Upgrades from current build - or new build!

Discussion in 'Computer Components' started by SaitanMar, Jan 10, 2012.

  1. SaitanMar

    SaitanMar
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    I have that itch again, the itch to work on my PC.

    So in 2012 I had decided I would see about making some PC upgrades if possible, or simply look into building a new rig if it was needed. But having been out of the game for a while and having lost track on what's what, I need some advice. Now I've already caught up with the current happenings with Intel sockets and so on, but still rusty. I wish to mention to that this past winter my rheumatoid arthritis as spread to my hands so it's starting to get very difficult to use them, and in a weird sort of way I want to do something while I physically can cope with my hands. But before we begin I want to state my current build:

    Windows 7 64bit
    Intel Core i7 920
    ASUS P6TD Deluxe
    6GB Ram (1600MHz)
    ATI 5870
    40GB SSD (OS)
    2x 1TB HDD's.
    250GB HDD.
    Antec 1200 Case.
    2x LG DVD Drives.
    650W PSU


    Now I have a few ideas on possible upgrades, I know for example that I want to upgrade my PSU. But! I've also been thinking about building a new rig. One that can handle some of today's most demanding games with comfort. It was one of the reasons I built my current rig so I could run most games with absolute ease and I still can. But some titles are starting to hurt the GPU and possibly the CPU. Not sure which way to go at the moment. My aim is for something something future proof (for gaming) and something that can handle say Battlefield 3 with ease. Here's a few ideas I had in mind:

    Case: Fractal Designs R3 (Fractal Design R3 Black Pearl - now with USB 3.0 | FD-CA-DEF-R3-USB3-BL) or keep using the Antec 1200.

    Motherboard: MSI P67A-GD53 Motherboard (MSI P67A-GD53 Intel P67 (Socket 1155) Motherboard | P67A-GD53-B3) Although I have been eyeing the ATI 7970 and I believe that using a new PCI-E config.

    CPU: Intel Sandybridge i5-2500 Quad-Core Processor
    (Intel Sandybridge i5-2500 Core i5 Quad-Core Processor (3.30GHz, 6MB Cache, Socket 1155): Amazon.co.uk: Computers & Accessories) Heard nothing but praise for this CPU.

    CPU Heatsink: Be Quiet Dark Rock Advanced. (Be Quiet Dark Rock Advanced CPU Cooler - BK014 - Scan.co.uk).

    GPU: To be determined!

    PSU: To be determined!

    Harddrives: To be determined!

    RAM: To be determined!

    Drives: To be determined!

    As you can see still not entirely sure on most of the components. As for the GPU, it's a difficult one. That 7970 is awfully temping but would it just be to much for what I'd need. Keep in mind that builds for me take months due to finance, medical reasons (RA makes it slow) and research I do. But would appreciate any ideas or thoughts, bounce them around if you will.

    Thank you. :thumbsup:
     
  2. shadowboxer

    shadowboxer
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    I think your current system is still very good! By the sounds of it your CPU isn't overclocked? I would personally be looking to add a decent CPU cooler and with your decent motherboard overclock to 4.0GHz! This would give you a nice little boost in performance. Going to an i5-2500 really isn't worth the time or the money from your current setup. It would only give you very little gains and be more of a side step. The main value of Sandy Bridge is the ease of which you can overclock and given that your looking at an i5-2500 (and not an i5-2500K) I think you'd be better off overclocking your current i7 920. If it's a D0 stepping CPU, with a decent cooler it won't have much trouble hitting 4.0GHz.

    I've recently got an Fractal Design R3 (to house very similar system to yours actually) and I must say for £70 it is very good value for money. Airflow isn't as good as my previous case (Coolermaster CM690) but I very much like the looks of it and the quietness...albeit build quality isn't top notch. Also if you are thinking of high overclocks such as 4.0GHz+ best invest in a high end cooler such as a Thermalright Silver Arrow/Noctua NH-D14 for example.

