Upgrade possibilities?


I wanted to ask this here before I jump into buying something that might not be worthwhile. Here are my specs first...

asus m4a88t-m
amd athlon II x4 645 (minor oc to 3.28ghz~)
8 gb cosair vengence ram @1333 mhz
1100w xion psu
6870 HIS amd radeon
windows 7 64 bit home premium
23'' acer hd monitor (mainly gaming at 1920x1080 res)

now i want to see where i can upgrade my pc. i was really wanting to upgrade my processor to a phenom. my mobo doesnt really support intel, unless the asus website is misguided. i was looking at either the 955 or 965 phenom II cpus. the 970 doesnt seem like a good choice due to the other ones overclocking abilities able to match the 970 stock speed. would this be a decent upgrade considering the gpu, ram, and monitor i have? i am thinking there might be a bottleneck and the stronger cpu would be a worthwhile upgrade if this is the case. i do not know if i can get a new bulldozer when they release or shortly after. if i can, please let me know and that way i can hold off.

i recently upgraded my gpu from a 450 gt which has yielded tremendous performance on some games like dragon age 2 and dead space 2 as well as being able to play at such high resolutions. the 450 just couldnt handle it. or at least it seemed like it couldnt due to my current system specs. however, on the first dragon age, wow (especially in high populated areas), as well as rift, the comp runs really slow when lots of npcs or people are on screen. frames are above 30 usually with vsync (can not run without vsync unless i want a lot of tearing) but seems there is bad stuttering usually..like micro stutters that are constant. wondering if that would be a processing problem since those games are cpu heavy? just looking for a good processor that would fit my motherboard while giving me good performance as well. things just dont run smoothly when games are cpu intensive. any help would be great. thanks. if anything, i know i need a pc overhaul due to the strength of intel, nvidia and stonger cpu/mobo setups. any help would be great...

ps..any ideas if an ssd would be worth it in this set up as well or not worth the money til i get a new pc.
6 answers Last reply
More about upgrade possibilities
  1. I really haven't played Dragon Age. But to determine whether it is really your CPU that is bottlenecking, can you check the following:

    Check 1. Lower the games settings to the lowest. Turn off all AA. If the stuttering dissappears, then it must be the video card that is struggling with the setting. If you have not done so, turn off Morphological Filtering in Catalyst. Then try to play again with your previous game setting before you set it to low & turn off all AA.

    Check 2. Activate Windows Task Manager & check CPU performance. If the CPU is getting to 100% on all cores during gaming, then it is probably the CPU that is bottlenecking your game, although I doubt this. The 645 is a pretty decent gaming CPU and with quadcore, it should be able to cope. But check it anyway.
  2. check 1 complete...morphological filtering is set to off/unchecked. i just use application settings for this. as far as lowering and turning off all AA...i dont use that since playing in such a high resolution it is not really necessary for most games if at all any. only game i use it for or have used it on was dead space 2 which ran flawlessly on all max settings. wow and dragon age seem to be the biggest culprits of my pc. in wow i do run with lowest shadows, no aa, and usually just put the graphics bar on ''good'' settings for general use and raiding. computer just feels sluggish in areas where lots of npcs/people are. again, will test check 2 to see if cpu is hitting 100%. not that i think it is though.

    also will give that oc on the gfx card a little try. cant hurt.
  3. 4th core hitting about 100% in the new firelands area. that seemed to be the most likely area of any performance issues. the other cores hitting around 50% on average but mainly hovering around 30%. that last core though is the one that spikes up to over 100% sometimes. increasing the mem frequency on the gfx card a couple notches actually seemed to help some. might mess with it a bit more to see if it helps on other games. however, with that 4th core hitting 100%, could be a potential bottleneck? or should all 4 be hitting it.

    in dragon age 2...all cores hitting upward 95%-100% load. on high settings, only 2nd core hitting up to 100% while all others sitting over 50% and sometimes hitting around the 100% mark on occasion. it seems as if i do have a cpu bottle here when raising the settings. still not using AA either. really conisidering a cpu upgrade however, if this cpu is a decent one..im wondering what others are using with their 6000 series cards then. i got this cpu as a replacement for a burnt out mobo which stopped recognizing all but 1 ram slots for some odd reason. i never even mess with those settings. and the cpu happened to come with it for 150 as a combo. thought i got a good deal. however, i do have about 200 to spend on a new cpu if i choose to. any recommendations would be great. looking at a 965. figuring the oc on it up to about 3.7ghz and the l3 cache could make a difference with this card on the hd resolutions. thanks for the idea on oc'ing the gpu though. boosted to about 920mhz on gpu clock and to 1100 on the vid memory. was seeing steady 30-40fps in molten front and solid 60fps in da 2 with only hiccups on very high settings when cpu would max load. going to bench it next for stability next. im sure the slight boost will be no problem though.
  4. Your testing pretty well indicates that the CPU is your bottleneck. Unfortunately, going to a X4 965 is only a single tier on the gaming CPU chart (perhaps as much as two with an OC), but when I look here: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/188?vs=102 it looks like it may still be worthwhile.
  5. Just put in a 965 phenom...and it has made the world of difference. Esp in wow and dragon age. Even felt more responsive in dead space 2. micro stutters seem to have gone away. Fps overall is way up also. Can even run shadows in games comfortably. I appear to have solved the bottle issue too. Cpu gets up around 80 on the cites but I don't spike anymore like the athlon did. I would say this is a 70 to 80 percent performance boost. Exactly what I needed. Thanks for all who replied. Next step is to get some cooling and oc this cpu a little.
  6. Excellent. Maybe the chart needs an adjustment, lowering the Athlon II.
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