Upgrade Advice

Sinzer

Distinguished Member
Got the standard questions :), but I am looking to spend around 500 euros to upgrade my PC.

I reckon I have the upgrade in mind, but cannot completely make up my mind. So far I have the following :

Asus P5Q (or similar mobo) - 100 euros
Intel Quad 8400 - 200 euros
Nvidia GTX 275 864Mb - 220 euros

Now I am not sure whether to get 4Gbs of RAM or stick with 2Gb. I only have XP Home and have no desire to upgrade to 64bit Vista and want to wait for the full release of Windows 7 before I commit to that. So I am not sure I will see any benefit. Just get 1 stick of 2Gb then I can always upgrade later.

The other thing I can't figure out, is whether to take the Quad Core or Dual Core 8400, there is 50 euros difference, and for games playing I am not sure it will make a huge difference.

That said the overclocking on the Quad is supposed to be pretty easy and good, so it may be a better bet?

I7 is just too expensive for me to consider right now, but I am pretty excited to be going Intel (sadly enough!), I have used AMD for nearly 10 years now :p

Anyone got any thoughts?
 

Miss Chief

Distinguished Member
Dual core E8400 is fine IMO. 12-18 months since the launch of Quad's and how many games support multi-core rendering and have a significant increase in performance over dual or single core machines? Erm, ahh, it'll come to me in a minute. Actually, it won't. Many games say they support it but I've yet to see any game that's CPU limited more than GPU limited. 3GHz Core 2 Duo is plenty atm. You can always get a Quad this time next year if you're struggling. Some on the forum will say Quad but IMO it's not worth it, especially for a gaming rig. My Core 2 E8400 still sits at 3Ghz and manages everything I throw at it.

If you don't plan on changing to a 64 bit OS then I see little point in getting 4Gb Ram. Also you'll need 2x 1GB matched pair rather than 1 stick of 2GB. As for the gfx Nvidia are good cards but, depending on the size of your monitor I believe Ati's 4870 cards are still the better for your price range, although I'm not hugely up on the new nvidia cards.
 

Geege

Well-known Member
If I were you, I would upgrade when Windows 7 is released. I would get the following:
  • Intel Core 2 Duo E**** series (E8400,E8500 or 8600) and overclock this CPU. You are better off (for gaming) getting a higher frequency dual core than a low frequency quad core.
  • Good quality socket 775 motherboard (Intel X48 or Intel P45 chipset, or similar)
  • 4GB DDR2 RAM (2 x 2GB) in preparation for your Windows 7 64-bit operating system.
  • Perhaps a Solid State Drive if you can afford it
  • Good quality PSU with enough amps on the 12V rails and suitable power leads for your GFX card
  • Get the best graphics card you can afford, maybe the Ati HD4870X2, or similar, (by then prices would have come down).
 

Sinzer

Distinguished Member
Hmm some good advice.

I think I will drop down to the Dual core then, pick up 4Gb RAM in prep for 7 (might even try the release candidate build).

The problem is that I am only running a X2 3800 with Ati x1950. It is just not good enough to play the recent games anymore. I am trying to play Demigod and have to run it at lowest settings. Windows 7 might not be released until the end of the year not sure i can hold on that long!!! :)

Not sure about going dual card, I hear the noise and power consumption is quite high, I need to balance performance with noise and efficiency.
 

Razor

Member
I would go quad core and overclock it. I would pick the Q6700 and ramp it up to 3.3-3.4Ghz.

I cant see the point in buying a dual core as more and more games are using quad cores and it will give you a longer shelf life. Also by overclocking to past 3.0Ghz you wont be bottle necking your card.

Games which use quad core cpus are

Unreal Tournament 3
Farcry 2
Lost Planet
Crysis
Crysis Warhead
GTA 4
Company of Heroes
World in Conflict
Blood Rayne (with patch)
Devil May Cry 4
Hellgate: London


Also some games which arent quad core optimised still seem to use more than 2 cores according to my task manager.

Yes most games are dual core optimised but what happens when you have a game which can use all four cores and you are stuck with a dual core cpu. Your bang out of luck as you only have 2 cores.

At worst your quad core might not use all the cores all of the time for some games, but play a game or use an app that can use them and you will see a large benefit. Even if you are running a game which only uses a dual core cpu a quad core can run background tasks with the spare two cores which wont effect game play.


