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Upgrade thoughts - CPU vs. GPU?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
So I was all hyped up for Bulldozer and I guess you know the rest... Now I'm wondering what should be my best upgrade path.

I have a dud of a PII 555, on which I was unable to unlock any stable cores and can do 3.7GHz stable at 1.4v but requires at least 1.5v for the small jump to 3.8GHz (i.e. not worth it) and will not really clock higher. I also have a ATI 5750.

While I do play games, I spend most of my time running productivity apps, programming, and heavy multi-tasking. Right now, I am looking to upgrade either my CPU or GPU. I'm guessing the CPU will benefit me more, but wonder how great a difference I would see going to PII X4/X6 in everyday use. The GPU upgrade would probably be to a 6870, which I know would improve my gaming but nothing else. I also realize that a new GPU would probably require a new PSU.

I would appreciate any feedback!
     
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post #2 of 11
I'd go for the cpu first, you mentioned heavy multitasking and the choice was simple. HD 5750 is still a capable card, so I'd keep that for a while yet.
post #3 of 11
I see your word 'heavy' in multi-tasking so I advise you to upgrade CPU first.

Phenom II X6 in everyday use would be improved from X2 555 in many apps such as Multi-tasking app, video transcoding etc. I don't have benchmark graph to prove this, >_<".

Upgrading GPU might be the next plan that you should upgrade your PSU too!
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post #4 of 11
What software is being used?
post #5 of 11
Well, if you're doing much more multitasking and programming, productivity and data apps, an X6 might be the best choice. As for gaming an X6 versus an X4 would perform the same.

However I would suggest a 960T if you do go with a quad core or anything between a 1055T to 1100T for a six core. Both of those have the newer memory controllers which do benefit memory intensive tasks as they tend to handle overclocking higher and more stability.

Of course, a 955 can be had cheap and still performs admirably. So if I were to surmise your situation I would say you probably work more than game on your PC. In that sense I recommend a CPU upgrade.
    
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post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Maybe "heavy" is a bit of an exaggeration but I usually have at least a good 5-10 windows open and multiple browsers with dozens of browser tabs. Applications include things like Visual Studio or Eclipse, basic image stuff in GIMP. I never do video transcoding and unless I'm running a mobile emulator (Android emulator is single-threaded), or something like a backup or virus scan, I rarely see CPU utilization >30%. I currently don't but I may be running a VM in the near future.
Edited by ChaoticKinesis - 10/16/11 at 6:58pm
     
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post #7 of 11
As long as your MB can handle it, an 1100t would be an excellent choice.
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post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChaoticKinesis View Post
I usually have at least a good 5-10 windows open and multiple browsers with dozens of browser tabs.
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
MB is an AM3+ so it can definitely handle the 1090/1100, which is what I'm leaning toward.

Good stuff with that Firefox benchmark, guess I won't be upgrading my mom's computer from a dual- to quad-core anytime soon!
     
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post #10 of 11
Consider that the CPU in and of itself offers very little in the way of gaming performance; what a good CPU does is enable the other components of a system to achieve their full potential.

So, a CPU upgrade would enable a good GPU to be as good a GPU as it can be. If your GPU is already at its peak, it'll add maybe a few FPS, but nothing major, and likely won't impact gaming at higher resolutions or how many details you can cram onscreen, as CPUs generally handle physics and high levels of different things going on simultaneously, regardless of their rendering quality.

A GPU upgrade would give you more room to crank detail settings and resolutions, provided your CPU is not so dated as to put a burden on whatever GPU you've installed.

tl/dr: CPU upgrade if you feel your system is where you want it to be and you want to enable its full potential or improve performance in other areas, like productivity and encoding; GPU upgrade if you feel that your CPU/mobo/socket is doing well for its age, can handle the GPUs/RAM/storage array you've chosen and you want more eye candy and frames-per-second in your favourite games.
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| Intel Core i7 | 2600K | 4.2GHz @ 1.33v | | ASUS | Maximus IV Extreme | | ASUS | ENGTX 580 | 933MHz @ 1.138v | 2-way SLI | | G.Skill | RipjawsX | 2133MHz | 8GB | 
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| Intel | 510 SSD | 120GB | | Western Digital | Caviar Black | 1TB | | XSPC | Raystorm | | XSPC | Razor 580 | Dual SLI | 
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| XSPC | Dual RX360 | | Dual MCP-655 | Variable-Speed | | Koolance | RP-452x2 | Windows 7 Professional 64-bit 
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| Acer | P243W | 1920 x 1200 | | Enermax | MODU87+ | 900W | | CaseLabs | M8 + Pedestal | 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
| Intel Core i7 | 2600K | 4.2GHz @ 1.33v | | ASUS | Maximus IV Extreme | | ASUS | ENGTX 580 | 933MHz @ 1.138v | 2-way SLI | | G.Skill | RipjawsX | 2133MHz | 8GB | 
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| Intel | 510 SSD | 120GB | | Western Digital | Caviar Black | 1TB | | XSPC | Raystorm | | XSPC | Razer 580 | 2-way SLI | 
CoolingCoolingCoolingOS
| XSPC | RX360 | | Phobya | Xtreme 200| | MCP 655 | Variable-Speed | Windows 7 Professional 64-bit 
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