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  • Upgrade route, best price to performance boost

    I've been looking to get another couple years out of the computer without changing the motherboard. The original build started with a 780i EVGA board, an 8800GT 512mb, 2 gigs of ram, and an e8400 (3.0x2 ghz) dual core proc. I've upgraded from the 8800GT up to a GTX260, and replaced the 2 gigs with 8. I was wondering which would give me a better performance boost now.

    The options I've been weighing, short of replacing the motherboard since that would be very costly, is too either replace the GTX 260 with a newer card (ATI 57XX series) or replace the processor with a quad core processor in the 775 chipset. Since i figured that replacing the card would be a bad path, due to the fact that it would be bottlenecked by the older processor, i've been leaning towards the processor upgrade. Thoughts?
    |TG-6th|SirNerd

    My Resume includes Pirate, Mercenary, and a Devil Dog, what else do you want.

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  • #2
    Re: Upgrade route, best price to performance boost

    Well that is a very tough choice... The points that I see are:

    Many games can now utilize quad core CPUs very well now, as well as some newer software.

    57xx cards are cheaper than most new quad core cpus (I don't know if this is the case for AMD processors)
    If you buy a new graphics card you aren't locked into buying a 775 chipset processor or mobo. In other words video cards can still be used if you decide to upgrade your system later, maybe to a 1366 system.

    Personally I would go for a new processor, as I believe that would give you the most bang for your buck.
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    • #3
      Re: Upgrade route, best price to performance boost

      I would go for a new processor, either the Q9550 or the Q9650, while still a bit expensive you won't have to buy a new mobo and your computer will last a few more years. Furthermore, The GTX260 is still good and that won't have to be upgraded any time soon. I have almost the same system as you and I just upgraded my 8800GTS to an ATI 5850, its a great card if your coming from an 8800 to it but if your jumping from 200 series to it, there is better performance but not nearly as good as a new processor would be.

      I can run almost any game on high thats GPU intensive but any game that is CPU intensive bottlenecks my GPU (games like ArmA) so I too will be upgrading to a Core2Quad soon as well.....
      |TG-73rd|Socomseal
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      • #4
        Re: Upgrade route, best price to performance boost

        For the price of a Q9550, you can get a AMD Phenom II 1055T 6 core cpu and a motherboard. You can get an AM2+ mb that will take your DDR2 or you can sell you 8gb's of ram and get DDR3. Personally, I would get the AMD because it might be a little more money, but it should future proof your system for even longer for about the same or maybe a little more money.

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        • #5
          Re: Upgrade route, best price to performance boost

          How much of a difference does the size of the L2 cache make? I have 2 processors, both of similar clock speeds (.3 difference can be made up OCing), yet one has 4mb and the other has 12. The price difference is just under 140$.

          Q8300 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-207-_-Product

          Q9950 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-041-_-Product
          |TG-6th|SirNerd

          My Resume includes Pirate, Mercenary, and a Devil Dog, what else do you want.

          Pain is Inevitable, Suffering is Optional.

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          • #6
            Re: Upgrade route, best price to performance boost

            Originally posted by Sir-Nerd View Post
            How much of a difference does the size of the L2 cache make? I have 2 processors, both of similar clock speeds (.3 difference can be made up OCing), yet one has 4mb and the other has 12. The price difference is just under 140$.

            Q8300 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-207-_-Product

            Q9950 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-041-_-Product
            Memory cache is huge factor when buying processor, the more you have the better http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CPU_cache
            |TG-73rd|Socomseal
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            "Its easy to argue about issues from afar. But until you have experienced the issue first hand, you have not seen all the facts."

            Carver you will be cut off for a long time before reinforcements can reach you "I am the reinforcements the main force is only coming to bring me body bags and to clean up the mess Im about to make" - General Carver

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            • #7
              Re: Upgrade route, best price to performance boost

              I'd like a little more evidence than a wiki article before i spend an extra hundred dollars on something i don't know will make a difference.
              |TG-6th|SirNerd

              My Resume includes Pirate, Mercenary, and a Devil Dog, what else do you want.

              Pain is Inevitable, Suffering is Optional.

              When you can't run anymore, you crawl and when you can't do that, you find someone to carry you.

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              • #8
                Re: Upgrade route, best price to performance boost

                He is right though, the cache is a huge part of a good CPU, my dad has been working and using computers since the '80s and he always talks about cache when we upgrade our CPU's.
                But about the processor or GPU personally would go with the new processor, a 3.0x2 will get the job done but with not much extras. A quad-core will get the job done and more. Also your graphics card is a good card so i dont think you really need to upgrade it. I have a 2.9 quad-core AMD forgot what exactly it was, but i love it. I can play any game i have on high graphics and 1600x1200
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                • #9
                  Re: Upgrade route, best price to performance boost

                  Have you considered overclocking your E8400 and seeing if that satisfied you? Google can give you directions which should take about 5-10 minutes to implement.

