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Next Round of Upgrades


Established Member
Evening folks, stuck this here as I use the PC for gaming mostly but if it should be in one of the Computer forums apologies.

Birthday in a couple of months and I think I'll have nothing better to have/buy than some new bits for my PC. Will put specs below but I think a processor would be my next logical step. However it is a Dell and therefore I think it will limit what cooler I can put on apart from the standard. So I think I will need a new case as well, which then will probably require a new motherboard as I understand Dell use their own shape or size. So first thing is to confirm with you guys that I need all those bits or if I can leave out the case or motherboard for the time being and just get the processor and perhaps a cooler. I'm also not sure where I would stand with Windows if I took everything out of the Dell and put it into a new case with a new motherboard and processor, they don't provide CD's nowadays so I'm not sure if I would also have to get a proper copy.

Case - I started looking first as they are less likely to change much over the time I look around. So far on my short list is a Fractal Design Define R4, Corsair Carbide 300R or 500R and Corsair Vengeance C70, those four are mostly due to being noticed on the Amazon warehouse, the Fractal is appealing most at the minute. Still have some places to check out so the list may grow but any recommendations or views on those would be great. Think a budget up to £80 for this, doesn't need to be fancy as it is kind of 'side on' to where I sit partially behind the monitor. Doesn't need space for more than one video card or more than a few hard drive bays either.
Processor - The last I checked an i5 is the best price/performance for games, don't think I'll overclock so I don't need the K version. Which is a good option at the moment? Definitely no more than £200 here especially if the cooler ends up being more than I think it will be.
Cooler - I need to look at some reviews but I liked the idea of a closed water model like a Corsair H80. Are those kind worth it or does a decent air cooler match up or better them?
Motherboard - I haven't really looked into as it's the area I know least about. Not sure which specs are of importance, I don't think I'll ever go as far as using multiple video cards for example. Starting from scratch here so no idea on what a good budget point is, will probably look and come back rather than throw out a vague request on this point.

For reference, what I already have;
Dell Studio XPS 8100
i7 860 (I believe, that or a 9xx)
8gb RAM
Seasonic 550W PSU
MSI 7950
Windows 7

Hopefully that's enough for some of the knowledgeable builders to add in some guidance. Also remembered there was a thread in here about prices and other bits that I'll go through to see if that has anything else to look at.

Thanks very much


Distinguished Member
I'd take a look at Chox's thread first and decide definitely on your goal and your overall budget, there a good few configurations in there.

Also, what resolution do you game at what games do you intend to play?

To be fair you already have an i7 which is still a reasonable Quad Core CPU, but i suspect its on a 1366 socket so would limit any future upgrades. If you can't reuse the motherboard you have and bought another board which could take it (not sure they even sell socket 1366 boards now). I think the XPS8100 shipped with a Foxconn H57 motherboard, which does lack a few things (Sata III, USB 3.0)

Also, the PSU you have while being a very good make, will limit you on the GPU, so you wouldn't likely be able to run a GTX780 for example, or indeed crossfire with a second AMD card.

If you are waiting a couple more months, the Haswell refresh and Z97 boards would be out, so worth considering too as would future proof you a bit more as they will also take the next Intel revision (Broadwell). They might be slightly more expensive, but not hugely so.

i have a Fractal R4 and its a good case (its housing my server), but alot of people have gone for the Corsair 540R recently as it has alot more room, especially if you want to go with a Corsair H80 or H100i

Also, are you considering an SSD as a boot drive? I would as that makes a huge difference to boot times


Distinguished Member
You can overclock the 860 assuming that the DELL motherboard you have allows it, which would probably be a lot better than buying a new i5. I doubt you would see any difference in gaming.

If you were to overclock and take a 780, then you would need a stronger PSU, at least 650W would do.

Whack it all in a nice new case and plug in all the bits and bobs left over from the DELL and it should be good.

The real question mark will be over the motherboard DELL have installed, if it is one of their proprietary jobs then you will likely have to change it with CPU and memory. The buggers even sometimes have the screw holes all changed, so you cannot change to a different case. If you don't have to change, then I would stick with the 860 a little while longer, it has a good couple of years in it.


Distinguished Member
I'd replace in order mobo and cpu, case dependant on how friendly it is, gpu. PSU is fine, as is ram.

Replace with a z87 haswell, i7. And then think about the gpu with the maxwell refresh.


Established Member
Thanks for the replies guys.

I was looking at an SSD but I think this case is already cramped so I passed by it for now, struggled to get the video card in. Think the trouble with wanting one thing is that another one or more things is also required, partly my own fault for buying a dell rather than doing it myself to begin with.

Am surprised on the processor comments, thought it would be past it by now. Was an 860 by the way but if that will manage for the time being then it saves me money. Only trouble is I wouldn't want to risk a new case if the dell motherboard won't fit as I'll then need a new one which will then require a new processor to be compatible with an updated board, and then I believe the windows that comes with dell uses the motherboard for validation so I'd also need a new copy of that as well. So seems like I'm stuck in an all or nothing situation until the processor is causing problems.


Distinguished Member
SSd can be mounted practically anywhere due to its small size


Distinguished Member
The cpu is past it imo, its kind of unjustifiable to upgrade the gpu but not the cpu at this point.

You are in a semi all or nothing situation, i'd be replacing the case, mobo and cpu straight away, and then the gpu later.

An ssd is always a good idea anyway.


Established Member
Thanks Chox, wasn't looking at doing the gpu for some time anyway it's a cost too far.

Came across an ex display fractal R4 on ebuyer that I might jump in for later before it goes.
For processor I think either an i5 4670 or 4570 will be the route. Considered the previous generation but the prices aren't too far apart.
Motherboards I'm struggling with, apart from Z87 it's hard to tell them apart without going into specs so I'll have to spend some time on that.


Established Member
Had a rethink on the case and have a short list now of Fractal R4, Bitfenix Shinobi, Corsair Carbide 300r or 500r. No chance i could fit that 540 which was recommended. Three of them come in white which is appealing due to where it will be located, the 300r is more a back up option. The fractal is nice but is the widest and I came across some poor opinions on build quality. The shinobi is cheaper but doesn't cool very well from the front slits. The 500r has good reviews but is dearest and can be noisy. I'm not sure the noise is an issue as I usually have ear phones. I don't think I will do water cooling or serious over clocking if at all. Anyone have an opinion or other info to set them apart?


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