    What's the make and model of your current PSU? As long as it's a reputable and branded PSU there would be very little point in upgrading it for a single GPU setup.

    What resolution do you game at? If your after a boost in gaming performance I would look to sell of your 5870 and buy a high end single GPU such as the 7970 or GTX580. Both will run on decent 650W PSUs no problem.

    I do understand where you are coming from that you fancy building something before/if your RA deteriorates though. Perhaps a nice little HTPC?

    You could also perhaps look to get a new larger SSD or monitor?
     
  3. SaitanMar

    SaitanMar
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    Thanks for the reply shadowboxer, some very helpful tips.

    I do have a Titan Fenrir heatsink fitted to the system which does a reasonable job with cooling and have overclocked my system easily but the issue I always come across is that my motherboard resets itself constantly after a short while and goes back to default, it's a pain in the backside to reset all boot drives each time that happens so I stopped it and ran with default again. Not sure why it does that.

    Interesting to hear your opinions on the i5. Heard from three different people now that it's probably not worth the upgrade. I know one of the issues I face with say Battlefield 3 nowadays is GPU memory. I suffer from the sudden frames-per-second drop that last a few seconds as (from what I've read) Battlefield 3 as to load up the textures and such due to running out of ram space of the GPU. I know the 7970 would require a new motherboard due to the new PCI-E specifications but I'm wondering if there is a cheaper better option out there right now. I had at point thought about going back to an Nvidia card but still not entirely sure.

    My PSU is a concern to me. It should be more then powerful but isn't the best out there and having lost some interest in the system never got around to fully replacing it with proper well known quality. That said, it was a Corsairs PSU that lasted just five months in my system that broke. Whatever happens I will probably sort the PSU out.

    As I mentioned, I had that itch to build a new system but maybe right now isn't the best of times for all involved. With the price of hard drives/ SSD's being like they are. Might be that some wise upgrades will do my system some good. Have thought about adding a little more RAM to as that never hurts.

    Any other advice will be much appreciated. Thanks again. :thumbsup:
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2012
  4. shadowboxer

    shadowboxer
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    Yeah, BF3 loves VRAM. I think 1GB isn't enough nowadays for playing at 1080p. My GTX470 copes reasaonably well with 1.25GB though.

    CPU upgrade really isn't worth it. As for the overclock. presumably it's a rock solid OC and you've done the usually IntelBurnTest of 8 hours of Prime95 and temps are OK?

    As for PCI-E 3.0. The new 7970 is backwards compatible with 2.0/2.1 so no worries there. If your concerned about performance droping and not making the most of the higher available bandwidth...have a look at this.

    In terms of NVIDIA, I wouldn't buy just yet. You may as well see what the next generation (Kepler) brings, although if the 3GB GTX580 and 7970 launch prices are anything to go buy, the top end card will be £500+ easily!

    Adding RAM isn't a bad option but won't make much difference by going upto 12GB for gaming. Only really for video/photo editing/rendering etc.

    Although HDD prices are still high, the cost of SSD's hasn't been affected. Maybe a Crucial M4 128GB drive for OS/apps/few games?

    If PSU is a cheap one then yes I agree, worth replacing but for a single GPU, a decent 650W is plenty even for a 7970.
     
  5. SaitanMar

    SaitanMar
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    Actually didn't know that I could fit a 7970 into my motherboard, always thought it was just PCI-E 3.0 only thing although I know motherboards that support 3.0 can also continue to support 2.0. Makes sense I guess.

    I know Nvidia have some new cards on the way so it wouldn't be to wise to buy into the current collection without knowing much about their future hardware. That and seeing the 7970's power consumption figures had me keen on that card. Wait and see I guess, I guess a new GPU isn't a must. Sort of wish there was a magical slot on the 5870 that could add extra VRAM... would be brilliant. :laugh:

    Any PSU recommendations around the 650W mark. Looking at a few, but forgot how much I disliked buying PSU's :D
     
  6. shadowboxer

    shadowboxer
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    This is a decent deal on a modular PSU.

