Please help with an upgrade on a budget!

richardb70

Distinguished Member
Ladies and gents,

Just moved house and it was so much hassle that I promised myself I'd buy something shiny as a reward :). But unfortunately my funds are limited and my other half does like to spend all my money on nappies and nonsense.

Anyway, I put this lot together back in early 2010:

  • Gigabyte GA-H55-UD3H H55 Socket 1156 8 channel audio ATX Motherboard
  • Crucial 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1333MHz/PC3-10600 Memory Kit CL9 1.5V
  • Antec 300 Three Hundred Case
  • Intel Core i3 530 2.93GHz Socket 1156 4MB L3 Retail Boxed Processor
  • LG GH22LS50 22x DVD±RW DL & RAM with LightScribe SATA Optical Drive
  • Samsung HD103SJ Spinpoint F3 1TB Hard Drive SATAII 7200rpm 32MB Cache
  • OCZ ModXStream Pro 500W Modular PSU Single 12V Rail 135mm Fan SLI Certified
  • Benq 22" 1080p monitor
Since then, I've added:

  • Gigabyte GTX460 1Gb OC
  • Crucial M4 128Gb SSD
  • Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO (that i3 sure can be overclocked!)
  • Another 4Gb bog-standard Crucial RAM.
  • 18,000,000 cheap Steam games.
I'd like to move up to Haswell i5, with a decent GPU (670 or up, second-hand most likely). Realistically I won't be upgrading anything afterwards for the next couple of years at least, so I'd like it to be moderately futureproof against the new console ports.

Thinking about getting the following:

  • Fractal Define R4 ('cos it looks nice! Sell the 300 for scrap)
  • Gigabyte Z87-D3HP motherboard (cheaper Z87 but works for me)
Hoping I can keep my current RAM, but I imagine the PSU might not be great with the latest and greatest? Worried about the ampage. No interest in SLI. Any recommendations or suggestions welcome!

Cheers.
 

Chox1988

Distinguished Member
Yeah what you're intending is pretty much what I'd do, it's almost a whole new rig. I'd go for a 680 or above though. Maybe 7950 if you're happy with amd as the vram will be welcome.

I would definitely whack a new psu in there, 600w+, xfx, corsair, enermax etc.

Don't forget a cpu cooler.
 

richardb70

Distinguished Member
Many thanks!

PSU: can you recommend a decent, reliable one that's around the £50 - 60 mark? Or is that a false economy? I think the R4 has good cable management so modular isn't a must.

CPU cooler: hoping the 212 Evo will plug in on the new motherboards, need to check.

Not really up with the AMD GPUs - would they be a good idea considering the new consoles are using them? I must admit the 3Gb VRAM is attractive, how are they against the nVidias for power consumption and heat?

Cheers again, nice to know I'm on the right track.
 

Jamezinho

Distinguished Member
AMD are cheaper and drivers are very good....just for balance. ;)
 

austinqpr

Well-known Member
The 7950 is a cracking card for the price. Had no problems with mine at all, oh and the drivers have been problem free for me ;)
 

paulktreg

Active Member
Can I ask why you feel the need to upgrade? What is it not doing that you'd like it to?
 

richardb70

Distinguished Member
Can I ask why you feel the need to upgrade? What is it not doing that you'd like it to?

Just scratching a little itch, I suppose :)

I play games like Skyrim a lot, and I get bothered by keeping an eye on VRAM while modding, so upgrading my GPU is a must. And then I worry I'll be bottlenecking a new GPU with an old dual core i3 (which doesn't get on very well with Skyrim's shadows), hence the move to a quad core. Figure the new round of game ports will make greater use of additional VRAM and also cores....

The i3 is a cracking overclocker though, it has to be said. I've had it up to 4GHz comfortably, and 4.2 with the odd blue screen in Crysis 1. Probably a little wimpy on the voltages.
 

richardb70

Distinguished Member
Gents,

Can anyone recommend me a decent 7950 that runs on stock voltage?

I was going with Gigabyte as they haven't let me down before, but found that all theirs are "boost" level with a locked voltage of 1.25V. Apparently there's a BIOS version (F43) that can bring it down to stock (1.093V) but it doesn't always "take" and it knocks your HDMI signal out. :(

Then the more I look around, the more other makes are doing the same.

I want a card with low voltage that I can manually alter when I get the urge to OC, not with a mental high voltage all the time. Does such a thing exist? Or should I look at nVidia and sell a lung? :rolleyes:
 

Jamezinho

Distinguished Member
I'm not sure which ones are boost and which aren't. My MSI Twin Frozr III is and the boost function isn't really an issue. No temperature problems here even with a big overclock. It runs at 1.25v only when under load and 0.8-0.95v at idle.

If you are going to overclock then having 1.25v can be seen as a benefit as it gives you loads of headroom without needing to mess about with voltages. However you can flash a non-boost BIOS to most of these cards now if you wan't rid of the boost feature and possibly a lower voltage.
 

alphaomega16

Distinguished Member

richardb70

Distinguished Member
I spent an hour or so looking at the Gigabyte WF3 7950, it does seem that it's pretty much voltage locked at 1.25V all the time. If you google "gigabyte 7950 1.25v", it does seem to back this up (unless I have it wrong).

The MSI TF3 looks better - but I can see from Overclockers that there's a new Rev 2 out which fixes a problem with the fan spinning up to 100% the moment anything's happening. Dodgy diode by all accounts. Checked the OC forum and people are RMAing the rev 2s due to the same issue happening. :(

Gah. What to do, what to do! :confused:
 

richardb70

Distinguished Member
Thanks for all your help with this, everyone. Just ordered a new Gigabyte 7950 from Dabs, £230 with the code. Result!
 

Jamezinho

Distinguished Member
Good choice and very good price. Enjoy the card and make sure you overclock, even if just a mild one. It's silly not to.
 

alphaomega16

Distinguished Member
Thanks for all your help with this, everyone. Just ordered a new Gigabyte 7950 from Dabs, £230 with the code. Result!

gl with the card mate :smashin:
 

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