To? or not to?

So I'm just about done with my usual routine. This is that I build a tower for gaming then I sit on it for a few years. Once I really feel like I cannot play the new games anymore I spend hours/days/weeks trying to give myself a crash course on all the new hardware and technology that has came out. The biggest problem for me is that I'm a sort of hardware packrat. I've got two good size boxes full of random drives and wires. I basically keep everything that I feel like I may use in future builds or repairs/fixes for family and friends. That being said, I only need to focus on what I consider the main four: cpu, mobo, ram and gpu. Also, If I do upgrade I will be installing 64 bit win7.


winxp 32 bit OS
MSI G31TM-P21 mother board
Intel Core 2 Duo E7400 @ 2.80GHz (stock speed)
2 gb ram
XFX 8600 XXX edition

I know I have a decent headroom to OC the cpu, but I never bothered because a dual core 2.6 or so is all the 8600 is going to push (or so I've read). I probably could put in a 775 socket quad core, but I'm not sure thats the best route to go as far as actual value is concerned. I know it's a pathetic mobo that I'm working with too. If I were to consider upgrading the mobo I would be putting myself probably in an AMD quad set up. I've been considering the X3 cpu's, but since there are a few games that can utilize four cores I don't see that as being a viable way to go anymore. I'd also like to spend as little deniro as possible.. which is obviously where the problem is in the first place. :) I use my trusty 17" lcd monitor, and I am perfectly fine with 1280x1024. I have considered getting something larger, but I haven't persuaded myself into doing so yet..

I've not actually played a newer game in a while, but I still heavily play the BF series. I also got BC2 from santa this year that I've not installed yet. I'm mostly wanting to upgrade for the upcoming BF3 and TES 5 skyrim. I'll also probably pick up diablo3 whenever blizzard gets around to releasing it, but I'm guessing that probably won't be too rough on hardware compared to other games.

Basically, I'm trying to figure out a real date in which to update the system. The games that I'm looking forward to haven't been released yet, but there are probably a few games out there that I would pick up if I had a more current system. I'm also well aware of sandy and bulldozer. I just want to make sure I get the best bang out of my upgrade pistol when I decide to fire it. If the games that I am looking forward to the most aren't even out yet should I just wait a bit longer while the hardware I have my eyes on now drops in price as the time goes by? Meanwhile.. is it even worth me installed BFBC2? Should I just wait to be able to play it in its full intended glory? I need someone to set me straight on what I should do, because I can't seem to figure it out on my own.. :fou:

All comments and suggestions will be helpful.

-On a side note.. money isn't really an issue, but I am a bit on the frugal side.
16 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about tomshardware
  1. Budget?
    And Country?
    also its not worth installing BFBC2 yet,
    on a newer monitor with a newer GPU to experience the full glory? yes.
  2. I have no specific budget. I could technically spend and get any setup, but I have no intentions on spending thousands. I live in St. Louis MO USA. If I do order online I would prefer tigerdirect or newegg. I also have a Microcenter within 10 minutes of my apt.

    I'm really wondering how well this CPU will qualify in these newer games. The quads that I've found for the 775 socket are above $200 bucks. Which make going that direction completely pointless. If this processor does not suffice I maybe go with an AMD 800 series AM3 mobo with a 900 series quad. It seems like you can get a decent combo for about $200 bucks going picking those out. According to TH article about gaming cpus shows the E7400 basically in the middle of the chart, but that doesn't really make or break anything. It's all about the games I play and my resolutions.

    I was considering picking up a GTX 460 1 gb, but for my resolutions I thought I could get away with something a bit cheaper (even though the 460 is a good price). I was thinking of possibly getting something in the 200 series? Would that be a total waste of time? I have no problem buying another vid card in a year or two if I can get away with purchasing sub-$100 cards. The way I see it is that I could pick up a card that will work at reasonable settings for my resolution then pick up the gtx 460 down the road.. It also will be below the $100 mark or somewhere near it in a year.

