Which upgrade path seems most reasonable?

ScretHate

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 5, 2001
Messages
1,889
Update: went with option 2 and am very pleased with my decision.


I got $300 in Xmas money that I'm planning on using to upgrade my computer.

My current specs:
Intel Core 2 Duo E6420 (Conroe) @ 3.2GHz
Gigabyte P35-DS3R
4GB DDR2 800
Corsair 550VX PSU
Windows 7 x64
Geforce GTS 250
1680 x 1050 resolution

Now I use this primarily for gaming and I'm really starting to notice how weak my current CPU is. I can't even get a decent minimum FPS in TF2, let alone BF BC2 or Deus Ex HR. I'd really like a CPU with 4 threads.

So with $300 and the current micro center sale I can do one of the following.

1.H61 board, i3 2100, and an HD 6850 or 6870. Upgrade to a locked Ivy Bridge quad in six months.

2. Z68 board, i5 2500k, and wait six months until I upgrade my graphics card.

3. Wait 6 months and upgrade everything at once.

What do you guys think?
 
Last edited:

Tsuyoi

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 17, 2011
Messages
499
It's weird if you're not even getting decent framerates on TF2 at 1680x1050 resolution, your specs shouldn't be having that much problem dealing with TF2. Would help if you listed the full specs of your current build, including MoBo, RAM, PSU, and OS.

The Geforce GTS250 is obviously an older GPU, but for such a low requirement game like TF2 it shoudl run it at 1080p with high rez no problem, much less at 1680x1050. Make sure you have the most up to date OFFICIAL drivers for it.

The E6420 again also shouldn't be a problem. I've been running for over two years on a P8600 Mobile, with pretty much the same specs as that E6420, and TF2 runs at 50 fps at 1920x1080 at max settings no problem.

Again, I suspect you have some software or hardware glitch/issue, and not a lack of resources to run these games.

However, if you want the ability to play the newest games (BF3, MW3, etc), then yeah an upgrade is in order. I'd personally get the Z68+i5, and wait a few months to upgrade your GPU. An H61+i3 2100 honestly is too much near the lower limits of current gen gaming for me to comfortably recommend it for an upgrade unless you're really going for the cheapest possible gaming rig that won't be able to keep up in another year or two.
 

ScretHate

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 5, 2001
Messages
1,889
My FPS is alright, but I'm a competitive scout and sometimes my FPS will drop down to 40 or so during heavy action, and I'd like to keep it at 60+ at all times. TF2 is easy on my GPU, as it only gets around 40% load, but I believe the source engine is still quite demanding on the CPU. This is pushing me more towards option 2.
 

Tsuyoi

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 17, 2011
Messages
499
In that case option 2 will be your best bet, since an i5 will last much longer than an i3-2100 future-wise.
 

Xeth

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Apr 6, 2007
Messages
1,624
Get a cheap used Core 2 Quad to tide you over then upgrade everything 6 months down. I assume you've monitored your CPU usage during TF2 and it spikes to close to 100%
 

Tsuyoi

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 17, 2011
Messages
499
Three ...

Really not too much point in waiting 6 months to upgrade processor, especially on a budget. The only new processors scheduled to release are the Ivy Bridge in the next few months, and so far it looks like they won't offer too much improvement over current Sandy Bridge ones in terms of gaming performance.
 

djgizmo

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Dec 24, 2006
Messages
1,429
Option 1 will give you instant satisfaction.
Option 2 will give you longevity for CPU.
Option 3 will be the most economical for increase in performance. You'll be able to pick up sandy bridge and other gear for cheap.

Decide your own fate.
 

Tsuyoi

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 17, 2011
Messages
499
I'm typically against the whole wait a few months to get a part since it'll be cheaper by then option. Yes, you'll have saved yourself some money because prices drop by then. However, that also means you won't have access to that part until that time.

Since he is already being limited by his current CPU, he can definitely take advantage of the i5 already, in which case there's no sense in waiting 5-6 months to get the same part in order to save some money. I mean, he could wait 2 years, and the i5 would probably drop to $100, and he'd save a load of cash, but what's the point?

The only time waiting to buy a part so prices go down is if a) you just don't have the budget to buy it now, or
b) you aren't planning on using the part immediately.
 

