Uh-oh. I think I need to slip my GTX 480 in the oven for 10-15 minutes for a crude BGA reflow. (I really need a set of proper BGA rework equipment, but that's thousands of dollars altogether and demands its own room, especially for the reflow oven with the conveyor belt and temperature control zones and everything.)
It still mostly works, but GTA IV benchmarking causes it to BSoD. It's not going to last through clamping alone.
Speaking of which, it's only now that I realize just how much that 3 GHz Q6600 was holding back that GTX 480. Same graphics card and settings, just with different hardware backing it up.
DCS World performance (using this benchmark file): 13 FPS average (Q6600 3.0 GHz) vs. 24-25 FPS average (4670K 4.2 GHz). Keep in mind that it performs a lot better once you've taken off and are up in the air, and the benchmark instructions specifically state to sit on the runway.
GTA IV benchmark: I really should have recorded some exact figures for the Q6600, or at least dug up the old log files. But I'm pretty sure it was 55 FPS or under compared to the 4670K's 65 FPS, everything maxed. In-game performance sure feels a lot smoother.
Needless to say, I made the right choice in going for a CPU upgrade first before going for a modern GPU that would trounce the GTX 480. It also tells me there's little benefit in getting something above GTX 480/570/660 performance-wise for such a CPU, yet those cards still result in a huge jump from the 8800 GT, so those GPUs are probably the sweet spot for old Core 2-era hardware.
Now I just have to test some of my other games. Rise of Flight, IL-2 Sturmovik: Cliffs of Dover, and PlanetSide 2 shoot to mind first. It helps that the last one of those has the dev team scrambling to optimize it properly.
I also got Supreme Commander in an indie bundle a while back, and that one was especially infamous for being punishing on the CPUs of the day (basically the Crysis of RTSs, and a real driver of Core 2 Quad sales due to being one of the few games at the time that made use of quad-cores); I should bench that too with some especially big battles going.