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Advice on Processor Upgrade for Gaming

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July 1, 2011 10:24:18 AM

My current PC specs:

Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 2.4 GHz
ASUS Motherboard
3 GB RAM (1 GB 533 MHz + 2 GB 800 MHz)
GeForce GTS 250 1 GB
Monitor: LCD, resolution 1680x1050
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate (32 bit)

I'm a gamer and I'm going to upgrade my PC. I'll buy either a $200 graphics card (+ anything required to support it e.g. PSU), or a $200 processor (+ anything required to support it e.g. motherboard). I play all kind of games like Shogun 2, Crysis 2, Shift 2, FIFA 11, Dragon Age 2, Dirt 3 etc.

How would I know which one is the bottleneck for latest games? Which part (CPU/GPU) is worthy to upgrade?

If I upgrade CPU, I'll buy Core i5 2300/2400. If I upgrade GPU, I plan to buy GeForce 550Ti (which is not available in my local market and I have to wait).

Thanks.
July 1, 2011 10:42:31 AM

With your current setup you'll need both a new GPU and CPU which will cost more than $200 to see a difference. You should just lower your resolution to 1366x768 or something in which case the 250 will run nicely.

If you have the ability to overclock you can get a CPU cooler for $25-30 and then a 550 Ti or something.
July 1, 2011 10:45:36 AM

Generally the GPU is the bottleneck.

Granted also your CPU could use the upgrade, but you won't see much improvement just upgrading the CPU.

So I guess the answer is "both", but since a choice must be made I would go with the GPU first.
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July 1, 2011 12:38:48 PM

His CPU wont hold him back too much if overclocked. What motherboard exactly do you have? Oh yea you cant just plop in a i5-2500 in ur current rig, u'll need a completely new rig.. Where do you live?
July 1, 2011 1:37:29 PM

According to the chart at http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-graphics-card-... you will see that a GTX550Ti is a very meager upgrade over a GTS250; Cleeve's recommendation is you want to move up three tiers on the chart to see a notable difference. That would mean a GTX560Ti; I think in this case a two-tier jump to a 1GB GTX460 or HD6850 would likely also be worthwhile. Fortunately, your resolution is modest; not low, but some people tend to turn up their noses at anything less than 1920x1080.
In any case, if you upgrade your GPU, the money won't be wasted, since you can re-use it later if/when you upgrade your CPU/mobo/RAM.
July 1, 2011 3:10:13 PM


CPU comparison. I used the E7500 a little more powerful than yours, but close enough,
http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/desktop-cpu-charts-2...

I could find a direct comparison for the GTS 250, but its on par with a HD 5750 for gaming in Tom's GPU Hierarchy charts.
so a CPU upgrade should let you play most things on Med setting at 1680x1050.

like jtt283 said a 550Ti isn't that big of and upgrade (it is an upgrade though). you should go at least up to a GTX 460 1MB OC or a HD 6850.

that being said you need CPU/MB/RAM/GPU. the i5-2300 and 2400 are great choices, but for gaming on a budget the i3-2100 is sufficient.
Tom's Sub $200 gaming CPU round up:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gaming-cpu-cor...


What kind of Powersupply do you have in your rig? wattage? PCIe 6 or 8 pin howmany? how many 12v DC rails and what is the Amperage? can it handle a bigger card?

are you near a microcenter?

July 2, 2011 2:08:01 PM

@AstroTC: I live in Bangladesh.

@jtt283: yes i know it is not enough. but i'd like to stick to mid range graphics card. 4x AA and 4x Anti Aliasing is enough for my eye in 1680x1050 resolution.

@jerreddredd: please check below.

Thanks all for wonderful support. until now i was sure that the games i'm feeling slower is due to my processor. now i know that it isn't.

but since my processor is more backdated than graphics card, and because i occasionally do computationally intensive tasks (video convert etc), i just upgraded my processor to i5-2400. also installed 4 GB RAM having 1333 MHz clock and 500 W PSU. i'll upgrade my GPU next year (hopefully) and then i'll remember your choices.

thanks again. :) 
July 2, 2011 2:48:58 PM

Oh, I'm not one of the nose-sniffers. 1680x1050 is a nice resolution, and it will let you get excellent performance out of a mid-range card.
July 2, 2011 7:47:34 PM

Donotalo said:
@AstroTC: I live in Bangladesh.

@jtt283: yes i know it is not enough. but i'd like to stick to mid range graphics card. 4x AA and 4x Anti Aliasing is enough for my eye in 1680x1050 resolution.

@jerreddredd: please check below.

Thanks all for wonderful support. until now i was sure that the games i'm feeling slower is due to my processor. now i know that it isn't.

but since my processor is more backdated than graphics card, and because i occasionally do computationally intensive tasks (video convert etc), i just upgraded my processor to i5-2400. also installed 4 GB RAM having 1333 MHz clock and 500 W PSU. i'll upgrade my GPU next year (hopefully) and then i'll remember your choices.

thanks again. :) 


I think you made a good choice on the CPU/MB/Ram upgrade. Game on!
!