PrometheuSBoxeR

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 21, 2005
Messages
288
I'm in similar shoes as yourself, and I'm going for option 2.5, I'm gonna wait a bit till Ivy comes out and see how that affects Sandy Bridge prices, and I'll be able to evaluate the Ivy Bridge chips themselves. From what I've gathered, there will be a decent margin in performance difference.
 

Forceman

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Aug 7, 2005
Messages
9,243
Why not go with a modified option 2? Get a 2500K and a P67 board - if you don't need the integrated grpahics support and ssd caching of the Z68 board, you can save $50 or so by getting a mid-range P67 board over a mid-range Z68. Probably better overall than grabbing a low-end Z68.
 

ScretHate

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 5, 2001
Messages
1,889
Why not go with a modified option 2? Get a 2500K and a P67 board - if you don't need the integrated grpahics support and ssd caching of the Z68 board, you can save $50 or so by getting a mid-range P67 board over a mid-range Z68. Probably better overall than grabbing a low-end Z68.
P67 boards don't appear to be any cheaper than z68, and I like the idea of having onboard video in case my GPU dies on me.
 

Forceman

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Aug 7, 2005
Messages
9,243
P67 boards don't appear to be any cheaper than z68, and I like the idea of having onboard video in case my GPU dies on me.

A mid-range P67 (MSI P67A-G43/G45 say) is cheaper than a mid-range Z68 board (Asus P8Z68-V), but they are about the same price as the low-end Z68 boards (Asus P8Z68-V LX). But if you want the Z68 features, then yeah, grab a Z68 board. It's not that much of a difference in the big picture. You have a board in mind?
 

Tsuyoi

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 17, 2011
Messages
499
It also depends on if you plan on overclocking. If you want easy overclocking performance and onboard video, go with the Z68 chipset. But if you don't plan on overclocking, drop the processor down to an i5-2400 and get an H67 board, it has onboard video support and is cheaper than a z68 equivalent.
 

Dangman

Ninja Editor SuperMod
Joined
Dec 15, 2005
Messages
46,062
I'm in similar shoes as yourself, and I'm going for option 2.5, I'm gonna wait a bit till Ivy comes out and see how that affects Sandy Bridge prices, and I'll be able to evaluate the Ivy Bridge chips themselves. From what I've gathered, there will be a decent margin in performance difference.
The Ivy Bridge CPUs more than likely won't affect SB prices that much. Remember that Intel's general strategy when it comes to releases of new CPUs is to introduce them at a similar price to their older CPUs. Very rarely do the older CPUs themselves drop in price after a new CPU refresh release. Even when they do, it takes several months for that to happen.
 

Tsuyoi

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 17, 2011
Messages
499
No one can predict the market on anything. If we could, we'd all be millionaires. Take HDDs, for example. Everything's all fine and happy, and suddenly natural disaster shits all over HDD prices. It could be something'll happen to drive DDR3 RAM up like that. It could also be someone discovers a new manufacturing process that reduces prices to $20 for 8GB. But in general, now is probably a great time to buy RAM if you plan on upgrading, prices have never been lower.
 

ScretHate

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 5, 2001
Messages
1,889
Well, after playing the Tribes Ascend beta, I'm definitely going with option 2. I looooove the game so far, and my CPU is puling my FPS down. Thanks for the input, guys.
 
Joined
Jan 12, 2012
Messages
61
Just do #2 like you wanted. Its hard to stay up to date with technology anyhow, unless you have money..
I think you would be happy with the i5 route..
 

ScretHate

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 5, 2001
Messages
1,889
Well, I got the 2500k and my minimum FPS in TF2 went from mid 40s to about 170. LOL

It's so smooth now. I will pwn hard.
 

ScretHate

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 5, 2001
Messages
1,889
No and I doubt I will until I upgrade my graphics card. It's the new bottleneck of my system.
 

dustNbone

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Apr 7, 2009
Messages
1,032
Get a cheap used Core 2 Quad to tide you over then upgrade everything 6 months down. I assume you've monitored your CPU usage during TF2 and it spikes to close to 100%

This. You can buy slightly older CPUs real cheap, motherboards tend to croak before CPUs if noone does anything bad to them.
 
Top