What to upgrade for better performance?

Hi everyone, I've got a computer that i built about 3 years ago and I'm looking to get better performance while gaming (higher FPS, be able to turn graphics settings higher, etc) but I havent been paying attention to hardware stuff since i built it.

Here's my basic specs (w/ links to the exact parts):
CPU: core 2 quad q6600 (2.4 Ghz)
MOBO: MSI P6N Plantinum
Graphics: GeForce 8800 GT 512MB x2 in SLI
OS: Vista 32 bit Home Premium

My first guess would be to upgrade the graphics cards, but i dont know if at this point my CPU would be a bottleneck for most games, etc.

Any segestions? Let me know if you need more info.

7 answers Last reply
More about what upgrade performance
  1. What would your budget be for upgrading?
  2. not knowing what you play and what res it's a sure bet your video card is holding you back. you may not see a ton of extra frames ( cpu ) but the games will stop stuttering and you can turn the settings up........ ( providing right card )
  3. Lol first thing would be Windows 7, but other than that your computer should be holding up a bit. I'd probably just get a 6870/6850 or a 460 1gb depending on your budget. Also what is your resolution? that's a big factor in picking a GPU. Oh and what games do you play? If it is like Black Ops, that's not really graphically demanding, it'd be something like BFBC2 that would be.
  4. Thanks for the replies!

    -My budget will probably be around $300-$350 for upgrading, but it could possibly be higher.
    -My screen res is 1680x1050.

    Few more questions:

    -So a graphics card upgrade is likely to let me turn the settings up, while a CPU upgrade will improve my FPS?

    -what would you reccommend for a graphics card upgrade in the price range above?

    -Out of curiosity, would newer CPUs like Core i3/i5/i7 work with the motherboard that i currently have? or am I stuck with the Core 2 series unless i upgrade that as well?

    Thanks Again!
  5. I mostly play MMO's (aion, RIFT beta) but also play some standard RPG's (Dragon Age, Fallout). The RIFT beta is actually whats prompting me to do this upgrade.

    Will Windows 7 make a major difference? I've never used it.
  6. - CPU cooler to overclock that CPU to 3.0ghz

    - Windows 7 64bit

    - New graphics card - 6850

    29.99 + 99.99 + 179.99 = $309.97

    Or if you'd prefer to stay nvidia (say if your mobo only supports SLI) you'll get the same performance as the 6850 for alittle more from this


    For a total of $329.97

    To answer your other questions;
    -No you'll need new DDR3 Ram and a new Motherboard for i5/i7 series
    -Windows 7 64bit generally makes better use of RAM (and allows >4gb for the future), is snappier and will give your computer a refreshed and polished feel - worth the 100$.

    Otherwise this is a nice upgrade for your system without busting the budget or requiring a full overhaul and will bring your system right up to scratch for all the games you've listed :)
  7. Win7 not only makes better use of ram, its way faster. Boot times, startup times and just feel of Windows7 is so much better. The Windows Aero Snap feature is my favorite addition. Easy full screen/minimization. MMO's require quads, and your set at that since you have a Q6600.

    Go to amazon and get the Hyper 212+ much better than the Newegg 38$ (30$+shipping). Plus you get 2 fans, or so i hear.

    As for the GPU I recommend the 460, specifically the DirectCu 460. The reason being your running with an SLI board so the 460 will allow you to SLI in the future should you choose. The DirectCu is just overall the quietest and coolest of the 460's. Besides the Hawk but that isn't very cheap. I think a 768 model is good enough soo... Yeahh....


    768mb is good enough, not a huge difference to the 1gb version IMO. Course their are some that feel that it is necessary.
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