CPU for 6850 crossfire upgrade, what would you do?

I'd like to add another 6850 to my setup but I'm not sure what to do about the CPU. I have an athlon II x3 445 with an unlocked 4th core, overclocked on the stock HSF to 3.33GHz. No L3 cache.

If I bought an aftermarket cooler and pushed this CPU to the max, would it even be enough for a 2x6850 setup?

If I bought a different AM3 CPU, which one would be enough to prevent a CPU bottleneck with this setup?

I'm trying to spend the least amount of money necessary to maintain a balanced system. What would you do?

Thanks in advance.

Current setup:
AMD Athlon II x3 445
ASRock Deluxe4 890FX
Asus HD6850 1GB
Mushkin Blackline 4GB
Crucial m4 128GB SSD
Samsung F3 1TB HDD
Corsair 650TX
Viewsonic vx2265wm 21.5 inch 1680x1050 @ 120Hz LCD
Windows 7 64-bit Professional
8 answers Last reply
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  1. I think, though I'm not sure, that it wouldn't cut it. A 955 at 3.8 might, but take this as an opinion instead of a fact.
  2. Try a 955. Its for $120.
    I think there will be some sort of bottleneck with your Processor and the two of those cards

    Also have a look at 955 BE.
    Either way you can overclock your new Processor to around or above $.0 GHz which would be much, much better than your current X3

  3. Is it the lack of L3 cache or current clock speed that would potentially cause the bottleneck? It would be much cheaper to pay ~$30 for an aftermarket cooler and push the x3 445 to higher clocks than to pay $150 for a new cpu w/ aftermarket cooler.

    Will the lack of L3 cache on the x3 445 guarantee a bottleneck in a 6850 crossfire setup?
  4. What resolution are you using?
  5. Two 6850s in CF tend to perform like a single 5970 so with that in mind a Phenom II X4 955/965 overclocked to around 4GHz would be ideal.

    Are you gaming at above 1920x1080 by chance?
  6. 1680x1050 now, but would like to step up to 1080p in the near future
  7. You could always buy a nice CPU cooler and try OCing your current CPU. If that fails to provide adequate results you can use the cooler on your new CPU.
  8. At 1680 I think the CPU will be a small bottleneck even if you get a 955BE to 4GHz at 1920x1080 I think a 955BE @ 3.8-4GHz will be perfectly balanced.
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