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Upgrading My System


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#1 grimreaper14694

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 04:07 PM

With Moore's Law constantly tempting me, I've finally given in.
With the announcement of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, I've decided to upgrade my gaming system.

Here are the current specifications:

Power Supply: 750W Corsair HX (Dual SLI compatible)(Silent Edition)

Motherboard: nVidia 680i LT Core 2 Quad Q66 2.4GHz (1066MHz FSB)(8MB Cache)

RAM: 2GB DDR2 Corsair at 800MHz XMS2(Dual Channel)(Performance)

Video Cards: 2x SLI Dual (nVidia GeForce 8800GT 512MB)(PCI-Express)


For some reason I run games like Fallout: New Vegas and Call of Duty: Black Ops with (some) imperfections. I'm wondering if this is because I haven't upgraded any parts of my system in a while.
I've been looking at the Intel Core i7 950 Processor, and am looking for upgraded parts in that price range, that will meet my power supply. I am also looking for a way to upgrade the video cards, maybe even selling the two for a single (more powerful, more expensive) one. I also do not wish to exceed 850 USD.

What is the weak point in my system? (aside from the low RAM)

I've been here for help before, and have had great success.

Edit: Moved topic from Computer Gaming to the more appropriate forum. ~ Animal

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#2 DJBPace07

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 06:07 PM

If you're wanting to use a different processor, you're going from upgrade to an overhaul becuase you are going to be gutting almost everything inside the PC to do it. The weak point is also probably your graphics cards, they are out-of-date and in need of an upgrade. Here's an idea:

Motherboard: ASUS M4A89TD PRO/USB3 AM3 AMD 890FX - This is the flagship AMD motherboard. It allows for DDR3-1333 memory, USB 3.0, and SATA 6. This is great if you want to use Crossfire at a later date. If you don't see yourself using Crossfire, or simply want to save some money, the MSI 870A-G54 AM3 AMD 870 is also a good alternative. $169

CPU: AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition Thuban 3.2GHz - This is a six-core CPU. Most, if not all games, do not yet use all six cores, but in the future they might. The additional two cores are great for programs that favor additional physical cores, such as Handbrake. This is a Black Edition processor which means the multiplier is unlocked, allowing for easy overclocking. If you don't care about the additional two cores and simply want to save some cash, the AMD Phenom II X4 970 Black Edition Deneb 3.5GHz will work too. $229

RAM: CORSAIR XMS 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 - You are going from a DDR2 system to a DDR3 one, new RAM is required. You can buy two sticks for 8GB. Most home users only need 4GB, but if you're gaming, I would go for 8GB. The motherboard has a 16GB max and you need a 64-bit operating system to use 4GB or more of RAM. $88 ($44 times two sticks)

Graphics: MSI R6970-2PM2D2GD5 Radeon HD 6970 2GB - This is the top-of-the-line for AMD cards. You can easily run it on your power supply. It usually hovers between GTX 570 and GTX 580 levels of performance. $369 (Before $20 mail-in rebate)

Note: Depending on the version of Windows you are currently using, you may need to purchase a copy of Windows to use this PC.

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#3 grimreaper14694

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 11:25 PM

Hey,

Sorry for the delay, dealing with some winter weather here.

Thanks for your advice. Sounds like a great plan.
A few alternations, if I may:

I'm not sure that I want to switch from Intel to AMD. I've been an intel customer for as long as I can remember, and they've served me well.

So-

What motherboard do you recommend that is intel compatible?
What type of GPU, again, intel motherboard compatible, would you recommend?

I like the idea of 16GB of Ram, and its definitely worth the extra $88. (2x8GB)

Here's my vision, please don't hold back any opinions when you respond.

Motherboard: ASUS P6X58D-E LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel. With the same features you described, supporting both Crossfire + SLI. But what really sold me was the fact that it won the customer's choice award on newegg. Also, should I ever want to upgrade to an intel six core, it has support for that too.

RAM: Just as you recommended. The Corsair 4GB sticks will work great, and this way if any game ever incorporates 24GB of RAM, ill be on top of it.

CPU: Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz This features an overclocking speed of 3.8 GHz, 1.4 higher than my current. However, it is a bit pricy: still looking for other options on this.

GPU: You're going to have to help me: I'm not sure if it's the right choice to buy a single graphics card, buy multiple graphics cards, or keep my 8800GT's, but SLI with another graphics card. (is it possible to SLI with different types of graphics cards?) This is a killer: definitely need your advice.
If the card you recommended is compatible, (which i'm fairly certain it isn't) i'd use it.

Thanks for your help so far, looking forward to money well spent!

#4 DJBPace07

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 12:31 AM

Intel and AMD CPU's do the same thing. You just pay more for Intel, that's all. That is, until you get to the high-end CPU's, which, if you did that, you would probably need to scale back on the GPU which isn't a good idea since most games are GPU-bound. To get a somewhat more future-proof system, you could go for the Intel Sandy Bridge CPU's that has just been released. These newly-released Sandy Bridge CPU's do not use LGA 1366 motherboards but LGA 1155 motherboards which aren't going to be Intel's high-end sockets like the 1366's are. That is indeed a nice motherboard, but the socket is also being phased out in favor of LGA 2011, ending your upgrade path. You also probably have no need 16GB or even 24GB of RAM unless you are working with huge amounts of data. Most games do not take advantage of more than 4GB of RAM these days because, to do so, they would need to be coded for 64-bit specifically. To maintain compatibility, they would need both 32-bit and 64-bit executables, few games do this. As for your GPU question, you should really consider getting a new card. That is from the GeForce 8 generation, we are now three generations past that. It is also best to use a single high-end graphics card as opposed to multiple low-end ones. Not all games scale well with multiple cards and using a single high-end GPU ensures you will still get good performance. You should only consider multi-GPU setups if you are using high-end graphics cards, which the 8800GT never was. In fact, you would probably need more than two 8800GT's, most likely quad SLI, to even come close to the Radeon 6970 and even then you would not have DirectX 11 and consume more power.

