Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Is it time to upgrade the core 2 duo?

Last response: in Systems
Share
October 17, 2011 1:53:02 AM

First off, my specs:

Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-EP43T-UD3L
CPU: C2D E6850 @ 3.65ghz
CPU Heatsink: Corsair A50 (essentially a cooler master hyper 212 minus one heatpipe)
GPU: MSi Twin Frozr GTX 260 core 216
PSU: Corsair Gaming Series GS600
RAM: 4x1gb G.Skill DDR3 1333
HDD: Western Digital SATA 500gb
Monitor: Asus 23' @ 1920X1080


Everything excluding the monitor and cpu are about 2 years old, after my original 8800GT SLi build sort of exploded and took almost everything with it. I use this computer almost exclusively for gaming and running BONIC programs in its idle time. I like to be able to run games on higher, but not all high, settings with 40+ FPS, which i cant do anymore and why i wish to upgrade. After playing thru a few games with Msi Afterburner on i noticed that in many games my GPU usage hangs around 45-75% usage, with the CPU churning at 100%. When my GPU is around 85-99% usage i get very much playable frames (50-100+).

Now i could be wrong in thinking this, but to me it seems my CPU has become a bottleneck to my GTX 260, which isn't exactly the most powerful thing around anymore, so i think it would make more sense to upgrade the "foundation" of my computer (mobo, CPU) before i throw a GTX 560ti at the problem.

After selling a bunch of stuff on Ebay, i have a budget of $400 firm. That leaves me with enough money to move to a i5 2500k along with a new mobo (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) and whatever dual channel 4GB DDR3 1600 ram is on sale. Or, i could take a much cheaper, but less effective, route and build a Phenom II x4 965 BE build, but i really think that would just be a "sidegrade" to something like a Q9550 that i could just slap into my current motherboard. So i ask, is it time to make a hand-me-down computer with my C2D parts, or would a GTX 560 ti solve most of my issues?





More about : time upgrade core duo

October 17, 2011 1:59:48 AM

Wait for Ivy Bridge. It won't be much longer and you still have a decent PC
m
0
l
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
a c 309 à CPUs
October 17, 2011 2:07:19 AM

To help clarify your options, run these two tests:

a) Run your games, but lower your resolution and eye candy.
If your FPS increases, it indicates that your cpu is strong enough to drive a better graphics configuration.

b) Limit your cpu, either by reducing the OC, or, in windows power management, limit the maximum cpu% to something like 70%.
If your FPS drops significantly, it is an indicator that your cpu is the limiting factor, and a cpu upgrade is in order.

It is possible that both tests are positive, indicating that you have a well balanced system, and both cpu and gpu need to be upgraded to get better gaming FPS.
m
0
l
Related resources
October 17, 2011 2:09:38 AM

TBH, i dont know much about ivy bridge apart from the 22nm process it uses. Im guessing it will be more expensive than a i5 2500k for a performance boost i wont really notice doing what i do, or is it really worth waiting for, seeing as though there might be a price drop on the sandy bridge processors after ivy is released, though i doubt that.
m
0
l
a b B Homebuilt system
a b à CPUs
October 17, 2011 2:18:25 AM

The nice thing of Ivy Bridge is the modern interfaces. The faster memory, the PCIe3, etc. Not much performance increase to today's sandy bridge, but the faster interconnects will make it an excellent long term choice.
m
0
l
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
a c 309 à CPUs
October 17, 2011 2:24:01 AM

Foxhound92 said:
TBH, i dont know much about ivy bridge apart from the 22nm process it uses. Im guessing it will be more expensive than a i5 2500k for a performance boost i wont really notice doing what i do, or is it really worth waiting for, seeing as though there might be a price drop on the sandy bridge processors after ivy is released, though i doubt that.


Ivy bridge is a die shrink from 32nm to 22nm of sandy bridge. Apparently there will be a few more than the normal architecture tweaks.
I think the launch time frame will be April.

If history holds true, the range of prices will be similar to what we have now, and you will get better performance for your dollar.
Do not expect to be able to pick up a new 2500K at distress prices The Intel list price will remain firm, since it will be sold to the replacement market which is not price sensitive. On the used market, prices will drop, perhaps 20% to match the new ivy bridge price performance equation.

If your need is now, buy now. If you wait for the next best thing, you will wait forever.
m
0
l
October 17, 2011 2:45:40 AM

geofelt said:
To help clarify your options, run these two tests:

a) Run your games, but lower your resolution and eye candy.
If your FPS increases, it indicates that your cpu is strong enough to drive a better graphics configuration.

b) Limit your cpu, either by reducing the OC, or, in windows power management, limit the maximum cpu% to something like 70%.
If your FPS drops significantly, it is an indicator that your cpu is the limiting factor, and a cpu upgrade is in order.

