Advice needed: Upgrade my processor + RAM, or buy a GeForce 680?

#1 Posted by MisterBronze (48 posts) -

Hi folks, I'm hoping I can get some purchase advice, or even stir up debate as to what I should buy (I can only get one or the other and they are around the same price):

3rd Gen Intel i7 (3.5Ghz), 16GB RAM, decent motherboard

OR

GeForce 680

My current system is:

Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 (2.4Ghz), 4GB RAM, GeForce 480GTX, NVIDIA NFORCE 780i mobo, SSD for my OS and basic apps

The machine is absolutely a games machine. Battlefield 3 and high end games like that, you know the deal. Thanks!

#2 Posted by Kidavenger (3556 posts) -

Your current video card is as good or better than what usually gets recommended around here, so I'd go with the CPU/ram/mb.

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#3 Posted by clstirens (847 posts) -

I agree with Kid, you need a new cpu badly. the 480 is still a great card.

#4 Posted by nintendoeats (5975 posts) -

I recently upgraded from a Q6600 to an i5 and while it didn't massively change my computing experience, there are a few select games that were running less than perfectly and now are.

On the whole though, you could probably still go some time without upgrading.

#5 Posted by Bollard (5560 posts) -

Definitely the new CPU, your old one is pretty old by today's standards. Your GPU is only about 2 rungs below the 680, so I'd go with replacing what's oldest.

#6 Posted by Subjugation (4720 posts) -

The 480 isn't bad. If you had to do one of the two I would personally lean toward the processor upgrade.

#7 Edited by Samael2138 (233 posts) -

I agree as well. A GTX 480 is a pretty good card. On the other side of the fence, though, I'll finally have enough $ at the end of this month to get my new rig. I'm getting dual 680's SLI'd. (A bit of overkill, but why not?)

It would be kind of a shame to have a 680 thats bottle necked because of your CPU. I'd upgrade CPU/RAM first, then look to eventually move to a top end card.

#8 Edited by WilltheMagicAsian (1545 posts) -

I'd pick up a new processor/RAM/motherboard, maybe SLI another 480 down the road if you have a PSU that can handle it (like 850w). They're much cheaper right now, like around $210.

#9 Posted by Icemo (642 posts) -

PC is as fast as its slowest part, but I would say you get most for your money if you upgrade your CPU/RAM.

#10 Posted by believer258 (11922 posts) -

Your video card isn't the slowest part of the computer, it's the processor and RAM. I'd think that those would need upgrading before long anyway, whereas the card could keep chugging for a good while.

#11 Edited by RIDEBIRD (1232 posts) -

The 680 will make the biggest difference but you should look into an i5 2500k. Perhaps you could afford a 2500k + 670? That would be the upgrade to get if so. 8GB RAM is more then enough btw. You don't need an i7 for anything.

Not much games utilize CPUs today btw, my 4.5 ghz 2500k is only running at like 60-70% capacity in BF3.

#12 Posted by tunaburn (1891 posts) -

honestly i dont know what you play, but i only have a triple core processor and it runs everything including starcraft 2 on ultra settings. i have a geforce 9800gt for video card.

id probably upgrade the ram and cpu but if you do remember you might need a stronger power supply

#13 Edited by WildFloyd (127 posts) -

You'd definitely get a bigger improvement from improving your CPU, and getting a new motherboard may mean you have to get some new ram, but its a commitment in money and time as your essentially building a new pc. I'd never recommend throwing a lot of money at graphics cards unless your desparate to run the couple of games that require them maxed out.

#14 Posted by Kidavenger (3556 posts) -

@RIDEBIRD said:

The 680 will make the biggest difference but you should look into an i5 2500k. Perhaps you could afford a 2500k + 670? That would be the upgrade to get if so. 8GB RAM is more then enough btw. You don't need an i7 for anything.

Not much games utilize CPUs today btw, my 4.5 ghz 2500k is only running at like 60-70% capacity in BF3.

You recommend the videocard upgrade contrary to every single other post in the thread and then you go on to recommend a 2500k when the new 3570k ivy bridge replacement is only $15 more at most...

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#15 Posted by Hunkulese (2729 posts) -

@MisterBronze: If it's a games only machine an i7 is a waste of money. Go with an i5 2500k and put the money you're saving away until you have enough for a new GPU. The only game I could see you getting a performance boost with the i7 would be Civ V and probably the new Sim City.

#16 Posted by Karkarov (3109 posts) -

4gb Ram and a processor so old they no longer make it and mobo's it fits are vanishing fast vs a gfx card newer than the cpu that still performs great?

Considering you can buy a i5 and 8 + gig of ram and a new mobo for the same price as one 680 and your gfx card is the best piece of tech in your lineup from what I see this seems like a no brainer. Screw the totally unnecessary and horribly overprice 680 and get a new mbo/ram/cpu.

#17 Posted by AlexW00d (6275 posts) -

@Kidavenger said:

@RIDEBIRD said:

The 680 will make the biggest difference but you should look into an i5 2500k. Perhaps you could afford a 2500k + 670? That would be the upgrade to get if so. 8GB RAM is more then enough btw. You don't need an i7 for anything.

Not much games utilize CPUs today btw, my 4.5 ghz 2500k is only running at like 60-70% capacity in BF3.

You recommend the videocard upgrade contrary to every single other post in the thread and then you go on to recommend a 2500k when the new 3570k ivy bridge replacement is only $15 more at most...

It's $15 more and runs much hotter and isn't at all faster.

#18 Posted by Dagbiker (6976 posts) -

Prosseser, and ram.

#19 Posted by MisterBronze (48 posts) -

Every single person who posted here, regardless of what you said - you are AWESOME. Thank you so much everyone.

I'm going to go with the processor/RAM upgrade and wait and see what happens with GPUs in the next 18 months. I probably won't go SLI, I just never fancied getting 2 cards, no good reason for it.

@Hunkulese: Thanks for the detail in your post. I actually play a lot of Civ 5 and will definitely play a lot of SimCity, so I think I will go with the i7. Thanks!

#20 Edited by RIDEBIRD (1232 posts) -

@Kidavenger: Yes, of course, since the CPU will be a lesser upgrade - but yes, the Q6600 will bottleneck the 680, which isn't a horrible thing as many people imagine. Sure, the 480 is a totally ok card, but it is getting old. Games rely much, much, much more on GPU then CPU nowadays, old Q6600 or not, it's still got four cores, and if OC'd, could very well do just fine. You don't want Ivy Bridge, as you should know.

@MisterBronze: I cannot stress enough how much of a waste of money an i7 is for games. See this: http://www.sweclockers.com/image/diagram/2977?k=0be2f5037aefe555ee7c1429f22e97c2

It is not worth it. Anywhere, anyhow. Get an i5 2500k and you will save loads on motherboard, the CPU, and get your 670 that much faster.

#21 Posted by MisterBronze (48 posts) -

@RIDEBIRD: OK, I'm going to do some reading before I make a purchase. I'm going to look into the i5 option.

I'll post the machine I finally settle on here. Thanks for being insistent and thanks for that link too.

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