    Antec TruePower New 650W Modular PSU £69.99 delivered.

    It's also on Scan today only for £59.99 exc P&P (now they've removed free shipping for AVF memembers), plus lots of people have recently complained about their returns policy etc. Would pay the extra for ebuyer.
     
  7. SaitanMar

    SaitanMar
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    I've been looking at that exact PSU :D Seems like a good PSU though some not so great reviews of it on a few other sites.

    I used Scan for a while but eventually had issues with them, started using eBuyer for my current rig and they were a lot better.
     
  8. BobbyUK

    BobbyUK
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    Think Scan are 1st class, never had issues with them plus there Today offers are good, picked up a Cooler Master 1000W silent pro gold for £120...bargin!
     
  9. Ellis

    Ellis
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    Excellent points here, definitely. I agree that there's no point in upgrading your CPU, motherboard, or RAM since none of them will be limiting you in games, except perhaps the CPU's clock speed. So if you don't already have one, I'd invest in a high-end CPU air cooler and have some fun overclocking the CPU - 4GHz should be doable on that motherboard as shadowboxer says.

    Personally, I'm not a fan of the Antec 1200 and if I were to get a new case (within reason) it would be the Define R3, so if you feel that you don't like your case much or want to downsize then why not.
    They've removed free shipping for AVF members?! That was awesome, and made me buy from Scan every time. :(

    Anyway, the TP New is a very good series of PSUs, and great value for money. Read some professional reviews on them (JonnyGuru's are good) and take a look. Only reason to spend more on a 650W PSU is if you want 100% modularity or complete silence. Apparently the TP-N 650 is still very quiet though.
     
  10. Kwman

    Kwman
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    Scan upped the amount needed to qualify for free shipping to I think £100.00. I ordered from Scan this week and still got free shipping
     
  11. shadowboxer

    shadowboxer
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    It's £100 now to qualify for free shipping but I think they are changing it to £50 just for February. Seems stupid to me to be changing? Perhaps they've lost a lot of customers as a result of increasing it to £100 from £20. Either way, there have been an increasing number of people reporting issues with regards to returns so I won't personally be buying anything from there in a rush.

    @OP, any progress with regards to upgrading yet?
     
  12. SaitanMar

    SaitanMar
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    First of all I apologies for taking a while to reply to this thread I created, some medical issues filled my time as did having to buy a new TV which took a lot longer then I wanted it to. Anyway, having read what you had to say I am preferring to make some wise upgrades rather then a full clean build. First of all I'm certainly thinking of getting the Fractal Design Define R3, the age where I wanted pretty lights and showy towers as gone for me and having connected my PC to a 40" HDTV recently I would prefer a tower that stays out of my way and is of course quiet. Thinking about keeping my CPU for now (still does the job), and a few other components such as my CPU cooler which I've always been a fan of (tho I might get a new fan for it).

    Main upgrades will probably be PSU and GPU which I'm sure will be the most expensive. I'm keen on returning to Nvidia to be honest, don't get me wrong I think the ATI 5870 is a fantastic card (up there with the Geforce 8800 GTX for personal overall performance) but I feel more at home with Nvidia and certain game related performance issues with ATI cards over the past year as left me wanting something more. That and I just prefer the way Nvidia allow control of card settings (that's very much a preference thing and probably not a big deal to most). I have begun planning what I want to keep and what I want to replace. But I'm certain I will be getting a new tower.

    Again, sorry for the late reply. Will post an update if I go ahead with what I have planned.

    Thanks for the help :D
     
  13. SaitanMar

    SaitanMar
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    Oh one other thing, do you know if the Nvidia Geforce GTX 680 is backwards capatable with older motherboards such as my Asus P6TD Motherboard? You mentioned that the 7970 was so I was wondering.

    Thanks!
     

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