    Ha.. Thanks for the input on BFBC2. It's actually been kind of rough seeing this new game in my bookcase without playing it. I have no idea why I've never upgraded my monitor. It's not really something I've ever put serious thought into. This 17" that I'm used to staring at seems to be a good size. I don't think I'd want to walk into my computer room and only see the monitor. Though honestly I could probably draw more attention to other places if I put a bit of paint on these plain white walls.
  3. On second thought the reason I've never upgraded the monitor is that I sit within two feet of it. I have hooked up a 32" lcd tv to this computer. It seemed a bit ridiculous. I really liked it for flying the gunship in BF2142, but otherwise I would be literally turn my head and looking around at the game screen.
  4. Best answer
    ^ Forget about the CPU upgrade for now,...

    Overclock the CPU if you are fine with it,..

    GPU - HD 5670 - Can max out nearly the all the games at that resolution,...

    The reason why I say not to upgrade your CPU is because both Intel and AMD will be launching newer CPUs(Intel on Jan 5th and AMD most probably by Q2)
    Also an overclocked E7400 will just handle fine for that resolution,...
  5. Thanks for the suggestions on the cards. That's a good start for what I'm looking for. I don't really need/want anything "future proof". I've always gotten along just fine with the terrible position of staying functional and somewhat current. I will probably go with one of those if I don't get another logical recommendation.

    I know the E7400 would be more functional turned up a couple hundred mhz, and I do have a somewhat decent aftermarket cooler on there now. I'm at 30c/50c for idle/load respectively. My OC 8600 never really gave me a reason to have to OC the cpu. I just don't know how well it's going to work with BF3 and the new Elder Scrolls games coming out, but until we get some spec reqs on them I guess we won't know either way.

    I do know that BFBC2 uses the Frostbite 1.5? engine, and BF3 will use Frostbite 2.0. The BFBC2 box says cpu requirements are dual core 2.0 or faster but recommends a quad at 2.0 or higher. Taking 1+1=2 approach on what that means is that it will function better with a quad core cpu.
  6. Also, if there are any other ideas for vid cards please feel free to list them. I would probably prefer using an Nvidia card, but am open to anything reasonable. I've not used an ATI card since the X850XT. Man, I loved that card back in the day.
  7. GPU - I dont think there are any better options than the 5670 in that price range,...,2803-2.html

    CPU - Yeah maybe they will take advantage, but like I said, for your resolution I doubt it would matter,...
  8. Do you think stepping up to a 5770 or 460 would be worth it at my resolutions? I want to be able to run them on high settings without any problems. Again, it really isn't a budget issue or anything. I just want to play these games at very pretty high settings. I just want to keep the cost down because my eyes won't be able to tell the difference between 100 fps or 45 fps.
  9. ^ Well I am not sure if it will be advantageous in all the games though,...
    But this is a good price for a 5770 after rebates,...
  10. That's going to be a great product for my needs. I know a FPS game like BF3 will probably favor a radeon chip while the new Elder Scrolls will probably favor Nvidia. I just hope you're correct about the cpu, but I also am pretty hesitant to even consider a rebuild with all the action thats coming in the next month, let alone the next several. Hopefully, I can even wait out until we see what Llano will be all about. Not that I am considering purchasing either, but it will make the things I speculate about purchasing now easier to put on the credit card. :)
  11. Best answer selected by mascara.
    n40 points for you sir/ma'am!
  12. ^ I say the CPU would be fine because of the resolution, even if it caps the GPU(which I doubt), or if any game gets capped, at that resolution, it would still hold fine,...
    For higher resolutions, even I would have suggested a CPU upgrade,...
  13. gkay09 said:
    ^ Forget about the CPU upgrade for now,...

    Overclock the CPU if you are fine with it,..

    GPU - HD 5670 - Can max out nearly the all the games at that resolution,...

    The reason why I say not to upgrade your CPU is because both Intel and AMD will be launching newer CPUs(Intel on Jan 5th and AMD most probably by Q2)
    Also an overclocked E7400 will just handle fine for that resolution,...

    I thought they just launched sandy bridge...
  14. Is that a question? or..?
  15. mascara said:
    Is that a question? or..?

    Ye, they did launch sandy bridge.. looks good...
  16. ^ The NDA is lifted so the reviews are out, but they will be street available on or after Jan 5th,...
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