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Core 2 Quad: Graphics or CPU Upgrade for BF3?

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November 29, 2011 7:48:24 PM

Hey all,

I built my computer in 2008 and it's still running pretty well. I originally built the rig to run Crysis when it first came out, and I was able to do so on medium-High settings (shaders were at medium I believe). I am also able to run Battlefield: Bad Company 2 at medium settings without an issue.

Here are my current specs:

Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz
ASUS P5E LGA 775 Intel X38 ATX Intel Motherboard
4gb DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) RAM
EVGA geforce 8800 GTS 512MB

I am thinking of just getting a new nvida gtx 560 superclocked instead of building a whole new rig with an i5 or i7 in order to run BF3 at high-ultra with a reasonable fps. What are your thoughts on this? I hear that the graphics cards is more important than the CPU with recent games.

Thanks for your time,

John
November 29, 2011 7:53:52 PM

both. Yes 560 should do good. I personally like AMD GFX and CPU more than intel. Just price wise, as i'm not the richest man. But that CPU might do well on medium. If you have the extra 500 than you get really upgrade ur PC (CPU&GPU).

GPU will not run it with the one you have right now well. At least 1GB will do good. for CPU, i suggest a i7 2600k. I'm not good with Intel, but i think i7 is a bit expensive.
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November 29, 2011 8:08:09 PM

Upgrade your GPU. You have a decent quad-core CPU already, so use your upgrade budget on graphics. But even with a gtx560, I doubt you'll manage ultra settings unless you play at a low resolution and don't care if your fps is bad. Medium is probably a more reasonable goal. But medium still looks really really good in BF3.
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November 29, 2011 8:31:43 PM

Upgrade the gpu, overclock the cpu. Your mobo can support more memory,get some. Your cpu could overclock to 3ghz with out much effort.
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November 29, 2011 8:35:22 PM

Your quad is fine for BF3. Get a good GPU... or two. :D 
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a b à CPUs
November 29, 2011 8:38:34 PM

No need for a new CPU. The Q6600 is still a nice CPU. It's comparable to the Phenom IIs, and when OC, it should perform very well. What is your budget for a new GPU?
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a c 80 à CPUs
November 29, 2011 9:09:23 PM

just gpu, i'm on Q9550 and GTX470, running fine at 2048x1152, lots of eye candy and 40's to 50's FPS. Look at toms review CPU scaling is poor, even stepping up from dual, though i've heard dual to quad gives benefits.
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November 29, 2011 9:14:43 PM

my budget for a new gpu is $200-250
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November 29, 2011 9:22:39 PM

probably go for the 6950 for that 200-250 range, I have the 6950 2gb and it is an absolute beast, if you are willing to push the budget a bit you can CF a couple of 6850's and from what I have read BF loves crossfire
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November 29, 2011 9:23:41 PM

13thmonkey said:
just gpu, i'm on Q9550 and GTX470, running fine at 2048x1152, lots of eye candy and 40's to 50's FPS. Look at toms review CPU scaling is poor, even stepping up from dual, though i've heard dual to quad gives benefits.


They just benchmarked a single-player cutscene. I still think a dual-core would struggle in multi-player, but any modern quad-core should be fine.
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November 29, 2011 9:27:43 PM

dmcclelland1 said:
probably go for the 6950 for that 200-250 range, I have the 6950 2gb and it is an absolute beast, if you are willing to push the budget a bit you can CF a couple of 6850's and from what I have read BF loves crossfire


can i CF on the mobo I have?
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November 29, 2011 11:39:06 PM

To overclock the Q6600, could I keep the stock fan on there? or should I get a better heatsink/fan.
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November 30, 2011 12:13:33 AM

jlam9012 said:
To overclock the Q6600, could I keep the stock fan on there? or should I get a better heatsink/fan.


Get a better fan. The Cooler Master 212 is a good budget air cooler. I am running my Q6600 on a cooler slightly better air cooler, at 3.2 GHz, my voltage is raised about 10% from stock, and I am hitting temps of 60C on Prime95. You should be good to go for BF3 at 3.0GHz. My GTX 460 OC'd to 900MHz is still the bottleneck in BF3 (running at medium to get 70fps instead of high at 35-45).
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a b à CPUs
November 30, 2011 12:13:59 AM

Get a better hearsink to overclock. Spend 25 dollars and you should be set.
I'm still very happy with my OC Q6600.
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November 30, 2011 12:22:26 AM

You could, but you really shouldn't. A decent cooler is usually ~$30. That money could have usually been spent buying a faster CPU or GPU. In your case, I think it's the latter. An aftermarket HSF has other advantages, such as being quieter, but if you're going to OC, it's really a decision you should make when you purchase parts.
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November 30, 2011 12:32:29 AM

Get an aftermarket cooler and overclock the cpu add some mem, and everything will load and work faster. Not just games. A stable o.c. and a good gpu will do what you want to do game wise and make your computer lots faster. You have a good mobo with lots of upgrade and o.c. options for you.
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a c 83 à CPUs
November 30, 2011 1:12:37 AM

You need a better GPU more than a cpu upgrade right now for BF3, BF3 will use all 4 cores of your Q6600 so performance will be decent, may have some slow downs in 64 player maps, an overclock could fix that.
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November 30, 2011 2:55:16 AM

Is it hard to remove the stock fan I have on the Q6600? I used some thermal compound on it if I remember correctly. I think I'm going to get the Cooler Master 212. I can get it for $16 on New egg (mail in rebate card).
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a b à CPUs
November 30, 2011 2:56:09 AM

Both need an upgrade, but getting rid of the aged 8800GTS is probably the necessary first step. I'd go for the 570 though, as the 560 struggles much more in BF3...

That being said, with any C2Q, you WILL be CPU bottlenecked in BF3.
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a c 80 à CPUs
November 30, 2011 7:54:27 AM

hapkido said:
They just benchmarked a single-player cutscene. I still think a dual-core would struggle in multi-player, but any modern quad-core should be fine.


agreed and that is probably why some people are reporting better results when stepping up to a quad. Wanted the OP to have a look and learn for himself, glad he isn't changing whole system, and OC and a GPU upgrade should be fine.
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a c 88 à CPUs
November 30, 2011 8:20:00 AM

if you OC the processor, then get a new gfx card. If not, upgrade the cpu first. 2.4ghz is bottlenecking the 8800 and is not enough to run many games smoothyl, but the 8800 will run games smooth with reduced eye candy. Getting a better gfx card will not get you the performance gain you expect unless you OC/upgrade the CPU.
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November 30, 2011 9:10:46 AM

id suggest buying the 212 (either 212 plus or EVO) then ocing your Q6600 and getting the 6950.
at least this way you can reuse the cooler and the gpu if you plan on getting a new mobo/cpu
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November 30, 2011 2:02:00 PM

jlam9012 said:
Is it hard to remove the stock fan I have on the Q6600? I used some thermal compound on it if I remember correctly. I think I'm going to get the Cooler Master 212. I can get it for $16 on New egg (mail in rebate card).

It's not hard. I ran a stock fan/heatsink on my E7300 till I got it over 3.2 then went to a Xigmatech Loki. Just go slow , ground yourself, and use good thermal paste. Oh and read the directions. You can go to You-Tube and there are many vids on how to take things out and put them back in.
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a b à CPUs
November 30, 2011 7:28:47 PM

Really just overclock the CPU it has all kinds of headroom. If you can get it to 3.2 /3.4 then there is nothing holding you back but gpu power
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