Components for Building Computers From Scratch/Upgrade



I'm looking to upgrade the core elements of my current PC. Specifically the CPU, motherboard and RAM. These are the current specs:

CPU: Q6600 @3.0 ghz (overclocked)
CPU Cooler: Aftermarket cooler
RAM: 4gb (2x2) DDR2
Motherboard: Asrock P45 Neo 2
GPU: HD7850 (newly installed)
Power Supply: XFX 550w, 80 plus bronze certified (newly installed to accommodate the graphics card upgrade)
Storage: 64gb C300 SSD + 500gb HDD

Now i'm finding that my fps still struggles in games like GTA IV. This game  is notoriously CPU limited so that's why i'm looking to upgrade my CPU. The goal of the upgrade is to be able to comfortably play open-world type games for the next 3-4 years. Comfortably means +/- 60 fps with all details maxed or very close to maxed out. In these 3-4 years i'm willing to upgrade the graphics card, if needed, but NOT the CPU/mobo. I don't mind overclocking as i have already done so with my Q6600.

At the moment im torn between these options:

1) Budget H77 board + i5 3330 or 3470
2) Budget H77 board + i5 3550
3) Budget Z77 board which would lack decent crossfire capability + i5 3570k
4) Z77 board with crossfire capability (2 x16 slots) + i5 3570k

The price difference between option 1 and 4 is about 100-150 euros with the other options somewhere in between.

I don't mind spending the money but don't want to pay for overkill type performance either. In your opinion, what would be the most sensible upgrade path?
Thoughts on the need to overclock in say 2-3 years from now to still get the type of performance i'm looking for at that point in time?
Thoughts on crossfire capability? Worth the extra money?

The ability to play graphically intensive games relies more on the GPU, amount of RAM on the video card, and the amount of system RAM, more so than the speed of the processor.
I would spend more of my budget on the video card and ability of the motherboard to support a lot of system RAM and dual video cards than spending a lot on a processor. 1 card may do it, but it needs to be a good one. You already have a quad core processor. You have one great video card. Why not buy a motherboard that supports another identical video card, another video card, and more RAM. The only problem you may have is finding a socket LG775 motherboard with dual video card capability? LG775 is getting hard to find.
No matter, the principal of what I said stands. Spend more on video cards and RAM than on the processor.

Components for Building Computers From Scratch

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Keith Davis


I can answer most any question in this category for the home desktop builder and for most gaming PC builders. This includes what kind of case, cooling products, overclocking, all hardware, software, and safety issues. I can also advise on where the best sources for purchasing hardware are on the net.


100's of system builds from Win 2k through Win7 for customers as a self-employed PC technician with 100% customer satisfaction. Most experienced with XP and Vista.

4 classes short of my Networking degree.

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