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  1. #1
    Art Connesseur of Blue Gartr
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    Wanting to get the most out of my processor

    Hey all. I had a couple of questions for you guys really familiar with getting the most out of your system, specifically the CPU. My machine is fairly new, and still pretty "current" and runs almost everything without problems. I have noticed a few hiccups and slowdown in certain games, and am wondering if I can fix this without having to upgrade.

    To start, the basic basic system stats: (if anything else is needed, let me know)

    Dell XPS 720
    Vista OS
    Intel Core 2 Quad CPU @6600 @2.40 GHz
    4 gig of ram
    Nvidia GEForce 8800 GTX

    Most stuff runs ok with high settings. Stuff like Crysis, Fallout 3, and a couple other new games though have a some slowdown though. I know these are pretty beastly games and can push your stuff to the limits, but I'd like to play them at max settings with very little/no slowdown if possible.

    I know I can overclock my CPU, but what is considered "safe" so I won't overheat anything? I know I can OC my graphics cards as well, and again, I pose the same question. I looked at a couple OC guides on Google, I just want some people's opinion on the matter. I figure with my CPU, it shouldn't really have that hard of a time keeping up with the stuff. I would just really like to optimize as much as I can.

    I was also looking at processors on newegg, but I honestly wouldn't know where to start. If I absolutely had to buy a new one, I'd be looking to spend 150-250 dollars on a new one, if it'd buy anything better. Your input here is welcome as well.

    Thanks for anything you guys can offer me

  2. #2
    New Spam Forum
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    A "safe" overclock for that CPU off air cooling is going to be between 3-3.2ghz. Really the biggest thing you need to watch out for is CPU temp (I wouldn't recommend any overclocking on the factory Intel heatsinks). 60C is the upper limit that I'm personally comfortable with under full load. You'll also want to run something like prime95 for several hours and make sure there's no errors after OCing.

    As far as upgrading your processor, you're not really going to get much better performance after overclocking it unless you go to one of the i7s. Even then, from a c2q to i7 I don't think the price would be justified as far as performance gain goes.

    The biggest thing you need to look at as far as gaming goes is if your CPU is capping out at 100% while playing the heavier games. If your CPU isn't capping out, it's not your CPU causing a bottleneck.

  3. #3
    Melee Summoner
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    You would be better off spending that 150-250 on a new video card than a processor. It'll make a larger difference in gaming performance.

  4. #4
    Art Connesseur of Blue Gartr
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyamei View Post
    You would be better off spending that 150-250 on a new video card than a processor. It'll make a larger difference in gaming performance.
    Yeah, I suppose you're right. After looking at the most recent nvidia cards, it seems mine is 3 years old. It is still really good, but vastly outdated, from what it looks like. I'm checking out prices on newegg on the newer Nvidia cards, more specifically the 200 series, but I see the 300 series is coming out in Q4 2009 most likely. I doubt I'll want to spend 600+ on a new video card though.

    I see so many different video cards on newegg, it's kind of intimidating. Can any of you off some good suggestions? Price range now same as before, probably more around the 200-250 mark. I want to get something that will last a while. Thanks again

  5. #5
    Melee Summoner
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    For that price range, I'd say either a GTX 275 or an HD 4890.

  6. #6

    You might have difficulty OCing a Dell - I own an XPS 710 that only has an option to allow software overclocking (which is next to useless). If it turns out you can edit those settings through the BIOS, then just be careful about it - edge things up very gradually to find the right combination of voltage and clock speed. Check some overclocking forums, some of them list combinations that worked well for other people on the same or similar setups.

  7. #7
    E. Body
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    ATI Radeon 4890 is probably the best card for your money. They're about $200 +/- $20 and if you get a good one, you can overclock it to 1ghz. Of course different cards play games differently, so I'd check that out first.

  8. #8
    Melee Summoner
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    I missed the part that you had a Dell. Don't know what kind of power supply those things use, so you might have to change that too. Remember, wattage is not everything.

  9. #9
    My Little Ixion
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    Your ability to change settings in BIOS will be severely limited because you're on an OEM system, even if it's an XPS and some of the stuff is unlocked.

  10. #10
    Pandemonium
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    Yeah, trying to overclock a Dell is a lesson in futility. If i were you I'd wait another year or so and then build myself a whole new box. When you do it yourself you have complete control over your overclocks.