It is possible that both tests are positive, indicating that you have a well balanced system, and both cpu and gpu need to be upgraded to get better gaming FPS.



Just as a quick test i picked out X3 Terran Conflict and set everything to low and went to a lower resolution (god that was ugly...) and my FPS increased by only about 10fps, but the same stuttering occurred whenever more objects appear on the screen or if i started shooting stuff. On the same settings i limited my CPU to 50% via windows power management...and my FPS stayed the same, except my GPU usage dropped down to the teens and the FPS drops went about 5fps lower than usual.
m
0
l
a c 136 B Homebuilt system
a b à CPUs
October 17, 2011 2:51:30 AM

I'd throw a 560 ti at your current computer and see how it runs your games .

At higher resolutions it wont be limited much or even at all

and if it doesnt get you what you want then consider upgrading the core components
m
0
l
a b B Homebuilt system
a c 83 à CPUs
October 17, 2011 3:11:00 AM

I'm not sure why your messing with this. He already said his CPU is at 100% usage while his GPU tops out at 70%. So unless he has a virus problem, his CPU is holding him back.

I also don't suggest waiting. IB won't be out for some months. I could see maybe waiting one, but to wait more is just silly. Speaking of which the only thing I'd wait for is "cyber monday", the monday after thanksgiving. Limp along for a money while you save, then get the best deal you can then. You'll need a new CPU, board, and ram. You should be able to reuse the HSF.
m
0
l
October 17, 2011 3:16:41 AM

Outlander_04 said:
I'd throw a 560 ti at your current computer and see how it runs your games .

At higher resolutions it wont be limited much or even at all

and if it doesnt get you what you want then consider upgrading the core components


The easiest thing to do would be to just put in a 560 ti, but the thing I'm worried about is that i wont be able to get my hands on anything near 400 dollars for a upgrade again for something like the next two years (college is expensive). The way i see it is that by then my CPU will belong in a museum as apposed to inside my comp, while something like the i5 would still be rather strong. But then again, if i upgrade the CPU and not my GPU, the same holds true for the video card, so a bottleneck is inevitable really. I'm assuming a CPU bottleneck is less noticeable than a GPU one at the resolution i play at, but right now even my 260 is being held back by my cpu, so i dont think it would get much better with a 560 ti, which is a lot more powerful than my current card.
m
0
l
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
a c 309 à CPUs
October 17, 2011 3:28:53 AM

It looks to me like you have a reasonably well balanced system.

It probably takes both a cpu and a graphics upgrade to do much better.

If I had to pick one or the other, I think I would go the cpu route if you can swing a 2500K.
It is very capable, and can be oc'ed to a point where it can drive any gpu configuration well. You won't need anything faster when ivy bridge arrives.

On the other hand, there will be some new 28nm graphics parts coming in the same time frame.
I think it would be easier to upgrade to one of those later. But... realize that a largish graphics jump has been usually the best way to get better fps.
m
0
l
a b B Homebuilt system
a c 83 à CPUs
October 17, 2011 3:48:57 AM

Quote:
But... realize that a largish graphics jump has been usually the best way to get better fps.


True, unless your CPU is already at 100%. I was going to say to OC it, but he's already probably at the max OC he can get for that system. It's really time for a new base.
m
0
l
October 17, 2011 4:14:48 AM

4745454b said:
Quote:
But... realize that a largish graphics jump has been usually the best way to get better fps.


True, unless your CPU is already at 100%. I was going to say to OC it, but he's already probably at the max OC he can get for that system. It's really time for a new base.


At the very most i can do 3.85 ghz, but thats with over 1.5 vcore which i don't really feel comfortable with, along with temps creeping into the mid 60's, so 3.65 is really the best stable OC i can do.

Going off of all the great responses I've gotten it looks like I'll be ordering a new mobo, the i5 2500k and some corsair ram once the funds transfer to paypal. There is one other thing that bothers me however, i have a OEM version of Win 7 home premium 64 bit, which i hear gets tied to one motherboard after you install it. I've heard that you can just use the phone activation instead of the online activation and that will work, but then again some people say that once you install it you really have no other choice but to buy a new OEM kit. Still others say they just slap it on as many boards as they please with no issue. I would really hate have to have $400 worth of parts that i cant use due to a software issue...
m
0
l
a c 136 B Homebuilt system
a b à CPUs
October 17, 2011 4:31:47 AM

Foxhound92 said:
Just as a quick test i picked out X3 Terran Conflict and set everything to low and went to a lower resolution (god that was ugly...) and my FPS increased by only about 10fps, but the same stuttering occurred whenever more objects appear on the screen or if i started shooting stuff. On the same settings i limited my CPU to 50% via windows power management...and my FPS stayed the same, except my GPU usage dropped down to the teens and the FPS drops went about 5fps lower than usual.



