 case
Samsung 226BW
Windows XP Pro

More about : upgrade question

a b B Homebuilt system
December 10, 2010 4:27:01 PM

try this:

take Crysis, lower the graphics setting a notch and see if FPS improves. If so, your GPU is a bottleneck. It it doesn't, your CPU is the bottleneck.

My suspicion is both are bottlenecking to some degree, being circa 2007 equipment.

I'd suggest one of two routes:

1) Wait for January 5 for Sandy bridge and build something all new

2) upgrade your RAM to 4 GB, try overclocking your CPU to ~3.0 GHz. and replace the GPU with something like a 6850 or GTX 460.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 10, 2010 4:46:02 PM

I received amost the exact same configuration from a friend I am helping to buy a new machine. That Antec 900 is a sweet case which I intend to keep for a long time.

Here is what I did:
1) Bought a Cooler Master Hyper 212+ heatsink, and overclocked the chip to something above 3 Ghz (can't remember exactly - it was the 6300 version, so yours is better, plus you already have a cooler almost as good).

2) Upgraded the video card - I just dropped an HD Radeon 5750 in, but you need something bigger - maybe GTX 460 1 GB?

3) Bought a fan controller (original owner put in some extra fans that were loud), added some extra case lights (because I like my machine to glow) and an 8 pin extension for better cable management.

4) I did not need extra memory, so left it at 2 GB, but was ready to spend $35 for 2 X 1 GB sticks.

The reason I left item 4 to last was that the memory will not carry forward to the next build. Everything else will go into the upgrade I plan for next year after Intel-SandyBridge and AMD-Bulldozer are released, and I can select the best mobo/CPU/RAM at my leisure.

Go for the quick win, and see what comes down the road. If it does not work, you can always buy the i5-760 anyway, and not be out any extra cash (except the memeory if you get it)
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 10, 2010 5:54:49 PM

Hi bernouli, you haven't mentioned your current monitor resolution or indeed if you intend to upgrade your monitor anytime soon. It's pretty difficult to advise on gfx cards without full knowledge of that and also the settings you'd ideally like to play on.

Also, you haven't mentioned whether you're using x86 or x64 XP pro. Though the memory requirement of XP is not nearly as big as that of Win7/Vista, you still use double the amount of RAM with the 64 bit version as compared to the 32 bit.

That said, you can always upgrade the memory to 4GB. Especially if you're on 64 bit. - Or get a single 2GB stick to use with one of the existing 1GB sticks if on x86. Will be slightly more cost effective as well.

And most importantly, get a better graphics card if you wanna play those games on higher settings.

The $160 EVGA GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 1GB should do you nicely. Do you really need to pay nearly a 100 dollars extra on a 6870? That 'll again depend on your resolution, desired settings and preference for Radeon/Nvidia (if any).

If you like Radeons, the $230 XFX Radeon HD 6870 1GB

Actually, getting something from the 5xxx series will also be a cost effective option purely from a dollar/fps perspective.

The Q6600 is a fantastic little quad. Don't think you need to replace it any time soon. IMO, late next year, when prices for the Sandy Bridge range will have corrected itself by a bit, you can think of upgrading your system to an i7 2600 maybe :) 

At this moment, I'll skip the thought of upgrading to an LGA 1156 system, which is gonna be usurped by the 1155 anyways in a few weeks time.

The Q6600+4GB 1066+GTX 460 1GB (720 Mhz)/Radeon HD 6870 should be able to handle just about anything you can throw at it.

In a year's time then, you can upgrade your CPU+Mobo+RAM to the Sandy i7 and get a nice upgrade combo deal maybe from Newegg or somewhere :) 
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December 10, 2010 6:24:41 PM

calguyhunk said:
Hi bernouli, you haven't mentioned your current monitor resolution or indeed if you intend to upgrade your monitor anytime soon. It's pretty difficult to advise on gfx cards without full knowledge of that and also the settings you'd ideally like to play on.

- I do not plan on upgrading my monitor. I am at work right now so I can't check, but I think I run the resolution at 1680 x 1050.

Also, you haven't mentioned whether you're using x86 or x64 XP pro. Though the memory requirement of XP is not nearly as big as that of Win7/Vista, you still use double the amount of RAM with the 64 bit version as compared to the 32 bit.

-I am running the 32 bit version.

That said, you can always upgrade the memory to 4GB. Especially if you're on 64 bit. - Or get a single 2GB stick to use with one of the existing 1GB sticks if on x86. Will be slightly more cost effective as well.

And most importantly, get a better graphics card if you wanna play those games on higher settings.

The $160 EVGA GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 1GB should do you nicely. Do you really need to pay nearly a 100 dollars extra on a 6870? That 'll again depend on your resolution, desired settings and preference for Radeon/Nvidia (if any).

-That is exactly why I am asking the helpful folks here. I don't really have a brand preference. I want to spend the least amount of money and get the best possible performance.

If you like Radeons, the $230 XFX Radeon HD 6870 1GB

Actually, getting something from the 5xxx series will also be a cost effective option purely from a dollar/fps perspective.

The Q6600 is a fantastic little quad. Don't think you need to replace it any time soon. IMO, late next year, when prices for the Sandy Bridge range will have corrected itself by a bit, you can think of upgrading your system to an i7 2600 maybe :) 

At this moment, I'll skip the thought of upgrading to an LGA 1156 system, which is gonna be usurped by the 1155 anyways in a few weeks time.

The Q6600+4GB 1066+GTX 460 1GB (720 Mhz)/Radeon HD 6870 should be able to handle just about anything you can throw at it.

In a year's time then, you can upgrade your CPU+Mobo+RAM to the Sandy i7 and get a nice upgrade combo deal maybe from Newegg or somewhere :) 

-Thanks. As much as I want a new machine I will probably take your suggestion and get a newer video card and wait for the new Sandy Bridge release to shake out before getting a new system.


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a b B Homebuilt system
December 10, 2010 6:27:02 PM

Yeah, methinks at this late stage, at least checking out the reviews before investing is the right way to go, even if you don't end up buying it :) 
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