                  I couldn't find any decent benchmarks of the Q8300 vs higher cached quads. I know one reason past CPUs had a lot of importance placed on cache is because some of them had none and some had very low cache. Most of the recent benchmarks I have seen comparing different amounts of cache(E6600 vs E6400 & E8400 vs E6400) have shown a average ~%10 difference. It usually seems to be slightly higher(~15-20%) in games and can be much higher in heavily cache dependent programs. It would be best to try and find some benchmarks on that specific CPU though, but I doubt it'll grant a %100 increase(vs the price increase).

                  The Q8*** series seems to have gotten a bad rap mainly from being supposedly bad overclockers. Whether that is a factor to you is of course dependent on your plans.
                  Last edited by Namebot; 07-08-2010, 06:57 PM.
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                  • #10
                    Re: Upgrade route, best price to performance boost

                    Originally posted by Sir-Nerd View Post
                    I'd like a little more evidence than a wiki article before i spend an extra hundred dollars on something i don't know will make a difference.
                    I am not a huge fan of Wiki either but that information was correct, I also found similar information on tom's hardware but it was not nearly as well laid out as the wiki page so I posted the wiki link....
                    |TG-73rd|Socomseal
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                    "Its easy to argue about issues from afar. But until you have experienced the issue first hand, you have not seen all the facts."

                    Carver you will be cut off for a long time before reinforcements can reach you "I am the reinforcements the main force is only coming to bring me body bags and to clean up the mess Im about to make" - General Carver

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                    • #11
                      Re: Upgrade route, best price to performance boost

                      I bought a MSI motherboard and a 1055t 6 core processor and have liked the results, especially for productivity/development apps.

                      I was at the same place as you with a slightly slower CPU and considered a 775 based Quad core. I am glad I went with 1055T route. And with the MSI board overclocking is stupid easy. Even nicer underclocking is just as easy. Doing that allows me to run my computer as a media center and slow down all my fans to 25-50% normal speeds making it quite.
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                      • #12
                        Re: Upgrade route, best price to performance boost

                        Originally posted by Sir-Nerd View Post
                        I'd like a little more evidence than a wiki article before i spend an extra hundred dollars on something i don't know will make a difference.
                        It depends on the program. Some are cache intensive while others favor effective clock speed or how many cores the chip sports.

                        THG has a great article on CPU cache sizes and why they would matter. I suggest you go over and take a read. It's about 3 years old, but much of what is said still applies, even though the newer processors now have L3 cache in addition to L1 and L2 cache.

                        Namely larger cache benefits: games (not every title), video encoding/decoding, audio conversion, file compression/decompression, CPU-bound graphics rendering, etc.

                        Although, this following chart is less helpful because it doesn't have info for a side-by-side comparion for just cache alone:

                        http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/52?vs=50

                        (Q8200 vs. Q9550 - would be nice if they Anandtech had benchmark results for the Q8200 @ 2.83 GHz, but they don't)


                        I'd recommend the Q9550 if you can afford it. the Q8200 really is a budget quad-core. The Q9650 isn't worth it since you can easily OC the Q9550 to that speed and beyond.
                        Last edited by Acreo Aeneas; 07-09-2010, 01:58 PM.
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                        • #13
                          Re: Upgrade route, best price to performance boost

                          You never specificed, but the assumption everyone is making is that you are most concerned with gaming performance. I'm assuming that's the case, but just wanted to confirm.

                          Are there particular games that don't run well for you? If I were you I'd determine if the games you want to play are GPU or CPU limited with your current system.
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                          • #14
                            Re: Upgrade route, best price to performance boost

                            Your GPU is pretty much on par with a 5770 in terms of performance so that wouldn't be a great upgrade. I'm going to say that if your primary concern is with gaming, the Q9550 is what you should be looking to buy.
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                            • #15
                              Re: Upgrade route, best price to performance boost

                              Sir nerd i know how you love facts so i'm gonna give em to you and pretty much what everyone has said compliments it.

                              benchmark sheet - http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html
                              Scores
                              q9550 4,346
                              q8300 3,568

                              That's worth the extra money in my opinion but one thing benchmarks can't tell you is how smooth it runs with the large cache. 12mb's is huge and actually very rare to find, AMD doesn't have a l3 cache greater than 6mb's. That cpu competes with server rated CPU's. If you want power this thing has more than you can use!

                              Get the q9550 if you can afford it. If you don't want to spend that much money then you still get a very big bang for buck out of the q8300.


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