Upgrading Cost/Performance Value

Alright, so I know there are lots of people talking about upgrading from a Phenom II x4 or similar, but I'm interested in some specifics, so I figured I'd ask and see what you guys think...

I got this 955 BE almost exactly two years ago(minus 1 month and 1 day in fact), and it's treated me pretty well. I overclocked it to 3.6GHz with a nice Zalman cooler. I got a Sapphire 6950 when they first came out, and just recently unlocked the extra shaders on it.
I was trying to get the 955 to clock at 4GHz but I couldn't get it to load windows at that speed, and I'm not very skilled at overclocking, so I'm now sitting at 3.83GHz. Overall my system seems decent, but lacking.

I notice in SC2, mostly in larger battles(the main reason I play, lol), that I dip pretty low in frames, even with most settings barely around mid to mid-high, at 1920x1200.

So I've been doing a bunch of research lately and was looking forward to Bulldozer for a while, since I've been interested in AMD for probably 6-8 years now. But that's been a disappointment and it seems like a lot of what they're doing isn't really my best choice anymore.

Now it seems like an i5 2500K is a gamer's best choice who isn't looking to spend outrageous amounts of money.

On to the point! (hopefully)
I'd be upgrading the motherboard, processor, RAM, cpu cooler, and a new SSD.
I have:
Antec 1200 case, Antec CPX 850 PSU
ASUS M4A78T-E motherboard with the Phenom II x4 955 BE @ 3.838GHz
80GB Intel SSD
Sapphire HD 6950 unlocked to 6970
and a sexy Dell u2410 monitor

I'm looking at:
Intel i5 2500K
8GB of Kingston Hyper-X RAM
and a Hyper-X 120GB SATA III SSD

I would be using it mainly for:
StarCraft 2 and its expansions
The Old Republic
Diablo 3
Max Payne 3
And potentially:
Guild Wars 2
Arkham City
Saints Row 3
and any other totally cool PC games that I decide I want to play.

I would want to be able to run all of this on Max or as close to max as I can get, with 2x or 4x AA at 1920x1200.

What I'm looking for is people who have gone this same route and could give their opinions, and also some benchmark charts comparing the two processors while using the same 6950 or 6970 graphics card.
Other than the much faster SATA III SSD that I'd get, the only main difference performance-wise will be the processor. I'd get a good cooling solution to overclock the 2500K to 4.5GHz or more, I've been looking at the Kühler 620 and that seems like a nice choice, given that I'm able to keep the interior of my case rather cool.

So from what I've heard about the 2500K it seems like this upgrade would be really nice for me, but I'm not sure about price/performance value and any new tech that would be coming out so I wanted to be certain with my decision. I'm not gonna be using any type of development software though and it seems like that's where most of the improvements will be with the new stuff coming out. Either way I will be waiting until after the SB-E launch coming up in a couple weeks, which will hopefully bring some price drops.

Also my other thought was possibly being able to grab another 6950 down the road after this upgrade and hoping it'd unlock so I could get Crossfire 6970 performance.

Sorry for the incredibly huge post, just wanted to be as clear as possible. Hopefully you guys can enlighten me! :D

8 answers Last reply
More about upgrading cost performance value
  1. What instances in SC2 do you experience this lag? Large custom games? If so, that is 100% typical of all processors/gpus. Some Starcraft 2 custom games actually warn users that hardware doesn't exist that will allow them to run the game on its highest settings and not see the framerate lag (at least this is what I have seen).

    Gaming is relatively CPU independent for the most part, take a look at this review:,2833-18.html

    the 1100T performs well within expectations in most cases except F1, but I would say F1 is in the decided minority of CPU intensive titles. Bottomline, Intel enthusiest CPU, AMD enthusiest CPU, it is all just gravy, buy what you want, but DO NOT skimp on the GPU or you will regret it!
  2. Welve said:
    What instances in SC2 do you experience this lag?

    Larger battles in 3v3 and 4v4s, mainly.
  3. Odd, we have the same CPU, but I run a GTX 275 and I can't think of a time where I have had issues with lag in multiplayer and I run starcraft at high settings. The exception here is custom games like nexus wars towards the end when there are like 1000+ units lol and that is what I meant above. Are you sure your overclock is stable? I am not very experienced in overclocking (I run stock), so I couldn't tell you much about that or if it would impact performance to that extent.

    Your GPU should be able to handle Starcraft II with ease, so I doubt that is the issue.
  4. I don't believe that you're able to run stuff on high/ultra that says it requires CPU, like the Physics, Reflections, and Effects settings, without significant slowdown.

    Granted, these settings aren't necessary to be able to play the game, but I like being able to run things all the way up, the way they're meant to be.
  5. Bump For Great Justice
  6. SolidSnake3035 said:
    Bump For Great Justice
  7. Hmm...
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