That suggests your game is not whats loading the cpu if you can set it to 50% and not drop fps .

Your cpu is the same architecture as an e8400/ e8600 but on a larger process . It should easily handle a 560 ti

I guess you have a software problem of some kind. Maybe malware , maybe just a corrupted program . You can try trolling through task manager turning off things that are not essential windows services to see if that helps

But the problem might be most easily fixed with a format and reinstall of windows
m
0
l
a b à CPUs
October 17, 2011 4:36:50 AM

Yeah Im all about sticking with c2q but c2d and a 260 gtx is as far as you can go unless you start killing processes before gaming, and well that risky
m
0
l
a b B Homebuilt system
a c 83 à CPUs
October 17, 2011 5:00:26 AM

Fox, I'm honestly not sure. From recent DRM OSes I've owned a student copy of XP which I picked up in college, and the family pack of win7 which I've never tried to install on more then one board yet. (seeing as thats good for three installs, I would imagine I should be able to install on three different boards before MS has an issue.) I don't know if the FP is considered retail or OEM.

OEM is tied to the first computer, usually the mobo. If you have issues, I too have heard you call them up. I'd do it. You can try reinstalling OSes and games but I'm pretty sure you have a CPU issue. Seeing as your GPU is already at 70% I don't think you'll see a huge boost in avg or highest frame rates. But seeing as you dip into the 40% range your lowest FPS should go up quite a bit.
m
0
l
October 17, 2011 5:02:37 AM

Outlander_04 said:
That suggests your game is not whats loading the cpu if you can set it to 50% and not drop fps .

Your cpu is the same architecture as an e8400/ e8600 but on a larger process . It should easily handle a 560 ti

I guess you have a software problem of some kind. Maybe malware , maybe just a corrupted program . You can try trolling through task manager turning off things that are not essential windows services to see if that helps

But the problem might be most easily fixed with a format and reinstall of windows



My install of win 7 is less than a month old, i dont go installing anything i dont need/use either. At the most, apart from the game running, i'll have skype, steam and MSi afterburner running. No viruses either, im careful about that stuff.

As far as running X3 with reduced CPU power, i realized that the settings in power managment didnt do anything... but i can guarantee you if i reduced my OC to default 3.00ghz,i would see a huge performance hit. When i stare into the more crowded areas of the sector i drop to about 35fps @ 33% GPU usage, when i stare out into empty space, i go to about 115 fps @ 50 GPU usage. My CPU usage is around 65-85%. This is with the game set to all high, on all minimum its about the same deal, it was like this in windows XP also.
m
0
l
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
a c 309 à CPUs
October 17, 2011 2:20:17 PM

Foxhound92 said:
At the very most i can do 3.85 ghz, but thats with over 1.5 vcore which i don't really feel comfortable with, along with temps creeping into the mid 60's, so 3.65 is really the best stable OC i can do.

Going off of all the great responses I've gotten it looks like I'll be ordering a new mobo, the i5 2500k and some corsair ram once the funds transfer to paypal. There is one other thing that bothers me however, i have a OEM version of Win 7 home premium 64 bit, which i hear gets tied to one motherboard after you install it. I've heard that you can just use the phone activation instead of the online activation and that will work, but then again some people say that once you install it you really have no other choice but to buy a new OEM kit. Still others say they just slap it on as many boards as they please with no issue. I would really hate have to have $400 worth of parts that i cant use due to a software issue...


If you are near a microcenter, they were selling a 2500K for $180 if you walk in.

Yes, the oem license is tied to the motherboard mostly. But, if your motherboard fails, and you can't buy an exact replacement, you will ba able to activate with something different. You may need to get this done by phone. It will either be automatic, or in person, not a painful process either way. The key question Microsoft wants to know is if the os is running on any other pc. In this case, the answer is no, which is the proper answer.
Microsoft is mostly interested in stopping piracy with multiple copies, not in sticking it to the individual user.

Also, with ram so cheap, go ahead and get a 8gb kit of 2 x 4gb. It is great for multitasking.
Sandy bridge is insensitive to ram speeds, so don't pay much extra for faster speeds or better timings.
Also, don't pay extra for fancy heat spreaders; the 1.5v dimms just don't get hot enough to require them, execpting perhaps record seeking overclocks.
m
0
l
!