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Is this upgrade worth it for gaming purposes?

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May 10, 2011 11:14:26 PM

Hi enthusiasts

This is my current rig

Intel Q6600 @ 2.4 ghz
P5N E SLI motherboard
4gb Corsair ddr2 xms2 800 ram
GTX 260
Corsair 550w PSU
Vista 32mb home premium

I use my pc for gaming primarily and while some of the games I play like racers and shooters play very well on this rig as I am guessing they are more GPU based some play really poorly. Flight sims and Morrowind (with alot of scripts running) for example struggle even if I turn down the graphics settings so I am guessing they are CPU based.

I tried overclocking today following this guide http://www.overclock.net/2820311-post1.html and it failed. Even upping the FSB up to 1086 caused the load up to fail. No amount of tweaking would do so I am guessing the old chip and motherboard just don't have it in them.


I have been looking at the possibility of a CPU upgrade and the i5 2500k seems to be recommended and I believe I would need to get a new motherboard with that. I haven't got alot of spare cash but I have figured out I can raise the money by selling a few things.

What I am wondering is is it really worth the money for what I want it to do? Will getting an i5 2500k with a new motherboard give me a significant enough fps boost for gaming? I am sure it will improve it but I wonder if it is a "Yes that was worth it" improvement.


Also in case anyone knows after trying that overclocking guide and failing I put my settings back to as they were before. Yet now my network adapter (Belkin G high speed F5D7051 usb) has stopped working completely and even reinstalling the drivers is not working. Any idea what I could have done in the bios to compromise the adapter?

Thanks
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May 10, 2011 11:48:33 PM

A Video card upgrade would give you a larger amount of FPS in most games. As for Flight Sims... well I know that Flight Simulator X tends to favor the Intel CPU architecture and nVIDIA GPUs (traditionally though this has changed quite a bit as AMD has increased their TMU count in their GPUs).

A 2500K ought to offer a significant boost but only if you have the GPU power to match it. A GTX 260 (Core 216 I hope) ought to be more than enough for Flight Simulator X and others like it imo (assuming you don't go crazy with high res texture packs and other Shader and Visual addons such as the real time weather addons).

So I would conclude that you're likely to see some noticeable performance increases.
May 11, 2011 12:09:26 AM

I have flight simulator x although I tend to play WW2 flight sims and the problems seem to come with the amount of aircraft in the air. I am guessing it is all the processing it has to do with that much going on. On old games like Morrowind with lots of mods/scripts which only use 1 core (i believe) it seems that the 2.4 ghz is costing me frames. Do you think that is a fair assessment?

I have been pretty impressed with my video card since I have had it and didn't plan on changing it, are you saying that the GTX260 is a good enough card for either CPU?
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May 11, 2011 12:24:11 AM

Buy an aftermarket HSF and OC that CPU to 3-3.2GHz.
May 11, 2011 12:44:20 AM

I would but there isn't much room in there, are they generally bigger? Plus my previous attempt failed miserably and I would want to be sure would work.

My standard settings are vcore 1.285, 9x and FSB at 1066. I just put the FSB up to 1086 and it failed, once with a "some hardware failed" screen and then a blue screen. In that guide it shows a test where you had to put it at 1x latency and 6x multiplier, etc and then put FSB on 1400. On this test it not only failed to load windows on 1400 but it failed to load on 1250 and the guide implied like 1400 shouldn't be much of a problem.

Plus the overclocking attempt seems to have broken my network adapter but I can't see how.

By the way on idle on stock settings my core temperatures for cores 0 and 1 are around 57 - 60 and for 2 and 3 they are 49 - 51. Is that unusually high?
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May 11, 2011 1:00:01 AM

What resolution are you playing at??
May 11, 2011 1:07:17 AM

1680 x 1050 always
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May 11, 2011 2:16:52 AM

Not sure why Morrowind would give you issues with your setup.

I was playing Morrowind with a dual core E6600 and a X1900XT with lots of mods running including high resolution textures and I don't recall any performance issues when playing @ 1920 x 1200 resolution.
May 11, 2011 9:02:21 PM

Michael, your cpu shouldn't be the topic of discussion when talking about a gaming upgrade. The one part of your machine that games rely on the most is your gpu.
If you wan to do a solid gaming upgrade, get the Nvidia 550ti for $140 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
You'll be able to play every game at max setting on 1680 x 1050 res.
Dealing with your cpu and mobo will cost you ALOT (and you'll want to upgrade the gpu anyways.)
Bottom line, if you want to build a new system, go with this http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/forum2.php?config=tom... (read the chosen answer, its $900 .)
If you want to spend 900, go ahead. But if i were you, i'd go with a $150 gpu now and a ivy bridge build in q2 of 2012.
May 12, 2011 12:14:03 AM

If those idle temperatures are Celsius (I assume they are since you are describing money in £) then cores 0 and 1 are really hot - 60 is considered the max temperature for CPUs. Core 2 and 3 would also be considered high. Check that your CPU cooler is mounted correctly and thermal paste applied, etc.

