I am at a stumbling point. I'm trying to upgrade my aged gaming PC on a budget. Here are the basic stats:
8 gb ram, non DDR3 (I think it's DDR2)
3.16 Intel dual core
2x ATi HD 4850's (Xfire)
I recently purchased an AMD HD 7870 Sapphire (single) to replace my old crossfire cards. Yes I checked to be sure my PSU could handle it. I want to upgrade my processor next, but this is where I think I'll have trouble. Based on my limited knowledge, I think this is my motherboard is Board: Dell Inc 0C113J A00 .. and I think this is where the problem is.
From what I read here on TH a few months ago, this is a proprietary Dell motherboard (computer is an XPS 630i, about 3 years old and never had any issues). My understanding is that since it's a proprietary/Dell specific board and not sandy-bridge compatible, my CPU upgrade options are limited at best.
Does anyone have any input on this, or any idea how to crosscheck possible CPU choices for compatibility? I'm not trying to run Skyrim/Crysis on max, but I'd like the current crop of MMO's to run at acceptable settings without framerate issues.
I assume you have a Intel Core 2 Duo, since you said you have DDR2 RAM. If you could list the exact model of CPU you have, it'd be a great help. That way I can try and find a few links for used Core 2 Quads or Intel Core i5/i7 quad cores.
I appreciate the quick response. to be specific: Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 @3.16ghz. I'm pretty sure I got bad news a few months ago when I looked into dropping an i7 in there, but my knowledge of hardware is laughable, and I may have been looking at the wrong thing. FWIW, my PSU is 750w so I think it can handle some decent upgrades.
However, the price of a Q9650 is rather high at about $500. You might as well build a new system around an Ivy Bridge Core i5 CPU.
You are limited to either a Q9400 or Q9450 based on price. You may want to search around eBay for something that looks reasonable. The difference between the two CPU is relatively small (the amount of cache I believe which hardly affects gaming).
Depending on the game, yes. BF3 Multiplayer, Alan Wake and Skyrim are all Quad Core optimized. That QX6850 is the best you can do without replacing your whole system. You can overclock it as well, and probably get it to 3.5GHz-3.8GHz which will really help the whole thing run very smoothly.
$184 isn't a bad price for the performance upgrade you'll see from this chip. If you have more money, getting a LGA 1155 Motherboard and i5 2500K is about the only other upgrade. Honestly though, seeing how much games are far more GPU dependent, the real word gaming difference between an OC'd QX6850 and a OC'd 2500K aren't that massive except for games like BF3 and Skyrim.