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Best match to a GTX660? Gaming on a budget.

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November 19, 2012 9:26:32 AM

Hi all,

I recently purchased an EVGA GTX660 SC to replace an ageing X1950XT as I wanted to play Battlefield 3.

The rest of my system spec is:

C2D E6600
Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro
Asus P5B Deluxe
3GB DDR2 Ram (2x512mb and 2x1GB IIRC)

I have a mix of IDE and SATA HDD's of varying capacity and quality, alongside an IDE dvd drive...
Thermaltake Tsunami Dream Case
Coolermaster 650W PSU


I want to upgrade to something that will make full use of the GTX660, but I don;t want to spend money on a top-of-the-line system which would need a GTX670+ to do it justice.

There are 3 distinct options:

1.) Upgrade processor only to the best C2Q available at a reasonable price, I have seen some Q9450's going at around £100, this seems a signifcant performance jump for minimal outlay, but I am not sure if that is enough to make the most of the GTX660?

2.) Upgrade to an AMD setup. AMD FX-6300 looks like smart money, with 8GB ram and a 'decent-enough' £50 motherboard, the whole CPU/Mobo/Ram combo comes in at ~ £180. Once I sell my existing setup, that should cost about £100-£120, not much more than (1) but I expect I would see signifcantly more performance?

3.) Upgrade to an intel setup. 3570K+GA-Z77-D3H. This comes in at a whopping £270, so some £200 cost all told. That is double the price, I'm sure I won't see double the performance, but what I need to know is, am I going to see ANY better performance with this setup over (2), given both would be using the GTX660, and nothing more?


Just to add, both (2) and (3) have an additional expense in that my IDE equipment will become redundant, which is a shame, but I can deal with that.

In addition, if I went with (1) or (2), the money saved over (3) would eventually be spent on an SSD, This may offset and outweigh any performance advantage that would be offered by (3)?

There are very few benchmark figures that help me with this kind of question, and I;m not interested in any fanboy loyalty, I just want to get the most performance for the minimum outlay. I'm not afraid to spend more, but it has to be justifiable.

System Use: CASUAL Gaming / VMs / Media Server / Media Editing / Web Design

Thoughts?
a c 220 à CPUs
November 19, 2012 9:40:03 AM

Option one is a big nono... You would struggle to find an C@Q CPU in the first place and pumping money into it would be pointless. You would not even see much of an improvement anyway.

Option 2 would be a nice cheaper option but then I would get a very good cooler to get the performance in gaming closer to the I5. Since the per core performance on Vishera and Zambesi is pretty bad.

BUT by addind a better cooler you add quite a bit of expense to the AMD, getting you closer to the I5 price. You could also get a cheaper z77 board, The ASrock Z77 extreme4 is one of the best cheaper board and it is better than the Gigabyte in my opinion. This should also bring you closer to the AMDs cheaper price.

Keeping in mind that the I5 is quite a bit better than the AMD in gaming, it may be worth the price, but since you are a casual gamer as stated, it may not be worth it.

Going the I5 route would also help for future-proofing the computer. It is already faster than the AMD even if the MAD is OCd AND it in itself is core unlocked, so by adding a cooler later you get some more performance out of it.
a c 220 à CPUs
November 19, 2012 9:41:43 AM

Just realized it seems like I am arguing with myself. LOL
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a b à CPUs
November 19, 2012 9:50:26 AM

I would say go for option 2. Its not like the FX6300 will bottleneck a 660 so you should be fine and the 6300 is a pretty nice chip
November 19, 2012 10:22:37 AM

Novuake said:
Option one is a big nono... You would struggle to find an C@Q CPU in the first place and pumping money into it would be pointless. You would not even see much of an improvement anyway.

Option 2 would be a nice cheaper option but then I would get a very good cooler to get the performance in gaming closer to the I5. Since the per core performance on Vishera and Zambesi is pretty bad.

BUT by addind a better cooler you add quite a bit of expense to the AMD, getting you closer to the I5 price. You could also get a cheaper z77 board, The ASrock Z77 extreme4 is one of the best cheaper board and it is better than the Gigabyte in my opinion. This should also bring you closer to the AMDs cheaper price.