If you can somehow exchange/upgrade your OS to Windows 7 64-bit, I think you'll see a general improvement in system performance and possibly some FPS gains - if only because you'll actually have access to your entire 4GB of RAM. If you are going to keep your current system for a while, I would change the OS before anything else.

I think upgrading either the CPU or GPU would give you a noticeable performance boost. If I were in your shoes, I would consider a mostly-new build. You can reuse your PSU, hard drive(s) and video card (RAM too, I think?) and upgrade those later.


May 12, 2011 2:59:49 AM

Thanks David and 8 drunken

Yes they are celsius. I bought my PC off ebay second hand in May 2009 (it wasn't as described) and since then I have changed the PSU, GPU (the description said 9800 gt but it was an 8500 :fou:  ) and the HDD but the CPU and motherboard are as they were when the first guy bought it so I don't know how it was fitted and applied (nor the technical knowhow to recognise).

My choice now is what to upgrade and when. Do you think the bulldozers will be competitively priced next month and do you think intel will drop the Sandy Bridge price in response? It may be complacent to buy a cpu now if a mini price war could happen in a few weeks.

My GTX 260 has always done me proud although admittedly I don't play many very latest games. I reckon it will probably struggle for the Elder Scrolls 5 when it comes out which will be a must buy. David will my Q6600 not be a bottleneck for a newer GPU? as I have a fair few times that the LGA775 are coming to the end of their life. I have been able to play maximum graphics on nearly all my games but the ones I have FPS issues for even a major graphical downscale will not fix the issue which makes me think it is my CPU.

Future thinking I think a 64 bit system is eventually where I want to be but I don't know if I want to go there yet as it is nearly £100 for windows 7 64 bit. I don't know how much I want to throw into this upgrade yet, I may go all in or I may try and cost cut. It depends what deals I can find and how much I get for some items I am throwing on ebay soon.
May 12, 2011 5:21:10 PM

8 drunken is right on about your cpu temps. idle cpu temps should be less than 50c. I'd get a cpu cooler. I have this one http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... It's $45 and brought my cpu temps down abt 10c. Also, I'd get the gpu i mentioned above.

Your cpu won't throttle your gpu. Only a really old cpu (p4) will affect the gpu, but your quad-core will be fine.
Here they discuss it http://www.overclock.net/general-processor-discussions/...
"A CPU matters only if it is not fast enough to:
*send data to the GPU in a timely manner and the GPU must wait for textures and geometry
*compute the A.I. (only visible in strategy games on large maps w/ many players)"

Microsoft give 32+64bit copies when you buy win 7. Its not worth the money to upgrade now for the small increase in speed, but when you build your next machine, definitely go with 64bit.

The reason I'm telling you to patch your system rather then build a new one is because there is a lot of really great technology right a round the corner, and if you put a new gpu in your system your be able to play everything on max for another year or so. A $200 upgrade ($45 heatsink +$150 gpu) will add 1-2 years life on your computer. Next year June time will be when you want to build a new system with Ivy brigde, usb 3.0, cheaper ssd's, nvidia 6 series, Win 8, ect.. I think you get the point.
May 12, 2011 6:39:48 PM

Before you buy a new cpu cooler try to re-install the one you have. Find the manuals for your cpu cooler and maybe your motherboard and follow instructions. If you have a computer geek friend who has experience (and maybe some Arctic Silver hanging around) it's worth asking him/her to help you out.
May 12, 2011 8:53:21 PM

How can i tell if something isn't right with the cooler? Is it just a case of if it is set firm then it is fine?

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May 12, 2011 9:12:05 PM

For that video card you don't really need a new CPU, yours is good if overclocked. Intel's HSF is not great for overclocking so get a new universal cooler (that works on all the current sockets from Intel and AMD) that you can use on your future CPU.

Google "Q6600 overclock" plenty of guides, including on YouTube but don't try that now.

