So I'm trying to figure out what kind of performance upgrade I want next. I just today ordered this RAM:
Because my 4x 2gb mismatching sticks that I have are starting to fail. I actually bought this system from a previous owners, so I don't even know what kind of RAM is in there now, but hopefully the 2 sticks of DDR3-2400 will work a lot better.
Anyways, the rest of my current setup is:
Biostar TH55B-HD Motherboard
Intel i7 870 (Lynnfield)
Freezer 7 Pro Rev.2 HSF (Noctua NT-H1 thermal paste)
Gigabyte Radeon 7950 Windforce 3gb 384-bit Video Card
1x 256GB 7200RPM HD + 1x 500gb 7200 RPM HD (not sure what brands)
Corsair 750W PSU
I currently have my CPU overclocked to 3.4ghz on stock voltage (155x22). I am getting max temps under Prime95 blend mode of 75C, and idle temps of 35C. I know the HSF is not the best I can get, but it's what came with the computer when I bought it from the previous owner.
I am contemplating an upgrade, but am not sure I actually need a LOT more CPU power to justify dropping $500+ on a new CPU/MB combo. I realize the i7 870 is a first generation i7 chip is a really old processor by now, but for 99% of the stuff I do it holds up just fine..except for emulation. I do some Gamecube/Wii emulation, and for certain Wii games the CPU is just a bottleneck. I have heard of people overclocking this particular CPU to 4.2-4.4Ghz, but don't think I have any room to do that since I am already getting load temps of 75C at 3.4ghz during load.
So my first question is, given my current HSF, would I see a huge cooling performance upgrade by investing in a Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo? Are there other, better coolers out that that might allow me to go to 4ghz+ without water cooling? And if I do decide to go water cooling, would a Corsair H80i be a good idea?
Alternatively, how much more of a performance boost would I see in processing power going from an overclocked i7 870 to a stock i7 4770k?
Lastly, one of my biggest gripes with my current system is the lack of features on the motherboard I have. Are there any <$150 LGA1156 motherboards that I can still buy that would offer good overclocking along with USB3 and SATA3-6gbps?
Thanks, any additional input/advice is always welcome!