Keeping in mind that the I5 is quite a bit better than the AMD in gaming, it may be worth the price, but since you are a casual gamer as stated, it may not be worth it.

Going the I5 route would also help for future-proofing the computer. It is already faster than the AMD even if the MAD is OCd AND it in itself is core unlocked, so by adding a cooler later you get some more performance out of it.



The ASRock board you mention is £25 dearer than the gigabyte board, make that even more expensive.

You talk about the performance difference between the FX-6300 and the 3570k, but that makes the assumption they are both the bottleneck in my system doesn't it?

Basically, if the FX-6300 isn't going to bottleneck my perofrmance when coupled to a GTX660, is there really any point in spending double the money on a 3570K setup? I'm surely going to get more from an SSD?

I p*prefer* (2), but I'm not sure if I am missing something in my logic.
a c 220 à CPUs
November 19, 2012 12:18:29 PM

inept said:
The ASRock board you mention is £25 dearer than the gigabyte board, make that even more expensive.

You talk about the performance difference between the FX-6300 and the 3570k, but that makes the assumption they are both the bottleneck in my system doesn't it?

Basically, if the FX-6300 isn't going to bottleneck my perofrmance when coupled to a GTX660, is there really any point in spending double the money on a 3570K setup? I'm surely going to get more from an SSD?

I p*prefer* (2), but I'm not sure if I am missing something in my logic.


The only flaw in your logic is future-proofing. If you get the 6300 the chances that a bottleneck will occur with a later GPU upgrade is much higher.

General usage performance would increase with an I5 above the 6300. But yes if you are not willing to spend more. The AMD is fine.
November 19, 2012 12:29:31 PM

Novuake said:
The only flaw in your logic is future-proofing. If you get the 6300 the chances that a bottleneck will occur with a later GPU upgrade is much higher.

General usage performance would increase with an I5 above the 6300. But yes if you are not willing to spend more. The AMD is fine.


The FX-6300 isn't the top of the line processor for the AM3+ Socket though, so there is always room to upgrade retrospectively? In addition to that, there's another generation still to come for AM3+, which could potentially bring processors with equal if not greater performance than equivalent current gen intel...

I'm really talking myself into it!
a c 220 à CPUs
November 19, 2012 1:52:40 PM

inept said:
The FX-6300 isn't the top of the line processor for the AM3+ Socket though, so there is always room to upgrade retrospectively? In addition to that, there's another generation still to come for AM3+, which could potentially bring processors with equal if not greater performance than equivalent current gen intel...

I'm really talking myself into it!


lol Steamroller may not even be on AM3+ socket, and the AMD roadmap is not looking good. They need to make big changes to catch up to performance of Intel CPU's
a b à CPUs
November 19, 2012 3:00:09 PM

There's definitely other options that offer an intermediate in terms of price/performance

CPU/motherboard/ram combo-

FX6300 - ~£180
i3 3220 - ~£180
i5 3470 - ~£230
i5 3570K - ~ £270

There's also the option of going super-cheap on the CPU on the logic that it'll still be better than your current one and give you a solid upgrade path of i5s and i7s depending on your future needs. I'm not neccessarily suggesting you go and buy a £30 Celeron, but the Pentiums are <£70 and quite reasonable for a short term solution.

It really depends how much you want to spend, and when.
a b à CPUs
November 19, 2012 3:11:53 PM

I would go with option 3) with 8gb ram,if you plan to OC only!'K' series are for OCing.
If you dont OC go with option 3) with 8gb ram but with an i5-3470.
Your CPU is bottlenecking everything.
The difference between 2) and 3) is that 3) is worth more in terms of preformance.6 cores may look good on paper but that is not everything.

Personnaly for a "casual" gamer you are investing to much on a computer.Buy a Xbox360 or PS3 instead that will last for 10+years,its much a better investment.If you are buying to play 1-2 hour every couple of days you are throwing money out the window.
!