Or wait for a month or so and sell your stuff and get a new mobo/CPU/RAM.
May 12, 2011 9:25:14 PM

I read loads of guides and tried to follow the overclock guide I posted but any increase to the FSB would cause something to fail. The guide above says "We shall start on 1400 because the chip and MB should be able to do that no problem yet my PC was failing on 1086.

CPU coolers seem quite cheap so I will probably get one that can fit this one and a newer intel one and

May 12, 2011 9:27:41 PM

Sorry, couldn't edit.

give it one more shot as you say. I am not confident though as my previous attempts were utterly failing. I couldn't even run the FSB hole test successfully.


Do you say one more month as you expect the release of bulldozer to trigger a price war?
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May 12, 2011 9:38:50 PM

Then leave it as it is and we'll see in a month. Maybe your mobo isn't good for OC.
May 12, 2011 10:09:19 PM

michaeld_83 said:
How can i tell if something isn't right with the cooler? Is it just a case of if it is set firm then it is fine?


Your CPU temperatures are an indication that something is not right with the cooler. :)  I don't think you'll be able to tell just by looking at it unless it is an extremely bad install. Obviously check and make sure that it is not loose and that the fan is spinning and all that. If you remove the cooler and there is no thermal paste between the cooler and processor then you need to apply some. Most (?) thermal paste looks like metallic peanut butter. The only way to check this would be to remove the cooler. If you are anxious about it, get a friend to help you. Even if you have to buy some thermal paste, it would be worth the $5 or so. Proper cooling might help with your overclocking issues too.
May 12, 2011 10:41:53 PM

CPU-Z and GPU-Z are free programs that can tell you about your system. Speedfan is also helpful.
They will tell you details of what you have.
I would remove the cooler, clean it, and reapply a good thermal paste.
The through the board pins may not be holding properly. Examine carefully.
MassCool made some better than stock coolers for 775 which can be found for $15 or less and screw mount, also unused stock coolers come up for sale. [I know I like to replace low cost hardware, lol, me]
You want whatever you can find that handles the highest temperature chip.
At this point replacing the cooler with new will tell you more more quickly than trouble shooting. Probably 5-11 pds(#) depending.
To clean: Get the stongest rubbing alcohol you can at the "chemist" if I have that right, use coffee filters (lint free and cheap) to clean top of chip and base of old heatsink. (if reusing)
Hard labor (patient really) would be lapping heat sink and CPU to improve cooling. This can be very worth while.

May 13, 2011 3:47:42 AM

You should still probably clean any paste off of the top of your processor (if there was ever any applied).
May 14, 2011 1:04:18 AM

eightdrunkengods said:
You should still probably clean any paste off of the top of your processor (if there was ever any applied).


I will do. Seeing as my idle temperatures are in the 50's maybe there never was any in there in the first place.

I also notice this fan says pre-applied thermal compound

http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Fans%2C+Heats...

would that mean I wouldn't have to buy the thermal paste as that technically brings the prices closer?
May 15, 2011 7:24:37 AM

you dont have to buy thermal paste. it'll have a pad on the bottom that is the thermal material.
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May 15, 2011 11:52:36 AM

Quote:
is this the same cooler your looking at?:
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/253477

if so its £8 less on ebuyer ;) 

The Pro version costs a couple of quid more but has a little fan at the bottom to keep the VRM's cool, both seem to be a step up from the Freezer 7 Pro though.
May 15, 2011 12:21:48 PM

Just upgrade to a GTX 460 if you want a fps boost, but if you want an increase in overall performance then upgrade to the i5 2500k. You can get a GTX 460 SE 1 GB for 130 $ on newegg
May 15, 2011 7:01:04 PM

try the sapphire 5850 extreme,,it outpermorf the gtx 460 and sell at lower price
May 16, 2011 1:28:19 AM

The artic freezer pro is quieter (apparently) which is good as I sometimes play games in my room when my girlfriend is asleep and I sometimes get kicked out (like last night) when my current stock fan goes nuts (one core is constantly at 69 degrees under load). On the other hand the hyper 212 is apparently a bit better at cooling, it is a toss up.

I also hope they fit into my case, I can't believe how long they are.


I am thinking of getting the cooler, sticking with the Q6600 until a good sale comes along on a more modern CPU and getting a new GPU now. There is alot of talk of the GTX 560ti being an excellent card and with the money of a GTX 260 going towards it it may be a good idea.
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May 16, 2011 2:55:20 AM

MS flight sim is famous for being a cpu intensive game
not sure about morrowind

definitley better to deal with it for now until later this year
with ivy bridge,sndy bridge E and bulldozer
too much is going on
!