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Need a second opinion on an upgrade! Help?

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May 8, 2011 5:26:20 AM

So. I haven't upgraded my rig since 2k5 (or around there, I lose track), and things have gotten pretty shabby in the interim.

Currently I have...

Intel C2D E6600 (2.4) + Asus p5b Deluxe Wifi (only supports PCI Express X16)
2GB DDR2 400
Nvidia 6600 GT

Thinking of upgrading to...

Core i5 - 2500k (3.3ghz) + Asrock p67 Extreme
8GB DDR3 1600
Radeon HD 6950 (2gb)

My needs have changed a lot over the years. I'm a law student now so I don't get to do as much gaming as I used to. It's great when I can, but there just isn't a lot of time and the ps3 is there when I need a fix. Still, don't see any point in half arsing it and I need to buy a second monitor anyway because I spend so much time flipping between multiple documents that the old alt + tab game is getting tiresome.

I was hoping to be able to get through this upgrade originally without swapping mobo's and CPU's. I figured I could just overclock the e6600, buy a new graphics card, and that would be fine (even for a bit of gaming). But that x16 on the p5b and DDR2 is hard to work with. So I guess what I'm wondering is, is it worth trying to plan an upgrade around that old p5b or do I just need to go on and scrap it and go with the upgrades I listed?

More about : opinion upgrade

May 8, 2011 5:40:17 AM

You could just buy the gfx card and see if that does the job
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May 8, 2011 6:27:47 AM

Not sure what you mean by "only PCIe x16" but I had your similar predicament and decided it was time for a new rig. I went with what I have in the sig. I am very happy I switched as it was a much needed improvement. Guess it really depends on if you have the cash or not.
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May 8, 2011 6:34:00 PM

You will find a second monitor is a most useful addition.

Why not just connect it to your 6600gt? You may need a vga to dvi or hdmi adapter if it did not come with your 6600gt.

The 2500K is about as good as it gets for some time. You use one of the new Z68 based motherboardswhich are due out this week. The integrated video is about the equivalent of a $50 graphics card. You can still overclock, and you can still add a strong graphics card in the future.
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May 8, 2011 7:22:00 PM

Personally I would move on to greener pastures at this point. Granted you dont do as much gaming, but the tech is moving toward an upgraded computer. I would guess that its taxing on your computer to run multiple browsers with multiple tabs at this point. Also you upgrade the GPU and add moniters you have to think of the additional tax that's going to put on your CPU.

My non-professional reccomendation: new build.
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May 9, 2011 1:23:38 AM

Thanks for the responses guys. I probably should have clarified my point about x16 a little better than I did. Basically all I meant was that I don't have the faster 2.0/2.1 bus speed. I know it is backwards compatible, but I haven't done the research to find out how much the 6950 actually uses.

Also, as to the point made by geofelt, your right that I could add the second monitor using the 6600GT. If that's all I was concerned about I wouldn't upgrade the rest of the rig and would just buy the 2nd monitor and be done with it. In fact, that option is still on the table.

As to the point made by cjanecki84, you would actually be surprised how well that core 2 duo 2.4 still performs. It struggles with things like DVD encoding, but I don't do much of that so its not a problem. For everyday use like browsing and document editing (which is most of what I do) there is virtually no lag time at all. Of course, that's relative. Sometimes you don't know how bad off you are until you hop on a rig with the newest technology. I should probably say that it hasn't gotten to a point where it lags noticeably enough to annoy me. Gaming is where the system really shows its age. I can play Starcraft 2 on it, in fact I beta tested SC2 on this rig, but I had to crank the resolution and detail down to bare minimums. Same thing with WoW. It's playable but without the bells and whistles.

I'm going to upgrade for sure, either by slapping a new video card and more memory in this mobo or completely scrapping the LGA 775 setup and going a new direction. I just don't know which option is more sensible. For instance, if I were upgrading based on the old LGA 775 mobo:

8GB DDR2 800
Core 2 Duo 2.4 (would over-clock to ~3.0)
Radeon HD 6950 (but running on slower x16 bus speed)

My upgrade would cost about $350. But, if I upgrade to:

8GB DDR3
Core i5
Socket 1155 Mobo
Radeon HD 6950

I am looking at something like ~$800 for my upgrade. I just can't figure out what the better bargain is because I don't know how much more mileage I can get going forward on: (1) the slower x16 bus speed, (2) the DDR2, and (3) the core 2 duo.







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May 9, 2011 1:30:32 AM

Being a student you also get windows 7 on the cheap so keep that in mind! Saves you 100 bucks on that alone for a new rig. Playing WoW and SC2 are also processor heavy instead of graphic heavy. Increasing your card won't gain you much in terms of frame rate but you will be able to handle more of the eye candy.

When it comes to 350 vs 800 do what you can afford and leave it at that.
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May 9, 2011 2:08:59 AM

1) I would not invest more in DDR2 and lga 775. It is two generations old.
The DDR2 ram is even more expensive than the DDR3. You can sell your parts to help with funds for the upgrade.

2) The 6950 is a good card, feel free to get it whatever you do. The 6850 is not limited by the pci-e x16 slot, regardless of the speed. It is only when you have dual top end cards does the speed of the slot make a difference, and that is in the low single digits of 2-4 %. Measureable, but not noticeable. The 6950 needs a 500w psu, and two 6 pin pci-e power connectors. Are you OK there?

3) If you want a real performance boost , get a SSD for the os and apps. You will pay about $2 per gb. Something in the 40-80gb range should do it.

4) As an option, look at a Z68 motherboard which should launch on May11. It allows you to use the integrated graphics of a 2500K, and still have overclocking capability. The sandy bridge graphics is about as strong as a $50 graphics card. I think that is considerably stronger than your 6600GT. See how you do with it. You may be able to defer your graphics gaming update for a while. The dvd encoding gets massively improved with Z68. You then have the option to change to a strong discrete card when you really need it.
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May 9, 2011 2:50:25 AM

I agree with Geofelt wholeheartedly. If you look at the move that is being made, this is a very good time to upgrade Mobo and processor. Intel combined 1156 and 1366 into one board that can better hand Hyperthreaded chips and un HT'd, so you have room to move and grow. Even going to the i3-xxxxK would be a tremendous improvement as i've heard you can get some amazing overclocking done on the i3 even. That would allow you to put more money into graphics and leave you endless options for upgrading the CPU later. I can tell you first hand i went from duo core to last gen i5-750 and it was night and day. I expect this machine to last at least a few more years for what i do with it because i'm waiting for SSd's to really come down in price before investing and when I do i'm going to move to 1155 also.
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May 9, 2011 4:15:30 AM

cjanecki84 said:
I agree with Geofelt wholeheartedly. If you look at the move that is being made, this is a very good time to upgrade Mobo and processor. Intel combined 1156 and 1366 into one board that can better hand Hyperthreaded chips and un HT'd, so you have room to move and grow. Even going to the i3-xxxxK would be a tremendous improvement as i've heard you can get some amazing overclocking done on the i3 even. That would allow you to put more money into graphics and leave you endless options for upgrading the CPU later. I can tell you first hand i went from duo core to last gen i5-750 and it was night and day. I expect this machine to last at least a few more years for what i do with it because i'm waiting for SSd's to really come down in price before investing and when I do i'm going to move to 1155 also.


As far as I know, there are no i3 "K" processors, and the cpu part can not be overclocked. The graphics aspect , perhaps, but not the cpu.

But, you are right, the sandy bridge processors of any flavor are shockingly fast. It is the architecture that does it, not just the clock rate.
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