Intel

CPU: Intel Core i7-950 Bloomfield 3.06GHz - This ia on-par with the Phenom II X6 I chose. This is a locked CPU, making overclocking a little more difficult. $294

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-X58-USB3 LGA 1366 Intel X58 - Your motherboard has to match the socket of the CPU you are using, in this case LGA 1366. The LGA 1366 CPU and sockets are being phased out in favor of LGA 2011 so this will soon be replaced. This motherboard allows for both Crossfire and SLI but does not have SATA 6. It's also not a good idea to base your buying decision entirely off customer reviews as they should be taken with a gigantic grain of salt since people complain about everything, even problems they caused. $179

Keeping all other parts from the AMD build, with the exception of an additional RAM stick due to triple-channel memory, this will cost $975. I forgot to include the grand total for the AMD build, that one is $857.

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#5 grimreaper14694

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 06:14 PM

I like your sense of humor(salt). If you think its a better choice to go with the AMD system, I'll do it. Your judgement is much better than mine. However, I need your help yet again.

Should I go all out and buy a new case, hard drive, and psu?
seems as if im gutting everything else

Edited by grimreaper14694, 20 January 2011 - 06:14 PM.


#6 killerx525

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 07:09 PM

You can keep the hard drive and psu but not exactly sure what size the case is.

>Michael 
System1: CPU- Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.4GHz, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB Kit(4Gx4) DDR3 2133MHz, SSD/HDD- Samsung 850 EVO 250GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x EVGA GTX980 Superclocked @1360/MHz1900MHz, Motherboard- Asus X99 Deluxe, Case- Custom Mac G5, PSU- EVGA P2-1000W, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 3100+  System2: Late 2011 Macbook Pro 15inch   OFw63FY.png


#7 DJBPace07

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 08:09 PM

You can keep your case, assuming it is a standard case, however, most of the high end graphics cards are quite large at about 10 to 11 inches so make sure you have the room, otherwise you may want to consider a full ATX case. Your power supply is very nice and easily capable of powering any single graphics card on the market. If your hard drive is less than five years old and uses SATA, keep it.

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#8 wfriction

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 03:37 AM

If you're wanting to use a different processor, you're going from upgrade to an overhaul becuase you are going to be gutting almost everything inside the PC to do it. The weak point is also probably your graphics cards, they are out-of-date and in need of an upgrade. Here's an idea:

Motherboard: ASUS M4A89TD PRO/USB3 AM3 AMD 890FX - This is the flagship AMD motherboard. It allows for DDR3-1333 memory, USB 3.0, and SATA 6. This is great if you want to use Crossfire at a later date. If you don't see yourself using Crossfire, or simply want to save some money, the MSI 870A-G54 AM3 AMD 870 is also a good alternative. $169

CPU: AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition Thuban 3.2GHz - This is a six-core CPU. Most, if not all games, do not yet use all six cores, but in the future they might. The additional two cores are great for programs that favor additional physical cores, such as Handbrake. This is a Black Edition processor which means the multiplier is unlocked, allowing for easy overclocking. If you don't care about the additional two cores and simply want to save some cash, the AMD Phenom II X4 970 Black Edition Deneb 3.5GHz will work too. $229

RAM: CORSAIR XMS 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 - You are going from a DDR2 system to a DDR3 one, new RAM is required. You can buy two sticks for 8GB. Most home users only need 4GB, but if you're gaming, I would go for 8GB. The motherboard has a 16GB max and you need a 64-bit operating system to use 4GB or more of RAM. $88 ($44 times two sticks)

Graphics: MSI R6970-2PM2D2GD5 Radeon HD 6970 2GB - This is the top-of-the-line for AMD cards. You can easily run it on your power supply. It usually hovers between GTX 570 and GTX 580 levels of performance. $369 (Before $20 mail-in rebate)

Note: Depending on the version of Windows you are currently using, you may need to purchase a copy of Windows to use this PC.

Get this stuff :)

And also - consider grabbing an SSD, as once you have a beastly system like this your hard drive will most certainly be the bottleneck of the computer.
If you need any help choosing SSDs, let me know and I'll help you choose the best one - but as I wrote in another thread, I would suggest either an Intel X25-M (Newegg referrer link) or a Crucial C300.

Edited by Andrew, 25 January 2011 - 06:58 AM.
Mod Edit: Edited Affiliate Links - AA


#9 grimreaper14694

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 05:13 PM

Hey,

Thanks for the advice on the solid state drives.
The crucial one looks pretty sick, is it the only drive to utilize the 6 GB/s?
It says on Newegg "1st SSD to utilize the faster SATA 6Gb/s interface"
I'm definitely going to go for that.
What do you think about a 1TB internal drive for the stuff I don't really need at fast speeds, like music and movies?
and what other uses does a solid state drive have, other than fast(er) gaming?

Really helpful stuff guys.
Now its just about raising the funds. I've got about $450 so far, so it will be a while until i'm ready to purchase anything.
To my advantage, this stuff will get cheaper and perhaps some different models will come out while I raise funds.

DEADLINE FOR ITEM PURCHASING: OCTOBER 27th, 2011
I need at least two weeks before The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is released, just to make sure everything works.

#10 DJBPace07

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 05:19 PM

SSD's really don't affect gaming, once data is loaded into memory, the hard drive isn't used very often. You should hold off on a final parts list until you are about a month or so from actually purchasing the PC.

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