I also find a quad core a nicer machine to use in every day apps and use. Its seems a bit snappier than the dual cores clocked at the same speed. I have upgraded all my pc's from dual to quad and wouldn't consider going back.

Definitely go for 4gb even if you will only see 3.5-3.35gb with 32bit. Some games like more than 2gb and you will see an improvement. DDR2 ram is also very cheap so its an nice way to get a bit more out of your set up for very little money.

A few more quad core games listed here -

Games and Dual/Quad Core Support - Halflife2.net Forums

I think you will find allot of dual core owners recommending dual core cpus and saying they are all you need. But its very rare to see quad core owners who have upgraded from dual core cpu's recommending dual core cpus unless the person is on a budget. If I was going to buy a dual core today it would be a E5200 and I would overclock it to 3.6ghz. All for the grand total of £60.

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CP-251-IN&groupid=701&catid=6&subcat=793


Go for the 275GtX its a great card.
 
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Another vote for the E8400 it's a fantastic chip that is hugely overclockable and seriosly nothing bothers it at the momment. I went from the Quad Q6700 and the E8400 is far better when gaming, but in normal windows use the Quad is faster but i would not go back to Quad now until the i7 prices come down as my machine is solely used for gaming.

Agree with the GTX275 it's a great card by the looks of it :thumbsup:
 

Razor

Member
Nismo - What clock speed were you running your q6600 at? Was it overclocked?

I went from a E6600 @ 3.2 to a Q6600 @ 3.2 and I preferred the Q6600. Some games here was no difference as this was 2 years ago. But I still own the E6600 system and today I can tell the difference even more between the two.
 
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Nismo - What clock speed were you running your q6600 at? Was it overclocked?
Yes mate of course :D and was @ 3.5GHz
 

Razor

Member
Nismo - What clock speed were you running your q6600 at? Was it overclocked?

I went from a E6600 @ 3.2 to a Q6600 @ 3.2 and I preferred the Q6600. Some games here was no difference as this was 2 years ago. But I still own the E6600 system and today I can tell the difference even more between the two.
Seriously mate as said the other day apart Crysis my E8400 is alot faster than the Quad and as said the difference is very small anyway. I agree with you mate in the future then more and more games will be Quad optimized but at the momment my E8400 just is a faster gaming system when compared to when i had the Q6700. UT3 and a few others mentioned run better for me with the E8400 but then i have a very high OC and i game like yourself at a higher resolution where the GPU matters more.
 

Razor

Member

Geege

Well-known Member
Razor, I agree with most of what you're saying especially with the budget E5200 (great CPU for £60), however I think that for most gamers they will be a greater benefit by upgrading their graphics card than upgrading their CPU. Whilst quad core are more and more a sensible choice for everyday computing, for gaming it seems that a highly clocked dual core is better.

I have my dual core E8600 overclocked to 4.2GHz so I feel the only thing letting my frame rate performance down, is my ageing 8800GTS 512MB card. So for gaming it I will see more benefit upgrading to perhaps a 4870 1GB or GTX275 for example than upgrading the CPU to a quad core.

However like you say, more and more games utilise quad core now so it is worth considering, but in my opinion only the i7 series and not the socket 775 quad cores.
 

Razor

Member
Geege - Your right that a new gpu would give you a nice boost over upgrading your cpu to a quad core.

I am very pleased with my core i7. The boost in games like Farcry 2 and Crysis have been worth the upgrade for me. Also I will have a longer shelf life with the i7 which can only be a good thing. :)
 

Sinzer

Distinguished Member
Thanks again for all the advice, you nearly had me Razor :)

I think I will save the 50 euros and put it towards RAM and a good cooler so I can overclock the CPU. I can still move up to a Quad Core if necessary next year.

Wish I could afford the i7, got too many other things to think about :p

My gaming will be done at 1680x1050 so I think the GPU will be a little more useful than a difference between quad and dual core. I think going from my humble system to this upgrade is gonna be a big difference!!!
 

Razor

Member
Thanks again for all the advice, you nearly had me Razor :)

Thats a shame. :D

Let us all know how you get on with your new upgrade.
 
Just another vote for a dual core over a quad for gaming - there was a push to use quads in 2006/2007 and there have been less and less games since - 2008 was very poor and I know of no games in 2009 that are supporting it. (probally one or two out there but pfft that all)
The gains are so low for most game types its just not worth the investment in designing games to work with the extra cores and believe me, its is an investment to code for them - especally as most PC's are dual core and the game stilll needs to work for them as well. So faster dual > slow quad although the improvements are not massive in either case as
GFXcard >>>>> cpu of course.

