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Upgrade cpu vs upgrade mobo/cpu/ram

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February 18, 2012 12:58:42 AM

Good afternoon (well it's afternoon over here in Japan),

I found a great deal on a new GPU, the R6850 for less than half the normal price. I bought it but before I installed, I looked at my Windows Experience Index and realized my biggest problem is my cpu and ram (both showing 4.7). I mostly use the system for gaming. Currently my system is;


CPU = Intel Core 2 duo 4300 @ 1.8 GHz
RAM = 8 GB DDR2-800 (PC2-6400) UMAX
MOBO = MSI p6n sli platinum lga 775 nvidia nforce 650i atx intel c55+mcp51
GPU = Nvidia GeForce 9800GT
Windows 7 professional 64 bit

So there are 3 basic questions here.

1. Is my ram rating tied to my cpu (they always stay the same).

2. Can I just upgrade the cpu without doing a whole rebuild (I would prefer this if possible). I looked at the CPU list on the MSI website and I can use some of the Core 2 extremes. I live near Akihabara so it is possible to find used CPU's for decent prices. At what price point is it better to get a whole new mobo/CPU/ram upgrade vs just a CPU upgrade.

3. If I cannot upgrade CPU enough to get a decent system, what is the best I can put together for around $300 (I have been reading the best value listing and I am a little confused, the most reasonable CPU seems to be the core i3-2120).

Thank you so much for the help and I can supply any extra information that may be needed for a decision.
February 18, 2012 10:36:38 PM

Would it be possible for someone to answer #1 of my questions? I probably should have split the questions up since someone may not know the answers to all of them (I spent hours googling them but with no luck). I also know that the WEI is not the best way to benchmark but I did build this a long time ago so maybe it is time to scrap it. Knowing if my ram has such a low rating as well as my CPU would help me make the decision whether or not to ditch the whole combo. I am sorry to double post but I was hoping to go to Akihabara this weekend. Thank you again for all your time and effort.
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February 19, 2012 2:14:32 AM

Your RAM speed is more related to your Motherboard than your cpu, however if your overclocked your CPU that would have the potential to change your RAM speed but again all that is controlled through your motherboard.

The HD 6850 is a great mid-level card and should provide good gaming to you. I'm pretty sure that you can find new RAM, Motherboard, and CPU for $300.00

Newegg.com has this combo on sale: Core i3 2120 with a Gigabyte Z68 for $228.00

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Plus this 8GB set of Mushkin DDR3 Silverline 1333 for $38.00

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

that brings your total to $266.00 which is a great deal and should bring you much more performance in games and regular computing.
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February 19, 2012 1:33:52 PM

I hope I can find that mobo over here in Japan (it also happened to be the one I had picked so far but I did not see that combo price, thanks). So, correct me if I'm wrong but even if I can get a core 2 extreme for around $100, my current mobo/ram combo will still bottleneck me. Also, is it worth an extra $40 to get 16 ram with the combo you have? Thanks a lot for your help, I was kinda spinning my wheels trying to pick a direction to go.
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February 20, 2012 2:40:56 AM

Uh? I'm sure if you got a Core 2 exteme you're system would probably run just fine. The only down side is that its out dated technology these days so its not really gonna be a huge improvement for more than 6 to 12 months.

If your willing to spend the extra $40.00 I would, not because you need it (it's kinda overkill lol) however RAM is so cheap right now you might as well stock up before prices shoot back up due to a flood or something ;-). That why I bought 16GB of Ripjaws.
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February 20, 2012 3:06:41 AM

I think if you can get either a Core 2 Extreme QX9650 or Core 2 Quad Q9450 and maybe even overclock them a little for that $100, that's a solid upgrade choice. At less than half the cost of a new rig, it is still a decent upgrade. Either of those chips can go toe to toe with an i3-2100, though an i5-2400 starts to leave it in the dust and of course a i5-2500k overclocked is going to rock them hard. But as a pairing for that video card, you're fine to go with the inexpensive upgrade.
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February 20, 2012 10:58:06 AM

Thanks Rage33, I was thinking that 16GB was kind of overkill since it wouldn't be that hot but if I go with the upgrade, may as well max out the slots since it's cheap now. Now, however, I will have the fun of going and spending a day in Akihabara looking to find a good deal on a Core 2 Extreme (I highly recommend a day in Akihabara to anyone on here, lol). Thanks again for all the advice and I will let you know what I find out. Also, thanks for the input on which are the top two chips to look for Wildside 50.
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February 22, 2012 5:48:21 AM

caspersghost said:
Thanks Rage33, I was thinking that 16GB was kind of overkill since it wouldn't be that hot but if I go with the upgrade, may as well max out the slots since it's cheap now. Now, however, I will have the fun of going and spending a day in Akihabara looking to find a good deal on a Core 2 Extreme (I highly recommend a day in Akihabara to anyone on here, lol). Thanks again for all the advice and I will let you know what I find out. Also, thanks for the input on which are the top two chips to look for Wildside 50.


You son of a bitch... I am so jealous of you being able to take a stroll down to Akihabara.... 私は非常に日本はほとんど話す but man that'd be fun!
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