Built my system in 2008 and have only upgraded the graphics card. I am wanting to boost my FPS in BC2 and CoD but not sure what all I can do without spending a ton of money.
-MOBO: Asus P5Q Pro
-CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 @ 3.16 GHz (worried about attempting overclocking)
-RAM: 4 GB Corsair DDR2-800
-GPU: ATI Radeon HD 5830
-PSU: 750 Watt Corsair
What would be the best upgrade(s) I could do for under $400. From the benchmarks I've ran, my CPU seems to be the fallout. Is there anything I can do without upgrading to a new i5/i7 (which would also require a new mobo and ram, if I'm not mistaken).
I usually set my AAx =0 and details on medium and I still get FPS drops if I'm looking at a large amount of the map and not just a "wall" in front of me. On CoD my best FPS is ~80 but drops down to around ~35-40 which makes it difficult to play. On BC2 best is ~55 and worst is ~30.
I had Q6600 at 3.15 and 5850 and I got nearly 100fps in BC2 at that resolution with all game settings at "very high".
Have you tried overclocking your video card? It's real easy, just go into CCC and click the performance tab. Then click AMD overdrive, then check the box that says "enbable AMD overdrive". Then you can move the sliders up. Try bumping the core up 50 and the memory 50. You may have to increase the fan speed to compensate for a little extra heat.
If you haven't updated your ATI driver in a few months, I would do that first.
The cpu is fast enough to keep up with the card, but you could easily overclock that thing to 4ghz if you wanted to.
I would either suggest trying to find a Core2Quad somewhere (I saw one on AnandTech's For Sale forum, and your odds of finding something there are pretty good), or spending that $400 on a platform upgrade.
You could probably squeeze out an i5-2500, P67 mobo and new RAM on $400. That would definitely require a GPU upgrade down the road, but your CPU/Mobo base would be on par for the next several years.