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Looking to squeeze more performance out of my E8400 - please help!

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November 20, 2011 8:24:39 PM

Hello! New here to Toms Hardware, and after reading all the helpful responses to other threads; I decided to make this my new home for all my tech / geek needs :D .

Let me start off by listing my current system build:

PNY GTX 570
P35-DS3R Motherboard
Intel E8400 @ 3.6
4gb Corsair XMS2 DDR2 800 5-5-5-18
Windows 7 64

I'm currently playing Battlefield 3 and Skyrim, and as we all know, these are graphically intensive games ( Skyrim on Ultra and enhance via Nvidia control settings is beautiful ). I've been teetering back and forth between outright upgrading to a new i7 2600k build, but I'm looking at around $700-$800 bucks in total upgrades which would burn a nice size hole in my pocket.

I'm just wondering if anyone can see a way for me to squeeze more performance out of my current socket (LGA 775). Should I upgrade the ram? motherboard? cpu?. I was looking at the Q9550 Yorkfield, but saw some posts about how the E8400 2 core is better for gaming? I'm just really trying to not have to change my entire system as of yet.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! :hello: 
a b à CPUs
November 20, 2011 9:46:52 PM

the yorkfield would actually be a good upgrade for you if the price is right. most of those Q9XX chips tend to be overpriced and not worth the investment.

I also would not invest in new ram for two reasons
1. you won't get any more improvement past 4GB
2. DDR2 is rather expensive and outdated, never a good combo to invest in
a c 134 à CPUs
November 20, 2011 9:53:09 PM

can you up the fsb a bit more if you dropped the memory and pci clock multipliers?
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November 21, 2011 1:16:02 PM

I did some overclocking last night to squeeze more out of the E8400. Bumped the frequency from 400 to 430 and got it to stabalize at about 3.8ghz, roughly 1700 fsb. I was trying to get it to hit 4.0ghz, but it wasn't stable at all. Not sure if I need better cooling or something but I'm already using an aftermarket cooler. Perhaps I'll look into getting a better cooler and cleaning / applying new paste.

Another thing I was trying to do was change my memory timings from 5-5-5-18 to 4-4-4-12. Supposedly the memory could handle it, but I can't even get it to load Windows without BSOD. Memory runs at 1.8v and I bumped it to 2.0v, but still no stability at all. Only way I could load with those timings is if I left my CPU alone at 3.0ghz. Any idea why this would cause so much instability? And would that give me a noticeable performance boost? Maybe I should be happy with what I got and stop trying to blow up something. :D 

a c 134 à CPUs
November 23, 2011 12:10:17 AM

you want to move the other direction with your memory timings with your high clock rate. At 430 your memory is running at DDR2-860 so you want more timing delays , not less, to make it work. I would try 6-6-6-19 with 2T command rate
November 23, 2011 2:14:09 PM

csam18 said:
Hello! New here to Toms Hardware, and after reading all the helpful responses to other threads; I decided to make this my new home for all my tech / geek needs :D .

Let me start off by listing my current system build:

PNY GTX 570
P35-DS3R Motherboard
Intel E8400 @ 3.6
4gb Corsair XMS2 DDR2 800 5-5-5-18
Windows 7 64

I'm currently playing Battlefield 3 and Skyrim, and as we all know, these are graphically intensive games ( Skyrim on Ultra and enhance via Nvidia control settings is beautiful ). I've been teetering back and forth between outright upgrading to a new i7 2600k build, but I'm looking at around $700-$800 bucks in total upgrades which would burn a nice size hole in my pocket.

I'm just wondering if anyone can see a way for me to squeeze more performance out of my current socket (LGA 775). Should I upgrade the ram? motherboard? cpu?. I was looking at the Q9550 Yorkfield, but saw some posts about how the E8400 2 core is better for gaming? I'm just really trying to not have to change my entire system as of yet.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! :hello: 











It all depends on if the game has be programmed to use all 4 threads of a quad core CPU. older games that are programmed to used only 1 or 2 don't get any extra help from having higher number cored CPU. these days new games are programmed to unilize all of the threads in a quad core. I personally have the Core 2 Q9400 because I couldn't get a hold of a 9550 anywhere so i had to settle. That being said, My Machine runs BF3 amazingly with the q9400, and i don't think you will notice a difference between the q9400 and q9550 if your using stock everything for games. I got my q9400 overclocked from its 2.66ghz stock to 3.2ghz. Im not sure if you can squeeze anymore power out of a q9550 or not. all in all if I were to be thinking about a new machine, I'd be building a brand new i7 machine.
November 30, 2011 12:19:05 AM

steadfast1984 said:
It all depends on if the game has be programmed to use all 4 threads of a quad core CPU. older games that are programmed to used only 1 or 2 don't get any extra help from having higher number cored CPU. these days new games are programmed to unilize all of the threads in a quad core. I personally have the Core 2 Q9400 because I couldn't get a hold of a 9550 anywhere so i had to settle. That being said, My Machine runs BF3 amazingly with the q9400, and i don't think you will notice a difference between the q9400 and q9550 if your using stock everything for games. I got my q9400 overclocked from its 2.66ghz stock to 3.2ghz. Im not sure if you can squeeze anymore power out of a q9550 or not. all in all if I were to be thinking about a new machine, I'd be building a brand new i7 machine.


Yeah.. the last few days I've been trying to milk my setup for what it's worth. Bought a CM Hyper 212 EVO cooler with an additional fan and some new thermal paste. Was amazed at how much of a difference that made! I was able to overclock my e8400 to 4ghz stable with it around 56c full load. I finally decided after all that though to just go with what I've been wanting to do for a long time now which was upgrading to a SB i7 setup.

New setup:

Asus P8P67 EVO Rev 3.0 MB
G.SKILL Ripjaws X 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 2133 Model F3-17000CL9D-8GBXM
Intel i7 2600k
PNY GTX 570

Just waiting on memory to come in and will be swinging by MicroCenter tomorrow for my in-store pickup of the cpu :D . For anyone looking to do a similar setup, Fry's Electronics is having an awesome deal on the P8P67 EVO (it's what jumped started me on this full blown upgrade). Currently the board is priced at $159.99, then a $30 mail in rebate dropping it down to $129.99! MicroCenter also has a great deal on the i7 2600k, $279.99! Memory was $89.99 through Newegg.com.

I can't wait to see how BF3 runs after this! Should be set for another couple of years :D .

Now on to putting up my old setup on Ebay and use that to cover some of this cost lol.
!