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How do I know if my CPU/motherboard are actually decent?

By brewy100 · 4 replies
Mar 6, 2012
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  1. Hi folks,

    I'm new to PCs. My broad question is whether my CPU and Motherboard are actually any good. I find it very hard to understand, through the sheer amount of different CPU/Motherboards out there and all the terminology used, where my PC stands in terms of performance capability. I know its name and I know its old compared to what you can get these days and therefore likely not very good at all.

    The reason I ask is because I am looking to upgrade my wimpy 300W PSU to a Corsair model that at least exceeds 550W. I'm having to run a GT430 card currently. On top of the PSU I may add another 4GB RAM to my current 4GB taking me up to 8. Then finally after making these changes I want to add a decent graphics card. In doing all that I am at a kind of sticking point as to whether it is even worth me doing all of those upgrades if my CPU/Motherboard are holding me back from getting the maximum out of the upgrades I intend to make? The easy answer would be to change my CPU and motherboard but If I'm honest I am at too much of a beginner level for all that hassle. If I could just carry on with the CPU/Motherboard I already have, at least for a few months, that would be ideal. I suppose I just need some reassurance that making my intended upgrades will still be worthwhile. I dont want a super gaming PC, just something that would perhaps outperform my consoles in terms of graphics/performance.

    Any comments around this will be most helpful. My specs are hopefully listed in my profile. Sorry to ramble.


  2. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    You might just get away with your E6600, the Core 2 Duo range is several years old but if you're not looking for cutting edge performance it shouldn't bottleneck your system too much. Bear in mind that if you want to upgrade to the i3/i5/i7 range you will need to buy a new motherboard as well as a new CPU (and probably new RAM as well unless you're running DDR3).

    Upgrading your PSU and graphics card would be the way to go. I wouldn't bother with the RAM as 8GB wouldn't make your games run any quicker.
  3. brewy100

    brewy100 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Really good advice, thanks very much. I am running DDR3 so thats quite good to hear, will park upgrading my RAM, at least for a few months.

    Bearing in mind my specs, any suggestions in terms of the graphics card? I am running GT 430 currently which is obviously quite feeble. My PC runs a PCI-E video card slot if I'm right so anything compatible with that would be great. Please advise on the basis that i will shortly be upgrading to at least 600w PSU.
  4. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    Generally the more expensive the card the better it is :) It all depends on your price range, to get you started here's a good card for £100 including a free game which will play most modern games on high settings: ASUS HD 6850 Direct CU 1GB

    Any PCIe card (i.e. all new cards on the market) will be compatible with your setup.
  5. brewy100

    brewy100 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Cheers, I will definitely check that card you recommended out properly. Had a quick look on youtube and it looks pretty good to me. Hopefully my PC can do it some justice.

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