Def get 4GB - its just worth it for the cash, that will make you system run better. And as mentioned GFX card is king.
 

Razor

Member
But you can buy a q6700 for around the same price as a E8400. You dont have to buy the Q9--- range.

Its upto you which route you choose

a. Higher obtainable clock speed (E8400)
b. More cores at a slightly lesser clock speed. (Q6700)

The way I see it is you dont need a higher clock speed than 3.2Ghz for todays games. This clock speed can be achieved with a Q6600/Q6700 with ease and you will still have two whole cores left over for games like farcry 2 which put them to use.

Games will start using the Farcry 2 engine which loves quad cores (very nice looking engine). Also the Unreal Engine will be used by other games and it too is quad core optimised. Alan Wake if we ever see it is also quad core optimised.

More and more games will use the quad core cpu as others have said, not the other way round. Its called progression.
 
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Razor

Member
Sinzer - Have you worked out how much more an i7 setup would cost you? You might be surprised. :)
 

namuk

Distinguished Member
My vote is Quad defentley :thumbsup:, that 6700 can reach 3.66 if cooled correctly. Even my LCD software for external unit is Quad Enabled..
 
I've got my Q6600 overclocked to 3.0Ghz and it doesn't even struggle. Temps of around 30 Deg on idle. Seems to cope with most games flawlessly. To be honest whether you get a decent dual core or a decent quad core I don't think you will be loads of difference. You will get more difference on the GPU and cheap, low spec RAM is more likely to bottleneck your machine.
 

Miss Chief

Distinguished Member
Seems the general consensus is if you're on a limited budget you'd be better spending the difference between a Quad and a Dual core on a faster graphics card at the moment. If the Quad meant you'd only be buying a 9800GT instead of a GTX275, Ati 4870 or 4890 you should take the faster GPU every time.
 

Sinzer

Distinguished Member
Yeah, I looked at the i7 and it would cost me about 250 for the 920, then 200 minimum for the motherboard. The problem is that I would then have to upgrade my PSU most likely, so around another 50.

So that is 500 alone. I am saving up for a car too, so it is just a little too much out of my budget, and I am getting tired of running games at 640x480 or similar ridiculous settings on my tired old PC so I cant wait for prices to drop or save up more money :)

(add to the fact that my common law wife would likely have something to say about a 800 euro upgrade, whereas a 500 one flies :) )

Still might lay down the extra 50 for the quad, I was looking at some more graphs on overclockers and it seems that more recent games seem to benefit a little, and it might may windows more enjoyable to use. My gf does use Photoshop a lot.

I got a decent 500W PSU, so I am hoping that should be ok for the core2 + GTX275, if I need to upgrade that, then I might go i7.
 

mr_yogi

Well-known Member
What size and res is your monitor?
 

Sinzer

Distinguished Member
My monitor is 22" and 1680x1050.

Ok, so Upgrade Stage 1 is in place. I went for the Duo 8400 with 4 Gigs and an ASUS motherboard. Wow, this is a massive improvement on my old AMD 3800, even with the x1950, it has almost doubled the performance of my computer in some games.

Upgrade Stage 2 is about to be commenced. My GTX275 is still sitting in the box, this is one beast of a card, I never seen a card so big!! The man in the store asked me if my PSU was good enough, me being a cheapskate said Yeah no problem, I checked already (well did a brief google). Just about to plug the beast in and realise..... Hold on, there is only one PCI-E 12v rail, this monster requires two!!!!

Well I ended up back in the shop this morning to pick up a 800W PSU. I wanted to get a corsair modular over the net, but the online shopping here in Germany is a nightmare with stupid uberweisung payments (dont ask!) so I just went to my local store again and got a bog standard one (they had sold out of modulars :( )

Hopefully, I get the graphics card up and running today or tomorrow...... I think it is gonna be something special, given the improvement from CPU upgrade alone!
 
Sinzer - Good choice with the chip and good choice of card the E8400 is an absolute awesome chip that is perfectly suited to gaming. And trust me there even better overclocked.

Have a read below it was in the mag a few months back and the E8400 is only beaten by the over priced intels and not quads :thumbsup:

Intel Core 2 Duo | CPUs | CPU coolers | Labs Tests | Custom PC
 

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